Beautiful Houses: 10 Best Styles

There are some homes that make you sit back and think, “Wow, I wonder who lives there.” Our love of beautiful houses will never go away, and there are many different styles to differentiate one from the others.

Some home styles have a rich history in our culture while others came from overseas. Here are ten of the most popular home styles.

Related: Buying A House Checklist

Victorian Homes

With steep sloping roofs, large windows, and built-in furniture, Victorian homes are magical. This form of architecture made its appearance between 1830 and 1910 during the time of Queen Victoria. These homes are constructed with appearance and beauty in mind. The downfall is the functionality of victorian homes. They are sophisticated with their trim, rooflines, windows, and more. Looking at one is beautiful but maintaining one is a different story.

Ready to buy your first home? See how Zumbly can help!

Log Cabins

Log homes originated as little cabins from the 1600s. At this time, they contained no rooms and no hardware. The people who built them used slotted logs to develop walls and flat roofs. Now, every time you enter a log cabin, it is a display of luxury and craftsmanship. These homes are popular in rural areas, and you’ll find them often on vacation retreats and resorts. You can build a log cabin almost anywhere, but the climate will determine what type of wood to use.

Tudor Style

Tudors are some of the most beautiful homes in the world. This design hails from England. It’s known for a steep pitched, multi-gabled roof with timber framing. They are most popular in snowy climates because of the steep pitch roof, so you’ll often find them in large quantities along the east coast and New England.

Tudors typically have incredibly elaborate chimneys with highly involved masonry and stucco in between the timber framing. These homes were most popular before World War II, and most of the Tudors built after are a playful rendition of the original design.

Related: Best Time Of Year To Sell A House

Colonial Style

You can tell a Colonial home by looking at its symmetry. These houses will feature a square design with lower and upper-level windows directly over one another. There were many variations in the 1600s when this style was popular but back then it was a highly formal style of design. The royalty and wealthy people who owned these homes wanted their house to appear neat and orderly at all times.

Ready to buy your first home? See how Zumbly can help!

Contemporary

Contemporary is a word used to describe a wide assortment of modern homes. Today’s architecture varies dramatically from updated art deco to new craftsman style homes. Regardless of the specific design, there are a few components used to describe a modern home. Contemporary houses feature an open floor plan with plenty of connection between indoors and outdoors. These homes feature sustainable materials with a lot of natural light. They also components that are energy efficient with plenty of non-toxic materials.

Related: Is Buying A Home Without A Realtor A Good Idea?

Cape Cod

This style of home made its way into the United States around the 1600s. These beautiful homes mimic cottages in Britain. Some of their characteristics are steep roofs, large chimneys, and dormer windows. Many owners of Cape Cod homes talk about their second-floor having sloped ceilings due to the low roofing design of this style. These homes are usually modestly priced, and they didn’t grow in popularity until after World War II.

Ready to buy your first home? See how Zumbly can help!

Craftsman Style

Often called a Bungalow, Craftsman style homes feature a large “wrap-around” porch, with low-pitched roofs, and natural building materials. This home style is old, and if you travel to certain areas of the country, you’ll find Craftsman style homes lining the streets because they built a ton of them at one time with all the same design. On the inside, Craftsman homes feature an open floor plan with built-in furniture and exposed beams.

If we take a look at the difference between a Craftsman and Bungalow, you’ll find that there is no difference. The word Craftsman refers to the Arts and Crafts movement, while Bungalow is a word used to describe this design.

The modern Craftsman has started to make its way into architecture and compared to the original design; this one features gabled roofs and a more open interior floor plan.

Related: How Long Does It Take To Buy A House?

Mediterranean

Brought to the US from the place for which it’s named, the style was most popular in the early 1900s. You’ll find the design mostly by bodies of water up and down the coastline. These beautiful homes usually feature plaster with red tile roofs and high arches. The design has many ornamental features like fancy balconies, luscious courtyards, and indoor fountains. Many also have a grand entrance with a big wooden castle door.

Ready to buy your first home? See how Zumbly can help!

Ranch Homes

Ranch is a widely used word to describe a usually single level home with an attached garage. These houses were built less for appearance but more for functionality. These started popping up around the 1930s modeled after Western Ranches. They feature a modern design with plenty of connection between indoors and outdoors. Split-level designs are also categorized under ranch style. Exterior details are usually quite modest and plain.

Related: What Happens When You Break A Lease?

Greek Revival

We still see some of these homes present in the United States. They are popular in areas of affluence, and you’ll often see a bunch of them in the same neighborhood. These are inspired by Greek architecture and were most popular in the country during the mid to late 1800s.

The Greek Revival is noticeable by its large columns, painted plaster, symmetrical shape, and intense moldings. This beautiful home style does not skimp on the details or expenses. If you purchase a home like this, expect to pay top dollar to maintain it.

Final Thoughts

After taking a look at some of the most beautiful homes and designs, you might be unsure of which to choose. There are many more options beyond these, and the possibilities are endless as we continue to develop new technology to bring old architecture back to life.

Ready to buy your first home? See how Zumbly can help

Apartment Investing 101: The Ultimate Guide

Apartment construction is at a record high, and the number of apartment rentals rose by 11% compared to last year in the U.S.

Even amongst the concerns of an imminent recession, the market is still hot. After all, recession or not, people need homes right?

This spells opportunity when it comes to apartment investing. There’s always REIT funds that can be purchased but directly looking for investment opportunities in the real estate market around you is a sure-fire way to pay large dividends in the future.

So how does one get started with apartment investing if they’re looking to get into real estate investing? And why apartments over other investment opportunities?

