Kriss Stevens & Scott Manley - Kinlin Grover Real Estate



Posted by Kriss Stevens & Scott Manley on 8/3/2020

Photo by timokefoto  via Pixabay

Buying property can be fun, but it can also be exhausting. You want to find a place that fits your personal lifestyle and invest in a home that'll bring you years of happiness. As you're looking at shorefront real estate:

1. Understand Your Access Rights to the Water

On the surface, it may look like a no-brainer that you have access to the water, but many people learn the hard way that their beautiful waterfront views don't have easements that allow access to the lake, pond, or ocean. Most people don't want a beautiful view of the water without being able to use it.

2. Know Your Waterfront Buffer Zones

State and local regulations may prohibit your landscaping plans from making forward progress if you're too close to tidal waters. Know the buffer zones before you buy so you're not stuck with a landscape you don't love.

3. Learn Your Littoral Rights

If you purchase waterfront real estate, you may very well be granted littoral rights—that is, you'd have unrestricted rights to use that water as though it was land. The government may also own the water up to a certain point, so it's best to gain this knowledge up front.

4. Know if You have Riparian Rights

If you purchase a non-riparian waterfront property, you likely won't be able to have a private dock or pier on the water. Since this is one of the major reasons people want to own waterfront property, it's important to understand these rights before you buy.

5. Understand Your Obligations Regarding Water Depth

You don't have any control over Mother Nature, but you do often have certain obligations in terms of what you're permitted to do in certain water depths. You may need to build a deck farther out into the water than you'd first anticipated in order adhere to depth regulations.

6. Look at the Fixtures Surrounding the Property

Certain watercraft, such as sailboats, need far more clearance than others. If your potential property is directly next to fixed-height bridges that wouldn't enable you to enjoy leisure time on your sailboat, that may not be the best home for you. Alternatively, people who enjoy kayaking wouldn't need to be concerned with fixed-height structures. In fact, those areas might be best for this type of buyer.

7. Research Regulations Impacting Docks and Piers

It's not atypical to have to purchase pier permits. Depending on your location, these regulations may be governed by federal, state, or local institutions. It's best to have an idea of the cost before you get your heart set on a single property.

8. Include Flood Insurance in Your Monthly Costs

Natural disasters can bolster the cost of flood insurance. Even if you think you'll never need it, a waterfront property is always best protected when flood insurance is calculated into the cost.

9. Know How Secluded You Really Want to Be

Waterfront real estate is appealing because it's quiet and serene, but if this will be your year-round residence, make sure you've taken winter into consideration if you're looking for lakefront property where snowfall can change the landscape quickly. Super-secluded spots can make it difficult to get to the store when blizzards hit, so you may want to look for a place that has easy access to shopping. However, if you're willing to rough it, or if you'll only be using the property in the summer, seclusion is a great way to go! Of course, if you're looking for beachfront property in Florida, parts of California or the Carolinas, winters won't really be a concern you'll have to worry about.

10. Explore the Pros and Cons of Private Beaches Versus Public Shores

There are pros and cons to each. Make sure you have an idea what you're looking for before you and your real estate agent start house-hunting, but be open to possibilities if your real estate agent has a property they insist you must see.

As you're shopping for waterfront real estate, be sure to keep these tips in mind. The more you know, the more likely you'll be to find a home that makes you happy for many years to come. Contact me if you have questions about buying waterfront property!





Posted by Kriss Stevens & Scott Manley on 6/15/2020

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.




Tags: buying a home   buyer tips   hoa  
Categories: buying  


Posted by Kriss Stevens & Scott Manley on 6/8/2020

If you plan to buy a house, it helps to take an honest approach to the homebuying journey. In fact, there are many reasons to remain open and honest throughout the homebuying journey, including:

1. You can set realistic expectations for the homebuying cycle.

If you're honest with yourself, you can determine exactly how much that you can spend on a residence. Then, you can tailor your home search accordingly.

Furthermore, an honest approach is ideal to ensure you can maintain realistic expectations as you pursue houses. No house is perfect, but an honest homebuyer will realize this before he or she embarks on a home search. As a result, this homebuyer may be better equipped than others to discover a terrific house that matches his or her expectations.

2. You can resist the temptation to spend beyond your means.

Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you enter the housing market. If you pursue houses with a mortgage in hand, you can establish a price range for your home search, thereby reducing the risk of spending too much on a house.

When it comes to getting a mortgage, you'll need to be honest with prospective lenders. These financial institutions will perform their due diligence to ensure you are qualified to receive a mortgage. And if you are dishonest with lenders, you are unlikely to get the mortgage you need to acquire your ideal house.

3. You can speed up the homebuying journey.

The homebuying journey may prove to be a long, drawn-out process if you're not careful. Fortunately, with an honest approach to buying a house, you can limit the risk of encountering time-consuming homebuying hurdles.

For example, if you are honest with yourself about where you want to live, you can refine your home search to particular cities or towns. This will enable you to keep track of available houses in certain areas, resulting in a fast, efficient home search.

