Home Buying Steps



Appraisals play a major role in all real estate transactions. A home appraisal is an evaluation done by a certified appraiser where they calculate the market value of your home based on square footage, features and location.

There are two common sales approaches that are used in the residential market. The most common is the sales Comparison Approach, which is a method where the appraiser estimates property market value by comparing it to similar properties. The second is the cost approach, most commonly used with new properties. In this method, the build costs are taken into consideration and the appraisers estimates what it would cost to replace the property if it were to be destroyed.

What You’ll See on a Residential Appraisal Report:

  • Details about the property as well as side-by-side comparisons with three similar properties.
  • Information on the type of property
  • An evaluation of the overall local real estate market
  • Details on any issues the appraiser feels are harmful to the value of the property, such as poor street access
  • Notes about any serious flaws, such as a cracked foundation
  • An average sales time estimate

If you’re interested in learning more about appraisals or if you have any other questions about the buying or selling process, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.







Do you know what you want for a home?


One of the first logical steps in the home search process is narrowing down your true wants and needs in a home. Doing this simple exercise early in the process will help save you time and frustration during the search process.

Some major things to consider:

  • How many bedrooms/baths?
  • What neighborhood or area?
  • How close do you need/want to be to schools?
  • What is your price range?
  • How close to work?
  • How much square footage do you need?

You should also consider which features of the home might be required vs. nice to have. Things like:

  • Garage
  • Yard
  • Swimming Pool or hot tub
  • Walk-in closets
  • Fireplace

I_AM_WE_ARE sure you will find that spending a little time in advance thinking about these things is well worth it. I_WE would love to sit down with you and guide you through the exercise.

How else may I_WE_LC be of service in your home search? I_WE look forward to serving you in any way I_WE_LC  can. Please don’t hesitate to contact ME_US_LC.







Finding the right agent for your home search is very important.

Hi ! –

Finding the right agent for your home search is very important. A great agent will not only show you properties, but will also make the whole process more successful and painless.
Here are some of the many services you can expect from me, Jaclyn Nelson as your agent:

  • Accessing every home on the market (and some that aren’t yet!)
  • Viewing properties that are inaccessible without an agent
  • Referring you to qualified professionals (insurance, mortgage, legal, etc.)
  • Successfully negotiating the best price and terms
  • Representing you through the contract, escrow and closing process

Should You Look for Your First House Or Keep Renting?

Your First House Or Keep Renting?

Packed moving boxes in a homeImage: Kettyah Chhak

5 key questions to ask yourself before buying a home.


Tired of working so hard just to build your landlord’s equity instead of your own? Been dreaming about paint swatches and obsessing over Pinterest projects? Making that leap from renting to owning a home comes with many perks — both financial and emotional. And even though home ownership comes with great responsibility, you might be surprised how achievable it can be.

Certainly, the best time to trade security deposits for a down payment is different for everyone. If you’re thinking about switching from renting to owning, ask yourself these five questions to decide if you’re ready to embark on the home ownership adventure.

1. Are You Financially Prepared?

Let’s not beat around the bush: Buying a home requires a substantial financial commitment.

There’s the down payment, of course. “On average, you want to have a minimum of 5% to 7% of the cost of the home you’re targeting,” says Jason Harriman, a REALTOR® with San Antonio-based Heyl Real Estate Group at Keller Williams Realty. Then, add 3% to 6% more for closing costs, which will vary based on where you live and what taxes your state and city require you to pay.

Tip: Keep in mind if you put down less than 20%, you’ll pay PMI, private mortgage insurance, which protects the lender in case of default. Usually, it’s about $50 to $200 a month. But once you reach a certain threshold on your loan to value ratio, you can cancel PMI.

A healthy credit history is also important. Most borrowers will start to qualify for a mortgage with a minimum score of 620 — but the most competitive interest rates will be offered to those with a score of 700 or above. So if you haven’t started practicing those good credit habits yet, it’s time to start developing them.

Related: Myths About Credit Scores

One of the trickiest hurdles for young adults, so many of whom are lugging around student loan debt, is the debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. Mortgage companies want borrowers to have a certain level of cash flow each month, and that means taking into account how much you’re paying out to other lenders. Ideally, a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio — how much you pay toward debt each month divided by your gross monthly income — should fall below 36%. (Strictly speaking, a loan is considered able to be paid if the DTI doesn’t exceed 43%.) If yours doesn’t, think about how you can get that debt needle moving in the right direction.

“The best way to do this is to pay off any unsecured debts like credit cards and personal loans, and keep them as close to a zero balance as you can,” says Harriman.

What Nest is Next?

To rent or buy? What to consider. More like this.


2. Are You Prepared to Make Compromises?

Kathleen Celmins, who manages the personal finance site “Stacking Benjamins,” was financially prepared to manage a mortgage. But once the house hunting began, she quickly realized she was priced out of the homes she had envisioned for herself.

“I originally wanted a single-family home with a yard and in a great neighborhood,” she says. But given her price point, the homes she could afford ended up being in, well, not the greatest neighborhoods. “At one point, we looked at a property that was directly behind a strip club,” she laughs. “We didn’t even go inside.”

After several weeks of searching, Celmins realized she needed to find a middle ground. “In my price range, I could get a not-so-great house in a not-so-great neighborhood. Or, I could get a really cute condominium with a gas range and granite countertops,” she says. “It was something I compromised on. I gave up a yard for having fancy stuff in my condo.”

3. Are You Emotionally Ready?

When it comes to renting, surprises don’t require much emotional investment. The rent goes up? You can move. The fridge is on the fritz? The landlord will send someone over. Home ownership is a bit more hands-on. If the toilet breaks, it’s time to start reading Yelp reviews. And if property taxes unexpectedly rise, it’s on you to appeal or pay up.

“My homeowners association fee doubled in the first year I owned my condominium,” says Celmins. “Then my real estate taxes were reassessed. My mortgage payment went up and I panicked. I didn’t even know that could happen.”

Of course, having the financial flexibility to cover those unexpected things is important, but don’t overlook the importance of having the mental and emotional capability of dealing with them responsibly when they arise. Everything could be peachy for months, and then three maintenance issues might spring up in the same week. Stress management and problem solving skills are home ownership biggies.

4. Will Owning Pay Off in the Long Run?

Depending on the home you choose and where you live, you may pay a lower mortgage than you paid for rent. But even if you don’t, there’s still the financial advantage of building equity in your home, instead of lining your landlord’s pockets.

5. Has Your Lifestyle Outgrown Renting?

Many people find a rental can only take them so far. When you’re ready to start a family, you’re going to want a few extra rooms, and that can get expensive with rising rental rates. A yard also provides a safe place for Junior to play or for a dog to scamper around. And speaking of Fido, the vast majority of renters have trouble finding a place that will allow for their pet. Home ownership can end that stress for good.

Then there are the renovations. If you’re itching to test out your DIY skills and personalize your space, you’re probably ready to own. Landlords who allow property renovations — especially DIY projects — are few and far between.

Buying a first home is a big change — both from a financial and an emotional perspective. Still, for many, home ownership can be one of the most rewarding life choices one can make. “Turns out it’s awesome,” said Celmins. “I love it so much.”



Home Buying Steps


New car smell has nothing on the feeling you get when unlocking your home’s front door for the first time. But the process of reaching that euphoric moment? Well, it can feel like you’re navigating an obstacle course designed by the producers of “Survivor.” So we’ve mapped out the steps to buying a house — and enlisted seasoned homeowners and real estate pros to share tips for finding the right home at the best possible price.