Related: Buying a House Checklist

The Benefits of Apartment Investing

Stable investment product

Compared to other real estate investment products such as office or retail space, multi-family residence comes with less risk and volatility. This is because they often don’t involve high turnover and tenant composition in these apartments usually dictate stable long term occupancy.

Build equity

On top of gaining monthly income that goes towards paying off the mortgage-related to the apartment. As the unit(s) appreciates, this is an asset that’s gaining value and building equity for the investor.

Low-cost debt

Lenders love apartment investment loans due to the stability and high-occupancy rates involved for attractive investment options. This means the cost of capital is low and there are many low-interest loan options to use.

Monthly dividends

Compared to investments in the stock market that may not pay dividends, apartment investments are guaranteed large sums of monthly dividends. This is great for improving one’s cash flow and these dividends can be reinvested in other investment products.

Inflation protection

Compared to cash and stocks, investing in real estate is a strong way to protect against any future inflation and protect the value of one’s wealth. It’s also a tangible asset, one that can’t vanish overnight due to sporadic market movements.

Related: How to Make an Offer when Buying a House

Obstacles

It’s not all benefits when it comes to apartment investing, and there are some drawbacks to be aware of.

Higher down payments

Lenders are often skeptical of non-owner occupied residence loan applications. This means that acquiring a loan will involve higher down payment requirements of 20 to 30 percent, and in rare cases, higher interest rates compared to if it was to purchase an owner-occupied unit.

It’s not a liquid asset

Compared to cash, or even investment in the stock market. Investing in apartments means the asset isn’t liquid and will require time and effort to liquidate if one needs to sell the apartment for funds. This can put a strain on one’s finances if a significant amount of their net worth is locked into this asset.

More active management

Apartment investments come with actively managing the unit and collecting rent. Airtight rental agreements must be drafted that outline payments and actions carried out in case of defaults such as late payment penalties. If tenants are unable to pay, many times there are state regulations in place that can have the tenants remaining in the unit rent-free until the case is resolved with mediation between the owner, tenant, lawyer, and state boards. All of this may occur with the owner on the line to pay monthly mortgage payments without any rental income.

This extends to the active management of the unit itself. Any issues with the apartment that require maintenance will commonly have the owner on the hook to fix. This can be avoided by hiring property managers but will require a portion of monthly rent going to the management firm.

Related: Best Time of Year to Sell a House

What to look for when investing

1. Goal setting and financials

Investing always starts with goal-setting. One must have a clear idea of why they are investing in an apartment and what level of risk and return they are comfortable with.

Based on this, one can narrow down the apartments that fit this criterion and evaluate the financials of the apartments. When looking at financials, the net operating income of the apartment is most important. What’s the annual income of the apartment currently and does it exceed annual expenses? Don’t trust any numbers shown on the agent or brokers brochure but investigate thoroughly to see if the numbers indicate a positive return on investment.

2. Location!

With any real estate investment, location trumps all and dictates how the future holds up. This means one must scout the neighborhood and significance of the location thoroughly. Research metrics such as crime rate, commute times, and nearby amenities or landmarks.

Take into account nearby ‘reasons to live’ when looking at the location. For example, is there a nearby university or large business complex? These will mean there are a growing and consistent demand for housing nearby to these areas for those that work or study in these establishments.

3. Vacancy rates

Historical vacancy rates are important when it comes to determining the attractiveness of an apartment to invest in. If the building has a low vacancy rate and many units are off the market very quickly after listing, this is a good sign.

4. Building history

Older buildings may come with a lot of hidden costs that an owner is unaware of. These buildings will have more maintenance issues that can drive any building maintenance fees, adding to the total monthly cost of owning the unit. It’s good practice to have a professional inspection carried out and visit the building often to notice if there any issues such as elevators out of service to gauge this.

5. Management competence

Finally, be sure to evaluate the competence of the building management team. This team handles the day to day of the building and ensures any small maintenance issues are handled. They also ensure the apartment building is well kept, clean, and safe for residents – all of which will impact how attractive it is to be rented out by prospective tenants.

Investing in an apartment can be a great way to build equity and gain passive income. Real estate values over the course of one’s lifetime are only guaranteed to rise with small corrections. This makes it a perfect vehicle for one to build their worth and gain passive income for retirement.

Ready to start investing? See what Zumbly can do for you!

Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

One-Story or Two Story-House: Which One Should You Buy?

Whether you’re moving to a new city, planning to start a family, or just think it’s time to own a space of your own, buying a house is a crucial step. Of the many questions potential home owners ask themselves, one of the most common ones is whether they should go for a one-story house or a two-story house.

There are several factors to consider before you decide which type you want to go for. Some of these factors include location, budget, personal preferences, lifestyle requirements, how easy it is to maintain and navigate, and so on. At Zumbly, we’re committed to making the home buying process easy for you. Here’s our guide about one-story versus two-story houses.

