To Do or Not To Do - That is the Question

The home buying process can be a scary and daunting one, but most of us already know this right? That's why you use a REALTOR® and pay for his or her expertise and personal service. I mean, if it were easy, everyone would do it and there would be no need for real estate professionals.

The fact is that buying a home is not easy, from the initial contact with a REALTOR®, to searching for homes, to going through the escrow and financing process and finally closing on and moving into your very own piece of the American Dream.

But there are several things you need to be aware of, which range from common sense items like not buying a home in a depressed neighborhood to more advance concepts like searching for a home with the greatest investment potential or for a loan with the most favorable terms.

But there are also some relatively new tips for buying or selling a piece of property, ones brought to us from the good folks over at Zillow, one of the nation's leading real estate databases. Two "dos" and two "don'ts" that maybe didn't enter your mind before.

Let's take a look:

  • DO buy a home near a Starbucks. Sounds crazy right, but homes in close proximity to the coffee giant are increasing in value. Zillow compared home values before and after a Starbucks was built in a neighborhood and found a 31 percent greater increase in value between 1997 and 2014.

Who knew that a good cup of coffee could equate into greater equity in your family home? Now, go grab a latte and thank your local Starbucks manager, if you're lucky enough to live near a store. If you're not one of the fortunate few, keep this little tidbit in mind the next time you're out shopping for a piece of property.

  • DON'T say your home is "nice." A 3 percent raise from the boss is "nice." Your favorite football team winning on Sunday is "nice." Finding your favorite pair of jeans on sale is "nice." Your family home is "charming" or it's "appealing" or it's "contemporary."

Your home is an original, a one-of-a-kind. Take a little effort and describe it adequately and with a little bit of flair and passion. If you're not a writer and don't feel comfortable with this task, don't worry – that's what your REALTOR® is for.

  • DO list your home during the magic window. Unlike trying to time the stock market, choosing just the right moment to list your home for sale can not only be profitable, but it can also be a lot less stressful in the long run.

This magic window is different around the country, but in coastal Delaware, the best time statistically to list a home is in the early spring in advance of the summer tourist season.

Which means the best time is – well it's right about now.

  • DON'T automatically pick the lowest mortgage rate. There are many variables to consider when choosing the best financing option, and this is where utilizing the expertise of a REALTOR® can prove invaluable.

For example, is a 15 year, 20 year or 30 year mortgage the best fit for you? Also, the lowest rate might not always be the best choice, as there are many other factors to consider before signing on the dotted line.

As always, consult with your REALTOR® and with your financial advisor before choosing a payment plan that could well take you as long as three decades to pay back in its entirety.

There are countless more items to consider before purchasing any new piece of property, but these are a few to get you thinking about it. Happy hunting!

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