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January
26

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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January
16

Buying your first home can be stressful if you don't know what you're doing. Here are the best tips to hit the ground running.

Are you hoping a new home is in store for you in the coming year? If "buy a house" is at the top of your New Year's resolutions, you'll want to start planning for your big purchase now, especially if it's your first time buying a home. Here are a few tips from our real estate agents to help you get on track.

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December
19

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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September
19

A home's age is sometimes a big factor in whether or not you want to buy it. This guide will help you decide between new or older homes.

If you're thinking about buying a house, one of the questions on your mind may be whether to opt for a new build or an older home. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. The following guide from our real estate agents lays out the basics of what you need to consider before making your decision.

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April
4

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.

February
1

Selling or buying a home often spotlights special exterior and interior features that add visual appeal. Whether you're drawn to old-world traditional style or elegant contemporary glamour, our real estate agents can help you find the perfect home that appeals to your personal design style.

One of the most important interior features in South Bend homes for sale is the flooring.Beautiful rugs can immediately add ambiance and style that quickly turns your home into a design showplace! W hen choosing rugs for your home, think about the look you're trying to achieve, the size of your room, and your lifestyle.

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December
21

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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September
28

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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July
6

Swimming Pool - Buy a Home - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

A pool is a fantastic amenity and a prominent feature that many homebuyers desire. However, like any other special feature of the home, a pool requires proper maintenance and upkeep — which is one reason why some homebuyers would rather not make an offer on such a listing. Our real estate agents are here to help you determine if a pool is right for your next home.

Should You Purchase a Home With a Swimming Pool?

As you search for South Bend homes for sale, is a pool high on your must-have list? Believe it or not, some homebuyers don't even consider if they want or need a pool before they begin their home search. This uncertainty can present added stress when you're on the fence about making an offer on what may be your dream home. Let's look at some of the potential benefits and drawbacks of purchasing a home with a pool.

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June
15

Starter Home - Homebuyers - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

What a wonderful time of life. You're starting a family and you and your partner are ecstatic, contemplating how things will be for the three of you. Savor these moments, because there are some challenges ahead, as you well can imagine. One of the foremost may be finding a home for the three of you among South Bend homes for sale.

The home you're in may be fine for now, or even when your child is an infant. But things can change quickly. To be sure, even now you may be thinking how your tiny kitchen just won't be big enough for three. So let's get going and see what kind of wisdom we can glean from the recommendations of our REALTORS®, who've been down this track before.

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February
24

Overcome the Odds - Buy First Home - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

Buying a home for the first time can be a challenge. At Cressy & Everett Real Estate, our real estate agents are always there to advise you. That means not only finding you the best South Bend homes for sale, but helping you make the right choices every step of the way.

Buying a home may seem intimidating at first, but there's good news. Many buyers simply jump into the process with both feet. If it throws them a curveball, they often end up having to walk away from the home they want. By spending some time researching – like you're doing right now – you are much more likely to succeed.

Your real estate agent is there to guide you, but in the end, you make all the decisions. So, the more you know about buying a property, the easier it'll be. A little knowledge goes a long way! Here's how to beat the odds as a first-time homebuyer.

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February
3

Home Warranty Considerations - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

Imagine a month after you move into your new house, the refrigerator suddenly breaks down or you wake up to no heat in the middle of winter. It can be inconvenient, stressful, and expensive to repair or replace malfunction appliances and systems. Not exactly what a new homeowner wants to go through. Purchasing a home warranty can protect you against the unexpected.

Did you know February 10 is National Home Warranty Day? Our real estate agents give a breakdown of what home warranties are, what they cover, and why you should consider investing in one.

What is a Home Warranty?

A home warranty is not the same thing as a homeowner's insurance policy, but rather a contract between a home warranty company and a homeowner that pays the cost of repair and replacement of a home's major components. Separately, homeowner's insurance covers major perils such as property crimes, fires, and water damage that could affect the homeowner's personal possessions or the entire structure. If you have a home warranty, you have a service contract to help if there's a need for costly repairs or when you have to replace a covered item in your home.