Related: Beautiful Houses – 10 Best Styles

Pros and Cons of One-Story and Two-Story Houses

Regardless of whether you’re planning to get a one-story house or a two-story house, it’s necessary to know and weigh the pros and cons of both the types to come to a proper conclusion. Here are some of the details you should be aware of to make an informed decision:

Pros of a One-Story House

  • Since one-story homes don’t have a staircase, they offer more living space. A staircase usually consumes almost 100 square feet between the two levels it’s connected to. In a one-story house, the amount of living space per square foot of foundation is maximized due to this very reason.
  • Needless to say, a one-story house is much easier to maintain, as everything is on the same level. This means that you don’t have to carry a big vacuum cleaner or a huge pile of laundry up and down the stairs. As cleaning is a big part of keeping one’s home on point, a one-story house saves you some time in this regard. Be it window-washing, painting, or even power-washing, maintenance is simpler with a one-story home.
  • One very vital aspect to consider when deciding between a one-story and two-story house is which one is going to provide you with the comfort of aging in peace. If you’re buying a home while being certain that this is where you plan to grow old, then a one-story house is more convenient. The reason for this is simple: You don’t have to climb several flights of stairs in your old age. Developing knee pain or back ache is inevitable with age. Therefore, be it having to maintain the house or climbing the stairs, one-story houses are more conducive to family living with older members.
  • In case of an emergency, such as a fire or an earthquake, one-story homes are much easier to evacuate. If you live in an earthquake-prone zone, then you should know that one-story houses are the safest structures to be in during such a situation.

Cons of a One-Story House

  • Building a house from the ground-up requires more land. Be it for the windows, foundation, or roofing, a one-story house will need more materials. It will also require more power, as plumbing and HVAC runs will be longer.
  • If privacy is what you’re looking for, one-story houses don’t give you much of that. Since everyone lives on the same floor in a one-story home, it’s difficult to enjoy a more private existence.

Related: Evolution Of Home Tech

Pros of a Two-Story House

  • The risk of a burglar or robber snooping in is reduced with a two-story house. After all, climbing up a pipe just to steal something is less likely to happen when compared to a one-story house where a burglary is easier to take place.
  • Two-story houses offer you all the privacy you need. Whether it’s your kids being on a separate floor, providing your guests with more space, or just your in-laws being able to have some peace and quiet of their own, two-story homes are much better in this regard.
  • When it comes to roof area, one-story homes have twice the roof area as compared to two-story homes. Therefore, it’s much easier to maintain the roof area. This is especially useful if you ever plan to replace the roof.
  • As far as design options and picturesque views are concerned, two-story houses obviously have an upper hand. There is a much bigger number of eclectic designs one can go for with a two-story house. Also, the views from your porch or balcony will be so much prettier to admire if you live in a two-story house.

Check out Zumbly to look at beautiful house designs for your next abode!

Cons of a Two-Story House

  • With two-story houses, the possibility of accidents increases. Little kids and anyone with mobility issues face a more difficult time adapting to a two-story house. Baby-proofing your gates or even making the staircase more accessible to your family members such as your parents can cost a lot.
  • The cost of heating and cooling doubles in amount when you’re living in a two-story house. Since the warm air rises and cold air drops, the downstairs tends to be cold, while the upper level is much warmer. Therefore, you will have to adjust both the heater as well as the AC accordingly. Experts also state that two-story houses end up costing double in terms of heating and cooling when compared to a single-story home of the same square footage.
  • Cleaning a two-story house is truly a task. It’s not just about dusting or vacuuming, you will also need to take care of the house’s exterior much more diligently. From cleaning the windows to keeping a watch on the bricks, maintaining a two-story house isn’t an easy job.
  • The noise level can be higher for a two-story house if not designed properly. For example, if your floor is not designed for acoustics, you will constantly be hearing people talking or walking above you.

Summing Up

Buying a house isn’t just about the initial cost and everything that goes into making it a home of your dreams. It requires years and years of maintenance related to various aspects of the house. As far as maintaining a home is concerned, a one-story house is surely the better option.

On the other hand, if you want a certain level of privacy while providing a separate floor for your guests and kids, a two-story house is the one to go for. Regardless of what you choose, make sure you’re thinking of the future and your financial condition before deciding on which one is a better option for you. If you’re feeling inspired, check out one and two-story homes at Zumbly.

Related: Buying A House In 2019 – What You Need To Know

Is Buying a Home Without a Realtor a Good Idea?

Realtors advertise everywhere about their services and how critical it is for you to use them if you’re looking to buy a home.

However, it’s no secret that anyone can go ahead and buy property without needing to engage a realtor. Buying directly from an owner isn’t that much more complicated than buying it with an agent.

If you’re looking to buy a home by yourself, check out our real estate property search.

The only key benefit of having a realtor is they can tackle some of the administrative and logistical steps involved in buying a home. It’s just easier, that’s all.

But, if you’re willing to take these on, you can save a lot of money and even close deals faster!

Related: Buying A House Checklist

Benefits of buying a home without a realtor

woman sitting in her newly furnished home

Save money

When you avoid dealing with a realtor, you’re going to save a ton of money in commission during the closing that you’ll owe the realtor.

A realtor can charge anywhere from 4% to 6% of the sale price, either paid by the seller or split between you and the seller. In either case, if you deal directly with an owner, you can negotiate on a lower sale price that removes this added overhead that the seller may have baked in.

No middleman

No realtor also means there’s no intermediary involved in the process. This can make the entire searching and negotiating process much more efficient. There’s no chance of messages getting lost in translation and delays in waiting to hear back.

You’ll have complete control over the buying experience and can be crystal clear on communicating your needs.

Own the relationship

Nothing works magic when buying a property than establishing rapport and comfort with a seller. This is especially true when you buy a home without a realtor. You can choose to identify listings and initiate conversations independently. This means communicating what you’re looking for from the get-go and getting a transparent understanding of the needs of the seller.

Realtors can also be more rigid and obtuse in their handling. This makes sellers more formal and hard to negotiate with. By owning the relationship directly, this can be avoided.

Tech-forward

Realtors have long enjoyed steady business, and that means they haven’t utilized the power of technology yet. This means when you engage in a realtor; they aren’t using the latest innovations in finding the best listings for you.

