Kathy Wilfert - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage


After you receive an offer to purchase your residence, determining the best course of action often can be difficult. Because if you make the wrong decision, you risk missing out on an opportunity to sell your house and maximize its value.

Ultimately, it may prove to be beneficial for a home seller to submit a counter-offer. There are many reasons why a seller may choose to provide a counter-proposal, and these include:

1. A homebuyer's initial offer to purchase fails to match your expectations.

Although a homebuyer's initial offer to purchase your residence fell below your expectations, you can always submit a counter-offer to find out if a buyer is negotiable. That way, you may be able to work with a buyer to find a common price that is suitable for all parties.

When it comes to selling a house, there is no harm in submitting a counter-offer. Remember, the worst response a home seller will receive to a counter-proposal is a simple "No." And even in the worst-case scenario, a seller can move forward with the property selling journey and await an offer to purchase that matches his or her expectations.

2. You are flexible about the price of your house.

As a home seller, you probably realize that what you originally paid for your house is unlikely to match your residence's current value. But even if you set a competitive initial asking price for your home, you may still want to negotiate a counter-offer if a buyer's initial proposal falls short.

The housing market constantly fluctuates, and a sector that favors sellers today may favor buyers tomorrow. Thus, if you are flexible about the price of your house, you can always negotiate a price with a buyer that accounts for the present state of the real estate sector.

3. You want to get the best-possible price for your residence.

The goal of the home selling journey is to obtain the best price for your home, regardless of the real estate market's conditions. Therefore, rather than accept or reject an offer to purchase, it may be beneficial to see if you can receive a better proposal from a buyer.

As you move along the home selling journey and review an offer to purchase, you should not hesitate to collaborate with a real estate agent. With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive plenty of guidance throughout the home selling journey.

Typically, a real estate agent will help you list your residence and promote it to prospective buyers. He or she will set up home showings and open house events and keep you up to date about any offers to purchase your residence. Then, when you receive an offer to purchase, you and your real estate agent can work together to determine how to proceed.

Hire a real estate agent – you'll be glad you did. By employing a real estate agent, you can get the help you need to fully analyze an offer to purchase your residence.


If you plan to purchase a house soon, you may want to narrow your home search. In fact, there are many reasons why you should hone your house search, and these include:

1. You can seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.

The homebuying journey may seem tough to navigate, regardless of whether you're a first-time or experienced property buyer. Thankfully, narrowing a home search enables you to speed up the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Ultimately, a refined home search allows you to focus exclusively on residences in your preferred cities and towns. This will make it simple for you to find houses that fall within your price range, set up home showings to view these residences and proceed accordingly.

It also may be beneficial to craft a list of home must-haves and wants before you conduct a house search. With homebuying criteria at your disposal, you can further accelerate the homebuying journey.

2. You can act quickly to acquire your dream house.

As a homebuyer, you must be ready to pounce at the opportunity to purchase your dream house. Because if you hesitate during the homebuying journey, you may miss out on the chance to buy your ideal residence.

If you narrow your home search, you may be better equipped than other homebuyers to act quickly to submit an offer to purchase a great house at an affordable price. And if your offer to purchase is accepted, you then can move one step closer to acquiring your dream home.

3. You can avoid wasting time and resources.

When it comes to finding a home, it generally is a good idea to plan ahead as much as possible. That way, you can avoid the risk of wasting time and resources throughout the homebuying journey.

With a refined home search, you can increase the likelihood of maximizing your time and resources. A refined home search ensures you can focus solely on residences that you are sure to enjoy and avoid houses that are unlikely to match your expectations. Then, you can find your ideal home and transform your homeownership dream into a reality.

As you get ready to start a house search, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent. By hiring a real estate agent, you can receive plenty of support as you evaluate residences.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to find a house in any city or town. He or she will learn about you and your homebuying goals and offer personalized home search tips. Plus, a real estate agent will set up home showings and keep you up to date about open house events. Perhaps most important, a real estate agent will respond to your homebuying concerns and questions and ensure you can make informed decisions at each stage of the homebuying journey.

