Darryln Leikauskas - Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Commonwealth Real Estate



Posted by Darryln Leikauskas on 2/15/2019

The rent vs buy dilemma is something that Americans have been facing for decades. Both options have their benefits, and itís really a matter of timing and preferences when it comes to choosing which is best for you.

However, there are a lot of things to consider before making this decision. So, in todayís post weíre going to break down some of the benefits of renting an apartment and of buying a home. That way you can make your decision with a clearer picture of what each situation looks like.

One thing to note first, however, is that it isnít always as simple as buy vs rent. Some living situations draw on the pros of each type of living. For example, living in a condo might be a good option for people who want the privacy and independence of owning their own home, but who also donít have the time or desire to keep up with maintenance.

So, as we compare buying and renting, keep in mind that the features of each are not mutually exclusive.

Renting an apartment

Most people who are living on their own for the first time start off renting. For younger people just out of school, renting offers the first taste of independence without the prerequisites of homeownership.

When you rent your first apartment, youíll learn the skills associated with budgeting for your monthly expenses, making your rent payments on time, and will start learning some of the skills that it takes to run a household.

In terms of monthly costs, apartments can vary greatly. Depending on where you live (and how luxurious the apartment is) you could end up having rent and utility payments that are much lower or much higher than mortgage payments for a house.

However, apartment leases often come with the benefit of utilities, trash removal, and other expenses built in. They also typically require the landlord to maintain the apartment and the land it sits on.

Live in the northern part of the country and hate shoveling snow? Make sure your lease specifies that your landlord will provide snow removal.

One technique that many renters take is to find an apartment that is small and affordable while they save up for a home. In this case, itís worth living with fewer amenities if your end goal is saving for a down payment.

But, what if you want to own a home someday but havenít quite decided where you want to settle down? Maybe your work keeps you moving from place to place or youíve always wanted to move away to somewhere new.

Renting is typically a better option for those who arenít quite sure what their plans are for the next coming years. They can have a stable place to live while they figure things out and plan their next move.

Buying a home

Once youíve rented a home for a while, you might become increasingly aware that you want more space and more control over your home.

Youíre also likely noticing how much money you spend on rent each month that is essentially a net loss.

When you buy a home, your mortgage payments might be going to the bank, but someday the money youíve paid toward that home will be yours in the form of equity. You can then use this as a down payment for another home.

This financial benefit cannot be understated. Since house values dependably increase over time, owning a home is a great investment toward your future.

So, those are the main pros and cons of renting vs buying a home. Think about your circumstances and determine which one makes the most sense for you right now. Then, start planning for the future.




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Posted by Darryln Leikauskas on 1/11/2019

Making an offer on a home youíd love to buy is arguably the most stressful part of the buying process. Youíll be worrying about making the right offer, whether youíve presented yourself in the best possible light, and just how much competition youíre up against.

Today weíre going to help you alleviate that anxiety by giving you the most common real estate offer mistakes to avoid, and show you how you can increase your chances of getting the perfect home for you.

1. Do your research on the house

You have a lot of research to do before making an offer on a home. Youíll want to know the price the home formerly sold for and improvements that have been made and that will need to be made if you move in.

It also helps to know the sellerís situation. Are they on a deadline and moving out-of-state? If so, they might be tempted to take one of the earlier offers they receive.

2. Know your own financial limits

Before you ever make an offer youíll need to know how much you can spend. This isnít just a matter of offering the maximum amount youíre preapproved for. Youíll have to factor in moving expenses, final payments on your last rent or mortgage, changes in utility costs, and more.

3. Donít offer your full preapproval amount

Sellers who know that youíve offered your maximum preapproval amount may be wary of selling since they know you lack room to negotiate your budget and therefore might have a higher chance of backing out of the offer. They might favor other buyers who have room to negotiate and account for unexpected changes in their budget or of rising interest rates.

4. Avoid aggressive negotiation

We know the stakes are high for everyone involved in making a real estate deal. However, sellers are more likely to accept the offer of someone they trust and like over someone who seems to be trying to gain leverage.

Always be cordial with your offers and support them with numbers--explain to the seller why you chose the number you did, so that they can understand your reasoning.

5. Donít attempt to gain leverage by waiving a home inspection

By law, you are allowed to have a home professionally inspected before purchase. Waiving this right is sometimes misconstrued as a way to tell a seller that you trust them and donít want to cause them any unnecessary headaches.

The reality of the matter is that if you truly do want to own their home, sellers understand that you want to know what youíre buying.

6. This isnít the only house you can be happy in

Hunting for a home is hard work. Once you find one that seems perfect for you or your family, it can seem like everything depends on your offer being accepted.

However, the fact is there are endless houses on the market, and next week a new one could be put up for sale that is even better than the home youíre hoping for now.

If your offer isnít accepted and you donít feel comfortable committing to a higher price, move on to the next house knowing that you made the best decision under the circumstances.




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Posted by Darryln Leikauskas on 12/28/2018

The decision to buy a home can bring all sorts of emotions. From stress to joy to fear, you need to be prepared for any situation to arise. From saving up enough money for a down payment to securing financing to hoping for a smooth closing, buying a home is a complex event. Just about the worst thing that can happen in the process is finding the home of your dreams and then having your offer rejected. If you do lose out on the house to another bidder, below, youíll find a few reasons why.


The Home Is Above Your Means


If you go after a home thatís above a price that you can afford, itís likely that your offer will be declined. Look at all of your numbers and find a reasonable price point with your real estate agent. Be sure that your agent wonít show you homes that are far above your budget. Donít risk falling in love with a house that you canít afford. If you start big, you may be disappointed at the type of home you actually can fit in with your budget. 


