There is a difference!

Buyer’s Guide

Let us be the first to congratulate you in making the big decision to buy a home. There are going to be many questions that you need to ask yourself before moving ahead. The biggest question is: What kind of home do I want?

Everyone we deal with has different likes and dislikes. The needs of each person are completely different. If you are moving into a new community your questions will most likely be different from someone who is moving across town. If you are single or married, working or retired, with or without children, all the needs will be different. You will need to spend some time thinking where you want to buy your home.

During your search for a new home you will be emotionally drawn to some neighborhoods, homes and areas more than others and you will be unable to clearly explain why. Hopefully you will be fortunate enough to be drawn to a home or neighborhood that meets your needs. We suggest that at this point you make a list of things you would like in your new home and neighborhood. Decide what is a must for your new home and also things that are less important.

We have written this section for you as a guide, designed to help you provide resources and provoke thought to help you make the decision of where to live.  Here are some questions to ask yourself on where to buy your new home.  Take the time to write your answers down and take them with you when you come to see us.  It will help make sure we can help you find the home you want.

Wonder how good the schools nearby are?
If you have children or are planning on having children, this will need to be a serious consideration.  We recommend checking out the schools in the area to make sure you get the information you are looking for.  Try talking to the principal and contacting the school directly.

You can find lots of information on the internet by checking out the local district website.  Another option is going to This will give you a good detailed comparison of the schools in the area.  From here you can find out contact names and numbers, student to teacher ratio and class sizes.

You may have heard of the Public Act called “No Child Left Behind Act”, it requires report cards to be published on the district internet site, check these out and pay close attention to the awards and recognitions the school has achieved. The secretary of education has initiated the Blue Ribbon Schools program in an effort to meet the requirements of this act.  This award is given to schools that fall in the top 10 percent of state assessments or to a school that has at least 40% of its students from disadvantaged backgrounds, who have improved greatly in student performance in accordance with state assessment systems.

Will My New Home Have Resale Value?
Most people will think of a home as an investment that will increase in value over the next few years, but this is not a guarantee.  For instance; if you have a mansion in an area of small homes this will have a lower resale value, than a small home amongst mansions.  If you are planning on raising a family in the home, resale value should have less of an importance. Look for a home that will suite all of your needs first.

Location Is A Important Factor
Figure what you want near your home and what you need near your home. Depending where you are in your life, you may need to be closer to hospitals or maybe you want to be within walking distance to stores. 
We believe location is everything.  No one enjoys living next to noisy night clubs unless they go to them.  Make sure you know what is around the home you are looking at and that you are comfortable with it.

One of the certainties in life is that we all have to pay taxes. Property taxes also called “ad valorem” are locally assessed taxes. The monies collected are used to help pay for public schools, city streets, county roads, police, fire protection and many other needed services.

Generally property taxes are assessed every couple of years so check with your realtor to find out when they were last assessed in the area you are planning to move or relocate to. Based on the taxes, you may decide that the area is too expensive to move to as the taxes generally form part of your monthly mortgage to the lender. Lenders generally collect the taxes in monthly installments and pay the taxes when they are due. A lender will also look at the taxes to decide if you can afford the monthly payments. Remember, your monthly payment to the lender will generally include principal, interest, taxes and insurance (PITI).

Taxes are generally paid in advance for the upcoming year, though some counties collect taxes differently, always check this out. Also, check out when the taxes were last assessed and when they are due for another assessment.

One can also contest and appeal the appraiser’s evaluation. This is done through the local district. An appraisal review board is in place to hear and attempt to resolve these contests.

How To Find The Right Neighborhood
When you are moving into a new area you should be thinking about what kind of neighborhood you would like to live in. Is it a neighborhood that you could raise a family in or is it the area where malls and entertainment are at your finger tips?  You could decide that you want to live in a new and upcoming suburb community or a nice and quiet lake cabin. Look for a neighborhood that fits your needs.
Most of the information out there is divided into four sections and then compared to national averages:

  • Demographics, will provide you with the average age in a neighborhood and along with average income and household size
  • Cost of Living, will provide you with the average household education costs to household retail expenditures.
  • Neighborhood Characteristics, provides information from the cost of homes to average dwelling size.
  • Quality of Life, will give you information on crime rates and weather related topics.

We hope this information has proved useful to you in your effort to find a new home. Please contact us for more information and allow us to answer any additional questions that you may have. We are here to help you along every step of the way.