Robin Spangenberg
Northeast Signature Properties, LLC | 508-277-4144 | robin@nesignature.com


Posted by Robin Spangenberg on 11/26/2017

There’s a lot to buying a home. There’s no perfect home. Home inspectors will tell you that even brand new houses have their issues. If you know the right questions to ask before you even buy a home, you’ll be armed with a knowledge that you wouldn’t otherwise have. There are some very revealing questions that you can ask sellers to help you get some insight into a property. These questions can usually also be answered by your home inspector when you get to the inspection process.  


Have You Had Water Damage Or Pipe Issues?


Water damage is a big deal. It can hide mold and other damage. There’s also a big issue if the pipes in a home have previously burst, or caused water damage on their own. Especially in cold climates, water damage and burst pipes can be common if the piping has not been properly insulated.


The Age Of The Roof


If the roof on a home has been recently replaced, that’s a huge bonus to buying the home. Roofing typically lasts about 25 years until it needs to be replaced. If a roof is getting close to the end of its lifespan, you can ask for a rebate or be wary that repairs will need to be made in the near future. 


Pests


If a home has had any kind of significant pest infestation, then you’ll want to know about it and be sure that it has been resolved. There could be some underlying conditions within the home itself that have made the pest infestation possible. Whether there’s some unaddressed holes, rotting wood, or hidden leaks, they’ll need to be taken care of so that an infestation doesn’t reoccur. 


Paranormal Activity


This may sound strange but some people will run out of their homes as fast as they can if they see a ghost or something else. “Haunted houses” are a particularly difficult sell. This includes homes with:


  • Ghost sightings
  • Murders
  • Suicides
  • Unusual deaths
  • Drug labs


Many states require that these problems and conditions be revealed in a disclosure statement. Other states do not legally require this. Check local laws to find out more about paranormal activity disclosures.

Some other great questions to ask when you’re in the process of buying a home are:


  • Will your car fit in the garage?
  • How much are the utility costs?
  • Who are the utility companies?
  • Does the home have a sewer or a septic tank?
  • Are there any warranties left on items in the home?


Asking these questions not only helps you as you move into a new home, but it helps you to get a better understanding of what types of insurance you need to put on your home. If you need to add a few extra pieces to the policy to protect yourself due to any information that you learn, you’ll feel safer.




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Posted by Robin Spangenberg on 11/12/2017

Whether new or old, many homes can have issues that aren’t obvious from photos. Many of the most common problems in a home have to do with the plumbing system. Since water can be so damaging, it’s especially important to get these issues out in the open prior to sale.

Some sellers might be aware of their plumbing issues, others may have no clue at all. Oftentimes, if a home was previously occupied by only one or two people who didn’t entertain many guests, they may not be aware of the strain that a larger family could have on things like the septic system.

In this article, we’ll cover some of the most common plumbing issues that a home has and help you identify these issues before you buy a new home.

The small fixes

Let’s start with some problems that are common and simple to address. When touring a home or performing an inspection, test all of the home’s faucets. Dripping faucets might not seem like a big issue, but the cost of wasted water can add up on your utility bill.

Leaking pipes are another issue that is seemingly harmless, but can lead to bigger problems that could cost thousands of dollars to repair. Check ceilings, floors, and underneath cabinets for signs of water damage.

Flush the toilets in the house to see if they continue running. Toilets that continue running water is often a simple fix, like replacing the chain or flapper in the tank. However, a leaking toilet could be symptomatic of a bigger problem that could include having to replace the toilet.

Sewer line and septic systems

Ask the owner about the history of the sewer or septic system. Find out if they’ve had problems recently and when the last time they were taken care of. If there is a septic tank or field on the property, look for signs of issues such as the grass having been dug out, water pooling in the yard, or foul smells in the area.

When it comes to septic and sewer issues, always reach out to a professional. They will be able to give you an accurate assessment and estimate of costs.

Inspect the pipes

Spot-checking the pipes in the home will tell you a lot about the state of the plumbing. Pipes that are old, worn, and lacking insulation are signs that plumbing issues could be coming. Rust is a major red flag. The water lines that lead out of the house for lawn faucets should also be wrapped to avoid freezing in the winter months.

Hot water heater

Just like the septic system, you’ll want to ask about the history of the home’s hot water heater. If it’s over ten years old, you might have to replace it soon after purchase.

You should also consider the size of the hot water heater. You’ll want to be sure it can accommodate your expected water usage. If children are in your future, having a bigger hot water heater might be something you want to plan for to avoid cold showers in the morning.





Posted by Robin Spangenberg on 10/29/2017

As you go on the house hunt, you’re likely to attend many different open houses. After awhile you can get confused as to what you have seen and where you saw it. Each open house or home showing is only a short window of time. As a buyer, you’re trying to get the feel for a house. Being an observant home shopper can help you to avoid a lot of problems down the road. Check out some of the biggest red flags that you need to look out for when you attend an open house.


The Candles Are Burning Bright


You walk into an open house and see a lovely candle lit on the kitchen table. While it may make you feel all warm and fuzzy, it’s not always a good sign. Candles are a great way to mask odors. There could possibly be a musty odor coming from the sink, the basement, or another part of the house. This spells hidden damage and possible danger for you as a homebuyer. While the home inspection should pick up on things like this, you don’t necessarily want to get that far in the process. The art of masking odors could be a sign that the sellers are trying to hide something.


