Category Archives: Home Buyers

Why You Should Buy a Home During the Off Season

Your personal home-buying schedule doesn’t have to correspond with the real estate market! In fact, buying during the “off season” can yield tremendous advantages.

The “off season” differs depending on your specific location, but always refers to the period of time during a calendar year when both inventory and competition are low. Usually, this corresponds with the weather conditions in a particular area.

If you’re going to buy a home, you may just want to begin looking for your dream home during this period of market inactivity. Here’s why:

There’s Less Competition

Woman in a purple shirt sitting outside at a coffee shop table with her cell phone in one hand looking at a laptop screen.During the off season there are typically far fewer active buyers looking for homes, as most buyers prefer to look for homes when the weather is great or their kids are out on summer vacation. If you’re searching during the off season, you won’t feel as much pressure from other buyers looking at the same homes as you.

This gives you plenty of time to tour homes, think about them, and come to a decision about whether or not you want to put an offer down.

Continue reading

The Pros and Cons of a Buyer’s Letter: Standing Out in a Busy Market

Imagine, after weeks of searching, that you’ve finally found your dream home. It’s in the perfect location with the right features and exactly the amount of space you need. But after requesting more information, your agent informs you that there are already several offers made on the house. How do you stand out in a busy market and snag your dream home?

When buyers are looking to make a lasting impression on sellers, they often opt to submit a letter to the seller. In fact, a recent study found that buyers who submitted letters were 9% more likely to have their offer accepted.

A Buyer’s Letter can work both with you and against you, so it’s important to understand what they are and when you should use one. Continue reading

Is a Home Inspection Really Necessary? Why You Shouldn’t Skip This Important Step

Picture this: you’ve finally found the home of your dreams. It’s got all the features you’ve been searching for, and it’s in the perfect neighborhood. There can’t possibly be anything wrong with it…right?

Though technically optional, a home inspection is highly recommended by most realtors, as it can save you thousands of dollars—or even prevent you from making a costly mistake all together. Here are some reasons why you need a home inspection before you move in—even if you don’t see anything wrong on the surface.

You Could Avoid Expensive Repairs

Person making repairs with an electric drill.

This is probably the biggest advantage of a home inspection. Certain problems can cost thousands to fix and may not be immediately visible. Wondering what kind of issues a home inspector can find and how much they’ll cost? Here are some of the biggest issues uncovered during home inspections (and typical costs to fix): Continue reading

The 5 Most Important Things to Do After Buying a Home

So, you bought a house. First of all, congratulations! The search is over, no more weekends filled with open houses and showings, and you can finally breathe a sigh of relief. Phew.

But your work isn’t quite done yet. Once you buy a house, there are a few things that need to happen before and after move-in day. Check out our list of to-dos, and get prepared for what comes after closing—trust us, your future self will thank you.

Do a Deep Clean

A vacuum.

When you first buy your home, there won’t be any heavy dressers blocking off corners, couches and beds to clean under, or stacks of boxes covered in cobwebs in the attic. Your house will never be this empty again—well, until you sell it, that is—so take advantage of the wide-open space.

Whether you want to hire professional cleaners or DIY, you should pour some serious TLC into your new house. Dust, vacuum, mop, scrub, polish—look up a few cleaning checklists for inspiration—and put in some elbow grease. Continue reading

The Four Most Common Red Flags to Look for During Your Walkthrough

A new home is a big financial investment. Not only will you likely be pouring a lot of your savings into the purchase, but you’ll also be choosing a place to call home for years to come. The last thing you want is to spend all of that time and money only to discover a costly maintenance or structural issue.

Even though you’ll get a professional inspection done, there are certain red flags that you should specifically be looking out for during the first walkthrough. By recognizing these problem areas right away, you can put emphasis on them during the inspection. Save yourself time, money,  and stress, and know these major home-buying warning signs.

Foundational Flaws

A vase of flowers in front of a cracked window.

It’s not like you can pull the house up from the ground and get a closer look at the foundation, so how do you tell if there are any issues? A few surefire signs of a faulty foundation include sloping floors, swinging and sticking doors, visible cracks above window frames, and cabinets separating from the walls. Continue reading

The Bouma Group Welcomes Stephen Hollowell to their Real Estate Team!

