Bargain Buying 101: Things to Look for in a Deal

When you’re shopping for a new home, it’s not uncommon to face a little bit of sticker shock when it comes to price. This often leads to buyers trying to find a good balance between what they want and what they can afford. However, if you’re smart (and maybe a little lucky), you may be able to find some really great deals if you know what to look for.

One of the keys to finding a good deal is to look for properties that have qualities that might seem unappealing at first but that can be corrected fairly easily. Some of these things can drive prices down significantly but won’t require a major renovation to fix. If you’re hoping to find a bargain, here are a few things to look out for.

Ugly Paint

Even though there’s a lot of damage that can make your paint look ugly, sometimes the paint is just ugly because someone chose to bring together colors that should never coexist. It could be awful colors, it could be cheap paint that’s faded over time or it could even be an amateur paint job that never got touched up. Regardless of the reason for the ugly paint job, it can drive the price of the property down by thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. It doesn’t even have to be the entire house; one ugly room can give you an opportunity to find a good deal on an otherwise nice property.

Landscaping Issues

A property’s yard is one of the first things that potential buyers see. If it’s obviously been neglected or has bald patches and overgrown flower beds, this can make a negative first impression because it suggests that the house itself might not have been taken care of either. That isn’t always the case, though. Even if the house is in good condition, a yard that needs some TLC can usually shave some money off the asking price and help you to net a great deal.

Fixtures and Accents

There are a lot of cosmetic elements in houses that can start looking rough over time. Handles and knobs can come loose or become tarnished, shutters can get loose, bathroom tiles can become cracked… the list goes on. While updating these issues won’t break the bank, many sellers will drop their asking price quite a bit due to how these little things make the house look.

Bathroom Concerns

A lot of buyers shy away from houses that have obvious bathroom problems, causing those sellers to bring the price down significantly in many cases. Depending on the extent of the issues in the bathroom, though, there could be a real opportunity here. If the problem with the bathroom is mostly cosmetic, then you may be able to fix it on the relatively cheap side and save a lot of money in the process. Just be sure to keep an eye out for signs of water damage or mold, since that could indicate problems that would be much more expensive to fix.

Previous Foreclosure

One other strategy for finding a deal is to look for bank-owned properties that were previous foreclosures. These properties are often sold at a discount because the bank isn’t necessarily trying to sell the house at market value, it’s simply trying to recoup the money it lost when it had to foreclose. The amount you can save will depend on both the bank and the amount of equity that was in the home when it was foreclosed, but you may luck into a great deal on a nice house this way. Just be aware that while there are legitimate programs that can help you find a foreclosed property, there are also some scammy ones out there as well.

Call in the Experts

Having your Realtor help you with your search is another way to find hidden gems and get a bargain on your next home. They can find you properties that need some of these little fixes and give you an idea of what sort of updates the property could need.


Posted on March 3, 2020 at 1:19 am
Chuck Honabach | Posted in Buying a Home |

Home Shopping Red Flags to Watch

Shopping for a home can be exciting. Unfortunately, sometimes we can get too caught up in the excitement and end up ignoring signs that the house we’re looking at might not be the best option. There are a number of red flags that can pop up when looking at homes, and even more when shopping for a mortgage to pay for the home you choose. To help you avoid having a bad home-buying experience, here are a few of the biggest red flags that you should keep an eye out for.

Signs of Foundation Trouble

When looking at a home, be sure to get a look around the outside so you can catch a peek near the foundation. If the home has a basement, ask to see it as well. While a little settling is normal, if you see large cracks, signs of leaks or other indications that there is foundation damage then buying this home is just asking for trouble.

Insect Issues

Having insects or other pests in your home is more than just unsanitary: These uninvited intruders can actually damage your home and lead to costly repairs. If you see insects, mice or other pests (or indications that they’ve been in the house recently), it could indicate a pest control problem that the seller has been unable to get under control. Depending on how bad the problem is, this could be a deal-breaker.

Inconsistently Fresh Paint

Seeing freshly painted walls in a house is pretty common and usually isn’t anything to worry about. When the paint only covers certain patches of the wall, though, that’s a different story. Be sure to ask about any small sections of paint that you see as they may indicate damage that was hastily covered up with a little bit of paint. It’s possible that there’s a good reason for it, but that little patch of paint may also be hiding an unpleasant surprise in the wall.

Smells and Stains

Most sellers go out of their way to make a house appear at its very best before letting potential buyers come in. This is why you should definitely take note of any odd smells or stains that you encounter in the house. Smells could indicate leaks, mildew, mold or other problems hiding somewhere in the house. Stains can also indicate leaks and other problems, especially if they appear on the ceiling or near the tops of the walls. Large stains on the ceiling can even signify a leaky roof!