The aforementioned list highlights some of the key reasons to be honest with yourself and others as you pursue a house. Of course, if you need extra assistance as you search for your dream home, you may want to hire a real estate agent too.

A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who will be direct and forthright with you throughout the homebuying journey. As such, a real estate agent can help you take the guesswork out of purchasing a house.

Usually, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying criteria. This housing market professional then can tailor a home search to help you identify your dream residence. And if you have any homebuying questions, a real estate agent can respond to these queries immediately.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will provide honest, unbiased recommendations as you proceed along the homebuying journey. This housing market professional will simplify the homebuying process, ensuring you can acquire a top-notch house that you can enjoy for years to come.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Kriss Stevens & Scott Manley on 2/24/2020

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

When you view a home for the first time and speak to the agent hosting an open house or showing the home, you're talking to someone working for  the seller -- not for you. Anything you share could be passed on to the seller -- and used to leverage a better offer from you if you do end up wanting the home. The best way to avoid this scenario is to work with a buyer's agent. This is a real estate agent that works for you and helps you get the best possible deal on a home. 

A buyer’s agent represents you, the prospective buyer; this ensures that the agent you work with has your best interests in mind and that they do not have a stake in showing you one particular property over another. Just calling the name on a “for sale” sign isn’t enough if you want someone who can truly represent you and your needs – and successfully negotiate on your behalf. Agents who are working for a seller need to sell the home, and are not out to get you the best possible deal.

A buyers agent will show you a variety of properties and help you determine which one meets your needs best. Once you find a property that you love, your agent will help you get the best possible deal. You’ll sign a contract with this agent and they will receive a commission from the seller when you do buy a home. You should make sure that any contract you sign is a buyer’s agent agreement – and that the agent does not also represent the seller of a home. Any real estate agent you are considering working should reveal any conflict of interest before you sign a contract.

Benefits of Working with a Buyer’s Agent

When you work with a buyer’s agent you have someone on your side who can help you through the negotiation process. They will also be aware of market conditions, of terms that would be favorable to you and when you’re ready, help you make an offer. The agent you choose will have a big impact on your success and how much you enjoy the process.

Finding the Right Buyer’s Agent for your Home Search

Any agent you are considering should be a dedicated buyer’s agent. An Accredited Buyer Representative is someone who has been certified in this role. You should ask any agent who you are considering if they also list homes – and determine if there is a conflict of interest.

Choosing an agent who understands your needs and works with buyers like you can also help you have a successful experience. Some agents work mostly with luxury homes and well-established buyers, while others are dedicated to helping first-time buyers find a home.

Your buyer’s agent should be familiar with the areas you are most interested in. If they are not in the immediate area, they may not be able to provide you with the assistance you need to make a great deal

Choose the Right Agent from the Start

Since a buyer’s agent has such an impact on your success and the process, it is important to choose the right person from the start. Interview a few agents to see who you feel comfortable with and who meets your needs best. This is the person that will help you find your next home, so you should be confident in their abilities and able to work with them for a prolonged period of time.




Categories: buying  


Posted by Kriss Stevens & Scott Manley on 2/10/2020

Buying a home should be a problem-free experience. Yet issues may arise that make it tough to acquire the perfect house at an affordable price.

Common problems that come up during the homebuying journey include:

1. Lack of Home Financing

Before you search for a home, it generally is a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage. That way, you can kick off a house search with a budget in hand.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you about a variety of mortgage options and help you get approved for home financing in no time at all.

Of course, if you have questions as you pursue a mortgage, don't hesitate to ask a lender for assistance. Lenders employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to respond to your queries without delay.

2. Temptation to Submit a Lowball Offer to Purchase

Once you find your ideal residence, you may be tempted to submit an offer to purchase at or below a house seller's initial asking price. But doing so may be problematic, particularly for a homebuyer who wants to acquire his or her dream residence as quickly as possible.

If you submit a lowball offer to purchase a house, a seller likely will reject the proposal. Worst of all, a rival homebuyer may swoop in with a competitive offer to purchase this residence – something that may cause you to miss out on the opportunity to buy your ideal home.

Ultimately, it is beneficial to submit a competitive homebuying proposal. If you allocate time and resources to learn about a home's condition and how a residence stacks up against comparable houses in the same city or town, you can craft a competitive offer to purchase. And as a result, a competitive offer to purchase may receive an instant "Yes" from a home seller, leading to a fast, successful homebuying experience.

3. Failure to Identify Problems During a Home Inspection

A home inspection is paramount because it gives you the opportunity to walk through a residence with a property expert and learn about any underlying house issues. Then, if you discover major problems with a house, you can ask a seller to complete property repairs, reduce your initial offer to purchase or walk away from a residence altogether.

Hire a home inspector who possesses comprehensive expertise – you'll be glad you did. With the right house inspector at your side, you can get the help you need to identify problems during a property inspection.

Lastly, as you get ready to search for a house, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can provide extensive guidance throughout the property buying journey and ensure you can mitigate homebuying problems before they escalate.

Reach out to a real estate agent today, and you can receive plenty of support as you navigate the homebuying journey.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips