Todd Alperin - Coco, Early & Associates The Olivares, Molina & Alperin Division

Posted by Todd Alperin on 3/4/2018

If this is your first time buying a home, you might be worried that you aren’t asking enough questions. Or maybe you’re concerned you’re not asking the right questions--the things that matter the most when making a financial decision as important and life-changing as buying a home.  

While everyone’s situation is unique when buying a home, there are some questions that all buyers could benefit from asking. These questions will help you learn more about the home, how competitive the house is, and how much work you’ll need to put into it.

Since time is usually of the essence for people buying a home, it makes sense to ask questions early on so that you don’t waste too much time exploring an option that isn’t ideal for your situation.

In this article, we’re going to give you 5 important questions to ask when you talk to a seller and their agent so that you can be prepared to make the best decision for you or your family.

1. How flexible is the asking price?

While few sellers or agents will outright tell you if they’d accept a lower offer, it’s still a good idea to ask this question, as it will open up a conversation about the seller’s feelings toward the home and whether they’re pricing high with the hopes of receiving slightly lower offers.

2. How many offers has the home received?

It may seem counterintuitive, but most agents and sellers will be quite happy to tell you if they’ve received other offers. They know that once you know the current offer you’ll have to either come up with a higher offer or move on. It’s a win-win for you and the seller, as it equips both of you with information you need to make the best choice.

3. Why are the sellers moving away?

This question can be personal, so if you receive an answer that suggests it’s a family matter, don’t press for too many details. However, some sellers and agents will let you know exactly why the house is for sale. From this simple question, you can learn the seller’s timeline for making the sale, details about the schools or neighborhoods, and any other reason that might drive someone to move out of the neighborhood.

4. Are there any problems with the house that you know of?

Although you’ll have an inspection contingency in your contract if you do decide to make an offer on the home, it’s better to know if there are any issues with the home before going through the bidding process.

Most sellers understand this and will be upfront about any problems with the home, including repairs that need to be made now or will need to be made soon after you move in.

5. What is the average cost of utilities?

Buying a home comes with a lot of added costs and fees. However, many people forget about the changes in the cost of utilities that comes with buying a home--especially if you’re moving from an apartment where some utilities may have been included.

The seller will be able to give you a good estimate on the cost of electricity, garbage removal, internet, heat, and more.

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Posted by Todd Alperin on 1/21/2018

A home inspection often plays a key role in the homebuying journey. If an inspection shows that there are no underlying problems with a house, you should have no trouble moving forward with a home purchase. On the other hand, if an inspection reveals a variety of structural problems with a house, you may need to reconsider your purchase decision.

Ultimately, a homebuyer who knows what to expect during a home inspection can plan accordingly. This buyer also may be better equipped than others to accept the results of an inspection and make an informed choice about whether to move forward with a home purchase.

What does it take to achieve the best-possible results during a home inspection? To find out, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can prep for a house inspection.

1. Hire an Expert Home Inspector

There is no shortage of home inspectors available in cities and towns nationwide. However, employing an expert home inspector will require you to conduct an in-depth search.

When it comes to finding an expert home inspector, it pays to search far and wide. Because if you have an expert home inspector at your side, you can boost the likelihood of identifying major and minor house issues during an inspection.

2. Assess Every Area of a House

Oftentimes, a home inspection takes several hours to complete, and for good reason. In order to fully evaluate a residence, you'll want to be diligent. That way, you can minimize the risk of missing potential problems as you perform a home assessment.

As you walk through your house with an inspector, don't hesitate to ask questions too. In fact, a home inspector may be able to provide insights into home problems and repairs that you might struggle to obtain elsewhere.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can help you find your dream house, as well as put you in touch with the top home inspectors in your area. Plus, this housing market professional likely will walk through a house with you during an inspection to ensure you can get the support you need to make an informed homebuying decision.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is happy to consult with you before and after a home inspection. Prior to an inspection, a real estate agent will help you put together a plan to assess a house. Meanwhile, after an inspection, a real estate agent can discuss the inspection results with you and help you determine the best course of action.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide throughout the homebuying journey, either. This housing market professional can help you streamline your search for your dream house, submit a competitive offer on a residence and ensure you can purchase a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.

A home inspection may seem daunting at first. Luckily, if you plan ahead for a home inspection, you can use the assessment to gain the insights that you need to determine whether a house is right for you.

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Posted by Todd Alperin on 1/7/2018

If you’re looking to make a new investment in property, buying fixer uppers could be for you. If you want to flip a house in order to sell it for a profit in the future, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind when searching for the right houses to flip. 

What Could The Property Sell For After It Is Flipped?

As you look at different properties, think about your end game. Choose a property to flip that you see a lot of potential in. Envision the property and keep a post-flip listing price in mind. You’ll need to have some other numbers in mind when determining the final price for the property. These include:

  • Construction costs
  • Desired profit percentage
  • Fees

Understand the amount of profit that is left for you after all fees and expenses are taken into account. You want to be sure that the property is worth it for you as an investor.

Have A Vision For What The Property Needs

The kitchen and the bathroom are very important when it comes to property values and the attractiveness of a property. many times, these will need to be redone. The kitchen and bathroom also tend to be the most expensive rooms in the home to renovate. Also, consider adding amenities to the home. These could include beverage coolers, kitchen islands, fireplaces, or additional bedrooms. The home should have the things that will appeal to a large number of buyers. Also, consider the area where the home is located. A fireplace may not be as important in Los Angeles as it is in Vermont. Even simple things like changing paint colors make a huge impact in the home. If you need help finding your vision, just remember that buyers want to be able to see themselves in the home.              

