Kathleen Williamson's Blog
Even if you find the perfect home on the ideal property, if you do not jibe with your neighbors, your homeownership experience could be in jeopardy. Thankfully, there are ways to make sure that your neighbors and you will get along well before committing to buy. All you have to do is follow these steps to see if the community will be all that you hoped and more.
Visit the Neighborhood at All Hours
When looking for a home to buy, you will undoubtedly swing by for the open house or to take a tour, but your visits should not stop there. To really get a feel for the neighborhood dynamics, you have to visit at various times of the day and into the evening hours. And if your initial visit was on a weekday, make a weekend visit a top priority as well. When everyone is home from work and school, the neighborhood will likely come alive with activity, showing you just what to expect while living there.
Take a Walk & Have a Chat
During your visits, do not just drive through and call it good, as that may tell you little about the community at large. Instead, park your car and go for a long walk through the neighborhood, taking in all the sights and sounds. As you move down the sidewalk, keep your eyes open for opportunities to say hello and chat with your future neighbors. As you encounter friendly residents, ask them what they love about living there — and what they might change, given the chance.
Join Online Community Groups
After visiting your future neighbors in person, you can go one step further by taking an in-depth look into the neighborhood by joining online community groups. To do so, go on your favorite social media platform and search for groups made by community members in your desired city. Join a few and introduce yourself to start learning about all the different aspects of that neighborhood. If you feel comfortable, create posts asking for input about the things that are most important to you, like schools, events, and crime rates.
Talk to Your Real Estate Agent
Real estate agents are always happy to help you find the neighborhoods that suit your ideal living experience best. Using their wealth of knowledge, they can help you pinpoint dog-friendly neighborhoods, for example, or find ones with a quieter atmosphere. All you have to do is let them know your ideal community dynamics, along with what you want to avoid, and they will guide the way to your perfect neighborhood.
When you use these tactics to vet your future neighbors, you will quickly find the locations that are most likely to offer your ideal living experience. Then, you can dive into the search with confidence you are looking in all the right areas for your dream home.
9 Summit Pointe (Lot 2), Holliston, MA 01746
As you go on the house hunt, you’re likely to attend many different open houses. After awhile you can get confused as to what you have seen and where you saw it. Each open house or home showing is only a short window of time. As a buyer, you’re trying to get the feel for a house. Being an observant home shopper can help you to avoid a lot of problems down the road. Check out some of the biggest red flags that you need to look out for when you attend an open house.
The Candles Are Burning Bright
You walk into an open house and see a lovely candle lit on the kitchen table. While it may make you feel all warm and fuzzy, it’s not always a good sign. Candles are a great way to mask odors. There could possibly be a musty odor coming from the sink, the basement, or another part of the house. This spells hidden damage and possible danger for you as a homebuyer. While the home inspection should pick up on things like this, you don’t necessarily want to get that far in the process. The art of masking odors could be a sign that the sellers are trying to hide something.
Be Your Own Inspector
As you walk through the home do you notice squeaky floor boards, cracks in the walls, cracks in the ceilings, or a drippy faucet? Maybe you see some patches on the walls or mirrors and paintings that seem out of place? These are all issues that could be signs of a greater problem. Keep in mind that no house is perfect, but you should do a little investigating on your own while walking through the house at showings.
The Home Doesn’t Appear Cared For
Curb appeal is one thing, but a home that looks unkept is a sign of a larger problem for you. Has the lawn been mowed? Is the fence in disrepair? How does the home appear from the outside at first glance? There are plenty of ways that you can fix up a home to make it your own once you buy it, but the question is just how much of a challenge are you up for? There is always a chance that you’ll have large maintenance costs when a home hasn’t been properly maintained by the previous owners.
Searching for homes and going to open houses can be fun. It can also be an educational experience to help you narrow down what you’re looking for and what you can handle as a homeowner.
9 Summit Pointe (Lot 2), Holliston, MA 01746
So, you're buying a home remotely. Because you probably don't want to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a house that smells like cats or that features weekly invasions by the SWAT team of the building next door, it's important to find a long-distance realtor you can trust. You need someone who excels at the remote-home-buying experience and who will represent you faithfully. Agents like these are out there, but it may take a bit of work to find them. Here's what we recommend.
Choose a Certified Residential Specialist
A certified residential specialist is a real estate agent who has undergone additional training and who has more experience than other agents. Only about 3 percent of all realtors in the United States have attained CRS status. You can find a CRS locally by using the online search function available at the Residential Real Estate Council.
To become a certified residential specialist, an agent must meet strict minimum requirements, including:
- Completion of between 25 and 150 successful real estate transactions.
- Completion of between 16 and 80 additional hours of training and education in realty.
- Adherence to a higher code of ethics than the average realtor.
While millions of hard-working real estate agents exist, only a small number have gone that extra mile to earn CRS certification. These are the agents you should trust to handle your transaction when you can't be there in person.
Choose an Expert Communicator
Choose a realtor who's an expert in your desired area and with whom you feel comfortable from the first conversation. The relationship between you and your remote-home-buying partner should feature excellent communication. He or she needs to understand your needs precisely, including your must-haves, your budget, your time frame, and what you're hoping to find in a neighborhood. If you're bringing along three small dogs, your mother-in-law, or two moody teenagers, your long-distance realtor needs to make sure there's sufficient space for everyone included.
Find a REALTOR® Who Cares
The REALTOR®you choose should be an expert on local schools. He should be able to get back to you with crime rates and economics. Additionally, he should be present at home inspections to ensure your future home doesn't have a termite infestation or a sketchy, outdated septic system. Everything from water pressure to the condition of outdoor fencing matters. These are all things you would investigate when viewing a home in person. If it's important to you, it should be important to the realtor you choose.
Seventy-eight percent of all home buyers value the quality of a neighborhood over the size of a home, and 57 percent would rather have a shorter work commute than a sprawling yard. It's statistics like these that can make or break your remote-home-buying experience. It's vital to partner with the best agent for the job.