Homeownership is a dream of many people and can feel like a daunting task. That’s why a professional REALTOR® with the skills and knowledge to lead you can make all the difference. In a competitive market, nothing beats the power of top-rated agents who have the experience and innovation to make your housing dreams come true. And just like in any industry, not all REALTORS® have the same tools. F.C. Tucker agents can assist you with a traditional sale or a QuickBuy® immediate offer for those times when a fast, hassle-free sale is needed.
Ready to buy a new home, but not sure where to start? These days, the data obtained from multiple listing service (MLS) databases is pretty much accessible to anybody, so all it takes is a few clicks of a button or the right app to start looking at homes for sale.
There’s a big difference, however, between just browsing through online house listings and starting your search. You can’t really turn your dream into a goal until you:
1. Have a downpayment saved.
The more you’re able to save for a downpayment, the better. While it’s possible to put as little as 3.5% down on a home if you’re getting a loan through the U.S. Federal Housing Administration (FHA), 20% down will help you qualify for traditional bank loans and lower interest rates.
2. Know what a lender will give you.
This means getting a mortgage pre-approval. Unlike a prequalification, where a lender makes a cursory examination of your finances and credit and gives you an estimate of what you might be allowed to borrow, a mortgage pre-approval is much more intensive. Once you complete it, you’ll get an offer from the bank (subject to final approval once you find a home) with a locked-in interest rate that’s usually good for 90 days. This makes you a very qualified, attractive buyer.
3. Understand how much house you can afford.
What a lender will give you and what you can truly afford may not be the same thing — but a lot of first-time homebuyers don’t realize that they’re putting themselves in a financial bind by taking on the maximum loan the bank will give them.
You need to consider not only your mortgage payment but also any private mortgage insurance (PMI or “points”) you have to pay, property taxes, homeowner’s association (HOA) fees and homeowner’s insurance. Then you need to figure out what dollar amount leaves you enough room to comfortably afford your other bills, build a savings, make routine home repairs and cover things like food and entertainment costs for your family — without your wallet being stretched to the limits.
Now that you have the basics in place, you have to find your home — and that’s when the real work begins. Here’s how to get started:
1. Make a list of everything you need to have.
Does a three-bedroom home work for your family, or do you need a fourth bedroom so that you have a home office? Is a big, roomy backyard essential, or just something nice to have? The clearer you are about the differences between what your home must have and what you’d like it to have, the easier your search will become.
2. Consider the vibe of each neighborhood.
You won’t find the same atmosphere in the Mass Avenue Arts District, for example, that you find in Westfield or Fishers, so understanding which neighborhoods fit your personal goals is an essential facet of home-hunting. Do a little research online to see which areas mesh with your lifestyle and then go visit them. (In fact, you should probably visit both during daylight hours and at night to see how things change.)
3. Research each area you’ve chosen.
Once you’ve narrowed down the neighborhoods you like the most and selected a few, it’s time to do a deep dive into the area specifics. Check out things like how long homes seem to stay on the market in those neighborhoods, the quality of the local school systems, the crime rates, plus local hotspots and amenities.
Some other good questions to ask about each area include:
- Are there more owner-occupied homes than renters? Typically, a high number of rentals means that the composition of a neighborhood is transmutable, which means it could change — drastically — in a few years. Properties may not be as carefully maintained, as well.
- What would your commute be like? If you rely on public transportation, you need to know how reliable the local system is. If you drive, you need to be realistic about how you feel about a 45-minute commute, for example, instead of a 20-minute drive each way.
The deeper you look, the easier it will be to avoid unpleasant surprises down the road that could leave you disappointed.
Find an Agent
Once you’ve done your homework (pun intended) and know what you want, where you want it and what you can afford, it’s time to get a realtor on board.
Buying or selling a home is a big deal, with huge financial and emotional repercussions for your future. Ideally, you want an agent with both the professional experience and skills that you need for the process ahead and a winning personality that makes you comfortable as you proceed.
Generally speaking, both buyers and sellers should have their own agent, because each agent has a fiduciary duty to look out for their client’s best interests. With something this important, you definitely want an experienced advocate in your corner.
A listing agent (sometimes called a “seller’s agent”) represents the home’s seller from the beginning to the end of their real estate transaction. Aside from handling negotiations with potential buyers on your behalf, this includes services like:
- Researching comparable home sales in the area (“running comps”) to help you determine the ideal price point for your home that will both maximize its value and give you a speedy sale
- Helping you determine what minor repairs and updates should be done before you list your property for sale, and what sort of staging will make your home’s features pop
- Taking photos and/or video of your home’s exterior and interior for use in online listings in a way that highlights the property’s best selling points
- Listing the property for sale on the multiple listing service (MLS) and other websites that house-hunters commonly use for research
- Scheduling open houses to generate interest and private showings with potential buyers who have expressed a sincere interest in your home
By comparison, a buyer’s agent handles the negotiations on the buyer’s end. In addition, they provide services like:
- Helping you understand the real estate market in your price range and which neighborhoods are ideally suited to your lifestyle, interests and goals
- Assessing your lists of “must-have” and “would-like-to-haves” for your future home
- Finding relevant properties in your price range and arranging for viewings
When you finally find the perfect home, your buyer’s agent will take the lead as you make the offer, negotiate the right contingencies to account for potential problems and guide you through the closing process.
What Is Your Home Worth?
If you’re thinking about selling your current home, one of the first questions you need to ask is, “What price can you get?
