Tag Archives: First Time Home Buyers

The Most Popular Features in Multimillion-Dollar Properties

Ever wonder why some homes sell for millions of dollars? As different as each listing might be, many share a number of common features that are known to bolster home values.

If you’re on the hunt for your dream home, some of these features could be yours! Don’t worry about breaking the bank; prioritizing your wants and needs can help you determine which of these luxury features will fit your lifestyle and your budget.

Here are 5 features of multimillion-dollar homes you can get at affordable price tags.

In-Ground Pool

In-ground pool with small cabana and water slide.Who needs a neighborhood pool when you could have your own?

Imagine spending those warm summer days cooling off by your own private pool.

It’s not uncommon to see multimillion-dollar homes outfitted with gorgeous entertaining spaces, all centered around a luxurious in-ground pool—but many homes in lower price ranges also feature great backyard pool areas, too.

Expansive Outdoor Entertaining Space

It’s often said that your home’s exterior is equally as important as its interior. That’s why we’ve been seeing more and more multimillion-dollar listings with extensive outdoor entertaining spaces.

Common features of outdoor entertaining areas such as these include built-in barbecue grills, full bars, and spa-like outdoor amenities. Multimillion-dollar condos and townhomes might come with a huge private balcony complete with breathtaking views of nearby scenery.

In more affordable homes, outdoor entertaining spaces may consist of patios, porches, and, as we mentioned before, private pools.

Luxurious Master Bathroom

Oversized shower with tiling.At the end of a long day, nothing beats kicking back and relaxing in a spa-like master bathroom. It’s really no surprise that two of the top selling points for a home are the master bathroom and the kitchen.

Oversized glass-paneled showers are a must-have for multi million-dollar properties, as well as soaking tubs and stylish backsplash. Homes in lower price ranges may also feature stylish master bathrooms with upgrades like these.

Guest House or In-Law Suite

Commonly referred to as a “casita” or simply a guest house, this is a smaller dwelling separated from your main home.

Casitas are becoming more and more popular because of their versatility. Use them as a pool house, guest room, or even a source of low-maintenance rental income.

Wine Cellar

Wine cellar with glass bottles.The creme de la creme of luxury listings is… the wine cellar. You know you’ve made it when your home comes with its very own wine room.

Bonus points if your wine room comes with temperature-controlled shelving.

While more affordable homes may not come with wine cellars, you can still find homes with extra space for an excellent home theater, study, mini-library, or game room.

Your Dream Home Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank

In fact, if you budget correctly, you can find the perfect home for you that has a number of special features. Correct prioritizing is key here. So, if you really can’t picture life without that in-ground pool, it may mean you won’t get an extra-special master bathroom or guest house.

Need some additional help working out the details in your home search? We’re here to help. Simply give us a call today to get started finding the home that’s right for you.

How to Make a Wants Vs. Needs List for Your Home Search

It’s spring, which means home buying season has officially arrived! If you’re on the hunt for a new home, chances are you’ve already thought about the features you’d like to have.

However, one important part of searching for homes is making a distinction between your needs and your wants. Needs are amenities or features you can’t live without, while wants are things that you’d like to have (but they ultimately wouldn’t affect your home buying decision too much).

Two-story suburban home with a large garage and grey shutters.Ideally, you’ll want to come up with this list of needs (e.g. 3 bedrooms, under $200k, close to schools) and wants (e.g. fiber internet connection, stainless steel appliances, walk-in closets) before you start looking for homes. This will save you time along the way as you browse dozens, maybe hundreds, of homes online or in person.

Here’s a guide for distinguishing between your wants and needs:

Your Needs

To begin, come up with a list of priorities. What are some features or amenities that are non-negotiable? Do you need a home with a certain number of bedrooms? Maybe it has to be in a specific location — close to public transit, near a popular attraction, or within a local school district.

Write your priorities down on paper or in a smartphone app to better visualize what you need in a home. Here are some things to consider:

Lot Size

Small black and white dog sitting on a green lawn with a wooden fence behind him.How much outdoor space do you need? This is one feature than tends to be at the top of home buyers’ minds.

