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First-time buyers can sometimes be caught off guard by closing costs. Here's how you can prep for them.

When you're shopping for a home, it's easy to focus only on the price of the house and forget about the other costs associated with buying a home. According to Business Insider, closing costs can be over $2,000 in Indiana, including taxes. To avoid showing up at closing with empty pockets, our real estate agents recommend budgeting for the following expenses when preparing to buy a home.

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Buying the right home is especially important when you're a parent. Here's what you should look out for when shopping.

Whether you already have a family or are just planning on one, it's important to keep your kids in mind when shopping for a home. Here are a few things our real estate agents recommend paying attention to if you have a family or plan on starting one someday.

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Sometimes a pending sale can fall through. Here are the top reasons why.

As either a buyer or a seller, it can be a relief to go under contract. But our real estate agents say not to count on the sale quite yet, as there are a lot of things that can cause it to go sideways. Here are a few common reasons that pending sales fall through.

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Buying a home comes with upfront costs that you'll need to save up for. Here's how to find out how much you'll need.

Saving up the money necessary to buy a house can seem overwhelming, especially if you don't know how much exactly you'll need to have on hand. Let our real estate agents break it down for you so that you have a better idea of how much you'll need to save to make your dream a reality.

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Nervous about buying your first home? Here are some pointers that can help smooth out the process.

Buying your first home may seem like a lofty or overwhelming dream, but with a little preparation, your dream home can be yours! Here are a few tips from our real estate agents for buying your first home.

  • Start saving NOW.
    Buying a home requires a fair amount of savings. Upfront costs will include things like the home inspection, closing costs, and however much of a down payment you want to make. In addition, you'll want some money set aside to take care of any move-in expenses, such as repairs or upgrades that need to be made immediately. Saving up this amount of money can take some time, so start saving now, even if you're not planning on buying a home right away. The more you save, the better your buying power will be.

  • Do your research.
    In the meantime, while you're dutifully saving all of your extra money for your house fund, you can start doing some basic groundwork. Research homes in the areas you're interested in, finding out more about neighborhoods and market values so that you know where you want to start looking when the time comes. You may also want to look into mortgage options and calculate your payments so that you also know how much house you can afford in your preferred neighborhoods.

  • Get help.
    Saving up for a down payment as a first-time homebuyer is difficult, as you won't have equity in an existing property to put toward your next home. Fortunately, there are a lot of programs to help first-time homebuyers come up with their down payments. Grants and even some forgivable loans may not need to be repaid if you stay in your home for the minimum required amount of time.

  • Get preapproved.
    When it comes time to start the search for your dream home, the first thing you should do is to get preapproved. A letter of preapproval from a lender does a few things. First and foremost, it gives you a budget and lets you know exactly how much house you are shopping for. This can help fine-tune your search and prevents you from wasting time looking at houses you wouldn't have been able to afford. Just as importantly, it'll tell everyone, from your real estate agent to home sellers, that you're serious about buying a home and that you've got the financial backing to do so. With as fast as South Bend homes for sale are going under contract right now, this is especially important, as it makes your offer look more appealing and can help you to move faster if you see a home you like.

  • Find a good agent.
    Last but definitely not least: It's especially important for a first-time homebuyer to get a good agent, someone who can help them learn the ropes and navigate the home buying process from beginning to end. Look for someone who knows your desired areas well and can help you to find the home of your dreams for a price you can afford.

Buying your first home is a big undertaking, so it's especially important to have an agent you trust to help guide you through the process. If you're ready to start the search for your first home, contact us today, and we'll help make your dream a reality.


Buying a Home Just Got More Convenient | Cressy & Everett Real Estate

The COVID-19 pandemic, and the social distancing requirements that came with it, initially created a lot of chaos and inconvenience. However, as time goes on, we've all found creative ways to adapt. Some of the changes that were born out of necessity have now made life much easier.

The real estate industry is one place where going virtual has made a real difference. Our real estate agents love how much more convenient the buying process is for their clients. Here are a few of the ways social distancing has changed things for the better.

  • Virtual Tours
    Virtual tours are the first option most buyers will explore when looking at South Bend homes for sale. These are short videos that show off the best features of homes listed on the market. While this is certainly nothing new, many buyers use them to narrow down their choices before going further.

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Condo or House - Buy a Home - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

So, you're looking at South Bend homes for sale, and you see many different types of properties with different square footage and features. Should you buy a house? Or should you buy a condo? Each has its benefits and drawbacks. One has a pool and is close to downtown. The other has a fenced-in yard and is in the suburbs. Since homeownership and condo living are two different experiences, what you decide to buy will come down to your needs, preferences, and overall financial picture.

How Are Condos and Houses Different?

A condominium is a private residential unit within a larger building or complex. Condos are more like apartments, so they're a denser form of housing. Condo owners have full control over what happens inside their home, but the exterior of the building and common areas are owned and maintained by a condo board or homeowners association (HOA). Condos are usually found in more urban areas and are very popular with investors, downsizers, and first-time buyers.

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First-Time Buyers in 2020 - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

At Cressy & Everett Real Estate, our real estate agents are working overtime to help home buyers take advantage of the unique opportunities offered by today's market. We've introduced a wide range of virtual tools to make house-hunting easier while limiting face-to-face contact.

And after a brief lull, buyers like you are back in action and looking for South Bend homes for sale. Not too long ago, buyers and sellers alike were expecting a rocky market. But there's no need to wait for a broader economic recovery before you buy: Sellers are moving forward with their plans, and the best thing most buyers can do right now is join them.

Many buyers in Indiana are finding the homes of their dreams. You can be one of them.

So, what changed? In short, everyone in the real estate market is doing their best to adapt to the new reality, and the results benefit everybody. Dire predictions of a housing market crash have been avoided. With the right advice, buyers are flourishing. That's especially true for first-time buyers!

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Waterfront Living - Buy a Home - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

Waterfront living is one of the most desirable features of properties around the world. Many men and women are simply draw to the waterside, opting to lay down roots or purchase a second home with a waterfront setting. In fact, our real estate agents have noticed that many South Bend homes for sale buyers and sellers are often interested in exploring waterfront property opportunities around Lake Michigan in places like St. Joseph, Michigan. If you're wondering if waterfront living is right for you, here are a few reasons why homeowners love living by the water.

  • The Pros Usually Far Outweigh the Cons
    No matter who you ask, it's likely that they'll always end any complaint for living by the water with more reasons why they love the location despite any relevant problems. Waterfront property is one of the most desirable property types, whether it's oceanside or lakeside. Even if some properties require certain maintenance chores or small lifestyle changes, many homeowners continue to claim that nothing beats waterfront living.

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Buy Home Sight Unseen - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

When the market heats up and the competition is crazy, potential buyers are sometimes tempted to make a sight-unseen offer. That means making an offer without viewing the property in person. Sight unseen offers are common in this era of online shopping and advanced technology. And with the global COVID-19 pandemic keeping more Americans physically distant, homebuyers are more willing to put an offer on a home without physically seeing the property.

However, putting in an offer sight unseen can be risky. If you're considering this approach, do your homework and let our real estate agents help on the ground so you can make your offer safely, smartly, and without any hesitation. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Know What You Want
    Some homebuyers have an ambiguous idea of what they want in a home and tend to rely on that gut reaction when they walk into a home. Unfortunately, for buyers shopping sight unseen, this isn't an option. You need to have a clear picture of what you want in your dream house. This includes things like the number of bathrooms and bedrooms, floorplan, type of windows, and how close you want to be to amenities. Have a list of must-haves and deal-breakers to help guide your search.

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