Diane Horrigan - RE/MAX  Trinity



Posted by Diane Horrigan on 2/21/2018

Shopping for a house is a high-stakes game. If you’re a first-time buyer, it can be difficult to gauge the value of various components and features of a home. Appraisals are designed for just this reason.

However, an appraisal is a subjective tool to determine a rough estimate. Furthermore, there are a number of things you can’t learn from an appraisal--such as how convenient the home would be for your work commute.

In this article, we’re going to help you, the homebuyer, determine the true value of a home as it would mean to you in your everyday life. Read on for tips on finding out the value of that home you’ve been dreaming of and deciding whether it’s really the best home for your budget.  

Appraisals are a baseline

When lenders are in the process of approving your home loan, they’ll want to decide whether the home you’re buying is worth the amount you’re paying. To achieve this, they’ll typically hire a third-party appraiser.

Find out from your lender which appraiser they use and read their online reviews. This will ensure that they’re a trustworthy source of information. Also be sure to check that the appraiser is certified and that they work with a diverse range of clientele (not just your lender!).

Since you’ll likely be paying the appraisal fee as part of your closing costs, make sure you’re happy with the appraisal and appraiser.

Key appraisal factors

After the appraisal, consider getting a second opinion or inspection of any of the key components of your home that may impact the appraisal. Some of these factors include:

  • The roof, HVAC system, and septic systems

  • The energy-efficiency of the home

  • The current market value in the area

  • The general upkeep of the home--a few cosmetic problems shouldn’t affect the home value much, but serious neglect can cause long-lasting and expensive issues like mold, water damage, pest invasion, and more

What an appraisal can’t tell you

Now that we’ve discussed the nuts and bolts of home value, we have to venture into what value means to you and your family. You’ll need to ask yourself a series of questions, and some of them won’t have a cut-and-dry answer.

First, how well does this home fit into the work life of you and your spouse? Will it mean a shorter commute, and therefore lower transportation costs and more free time? Putting a dollar value on an extra thirty minutes not spent in traffic can be difficult, but it’s a worthwhile exercise to take part in.

Furthermore, does the house have features that will make it a better asset in years to come? Energy-efficiency, proximity to in-demand schools, businesses, etc., can all be selling points for future buyers that are willing to pay more for your home.


Using a combination of a certified appraisal and some introspection, you should be able to come to a confident conclusion as to the value of the home as it means to you and your family.




Categories: Buying a Home   appraisal   home value  


Posted by Diane Horrigan on 5/17/2017

When it comes to purchasing a home, there is no need to settle for an "average" homebuying experience. Instead, there are many things that you can do to become an expert homebuyer, i.e. someone who can discover a first-rate house at a budget-friendly price.

Now, let's take a look at three ways that a "typical" homebuyer can become an extraordinary one:

1. Evaluate the Housing Market Closely

The housing market can be complicated, particularly for those who are searching for a house for the first time. Fortunately, an informed homebuyer will be able to identify real estate market trends and plan accordingly.

For example, if there is an abundance of houses available and a shortage of homebuyers, you likely are operating in a buyer's market. In this market, you should have no trouble locating a top-notch house at a price that corresponds to your budget.

On the other hand, a real estate market that features a limited number of outstanding houses commonly favors property sellers. Therefore, you'll need to proceed cautiously if you want to acquire a high-end house at an affordable price.

Of course, you should always check out a wide range of houses in cities and towns where you'd like to live. This will enable you to explore many houses and improve your chances of finding a residence that matches or exceeds your expectations.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

Although you'd like to buy a home in the near future, you still need to figure out how you'll pay for it. Lucky for you, many credit unions and banks are available that can make it easy for you to get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Lenders are happy to meet with you at your convenience. These financial institutions can outline a variety of mortgage options and help you make an informed mortgage decision.

With a mortgage in hand, you can enter the real estate market with clear-cut financial expectations. This may help you avoid the temptation to overspend on a home. Plus, you'll be better equipped than other property buyers to narrow your home search, thereby accelerating the process of acquiring your ideal house.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a housing market professional. As such, he or she can help you simplify the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

For homebuyers, hiring a real estate agent is essential. This housing market professional can keep you up to date about new properties as they become available, set up home showings, submit home offers on your behalf and much more.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is available to respond to your homebuying concerns and queries at any time. He or she will even provide homebuying recommendations to ensure you can navigate the property buying cycle quickly and effortlessly.

Ready to become an expert homebuyer? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline the process of acquiring a terrific home that you can enjoy for years to come.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Diane Horrigan on 4/12/2017

If you’re buying a home, most likely, you’ll want to have a real estate attorney. The attorney will serve a couple of different purposes, namely, to protect you in the purchase of a home.


Real estate attorneys provide legal advice related to the purchase of a home. An attorney’s duties include:


  • Reviewing and revising the purchase and sale agreement (referred to as the P&S)
  • Negotiating the P&S with the seller’s attorney
  • Adding riders to protect your interests
  • Ensuring you meet contingency dates
  • Helping the buyer to understand zoning laws
  • Helping the buyer to understand ownership interests


If there’s a dispute during the sales process, you’ll be quite happy to have an attorney on your side. The attorney can provide advice based on your legal rights and legal obligations under any contracts that you have signed. 


The bottom line is that your attorney will have your best interests in mind. In everything from ownership issues to disputes and how they will impact your ownership in the property, your attorney will be there to give you the most pertinent advice. There are numerous situations that can come up when it comes to buying a home. It’s impossible to anticipate them all. You don’t want to end up owning problems that you didn’t create, or were unaware of.

Coordinating With Other Attorneys


As a buyer, your attorney will coordinate with other attorneys involved in the sales process. This includes the seller’s attorney and the attorney that will be responsible for the closing on the sale of the home. Your attorney will make sure that all other parties have followed through to resolve any issues that may arise in a timely manner. Your attorney can actually become the closing attorney under certain circumstances, but they will at least be present at the closing.  


The Closing Attorney


The closing attorney is the one who is responsible for many different tasks before and during the closing on the sale of the home. These tasks include:

  • Searching the title
  • Resolving title issues
  • Issuing the title insurance
  • Obtaining the payoff amounts for any outstanding mortgages or leins
  • Ensuring taxes and any other city or town related bills have been paid
  • Preparing closing fees on the settlement statement
  • Explaining documents that will be signed at closing by both the buyer and the seller

Buyers in different states have different rights as to who they can choose as their closing attorney. In a technical sense, the closing attorney represents the lender. It’s a good idea to have your own buyer’s representation at closing. 

Attorneys have a duty to keep their clients‘ information confidential and also to keep their best interests in mind. If an attorney is representing both the buyer and the lender, you will most likely receive a form of written consent, notifying you of this matter.

There’s a lot going on legally during the purchases of a home, so be sure you get recommendations and find the right attorney who will represent you as a buyer.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Diane Horrigan on 4/5/2017

For homebuyers, it is paramount to remain patient as you explore the real estate market. At the same time, it is important to understand that the real estate market moves quickly. Thus, if you wait too long to submit an offer on a house, you could miss out on your dream home.

Lucky for you, it is easy to prepare to buy a house in a fast-paced real estate market – here are three tips to ensure that you can do just that.

1. Make a Competitive Offer

If you find a house that you like, don't wait to submit an offer on it. Instead, submit a competitive offer from the get-go, and you may be able to secure your ideal home immediately.

An informed homebuyer is a smart shopper who understands what a "competitive" offer means for both a homebuyer and home seller. Ultimately, a homebuyer who assesses the condition of a property and the current state of the real estate market should have no trouble submitting a competitive proposal.

2. Track the Housing Market Closely

As a homebuyer, you'll want to stay up to date on new homes as they hit the real estate market. By doing so, you'll be better equipped than other homebuyers to check out these properties and find houses that match your budget and lifestyle perfectly.

New homes become available daily, so be sure to track properties online. Also, if you understand exactly what you want from a residence, you can narrow your search and improve your chances of finding a home that suits your needs.

3. Work with a Fast-Paced Real Estate Agent

When it comes to purchasing a house in a fast-paced real estate market, there is no need to leave anything to chance. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent who can help you discover your dream home quickly and effortlessly.

A fast-paced real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to assist you. As such, this real estate professional will set up home showings and keep you informed about new properties as they become available. Plus, your real estate agent is happy to negotiate with home sellers on your behalf and ensure that you can purchase your dream home at a price that matches your budget.

Perhaps best of all, even a fast-paced real estate agent will slow down the homebuying process as needed. If you ever have concerns or questions about buying a house, your real estate agent will respond to your queries without delay.

Hiring a trusted real estate agent can make a world of difference for homebuyers in a fast-paced housing market. In fact, with a top-notch real estate agent at your disposal, you can browse the housing market closely and accelerate the process of finding your dream house.

Although the real estate market may fluctuate constantly, homebuyers who plan ahead will be able to simplify the process of acquiring exceptional properties. And if you use the aforementioned homebuying tips to your advantage, you can boost your chances of obtaining your dream home in a fast-paced housing market.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Diane Horrigan on 2/15/2017

The sellers of your home will not be present during a home inspection. It constitutes a conflict of interest. In fact, in some cases, you may never actually get to meet the occupants of a home you’re considering buying. There’s ways that you can get in touch with the sellers. That’s through your realtor. It is a good idea to ask the sellers of a home plenty of questions that may concern you. It will help you to make a more informed final decision on the home you’re considering buying. Getting these answers also can help you to know what to expect once you actually live in the home. Unless you’re buying a short sale or a foreclosure property, you’ll have likely have this opportunity to ask questions.  Most of the things that you’ll ask the seller will be a bit more open-ended. Here’s some ideas of what you might want to ask the sellers of a home:


Have you ever had water in your basement?


While the home inspection can reveal traces of mold and mildew, the fact that water comes into the basement on a regular basis is a problem. Other questions related to this would be, “Do you have a sump pump?” If there are any major signs of water damage, you can ask that it be repaired before you even buy the home.


Have you had any structural problems repaired? Are there any cracks in the walls?


The seller will answer these questions honestly, allowing you to better assess the condition of the home. 



Has your roof ever leaked? When was the last time the roof was replaced?


The typical roof on a home lasts about 25-30 years. If the roof was replaced more recently, you won’t have to worry about it for years to come. The home inspection will also reveal a lot about the roof and any water damage that may have occurred.


How do the heating and cooling systems work in the home? How much do you typically spend on these utilities?


You should find out from the occupants how well the heating and cooling systems work in the home and if there are any problems that have been found. You can also get an idea from the previous owners of how much money you can expect to spend on gas, oil, and electricity in the home. Your home inspector will also give the heating and or cooling systems a good inspection and let you know if he sees any potential problems with the unit.  


Have you made any recent improvements to the home?


A bonus to any home purchase is if a seller has made any major recent upgrades to the home. Everything that the sellers have done from replacing windows to updating the kitchen to replacing the roof is all things that you won’t have to worry about until a much later date. 


Asking questions during a home inspection is always a great idea. It’s also even better if you get an idea of the condition of the home from the sellers themselves. The bottom line is that when you’re buying a home, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions!




Categories: Uncategorized