Linda D. Dempsey - KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY


Submitting a "fair" offer on your dream home may seem difficult, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you determine what it takes to submit a fair offer on a home that increases the likelihood that a home seller will accept your proposal without delay.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure that a first-time homebuyer can submit a fair offer on a house.

1. Study the Housing Market Closely

Are you preparing to submit an offer in a buyer's market or a seller's market? Ultimately, the current state of the housing market may help you define a fair proposal based on the sector's conditions.

For example, a buyer's market frequently includes an abundance of top-notch residences and a shortage of homebuyers. In this market, you may be able to submit an offer at or below a home seller's initial asking price and receive an instant "Yes."

On the other hand, a seller's market usually features a shortage of high-quality houses and an abundances of homebuyer. As such, you may need to submit an offer at or above a home seller's initial asking price if you want to secure your dream residence.

For first-time homebuyers who analyze the housing market closely, they should be able to differentiate between a buyer's market and a seller's market. That way, a first-time homebuyer can determine fair market value for a residence and submit an offer that corresponds to it.

2. Evaluate Your Homebuying Budget

There is no need to overspend for a house, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. But with a homebuying budget in hand, a first-time homebuyer can resist the urge to pay too much to acquire an outstanding residence.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage often provides a great option for those who are uncertain about how much they can spend on a home. This budget will enable a homebuyer to narrow his or her home search based on the finances at his or her disposal.

Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions to learn about all of your mortgage options. Then, you can select a mortgage that matches your budget and move one step closer to acquiring a terrific residence.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a must-have for a first-time homebuyer, and for good reason. This housing market professional can teach you about the intricacies of buying a house and help you submit a fair offer on a residence any time you choose.

Furthermore, a real estate agent will guide you along each stage of the homebuying journey and help you overcome any potential pitfalls along the way. And if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them at your convenience.

Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and by doing so, a first-time homebuyer should have no trouble submitting a fair offer on a residence.


Photo by Halfpoint via Shutterstock

When it comes to conserving energy, homeowners wanting to go green often spare no expense. Here are a few ways to upgrade your home without lightening your wallet.

Smart Thermostat

A powerful method to control your power use while saving money on your air conditioning bills in the summer and heating bills each winter is by installing a smart thermostat. Utilizing a system that monitors the indoor and outdoor humidity and temperatures to adjust your system keeps your home on an even keel and your bills steady. Choose one with multiple sensors so that you don’t end up with hot spots or cold rooms around your home. You can adjust your thermostat manually, but the best way to make it smart is to connect it to a smartphone or voice-controlled device.

Motion Sensing Dimmers

You try your best, but there’s always one room where it seems the lights get left on more often than you’d like. The challenge is, it’s the same room that’s often empty most of the day, so no one even notices the lights burning. To combat this issue, replace the standard light switch with a sensing dimmer switch. That way, if someone’s in the room, the light turns on, but when there’s no one moving around, off it goes. And, when daylight comes in the windows, the sensor knows to keep the light off.

If you’re retrofitting an older home, replace pull-chain lights in basements and utility rooms with a motion-sensing light so that you never have to stumble around waving your arms in front of you trying to grab the string to the pull-chain.

Adjustable LEDs

On the subject of lights, Take it up (or down) a notch with a 3-way LED. The equivalent of a 60-watt bulb can adjust from soft, warm light to bright, daylight with built-in wireless technology at the sound of your voice when connected to your smartphone or smart home.

If you’re looking for ways to make your home appeal to a more energy-conscious set of buyers, try utilizing these inexpensive, smart home technologies.


Photo by Mohamed Hassan via Pixabay

If you're like many Americans, your home is your biggest asset. And if you're thinking of selling your home to use the profits for a new home, sending the kids off to college or simply adding it to a retirement fund, there are a few things you may want to avoid to make sure your home sells. 

 Setting the Price too High

Some sellers make the mistake of thinking their home is worth more than comparable properties. A lot of times, living in the home and becoming attached to it may cause an overestimation of the value of upgrades or dismissal of the lower price tag of similar homes with similar features.

When you price a house too high, though, the property may stay longer on the market and go through several price reductions before it finally attracts interested buyers. And if you happen to be in a new home already, you might be paying two mortgage payments while waiting for a buyer to place an offer. Putting the right price on your home helps ensure buyer interest and a quick sale.

Neglecting to Order a Pre-inspection

Some buyers are open to fixing problems, but your cost during the negotiation phase may be significantly higher than it would have been if you hired a contractor to fix any preexisting issues.

A way to solve this problem is to order your own inspection before you put your house on the market. This is also a great way to establish buyer trust, showing that you are transparent about the house's issues when you give them the report or show the report of the issues being fixed.

