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Navigating the 2024 Real Estate Landscape

In the dynamic realm of real estate in 2024, first-time homebuyers are presented with opportunities and challenges. This comprehensive guide is crafted to empower you with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions and secure the best deal on your dream home. Begin by assessing your financial standing, setting a realistic budget, checking and improving your credit score, and obtaining pre-approval for a mortgage to understand your borrowing capacity. Researching the local market is crucial – familiarize yourself with trends and property values and enlist the assistance of a knowledgeable realtor with expertise in your desired neighborhoods.

Embarking on the journey of purchasing your first home is an exciting yet intricate process, and it’s essential to approach it with a well-informed mindset. Beyond the financial and market considerations, defining your priorities and conducting due diligence are pivotal steps. Your must-haves and nice-to-haves in a home create a roadmap for your search, ensuring that your chosen property aligns with your lifestyle and future goals. As you make an offer and navigate negotiations, stay true to your priorities while remaining open to compromise. The due diligence phase, including a thorough home inspection and legal review, acts as a safeguard, providing peace of mind as you approach the final stages of the homebuying process.

Once you’ve honed in on your priorities, attend open houses to gain firsthand insights into potential homes. As you progress to making an offer, strategize by working closely with your realtor to determine a competitive yet reasonable offer, and be prepared to negotiate with the seller. Understanding the property’s market value is key to standing firm on your offer. During the due diligence phase, prioritize a comprehensive home inspection by a qualified professional and consider engaging a real estate attorney to review contracts and ensure a smooth transaction. By employing these steps, you can confidently navigate the homebuying journey in 2024, providing a successful and rewarding experience in securing your first home. Happy house hunting!

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How to Find Your Dream Home

Are you thinking about starting the process of purchasing a new home? That’s fantastic! As you know, Gilley International Group is a family-run real estate agency. We aim to help our customers find a home that fits their budget and exceeds their wildest dreams. A house is more than walls covered in paint. It’s a place where a family can grow, find comfort, and call home. Today, we are excited to share a few bits of advice. We’ve gained a little experience over the years, and we are eager to help you understand the steps it takes to find your dream home.

  • Have a real estate agent that you can trust

               We know that there are horror stories out there about working with a real estate agent. Your goal should be to find someone you can trust, someone who understands what you are looking for and is willing to put your needs first.

  • Be blunt and honest with your agent

               The only way you will find your dream space is to be completely transparent with your agent. On top of the obvious information that they will need, like your budget, they also need to know what style of home interests you, how many rooms you need, and the vibe of the neighborhood you are looking for. No detail is too small; this is your home we are talking about!

  • Know your finances

               At this point, you most likely have already been pre-approved for your home mortgage loan. When figuring out your budget, you need to also think about all of the expenses that come with purchasing a house. We are guessing that your home will be the most substantial investment you have ever made, and we want to make sure that you are setting yourself up for success. Trust us; you can still find the home of your dreams while being financially responsible.

  • Understand your wants and needs

               Now onto the fun stuff! Once you have all of the items above checked off your to-do list, you need to lay out your wants and needs. Are you planning on expanding your family in the near future? Then, realistically, how many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Have you grown up dreaming of planting a beautiful garden? Then, you will want a yard that has enough space. Be honest with yourself. This list is what is going to propel your agent in the right direction.

  • Look at all of your options

               Walking houses can be fun! The moment you lay eyes on one, you immediately start imagining yourself living there. We urge you to think rationally, and not jump on the first place that you see. If you’re in love with it, that’s great! But, before you put down an offer, check out a few other places first. Give yourself the ability to have options!

               Our family here at Gilley International Group could not be more excited that you are looking to find your dream home. This is a moment in your life that we want you to look back on with a smile. The tips above are just a few bits of advice that we hope help you on your home buying journey. If you have a vision for what home looks like, let us help you make your dream a reality! To speak with us, call 210-445-1384.

