Aurel Garban - Unlimited Sotheby's International Realty


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In a seller's market, buyers often wonder how they can edge out other interested parties and make their offer more appealing. There is often the tendency to forgo some protections that homebuyers have on their side in an effort to make things easier for the seller. One of these might be the suggestion to skip the home inspection. 

Home Buyers Should Opt for a Home Inspection

Opting for a home inspection is always a good idea. Most sellers won't hold this against you and many even expect you to have one done. If you don't, then you are relying solely on what the seller tells you about the condition of the various systems within the house. While some sellers might not know that anything, in particular, is wrong with the home, it is not always required that known issues are disclosed at the time of sale. That's why it's important to get an objective and professional opinion from a third party. 

What To Expect During a Home Inspection

It's important to understand that the home inspector will evaluate both the exterior and the interior of the home. While every inspector is different, you should expect them to complete the basics such as assessing the insulation in the attic, inspecting the eaves and the roof, flush the toilets and turn on all the faucets, check the fuses, switches and electrical outlets and more. 

What you should not expect your home inspector to do is to rip up the carpeting or knock a hole in the walls. These actions are simply beyond the scope of their job. That being said, many home inspectors can provide you with their best guess regarding what's behind the walls and under the current flooring. Chances are your home inspector has experience working with homes in your area and can read the clues that are found in the home. 

Home Inspection Pointers to Consider 

It's important to be present during the home inspection. This will allow you to hear everything that's said about the house firsthand. You'll also be able to ask any questions right then. The inspector will provide you with a written report afterward as well. 

Be sure to take what is found by the inspector seriously. If there are issues with the home, it's time to assess if it's the right one for you. You can also try to negotiate with the homeowner. This could involve you asking the owner to fix the issues first or for money so you can do so yourself. 


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A neighborhood is a neighborhood. And a business district is a business district, right? Unfortunately, it's not so cut and dry. There are actually nine major zoning types in most areas. And these can impact things like home use, home value, and property taxes. Zoning can change over time.

Let's explore the five you're most likely to encounter. 

1. Commercial

Generally, this property is intended exclusively for money-making purposes.

Commercial zoning has several sub-categories that may define how the land can be used. This varies by city but may include:

  • Office space
  • Shopping 
  • Night club
  • Hotel
  • Apartments
  • Certain commercial buildings may have added restrictions such as distance from a school or residential area. As a home-buyer, it's important to consider how commercial property near you is zoned. For example, if an apartment complex may go up in that vacant lot down the street someday, this may impact whether you want to move here now.

    2. Residential

    Residential zoning can include a wide variety of housing types:

  • Single-family
  • Duplexes
  • In-law units
  • Garage apartment rentals
  • Trailer parks
  • Condos
  • Tiny homes
  • Home-based businesses
  • Whether these are allowed depends on local and community codes. For example, many city ordinances may state that mobile homes are not permitted in city limits. This may impact tiny houses as well.

    Residential zoning typically prohibits "farm animals". So building a barn or keeping a cow in the back yard may be against the law. What is permitted may impact the community and home values change over time. So it's vital to consider.

    3. Rural

    Rural zones cover land outside a metropolitan area or in between towns. People of this property often have more control over what they do with their land. They'll typically pay less for land in these areas as well as fewer taxes. That also means that homes may appreciate less in these areas.

    But keep in mind, if rural land is close to city limits, it may become residential at some point. This may increase your home value because you now have access to city services. But you'll also see property taxes rise.

    4. Historic

    When cities want to maintain the charm of an older part of town, they may classify it as historic. If you move here, you will have to comply with rules intended to keep an original style. But as a trade-off, you may be entitled to grants and federal tax credits. If well-maintained, a historic home can be an exciting place to live.

    5. Aesthetic 

    Aesthetic districts are designed to maintain a unified aesthetic throughout the neighborhood. This makes the community more desirable. In theory, this keeps house values on the rise. They are often run by HOAs who may dictate for example:

  • Outside paint colors
  • Types of shrubs
  • Fencing
  • Mailbox style
  • Real Estate Zoning & Buying a Home

    Zoning is a crucial part of the home buying decision. It influences both what you can do with the property and how well the property holds its value. For more home buying tips, follow our blog.


    No one wants to face a homebuying dilemma. Yet problems may arise during the homebuying journey that make it tough for an individual to find and buy his or her dream residence. Lucky for you, we're here to help you prepare for potential homebuying dilemmas and ensure you can quickly address these issues.

    Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you avoid a homebuying dilemma as you search for your ideal house.

    1. Craft a Homebuying Strategy

    If you intend to embark on a home search, it often helps to enter the real estate market with a plan in hand. That way, you can streamline your house search and boost the likelihood of finding a quality home that matches your expectations.

    Think about where you want to live, as well as the features you want to find in your dream home. Then, you can create a homebuying strategy designed to help you discover the right house.

    2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

    Obtaining home financing may prove to be problematic for some people. However, if you apply for a mortgage today, you can start your search for your dream home with a budget at your disposal.

    There is no shortage of mortgage options available to homebuyers nationwide. Adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages are two of the most popular options for homebuyers. Meanwhile, banks and credit unions can teach you about adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages and other home financing options at your convenience.

    If you meet with banks and credit unions, don't hesitate to ask mortgage questions, either. If you learn about all of your mortgage options, you can make an informed home financing selection that may serve you well for years to come.

