Articles Tagged "buying land"

February
14

5 Things to Do When Visiting a City You Might Move to

Move to Georgetown

Moving to a new city can be so exciting. But before you make it official, accept a job, and start looking for a place to live, you want to make sure this new city is a place you'll feel at home. Our real estate agents have worked with countless clients who are relocating, and they've learned a lot from these experiences. Below, they share some top things to do when visiting a city you might make your home. 

  • Stay in a neighborhood you'd like to live in.
    When visiting a city you're thinking about moving to, try to stay in a neighborhood where you'd like to live. Services like Airbnb make this easier. If possible, try to stay for at least three nights so you can get a true feel for the neighborhood, its personality, and its culture.

    Throughout your stay, try to pretend you actually live there. Go grocery shopping. Go to the gym. Go for a jog in the nearby park. You want to get a feel for what your normal, daily routine would be like if you moved.

  • Participate in your hobbies.
    Do you have a hobby you love, such as playing golf, hiking, birdwatching, or creating art? Before your visit, do some research, and find clubs and groups related to your hobby. Or, find the key places where locals engage with your hobby. Then, when you're in the new city, participate in your hobby. Hike the local trails, or book some studio time at a local art school. 

    If you find the local scene around your hobby engaging and enjoyable, this is a good sign you'll feel at home once you move there.

  • Walk around and explore.
    Set aside at least one afternoon to walk around the city and just explore. Perhaps you can start by looking at a few Georgetown homes for sale and then branch out from there. Discover what streets have the best coffee shops. Stop by parks that you pass on your way. 

    When walking around and exploring a city on foot, you get to take your time and really process what the place has to offer and the overall vibe it gives off. Either you'll be excited to see more, which is a sign you should move there — or you'll be itching to get back home, which means this isn't the place for you.

  • Research the cost of living.
    While you're visiting, pay attention to the cost of items and services. Do groceries cost more or less than they do in your current city? How does the cost of real estate compare?

    This research can tell you how much you need to earn in order to live comfortably in this new place. Allow it to guide your salary negotiations as you interview for new jobs. 

  • Talk to the locals.
    As you visit coffee shops, bars, and even local parks, don't be afraid to strike up conversations with people you meet. Ask them how they like living in the city. Ask what their favorite and least favorite things about the city are. Why did they move there? Do they recommend others move there, too? What advice do they have for a potential newcomer?

    Also, pay attention to how friendly the locals are. You probably want to move to a city where people are warm and welcoming, right?

Contact us if you've decided to move and are looking for the perfect home. 

January
3

Your Guide to Moving in 2022

Moving into a new home can bring up mixed emotions. Surely you'll be excited to settle into a new space and start decorating. But you might also feel a little overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities, from packing to assembling furniture. The more prepared you are, the less overwhelming moving will feel. Our real estate agents have watched a lot of clients move, and they have some excellent tips to share below. 

  • Make a Budget First
    Moving can be expensive, but there are plenty of ways to keep costs down. You can pack yourself instead of hiring movers. You can reuse boxes rather than buying them. The best way to make sure you don't overspend, though, is to set a moving budget from the get-go. This way, you can make choices that fit into your budget every step of the way.

  • Get Rid of Extras Before Moving
    The longer you've lived in your current home, the more "extras" you've probably accumulated. Rather than spend time and money taking all these extras to your new home, get rid of them before your move. Donate items that are in good shape to local charitable organizations, or sell them. Recycle or discard items that are broken or too worn out.

  • Create a Checklist
    Moving can feel like tackling an endless number of tiny tasks, from buying packing tape to calling utility companies. This tends to feel a lot less overwhelming if you create a checklist and check off tasks as you complete them. You'll be less worried that you might forget something, and you'll get a sense of satisfaction each time you check something off.

  • Label, Label, Label
    As you pack, label each box not only with its contents but also with the name of the room it belongs in. This will allow those who help you unpack to put boxes directly in the rooms where they belong. Your unpacking process will then progress a lot faster, and you won't waste as much time carrying things from room to room.

  • Pack a "First Night Box"
    The first night in your new home, you don't want to have to dig through 10 boxes to find the various necessities you need. So, pack a first-night box with just these essentials. Include basic toiletries, towels, a change of clothes, basic dinnerware and silverware, and your important paperwork.