If you decide to look for property on your own, you can start to tap into the many technology providers out there that are built to curate listings for you. For example, Zumbly using advanced algorithms to personalize listings for home buyers based on their preferences. It’s faster, simpler, and cheaper than having a realtor do this instead.

Related: How Long Does It Take To Buy A House?

Now if you’re sold on buying a home without a realtor, then let’s walk you through how this takes place:

Determine your search criteria

As with any house hunting, it all starts with determining where you’d like to live and how much can you afford.

Typically 10% to 20% of the sale price will need to be in down payment. After this the rest you’ll have to take out a mortgage loan.

If you’ll need to take out a mortgage and whether you’ll qualify for the amount. On top of this, factor in all the other incidental costs such as property taxes, commute costs, etc. and see if this is the right property for you to proceed further.

Get pre-approval

All sellers are going to look for a pre-approval when you approach them initially to express interest in their home.

A pre-approval lets them know you have the financial means to purchase their home and you won’t waste their time. A pre-approved loan shows you’re serious.

To obtain a pre-approval, you’ll have to visit a lender with documents that indicate how much of a loan you can qualify for. This usually involves providing proof of income, bank statements indicating your net worth, and any existing liabilities such as loans or credit balances.

Based on this, the lender will then give you a pre-approval limit. This is the maximum mortgage amount that you’d qualify for.

Start the hunting!

With a search criteria and an idea of what you can truly afford, you can use sites such as Zumbly to begin the search process. With advanced algorithms, platforms such as Zumbly superpower the search process and can comb through millions of listings to find the one’s perfect for you.

Talk to the owner

If you’ve found an attractive property, reach out to the owner directly and ask for more information. If the details sound good, then set up a showing and visit the property. Try to meet the owner in person when you do this so you can start to establish a rapport with them – this can help with negotiations later on.

Related: How To Make An Offer When Buying A House

Get the home valued

One of the roles a realtor commonly plays is in appraising the property you’re interested in. This task can also be carried out without needing one. By getting a property report, you’ll be able to understand how the home you’re interested in compares against other nearby home sales. This report is never 100% accurate as it doesn’t factor in conditions such as remodels or distressed sales – but it can directionally give you an idea of whether you’re getting a good deal.

Get legal help

You can get away with not needing a realtor, but a legal expert is a must in ensuring all the rules are followed for your given state when it comes to purchasing the property. A lawyer can help you through this for a couple hundred dollars, and can even provide some tips on how to go through negotiating to close.

Put forward an offer

If all the details are sound, you can put forward an offer to the seller. A lawyer would have helped you here to have the necessary forms completed.  By presenting this offer, you would have started any negotiation talk. This negotiation will revolve around the sale price, closing date, and any costs the seller will incur rather than you when closing the property.

Around this time, it’s also important to hire an inspector to evaluate the entire home and ensure that everything is in tip-top shape. This inspection can also uncover any faults in the home that can help you negotiate the sale price down.

Close the deal

At this point, your lawyer will help with all the final details and steps required in closing the deal and ensuring it meets all legal requirements. You may have to assist in completing any paperwork and managing how payment is carried out with the seller.

Everything we’ve illustrated above might make this sound like an appealing option but we do also want to cover the drawbacks associated with buying a home without a realtor.

Drawbacks of buying a home with a realtor

Poor negotiation

Not everyone has the skills required for negotiation and many choose to use a realtor solely for this reason. Realtors have gone through many deals and a big part of their success is learning how to negotiate deals in favor of their clients.

Realtors are also aware of the many disclosure nuances involved in property deals and will have the knowledge to request many of the disclosures related to a property that you may not be privy of. Sellers aren’t obligated to disclose all information about a property unless they are asked to – a realtor comes in handy here.

Related: What Happens When You Break A Lease?

Market expertise

Many realtors specialize in specific areas or markets. This means when evaluating a property, they can provide insight into whether you’re getting a good deal that goes beyond just the sale price. A realtor would know what the realistic commute times or the quality of nearby district schools are. All of this is invaluable when looking to buy a home.

Paperwork help

Realtors also help with the paperwork, which can be overwhelming and confusing. They’ll also be able to reach into their network and help you hire trusted expertise when it comes to home inspections or legal help. Some even have special deals with lenders that can be beneficial when finding favorable mortgage rates.

Buying a home without a realtor isn’t the norm but many are now realizing that as processes get easier, it is a task worth doing if you’re looking to find the best properties on the market at great sale values.

If you have the time to learn the ropes, then buying a home without a realtor can ensure you’re getting a home best suited to your needs at the best price. Happy house hunting!

Best Time Of Year To Sell A House

Putting your house on the market is an exciting and scary time.

There’s a lot of unknowns, and one of the biggest ones is the best time of year to list a house for sale.

Of course, this is if you have the freedom to wait and list it at the best time.This is not as relevant if you need to sell your home immediately.

But let’s say you do have some buffer, and can wait to move out, then you’re going to want to find out the best time of the year to get the most interest and offers on your house. Knowing this can help list your home at a higher price, or even encourage some friendly bidding wars that can help reap much more value from your house than expected when it’s finally sold.

Want to find out how much homes for sale go for on Airbnb and Vrbo? Signup for Zumbly to find out.

In this piece, we’ll dive into the four times of the year you can sell your house and list the benefits or drawbacks of listing during these times. In addition to this, we’ll dispel the myth that seasonality alone should be the consideration for when to list your home and outline some other key factors to think about.

Related: House Hacking: Live for Free with an Airbnb Investment Property

Should you sell your home in Spring or Summer?

