Carrie Reynolds | Ponte Vedra Beach Real Estate, Jacksonville Real Estate, St. Johns Real Estate


When you move into a home that you worked so hard to buy, it’s an exciting and overwhelming time. The biggest problem with a new place is that you don’t know your surroundings very well. Even if you have just moved down the street, there’s a lot of new things to be discovered from new neighbors to new places to explore. 


One thing that many new homeowners overlook is the way in which their new home functions. Do you know where the circuit breakers are? What about that switch in the corner of the living room that doesn’t seem to do anything? While the seller's disclosure and your home inspector will give you a wealth of information, you can gain a lot of knowledge just by asking questions. 


Sellers may not be eager to answer too many questions at first for fear that their answers could jeopardize the sale of their home. You can safely ask a lot of questions at the final walk-through or at closing since the seller will know that they’re secure in the transaction.         



What’s Strange About This House?


While you wouldn’t word a question to a seller in this exact way, you do want to know if there’s anything unique or anything that you should anticipate about the home. Remember that you should be subtle, yet curious in your question asking. 


What Type Of Repairs Have Been Made?


While you expect that most repairs will be on the disclosure statement, anything that has been done in the past is noteworthy as well. It’s helpful to know what’s been done in the house in the past so you have an idea of what to keep an eye out for.


Where Are The Important Utility Boxes In The Home?


Not all home inspectors are created equal. Your inspector may not be great at educating you as to where things are in the home like the circuit box, the water switches, the pump, or the controls for the furnace. The seller can often show you the location of these items in the house. This will prevent you from a lot of confusion starting at the time you move into the home. 


Have You Enjoyed Living In This Neighborhood?


You can discover a lot about a neighborhood if you just start a conversation about the seller’s own experiences. You can learn a lot through this simple question. Are there any crazy dogs in the neighborhood? Where are the best places to eat in the area? While you may not ask these questions directly, you can gain some powerful information just by being curious and conversational.

Gaining a good rapport with your seller can get you places. You’ll know a bit more about the home and the seller will even feel more friendly towards you. The seller could even leave some cool stuff behind that they don’t need like a microwave, a piece of furniture, or a patio set. All you need to do is be friendly and curious and you’ll be off to a great start in your new home.


You may see homes listed as in a search for a home that are denoted as a “Homepath property.” You may wonder what this means and if you’re even eligible to buy the property. It is a specialized program, so you’ll want to be informed on what it means to use it and what the process is. 


Fannie Mae Programs


What was formerly known as a Homepath property is now known as The Home Ready Mortgage by Fannie Mae. With the Homepath program, people are able to find and purchase homes with a bit more ease and less financial risk. If you’re buying your first home, this could be the perfect way to get it. This program offers a list of foreclosed properties with really good deals on them. Repeat buyers can also find some great deals through this program, so it has something for everyone. It has so many benefits for anyone who is looking to buy a home.     



How To Get A Homepath Property


Fanie Mae does require that you place a bid through a realtor. The program is designed for buyers to better understand the risks with buying foreclosed homes, while giving them a better opportunity to purchase a foreclosed home. Since foreclosed homes are sold as-is, there’s a risk that the home actually has some serious damage that needs to be repaired at a high cost. This is where a realtor comes in, as they can help buyers to understand ho much work a property may need and the exact risks involved.  


Low Down Payment


  Even if a home through the Homepath program requires extensive repairs, it’s not an opportunity that you should should shoot down right away. Unlike traditional mortgages where you’ll typically need 20% down to purchase, Fannie Mae only requires that buyers place as little as 3% down. This means that with the low cost of the available homes and the small down payment required, buyers can save thousands of dollars in total. Of course, this savings can help buyers to make the required repairs to the home. 


Eligibility Requirements


There’s not many stringent requirements to be eligible to buy a Homepath property. Most people actually can be found to be eligible for these purchases. The biggest requirement is that before buyers reach the closing table, they’ll need to take an education course. This allows buyers to get assistance with the closing costs.  


Learn More About Homepath


If you’re looking to buy a home at a low cost, you should definitely talk to your realtor about the Homepath program. They can also explain more about specific eligibility requirements. It’s easy to make use of this program, so start saving right now and search for a Homepath property.


There are a lot of real estate agents out there to choose from. It might be hard to tell one from another. There’s so many ways to find an agent these days including recommendations from friends and family to simple online searches. You want an agent that understands your needs from the neighborhoods that you’re looking to buy a home in, to the layout of the market that you’re selling in. Each agent has different specialties from relocation needs to foreign languages to FHA approved property searches. Below, you’ll find some tips to help you find the perfect realtor for you. 


Pick Someone Who You Can Have Straight Talk With


You’ll need to like the person you pick as your realtor, but you’ll also need someone who you can talk business with. You don’t want a family member who you don’t feel comfortable knowing your financial picture, or someone who won’t understand your desire for a certain location or neighborhood. 


Match Your Personality


You’ll be in touch with and will be spending a lot of time with your realtor. You want to find a realtor who can work well with you. Match your personality with theirs. Do you like someone who is a bit aggressive? Would you rather have a realtor who is a bit more easy-going? How often do you want to be in touch with your agent? Just remember that if you don’t like your agent, there’s a good chance that other people may not like your agent either! 


