Linda A. Cappello | Norwalk Real Estate, Rowayton Real Estate, Westport Real Estate


One of the perks of moving out of an apartment into a home is having your very own outdoor space. Depending on how close to the city you live, you may not get much of a yard with your home. If you’re looking for that perfect outdoor space to dwell in, read on for some tips on buying a house with a yard. If you check the yard out, you could save yourself from facing problems further down the road. 


Are The Trees In Good Condition?


While mature trees in a yard are a sure fire way to have privacy and shade, the trees must be safe. You want any trees in your yard to be healthy. Otherwise, during a storm, you may have an issue with falling trees. If you have a lot of trees in your yard, it may be a good idea to hire an arborist who can tell you if the trees are safe. Tree removal can be costly, so you’ll need to plan for this expense if your yard has many trees.


How Safe The Outdoor Living Areas?


You should check out any outdoor living areas the yard has. If the home comes with a patio, or gazebo the soundness of the structures should be checked. Any cement should be free of cracks or crumble.


The Layout Of The Lot


There is more to a yard than the size of a property. You should keep in mind where the home is situated on the lot. Is the front yard more prominent than the backyard? Is the home on a slope? Is there a chance water will pool near the foundation of the house? All of these questions are important for the long-term health of the property. 


How Much Yard Are You Willing To Care For?


You need to know how large of a yard you’re actually willing to care for. For many buyers, a small yard is just enough. Other buyers aim to care for a large lawn the many flowerbeds. The larger the yard, the more possibilities you have. If you are willing to take the extra time and incur the additional expense that a large yard will cost, it could be a good feature to look for. Yard size may also narrow down your home search considerably. 


Buying a home with a yard can be a great decision, all you need is to understand your own preferences and ability to care for properties of different sizes.        



The biggest area of your life that you need to understand before you buy a house is your own finances. Before you know what kind of house you can buy, you’ll need to understand your own buying power. While things like square footage, how many bedrooms you need, and finding the right neighborhood are important, you can’t go very far without some type of financing. While understanding how much you can spend on a property is one of the more serious parts of buying a home, it’s something that you’ll want to do. Knowing what you can spend on a home is a step to helping you land a home you love. If you understand your own numbers, you’ll know the chances that you have of an offer being accepted on a place you love.  


The Elements Of Your Buying Power


Your Credit Score


This little three digit number has a lot of meaning behind it. This is the most basic piece of information that lenders use to determine your loan worthiness. The factors that influence your credit score include:


  • Payment history
  • How much you owe
  • Length of your credit history
  • Mix of credit accounts
  • How much new credit you have opened


A low credit score is somewhere under 620. Having a score this low doesn't necessarily mean that you’ll be denied for a loan, but the type and amount of the loan you’re offered can be impacted. You’ll also face higher interest rates because of a low credit score. This means your mortgage could be considerably more expensive than if you had a higher credit score. 


Down Payment


The 20 percent down as a rule of thumb actually offers many benefits to your buying power. This means that you’ll need 20% down of the purchase price of the home in cash. If you put this amount of money (or even more) down on a home, it eliminates the need for you to have to buy PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance). You’ll even be able to negotiate a lower interest rate. A large down payment may be especially helpful in competitive markets where there is a lot of buyer competition.


How Your Financial Picture Appears


Your assets and your debt-to-income ratio are also important factors in your financial picture that you present to the lender. Basically, all of these numbers let both the lender and the seller see how committed you are to buying a home. It is one of the biggest financial undertakings of your entire life. If you can’t show financial responsibility, then it may be a bit difficult for lenders to see that you’ll actually pay your loan back in a timely manner.


The better all of your financial numbers are, the more buying power that you’ll have. If your numbers are good, you’ll be able to afford more house. While it may not be the most exciting thing to look over all of your financial numbers, it’s a vital step in the process of your journey to home ownership.


There is no one-size-fits-all plan to find and purchase a home. In some instances, a buyer instantly discovers a great residence at a budget-friendly price. Or, in other cases, it may take a buyer many weeks or months to find the perfect house.

Although the homebuying journey varies from person to person, there are several things that a buyer can do to simplify the property buying cycle. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you quickly and effortlessly find your ideal residence.

1. Establish Homebuying Expectations

As a homebuyer, it is important not to get too high or too low during the property buying journey. If you establish realistic homebuying expectations, you should have a good idea about what to anticipate as you search for your dream house.

Oftentimes, it helps to put together homebuying criteria. Think about where you want to find your dream house, as well as the home features you want. With this information at your disposal, you can narrow your home search and accelerate the property buying journey.

2. Create a Homebuying Budget

Like most homebuyers, you probably have only a finite amount of money to spend on a new house. Fortunately, if you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand.

