Well here it is,…our new website. We’re really excited about it, and we hope you are, too. A lot of thought and planning was involved. Our goal being simply to provide you with the best “user experience” possible.
For example, in addition to our new community page, the site also features our blog which you are now reading. The blog will allow us to keep you up to date on all the great listing opportunities we have ion our website for you. We can also report sale prices and Market results, so be sure to check back often.
Other features include the “Our Career Center” and “Property Search” sections of the website. In addition to sharing homes sales tips and instructional videos in our AlamTV area, you will also find scenes from our live home sales stay tuned .
Lastly, if you want to communicate with us, you can submit your comments by using the form on any of our blog posts. If you prefer, the “Contact Us” page provides you with several more contact options. So, call, email, or even send a traditional ‘snail mail” letter if you wish. Whatever it is, we would love to hear from you.
President / CEO
Find a good real estate agent to represent you in the search and negotiation process. The real estate agent should be: amiable, open, interested, relaxed, confident, and qualified. Learn the agent's rates, methods, experience, and training. Look for a realtor who lives local, works full time, closes at least several properties per year, and has a reputation for being busy. Read more in How to Select a Realtor.
- Realtors generally work for sellers, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. A realtor's job is to connect people who want to buy and sell a particular home. For this reason, a realtor has an interest in selling homes. A very good realtor will use her experience to sell the right home to the right buyer — you.
- When you do find your realtor, go into exhaustive detail when describing what you want in a home — number of bathrooms and bedrooms, attached garage, land and anything else that may be important, such good lighting or yard space for the kids.
Sign up for an MLS alert service to search on properties in your area. A Multiple Listing Service will give you a feeling for what is on the market in your price range. Your agent can do this for you.
- If you sign up through a real estate agent, it is poor form to call the listing agent directly to see a house. Don't ask an agent to do things for you unless you're planning to have them represent you — they don't get paid until a client buys a house and it's not fair to ask them to work for free, knowing that you're not going to use them to buy your home!
Start looking for houses within your range. Allow your realtor to start working for you, but know what's within your budget and what's not. The general rule of thumb here is that you can afford a house that's 2.5 times your yearly household salary. For example, if your annual combined salary is $85k, you should be able to afford at least a $210k mortgage and very possibly more.
- Make use of online mortgage calculators to start crunching numbers, and remember the mortgage shopping you did earlier on. Keep these numbers in mind as you prepare to find your new dream home.
Start to think about what you're really looking for in a home. You probably already have a vague idea, but the angel's in the details. There are a couple things in particular that you and your family should give good thought to:
- What will you and your family need in several years? Maybe you're just a couple right now, but are there are plans for kids in the future? A home that snugly fit two people could be torturous for three or four.
- What tradeoffs are you willing to make? In other words, what are your priorities? Although we like to believe that buying a house can be straightforward, it's often a complex ordeal in which we're forced to compromise. Do you care more about a safe neighborhood and good schools over a big backyard? Do you need a big, workable kitchen more than a big luxurious bedroom? What are you willing to sacrifice when it's crunch time?
- Do you expect your income to increase over the next couple years? If your income has increased by 3% for several years in a row and you hold a secure job in a safe industry, you can probably rest assured that buying an expensive but still reasonable mortgage is possible. Many homebuyers buy relatively expensive and then grow into their mortgage after a year or two.
Define the area you'd like to live in. Scout out what's available in the vicinity. Look at prices, home design, proximity to shopping, schools and other amenities. Read the town paper, if there is one, and chat with the locals. Look beyond the home to the neighborhood and the condition of nearby homes to make sure you aren't buying the only gem in sight.
- The area in which your home is located is sometimes a bigger consideration than the home itself, since it has a major impact on your home's resale value. Buying a fixer-upper in the right neighborhood can be a great investment, and being able to identify up-and-coming communities — where more people want to live — can lead you to a bargain property that will only appreciate in value
Visit a few open houses to gauge what's on the market and see firsthand what you want. Pay attention to overall layout, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, kitchen amenities, and storage. Visit properties you're seriously interested in at various times of the day to check traffic and congestion, available parking, noise levels and general activities. What may seem like a peaceful neighborhood at lunch can become a loud shortcut during rush hour, and you'd never know it if you drove by only once.
Look at comparable houses in the neighborhood. If you are unsure about the price, have the home appraised by a local appraiser, who also look at comparables. When appraising a home, appraisers will look for comparables or "comps", homes in the area which have similar features, size, etc. If your home is more expensive than the comps, or the appraiser has to find comps in a different subdivision or more than 1/2 mile away, beware! Never buy the most expensive house in the neighborhood. Your bank may balk at financing the home, and you probably won't see your home appreciate in value very much. If you can, buy the least expensive home in a neighborhood — as homes around you sell for more money than you paid, your home's value increases.