If 2017 is the year you’ve decided to purchase a new home – whether as a first-time or move-up buyer – it’s wise to start preparing now. Following a few simple tips will help put you in a better position to find a home that’s right for you.
Prioritize Your Must-Haves
First-time home buyers should take the time to determine what their needs are, especially regarding size, location and amenities. But even seasoned home owners will find that having a must-have list can save significant time by helping them avoid listings that may look great in the photos, but in reality, won’t meet their needs. Home buyers should always prioritize the items on their checklists, as most will need to compromise on some items to fit within a realistic budget.
Check Your Credit Score
Even if you’ve purchased a home in the past, stricter credit requirements are making it more challenging for some buyers to find home loans. Having a favorable credit score can make a difference in your ability to be approved for a loan. Even if you think nothing has changed recently on your credit report, it’s good to check periodically to ensure you aren’t being unfairly penalized for old debts, which can sometimes linger on credit reports. Borrowers with scores in the low 600s and even high 500s can still find lenders who will qualify them, but borrowers should strive for scores in the mid- to upper-700s to land the best rate.
Determine What You Can Afford
Don’t let your maximum loan approval amount dictate what your home-buying budget should be. You are the best person to judge what you can realistically afford. Experts say that your total monthly home expenses should not exceed more than one-third of your gross monthly income. You’ll also need to determine how much you’ll need in order to cover any loan fees and closing costs.
Sell Your Current Home
If buying a new home is contingent on the sale of your current home, it’s a good idea to start the process by reaching out and consulting with your realtor. Ask him or her about your best strategy to sell your home quickly, but at the right time and for the best price possible. You’ll want to identify any maintenance issues your home has, and determine if, how and when each one will need to be addressed. You can also ask your realtor if making any upgrades to your current home would be worthwhile and result in a favorable return when it comes time to sell.
Contact the local Home Builders Association
The HBAGK Home Show dates are March 17 – 19 at the Knoxville Convention Center, and the Parade of Homes show dates are October 6 – 8, 13 – 15, and 20 – 22, in various locations throughout eastern Tennessee.
Though builders might generally use similar tools and materials when building homes, not all are alike when it comes to things like technique, training and customer service. Finding the right builder whose business approach aligns well with your personal preferences is essential to a pleasant home-building experience.
The builder will be asking you plenty of questions during your initial meeting to discuss the home you envision. But the questions you ask the builder are equally important to determine if it’s going to be a positive partnership. Consider asking the builder about the following:
Work Experience – You will want to find a builder with extensive experience building homes similar to the one you want. Ask to see examples of floor plans and designs they’ve done before to ensure their company can deliver what you need. You should also ask if they have or are working toward any professional designations, which show that the builder has advanced training in a particular area. A few examples of such designations include a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), a Graduate Master Builder (CMB), and a Certified Green Professional (CGP).
References – Any high-quality builder should be ready to provide you with several names and phone numbers of satisfied customers. If they can’t, consider that a red flag and walk away. When reaching out to those former clients, ask about how well the builder followed through on the initial plans, and if the builder met their expectations regarding budget and timing. Don’t forget the most telling question of them all: If they could do it all over, would they hire that builder again?
Communication Style – Many builders will do their best to accommodate your communication preferences. But it’s always best to establish expectations as early as possible. The frequency (weekly, monthly, as-needed, etc.) and method (phone, text, email) of how you communicate early on with each other is something that will set the tone throughout the whole building process.
Curious about the latest home design trends? At the start of each year, the Best in American Living Awards (BALA) recognizes dozens of new projects from this past year that featured the most innovative layouts and eye-catching design elements.
Among a wide variety of award-winning homes, several design trends are evident and will be sure to gain the attention of those who might soon be buying, selling or remodeling a home. Some of these trends include:
Modern farmhouse. Demand continues to rise for farmhouse sinks, repurposed wood siding for interior design details and barn doors customized for a more contemporary feel that incorporates glass, white tints and metal hardware.
Natural wood beams. From remodels to new homes, wood beams left in their original state add a natural touch and create a focal point in interiors. Also, this year’s BALA winners included several homes with natural wood ceilings which add warmth and can be used in either traditional or more contemporary designs.
Shiplap inside and out. Horizontal shiplap – or long, overlapping panels of wood – is an increasingly popular choice for exteriors and is also featured in entryways, stairwells and living rooms.
Board and batten. Many BALA winners used this type of wainscoting either as exterior siding or to add a classic touch to today’s contemporary interiors. Some designs featured a unique spin by adjusting the width of the boards to create a more customized feel.
Repurposed space. Designers are increasingly utilizing the space under staircases for more than just storage. These areas are great for installing bookshelves, displaying art or creating a nook for pets. One BALA winner even included an entire bar under the living room stairs.
Prominent wine storage. Many new kitchens today include floor-to-ceiling wine storage with customized wine racks, glass doors and display lighting.
White on white. A long-standing trend remains intact, as many BALA winners featured a clean combo of white on white, most notably in kitchens.
Big showers and tubs. Showers keep getting bigger and free-standing tubs have become increasingly luxurious. Walk-in showers with wall-to-wall glass are the most sought after.
Metal roofs. A large number of new custom homes in regions across the country are favoring metal roofs. The trend isn’t solely among modern homes, but traditional homes as well.
For more information about the latest designs that could be incorporated within your home, or to find a builder in your area that can create the new home of your dreams, visit HBA of Greater Knoxville at www.hbaknoxville.com.
Friday, March 17: 12 pm - 7 pm
Saturday, March 18: 10 am - 7 pm
Sunday, March 19: 12 pm - 6 pm
The Home Show is open to the public all scheduled hours listed above.
NEW for 2017!! A revamped & improved "preview" for our members, licensed contractors and special guests. Our sponsors, ORNL Federal Credit Union and Ivey Custom Homes, will host a private reception that will allow vendors and professional contractors to interact and discuss working together. This is a business networking event that you do not want to miss if you are in the residential construction industry.
Friday, March 17, 10 AM - 12 NOON by invitation only.