Category Archives: Home Buyers

The Top 10 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Buyer’s Agent

When buying a home, who you choose to work with matters more than you think. Finding the right buyer’s agent can make or break your entire experience, so it’s important to interview a few candidates before settling on “the one.” Not sure where to start? Here are a few must-ask questions to consider before you pick your buyer’s agent.

How long have you been an agent?

Agent and client talking at a table

Unless you mesh well with a newer agent, it’s usually better to go with someone who has at least a few years of experience under their belt. They’ll have the knowledge you need to navigate the ins and outs of the entire buying process. Continue reading

4 Tips to Ace Your First Home Purchase

If you ask a homeowner what it was like to buy their first home, they’ll probably mention a few things they’d change if they could do it all again. While it’s impossible to know everything about the home-buying process beforehand, you can still prepare yourself for what lies ahead—and figure out how to avoid some potential pitfalls. Not sure where to begin? Here are some key pointers to keep in mind before starting your search.

You’re Buying More Than a House

Neighborhood

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The Top Tax Deductions and Credits for Homeowners for 2019

Taxes are confusing, which is why many people in the U.S. choose to hire an expert to do their taxes for them. After all, there are so many numbers to know, forms to have ready, records of income and expenses, W-4s, 1099s, 380-Ts—we could’ve just made that last one up, and there’s no way of knowing!

Even though taxes might be complicated, they (sometimes) have a few perks. And if you own a home, those perks could mean a major bonus on your return. If you’re thinking of buying a home before next year’s taxes are due, here’s everything you need to know about how making a home purchase can affect your returns.

A calculator app on an iPhone.

Deductions vs. Credit

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The Top 4 Home Selling Myths of 2019, Busted

“Fake news” has become one of the trendiest terms of the decade—even when it comes to real estate. Homeowners are often bombarded with selling advice that promises to get their home sold quickly and for top dollar…but more often than not, these “tips” are nothing more than misleading—and can throw you off-track.

As we end the year, we want to set the record straight. Here’s our list of the top four home selling myths, debunked.

Myth #1: It’s Just like Reality TV

Woman watching TV with popcorn

If HGTV is your guilty pleasure, you’ve probably watched hundreds of buyers and sellers navigate the real estate process on camera. Although the shows do get some things right, they’re often scripted and don’t provide an accurate idea of what it takes to sell your property.

One of the biggest misconceptions created by these programs is the length of the selling process. Don’t fall for the TV magic—it actually takes a lot more than a showing and a phone call to close a deal. In reality, homes can sit on the market for 60 to 100 days or more, and the closing process might last for up to 45 days. Instead of expecting instant gratification, it’s best to talk with your agent to create a realistic timeline before listing. Continue reading

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.

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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