Christina Martinez - WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briarwood Real Estate

Posted by Christina Martinez on 1/17/2019

House hunting can be time-consuming. With so many houses currently on the market and so little time to spend visiting homes, it’s important to narrow down your search as much as possible before attending a showing.

Fortunately, in today’s digital world, it’s possible to learn a great deal of important information right from your phone or computer.

In today’s post, I’m going to give you some advice on researching the homes you’re thinking about making an offer on. We’ll talk about researching the neighborhood, and--of course--the house itself.

Putting together all the stats on the home

Let’s start with, arguably, the most important thing to research: the house itself. When you want to learn about a home, the best place to look is usually the real estate listing. Since most of us discover homes through listings, odds are you’re already on this page. However, there’s a lot of information in a listing, so take the time to go through it and gleam whatever you can from the home’s description.

Next, Google the house address and click on listings from other real estate sites. Oftentimes, a house that has been sold before will have multiple listings across the internet with different data.

Once you’ve scoured the listings, head over to the county assessor’s website to look at records of the home’s ownership. This will tell you who bought and sold the home and when. There’s much you can learn from this data, especially if a home is being sold frequently. You can also use this information to contact previous owners to ask them questions about the home that the current owner might not know the answer to.

Snooping around the neighborhood

If the house is nearby, simply driving through the neighborhood can tell you a lot. You can visit the neighborhood during rush hour to see what the traffic is like, for example.

However, it isn’t always practical to take the time to visit a house that you aren’t sure you’re interested in. So, what’s the next best thing? Google Maps.

Visit the neighborhood on Google Maps to see what’s in the area. Are there a lot of closed businesses? That could be a sign of a neighborhood in decline. Check for nearby things like parks, grocery stores, and other amenities that could influence your buying decision.

Next, use Google’s “street view” feature and explore the neighborhood. You can see what kind of shape the other homes are in, and find out the condition of infrastructure like roads and sidewalks.

Note addresses of comparable homes in the neighborhood and look up their purchase prices. This will give you an idea of whether the home is being priced appropriately.

If you’re having trouble finding information on a home, such as sale records, try contacting the local assessor. They should be able to point you to a database that will help you in your search.

Posted by Christina Martinez on 1/14/2019

Whether participating or abstaining, everyone has New Year’s resolutions swirling around them like crazy. Are they good or just the thing to do? Is there a way to keep them (especially past the first week)? All these and more are the kind of questions that you may be wondering about right now. 

Finding a way to keep a resolution may very well be the wrong question 

What if you went about it differently? In a manner that gave you control even when something doesn't go quite right. Instead, make a choice or goal to accomplish something this year. In so doing, you now do not ruin a resolution when you don't follow the plan perfectly all the time.

Find an accountability partner

Remember to make yourself accountable to someone (who is willing to hold you to it). Accountability is probably one of the most important steps to reaching your goal. On those long days when you really don't want to put in the work to learn that new skill or maybe want that extra serving of dessert, your accountability partner is there to tell you like it is and to help you stay on track.

New Year or All year 

Do not consider it a New Year resolution but rather a goal for the whole year. Thinking this way enables you to set aside the time it may take to accomplish said goal. That way when April rolls around and you haven't been to the gym since January 20th it is okay because the whole year is not past and you have time to get back at it and succeed. 

Staying out of the same old rut

Try not to get stuck in the same rut of choices just because they are the ones that you hear other people using. Any area of your life that you want to make a change in is fair game. Want to stick to a budget, get out of debt or learn a new skill? These are all goals that you can set for yourself this year allowing your life to move forward in the manner that you desire.

Success is all in your mind, so, move forward this year

In all the excitement of a fresh start don't set yourself up to fail needlessly. That way when you do fail sometimes you can get up, dust yourself off and move ahead again towards your goal. Remember every success is just stepping from one failure to the next as long as it is always forward.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Christina Martinez on 1/14/2019

During the winter months with less sunlight, more school time, tighter budgets and colder weather it might seem as if your only option is to stay inside and veg-out in front of the TV. That does not have to be the case. There are ways to get out and enjoy what your city has to offer if you take the time to find out what specials are available in your area and take advantage of free option open year round.

Penguin days at your local zoo

Animals thrive in all kinds of habitats and winter is no exception. The only thing is that people are much less willing to go out and see these amazing creatures during the colder months. Weather should not stop us from enjoying all the frolicking adventures of these creatures. Many zoos will host penguin days to give their adorable and majestic animals an audience during the winter months when it is much easier for us to find ourselves interested more in the fireplace then our outdoor neighbors and their environments. 