Take the guesswork out of finding the right house at the right price – hire a real estate agent, and you can receive expert assistance as you search for your ideal residence.


Obtaining a mortgage can be overwhelming, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of analyzing various mortgage options and choosing one that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help first-time homebuyers secure the ideal mortgage.

1. Assess All of the Mortgage Options at Your Disposal

Both fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages are available, and homebuyers who understand the pros and cons of these mortgage options may be better equipped than others to make the right mortgage decision.

A fixed-rate mortgage ensures a homebuyer will pay the same amount each month. For example, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage enables a homebuyer to budget for monthly home payments over the course of three decades. And in many instances, a homebuyer may be able to pay off a fixed-rate mortgage early without penalty.

On the other hand, an adjustable-rate mortgage may start out with a lower monthly payment that escalates over the course of a few years. An adjustable-rate mortgage, for instance, may allow a homebuyer to acquire a home that surpasses his or her initial budget thanks to a lower initial monthly payment. However, after the first few years, the monthly mortgage payment may increase, and a homebuyer will need to plan accordingly.

Assess your mortgage options closely – you'll be glad you did. By doing so, you can boost your chances of selecting a mortgage that works well based on your current and future financial needs.

2. Evaluate Your Credit Score

Believe it or not, a first-time homebuyer's credit score may impact his or her ability to get the right mortgage. Fortunately, a first-time homebuyer can analyze his or her credit score without delay.

You can request a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Then, with your credit report in hand, you can better understand how potential lenders may view your mortgage application.

Of course, if you receive a copy of your credit report and find glaring errors, be sure to let the credit bureau know immediately. This will enable you to get any mistakes corrected and ensure these problems won't slow you down as you pursue your dream residence.

3. Consult with Potential Lenders

Although getting a mortgage may seem like an uphill climb at first, consulting with potential lenders may prove to be exceedingly valuable, especially for a first-time homebuyer.

Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable staff who are happy to educate you about assorted mortgage options. These lenders can teach you about the ins and outs of various mortgage options at your convenience.

Lastly, if you need extra help in your search for the perfect mortgage, real estate agents may be able to offer assistance. These housing market professionals can provide honest, unbiased recommendations about lenders in your area so you can move one step closer to securing your ideal mortgage.

Ready to get a mortgage for the first time? Use these tips, and you can accelerate the process of obtaining a mortgage that suits you perfectly.


Image by Kirk Fisher from Pixabay

Buying a home in a neighborhood with a Home Owner’s Association (HOA) works well for some families, while others find the HOA to be burdensome or intrusive. Learning more about what an HOA is, how it works and what to expect can help you determine if your next home should be in a neighborhood with a homeowner’s association.

What Is a Homeowners Association?

When builders or developers create planned communities with ameneties, they often also create a homeowners association to help manage the shared areas of the property when the building is complete. The homeowner’s association has some powers over the people who live in the neighborhood and is also responsible for maintaining the look and integrity of the community. Anyone owning a home in the community must also pay HOA fees for the services rendered. Dues can be paid monthly quarterly or annually and are determined by the association itself and its bylaws.

If you buy a home in a neighborhood with an HOA it is important to discover what rules are in place and what expectations the HOA has of residents. Some are far more involved and assertive than others, with rules for trashcan placement, yard maintenance and even parking. You should know what amenities you’ll have access to when you join the community and how your fees will be spent.

Since HOA fees are an added expense, they’ll also be considered when you apply for a mortgage, so be sure to factor them in when you work out what you can afford.

Benefits of Living in a Homeowner’s Association Community

Communities that have an HOA in place are generally well maintained; the HOA is responsible for caring for public areas, landscaping, sidewalks and some roadways. You won’t have to worry about living in a messy or unsightly neighborhood when an HOA is in place.

A pool you don’t have to care for, tennis courts to use on demand and even a clubhouse for parties and get togethers are big draws for some homeowners, if these things matter to you, you’ll enjoy this type of community.