  • Ask for Help Early
    Whether you hire a moving company or ask your friends for help, make these plans early. You'll have an easier time getting friends to help you if you ask for help before they have other big plans. Moving companies often book a few weeks out, so the sooner you book them, the more flexible they can be with scheduling.

  • Clean After Moving Out
    Wait to clean your current home until you've moved everything out. It's so much easier to clean thoroughly without furniture and boxes in the way. If you're short on time, consider hiring a cleaning company to tackle this task for you. 

  • Pack a Little at a Time
    Start packing a few weeks or even a month before moving day. Pack the items you rarely use first. Holiday decorations and out-of-season clothing are good examples. Work your way up to packing things you use more often.

As you look at various Georgetown homes for sale, don't let the idea of moving overwhelm you. Yes, moving can be a big job, but it's a job you can easily manage with the tips above. Contact us if you're looking for a real estate agent to help you through the home buying process. 

October
25

Save Up for a Down Payment with These Tips

Down Payment Tips

If you're planning to use a mortgage to finance the purchase of your home, it's essential to have enough money in savings for your down payment. Depending on the type of mortgage you choose, you'll typically need anywhere from 3.5 to 20 percent of the home's purchase price.

Our real estate agents recommend creating a plan to help you save the money for your down payment. Start by opening a savings account specifically for your down payment and follow these tips.

  1. Develop a Timeline for Your Homebuying Plans
    Before you can calculate how much you'll need to save, you need to decide when you want to purchase a home. This will allow you to make adjustments to your budget and income that match your buying timeline. For example, assume that you want to start the process of purchasing a home in six months. You want to have a down payment of $7,000. Over the next six months, you'll need to put away $1,167 each month to meet your goal. Or, if you want to buy a home in a year, this means you need to save $584 every month. 
  1. Look at Your Budget
    Once you know how much you need to save, it's time to write down all your expenses and income. Be thorough and realistic; while it's wise to reduce your discretionary spending, it isn't realistic for most people to go an extended period with absolutely no money devoted to outings and "fun" expenses. Assume that each month, you spend $400 on eating out, $200 on shopping, and $250 on vacations, for a total of $850. If you can reduce this amount to $450, you'll have $400 each month to put in your savings account. Over six months, this is $2,400. 
  1. Track Your Spending
    A budget is of little assistance if you don't stick to it. Monitor your spending (either via an app, a bank service, or keeping track of your expenses with a spreadsheet or even a pen and paper). If you overspend, try to reduce your expenses somewhere else to cover the overage. For example, if you spend $200 more than you budgeted on gifts, cut back on dining out, activities, and grocery budget by that amount. 
  1. Increase Your Income
    Increasing your income is another way to meet your monthly savings goal. Assume that you work an additional 6 hours a week and clear $15 an hour after taxes. This is an extra $90 a week or $360 a month. After 6 months, you'll have saved approximately $2,160. 
  1. Save Any Unanticipated Money
    Most people receive at least a little bit of money each month that they didn't anticipate. You might get a bonus at work, receive a cash gift, sell items you no longer use, or collect a refund. Save any and all unanticipated money in your savings account. If you can save $100 a month in unanticipated money, this is $600 over 6 months. 
  1. Adjust Your Tax Withholding
    For the 2020 tax year, the average tax refund was $2,800. If you adjust your tax withholding to have less withheld, this is an extra $234 a month. Over 6 months, this is $1,404. Or, if you're not able to adjust your withholding, your tax refund is an excellent windfall for your savings account. 

Ready to start touring Round Rock homes for sale? Contact us to start your search!

August
16

What First-Time Buyers Need to Know About Credit Scores

Round Rock Credit Score

Your credit score is an important piece of financial information that influences your ability to purchase a home. Credit scores range from 300 to 850, with 850 being the best possible score. 

Our real estate agents know that lenders will use your credit score when determining whether to approve your mortgage application. Here are a few things you should know about your credit score and homeownership as you prepare to buy your first home. 

  1. There's a Wide Variation in Acceptable Credit Scores
    The required credit score to purchase a home depends on the mortgage that you intend to use. For example, if you're applying for a conventional home loan, you'll likely need a credit score of at least 620. However, if you're interested in a jumbo home loan (a mortgage that exceeds conforming loan limits), it's best to have a credit score of 700 or higher. Some loans are ideal for buyers with less than stellar credit. An FHA loan has a minimum credit score requirement of 500. You'll need to make a 10 percent down payment if your credit score is between 500 and 579. For borrowers with credit scores of 580 or higher, FHA loans permit a down payment as low as 3.5 percent of the home's purchase price. USDA and VA mortgage programs don't have a specified minimum credit score. Instead, the lenders who issue these loans are permitted to set their own requirements. Generally, to qualify for a USDA or VA mortgage, you'll want a minimum credit score of 640. 
  1. Your Credit Score Affects Your Interest Rate and Loan Costs
    Your lender will use your credit score (along with other financial information, like your debt to income ratio and employment status) to decide what interest rate to offer for your loan. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate. A lower interest rate can save you thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage. Many lenders also use your credit score when determining the costs associated with a mortgage. For example, buyers with higher credit scores are offered lower PMI (private mortgage insurance) rates. They may also qualify for mortgage programs with minimal mortgage points or lower loan costs. 
  1. There are Steps You Can Take to Improve Your Credit
    Before you start attending showings for Round Rock homes for sale, it's best to take steps to ensure your credit is at its best. Start by making all of your loan payments on time. If you've had late payments in the past, the effects of those late payments will decrease over time. Check the balances on your credit cards. If you're utilizing more than 30 percent of your available credit, pay them down, so your utilization is under the 30 percent mark. Ideally, do this for each card and for your credit card balance as a whole. For example, if you have a $4,000 balance on one card with a $10,000 limit, pay the balance down, so it's less than $3,000. If you have a card with a $2,000 balance and $10,000 credit limit and another with a $5,000 balance with a $10,000 limit, focus on paying the second card down, so it's less $3,000. Thoroughly review your credit reports and dispute any information that's incorrect. If you only have one type of debt on your credit report, consider opening another product to diversify your credit usage. For example, if you only have credit cards, take out an installment loan (and vice versa). 

Are you ready to buy your first home? Contact us today to start your search!

August
2

What to Know When Building a Home in 2021

Building a Home 2021

If you're looking for a new home in 2021, you're certainly not alone. A housing shortage means that demand exceeds supply and that there are more buyers than sellers in the market. As a result, some potential buyers are choosing to build their own homes. This allows them to fully customize their homes.

Our real estate agents explain what you need to know when building a home in 2021:

  • It may cost more than you think.  
    Building a home may cost more in 2021 than in previous years. That's because builders are experiencing shortages of essential materials. More than 90% of builders surveyed by the National Association of Home Builders say they've experienced shortages of plywood, with almost that many reporting a shortage of windows and doors. This drives up the price for these materials as well as the cost of building a home.

  • Interest rates are still quite low.
    If you need to obtain financing for your new home, the news is good. Interest rates have been around 3% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in the summer of 2021, which is historically very low. Although rates can sometimes be difficult to precisely predict, experts expect them to stay steady or rise only slightly by the end of the year, which makes financing a home build (or buying an existing home) easier financially.

  • Factor in the cost of land.
    Don't forget to factor in the cost of land if you're planning to build a home. Even if you already own the plot of land you'll be building on, you'll probably want to budget for some improvements. These can include a driveway, landscaping, and outdoor structures.

  • Consider healthy home features.  
    Homeowners have placed a higher priority on healthy home features in the past few years, and this trend has grown even more since the COVID-19 pandemic. Consider faucets controlled by motion sensors and smart home devices that minimize the number of times you'll touch surfaces like light switches and door locks. Features like low-VOC paint and an efficient HVAC system and insulation that helps improve indoor air quality are also important healthy home features.

  • Look beyond the open floor plan.  
    Open floor plans remain popular, but many homeowners now prefer a more formal layout. Think about what your family likes to do before deciding on a layout. If you like to entertain, for example, an open floor plan may better suit your needs. But if you have a family member who works at home or would like your home to have more private space, a more formal layout is probably the way to go in your new home.

  • Patience and flexibility are key.  
    You'll usually run into some unexpected delays and issues when you're building a home, so you'll need to be patient as well as flexible. This is particularly true in 2021 since shipping delays and material shortages are common. If you approach the project expecting some delays and are flexible about some of your decisions, you'll have a much better experience and be under less stress. 

Contact us to find out more about the local housing market and Cedar Park homes for sale. If you decide to build your own home, we can help you find the land that meets your needs and share information about specific neighborhoods and other areas. 

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