If you have a dog or two, you may want a large fenced-in yard so they have plenty of space to run around. You might also be interested in starting a garden, or perhaps you just like the extra space for peace and quiet.

Home Size

Your specific needs determine how much space you need in a home.

Do you anticipate any future changes in your household size? If so, you should think about how much space you may require to accommodate those changes. The larger your household, the more bedrooms and bathrooms you’ll need (unless you want to spend mornings waiting for your turn to shower).

You may also consider if you’d like to have a large basement or bonus room to turn into a game room or home theater. If you’re an avid hobbyist, you may need an additional room for your workshop.

Location

Man driving a car with his hands on the wheel.Think about where you currently live. Are you close enough to conveniences like grocery stores, local employers, or schools? Do you dread driving home in the afternoons because of bumper-to-bumper traffic?

Make a pros and cons list about your current location and base your new list off of the features you like or wish you had.

Budget

When you’re coming up with your list of needs, one of the most important factors to consider in your home search is your budget.

A great way to set your budget is by meeting with a lender to get pre-approved. During this process, the bank will go over all your financial information and let you know exactly how much they’re willing to lend you.

Your Wants

Spacious open living room filled with natural light.Once you narrow down your list of needs (the biggest of which is your budget), you should tackle your list of wants.

Try focusing on amenities or special features that will increase your property’s resale potential (for when you decide to sell down the road).

Value-boosting home features can include dual-pane windows, additional “flex” rooms (such as a finished basement or in-law suite), and LED lights or other energy-efficient features.

Not only can these amenities increase your quality of life, they’ll likely get you more money in the long run when you decide to sell.

Prioritizing Your Wants and Needs

Smiling couple looking at a computer researching their budget.It can be challenging to find a home that has everything you need, everything you want, and is still within your budget.

Ultimately, you should prepare to make compromises along the way. (Which is more important, having a spa-like master bathroom or living less than 10 minutes away from the grocery store?)

Here are a few tips you can follow:

  • Consider any additional costs of certain home features and amenities. For example, if you want a bigger yard, make sure you have enough time to take care of it or the means to hire someone to maintain it for you.
  • Don’t always choose the latest upgrades. A number of different factors determine the cost of a home. Amenities like granite countertops and whirlpool tubs are likely to increase the price tag.
  • Adjust your list if necessary. You may realize during your home search that what you thought was a need is actually just a want.

Last on Your Checklist: The Right Realtor

Using your wants and needs list, a good Realtor can create a personalized list of potential homes that meet all your criteria.

That’s where we come in. Allow us to use our unique home buying expertise to help you find the home that’s just right. Give us a call today to get started.

Costly Mistakes to Avoid After You Buy Your First Home

A single-level ranch-style house with a front porch, two-car garage, and well-maintained front yard.You’re smart. You’re doing your research about home buying and homeownership (like you are right now!), so you feel like you’re prepared to avoid common home buying pitfalls. But you’ll soon find that once you’ve moved in, there is a whole new list of common problems that plague unwary first-time homeowners.

To help you make the best buying and ownership decisions possible, we’ve outlined some of the the biggest blunders that first-time buyers make after closing on their home.

Investing in Too Many Upgrades

Not every home improvement project is worth the money or effort. Many first-time homeowners make the mistake of not considering a project’s return on investment, at least until it’s time to sell the house down the road.

If you want to know which home improvements are worth the investment, talk with a real estate agent or get a market report for your neighborhood. Give us a call and we’ll send one to you.

Ignoring “Minor” Maintenance Issues

Water dripping out of a long kitchen faucet and into the sink.As your home ages, seemingly minor issues may arise. But be careful: A dripping faucet, crumbling caulk, or slanting floors could spiral into much bigger headaches if you don’t take care of them quickly.

To avoid shelling out hundreds or even thousands of dollars down the road, tackle these maintenance issues as soon as you can.

We’re happy to provide local vendor recommendations if you need maintenance work. Just give us a call!

