How can I serve YOU?
Truly, that is the most important question I can ask you. Providing value only comes by remembering that you, and only you, are my client. I will always provide top notch service, but I will NEVER treat my clients as a commodity or be so busy that I don't have time for your questions...because let's face it, moving is a big deal. Whether you are moving across the street or to a foreign country, I recognize the wrench it throws into your life. Compassionately, professionally and efficiently, I will navigate you through the process from our first visit to the day you get your keys...and beyond. To learn more about how I can help you be successful in your next move, email or call me today!
Outside of real estate, I enjoy spending time with my husband, who is a teacher and coach and our two sons.
Why Use a Buyers Agent?
Are you worried that as a first time home in the Austin Texas area you aren’t seeing all the homes on the market or that an oversight during the buying process will result in buying a home with costly hidden defects or surprises?
Buying a home in Austin or any other city is the largest investment most people will ever make. In addition to being your largest financial investment, it’s also the place you’ll come home to each day, invite your friends and family to rites of passages and celebrations, and will be the place where you spend a huge chunk of your precious free time. The Robert J Russell Team has more than 18 years in experience in helping people find the right home in Texas that fits their needs, budget, and lifestyle. To help our clients find the best properties in the city we use the latest technology and market information but most importantly listen to our clients’ needs so we can show you the right properties and guide you through the correct buying steps.
The challenge of buying a home for the first time, second time or even tenth time, can seem so daunting that it's tempting to either just go with the first house that falls in your price range or continue to rent. To help you ease the process and get the most out of the purchase, we'll examine what you'll need to consider before you buy, what you can expect from the buying process itself, and some handy tips to make life easier after you purchase your first home.
Considerations When Using a Buyers Agent
The first thing you'll need to determine is what your long-term goals are and then how home ownership fits in with those plans. It could be that you're simply looking to transform all those "wasted" rent payments into mortgage payments that actually give you something tangible. Others see home ownership as a sign of their independence and enjoy the idea of being their own landlord. Narrowing down your big-picture home ownership goals will point you in the right direction. Here are five questions to ask yourself:
What type of home best suits your needs?
You have several options when purchasing a residential property: a traditional single-family home, a townhouse, a condo, or a multi-family building with two to four units. Each option has its pros and cons, depending on your home ownership goals, so you need to decide which type of property will help you reach those goals. You can also save on the purchase price in any category by choosing a fixer-upper, although the amount of time, sweat equity and money involved to turn a fixer-upper into your dream home might be much more than you bargained for.
What specific features will your ideal home have?
While it's good to retain some flexibility in this list, you're making perhaps the biggest purchase of your life, and you deserve to have that purchase fit both your needs and wants as closely as possible. Your list should include basic desires, like neighborhood and size, all the way down to smaller details like bathroom layout and a kitchen that comes with trust-worthy appliances.
How much mortgage do you qualify for?
Before you start shopping, it's important to get an idea of how much a lender will actually be willing to give you to purchase your first home. You may think you can afford a $300,000 home, but lenders may think you're only good for $200,000 depending on factors like how much other debt you have, your monthly income and how long you've been at your current job.
How much home can you actually afford?
On the other hand, sometimes a bank will give you a loan for more house than you really want to pay for. Just like with the purchase of a new car, you'll want to look at the house's total cost, not just the monthly payment. Of course, looking at the monthly payment is also important, along with how much down payment you can afford, how high the property taxes are in your chosen neighborhood, how much insurance will cost, how much you anticipate spending to maintain or improve the house, and how much your closing costs will be.
Who will help you find a home and guide you through the purchase?
My job as your real estate agent will help you locate homes that meet your needs and are in your price range, then meet with you to view those homes. Once you've chosen a home to buy, our professionals can assist you in negotiating the entire purchase process, including making an offer, getting a loan, and completing paperwork. A good real estate agent's expertise can protect you from any pitfalls you might encounter during the process.
The Buying Process
Now that you've decided to take the plunge, let's explore what you can expect from the home buying process itself. This is a chaotic time with offers and counter-offers flying furiously, but if you are prepared for the hassle (and the paperwork), you can get through the process with your sanity more-or-less intact. Here is the basic progression you can expect:
Find a home.
Make sure to take advantage of all the available options for finding homes on the market, including using myself as your real estate agent, searching for listings online and driving around the neighborhoods that interest you in search of for-sale signs. Also put some feelers out there with your friends, family and business contacts. You never know where a good reference or lead on a home might come from.
Consider your financing options and secure financing.
