When buying a home, your focus should be on finding a buyer’s agent who is knowledgeable and, equally important, one you can truly work with. In addition, most buyer’s agents are focused on certain geographical areas and communities. Find someone who knows the communities you want to be looking in. If they are not on top of the community details, you should see them scrambling to study the situation so they can provide good input.


The first step in purchasing a home is finding out what you can afford, i.e, how much money you will need for a down payment, and for the other costs involved in purchasing a home. It is important to talk about contingencies with your agent and financial advisers, in case you ever find yourself in a situation where you cannot afford the home. Don’t overspend, especially if you need to give attention to other important issues in your life. For example, newlyweds would not want to overspend and find that they have no money for short vacations or special occasions with their new spouse.


A good buyer’s agent will spend time getting to know you, and will work hard to help you understand the steps you will be taking. Your initial anxiety level should be noticeable to a professional buyer’s agent, and he/she should work to provide information and understanding that will consequently reduce the fear associated with making such an important purchasing decision.

Why work with us?

Phil has a teacher’s heart.


He likes to spend the time to both educate and to truly know his clients. This is a requirement for anyone working with Inspire. With many years of teaching under his belt, Phil feels the only ridiculous question is the one that doesn’t get asked.


We give our clients a break, financially.


If the broker commission is the normal 3.0% to 3.5%, we give 15% of that commission back to our client. It is just a rebate to say thanks. We can afford to do this because of our low overhead operational style. It helps the client with the small additional costs associated with moving into a new home. Example: For a $200,000 house with a 3.5% BAC, the client gets a rebate of $1,050.

Most home builders provide a 3.0% commission to entice realtors to sell their homes. We give you !5% of our 3.0% commission, but we will guide you through the purchase process (including inspections), and even do walkthroughs at crucial points in the building process.


If Phil lists and sells your current home, and subsequently, sells you your next home, he will create a combination that saves you hundreds of dollars by lowering his fee. This represents a double transaction discount.


We not only know the neighborhoods you are searching in: we know about creative financing and we fully explore resale-ability (a good idea of how it will go when you try to sell in the future, subject to economic conditions); we have a handle on local and national economic trends; we know about schools, amenities, and local growth patterns; we understand commercial real estate and how it might impact the value of your home.


We have knowledge about creative buying.

Phil has developed commercial property, personally undertaken 1031 like kind exchanges, and bought and sold property using lease/options, notes, land contracts, etc. If there is a way for Phil and his associate broker, Aaron Martin, to make it happen, they will do it.


We have negotiation skills.

Aaron Martin has worked for Inspire Real Estate for several years. He assists and often leads the buyer agent process at Inspire.



Home Buying Tips:

To Own, or Not to Own?
Before you begin looking for homes to buy, ask yourself a question: Is owning a home really what I want? Many people want to buy a home to enjoy the equity building capabilities of real estate, but simply are not able to. If your job, personal interests, or anything else will be causing you to transfer your location soon, home buying is probably not for you at this point in time. Also, depending on the state of the economy and real estate market, it may be beneficial to wait for a short period of time before making the purchase decision.


Credit Score
Whether you are looking to rent or buy, your credit score is of utmost importance. Having a great credit score will allow you to buy a home, while an excellent credit score will allow you to buy a home at an excellent interest rate, saving you money over time. Find out what your credit score is now, and work to make it better before you buy your home, by making sure all of the facts are correct and fixing any errors.


Budgeting for Your Purchase
You can easily narrow home search by objectively figuring out your budget. Once you figure out how much you can afford financially, use some of the many financial calculators online to figure out the true cost of a home. This will show you the listing price range that you should be sifting through to find your next home.


Get Pre-Approved
The pre-approval process should be done before you look at potential houses. The idea is that although, even after budgeting, you may think you can afford a certain level of home, the bank may disagree. Being pre-approved for a loan, even if it is less than you had hoped, is an important step in buying a home because it ensures you and your agent that you will be able to purchase a home.


Make a Wish List
One of the best ways to help you and your real estate agent find the most appropriate home for you, is by creating a list of every feature you want. Since finding a home with every feature is unlikely, it is a good idea to prioritize the list. Don’t limit your list to features inside the house, think about community aspects that will increase the resale value of the home, such as good school districts.


Search with a Buyer’s Agent
You do not need a professional real estate agent to help you look for a home, but it is highly advised because of the many benefits agents can offer. They help people buy houses often, so they are not just guessing what to do. Agents also have access to much more information than non-agents through the Multiple Listing Service, including homes not listed otherwise, and home-specific tax information, and selling history. The best part about teaming up with an agent is that he/she will negotiate on your behalf, and will be the communication route between you and a possibly unruly seller.


Make a Smart Offer
Yet another great reason to use a real estate agent is to make a smart offer. A smart offer is one that is knowledgeable and aware of the current economic and market conditions. Your agent will be a great tool during this process because he/she will have access to tools that will provide adequate information for making a smart offer. Making a smart offer will be financially sound from your end without insulting the seller, resulting in a successful acceptance and closing.


