Incentives for Maryland first-time home buyers

for sale sign outside houseMaryland first-time home buyers may soon have another program to help them buy a home. 

Two related bills are making their way through the Maryland General Assembly to create a first-time home buyer savings account. If enacted, Maryland would join a handful of other states that have already enacted such programs to incentivize home buying.


When 'friendly advice' turns real bad



Home buyers and sellers often seek advice from others. Even when they’re working with a professional who provides expert guidance. You might think it good to get validation or direction from others on your real estate decisions. However, a Vancouver consumer study suggests that following a friend’s advice may be a bad idea (Friends give bad advice; The Sun, 4/14/2011, p29).


Essential life hacks for the home buyer

“Life hacks” have been trending everywhere the last few years, from the internet to social media. Life hacks are typically actions or wisdoms to make life easier.  However, home buyer life hacks are not easy to find.

The home buying experience can be time consuming and stressful.  Over time, the home buyer’s responsibilities change.  In fact, the home buying experience has drastically changed in the last decade.  Consider that mortgage programs and Realtor® contracts changed and continue to evolve.  Which includes the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule that went into effect last fall, which changed how a transaction settles.  Here are a five home buyer life hacks to make the experience straightforward and more enjoyable.


A seller's guide to this year's market

It’s that time of year again; the real estate market is getting hot along with the temperature. And that’s about the only thing most are able to predict about this year’s real estate market. Since the Great Recession, early forecasts about home buying and selling trends have typically missed the mark; the trends have varied, sometimes significantly, from year to year. Notwithstanding a very active season, many will be in for a surprise; some will be pleased about their home sale, while others not so much. And if you are selling a home, I’ve provided some tips to help you cope with this year’s housing market.


It's all about the subtext now baby

Buyers are liars” is a saying that many real estate agents seem to verbalize when things don’t work out with a home buyer. It’s an insulting false aphorism that is proclaimed as an attempt to shift all responsibility by saying that the buyer was deceptive and did not cooperate. And when things fall apart with home sellers, the same agents won’t take responsibility and start hurling insults such as whacko, ignorant, or greedy. Of course, if the relationship becomes contentious, then you can imagine that the name calling becomes increasingly harsh.


Hopeless romantics lost in real estate

Realtors® are guilty of romanticizing, if not glorifying, buying and selling a home. And it’s probably true for many, that initial thoughts of buying or selling a home (and everything that goes along with it) are sanguine. And yet, shortly after they are faced with details of the move, many are hit with the reality that the process is full of potential pitfalls and setbacks. Buying and selling a home can be a confusing endeavor, that can become overwhelming if you’re not mentally prepared.


Make a low ball effort a bulletproof one

The process of making an offer to buy a home is fairly straightforward, provided that you don’t have any competition from other buyers.  You basically decide on the price you want to pay, and which inspections you want to conduct.  Once the documents and addenda are completed, your agent will present the offer to the listing agent, who in turn presents it to the seller.  The seller can accept, reject, or counter your offer.


When feng shui calls, you'd better listen

house real estateIt didn’t seem that long ago when feng shui was important to almost every home buyer and seller. And if Google Trends is an indication of relevance, the diminishing number of searches for feng shui over the last decade indicates reduced interest. Perhaps the bursting housing bubble shifted everyone’s attention; buyers’ were determined to get distressed properties at a deal, while sellers were determined to get a model home look through staging. Although seemingly having lost significance in the housing market, feng shui is once again becoming a top concern for buyers and sellers.


The real dogma of current real estate

house real estateReal estate canon used to be straight forward and for the most part consistent.  For instance, if you planned a sale, you would target spring time because that was generally accepted as the time when home buyer activity was the greatest; or buying a home was a rite of passage. 

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