Banks and credit unions are happy to teach you about different types of mortgages. These financial institutions can provide insights into adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgage options and offer details about mortgage terms. Then, once you review all of your mortgage options, you can select a mortgage that complements your financial situation.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

You may want to pursue a house on your own, but this approach may prove to be problematic. A homebuyer who conducts a home search without expert assistance may miss out on the opportunity to find and buy a terrific house at an affordable price. Perhaps even worse, without housing market guidance, a buyer may wind up overpaying for a residence that fails to match his or her expectations.

If you want to achieve the optimal results during your quest for your ideal residence, you should hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional is ready to guide you along the homebuying journey and help you make informed property buying decisions.

A real estate agent will go the extra mile to make the homebuying cycle as simple as possible. He or she will teach you about the real estate market, learn about your homebuying goals and help you hone your house search. Plus, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about residences that fall within your price range and are located in your preferred cities and towns. And if you find a house that you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this home.

Simplify the homebuying journey – use the aforementioned tips, and you'll be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a quick, stress-free property buying experience.


When you find a home you love, you most likely will want to take the steps you can to buy it. When a home is already under contract, there’s actually a little-known strategy that can be used to help you have a chance at getting the property. 


When you make a backup offer, you’re doing all of the same things you’d do under normal circumstances. The only difference between a normal offer and a backup offer is that you’re not guaranteed to get the home. The first deal needs to fall through in order for you to have a shot.


Advantages To Backup Offers


The backup offer is a bit of a stretch, but it still does give you a little bit of a chance to get a home. When a backup offer is in place, the home won’t just go back on the market if something falls through. This is especially smart when it comes to lower inventory markets. When a home is re-listed, you’ll need to compete against other buyers. If a bidding war is initiated, the home’s price will keep going up. The backup offer being in place helps the seller to feel secure in the sale of their home one way or another. If for any reason the first buyer falls through, you’ll be able to swoop in and get the home yourself.


Timing Is Everything


Keep in mind that there’s a certain period of time before a deal needs to be closed on for a home. The original buyer will need to close the deal on the home in an average of 50 days. Knowing the time frame that you’ll need to wait around for a decision is helpful for you in your own search for a home.


You can also have your agent check in with the listing agent for the property on a frequent basis. This lets the agent ad seller know that you have a keen interest in the property in case there are any difficulties coming from the other side of the deal. 


If The First Deal Doesn’t Go Through


If the first deal on a home does fall through, you’re not the new owner of the home just yet. There’s always a possibility that the first buyers found some very difficult problems with the home during the inspection. These could be big issues like an issue with the roof or the foundation of the home. Be sure to include a home inspection contingency with your contract so that you can have your own inspection conducted. This way, you’ll know if there are any problems with the home and that you will be able to deal with them.


A backup offer can be a great tool to use in tight markets to help you get a home that you love. It’s always a good idea to proceed with caution in any home deal to make a sound financial decision.


There’s a lot to buying a home. There’s no perfect home. Home inspectors will tell you that even brand new houses have their issues. If you know the right questions to ask before you even buy a home, you’ll be armed with a knowledge that you wouldn’t otherwise have. There are some very revealing questions that you can ask sellers to help you get some insight into a property. These questions can usually also be answered by your home inspector when you get to the inspection process.  


Have You Had Water Damage Or Pipe Issues?


Water damage is a big deal. It can hide mold and other damage. There’s also a big issue if the pipes in a home have previously burst, or caused water damage on their own. Especially in cold climates, water damage and burst pipes can be common if the piping has not been properly insulated.


The Age Of The Roof


If the roof on a home has been recently replaced, that’s a huge bonus to buying the home. Roofing typically lasts about 25 years until it needs to be replaced. If a roof is getting close to the end of its lifespan, you can ask for a rebate or be wary that repairs will need to be made in the near future. 


Pests


If a home has had any kind of significant pest infestation, then you’ll want to know about it and be sure that it has been resolved. There could be some underlying conditions within the home itself that have made the pest infestation possible. Whether there’s some unaddressed holes, rotting wood, or hidden leaks, they’ll need to be taken care of so that an infestation doesn’t reoccur. 


Paranormal Activity


This may sound strange but some people will run out of their homes as fast as they can if they see a ghost or something else. “Haunted houses” are a particularly difficult sell. This includes homes with:


  • Ghost sightings
  • Murders
  • Suicides
  • Unusual deaths
  • Drug labs


Many states require that these problems and conditions be revealed in a disclosure statement. Other states do not legally require this. Check local laws to find out more about paranormal activity disclosures.

Some other great questions to ask when you’re in the process of buying a home are:


  • Will your car fit in the garage?
  • How much are the utility costs?
  • Who are the utility companies?
  • Does the home have a sewer or a septic tank?
  • Are there any warranties left on items in the home?


Asking these questions not only helps you as you move into a new home, but it helps you to get a better understanding of what types of insurance you need to put on your home. If you need to add a few extra pieces to the policy to protect yourself due to any information that you learn, you’ll feel safer.