Going Overboard on Presale Renovations

You love your home, and you want to prove to the buyer that it is a gem. But sinking too much money into presale renovations can mean spending money that you may not get back during the negotiations. You also want to be careful that you're not spending your renovation budget on cosmetic enhancement when the house needs structural improvements. That is another excellent reason to invest in a home inspection prior to putting your house on the market. 

Failing to Choose the Right Agent

The real estate agent you choose to sell your home makes all the difference -- and with buyers' agents requesting up to 6 percent in closing fees, it's important to make sure you find someone who will work hard for you.

What should you look for? Good chemistry tops the chart, since you need to be able to trust your agent to act in your best interest. Other important factors are familiarity with the local market, experience selling houses in your price range, access to good marketing databases, and evidence of a strong network.

Ready to get started with the home selling process? Contact me, and we'll get the ball rolling!


Applying for a mortgage can be a lengthy and difficult process. Lenders want to know that they are going to get a return on their investment.

To ensure that they’ll see that positive return they will take a number of things into consideration, such as your income, credit score, employment history, and financial capital.

First-time homeowners often struggle when it comes to these prerequisites since they have fewer years of numbers for lenders to consider. If you’re one of those people, don’t worry--you can still purchase a home.

First-time homeowner loans, which are guaranteed by the U.S. government, and a number of private loans enable people to borrow money for a home without paying a huge down payment or having a vast credit history.

One downfall of said loans is private mortgage insurance, or “PMI.”

In this article, we’re going to talk about what private mortgage insurance is, how to avoid it, and how to get rid of it. 

What is PMI?

If you make a down payment on a mortgage that is less than 20% of the loan amount, you will most likely have to pay private mortgage insurance.

PMI exists as a way for lenders to help guarantee they won’t lose money off of your loan. If you make a down payment of 20% or more, then lenders are typically satisfied that they won’t lose money from doing business with you.

PMI is not to be confused with home insurance, which protects you against damage and theft. Rather, it is an additional fee you’ll pay to your lender each month that is added to your mortgage payment.

PMI is calculated based on a few considerations. Lenders will take into account your down payment amount, the value of the mortgage, and your credit score.

In terms of costs, PMI typically costs between .5 and 1% of the total mortgage amount each year.

Avoiding PMI

Naturally, it’s best to avoid paying private mortgage insurance altogether. Private mortgage insurance has no future value for you and your family since it doesn’t count towards building equity and doesn’t protect you from any potential financial harm (your lender is the sole beneficiary of PMI).

Saving for a down payment can take time, and sometimes you’ll need to rent or cut costs while you save. However, if you do take on a loan with PMI, you can still cancel it at a later point.

Canceling your private mortgage insurance

The first thing you should know about canceling PMI is that it usually isn’t easy. You’ll need pay off at least 20% of the home, write a letter to your lender, and wait for an appraisal of the home. Once you’ve done this, you still have to wait while your lender considers your request. In all, this process could take months--months that you’re still required to pay PMI.

Once common way to get out of PMI is to refinance. If the value of your home has increased since the time of you taking on the loan, the new lender likely won’t require PMI. However, you’ll want to make sure that refinancing will get you a lower interest rate and cover the costs of refinancing. 


Image by Iakov Filimonov from Shutterstock

You may be looking for ways to make the transition into homeownership a little more affordable or perhaps you dream of owning a vacation home. In these cases, combining resources with a close friend or relative may be a good option. Working together can provide you with more buying power and lower monthly payments but be sure you’re prepared to share this major financial investment before you make a final decision. 

Consider these points before moving forward with a joint homeownership arrangement:

Mortgage application: One of the toughest parts of co-buying a house is determining how to handle financing. Before you begin your property search, discuss who will apply for the mortgage. If you opt to apply jointly, understand that all applicants will have to provide credit history as part of the process.

Property ownership agreement: It’s a good practice to hire a lawyer to work with you on a property ownership agreement. The agreement should outline details like ownership percentages, how the mortgage payments and maintenance tasks will be divided and what happens if you want to refinance or sell the property. Establishing a property ownership agreement at the outset prepares you to more easily resolve issues or make important decisions about your property as time passes.

Form of ownership: The form of ownership you chose will have a significant impact on your legal right to the property. It is advisable that you choose a type of ownership that fits your relationship. Some of the options that you can consider are:

  • Joint tenancy with right survivorship: This option is perfect for longtime partners. If one partner passes away, their share is awarded to the other partner.

  • Tenancy in common: This option allows a party to inherit the ownership of a property from another individual. In this case, when a partner passes away, their share will go to their heir while their co-tenant retains their percentage of the property. A challenge with this option is that the heir may not want to share a property with the original partner and could force a sale.

Co-buying a home can be an excellent opportunity and a great arrangement. However, it is essential that you consider the pros and cons of the agreement before making a final decision. Consult with your real estate agent for information about co-ownership and your local housing market.