    3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

    There is no telling when a homebuying dilemma will crop up during your search for your dream residence. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive expert assistance with any homebuying dilemma, at any time.

    A real estate agent understands the challenges commonly associated with buying a home. Therefore, he or she will do everything possible to help you address these challenges as you navigate the homebuying journey.

    Typically, a real estate agent will help you craft a property buying strategy, narrow your home search and establish realistic homebuying expectations. He or she also will set up home showings, teach you about different aspects of the housing market and provide homebuying recommendations and suggestions.

    If you discover your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase this home too. And if your homebuying proposal is approved, a real estate agent will help you finalize your house purchase as quickly as possible.

    There is no need to stress about homebuying dilemmas. If you take advantage of the aforementioned tips, you can get ready for potential homebuying problems and resolve these issues before they escalate.


    The decision to buy a house may be one of the biggest choices that you make in your lifetime. As such, a potential home purchase should be fully evaluated to ensure you can achieve the best-possible results during the homebuying journey.

    Furthermore, it may be beneficial to discuss your homebuying plans with family members, friends and other loved ones. There are many reasons why you may want to share your homebuying plans with loved ones, and these reasons include:

    1. You can gain homebuying insights that you might struggle to obtain elsewhere.

    Loved ones frequently are happy to share their homebuying insights with you. Thus, if you keep loved ones up to date about your homebuying plans, you may be able to gain comprehensive real estate insights that you won't find anywhere else.

    Let's not forget about the past homebuying experiences of loved ones, either. If a loved one had a positive or negative homebuying experience, you may be able to learn lessons from this event that could help you navigate the homebuying journey.

    2. You can look at the big picture.

    Oftentimes, the temptation to rush through the homebuying process can be overwhelming, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. If you consult with loved ones, however, you can slow down and look at the big picture as you prepare to pursue your dream residence.

    Loved ones are unafraid to be honest, especially when it comes to a life-changing decision like buying a house. Therefore, if you reach out to loved ones before you enter the housing market, you can assess your short- and long-term plans and map out your homebuying journey accordingly.

    3. You can get the help you need to succeed.

    No one should be forced to pursue a house on their own. Lucky for you, loved ones are available who can help you discover your ideal residence in no time at all.

    Sharing your homebuying plans with loved ones may enable you to get plenty of support throughout the homebuying journey. Plus, if you ever have concerns or questions as you pursue your dream house, loved ones are ready to assist you in any way possible.

    As you prepare to embark on a home search, you may want to consult with a real estate agent too. In fact, a real estate agent will ensure you can enjoy a seamless homebuying experience, regardless of where you want to live.

    Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you informed about new residences as they become available and help you submit offers on houses. This housing market professional also will negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf, guaranteeing that you can get the best price on any home, at any time.

    Ready to kick off a successful home search? Connect with loved ones – and a real estate agent – and you can get the assistance that you need to find your dream house.


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    If you've been dreaming of buying a home or have started looking at houses and mortgages, you've likely seen ads and information that directly targets the first time home buyer. Buying your first home is a significant milestone and one of the most financially beneficial things you'll ever do, and there are some mortgage programs designed to help first time buyers succeed in this life changing endeavor. If you're buying a home for the first time, you should know what programs and perks are available to you so you can strike the best possible deal. Even someone who has purchased a home in the past (but is now a renter) may be able to qualify for some of these plans. 

    What is a First Time Home Buyer?

    On the surface, its simple -- a first time buyer is one who has never owned a home or had a mortgage. For some programs, though, a first time buyer can also be someone who has not owned a primary residence in the past three years. If you fit either of these categories, you should check out the programs offered for this increasingly large group of buyers. 

    Programs for First Time Buyers

    First Time Buyer Mortgage Perks: Just about every mortgage company now offers some kind of perk or benefit for first time buyers; talk to your real estate agent to learn more about your options as you shop for your home. FHA, VA and USDA loans are particularly good for first time buyers, since they offer low down payments and more relaxed credit requirements. 

    Grants: The Federal government and both state and local governments offer first time buyers assistance in the form of grants. The idea behind these grants is to bolster the buyer's ability to make a purchase, often by helping them out with a downpayment. Grants vary by location and do not have to be paid back; they are designed to help first time buyers get past one of the big barriers to ownership -- that 10 or even 20% downpayment. New Jersey has a grant program for first time home buyers; this plan is replicated by most other states as well. Search your state or city name and "first time home buyer grants" to learn more -- or better yet, work with an experienced real estate agent and get the scoop directly from them. 

    Good Neighbor Next Door: This plan can help you save up to 50% of the purchase price of a home if you are a civil servant - police officers, firefighters, teachers and others who serve the community can benefit from this national program, with details seen here.   Because of the nature of the loan, most borrowers are first timers and can purchase homes they would otherwise be unable to afford. 

    HomePath: Fannie Mae offers this program for first time buyers; it can save you up to 3% on your closing costs. You'll need to attend a class, must be a true first time buyer and purchase a qualifying property to save. Other perks include a first look at foreclosed properties as they arrive on the market, making this an ideal program for areas with a lot of competition for buyers. 

    First Time Buyers Can Find Big Savings

    The time to learn about first time home buyer benefits is now -- before you make a purchase. Once you have a mortgage, you no longer qualify and you could miss out on some substantial savings. Get in touch today if you are buying your first home -- we can help ensure you know about all the ways you can benefit and help walk you through the ownership process, every step of the way. 




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