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January
13

Mortgage Denial Next Steps - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

Buying a new home is exciting! You've checked out available South Bend homes for sale, figured out your down payment, and have a mortgage pre-approval letter from a lender. You finally found the perfect home and it's time to get a mortgage. You apply, get excited, start packing and then you hear the two most dreaded words in the home buying process: "Mortgage Denied."

It happens. If you've been rejected for a loan, it can be jarring, but you can turn it around. The key is understanding the reason(s) why you were turned down, and how to fix any problems.

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October
15

Toolbox for Home Maintenance - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

If you've just become a homeowner for the first time, you're probably feeling thrilled, exhilarated, and probably more than a little exhausted. If so, you're far from alone.

Our real estate agents understand the challenges of homeownership, and once you've made it through the homebuying process, it's time to start thinking about the ongoing responsibilities of owning and maintaining your home. These are the tools you'll need now that your home's maintenance is your responsibility. 

  • Adjustable Crescent Wrench
    No need to invest in a whole set of wrenches in every size. Just get a couple of adjustable crescent wrenches, so you can match the jaws to nuts and bolts of any size. Go for a self-ratcheting wrench so you don't have to remove it from the bolt over and over again to tighten it. 

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July
8

Mortgage Approval for Self-Employed-Cressy & Everett Real Estate

Getting a mortgage isn't what it once was. After the market crash of a decade ago, getting the funding for the most expensive purchase most people will make during their lifetimes has been heavily regulated and for good reason. If you're looking for South Bend homes for sale and happen to be self-employed, your journey toward a mortgage comes with some additional challenges.

Even so, our real estate agents can help you take the right path to mortgage approval.

  • Get Your Documents in Order
    The first rule of getting a mortgage for anyone is to get all of your financial documents in order and be prepared to present them if asked by your lender. A non-self-employed person who earns regular wages can expect to provide a couple of months of bank statements, a handful of paystubs, and a couple of years of tax returns.

    The self-employed mortgage applicant, however, may be required to provide the same documentation but more of it. If you keep proper books, then it shouldn't be any trouble providing both business and personal documents that show cash flow through the business and translated into personal income. In short, be prepared to do a little more work to prove your financial status and income.

    Click Here to Read More...

June
10

Final Walk-Through - Cressy & Everett Real Estate

So you've sorted through the many South Bend homes for sale, found the perfect one, and your offer was accepted. You've got your financing in order and are anxiously anticipating your closing date. Congratulations! Your final walk-through and the closing are now the only steps standing between you and homeownership. 

While the final walk-through might seem like a formality, it's actually very important. This is your last opportunity to ensure that any agreed-upon repairs have been completed as expected and there are no changes to the home since the last time you saw it. These five tips from our real estate agents will make the process easier and help ensure you don't miss a thing. 

  1. Gather Up Your Essentials
    Before you head over to the walk-through, take a minute and gather up all of the items you might need. These include a copy of your contract, your inspection summary, and your smartphone.

    You might need to reference your contract or inspection documents if something doesn't seem right. Your smartphone will be invaluable if you need to take photos to document an issue. Most importantly, make sure your real estate agent comes with you. They've likely done this hundreds of times and can act as a second set of eyes to ensure you don't miss anything. 

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May
13

 

Home Inspection Issues-Cressy & Everett Real Estate

When buying a home, the seller should disclose any problems or information that would otherwise make you reconsider purchasing their home. But sometimes these things are only revealed after a home inspection.

Don't let a home inspection discourage you entirely from purchasing a home, though. Our real estate agents have been on both ends of home inspection issues and have a few tips and tricks for helping you work through them with the seller.