Spring is the favorite

You’ve probably heard that the best time to sell is in Spring. It’s no surprise that this is the case.

The weather isn’t too hot and splendid, and this means lots of buyers are more willing to explore open houses.

Families will also prefer to close deals in early Spring so that they can move into their new homes during the Summer before the school year commences again in the Fall. This helps them avoid any disruption to their kids’ schooling during the year.

Keep this in mind if you’re listing homes that are ideally suited for families.

The drawback, of course, is that everyone is selling in Spring.

This means competition can be intense for your specific neighborhood, and it’s something you should keep in mind. If you see a lot of listings up, then you may want to reconsider and list your house during another part of the year.

This also applies if you’re looking to engage a real estate agent as they’ll be swamped with trying to move as many houses as possible during Spring, which means possibly less attention focused on yours.

Related: How to make an offer when buying a house

Summer should be your second pick

Now, of course, Summer is the next best option as the weather is nice, warm, and predictable.

It’s also when most jobs are a bit calmer, and this gives you added time to help prepare your home for sale.

The weather is great though it can get a bit too hot. But this means home improvements can be done outside without having to worry about whether it’ll rain, snow, or way too cold.

Not to mention the added daylight that comes during this time of the year.

You’ll find most summer listings tend to focus on around June with closings happening towards mid-July and creeping into August.

Many families who’ve put off their home during Spring are buying during Summer as well. These families will be looking to close homes fast so that they can get their family moved into the new place before the school year commences again.

This is great for you, as they’ll put in competitive offers in the hopes of closing the deal fast.

Summer is not without its drawbacks. A brutally hot summer can deter buyers from venturing out too far and hitting up many open houses. Summer also means it’s vacation time and many families may spend this time enjoying the Summer instead of house hunting.

The strong sun also results in more expensive maintenance costs to keep your open house running with cool air conditioning and yard work.

Summer’s not a bad option, but there are factors working against it being an attractive time of the year to list your house for sale.

Fall and Winter – only if you have no choice.

Fall

Now keep in mind as you’re reading this, our opinion on the best time of the year follows the North American seasonal convention. This means Fall and Winter are when it starts to get chilly, rainy, and dark.

Chilly and rainy doesn’t sound too comforting, does it? Nope, and that’s why it’s not the most attractive time of the year to list a house for sale.

But if we move past that, there are some advantages to selling a house during Fall.

The biggest perk is far less competition due to fewer houses on the market. And this doesn’t necessarily mean there are fewer people looking to buy a house.

Many buyers that lost out on offers in the Spring or Summer will continue to look during the Fall and will be even more eager to close a deal.

There’s also just circumstances in life such as a family new to the city that’ll dictate them looking for a house during this time.

Costs related to fixing up your home and getting it ready for listing will also fall during this time of the year due to less demand for those professional services.

That being said, it is the colder and wetter month that deters any home buyer from wanting to do the rounds of open houses. School semesters have also begun that will cause families to postpone their home buying in order to not disrupt their kid’s schooling.

As it’s getting colder, heating costs will rise related to keeping the house warm and attractive during viewings. Not to mention the added costs to maintain the lawn and surroundings as trees start to shed their leaves.

Looking to buy another home for your short term real estate investment? Signup for Zumbly to find out the investment score of the homes in your area.

Winter

Now of course, if we could avoid it, we’d never sit through winter and jet right to the tropics on a whim.

This same sentiment is shared by homebuyers when they think about house hunting during the winter.

This means winter is by far the hardest time to move a house. The only exception to this is if you’re looking to sell in ski towns or other prime winter resort areas.

Now there are a few advantages to listing in the winter, so it’s not all doom and gloom. Winter is the end of the year, and this means tax season is fast approaching. Many home buyers will be rushing to close a sale in order to take advantage of any tax benefits they’re eligible for.

Of course, there’s also less competition in the area as fewer folks are looking to sell their home during this time, which is another benefit. The snowy landscape can also mean it can hide certain unattractive features of your current house.

The end of the year also means there may be a lot of relocation happening amongst families. This coincides with a ‘fresh start’ to the new year and can mean they’re only beginning to look for homes during the winter for a move in the following year.

Now, countering these benefits are the unattractive winter conditions that make it less likely for people to want to spend their days visiting open houses. The shorter daylight periods mean your home is also viewed in the dark more often and might hinder its appeal.

Many buyers are looking to take advantage of this low season in home buying and are coming in to negotiate down on any listed price — not the most attractive buyers you’d want to sell to.

If there are significant maintenance repairs that need to be done on your house, winter is also the most difficult and expensive time to carry this out.

Winter isn’t the best time, but your personal circumstances will determine whether it is the best time for you.

This is why it is also important to consider other factors that may influence if it is the best time to sell a house. We believe it shouldn’t be an evaluation purely based on the season.

Because of this, here are some other criteria to consider:

Your personal situation

The first thing to consider is your own household financial situation. This will play a big influence in deciding which is the best time to sell. Are you upside down on your current mortgage? Are there tax advantages to selling sooner or waiting. Can you hold off on selling by renting the home out until the market improves?

Other factors to consider are also pressing life needs.

If you’re about to start a family and need to upgrade to a bigger home. Then it might be challenging to wait, and this should inform how soon you list. Do you need to get in on a hot market quickly so that there’s better access to schools for your children? Or did you just move jobs that dictate a move for a better quality of life?

It’s important to consider all these when determining when’s the best time to list your home.

Get better insights on properties near you. Signup for Zumbly to find out.