The Choice Is Yours


Remember that the choice is yours when you’re looking for a realtor. You want to find a realtor who you know you’ll work well with. You also want to know that your realtor will work for you. It’s important that your realtor be ethical, communicative, and be a part of your team throughout the process of buying and selling. Here’s some questions that you should ask your realtor in order to help you understand if they’re a good fit for you:


  • Will I be working with you exclusively?
  • Are you a full or a part-time agent?
  • How much experience do you have?
  • What broker do you work for?
  • Have you closed homes in this neighborhood before?
  • Do you work with any lenders or have a seasoned team to help us through this process?

  • Asking these questions can help you to get a better understanding of who your realtor is and how they can help you to buy your dream home or sell your current property. This way, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect throughout the process.

Whether your adult children have left the nest or you recently decided to "upsize" to a larger house, you're now faced with the minor "problem" of what to do with that extra space.

While some homeowners just use it for storage or guest bedrooms, there are plenty of other possibilities that are well worth considering.

Exercise room: In spite of the many proven benefits of regular exercise -- ranging from increased strength and endurance to weight control and slowing down the aging process, many people have trouble getting started and staying motivated. It's a lot easier to come up with a laundry list of excuses than join a gym and stick with an exercise program. It's surprising how many people actually join a health club, but then stop going after the novelty (and their enthusiasm) wears off.

However, when you create a dedicated fitness space at home, most of your former excuses no longer hold water! With a home gym or exercise room, you not only have convenience, privacy, and 24/7 availability, but there are no parking issues, traffic problems, membership fees, or noisy weightlifters. If you prefer a regimen that's less vigorous, there's always the option to use the room for yoga, tai chi, and meditation.

Home office: With more homeowners telecommuting, consulting, freelancing, blogging, and starting ecommerce stores, it makes sense to set aside a dedicated space in your home for business and career development. A home office is also a quieter place to go for other tasks, such as paying bills, applying for jobs, social networking, catching up on your email correspondence, or planning your next vacation.

Home library: If you or any of your family are avid readers, a room with lots of built-in shelving, comfortable furniture, and adjustable lighting would be the perfect place to curl up with a good book and a hot cup of tea. Not only would a home library be the ideal environment for reading, studying, or doing research, but it might even encourage your children to cultivate more of an appreciation for reading and learning.

Craft room: Whether there are artists, embroiderers, or jewelry makers in your household, a special room for artistic endeavors lends itself to creativity, while helping to keep craft supplies and projects confined to one area of the house! A craft room can also be ideal for storing gift-wrapping supplies and holiday cards.

Music room: If your family is musically inclined, a separate room for practicing instruments is beneficial to both budding musicians and those who want to watch TV, do homework, or have quiet conversations elsewhere in the house. A dedicated music room can also be a good spot for making music videos, recording music, and having jam sessions.

As you can imagine, extra space in your house gives you and your family the opportunity for more physical, intellectual, and creative development. Designating a spare room, a finished basement, or an attic area for artistic expression or personal development may even encourage others in your family to discover and cultivate their hidden and emerging talents!


When you buy a new sofa or chair, it’s a big investment. You want to know that whatever kind of fabric that you choose will be a good color and texture for a long time to come. When you’re shopping for upholstery, the most important thing is practicality. You may not want to buy a leather sofa with a toddler running around, for example. Any kind of fabric that could get dirty easily, or rip and stain, may not be the best choice when you have kids around the house. There are plenty of durable fabrics available.  


You also need to worry about any pets that you have in the home. Cats and dogs tend to scratch things, rip them, or relieve themselves where they aren’t supposed to. This can cause beautiful, expensive furniture to be ruined in minutes. You’ll want to choose something that is easy to clean the pet hair off of and even easier to clean. 


Choose A Durable Fabric


Even if you don’t have kids, since the majority of people don’t live in a bubble, you’ll want to choose a fabric that is both comfortable and versatile. Adults spill things too! Don’t forget that slipcovers are always an option as well.  This allows you to change your fabric anytime that you wish easily and inexpensively.


If You’re Free Flaunt It


If pets and kids aren’t aren’t a worry for you, you should flaunt your freedom! You can go a bit more elaborate in your choice of fabric and materials. You won’t need the same types of fabrics and colors that a household with kids would need if you’re on your own. Go for that white sofa and own it! 


Consider How The Material Will Age


When shopping for furniture, ask a lot of questions about the lifetime outlook for certain fabrics. You’ll also want to understand how difficult maintaining certain types of fabrics will be. Leather, for example, is a bit more high maintenance than other types of fabric. If the sofa will be near windows, the sun can easily wear through the color of a material. You should have all of these things in mind while you’re shopping for the perfect sofa or chair. 


Take A Look At Everything In Person


While online shopping can be great for many things, you probably don’t want to choose your fabrics for furniture solely based on an internet search. You should be able to see and feel the material to help you decide how it will fit into your home. It’s also important to know how sitting on a certain material feels to you. A material may look nice in a picture, but may not work at all for your needs when you see it in person. Ask for advice from the associates at the furniture store as well. They can help you to find the right material to suit your needs and wants.