Choosing the Cheapest Repair Option

Quality comes at a price, especially when it comes to making repairs. Whether it’s picking up a cheap tool set or going with the lowest bid for a service provider, many first-time homeowners make the mistake of sacrificing quality for cost.

Contact us and we’ll be happy to recommend a high-quality local service provider.

Trying to DIY a Complicated Project

A large bathroom with white countertops, a white standing tub, white bidet, frameless glass shower, and orange walls.Some things can be done yourself. Think painting, hanging up shelves, or sprucing up the front entry.

But when it comes to stuff like plumbing, electricity, or structural engineering, think again. Hiring a professional will save you time and money — and keep you from starting a project you don’t know how to finish.

Need to talk to a contractor? Call us and we’ll give you recommendations.

Not Preparing for the Unexpected

A sudden job change, severe weather damage, or major maintenance problem can throw a wrench in your plans. Be sure that you budget accordingly for unexpected expenses as a homeowner.

We’re Happy to be a Resource

As local real estate experts, we have a wealth of information that can help you avoid many of these first-time home buying and homeownership mistakes. Contact us to learn more.

Tips for First-Time Home Buyers in the Silicon Valley

You’ve decided to buy your first home, and you’ve chosen the Silicon Valley!Estate Agent Showing Prospective Female Buyer Around PropertyIt’s a wise choice—high-paying and high-tech jobs abound, attractions and entertainment wait around just about every corner, and quality of life is very high in this blossoming area. But where to begin? Buying your first home can be a very daunting process if you don’t know where to start. But it doesn’t have to be stressful or overwhelming. Start slow, get organized, be prepared, and the process will go smoothly.

Before You Buy

Before you start searching for homes or attending open houses, there are a few important details to work out.

1. What type of home are you looking for?

Do you want a brand-new home, or are you willing to try your hand with a fixer-upper? Do you want your own space or something more urban, such as a condo or townhome?

2. What neighborhood and home features do you need?

Some neighborhoods have a lot of amenities, others offer quiet seclusion and large yards. And deciding the details of your home—number of bedrooms, style of kitchen, closet size—is obviously crucial, as well.

3. What size loan do you qualify for?

You’ve got the perfect image of a home in your head—but that’s only relevant if you can get a loan! Find out what lenders will actually offer you, based on credit and income, before you start really searching for houses.

4. What can you afford?

Just because a bank will give you a certain amount of money, doesn’t mean you can afford it! Consider all the costs associated with buying a home—from down payments and closing costs to insurance and property taxes. Keep in mind that home costs aren’t just your monthly mortgage payments, and remember details like the cost of maintenance and repairs.

Discussion with a real estate agent at the officeBuying a Home

So you’ve worked out all the details… Now it’s time to really get started!

So, what’s first?

1. Find an agent.

This is an important first step—especially for a first-time buyer. Since this is your first time in the home-buying arena, you want to focus on finding an agent who knows the local market, inside and out, but who will also be able to give you the personal attention and time to guide you through the process and answer all your questions.

2. Find your home.

Use an advanced search tool to narrow down your home search by location, neighborhood, price, amenities, styles, and more!

3. Hone in on your finances.

There are many  home-buyer assistance programs in California and the Silicon Valley designed to reduce the amount of your down payment and make buying your own home considerably more affordable.

4. Make an offer.

Once you find that perfect home, make an offer. Your agent will help you find the right price to offer.

5. Request a home inspection.

Have a trained professional walk through and check for quality, safety, and overall condition of the home.

6. Close.

Breathe a sigh of relief, and then dive into the paperwork.

7. Move in!

Finally… It’s yours!

Are You a First-Time Home Buyer in the Silicon Valley?

If you’re a first-time home buyer in the Silicon Valley, you’re probably looking for a top real estate agent that you can trust to guide you through the complicated process and ensure you’re getting the best possible deal on your valuable investment. We at Gary & Robert Real Estate Team would love to answer all your questions and talk more about the buyer services we offer. Contact us today and let’s get started.

Not moving to the Silicon Valley? Our network of Preferred Realtors can help you find the right agent, wherever you’re headed!