Preparing to Buy

Feel empowered to buy your dream home with advice and tips from our top local real estate agents.

What is a mansion?
Buying Your First Home
What is a mansion?

In order to be considered a mansion, a house needs to have a large square footage and lot size and an overabundance of amenities.

How much does it cost to move a house?
Preparing to Buy
How much does it cost to move a house?

Moving a house from one location to another is generally cheaper than buying a new house, but it depends on the size, structure, and foundation.

What is wholesale real estate?
Preparing to Buy
What is wholesale real estate?

Wholesale real estate is a short-term real estate investment strategy without agents and investors that can be profitable but still requires time and expertise.

What is a multi- vs single-family home
Buying Your First Home
What is a multi- vs single-family home

Single-family homes are freestanding residences but a multi-family home has more than one dwelling unit.

Are higher ceiling houses better?
Preparing to Buy
Are higher ceiling houses better?

Eight-foot ceilings are standard and higher ceiling homes are typically more valuable.

What are multigenerational homes?
Preparing to Buy
What are multigenerational homes?

Multigenerational homes aren't a type of housing structure but a house in which at least two generations of families live.

What are the requirements to buy a house in 2024?
Buying Your First Home
What are the requirements to buy a house in 2024?

Most requirements for buying a house pertains to your finances, like making sure you have the right credit score, proof of income, and money for a down payment.

13 unenforceable HOA rules
Preparing to Buy
13 unenforceable HOA rules

HOA rules are enforceable when they’re established in accordance with the governing documents of the association and applicable laws. Here's what HOAs can't do.

How to buy an apartment building in 2024
Preparing to Buy
How to buy an apartment building in 2024

Buying an apartment building is similar to buying a house, but you'll need to your due dilligence to make sure it's a profitable and safe property.

Top 15 under-the-radar cities to live in Colorado
Preparing to Buy
Top 15 under-the-radar cities to live in Colorado

Orchard analyzed 50 Colorado cities and built a list of places where the quality of life is high, prices are relatively low, and it's easier to buy a home.

A guide to the 1% rule — with examples
Preparing to Buy
A guide to the 1% rule — with examples

The 1% rule in real estate can help determine whether you'll make a profit on an investment property. Here's how to use it help inform your purchase.

Rent vs. buy calculator: Should I rent or buy a house?
Preparing to Buy
Rent vs. buy calculator: Should I rent or buy a house?

Unsure of whether to rent or buy a house? Use this rent vs. buy calculator to make an informed decision about which option makes the most financial sense.

The average cost to move
Preparing to Buy
The average cost to move

Learn how much it costs to move on average by geography, size of the move, services, and more. These numbers are current for 2023.

What is a quitclaim deed?
Preparing to Buy
What is a quitclaim deed?

A quitclaim deed allows a seller to quickly transfer property to a buyer. Learn how it works, when to use this deed, and more.

What does primary residence mean?
Buying Your First Home
What does primary residence mean?

The simplest definition for a primary residence is that it’s your home where you live, and it can affect your mortgage rates, tax benefits, and more.

Paying off a mortgage or investing: Which is better?
Preparing to Buy
Paying off a mortgage or investing: Which is better?

When weighing whether to pay off a mortgage early or invest, usually some combination of both would likely yield greater financial stability.

15 tips for moving with children
Preparing to Buy
15 tips for moving with children

Moving into a new home is already a stressful process filled with change and excitement. If you’re moving with kids, there is an added layer of pressure. 

How much VA loan can I get?
VA Loans
How much VA loan can I get?

For most people, VA loan limits are not an issue. But if you have impacted entitlement, then you're subjected to conforming loan limits set by the FHFA.

What exactly does it mean when a building is condemned?
Preparing to Buy
What exactly does it mean when a building is condemned?

A condemned house is one that the government deems unfit for anyone to live in or use, due to health and safety concerns.

Can I work with multiple real estate agents?
Preparing to Buy
Can I work with multiple real estate agents?

You can work with multiple real estate agents if you haven’t signed an exclusive contract. However, working with multiple agents is generally frowned upon.

When people search for homes in today’s hottest markets
Buying Your First Home
When people search for homes in today’s hottest markets

We analyzed website traffic to our listings pages to find the most popular times people search for houses and request home tours.

What does off-market mean?
Preparing to Buy
What does off-market mean?

If you’ve browsed listings and seen a beautiful home listed as “off-market,” you might have assumed you missed your chance to buy. That's not always the case.

How to choose the right location when buying a house
Preparing to Buy
How to choose the right location when buying a house

Homebuyers often wonder if it’s better to buy a fixer-upper in a good neighborhood or a turnkey home in a bad one. There’s no obvious answer to that question.

What is a home warranty — and is having one worth it?
Preparing to Buy
What is a home warranty — and is having one worth it?

While a home warranty can be a good safety net against expensive, unforeseen repairs, getting one is not always the most financially sound decision.