  • Get It in Writing
    Before you get too far, make sure that your contract has provisions for what happens if something goes awry during the home inspection. In most cases, basic contracts have wording that allows you as the buyer to request or schedule a home inspection within a number of days from the contract being signed. 

    Unfortunately, that's where most of it ends and there is very little detail outlining what happens or who is responsible for repairs if something is found to be unsatisfactory. At this point, it's up to you to negotiate with the seller to find a fair and equitable solution, or, better yet, leave this part to your real estate agent to negotiate on your behalf.

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April
29

 

Mortgage Approval College Grads-Cressy & Everett Real Estate

Student loan debt is a growing problem, and for many Americans thinking about buying their first home, the weight of that debt can be crushing. We believe that owning a home should be possible for anyone, and our real estate agents are here to help. 

According to a recent report by Forbes, student loan debt is at an all-time high in 2019, with 44.7 million U.S. borrowers collectively owing $1.56 trillion in student loan debt. If you're one of them, that debt can feel like an impenetrable barrier between you and your dream of becoming a homeowner. Here's why it's not. 

Getting a Mortgage With Student Loan Debt

Student debt is especially a problem for first-time home buyers, who tend to be younger and less experienced. Many student debt holders cite their debt as a major reason for putting off buying a home, despite today's historically low mortgage rates and the variety of low to no down payment mortgage options available. 

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April
8

Neighborhood Safety-Cressy & Everett

The house looks nice and the price is right. It's close to work and schools. But is the neighborhood where it's located safe? This is one of the most important considerations to make when buying a house. It's not only important for your own well being, but also for your home's potential resale value. So how can you tell if the neighborhood is safe? Here are a number of ways.

  1. Walk the neighborhood at different times of day and night. Talk to neighbors to find out the history of the house and neighborhood. Chat up people in nearby businesses and other parts of town and ask opinions of the neighborhood. Exploring the neighborhood on foot allows you to notice things you wouldn't in a car, such as barking dog or neighbors playing drums.

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February
25

Indiana Home Winter Warm
No matter how cold it gets outside, our real estate agents are here to help you find the perfect Indiana home for you. Our team works in rain, shine, or even the Indiana snow.

That said, it's important to recognize that Indiana winters can be fierce. Especially if you're new to the state, it's vital to prepare your home well in advance.

Of course, our winters in Indiana aren't the worst. No matter where you're from, you'll soon get the hang of things. All you need to do is get the right information in front of you early on.

Yes, some parts of Indiana can have major winter storms. Most trouble in the cold season isn't caused by heavy snow; however, it comes about as a result of putting off preparations.

Here's how you can get your home ready and keep it comfortable all winter long.

  1. Use Natural Light to Get a Head Start on Heating
    The sun remains the most energy efficient heater around. Even in the dead of winter, most days will have some sun. Part the curtains, raise the blinds and open the shutters to let heat in during the day. Then, close windows up tight and cover them to keep the heat from escaping overnight.

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February
18

Buy a Home this Winter

What's on your winter checklist? Winterize your vehicle? Get the kids new snow boots?

Buy a home?

Believe it or not, the winter season is actually a great time to purchase a home in the Northern Indiana and Southwestern Michigan real estate area (a.k.a Michiana). Most prospective homebuyers are surprised when our real estate agents inform them about the many advantages of purchasing a home during these snowy months. Our team at Cressy & Everett Real Estate, feel that all future homebuyers should be aware of the perks that come with viewing and putting an offer on a home during this time of the year.

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January
28

Buying a Home - Read This Before You Apply for a Mortgage

Our real estate agents often hear from our new clients that the process of getting a mortgage is intimidating. That's understandable!

Having an experienced real estate agent on your side does a lot to make applying for a home mortgage manageable.

Even so, it's important to know a few things about the process. Once you learn more, you'll see exactly what you need to do to make things easier.

That can be just what it takes to make your worries evaporate. The truth is, most people learn getting a mortgage is quite a bit easier than they imagined. It just takes some preparation.

