Question: Our house needs to be painted before we put it on the market. What wall colors do homebuyers like most?
Answer: It pains us to say so – because we personally love strong and bold colors – but neutrals are usually best when a home is put on the market. Neutral colors allow buyers to imagine themselves in your home. The good news is that there are more neutrals than ever. For a couple years now, the neutral of choice in Houston as been “greige,” kind of a gray-beige or pale taupe. Pale blue-grays – sort of a foggy color – are popular, too, and soft-washed greens are showing up in bedrooms and baths.
Question: We are buying a brand-new custom home from the builder. Do we still need to have it inspected before closing?
Answer: Yes! In fact, if possible, you should have it inspected several times: for the foundation, structure, electrical and plumbing before the walls are closed up. A really good builder will have these inspections done by a reputable inspector and have the paperwork to share with you. Feel free to take photos (of plumbing connections, for example) during construction for your own peace of mind and later reference.
Question: How many homes should we look at before making an offer?
Answer: That is entirely up to you. Some people strike gold with the very first home they visit. Other buyers are not satisfied until they visit dozens of homes. We’ve worked with buyers who have taken six months or more to find just the right house.
You can feed your confidence by doing your homework: Use HAR.com to study the current crop of homes in your price range and desired neighborhood. That eliminates lots of looking. Attend open houses, too, to get a feel for what your money will buy.
Question: What is amortization?
Answer: In the real estate world, it refers to the repayment of your loan principal over time, typically 15 or 30 years. In the beginning of your mortgage, a large portion of each monthly payment goes toward the interest on the life of the loan. As your loan matures, less goes toward the interest and larger amounts go toward paying down the principal. There are many online calculators that can show you how this works, such as this one.