Blog. Valuable Tips and Advice Archive

Search Archives

You Don’t Have to Wait Until Spring to Buy a Home

As Spring arrives, buyers that want to buy a home this year will start seriously searching in an effort to beat the spring rush of buyers that are watching and waiting to grab the perfect home as soon as it hits the market. Should you wait to have choices of homes or start looking now? The right answer is to do what’s best for you and here are some thoughts to help you decide.

While more homes will start hitting the market the further we get into spring, the drawback is that more buyers are also looking at that time too. This creates more competition and can drive up prices when sellers receive multiple offers on a property. Even if no one else is interested in the home at the exact time you are, because so many buyers are looking at homes then, sellers might not be willing to negotiate very much since they may feel like more buyers will come along soon.

Agents will get much busier in the Spring as so many people want to look at houses meaning they may have less time to spend with you. This may mean you miss out on the hot new listing when it goes under contract before your agent has time to show it to you. Start looking now while your agent is less likely to be over scheduled.

Because there are fewer buyers looking at homes right now, sellers may be willing to negotiate more. With few buyers scheduling appointments to see their home, a seller will take your offer more seriously knowing it is very likely that they may have to wait until Spring for a buyer if they don’t work out a contract with you.

Just like real estate agents get busier in the Spring, so do the other professionals that will be necessary when you buy a home. Closing agents, home inspectors and mortgage lenders along with other professionals will have very busy schedules making it harder for you to get the attention you need from the top tier experts.

Industry experts predict mortgage rates will slowly rise as we get further into 2019, meaning you will likely pay more for the same house this summer as opposed to now when there is less competition and lower rates.

Ultimately, none of this matters if this isn’t the right time for you to buy a home or you can’t find the right home for you. Make sure you are making the best decision for you and not one that will benefit someone else.

Christine Topham
RE/MAX Unlimited

Doing More from For Sale to SOLD! That’s the sign of a RE/MAX agent!

Let’s Connect, Socially!

Image courtesy of tumisu/

Prepare Your Home for Its Inspection

First you listed your home for sale and shortly after, you received an offer on your home. After a little negotiating, you and the buyer came to mutually agreeable terms and you were officially under contract. Now that you are under contract, the buyer will do their investigation of your home to make sure the condition is what they expect and that they want to move forward with buying the property.

As part of their investigation of your home, the buyer will likely perform a home inspection. During a home inspection, a licensed home inspector will check all of the different parts of your home to ensure they are performing the function for which they are intended and make note of any deficiencies in a report they prepare for the buyers.

Don’t let this stress you out. The home inspection doesn’t have to cause you extra stress. Take a little time to prepare for the home inspector’s visit and you will make their job easier and hopefully keep them from being too picky in their report. Even if you have taken good care of your home and are very diligent about performing regular maintenance, something may come up in the inspection. In fact, it is very rare (even with a brand new home) to have a perfect home inspection. Just wait and see what comes up and then you can talk with your agent and determine the best way to handle it. Here are some tips to get your home inspection ready.


Inspectors don’t like to move or climb over things. Make sure that all parts of your home are easily accessible including your attic, garage, crawl space and basement. Take time to clean out under the sinks so that the inspector can easily inspect the pipes. Being able to efficiently do their job will make the inspector much happier.

Gather Maintenance and Repair Paperwork

Home inspectors may be less likely to examine your home with a fine-toothed comb if you can prove that regular maintenance has been performed. Gather all documents related to the maintenance of your home and place them in a folder or binder. Leave this information on the counter for the home inspector to see.  

Make Sure All Areas of Your Property are Available

The last you thing you want a home inspector to think is that you have something to hide. Make sure that you unlock all doors and gates, including those to out buildings, garages, pool houses and the crawl space if it has a lock on it.

Clean Your Home

While a dirty home does not mean there is necessarily something wrong with it, it may give the impression that you haven’t taken good care of it. A clean home will hopefully imply that you have taken good care of it and give the inspector that feeling while they are in your home.

Get Out!

Home inspectors prefer to be alone while they are doing their jobs. Don’t hover over them and make them uncomfortable. Go to work, the gym, the grocery store, library or any where else that will give the inspector the freedom they need to get their work done.

If you are still nervous after doing everything on this list, contact me and we can walk through your home together to make sure you are inspection ready when you need to be.

Christine Topham
RE/MAX Unlimited

Doing More from For Sale to SOLD! That’s the sign of a RE/MAX agent!

Let’s Connect, Socially!

Image courtesy of Pexels/

Just Listed! 20 Crestbrook Dr, Cartersville

Adorable 3BR/2BA Ranch on a level lot

Immaculately maintained inside and out. Vaulted great room ceiling, efficient all-electric kitchen, and a gorgeous sunroom with stone-front fireplace with gas logs. This home features a split bedroom floor plan that offers privacy, new low maintenance flooring in main living area, sunroom blinds thru-out, and ceiling fans in most rooms. Welcome your guest on this lovely front porch or entertain on the rear patio. Outbuilding for storage, newer roof & gutter guards, too! Don't miss out on this beauty!

Christine Topham
RE/MAX Unlimited

Doing More from For Sale to SOLD! That’s the sign of a RE/MAX agent!

Let’s Connect, Socially!

Five Ways to Make Your Home Feel Cozier for Winter

Winter is here and with that will come cold days that make you want to stay inside to escape the bitter temperatures. It isn’t possible to stay inside all the time, but when you do, these five tips will help you feel cozy even on the dreariest days.

1. Use your fireplace. If your home doesn’t have a fireplace, consider adding a standalone variety with a built-in electric heater in the room you use most. A space heater can add warmth where you need it and allow you to keep your thermostat lower than you normally would saving you money while adding a pretty fire to sit by in your home. The advantage of a space heater is that you only run it when you are in that room so it isn’t running all of the time.

2. Add blankets to the couch, chairs, and beds in your home. Nothing feels better than wrapping up in a warm blanket on a cold day. Consider purchasing slippers for the members of your family as well if you don’t have them already. If you don’t wear shoes when you are at home, slippers or socks will keep your feet warm especially if you have hardwoods or tile in parts of your home.

3. If most of your home isn’t carpeted, consider adding extra rugs for winter. Nothing is worse than cold tile on your feet during an overnight bathroom trip. Adding rugs to frequently used parts of your home can make your home much cozier during the cooler months.

4. Open the blinds and curtains during daylight hours. While there are fewer hours of sunlight each day, let the sun you can into your home. The sun will add a lot of warmth and natural light and a much better atmosphere compared to artificial lighting.

5. Fill the crockpot with ingredients for a warm stew or let a pot of soup simmer on the stove all afternoon. Not only will you have a hearty dinner at the end of the day, but you will also enjoy the aroma of the food as it cooks throughout the day.

Winter can be dreary, but it doesn’t have to feel that way inside your home. A little effort on your part will make your home a cozy place to be all winter long.

Christine Topham
RE/MAX Unlimited

Doing More from For Sale to SOLD! That’s the sign of a RE/MAX agent!

Let’s Connect, Socially!

Image courtesy of maryrodgers1982/

Paying for Your Home Without a Traditional Mortgage

If you are planning to buy a home, finding a mortgage will be one of the biggest parts of the home buying process. Most buyers will select a traditional mortgage with a 15 or 30-year term and a fixed interest rate for the life of the mortgage but there are other options if you are looking for something that may be more beneficial to your specific situation. Two options you may want to consider depending on your situation and the type of property you are buying is a 1031 exchange and a FHA 203K mortgage.

An FHA 203K loan is a government backed loan that allows you to include both the initial purchase price of the home as well as any renovation costs. You have one loan and one closing rather than a series of micro loans and one big loan.

As with other FHA loans, you are required to put down at least 3.5 percent of the total value of the loan. Other FHA requirements are also in effect. You will need a credit score of 620 or higher, a maximum debt-to-income between 41 and 45 percent and the full loan amount cannot exceed the maximum FHA loan value cap for your area.

In addition to the typical paperwork that goes along with an FHA loan, you will be required to provide a detailed proposal covering the improvements you plan to make to your new home, a thorough cost estimate and a timeline for when those improvements will be completed.

Before the lender agrees to finance your purchase and proposed renovations, an appraiser will value the home as it is and give an estimate of the market value of the home after your proposed improvements are complete.

FHA 203K loans require the homeowner to begin repairs within 30 days of closing and all repairs to be completed within six months of closing. All forms of repair and rehabilitation are allowed with an FHA 203K loan with the exception of luxury items like saunas, swimming pools and other luxury additions.

While an FHA 203K loan can be a simple way to purchase a home that needs some work, there are some other things to consider. You will be required to stick to your proposed schedule and cost estimate. There will also be regular inspections of the work site. You will also be required to pay mortgage insurance for a minimum of 11 years, increasing the cost of your loan significantly and the interest rate will also be higher than a traditional FHA loan. Closing an FHA 203K loan takes longer and is more expensive than a traditional FHA loan. There is additional paperwork involved and an additional processing fee of $350 or 1.5% of the rehab costs, whichever is higher.

With a 1031 exchange, you will sell a property that you already own and reinvest the proceeds immediately in another property while deferring all capital gains taxes that are currently owed. By immediately reinvesting your home equity in another property with a 1031-exchange, you can increase your down payment and your overall buying power. Depending on your current situation, you may be able to exchange one large property for multiple smaller properties or several properties into one larger purchase. While a 1031-exchange is not something you should handle on your own, it can offer some unique benefits if you have significant equity in a property. Take the time to talk to an expert on 1031-exchanges about your overall investment strategy if this is something you are considering.

While both of these options will require some additional time and paperwork to be executed properly, the benefits can be worth the added time and effort depending on your situation. Feel free to contact me for an appointment today and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have, help you find a loan expert to help with your situation and help you find your next dream home.

Christine Topham
RE/MAX Unlimited

Doing More from For Sale to SOLD! That’s the sign of a RE/MAX agent!

Let’s Connect, Socially!

Photo courtesy of clker-free-vector-images/

Contact Us

* fields are required

TEAM CHRISTINE  | Associates of RE/MAX Unlimited  | Main Office: 770.386.0076  |  

RE/MAX Unlimited 5205 Stilesboro Road #110 Kennesaw, GA 30152 | 770.419.1986