Stephen Hollowell, Buyer's Agent for The Bouma Group RealtorsWelcome Stephen Hollowell!

Stephen grew up in the Ann Arbor Area, attending Burns Park, Lincoln, St. Francis, and Greenhills schools. He graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2005 with a BA in Journalism, and went on to pursue careers in hospitality, writing, and sales. New to real estate, Stephen is excited to work with the skilled and experienced team at the Bouma Group. He brings a keen eye for detail, passion for customer service, and commitment to excellence in helping clients find the home of their dreams. In addition to working hard, Stephen enjoys the great outdoors, biking, swimming, cooking, reading, music, art, and travel.

Martin Bouma and The Bouma Group have been servicing the real estate needs of Washtenaw County for more than 32 years and bring a unique, personal touch to each transaction. Thorough market knowledge, exceptional follow-through, and cutting edge marketing are the hallmarks of the Bouma Group’s continued success and have consistently made them the #1 real estate team in Ann Arbor. To find out more about home and condo buying opportunities in Washtenaw County, contact The Bouma Group at 734-761-3060 or visit their website at www.bouma.com

Home Buying 101: The Service Providers You Need for Your Home Purchase

Home Buying 101

When it comes to buying a home, there are more things to consider than you may realize. After all, it’s a lot more complicated than walking into the grocery store to buy a gallon of milk!

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases the average person makes. As such, you can expect there to be a lot of preparation, negotiation, and paperwork involved. In addition to obtaining a mortgage and signing the paperwork, there are a number of other tasks that need to be completed before you can open the doors to your new home.

Here’s a quick crash course in Home Buying 101: what service providers you need to hire while purchasing your new home.

Mortgage Lender

Man and a woman speaking with a bank lender holding pens.Ideally, you should start talking to lenders before you even begin looking for homes—and get pre-qualified for a mortgage as soon as possible.

Pre-qualification involves reviewing all of your finances, including income, expenses, and savings, with a lender.

Then, the lender will do some math and let you know exactly how much the bank is willing to loan you.

From all of our years of experience, we suggest using a local lender. Contact us for a list of the best in the Ann Arbor area. Continue reading

So, What Does a Realtor Actually Do for Home Buyers?

If you’re actively looking for a new home to buy, it may be tempting to try and do it yourself, without a Realtor. After all, the agent isn’t really working for you, right?

Two-story suburban home made of brick and stucco.There is a common misconception that real estate agents are only working for sellers, but that couldn’t be further from the truth!

When you’re buying a home, a real estate agent can help you make the right financial decision while maintaining your sanity.

Real estate agents live and breathe real estate, so they know how to navigate the market unlike anyone else.

The Right Buyer’s Agent Will Make All the Difference

An experienced Buyer’s Agent will keep you on top of the market, show you hard-to-find homes for sale, negotiate your buying terms, handle the bulk of your paperwork, and more. And it won’t cost you a penny!

In fact, here are the 4 things real estate agents do to eliminate stress from your home-buying process. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

5 Tips to Streamline Your Online Home Search

Who doesn’t love online shopping? You get to sit back in the comfort of your own home and browse fun things for sale on the internet. However, with online shopping comes hundreds of options from which to choose — and not all of them will work for you.

Woman on her computer staring off into space.The same goes for online shopping for a home. With so many options available on the Multiple Listing Service, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. But there are a few ways to make your search easier.

Instead of saving hundreds of different favorites, you can fast-track your search by prioritizing homes for sale with the features that are important to you.

If you feel like you keep seeing homes that aren’t a great fit, here are five easy tips for streamlining your online search and finding your dream home.

Create (and Stick With!) a List of Wants and Needs

What are the home features that you can’t live without? Do you have a price range in mind? Will it need to have a certain amount of acreage?

These requirements should be at the top of your list. Creating a wants and needs checklist like this will help you determine which homes are right for you, and which you shouldn’t even look at. Continue reading