Winter days at your arboretum 

Arboretums are another place which can give you a wonderful time discovering nature around you in a different manner than usual. Check with your local botanical gardens to see if they have specials running and you can explore what the settlers of your area may have seen during the winter months when they were out and about those many years ago.

Parks and trails 

If you haven't thought about it yet, your local parks and trails are typically open, and you probably have never seen them quite like they are now. If you have, it may take you back to your carefree childhood days when sledding and snowballs where the stuff of dreams and all you wanted was a snow day so that you and your friends could go out to the park and play. It may have changed some now as an adult, but no one said that you have to lose that wonder and excitement that comes with youth. If you have kids, this can give you the chance to experience the wonder together. Trails, unless they are icy, are still as great to use when it is cold as when not. Be sure to exercise your caution along with your body though, to ensure a fun and productive time. 

Keep yourself from the winter blues 

If you've recently relocated to an area, or are just looking for options that you have never tried before, make sure to check with your local real estate agent for any places around that you can go to this year. Maybe you will start a tradition that carries on keeping the winter blues at bay for years to come.

Tags: winter blues   kids   entertaining  
Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Christina Martinez on 1/10/2019

Obtaining a home loan is a must for most homebuyers. However, there is a lot to think about to ensure a homebuyer can secure a loan that matches or exceeds his or her expectations.

Some of the key questions to consider about a home loan include:

1. What is a home loan's interest rate?

It is paramount to understand a home loan's interest rate, along with any associated loan fees. That way, a homebuyer will know exactly how much he or she will be paying over the life of a home loan.

If a homebuyer chooses a fixed-rate mortgage, he or she can lock in an interest rate for the duration of a home loan. This means a homebuyer will pay the same amount each month. And in many instances, a fixed-rate mortgage can be paid off early without penalty.

On the other hand, a homebuyer may prefer an adjustable-rate mortgage. With this type of mortgage, a homebuyer may receive a lower interest rate initially that rises after a set period of time.

Compare and contrast the different home loan options and their associated interest rates. By doing so, a homebuyer can make an informed home loan decision, one that serves him or her well both now and in the future.

2. Does a home loan require a minimum down payment?

Ask a lender about whether there is a minimum down payment required as part of a home loan agreement. Typically, a homebuyer will need to pay at least a small portion of a home's price to secure a home loan, and it certainly helps to have this information available before you start evaluating available residences.

In addition, it may be worthwhile to save as much money as possible prior to starting a home search. With money at your disposal, you may be better equipped than ever before to make a large down payment, thereby reducing the amount that you'll need for a home loan. Plus, you may even be able to boost your chances of getting a favorable home loan interest rate.

3. Will I need to provide legal documents to obtain a home loan?

Lenders will require you to provide proof of your income and assets, W-2 statements and other legal documents to finalize a home loan agreement. If you stay organized and have these documents readily available, you should have no trouble providing them to a lender as needed.

Overall, the home loan application process may vary from several weeks to many months. The time it takes to secure a home loan can be stressful, and if you need extra help along the way, it never hurts to reach out to a real estate agent.

With a real estate agent at your side, you can streamline the process of buying your dream home. This housing market professional can offer expert tips throughout the homebuying journey and ensure you can discover a great house at an affordable price.

Take the guesswork out of securing a home loan – consider the aforementioned questions, and you can move one step closer to getting the financing you need to obtain your ideal residence.

Tags: Buying a home   loans  
Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Christina Martinez on 1/3/2019

Fantastic Bungalow/Condo Alternative Nicely Renovated with 2 Bedrooms, Full Bath and Off Street Parking. Open Concept First Floor with Hardwood Floors and Recessed Lighting. Beautiful New Kitchen with White Shaker Cabinets, Stainless Steel Appliances, Gorgeous Granite Counters, Glass Tile Back Splash and Under mount Sink. The Second Floor has 2 bedrooms, Engineered Hardwood Floors, and Built in Dressers with Drawers. The Roof, Windows, Central Air and FHA Gas Heating System are all New. There is a Patio for Barbecuing. There is nothing left to do but sit on your Farmer's Porch and Enjoy a Morning Coffee or Evening Cocktail. The First Showing will Begin at the Open House this Sunday 12/30 from 12 Noon - 3 PM.

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