These four steps will make it easier:

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December
10

FHA Loan Pros & Cons
At Cressy & Everett Real Estate, our real estate agents are experienced in all of the many programs that help you buy a home. A variety of programs are available for first-time home buyers and prospective buyers with different needs.

Navigating these programs is not always easy, but the right expertise can help. One program that many people ask us about is the Federal Housing Administration loan (FHA).

FHA mortgage loans are intended to put homeownership within reach of first-time buyers. Even those who may have had financial difficulties in the past can succeed in securing an FHA home loan if they can meet some fairly straightforward requirements.

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November
26

Commuting & Home Buying

Before you finalize your list of new home must-haves, be sure you consider your commute time and travel costs. If you plan to buy a home in Saint Joseph, Michigan and work here too, it shouldn't be much of an issue. When the census documented local workers' travel time, they calculated an average 14.7 minute commute time. That's far less than the national average.

Our real estate agents understand the attraction of moving your family to a small town or suburb. Smaller communities have a lot to offer, but before you make a move, consider the pros and cons of an extended daily commute.

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October
22

Home Buying Fees
When you're looking at South Bend homes for sale, it's important to pay attention to your budget. Unfortunately, many people don't think about the additional fees you'll encounter when buying a home. The exact amount of money you'll need can vary significantly. Even though you may not have a firm number until you are going through the closing process, there will be extra expenses, so you need to be prepared. Don't let any of these fees catch you by surprise.

Before You Buy a House Know What You Could Be Paying

  • Home Inspections. Most people know about the general home inspection, but depending on the property, the results of the general inspection, and local ordinances, additional inspections may be required.
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October
15

Buying a House - Closing Day
Finding that one amazing home you love is exciting! Your offer was accepted, but it's not officially yours quite yet. Closing is the last part of the process and that's when the property officially changes ownership. Our REALTORS® are here to make your home-buying easier with these six must-dos before closing day.

  1. Make sure contingencies are completed
    The sale isn't finalized until all of the contingencies are handled. In most cases that includes the financing, the inspection, and the appraisal. These are all important because if the financing falls through, the inspection turns up major problems, or the appraisal comes in at less than the purchase price, you have the right to back out of the sale.
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August
6

Buying a House in Nappanee
Nappanee, Indiana regularly ranks as one of the best small towns in the state to call home, and every new resident finds reasons to love the community. Nappanee's excellent school district, outdoor attractions, unique history, and tight-knit community make it an especially popular choice for families. Are you buying your next home in Nappanee? Our real estate agents are here to help you get to know Nappanee and provide a preview of what you have to look forward to in your new hometown.

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July
9

Buy Your Dream Home
We spend a lot of time talking about the steps you can take to identify your dream home, and for good reason. Finding the perfect home takes work. But what do you do when you've done the prep work, and identified a dream home that matches your budget? Our real estate agents know what it takes to make your homeownership dreams come true. We've put together a guide for what to do next when you have found your dream home.

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June
25

Buy First Home
Buying a home for the first time is a big deal, but that definitely doesn't mean that you have to get a bad deal. Studies show that first-time home buyers are more likely to overpay than more experienced buyers, and that is largely due to a lack of experience. The good news is that there are plenty of effective ways to prepare for buying your first home and avoid getting overwhelmed by the process. Our real estate agents are here to help, with a guide on how not to overpay when buying your first home. 

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May
29

Buy Your First Home
To rent, or to buy? Homeownership is a huge part of the American Dream for many people, but buying a home for the first time is also a big decision both financially and personally. Choosing the right time to switch from renting to buying can make life much easier, and there are plenty of good signs that can help you decide whether now is the time to buy a home of your own. Just as with the decision to buy a home, the signs that you're ready to buy are both financial and personal. Our real estate agents have five key signs that you're ready to stop renting and buy a home.

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