Real Estate Insider Blog

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Young Family Moving? Here's What to Do



If you are thinking about buying your first home, there's probably a lot on your mind. You may be thinking about the home's size and layout. You are likely thinking about and planning for all of the things you'll do. However, as a young family, you also have to consider the neighborhood and community closely. You'll likely need to remain in that home for some time to break even, so you'll want to ensure the home is the right place for you and your family.

Tips on finding a great home in the Clearwater Area:


  • Utilize online tools like to help you to find information about your neighborhood. This can include information about crime rates within local areas.
  • Research the schools themselves. is a third-party website that can offer some information on schools in the community.
  • Check out the neighborhood in several ways. For example, visit several parks in the area. Go for a walk. Get an idea of what the layout of the community is. And, visit City Hall. Get to know the local Chamber of Commerce. These types of activities take minutes but they can give you an idea about the benefits any location can offer to you.
  • Learn about what there is to do in any given area. You'll want to look into parks and the local recreation department, but you'll have plenty of other things to do as well. Check out local attraction websites...
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The Biggest Misconceptions About Buying a Home

As a first-time home buyer, you have a lot on your mind when it comes to finding your dream home, paying for it, and taking care of it. What are the biggest mistakes and misconceptions you have about the process? These are key areas of concern for many people today.

The mortgage payment: Be sure you can afford your mortgage payment and invest the time in creating a budget. Get with your lender to see how much you will need to put down and ask your Clearwater area REALTOR® to see how much your estimated closing costs are. Doing the above will ease your mind so you’ll know how much loan you can manage and the total cash needed to close.

The renovations: Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes new home buyers make is not fully understanding what revisions are necessary. First-time home buyers rarely should consider significant renovations unless they have the budget to tackle it. A home inspection can help clear up some of your concern. An experienced REALTOR® like Christopher Milson should be able to give you a “ball park” estimate of the amount of work needed and successfully negotiate to get adequate compensation for any possible repairs.

The neighborhood: Have you taken the time to explore the neighborhood? Do a bit of experimenting so you can avoid having to struggle later. Drive to and from work from the new home during the normal times and walk the neighborhood with the kids. If you can’t physically get to a particular area, take...

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A "pretty amazing balancing act" between low interest rates and rising home prices is reportedly keeping affordability stable at the national level, according to the latest Black Knight Mortgage Monitor.

The report found that the average U.S. home value increased by $13,500 from the year prior, but low interest rates mean the monthly P&I payment on the median-priced home is only a dollar less than last year. Additionally, it currently takes only 20 percent of the median monthly income to cover monthly payments on the median-priced home. This is well below historical norms.

Despite these national levels, affordability varies across the country based on home price appreciation (HPA). For example, the report shows that in Washington and Oregon, it costs 5-6 percent more in P&I each month to buy the median priced home than the year before. In contrast, states such as New Jersey, Wyoming, North Dakota and Connecticut cost 3-5 percent less each month than in the previous year.

If the rates where to increase though, this would disrupt the balance that affordability is seeing nationally. The report computes that a 50-basis point increase in interest rates would be equivalent to a $17,000 increase in the average home price, thus potentially bringing the affordability ratio up to 21.5 percent of median income. That would make affordability the highest it's been post-crisis. With a 1 percent rise in rates, the payment-to-income ratio would potentially...

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Homeowners Association Or Not?

Buying a home that's within a homeowner's association can seem like a turnoff for some people. For others, it is exactly the type of neighborhood they are looking for. What's right for you and your family?

When you live in an area with a homeowners' association, you can expect to be required to make an additional payment towards the community's upkeep and management each month or annually. This fee gives you a few key things. In most cases, you'll have access to more onsite amenities such as recreational facilities and pools. You may have a playground that's maintained. These areas may offer more security. You can also expect more sponsored events in many of these locations. Be sure to read and understand all of the amenities and benefits offered to you when buying into this type of neighborhood.

For some, there are challenges in these organizations. You'll have to follow rules and, in some cases, making changes to your property, such as the paint color or to the features on your lot, may require approval of the association. You may be limited to the types of things you can do to the exterior of your home.

Is it better to live within a homeowners' association or not? This really depends on whether the amenities and additional features of the location are worth it to you. Each location is different, though. That's why it is so important for you to ensure you choose an area that fits your unique needs and lifestyle. Take the...

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