4 Steps To Complete Before House Hunting

Couple applying for mortgage

There are a number of steps you should take in order to decide whether or not you’re ready to buy a new home. Those include investigating the housing market in your area, calculating mortgage rates and a likely monthly payment for a new home, and looking at your own budget and finances. Once all of that is complete, if you decide it’s time for you and your family to buy, there are some additional steps you should take to prepare for house hunting. Having these tasks finished before you go out looking for a home will allow you to make an offer as soon as you find one you like.

  • Check your own credit

Your credit score will have a significant impact on your mortgage rate, and whether or not you can qualify for a loan. Before you spend time looking at houses, make sure your credit is in order. There are a number of free tools that allow you to check your credit score, and you can request one free credit report each year. Even if you’re not currently in the market for a new home, it’s a good idea to stay updated on your credit so you can resolve any issues. You may even find that mistakes were made by creditors, which have left a blemish on your record. Getting those fixed and taken off your credit report is much easier when you catch them immediately.

  • Gather documentation

Whichever lender you choose will require you to fill out a stack of paperwork, and submit another stack of documents that give evidence about your financial stability. Putting an offer on a house can be stressful when you’re having to scramble to assemble these documents. So, before you begin your search, gather the necessary documents to make your life easier. You’ll likely need pay stubs, bank statements, W-2s and tax returns going back at least two years. If you’ve been renting a home or apartment, you’ll want to have the names and addresses of your recent landlords too. And, if you have current loans or lines of credit open, you’ll need statements for those also.

  • Get preapproved

Being preapproved for a mortgage gives you some leverage when you find a home you’d like to make an offer on. It also gives you some stability knowing about how much you’re able to spend. Your first step in becoming preapproved is to find a lender. Typically, you’d want to start at the institution where you do your normal banking, and maybe a couple local credit unions. It’s a good idea to apply at multiple vendors all at once. This will allow you to find the best rate possible, but will prevent your credit from being dinged over and over when the lenders check it.

  • Find alternatives

In the current market, those without perfect credit may have difficulty finding a lender willing to approve them. In that case, there are alternatives you can investigate. For example, the Federal Housing Association has a program designed to help first-time home buyers qualify for a mortgage. An FHA loan basically means that the FHA is insuring your mortgage, which gives lenders more confidence in lending to you. It also only requires a 3.5-percent down payment. If you’re not a first-time home buyer, there are other government programs you might qualify for that will help you to afford a new home.

Once you’ve completed the necessary preliminary steps of buying a house, contact us at Perry Hood Properties. We can help you design and build a new home that’s perfect for your needs, or show you our already constructed, move-in ready homes in Tulsa, Broken Arrow and Bixby. 

When is it Time to Downsize to a Smaller Home?

Large house to small house

When you’re starting your family, and as it grows, you typically think about moving to gain additional space, or perhaps to find a newer home with higher quality materials and amenities. But, there are also circumstances that call for downsizing from a larger home, to one with less space. Here are some of the typical reasons why downsizing is an attractive option.

  • Empty nest

The most common reason for downsizing that we notice from our customers is that kids have moved out of the house, and the extra bedrooms that were once necessities are now unused. In these situations, downsizing to a smaller home with fewer bedrooms makes it easier to maintain and more efficient to heat and cool your home. Many couples also prefer to move from a two-story home to a one-story home to eliminate the need to walk up and down stairs since the additional space isn’t necessary. Since a smaller home often also costs less, it opens the opportunity to include additional amenities in the master bath, kitchen or patio.

  • Mobility issues

Another common reason for moving to a smaller home involves concerns over mobility for aging individuals. Particularly for those in two-story homes where trips up and down stairs become more dangerous, moving to a smaller home can help to avoid falls and injuries. Having a smaller area to keep clean is typically also beneficial for the elderly.

  • Saving money

As mentioned, the price of buying a smaller home with two or three bedrooms is usually significantly less than a home with four or five bedrooms. But there are other savings too. Most notably, energy savings. Heating and cooling less space requires less energy, and the savings really add up. This is especially true when you have only one floor compared to two floors. When the new, smaller home you’re moving into is newer, there are likely additional energy efficient materials and products used that increase monthly energy savings even more. You’ll also likely save on property tax.

  • Simplifying and De-cluttering 

While there aren’t many individuals who can commit to this last reason to downsize their home, those that do tend to see a marked difference. You may have noticed that the amount of stuff you own usually conforms to fit the space of your home. When you live in a larger house, you’ll acquire enough things to fill each room over time. When you decide to move to a smaller house, it forces you to really take stock of each item and get rid of many of your less necessary possessions. This means you get rid of items you have more than one of, or things you rarely use. For many of us, this is a incredibly satisfying exercise. There’s also the additional benefit of being able to donate your extra stuff to charity, or sell it for some extra money.

Whatever your reasoning, if you decide it’s time to downsize, contact us at Perry Hood Properties. We have a variety of available houses and floor plans, which means we can find the right fit for just about anyone. Whether you’re ready to downsize, or need a home with more space for your growing family, look through our currently available homes, or contact us to start construction on your own custom home.

