Homeownership Guidance, Advice and Blogs

As the Director of Affiliate Relations at HomeFree-USA, I’ve always been fascinated with how people handle their money. Like everyone else, I’ve had my financial ups and downs. In fact, it took me 32 months to pay off $32,000 in credit card bills and build up a six-month emergency fund. While that was a very difficult period, I am grateful – and wiser -- for the experience.

Through my personal experiences and working at HomeFree-USA, I’ve gained a ton of insight that I feel compelled to share. You’ll find those lessons here. Feel free to take the thoughts and ideas that resonate with you most and put aside the rest for later. I look forward to sharing my journey.

4 Tips for Shopping for a House Virtually

While the pandemic has hampered many plans this year, don’t let it stop you from buying a house. Here are some homebuyng tips in the age of social distancing.

The pandemic has changed most aspects of daily life – including the process of buying a house. If you don’t feel comfortable visiting open houses, let your real estate agent know.

A good realtor should be able to provide you with options, says LaShawn Deal, a realtor affiliated with Exit Realty and a HomeFree-USA partner. Here are some tips for zeroing in on your dream home in the age of social distancing.

Ask for a video tour. Since the pandemic, virtual walkthroughs have become the new normal as sellers create videos of their house so buyers can see the features without having to step foot in the door. Video tours also add convenience since you can rule out houses that don’t fit your criteria from the comfort of your home.

Check to see if there is additional footage. Don’t assume the video you see is the only footage of the house. Sometimes the seller or seller’s agent will edit the video in order to keep it from being too long. There may be more footage available that can give you even more insight into the house if you ask for it.

See if a live virtual tour is available. Your agent or the seller’s agent may be able to walk through the house and show it to you live via Facetime. The benefit of a live tour over a recorded video tour is that you can instruct the agent on where to go and let them know if a part of the house warrants a closer look.

Check out the neighborhood personally. Even if you can’t take a physical tour of the house, you can certainly take a drive through the neighborhood. Not only will you see what amenities are nearby, but you’ll get a taste of what your neighbors may be like. It’s always a good idea to visit the neighborhood at different times of the day or night so you have a more accurate perception of the house’s surroundings.

Though the pandemic has hampered many plans this year, don’t let it stop you from moving forward with your goals of becoming a homeowner. By the time the pandemic winds down, you’ll be living your best life in a home you can call your own.