The real estate market and the broader economy

Adding to this is whether the market is hot and how the broader economy is doing. Are mortgage qualifying rates going to go up soon and make it difficult for future home buyers to take out home loans? This might mean it’s better to sell now rather than wait.

Are home prices skyrocketing or has it been relatively flat growth year over year? Gain a strong understanding of how the market has been doing and pay attention to trends and market indices out there that track regional or national home sales.

Related: What is a good cap rate for a rental property?

How polished is your current home?

It may be Spring and you’d like to list your home as soon as possible. However, if your home isn’t spruced up and polished – regardless of the season, it’s not going to be a hot commodity.

This should be considered when deciding when to list as the time on the market for a particular home can start to deteriorate it’s listed price value.

You want a home that’s been polished up and is attractive to buyers. If this means you’ll have to spend a season working on repairs, it’s better to do that and list later than list sooner only for the home to hang in the market.

Related: How much does it cost to build a house?

Conclusion

Moving homes is a big life decision. It requires careful thought and consideration with multiple factors weighing in. It is not quite as simple as picking the hottest season and listing.

Pay attention to what makes a season attractive and see when this applies for your given region. Spring versus Winter won’t matter as much if you’re based in the Tropics but there may be regional nuances that play into when home buyers are out on the streets looking for the best deal.

Buying a House Checklist

Decide on Your Budget

How much should you spend on your future home? Deciding on your budget is very important, as is looking at your potential investment numbers for your prospective home.

Some things to keep in mind when deciding on your budget is taking all of your other debts into account, as well as your monthly to yearly expenses. Calculate your monthly spendings and potential budget, and make a list of your monthly debts, including your credit card debts. Some things to keep in mind when calculating your monthly spending and debts include the following:

  • Travel expenses
  • Entertainment expenses
  • Gasoline expenses
  • Car lease or car loan payments expenses
  • Online entertainment membership expenses
  • Fitness memberships expenses
  • Dining out expenses
  • Grocery expenses
  • House utility expenses
  • TV Cable expenses
  • Auto insurance expenses
  • Clothing expenses
  • Public transportation expenses
  • Sanitation and garbage expenses
  • Student loan payment expenses
  • Other minimum loan payment expenses
  • Health insurance expenses
  • Life insurance expenses
  • Property tax expenses
  • Mortgage or rent expenses
  • Homeowners or renters insurance expenses

It is important to sometimes lower your housing budget in order to ensure that you will be able to pay all of your high-interest debts in a shorter period of time. However; it may be more worth, often times, to spend that extra cash that may be a little bit out of your budget, if it means that you will have greater investment potential in the long-run. This is what makes Zumbly special; we help you find the house that will make you the most money, and potentially, pay for itself!

Imagine being able to travel for free. This cuts down your travel expenses and your monthly debts and expenses tremendously! What if we told you that you could travel for free, whenever you wanted to? Check out our “The Ultimate Thailand Vacation Guide: How To Travel For Free With Zumbly” to find out more about how this works and how we can help make traveling for free a reality for you.

Related: How to Make an Offer when Buying a House

The Search for a House

House searching can be the best part of the buying a house. Searching for houses is extremely exciting, but it is often taken for granted. When conducting your house search, you want to keep a few things in mind; among the most important is asking yourself how much you can invest in your potential house.

In other words, will your house be able to potentially pay for itself? You can rest assured that our Zumbly Home Score will help you make most effective and most efficient house search yet.

Our Home Score here at Zumbly generates a real-time scored that is based on over 500,000 calculations. Homes in each city are weighed and are scored against each other. We will discuss more about housing investing and how in this article.

In our next section below “Can You Invest?” we describe how Zumbly can help you find the most worth-it home on the market. What are you waiting for? Start searching!

Can You Invest?

The most important thing you have to ask yourself during your buying-a-house-checklist is: can you invest? Zumbly shows you that the approach to buying a home, although very emotional, can be a financial decision which still fulfills your lifestyle needs.

You want to make sure that you are looking at properties that can potentially pay themselves. Invest in your future and protect it by buying smart and knowing your home will be a great rental property when you decide to upgrade, move to another state, or god forbid lose your job.

It’s time to live your dream and buy homes that make financial sense. Here at Zumbly, we make sure to help you buy a house that will build you wealth, not debt. Your ideal home is one that will allow you to live your lifestyle, while remaining a solid investment. Zumbly generates a real-time score based on over 500,000 calculations!

If you want to make sure that you are buying a property that you know you can invest in, use Zumbly’s filters to search what a property can really do for you.

Go to Open Houses

When it comes to buying the right house, you want to make sure that the house is what it appears to be on the internet. When you have narrowed down your search, in terms of potential neighborhoods that you like or know are best to invest in, make a list of the houses that you want to take a closer look at.

When you find something that you particularly do not like in a specific house, make sure to ask yourself if it is an easily fixable and simple cosmetic issue. If this is the case, then you have to weigh the pros and the cons; is this cosmetic issue worth not buying this property? The answer is usually no, so it is something that you want to keep in mind when looking at houses and properties.

lady looking through magnifying class

Check Your Credit Score

Before you begin your home search and home-buying process, is it a good idea to check your own credit. Most lenders see your FICO score, so make sure that you are using a FICO score. This will grant you the time that is necessary to work on further building your credit score if required, even the slightest increase in your credit score can make a big difference for you in the long run.

Downpayment and Closing Costs

If you are looking to get a mortgage, then the most important step is deciding on which mortgage type is right for you. The first process to getting a mortgage is getting your credit checked.