Outlet Issues

When looking through a house, be sure to spare electrical outlets a glance. If they have visible cracks, discolorations or black smudges on them then you may have electrical problems in your future! While you’re thinking about the electricity, you should also ask to see the breaker box to make sure that it’s well organized and that all of the breakers appear to be in working order.

Standing Water

If it’s been raining, you may see a little bit of water standing in the yard when you go to visit a house. This isn’t necessarily an issue, but stop to think about how long it’s been since it rained and just how much rain you’ve gotten. If there seems to be a lot of water for the amount of rain or if it’s been a while since the last rainfall, that standing water could indicate drainage issues or even problems with a water line or septic tank.

Loan Issues

Even if there’s nothing wrong with the house you want to buy, you may encounter red flags during the loan process. Higher than usual interest rates, requirements for additional insurance or flood insurance, added costs and other quirks could mean that you need to find a new lender… or they could mean that there are issues with the property that you missed. Shop around for a better loan if you think you can find a better deal, though keep an eye out for issues that keep popping up at multiple lenders.

The Best Way to Avoid Red Flags

If you’re seeing red flags everywhere you look and aren’t sure where to turn, we can help. HomeKeepr can match you with the perfect home-buying specialist to guide you through finding a great home AND a great loan. Sign up for free to make your match today!


Posted on March 3, 2020 at 1:16 am
Chuck Honabach | Posted in Buying a Home |

Millenials Buying Homes: What’s Trending

Though there are a number of stereotypes surrounding Millennials, they actually make up a fairly significant part of the economy. More importantly, their economic strength as a group seems to be growing by the day. As of 2019, Millennials make up approximately 37 percent of home buyers… that’s a bigger share than any other generation, including Baby Boomers! So what exactly are these Millennials buying, and what trends are growing along with their increasing representation in the market? Let’s take a closer look and find out.

First-Time Buyers

Approximately 52 percent of Millennials who are buying homes are first-time home buyers. This makes sense for younger Millennials, but even older Millennials who were born in the 80s still see a significant number of first-time buyers. Before buying, a large number of these Millennials were renting homes. By buying homes, they can enjoy the benefits of ownership and build equity for similar amounts (or in some cases, less) than they were paying each month in rent previously.

Family Homes

The majority of home-buying Millennials are buying single-family homes. This is in part because over 50 percent of them are either married or in long-term relationships; in fact, in 2018 there were more married couples among home-buying Millennials than there were in any other generational group that was in the market for a house. A significant number of Millennials also have children under the age of 18 living at home, further increasing the need for a family-friendly home.

Motivation to Buy

The majority of Millennials who have bought homes within the last year did so simply because they wanted to own a home of their own. Some wanted to own a larger home, be closer to friends and family or were moving due to job relocation, but the general desire to own a home was listed as a reason for buying by as many Millennials as ones that gave all other reasons combined. A lot of this came down to the opportunities that were present as well; over 50 percent of Millennials report that it was “just the right time” to buy a home, while the second most common reason (that they didn’t have much choice and had to buy when they did) was only reported by around 10 to 15 percent of Millennials.

Back to the Suburbs

One big trend among Millennial home buyers is that they were buying homes in the suburbs. This wasn’t restricted only to Millennials, either; 51 percent of all homes purchased in 2018 were located in suburban areas or subdivisions. The Millennials fell pretty close to this statistic, with small towns being the second most common location. A vast majority of these homes were previously owned; though there have been a number of new subdivisions built around the country in recent years, only a small percentage of Millennials are buying into them.

Biggest Factors

There are a number of factors that affected the purchasing decisions of Millennials. The presence of public transit or proximity to work was one major factor, with many Millennials trying to minimize commuting costs. Heating and cooling efficiency also played an important role. In general, Millennials were more willing to compromise on price than on a home’s condition, but only around 20 percent were willing to compromise on the distance of their new home from work.

Home Shopping Trends

By far, the majority of Millennials started their home search by looking online to try and find properties for sale. Around 15 percent spent even more time online than that, starting their search by researching the ins and outs of the home buying process before even starting to look at properties. Beyond online sources, Millennials trusted real estate agents and Realtors the most for information about homes for sale. The entire process took about 10 weeks on average before finding the home they wanted to buy, though a real estate agent was involved for the last 7 or so weeks of the search.

In the Market?

Are you a Millennial in the market for a new home? You’re in luck, because HomeKeepr can connect you with a mortgage expert to help you get into the home of your dreams. Sign up for free today to take that first step toward home ownership.


Posted on February 3, 2020 at 1:07 am
Chuck Honabach | Posted in Buying a Home |