Cash wins every home around me: In some cities, cash bids win 1/4 of home sales
Preparing to Buy
Cash wins every home around me: In some cities, cash bids win 1/4 of home sales

In an analysis of winning bids on homes, Orchard found that the percentage of homes sold for cash has risen significantly in the country's hottest markets.

Can you buy a house on Amazon?
Preparing to Buy
Can you buy a house on Amazon?

Everyone knows that one site where you can buy everything. Does that include your next home? Not unless you like living small.

Your guide to buying a house with a pool
Preparing to Buy
Your guide to buying a house with a pool

Pools are work. Our guide breaks down everything you need to know about pool ownership, so you don't end up wishing that you never bought a house with a pool.

Your guide to buying a house in Arizona
Arizona
Your guide to buying a house in Arizona

Buying a house in Arizona can be competitive, but the state offers programs to help first-time buyers.

What are ‘power buyers’ in real estate?
Preparing to Buy
What are ‘power buyers’ in real estate?

Power buyers are companies that help prospective homebuyers make competitive offers and stand out in a crowded real estate market.

How to buy a home through a probate sale
Preparing to Buy
How to buy a home through a probate sale

Everyone likes a good deal, and probate sales can offer an opportunity to save money on a home that isn’t going through the traditional sales process. 

 Buying a house as a non-U.S. citizen: what you should know
Preparing to Buy
Buying a house as a non-U.S. citizen: what you should know

Buying a house in the States as a non-U.S. citizen is complex, but it's possible. We break down this multifaceted issue and point you to the resources you need.

6 things to avoid when buying a house with someone you're not married to
Preparing to Buy
6 things to avoid when buying a house with someone you're not married to

From credit issues to cohabitation agreements, there are many potential pitfalls to avoid when buying a house with a girlfriend, boyfriend, or other partner.

Using an LLC to buy a home: What you need to know
Preparing to Buy
Using an LLC to buy a home: What you need to know

Forming an LLC essentially keeps your business life separate from your personal life, which has different perks for different people when buying property.

What’s the ideal credit score to have when buying a home?
Preparing to Buy
What’s the ideal credit score to have when buying a home?

While this question boils down to “high credit score is good, low credit score is bad,” you can still qualify for a mortgage even if your credit isn't great.

The 10 Best Cities For New Families to Buy a Home
Preparing to Buy
The 10 Best Cities For New Families to Buy a Home

We’ve put together a ranked list of the 10 best cities for young families to buy a home to help inform your next move.

Title vs. deed: What's the difference?
Preparing to Buy
Title vs. deed: What's the difference?

A title is a legal term that refers to ownership, and the deed is the actual legal document that transfers a property title from one person to another.

What to consider when buying a retirement home
Preparing to Buy
What to consider when buying a retirement home

It’s hard to buy a home when you’re young, working, and raising a family that meets both your current needs and the needs of your future, retired self. 

How much house do I need? 7 signs your house is too small
Preparing to Buy
How much house do I need? 7 signs your house is too small

From market conditions to reaching your decluttering limits, keep an eye out for these signs that it's time for you to find a new, larger place to call home.

Is your dream home FSBO? Your guide to buying a house for sale by owner
Preparing to Buy
Is your dream home FSBO? Your guide to buying a house for sale by owner

Buying a house for sale by owner can get you a better price and more flexibility in the process, but you'll need to be extra savvy navigating the transaction.

Selling stock to buy a home: Is it a good move?
Preparing to Buy
Selling stock to buy a home: Is it a good move?

If you’re considering selling stock to fund your home purchase, learn how and when to liquidate your holdings, and what you need to consider going forward.

Can you buy a home or get a mortgage without a job?
Preparing to Buy
Can you buy a home or get a mortgage without a job?

To buy a home, most of us need a mortgage to bridge the gap between the down payment and sale price of the home. Without W-2 income, you may face challenges.

What does the housing market look like in 2022?
Preparing to Buy
What does the housing market look like in 2022?

While 2021 saw historically high prices and competition, 2022 may see both rise again. Savvy buyers may still find some good deals if they plan well.

Can you use a 401k to buy a house?
Preparing to Buy
Can you use a 401k to buy a house?

If you really want to buy a house with your 401(k), taking a loan from it is better than making a withdrawal, which comes with steep fees if you aren't retired

Your guide to buying a foreclosed home
Preparing to Buy
Your guide to buying a foreclosed home

You find a home you like that works for your budget — but it’s foreclosed. Did you just strike gold or is buying a foreclosed home more trouble than it’s worth?

Buying a Historic Home: What You Need to Know
Preparing to Buy
Buying a Historic Home: What You Need to Know

The main differences between the purchase of a historic home and a new home are your financing options and the appraisal. What else should you consider?