Next is getting approved by the mortgage, and this is followed by choosing the right mortgage. Some mortgages will allow a part, if not all of your downpayment to be obtained from a gift. Others types of mortgages, however, will typically be more restrictive. It is important to keep in mind that most lenders will want to see that you have you can afford your payments and that you have a substantial amount of money in your reserves that will allow you to cover your mortgage payments for a couple of months.

After resolving which type of mortgage is right for you, you will want to find the best lender. A big part of your buying a house checklist includes figuring out your downpayment and closing costs. Your downpayment is essentially the initial payment that you will make, when you buy something on credit. In our case, what you are buying on credit is your house.

Related: How Does Rent to Own Work in the Year 2019?

Documentation

If you are applying for a mortgage, the lender will ask you for several documentation. If you make sure to gather all of the necessary documentation ahead of time, you will surely be buying yourself time and expediting the process. This will help you to obtain your approval sooner. Below is a list of necessary documents that you will need when applying for a mortgage:

  • Tax Returns: Your last two years’ tax returns are necessary documents because your mortgage lender will want to obtain a full history of your current financial situation. Your lender will want to see that your annual income is consistent with your listed reported earnings, and that there are no especially large fluctuations from year to year. By singing a 4506-T Form, you will grant your lender the permission to request a copy of your tax returns from the IRS.
  • Credit History: Your credit history report is a necessary document. It is needed for your lender to asses you as a borrower. In order to do this, your lender will need your written or your verbal permission. If your report has blemishes, which might include a previous foreclosure or sale, they will need to be explained. As the borrower, you have to be prepared to write a statement, in which you explain any negative items that exist on your credit history report.
  • Photo ID: Your photo ID is a necessary document that you have to provide for security purposes. This is so that you can prove that you are exactly who you are claiming to be. Your driver’s license, or Social Security card are also acceptable.
  • Employment or Income Verification: This includes the documents of your last two years’ tax returns, W-2s, 1099s, and your last few paychecks.
  • Renting History: If you already own a home, lenders may request proof that you will be able to pay your mortgage on time. Documentation of your renting history may include a year’s worth of canceled rent checks, or documentation which shows that you have been able to pay your rent by the due date. If you do not have an extensive credit history, then your renting history is critical.

It is important to keep in mind that your lender may ask for additional documentation and information to what is provided on this list.

Mortgage Pre-Approval

In essence, a mortgage pre-approval, is the same as applying for a mortgage. The only difference, is that in a mortgage pre-approval, you do not have a specific home that you want to buy in mind.

A preapproval is a commitment of lending you, the borrower, money. A mortgage pre-approval will make you look like a more serious buyer. The process of a mortgage pre-approval includes having your lender examine your credit history reports, your annual income, and your employment history.

Following this, your lender will be in charge of determining the maximum amount that you can borrow, exactly which loan programs you qualify for, and the interest rates that you will be offered.

Getting Inspection

Getting inspection should be an important part of your buying a house checklist. After you have chosen your ideal home, you get a short inspection period, which typically lasts from three to five days.

During this time, you are given the opportunity to hire a professional housing inspector to conduct a thorough inspection of your new property. This is important because if there is something that seems off, you will be given the chance to resolve whatever it is that is of concern.

Most home inspections are standard, and include the inspection of structural elements. These structural are comprised of your houses’ foundation, floors, ceilints, roofs, and walls. Inspections will check for parallel vs horizontal cracks on your floors, will make sure that your house’s foundation appears to be secure, that your roof does not have any leaks, and history concerning fires in your house’s attic.

Your professional housing inspector will typically also conduct an exterior inspection. This exterior inspection includes the evaluation of landscaping, elevation, wall coverings, drainage, grading, fascia, sidewalks, fences, windows, doors, exterior receptacles, tims and lights.

If your house has an attic, this is typically inspected together with your roof, to evaluate your roof’s construction, the framing and the ventilation. This will cover questions such as the length of time in which the roof must be replaced, its average life expectancy, and the number of layers that it is composed of.

Appliances are also inspected during your housing inspection. This includes the close examination of your range and oven, any built-in microwaves, smoke detectors, garbage disposals, and your builtin dishwasher. Washers and dryers may be included in this inspection; however, it is important to make sure that these items are not the original owner’s personal property, and that he or she will not be taking the items with them.

Let us help you make your buying a house experience as fun as it can be, by helping ensure that you are not only buying a house, but investing in it and creating the future that you want for yourself. Search for your ideal house with us today!

Related: 10 Best Real Estate Investor Websites in 2019

How Long Does It Take To Buy A House?

The benefits of owning a home on your own piece of land cannot be overstated.

  • You no longer have to rely on other apartment tenants to observe the quiet rules, or other quirks they may impose on you.

  • You can make as much noise in your house as you want, at any time of the day.

  • To a large extent, you can improve your home and land without asking for other people’s permission.

  • You have your own land for gardening, food production, relaxation, and pet activity.

Truly, buying a home is elevating your social status and wellbeing, not to mention solidifying your inheritance for your children.

Related: Best Time Of Year To Sell A House

Buying a house or building your own?

Ideally, in order to get yourself a house that is perfectly suited just for you, you would have to have it built from scratch. This would make it possible to include just the number of rooms and configurations you need, along with the inclusion of the latest building materials and technology, which would ensure a comfy, energy-efficient home.

Unfortunately, building your own house would take at least a half a year. To build your own house, you have to start from finding the appropriate land, buying it, finalizing architectural and engineering projects, connecting all the infrastructure, and getting all the licenses and paperwork in order. It may even be cheaper in the end due to all the effort and time involved, but most people prefer to buy a finished house to avoid all the hassle.