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Homebuying During COVID-19

Today, we want to be completely transparent about the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affects home buyers. As real estate experts, Gilley International Group’s main priority now, like always, is to help our clients find their dream home here in Texas. When this pandemic hit, we were concerned, just like everyone else. Questions flooded our minds. How will this virus affect our family? How will it alter the economy? Is continuing to run our business the right thing to do? Fortunately, the CDC has been our country’s rock during these troubling times and has provided advice to help companies continue to run smoothly and safely. Our business practices have been altered; however, our dedication and commitment to our people have not. We are in your corner and are determined not to let this pandemic stop you from moving into your perfect home this year!

The first few steps in the home buying process, whether there is a pandemic or not, is to look at your budget, speak with your bank, and determine your financial eligibility. Once you know your price range, you can contact a real estate company and start looking for homes to walk. However, the COVID-19 virus has made this process a lot more complicated. Many banks are running remotely right now and are not allowing their customers to speak with their agents face to face; this can make it difficult to determine your financial eligibility and hinders your ability to talk with an expert and fully understand the financial commitment you are making. Also, many banks have been forced to have harsher credit score requirements. These setbacks may make you rethink purchasing a home this year. However, we want to urge you to call your bank, speak with them in detail about your financial reality right now, and ask them to explain how they are willing to help you. Trust us; they are in your corner just like we are. Don’t continue renting just because you are nervous!

Once you have determined your price range, it is time to speak with your real estate agent and start walking homes! In the past, you would physically view houses and determine if they were a good fit for you or not. In some cases, this is still true. However, thanks to technology, you can also have a virtual tour of the home online. While this virus continues to spread, we all must make an effort to practice safe social distancing guidelines. Unfortunately, that means we have to make a few sacrifices and alter the way we do things.

You have found your perfect home. Congratulations! Now, it’s time to close. Thankfully, technology is once again on our side! All of your closing documents can be read and signed online. Getting the keys to your home is a big deal, and we are so grateful that, even during a pandemic, this is still possible thanks to e-signing and e-closing!           

The COVID-19 pandemic may have thrown us for a loop at first, but our commitment to our clients forced us to reevaluate our business practices and make necessary adjustments. Here at Gilley International Group, we are resilient; nothing, not even a pandemic, will stop us from helping you find the home of your dreams. For questions on how we can help you, email us at [email protected]!

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First-Time Home Buyer Mistakes

Our goal here at Gilley International Group is to help our clients find not only the home of their dreams but a home that fits best for where they are in life. Purchasing a home for the first time is exciting, and many home buyers tend to jump in feet first without thinking through all of their options. Lucky for you, we are home buying experts! Today, we are going to discuss three mistakes that we see most often when working with first-time home buyers. We want to educate our buyers and assist them in smoothly entering this next phase of their lives!

Looking for a home before applying for a mortgage
Like we stated earlier, buying a home for the first time is exciting! So exciting that many of our clients tend to start touring homes before they have applied for a mortgage. It is easy to assume that you will be preapproved for a certain amount; however, this process takes time, and the preapproval rate can come as a shock once finalized. Our advice is to start your home buying process at the bank. Sit down with your lender, complete the paperwork, and wait until you receive your written preapproval before looking at houses. By doing this, you will save yourself extra stress and keep you from getting your hopes up!

Making decisions based on emotion
Purchasing a home is an investment. Most likely, the most substantial investment of your life. In situations of this importance, you need to think with your head instead of your heart. If you begin this journey solely thinking about finding the perfect house, you may find yourself overpaying. It is currently a seller’s market, and that means if you are not flexible with your options, you may end up in a home you love but with a demolished budget.

Draining your savings
Most home buyers have saved for this moment for years. They know that they are financially capable of putting 20% down and that this will allow them not to have to pay mortgage insurance. However, we want to caution against this. Yes, your monthly mortgage payment will be cheaper, but what about all of the unexpected costs of being a homeowner? Most first-time buyers don’t think about the extra costs of homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, and maintenance fees. Think smart and keep a few extra dollars in your account!

First-time home buyers, we hope that by discussing these three common mistakes, we have helped you head into this experience with confidence. We know that learning the ins and outs of home-ownership can feel daunting, but we are here to help! Remember, your first step is to meet with your lender so that you can get preapproved, then start looking for a home that makes sense with your budget, and lastly, think long-term when it comes to your savings. From all of us here at Gilley International Group, happy buying!