Get a Professional Inspection
A professional inspection is one of the most important tasks you can do before you officially purchase your next home. This may sound like the appraisal that the bank will require, but it is actually much more because it will be a test of your new home’s quality, rather than simply what it is worth. Hiring a professional with experience is important, so that they will be able to spot problems that the average person could easily miss. Finding any potentially significant problems before closing will allow you to either back out of the purchase, or to include a clause that those problems be fixed by the seller.


Points vs. Rate
Depending on your financial situation, you may have a couple of options when officially determining your mortgage rate. The two most common options are to pay a portion of the interest at closing (points) so that you may have a lower interest rate, or to simply accept the higher interest rate and pay the interest as scheduled. If you plan on staying at this home for a long period of time, it is far better to pay the interest now (points); however, if you plan on moving soon, paying the interest at the regular rate will be more beneficial. Be sure to consult with your local bank about the potential options for your loan.

Moving Tips:

Utilities and Address
Transferring your life to your new home is not as intimidating as it may seem. All you have to do is make a list of every utility provider and important communication that is sent to your home. Simply contact each organization on the list and inform them of your new address. For utilities, however, make sure you cancel the service as close as you can to your big move, so you will not be paying longer than you necessary.


Clean and Organize
Cleaning and organizing your old house or rental before packing and moving is a must. Having a garage sale or donating to a local charity are great ways to get rid of items your family does not want. This will reduce the amount of packing necessary to move.


Packing takes a LONG time. It is a good idea to begin packing as soon as you get pre-approved for a loan. This will divide the stress of packing over a longer period of time so that when the big move comes, you can worry about other tasks rather than making sure everything is packed. Having a designated moving room is a good way to limit the amount of clutter in your house as the boxes begin piling up. Make sure to pack life’s essentials last – you might want to brush your teeth the last few weeks of being at your old house.


Move Cheap
You will need A LOT of boxes for your big move, probably many more than you think. If you buy all of these boxes, you will be spending a fortune and you will probably be throwing them all away immediately after the move anyway, so DO NOT BUY BOXES. There are many places that have an excess of boxes that you can use: grocery stores, business complexes, retail stores, etc. Also, look around your house for things to move with, such as, luggage, backpacks, grocery sacks, and even trash cans. If you purchase boxes, make sure you can take back what you do not use.


Me-First Boxes
Have an “open me first” box designated for each room with the most important items for each room. These are things you couldn’t go a day without. Ex: Kitchen – paper plates, silverware; Main Bathroom – shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothbrush; Master – alarm clock, change of clothes, etc.


Stay organized and take an inventory of EVERYTHING, if you don’t have a system of tracking your belongings, you have no way of objectively describing missing items. The best way to do this is to first make a spreadsheet on your computer that has a column titled “Box #” and a column titled “Contents.” Then, number every single box you pack and make a note of what is packed inside on your inventory spreadsheet. Finally, have someone stand outside your new home and check off the list every single box that comes to the new house. Any discrepancies will be easily taken care of because of your thorough preparation.


Color Coordination
A popular trend in moving today is to use the power of colors to make the moving process smoother. To do this, simply designated a certain color for each category of room. For the kitchen use purple, the den use yellow, the master bedroom use green, etc. On each box, place a sticker or tape with the corresponding color. Then, on move-in day, place a colored sticker or sheet of card-stock outside each room with the corresponding color. This way everyone helping you move will know exactly which room each box belongs in.




Important papers such as birth certificates, current bills, bank records, etc. and valuable items like jewelry and irreplaceable sentimental items should not be packed in the moving truck. These items should be tucked as close to you as possible during the move. If you cannot keep them next to you because you are moving far away, pack them inside a box with a misleading title such as “Extra coffee and candlesticks.”


Flammable, explosive, corrosive or heat sensitive materials should not be packed in the moving truck either. Many moving companies will simply not move these items because of the potential liability involved. Either dispose of these materials in the appropriate way or move them yourself.


Items such as fruit, vegetables, and dairy products should also not be packed on the truck because they are very easily damaged and spoil quickly. Either consume, dispose of, or move these yourself.



Working with Movers
If you choose to hire a moving company, prepare to be very patient and gracious. Moving companies have very busy schedules and tight deadlines that include other projects besides your move. You can help reduce the stress of everyone involved by making sure you and the moving crew exchange cell phone numbers and are available to answer the phone at any time. Also, obtain estimates from at least three moving companies to ensure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck.


Animals often times become confused and frightened during a move and may get in the way of people moving your belongings. If you have the opportunity to, it is a good idea to leave your pets at a friend or relative’s home during the move.


Stay Positive
Moving is a stressful and time consuming task that everyone must go through at some point, so maintaining a positive attitude during the move is the best piece of advice we can give. Once it is all over, take your time unpacking and enjoy living in your new home!