Furthermore, the reason why so many people want to buy an already built house instead of building their own is due to location considerations. It is quite difficult to get a plot of land in an area that has already been developed; one that has all the amenities you would expect and require from modern civilization.

Another reason is that the time to become a homeowner is drastically reduced if you just buy a house instead.

Related: How Much Does It Cost To Build A House In 2019?

How long does it take to buy a house?

Theoretically, it can take forever to buy a house if you have preferences that are hard to meet!

Joking aside, we can break up the average house-buying time with the following phases of acquisition:

  • Shopping and house-seeing through all the interesting offers take about 30-60 days.

  • Closing the contract takes about 14-60 days from the initial agreement.

  • If you opted for a mortgage, it takes about 14-45 days before the first payment arrives.

In short, you can expect to buy a house as soon as 30 days, or as long as six months. It all depends on the specific market you are interested in and the time of the year. On average, you can count on at least three months before you finalize your house purchase.

How to conduct your house search?

Thanks to the internet, finding a house has never been easier as all the databases, real estate agencies, and advanced search filters have moved online, for free. In the comfort of your home, you have powerful online tools at your disposal to hone in on exactly the type of house you want to buy:

  • Price range

  • Area

  • House surface area

  • Land surface area

  • Number of rooms and bathrooms

  • Connected utilities

And many more.

Some house search websites have more advanced search filters than others, but the key is to take full advantage of every single search field. By doing this, you are more likely to find the exact match you want.

Inevitably, you will get fewer results with all the search filters applied. If you are not happy with those results, start removing search filters one by one, in order of importance. Eventually, you will get what may be a match. At that point, it is time to contact a real estate agent for an in-person view of the house.

Another thing to keep in mind is to combine the search results with Google Maps. If the website you are using doesn’t have integrated Google Maps function, it’s always a good idea to see both satellite and street view to get a sense of the area. Just make sure to note when those images were taken. It takes a couple of years for Google to update their maps.

Some house-hunting websites took a step further and offer extremely useful features such as 3D tours of each room, or even VR integration!

Sadly, this is still not a mainstream standard. It will all depend on the real estate agency, the region you select, and your budget.

Related: Buying A House Checklist

Dealing with money and paperwork

Finding the right house was the easy part. Dealing with the paperwork is the hard part.

(Just imagine the paperwork involved if you were building your own house.)

To demonstrate your seriousness in finalizing a house purchase, you have to ratify a contract. Any real estate agent is required by law to give you a reply on your offer within 48 to 72 hours.

Then, it will depend on how much you negotiate the terms of purchase, and how skilled your real estate agent is.

This is the time period referred to as contract-to-close.

After your offer is approved, it is time to call for the home inspection. Each state regulates this differently, but generally, a home inspection should be completed under ten days upon signing the purchase contract.

If the home inspection reveals unknown issues, the contract needs to be negotiated in order to include repairs or seller credits. If you are unfortunate enough to deal with a major issue, like a faulty septic tank, contract closing may be delayed by weeks.

Now, depending on how you choose to deliver the money for the purchase, you can have two divergent time frames until the purchase is completed.

  • If you are buying a house with cash from a direct bank transfer, the time it will take will be the shortest. As short as the real estate agent and your bank will allow for. On average, the entire process will be done within a week or two. And even sooner if the bureaucracy facilitating the title searching and issuing new owner documents is good at its job.

  • If you are buying a house with the help of some kind of financing mechanism, that’s another story altogether. Expect at least one to two months for the purchase to finalize.

Moreover, you must be aware that the last big economic crash was largely a result of the house market crash. Therefore, new loan guidelines, launched in October 2015, actually increased the time it takes to complete a house purchase to 45 days on average.

Some loans are even more time-demanding. USDA, FHA, and VA loans, to name a few, take longer. You will find that this process is rather frustrating. At one point you will be required to amass a large collection of documents, while at another point there will be nothing to do but wait for the loan approval. In any case, account for at least two months spent on the loan approval process.

Upon the approval of your mortgage, you will be given a copy of your closing disclosure, which details:

  • Loans

  • Terms and fees

  • Closing fees for finalizing the purchase

For closing disclosure to be issued, you can expect no more than three business days.

Additionally, if you are accounting for mortgage payment into the buying process, the time-frame may vary.

Usually, the first mortgage payment arrives on the first of the following month. Exerting some cleverness, you can defer this inevitability. For instance, by closing on April 15, your loan facilitator can prorate your interest and taxes, making your first mortgage payment arrive on much later – up to June 1.

Don’t shy away from exploiting such loopholes given your state of residence. It is perfectly legal, and you will give yourself some much-needed breather from the financial woes.

Related: Mezzanine Loans

Takeaway

When buying a house, preparation is the key.

Finding a house can take as long as you are comfortable with, but finalizing a purchase is when things get out of your hands.

This is especially true if you are financing the purchase instead of buying it directly with your existing cash on your bank account.

These two scenarios offer completely divergent time frames for a house purchase to be finalized.

The first scenario usually doesn’t take more than two weeks, while the second one may protract for up to half a year.

Therefore, make sure you have prepared your financing in advance:

  • Save for a down payment to demonstrate credibility to the loaner.

  • Have a good credit history record.

  • Avoid taking any new loans at least three months before taking on the house mortgage.

  • Research what documents you need to submit for credit pre-approval and if you qualify for special loan programs.

Whatever bureaucratic and banking trials you have to conquer, in the end, it will be all worth it when you have a place to call your home.

Related: How To Make An Offer When Buying A House