Find Dependable Help

If you’re going to flip houses, you’ll need to have a list of dependable people ready to get to work. These will include contractors and builders. You’ll eventually build an entire network of people who can be of service to you. You need to avoid making any changes   that are personal to you. No matter how much you love the house, you shouldn’t make any elaborate changes that might be seen as ornate by another party. 

Keep Things Fresh

If you stay on top of trends, you’re more likely to get more return on your investment in flipping houses. While you want to stay on budget, technology is key in today’s housing market. People want smart homes with automated lighting, speakers, automated temperature controls, and more. If you don’t have the budget to do the whole entire house this way, keep the improvements to key areas of the home like the entrance or living room.

Build A Good Reputation

House flipping can sometimes be seen as a shady business. If you build a good reputation and always do business in a way that has the buyer’s best interest in mind, you’ll succeed in house flipping. 

Flipping houses may not be for everyone. Yet, with the right planning, you can find some success and satisfaction in home renovations.

Posted by Todd Alperin on 12/3/2017

Buying a home will likely be the most important and expensive purchase you ever make. And, although that might seem like a scary commitment, it’s one well worth it. It’s an investment in your future. There are many benefits or perks that come with owning a home.

Equity: Owning your own home typically comes with gaining equity. Every month that you pay your mortgage, you are increasing your equity. And as long as the market continue upwards, your home and the equity you’ve gained will hold significant value.

Privacy: Privacy is a large perk of owning your own home. This is more so possible when owning a single-family home in a rural location, but many duplexes and condos also provide opportunities for privacy. And in many cases, since you own the home,you can put up your own privacy such as planting arborvitae trees along your properties edge.

Tax Advantages: One of the biggest perks when owning a home is the ability to deduct mortgage interest on your federal income taxes. This will be a significant amount for the first few years of your mortgage, making this a huge benefit. Although, the amount of interest paid decreases over the years, there will still be deductible interest paid in the last few years of your mortgage.

Space: Houses will almost always provide you with more space than an apartment—and it will certainly have more space than your childhood bedroom. The space will be all yours, which means not having to share with other renters or your parents. Of course, home location and the market come into play here, but for the most part you will get more square footage for your money—as landlords charge high rents to cover things like water, electricity, snow removal, or still charge high rent prices and do not cover any of those other expenses.

No restrictions: There are many restrictions that come with renting or living in a condominium. These restrictions could include no pets, parking restrictions, outdoor updating restrictions and many other different types of constraints. When you own your own home, you make the rules. If you want to put up a fence, you can. And if you want to put an addition on your house, you can do that too. Just be sure to check with your town before beginning any construction projects.

Establishment: Buying a home provides you the ability to set down roots, to be established. Although, not a benefit to some, it is to many. Buying a home provides you with ownership and a sense of freedom. You now have the opportunity to invest in something that is yours. You can make updates to the bathrooms, add a pool in the backyard, and paint the front door any color you want—because it’s yours.

A home is often the foundation of one’s life and who can deny its appeal with these perks discussed above? So, what are you waiting for? Start your search today!

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Posted by Todd Alperin on 11/19/2017

Looking to buy a house in the next few months? Ultimately, a cautious approach to purchasing a residence may prove to be ideal, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

There are many reasons to err on the side of caution as you search for your dream house, including:

1. You don't want to pay too much for a house.

Although acquiring your dream house may seem priceless, it is important to remember that the costs to purchase a residence can add up quickly. As such, if you're not careful, you risk overspending on a house.

Lucky for you, there are many simple ways to avoid the temptation to bid too much on a residence.

First, analyze the housing market closely and search for patterns and trends. If you discover an abundance of houses is available, you may be operating in a "buyer's" market. As a result, you may be better equipped than ever before to acquire a top-notch residence at a budget-friendly price.

Don't forget to get pre-approved for a mortgage prior to starting your home search too. That way, you can enter the housing market with a mortgage – and budget – in hand.

2. You want to find a house that you can enjoy for years to come.

A home is one of the biggest purchases that an individual will make in his or her lifetime. Thus, it is important to allocate the necessary time and resources to assess a house before you submit an offer on it.

Of course, a home showing is a must prior to the submission of a home offer. A home showing allows you to walk around a residence and envision what life might be like if you purchase this home.

After you submit an offer on a house, you'll likely have the opportunity to complete a property inspection before you finalize your home sale. This inspection is important, as it enables you to learn about any "hidden" problems that may have gone unnoticed during an initial home showing.

If you feel comfortable with a residence after an inspection, you can move forward with a home sale. Or, if you aren't comfortable with a house at this point, you can always submit a counter-proposal or remove your offer entirely.

3. You want your home to retain its long-term value.

Let's face it – buying a home is a tough decision. And if you need extra help determining whether a home purchase is a viable long-term decision, it may be a good idea to consult with a real estate agent.

Typically, a real estate agent can respond to any of your homebuying concerns and questions, at any time. He or she is happy to help you explore high-quality houses, and by doing so, will enable you to take the guesswork out of discovering a residence that will retain its value.

Err on the side of caution as you proceed along the homebuying journey, and you should have no trouble purchasing a residence that matches or surpasses your expectations.

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