Be Your Own Inspector


As you walk through the home do you notice squeaky floor boards, cracks in the walls, cracks in the ceilings, or a drippy faucet? Maybe you see some patches on the walls or mirrors and paintings that seem out of place? These are all issues that could be signs of a greater problem. Keep in mind that no house is perfect, but you should do a little investigating on your own while walking through the house at showings.


The Home Doesn’t Appear Cared For


Curb appeal is one thing, but a home that looks unkept is a sign of a larger problem for you. Has the lawn been mowed? Is the fence in disrepair? How does the home appear from the outside at first glance? There are plenty of ways that you can fix up a home to make it your own once you buy it, but the question is just how much of a challenge are you up for? There is always a chance that you’ll have large maintenance costs when a home hasn’t been properly maintained by the previous owners.


Searching for homes and going to open houses can be fun. It can also be an educational experience to help you narrow down what you’re looking for and what you can handle as a homeowner.            





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Posted by Robin Spangenberg on 10/1/2017

Are you a productive homebuyer? If not, you may miss out on an opportunity to acquire your dream residence.

A productive homebuyer understands the ins and outs of the real estate market. As such, this individual may be better equipped than others to purchase a top-notch residence at a budget-friendly price.

Ultimately, operating as a productive homebuyer may be easier than you think – here are three tips to ensure that you can become a productive homebuyer in no time at all.

1. Narrow Your Home Search

If you know what you want to find in a dream home, you can maximize the time and resources at your disposal.

For example, if you prefer a home in a big city, you can start searching for houses in the city of your choice. Or, if you enjoy the unparalleled serenity of small town life, you may want to focus exclusively on houses in various towns.

You also should consider your day-to-day activities as you kick off your home search. If you attend college classes every day, you may want to find a house close to school. Comparatively, if you regularly take the bus to work, you may want to consider homes that provide quick, easy access to public transportation.

2. Establish a Price Range

Although you know that you want to buy a home, you may have no idea what it will cost to obtain your dream home. However, if you enter the housing market with a home price range in hand, you can quickly and effortlessly navigate the homebuying process.

Meet with banks and credit unions in your area. That way, you can learn about myriad home financing options and choose a mortgage that complements your finances.

Don't forget to ask bank and credit union professionals for mortgage recommendations and suggestions as well. These mortgage specialists are happy to teach you about many mortgage options and ensure that you can make an informed home financing decision.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who will do everything possible to help you optimize your productivity. If you collaborate with a real estate agent throughout the homebuying process, you can increase the likelihood of getting the best possible results.

A real estate agent will set up home showings, negotiate with a home seller's agent on your behalf and help you get the best price on a home. By doing so, this housing market professional will ensure that you can enjoy a seamless homebuying experience.

Let's not forget about the advanced housing market knowledge that a real estate agent possesses, either. A real estate agent understands the challenges of buying a home and will help you identify and overcome these difficulties. He or she will even answer any homebuying questions, at any time.

Become a productive homebuyer today – use the aforementioned tips, and you can maximize your productivity as a homebuyer and reap the benefits of a quick, efficient homebuying journey.




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Posted by Robin Spangenberg on 9/10/2017

Buying your dream home should be simple. Unfortunately, challenges may arise during the homebuying journey, particularly for those who fail to budget accordingly.

Establishing a budget before you begin your home search is paramount. With a budget in place, you can explore houses that fall within your price range and move closer to finding a great residence that you can enjoy for years to come.

Ultimately, creating a homebuying budget can be easy – here are three tips to help homebuyers establish budgets.

1. Consider your utility costs.

Although you may be able to get pre-approved for a mortgage and determine exactly how much you'll need to pay for a house, you'll still need to account for utility expenses month after month.

Electricity, heat and other utility costs can add up quickly. However, a diligent homebuyer should have no trouble estimating his or her monthly utility fees.

Examining your current utility expenses can help you understand how much you may wind up paying in utility charges at your new address. Also, don't forget to consult with your real estate agent, as this professional may be able to provide details about the average utility costs associated with a particular residence.

2. Manage your debt.

If you decide to purchase a "fixer-upper," i.e. a home that requires extensive home repairs, you'll likely need to commit substantial time and resources to complete home renovation projects. Thus, you'll want to consider any home repair tasks that you may need to complete at a new address and budget for them before you make an offer on a house.

In addition, knowing your credit score can help you understand your debt. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion), and each report will provide information about any outstanding debt. That way, you can learn about your debt and find ways to minimize it prior to purchasing a residence.

3. Account for closing costs and miscellaneous expenses.

Home closing costs will include your loan origination, title insurance and appraisal fees and often range between 3 percent and 7 percent of your total loan amount. You'll want to account for these expenses as you establish a homebuying budget to ensure you can secure your dream house without delay.

Spend some time learning about all of the expenses that may impact your monthly home expenses too. For example, if you purchase a condo, you may face monthly homeowners association fees in addition to your mortgage costs. Or, if you plan to have a baby in the near future, you'll want to consider how the costs of raising a child may impact your ability to cover your mortgage expenses.

If you ever have concerns or questions about establishing a homebuying budget, be sure to consult with your real estate agent. Remember, your real estate agent is available to help you in any way possible and will do what it takes to ensure you can establish the right homebuying budget.




Tags: budgeting   Buying a home  
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