Date Archives: September 2011

Coldwell Banker American Homes Blog Home

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Today's market is ripe with opportunities for first-time homebuyers. Shopping for and purchasing your first home is an exciting time but before you begin looking, make sure you're completely prepared and know what to expect. The following steps will help get you ready to make that big purchase. Step 1: Freshen up your Finances. Before you dive into the exciting part of home-buying-the search!-make sure you have all your ducks in a row. Figuring out your finances and crunching some numbers will allow you to set a realistic budget. Step 2: Secure a loan. After you get your finances in order, talk to lenders and mortgage brokers. It's important to shop around to get the lowest interest and overall best deal possible. Make sure you understand all of the fees involved before diving into anything. Step 3: Map out your criteria. Now that you have your finances figured out and a loan set up, it's time to begin your search-from home! With a plethora of online home-buying tools at your fingertips, it's relatively easy to map out different types of homes and neighborhoods and find what is right for you. Make big decisions-like urban versus suburban settings, an estimated property size and neighborhood requirements-before you start to physically look at properties. This will save time and energy for both you and your agent. Step 4: Take notes. On your own or with the help of an agent, you've found some houses you're interested in looking at. Don't venture out without a pen, paper and camera. Often when searching for a home you are shown many at once. Keeping track of important details by taking notes and pictures will help you differentiate between the properties later, and help you weed out the homes you were not interested in. It is also a good idea to come with a list of questions ready, and be sure to scope out the neighborhood by driving around for a bit. There's nothing worse than purchasing a house only to find it's down the block from an extremely noisy restaurant or industrial plant. Step 5: Close that deal! So you've found a home you love? Don't wait around. I've seen many first-time buyers miss out on a home because they got cold feet and continued shopping around. By the time they realized they weren't going to find a better fit, someone else had already made an offer! Like the perfect pair of shoes, you will know when you've found the right match. Make an offer, and be ready to negotiate. Once a deal has been made, thoroughly read the contract and make sure you understand everything before you sign. Next, it's time to begin with the appraisal and home inspection process. For more information on purchasing your first home, please contact Century 21 American Homes at, 1-800-270-6318. Century 21 American Homes is one of the fastest growing real estate brokerages serving Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn. To find out more about an exciting career in real estate contact us at

Most homes, both new and old, have a few problem areas. However, according to Michael Litzner, Broker of Century 21 American Homes, there are frequent flaws that every buyer and seller should check for before making an offer or putting a home on the market. Wood Rotted wood is one of the most frequently occurring maintenance issues, says Litzner. The flooring and walls in places like kitchens and bathrooms are often exposed to moisture, and over time this can lead to rot. Buyers should also check basements and garages for rot, as well as the exterior of a house including any decks, overhangs or eaves, Litzner suggests. Water and Drainage Water damage is one of the most expensive problems a homeowner can be faced with, Litzner states. Water intrusion in basements and garages can create a rotting foundation, which is pricey to repair, and mold, which is difficult to get rid of. "Be sure the foundation of your home is properly graded for maximum drainage, and check that the gutters are in working order," Litzner suggests. Roof The roof is your home's strongest shield against the elements. Maintaining your roof by replacing shingles and patching any leaks can extend the life of your roof, but it is a good idea to have it inspected every five years, and replaced every 20 years. "Keeping your roof in top shape can help you avoid some pretty big disasters, including major leaks and even a total collapse. If you find yourself patching and re-patching sections of your roof annually, it might be time to replace it completely," Litzner says. Making sure you check for and repair these common home defects before placing your home on the market can decrease complications in selling, and improve the results of your home inspection report, notes Litzner . If you're buying a new home, paying special attention to these problem areas can help ease the likelihood of future repairs and give you valuable points of negotiation. For more information on common home defects, please contact Century 21 American Homes at, 1-800-270-6318 or Century 21 American Homes. Century 21 American Homes is one of the fastest growing real estate brokerages serving Long Island, Queens and Brooklyn. To find out more about an exciting career in real estate contact us at

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