Choosing the Right Location For Your Next Home

Couple looking at blueprints

Ask a real estate agent the most important element of their business and they’ll likely respond with the cliche, “location, location, location”. For many home buyers, where a home is located is even more important than what’s inside. At Perry Hood Properties, we build high quality homes throughout Tulsa, Broken Arrow and Bixby, in some high demand neighborhoods. We certainly understand the importance of finding the right location for you and your family. Here are a few notes on how to find the right place, and why that’s important.

  • The importance of location

While you and your family may live in your home, everyday, you’ll travel around the surrounding community to get to jobs, school, run errands and find recreation. For many of us, our time spent outside the home outnumbers our time spent inside, which highlights the importance of living in an area you enjoy. Typically, the keys to consider are aesthetics, whether or not you find the area beautiful, opportunities, whether or not there are things to do nearby, jobs available and good schools, and a welcoming environment, whether or not the people seem friendly, and it’s safe to walk and travel. When all of these considerations are met, home owners tend to feel more content, and the area typically sees higher economic growth.

  • Start with a wish list

Even if you have it narrowed down to a single city, there are still dozens of areas or neighborhoods to consider for the location of your next home. But, instead of simply creating a list of these potential neighborhoods, create a wish list for what your ideal neighborhood would feature. This could include it being close to work, in a certain school district, have nearby shopping, be kid-friendly, or whatever is important to you. Once you’ve developed this list, start looking around at areas to see which one offers something closest to your wish list.

  • Spend time in your location

Once you’ve found the location you think is best for you and your family, take some time to experience it. If you’re moving from out of town, this is especially important because it’s harder to know the characteristics of an area until you spend some time there. Even if you’re just moving across town and think you know all about a neighborhood, taking time to walk around, eat at a nearby restaurant and talk to residents can educate you on the positives and negatives that aren’t obvious. For example, you may discover an animal problem, or that a new shopping center will soon be constructed nearby. Sometimes, you may simply find out that you don’t feel as comfortable in this area as you thought you would.

  • Avoid these mistakes

The previous two tips contained suggestions for the right way to find the location for your next home. Here are two common mistakes that often lead to choosing a home you aren’t happy with. First, don’t let a vacation or single experience bias you. Maybe you made a trip to a city and visited a neighborhood that seemed charming, but living there everyday would be too stressful or not a good environment for children. Or, maybe you attended an event in an area of your hometown and now you associate that area with the crowd that attended the event. In reality, that area may be drastically different day to day. So, get to know the real characteristics of the area instead of relying on unique experiences. Second, no place is good or bad. Avoid putting areas into these categories. Instead, focus on compatibility for your situation. While multiple areas may offer positive marks on characteristics that are important to you, by judging them by compatibility, you’ll differentiate between what’s nice, and what’s best for you.

When you’re ready to buy your next home, contact us at Perry Hood Properties. We have a variety of move-in ready homes in Tulsa, Broken Arrow and Bixby, or will work with you to build a custom home to your specifications.

Before Putting Your Home On The Market, Make These 5 Simple Improvements

Young couple painting home

Before buying a new home, you probably need to make some improvements around your existing home to make it more attractive to potential buyers. That doesn’t mean you have to have a big budget or make any serious remodels, however. Here are some examples of simple and inexpensive ways to improve the value of your home, and the visual appeal to buyers.

  • New doors

If you’ve never changed the front door of your home, that’s a great place to start. Your front door is one of the first parts of your home that potential buyers will see, and it can make a great first impression. While the look of the door is most important, you’ll also want to install one that is energy efficient. That will impressive buyers once the look of your home has drawn them in. Once your entry way is up to snuff, consider installing new doors on bedrooms and bathrooms around your home also. Some fancier doors, or even some new knobs, can make a significant visual improvement.

  • Add light

Without making any other improvements to your home, improving the lighting immediately makes it seem more inviting and comfortable. This can be done with natural light, like making existing windows larger, adding a skylight, or just investing in some better drapes or curtains that let light in better. Or, you can add more lamps, and put nicer light bulbs in fixtures to brighten up certain areas.

  • New floors

Your flooring has a significant impact on the value of your home, and it’s been known to scare away buyers. If you have old, stained carpet, or just an odd color of flooring, you’re making it much more difficult to sell your home. Most buyers would prefer to see nice wood floors, which they can then add their own personal touch to. Remember, you’re not decorating your home for you, so choose a fairly neutral color for any type of flooring that could appeal to anyone.

  • Fresh paint

Similarly, bright colors or odd patterns on walls may be great for you, but they can limit the appeal of your home. Consider instead repainting with a neutral color. Even if your home is already fairly neutral, it’s a good idea to add a fresh coat of paint in high traffic areas. You’ll be surprised how much brighter and cleaner your walls will look, and potential buyers will take notice too.

  • Go green

Most home buyers are interested in energy saving features that allow them to spend less of bills each month in their new home. You could install new windows, or new, Energy Star appliances, but you don’t even have to go to that expense. Small touches like re-caulking windows and door frames will help greatly in saving on energy costs. New insulation in the attic is also a good choice.

When you’re ready for your next new home, contact us at Perry Hood Properties. We build houses throughout Tulsa, Bixby and Broken Arrow, and can help you find one of our move-in ready homes, or help you build a custom home perfect for your family.