A community with an active and healthy HOA will likely have groups and social gatherings. In some HOA groups, clubs, celebrations and welcomes for new members are scheduled throughout the year. If you want a close knit, involved community, then the right type of HOA may serve your needs well.

Drawbacks of Living in a Homeowner’s Association Community

The biggest drawback of living in an HOA community is having to cope with rules that you don’t agree with or that put a burden on your family.

For many homeowners, the HOA determines what colors a home can be, how often the lawn should be mowed and even what holiday decorations are acceptable. If you prefer making these decisions for yourself, you may not enjoy an HOA neighborhood.

You may not be able to make some improvements to your home; your HOA will determine if you can create an addition, add a fence (and will specify what kind of fence you can have) or even rent out your property. Homeowners who might want to expand their home, renovate or even have kids or get a dog may find that the rules for fencing and building are too stringent.

In some cases, an HOA has the power to levy annual fees or costs for construction projects and bill homeowners for the work. In some communities, this can run into the thousands of dollars per home. You should be aware of this possibility and determine if the HOA has to power to charge members for capital improvements before you buy.

Is an HOA Community Right for You? 

If amenities and low care public areas matter to you and you don’t have plans for ambitious renovations or home changes, then an HOA neighborhood could suit your needs. If you generally dislike having rules imposed on things you own or feel uncomfortable having to request permission to make changes, the HOA may be more of a burden.

Review the rules and bylaws of any HOA you are considering buying into to be sure you fully understand what to expect before you make a purchase. You’ll be able to enjoy the neighborhood without any unwelcome surprises or costs when you know what to expect.


Ultimately, the amount of money an individual requires during the home selling journey varies. If you intend to sell a house, it often is a good idea to plan ahead for any expenses you may encounter along the way. Because if you fail to account for potential house selling costs, you may struggle to seamlessly navigate the property selling journey.

Now, let's take a look at three of the most common home selling expenses.

1. Home Cleaning

Regardless of whether you decide to clean your house on your own or hire a professional, house cleaning costs can add up quickly. If you prepare for home cleaning expenses, however, you can keep your residence neat and tidy without breaking your budget.

Oftentimes, it helps to make a list of the areas of your home that require extensive cleaning. You then can establish home cleaning priorities, make a list of the cleaning supplies you will need and clean your residence accordingly.

If you decide to hire a professional cleaning company, be sure to shop around. Professional cleaning companies are available in cities and towns nationwide, and if you conduct an in-depth search, you can find a cleaning provider that offers a great blend of convenience and affordability.

2. Home Repairs

Cracked or damaged home siding, a faulty water heater or other house problems are unlikely to do you any favors during the property selling journey. If you put aside funds to address such issues, you can upgrade your residence before you list it.

It may be beneficial to conduct a home inspection prior to adding your house to the real estate market. During an inspection, a home expert will analyze your residence and identify any underlying property issues. You next can use a home inspection report to determine which house repairs need to be completed right away.

Keep in mind that some home repairs are simple, and as such, you may be able to complete them on your own. Conversely, for complex home repairs, you should enlist professional support. Although you will need to pay to hire a home improvement professional, this individual can help you quickly and safely upgrade your residence.

3. Lawn Care

How your lawn looks to potential buyers is crucial, particularly for those who want to enjoy a fast, profitable house selling experience. If your lawn is freshly cut and weed-free, you could help your house stand out to dozens of prospective buyers.

In many instances, home sellers can mow the lawn, trim the hedges and perform other lawn care tasks on their own. This enables sellers to avoid the costs associated with hiring lawn care professionals.

If you prefer to hire lawn care professionals, be thorough. Request client referrals, and you can find out what it is like to work with a particular lawn care professional before you make your hiring decision.

Lastly, as you prepare for the home selling journey, you may want to hire a real estate agent. If you have a real estate agent at your side, you can plan ahead for all aspects of the house selling journey.




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