A Better Offer Came In


In high competition markets or for a home thatís receiving a lot of attention, sellers may get multiple offers. All that attention is why itís always best to keep your offer as close to the asking price as possible. Donít assume that other buyers will bid low. Remember that sellers want to get the most return on their home, which means they are going to take the highest offer in most cases.


You also donít want to get too carried away in asking for contingencies. If you ask too much of a sellerís, they wonít bother giving your offer serious consideration when other buyers have asked them to put less time and money into the home. Donít ask for unnecessary repairs or over the top back costs. 


Youíre Not Approved For A Mortgage


The seller wants you to have a home loan pre-approved so that the process of selling their home will be that much smoother. Some seller may only consider bids by buyers who have been pre-approved for a loan. You should definitely be pre-approved before you even set out on your home search.


To get your offer accepted on a home you love, you need to do your homework. As a buyer, you want to keep the needs of the seller in mind. Although you want the best deal for yourself, you're more likely to get a property that you want if you compromise a bit. 





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Posted by Darryln Leikauskas on 12/21/2018

Filling out a mortgage application may prove to be a long, exhausting process. Fortunately, we're here to help you streamline the mortgage application process so you can move one step closer to acquiring your dream house.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you approach the mortgage application process with confidence.

1. Be Thorough

A mortgage application likely requests a lot of information about you, your finances and your employment history. However, it is important to answer each mortgage application question to the best of your ability. Because if you fail to do so, you risk delays in getting approved for a mortgage. Or, perhaps even worse, a lender may decline your mortgage application.

In addition, be honest in all of your mortgage application responses. This will ensure that if your mortgage application is approved, you will receive a mortgage that corresponds to your finances.

2. Ask Questions

There is no need to leave anything to chance as you complete a mortgage application. Thus, if you're uncertain about how to respond to various mortgage application questions, reach out to a lender for assistance.

Remember, there is no such thing as a "bad" question, especially when it comes to filling out a mortgage application. Lenders employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to assist you in any way possible. Work with these mortgage specialists, and you can get the help you need to finalize your mortgage application.

3. Get Multiple Quotes

It may seem like a good idea to complete a single mortgage application to request home financing from a single lender. Yet doing so may be problematic, particularly for those who prioritize affordability.

Ultimately, meeting with multiple lenders and getting several mortgage quotes is ideal. If you shop around for a mortgage, you may be eligible for a low interest rate that helps you save money when you complete a home purchase.

Once you finish a mortgage application, it may be only a matter of time before you find out if you have received approval. Then, if you receive a "Yes" from a lender, you can accelerate the homebuying journey.

Of course, for those who plan to buy a home soon, it may be beneficial to employ a real estate agent. This housing market professional can put you in touch with the top lenders in your area, as well as help you complete a home search in no time at all.

A real estate agent typically learns about a homebuyer's goals and crafts a strategy to help this buyer accomplish his or her aspirations. Furthermore, a real estate agent provides recommendations and tips to help a homebuyer make informed decisions throughout the property buying journey. And if a homebuyer ever has concerns or questions, a real estate agent is available to respond to them.

Ready to complete a mortgage application? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can finalize a mortgage application, obtain home financing and make your homeownership dream come true.




Tags: Buying a Home   Mortgage  
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Posted by Darryln Leikauskas on 11/30/2018

Understanding how much your home is worth is important for a number of reasons. For one, when you go to sell your home, youíll have an idea of how much equity that youíre working with. You may need to either refinance your home, take out a loan, or line of credit. Knowing the current market value of your home can give you a good idea of your finances and what to expect. Many people believe that their home is worth more than it actually is. In reality, your home is only worth what people will actually pay for the property in a certain time frame. 


Some websites offer basic ideas of how much your home is worth. You can also use the Internet to search for comparable properties and see what has been sold, how much it has been sold for, and how much other homes that are similar to yours in the neighborhood are worth. Youíll need to be sure that the comparing properties include the same types of features as your own home in order to get a good estimate. 


Consult A Realtor


Experienced realtors in your area are great resources for helping you to determine your propertyís value. Many agencies offer free market value analyses, which can help you to see where your home would fall in the current real estate market. Realtors donít get paid unless your home sells. They can use their many resources to work with you on the sale of your home and help you to price it appropriately.


Hire An Appraiser


If you want to dig a bit deeper in the pricing of your home, youíll need to shell out a bit of cash. You could hire a certified appraiser who will dig deep into your property to determine the value. Once you find a buyer, another appraisal will happen on the property. The buyer pays for this. If you really want a good idea of how much your home is worth, hiring an appraiser beforehand is key. Keep in mind that appraisers may come up with slightly different estimates for the same home.      


Know The Key Things That Affect Home Value


There are a few big factors that influence just how much your property is worth. While you may love your big kitchen, it goes a lot further than that. Factors that contribute to how much your property is worth include:


  • The amount of land that you have
  • The neighborhood your home is in
  • The schools your home is near
  • How many square feet your property is
  • The condition of your home
  • Any updates that have been made to the home
  • The types of appliances you have
  • Has the home ever been foreclosed on? 
  • Is your home energy efficient?


Based on all of this information, youíll be able to get a good idea of what your home is worth. Beware of things that can cause a major financial setback on your homeís value like an urgent need for roof replacement, dated windows, or an unknown crack in the foundation. Getting an idea of what your home is worth is a great way to keep on top of your own assets whether youíre prepared to sell or just curious about numbers.




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