First-time homebuyers have a wide variety of options to help them get into a home, including federally-backed loans and loans for homebuyers who don't have the standard 3.5%, 5% or even 20% minimum down payment. Your state may also have its own programs for first-time home buyers. Your mortgage interest rate will also have a major impact on the total price you pay for your home, so shop around. It will really pay off.
Make an offer.
As your real estate agent, I will help you decide how much money you want to offer for the house along with any conditions you want to ask for, like having the buyer pay for your closing costs. We will then present the offer to the seller's agent; the seller will either accept your offer or issue a counter-offer. You can then accept, or continue to go back and forth until you either reach a deal or decide to call it quits. If you reach an agreement, you'll make a good-faith deposit and the process then transitions into escrow. Escrow is a short period of time (often about 30 days) where the seller takes the house off the market with the contractual expectation that you will buy the house - provided you don't find any serious problems with it when you inspect it.
Obtain a home inspection.
Even if the home you plan to purchase appears to be flawless, there's no substitute for having a trained professional inspect the property for the quality, safety and overall condition of your potential new home. If the home inspection reveals serious defects that the seller did not disclose, you'll generally be able to rescind your offer and get your deposit back. Negotiating to have the seller make the repairs or discount the selling price are other options if you find yourself in this situation.
Close or move on.
If you're able to work out a deal with the seller, or better yet, if the inspection didn't reveal any significant problems, you should be ready to close. Closing basically involves signing a ton of paperwork in a very short time period, while praying that nothing falls through at the last minute.
Things you'll be dealing with and paying for in the final stages of your purchase may include having the home appraised (mortgage companies require this to protect their interest in the house), doing a title search to make sure that no one other than the seller has a claim to the property, obtaining private mortgage insurance and completing mortgage paperwork.
Congratulations New Homeowner ... Now What?
You've signed the papers, paid the movers and the new place is starting to feel like home. Game over right? Not quite. Let's now examine some final tips to make life as a new homeowner more fun and secure.
With home ownership comes major unexpected expenses, like replacing the roof or getting a new water heater. Start an emergency fund for your home so that you won't be caught off-guard when these costs inevitably arise.
Perform regular maintenance.
With the large amount of money you're putting into your home, you'll want to make sure to take excellent care of it. Regular maintenance can decrease your repair costs by allowing problems to be fixed when they are small and manageable.
Ignore the housing market.
It doesn't matter what your home is worth at any given moment except the moment when you sell it. Being able to choose when you sell your home, rather than being forced to sell it due to job relocation or financial distress, will be the biggest determinant of whether you will see a solid profit from your investment.
Don't rely on making a killing on your home to fund your retirement.
Even though you own a home, you should still continue to save the maximum in your retirement savings accounts each and every year. Although it may seem hard to believe for anyone who has observed the fortunes some people made during the housing bubble, you won't necessarily make a killing when you sell your house. If you want to look at your home as a source of wealth in retirement, consider that once you've paid off your mortgage, the money that you were spending on monthly payments can be used to fund some of your living and medical expenses in retirement.
This brief overview should help put you on the path towards filling in any gaps in your home-buying knowledge. Remember that the more you educate yourself about the process beforehand, the less stressful it will be, and the more likely you will be to get the house you want for a price you can afford - and with a smile on your face. I have had the honor of helping many first time buyers succesfully , let us help you do it right from the beginning!
Real Estate Courses
08/21/18 530 Real Estate Marketing: Buyer's Agent
08/14/18 526 Real Estate Marketing: Principles of Business
08/07/18 538 Real Estate Marketing: The Number ONE Skill to Have
04/02/18 33198 Legal Update II
04/02/18 33197 Legal Update I
03/29/18 33621 Principles of Business
08/04/15 411 REAL ESTATE FINANCE I
07/13/15 351 Promulgated Contract Forms
07/09/15 1251 Law of Contracts
07/04/15 1151 Law of Agency
07/01/15 122 Principles of Real Estate II
06/22/15 121 Principles of Real Estate I
Concordia University Chicago River Forest, Illinois May 2018- Present • PhD Organizational Leadership
Concordia University Chicago River Forest, Illinois Graduated April 2018 • Master of Business Administration
Florida International University Miami, Fl Graduated Aug. 2012
• Bachelor of Science- Criminal Justice
Palm Beach Community College Lake Worth, FL Graduated Aug. 2007
• Associated of Arts - Business
Outstanding Student of Business Administration—Excellence in Academics April 2018
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