Michelle Sebio Savje's Blog
Looking for the perfect place to call home? Is your vision of home that iconic white-picket fence ranch in the suburbs? Or, do you love the walkability of an urban neighborhood? Do you dream of a large backyard with room to host the neighborhood barbecue? How about being near to great schools? Extensive libraries or museums? Sports facilities? A neighborhood park? A nearby school?
Every year, various rankings for cities make it into the new: Best Cities to Live in America; Where to Life; Best Places to Live; Best Small Towns; Best Cities for Millennials; Top Ten Cities for [insert demographic here].
Investigate before you head across town … or across the country.
The perfect location for someone else may not be the perfect home for you. Before chasing someone else’s dream, consider these factors that might better inform your home search:
Think about what’s important for you.
Do you value more space, better schools, a larger home? Or, does being near family and long-time friends give you a sense of “home,” of belonging? Do you want to be nearer work, so the commute is shorter, giving more time for “life”? These are not new questions. Families have moved from cities to the suburbs and back again for decades.
Consider what you might be giving up.
Moving to the city might mean access to cultural events, restaurants, a short commute, while the suburbs might offer that large home with a yard, or the perfect school. In either event, a move might take you away from friends, or give you the opportunity to make new ones.
Is it Family Friendly?
The criteria researchers use to determining a location's "family friendliness" include:
- Job market
- Commuter times and delays
- Crime rates
- School rankings
- Median household income
- Cost of living index
- Home affordability
- The percentage of homeownership
Different cities rank differently in each category in different years, so don’t just rely on the most recent reports to determine where you might want to live. Check back over the past few years and look for trends … Are the schools improving? Is there more dedicated greenspace? Has public transportation improved? Are the demographics change?
If you have school-age children, don’t just look at the elementary schools. In no time at all, your starry-eyed first-grader will be approaching graduation. It’s not all about academics either. Children need exposure to other opportunities and extra-curricular activities as well.
On the other hand, if you’re thinking of starting a family, you also need to check out hospital maternity suites (or birthing alternatives), daycare facilities, toddler playgrounds and opportunities for young parents to gather.
Of course, none of the lists, rankings, and surveys matter if the commute from your job is so long that you’ll miss out on all your kids’ ballgames and activities.
The perfect place for you to call home and to raise a family might be a new place where you’re sharing a new adventure together … but it might just be the neighborhood you know best and have already called “home.”
No matter what you determine, utilizing an expert real estate professional can match you up with the perfect place you, and your family will make into the home you’re looking for.
Trendy lofts evoke visions of converted warehouses filled with artists and musicians living and working in shared space, forgoing modern conveniences for Bohemian communal living. Modern lofts, however, have more to offer than exposed brick, industrial elevators, and visible pipes. In fact, the term “loft” might appear in marketing for anything from remodeled warehouses to revitalized historic apartment buildings and newly constructed high-rises in urban areas
The appeal of loft living
No one demographic has the corner on loft living. Young professionals look for proximity to work, nightlife, and recreation while empty-nesters want to reduce the requirements for upkeep, yard work, and maintenance. In both urban and smaller community downtown/uptown settings, loft-style housing offers easy access to shopping, medical care, theatres, and public transportation. When the distance from work to home to recreation and nightlife decreases, the opportunity to experience events and socialize with workmates and friends increases.
An advantage of live-work loft-style housing is the sense of camaraderie and shared interests with the other residents.
Choosing a loft style
With the growth in popularity of loft living, actual warehouse and commercial loft conversions cannot meet the demand. Industrial lofts no longer make up the bulk of loft offerings on the market. So-called “soft lofts”—new construction in the style of a converted loft—has all the modern amenities, energy-savings, and conveniences of other newly-built housing that replicates some features and atmosphere of traditional lofts. These newer buildings take advantage of lower cost utilities with energy-efficient windows, insulation, and heating and cooling systems. Many soft-lofts install surfaces made from recycled glass, wood, and plastic or use renewable resources.
Different from the completely open-concept industrial loft space, modern loft models have built-in closets and walled bedrooms but typically offer completely open living spaces, high windows, and even exposed ductwork to give the loft aesthetic.
Another type of “loft” is the revitalized historic building. Sometimes it’s a hotel past its glory days. It could be a former library or office building. Perhaps an aging residential building needed a new life. If living in a bit of history appeals to you, this type of loft should be on your list. Typically, much of the original architectural detail remains including marble columns with decorative capitals, soaring ceilings, marble or hardwood flooring, vintage elevators, leaded glass windows, and sweeping staircases. New to these buildings you’ll find upscale appliances set in gourmet kitchens, upgraded bathrooms, and secure entries.
To learn about loft conversions or soft-loft buildings available in your area, contact a local real estate expert.
It is not just enough to think about buying your first home. It is a life-changing experience that can have more twists and turns than a Hollywood soap opera. Homebuying can also be an enjoyable experience if you put in steps to get ready for the process well before it gets started.
Here are four things that you must do to prepare for buying a home.
Check your credit report
The most critical factor in buying a home is your credit report. This report is what mortgage lenders use to determine your eligibility for a mortgage loan. Many things affect your credit report and add up to your credit score. Find a free or paid website to check your credit report at least twice a year.
Build your credit history by also making sure that you don’t default on credit card payments and other bills. If you already have delinquent accounts on your credit report, work with the creditor to bring it back up to date. If there are mistakes on your report, contact the reporting credit bureau to address it.
Have a budget
Budgets come out of taking a long, hard look at your current financial situation and deciding how much down payment you can afford to pay. Your economic condition affects the type of home that you can buy and your ability to pay your mortgage conveniently. Also, try to budget for other expenses like homeowners' insurance, closing fees, inspections, and possible renovations or improvements. Use a mortgage calculator online or with your real estate agent to play around with the amounts to find the sweet spot for you.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage loan
Before you start looking for a house, you should get pre-approved by your bank. Not only does this give you a stamp of approval that you are ready to buy a home, but it also gives you an edge over other buyers as the sellers know there will be a quick closing on the sale.
Find a Real estate agent
Navigating the real estate market by yourself is not advisable. Many pitfalls exist of which you may not be aware. To make your dream of owning a home a reality, find a real estate agent that is professional, has your best interest at heart and honest. This person will help you get the best deal for your money and also have a smooth buying process.
Do you think now you are ready to buy your first home? Call a local real estate agent today to get started.