Pricing your home properly isn’t an easy process. Here are some of the top factors that have to go into the valuation:
- Comparable home sales: One of the clearest indicators of a home’s value is what other homes in the area have recently fetched during their sales. Realtors, online comparison tools and appraisers alike heavily rely on “comps” to fix a value on a home.
- Size and usable space: How many bedrooms does your home have? How many bathrooms? What other usable space comes with your home? Does it have a finished attic or a basement rec room? Is there a fenced-in backyard or a deck? What about a garage, storage shed, greenhouse or other adjacent buildings?
- Location: Location may not be “everything,” but it certainly is important. Potential buyers want to know how close a home is to restaurants, grocery stores, shopping centers and recreation spots. They also want to know what the employment opportunities are like close by, and the quality of the local schools.
- Age and upgrades: The age of your home is another factor that’s calculated into its value. Typically, newer homes are less likely to have major problems with things like the electricity, plumbing or roof. However, older homes that have been well-maintained and regularly upgraded throughout the years can also be attractive to buyers.
Ultimately, your home’s value is whatever buyers are willing to pay. In a hot market, you may receive multiple offers on your property that go well above your asking price. When the market is soft, even houses that are “priced to sell” can sit around for a while, waiting for bids. The more realistic you are about your home’s value, the easier you’ll find the sales process.
Do you need to sell your home fast?
You’re not alone. Sometimes, a family emergency, a health crisis or a new career opportunity leaves people desperate to relocate on short notice.
Whatever the reason you need to move, you need to move today — and you simply don’t have the time to work through the convoluted process of a traditional home sale. This is where QuickBuy® offers you an alternative.
Offered exclusively through F.C. Tucker Company, Inc. QuickBuy® is our version of those “Sell Your Home — Fast!” companies, like Instant Offer. Unlike those companies, however, we deliver the same high-level service to our QuickBuy® clients that we give our traditional sellers.
We freely admit that QuickBuy® is not right for every seller. Our program was developed in response to a serious need we identified among some of our clients, and we simply believe in giving our clients as many choices as possible. If you want a guaranteed sale in a short period of time, and you’re willing to forgo a portion of its sale price, QuickBuy® is the answer to your prayers.
What should you know about QuickBuy®?
- The traditional sales process involves property upgrades, staging, marketing, showings and more in the hope that the seller will get the highest possible price for their home.
- QuickBuy® eliminates all of the hassles and time involved by obtaining a guaranteed purchase offer for your property “as-is.”
- Typically, you can sell the property in as little as 14 days. On average, sellers receive about 10% less as a sales price on their homes than they would through traditional means.
Is QuickBuy® right for you? You have to weigh the pros and the cons and decide what the demands on your life will allow. We just want to make sure that you always have options.
Military on the Move®
Active-duty military members, military retirees and veterans often face unique challenges when they need to move, especially when that move involves buying or selling a home. If you partner with a U.S. Military on the Move® real estate agent, you know that you’ll be working with someone who can help you make your transition from one area to the next absolutely flawless.
The U.S. Military on the Move® program is offered through F.C. Tucker Company, Inc.’s affiliation with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, and it’s designed to show our gratitude and appreciation to both active duty military members and veterans alike.
Leading Real Estate Companies of the World is an invitation-only network of top-notch real estate companies that have demonstrated dedication to their clients and their market leadership.
Here are the answers to some of the most important questions people have about the Military on the Move® program:
1. Who is eligible for the Military on the Move® program?
Our Military on the Move® program is only available to buyers and sellers who are working with a certified Military Real Estate expert from F.C. Tucker Company, Inc. This program is intended solely for military personnel, but that includes active duty, retired service members, Wounded Warriors and all those who received an honorable discharge from any branch of the armed forces.
2. Why work with a Military on the Move® affiliated realtor?
Simply put: You’re guaranteed quality services that are tailored to military members and their families, and the benefits of a global network of qualified realtors.
Member real estate companies are located in more than 70 countries, with thousands of offices and more than 100,000 dedicated sales associates, so there’s always someone close by with the skills you need. Plus, these first-class realtors facilitate more than a million home sales — worth billions of dollars — every year.
Wherever your military move takes you, Military on the Move® is uniquely suited to help guide you through the adjustments.
Rebates for Veterans
Whether you’re buying a home or selling one, the expenses can quickly pile up — but the Military on the Move® program can help take some of the sting out of those costs by offering qualified buyers and sellers a cash rebate. That’s cash that goes back in your pocket — right at a time when you can use it the most for moving costs, upgrades, new furniture and more.
Here are some of the most important things you need to keep in mind about eligibility requirements and the rebate program through Military on the Move®:
- You must register with the Military on the Move® Program and agree to work with a certified Military Real Estate expert while buying or selling your home.
- You must register with Military on the Move® prior to contacting a real estate agent, listing your home for sale or starting the purchase process on a new home.
- You are not limited to any specific lender or lenders in order to participate in this program. However, F.C. Tucker Company, Inc., is a full-service company that can put you in touch with a loan officer from Tucker Mortgage. That may make it easier to get pre-approved and work through the loan process.
- Additional rebates may be available if you choose to work with Tucker Mortgage and Title Services.
Your rebate is calculated on the commission earned by the realtor who represents you throughout your real estate transaction. The rebate is 20% of your realtor’s commission, and there is no dollar limit on the amount. For example, if your realtor earns $10,000 as a commission when you sell your home, you would get $2,000 back at closing!
The rebate program for military members and veterans is just one of the many ways that F.C. Tucker Company, Inc. aims to be everything you need when you’re at a critical point in your path. We’re proudly leading the way home for thousands of Indiana residents for years — and we don’t intend to stop now.