Buying a House With Student Loans: What You Need to Know
Preparing to Buy
Buying a House With Student Loans: What You Need to Know

This guide will help you understand how to take on a mortgage responsibly, without falling behind on student loan payments or crippling your financial health.

8 Tips For Dealing With Home Buying Stress
Preparing to Buy
8 Tips For Dealing With Home Buying Stress

Let’s look at some logistical and emotional ways to manage your stress while buying a home, and where you can turn to for help when the process goes awry.

The 15 Best Cities to Move to for a Remote Career
Preparing to Buy
The 15 Best Cities to Move to for a Remote Career

If you’re one of the many Americans starting a new life as a remote worker, we’ve compiled a list of the best cities to move to for a remote career.

How does the rent-to-own process work?
Preparing to Buy
How does the rent-to-own process work?

Rent-to-own or lease-to-own is an agreement that allows a renter to buy a home after years of renting. You’ll come across two main types of rent-to-own options.

What Are Real Estate Relocation Companies?
Preparing to Buy
What Are Real Estate Relocation Companies?

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or moving to the opposite coast, real estate location companies can help with your home purchasing and moving needs.

How much the typical home cost in your state in 1950
Preparing to Buy
How much the typical home cost in your state in 1950

Orchard analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data to find the 1950 median home values for every state plus Washington D.C.

Buying a home with solar panels: what you should know
Preparing to Buy
Buying a home with solar panels: what you should know

Looking at a house with solar panels? You should know what it means to buy a home with them, whether they're leased or paid in full.

Is There A Housing Bubble — And Is It About to Burst?
Preparing to Buy
Is There A Housing Bubble — And Is It About to Burst?

The answer to this question depends on your situation and your local market. But generally speaking, don’t expect things to change drastically anytime soon.

Can You Find a Home Before It Hits the Market?
Preparing to Buy
Can You Find a Home Before It Hits the Market?

Homes that don’t hit the market — known as “pocket listings” — can be a good option for buyers and sellers for many reasons.

How Do Evictions Affect Your Credit Report?
Preparing to Buy
How Do Evictions Affect Your Credit Report?

If you've been evicted, your credit report has likely taken a hit. Here's how to approach fixing your credit before you make a big purchase like buying a house.

Is The Housing Market Cooling Off? Fall 2021 Update
Preparing to Buy
Is The Housing Market Cooling Off? Fall 2021 Update

Many real estate experts expect the record-setting housing market of the past year to slow down this fall, but it's still expected to be highly competitive.

You bought a house and then found a problem. Now what?
Preparing to Buy
You bought a house and then found a problem. Now what?

Who’s responsible for the necessary repairs if you find problems with a house after buying it?

Buying a house for, or from, family? Read this guide to non-arm's length transactions
Preparing to Buy
Buying a house for, or from, family? Read this guide to non-arm's length transactions

Buying a home from your family or for them, or how doing so can help you avoid competition and make closing easier.

What is the difference between a mansion, single-family home, condo, and townhouse? And which is right for me?
Preparing to Buy
What is the difference between a mansion, single-family home, condo, and townhouse? And which is right for me?

Condos, townhouses, single-family homes, and mansions differ based on utilites, taxes, who owns the land, and who has access to the property, among other things

What to Consider When Buying a House With a Partner, a Friend, or Family
Preparing to Buy
What to Consider When Buying a House With a Partner, a Friend, or Family

Want to buy a house with a friend, partner, or members of your family? Make sure you consider all the financial and legal responsibilities.

How much money should I save before buying a house?
Preparing to Buy
How much money should I save before buying a house?

How much to save for a house depends on the home price and type of loan you're getting. Save money for a down payment, inspection, and moving and closing costs.

What is an easement in real estate?
Preparing to Buy
What is an easement in real estate?

An easement gives someone access to your property. In some cases, they can be a nuisance, but overall, easements shouldn’t give you much cause for concern.

Did someone die in your house? Here's how to find out
Preparing to Buy
Did someone die in your house? Here's how to find out

While hunting for a new home, you may be curious whether recent previous residents met an untimely end. Here's how to find out if someone died in a house.

What Do People Want In a Home? Here’s What Our Home Match Quiz Says
Preparing to Buy
What Do People Want In a Home? Here’s What Our Home Match Quiz Says

What do people really want when searching for a home? The results of our Home Match quiz breaks down people's preferences across markets.

7 Tips for Buying a Home in a Hot Market
Preparing to Buy
7 Tips for Buying a Home in a Hot Market

Real estate agents across the country share their tips for winning the home of your dreams.

How much does an acre of land cost?
Preparing to Buy
How much does an acre of land cost?

Not surprisingly, land in rural, suburban, and urban areas will have different price points. Here's what you need to know about the price of an acre.

Can you refuse to join an HOA?
Preparing to Buy
Can you refuse to join an HOA?

It's possible to avoid an HOA, though those situations are rare and hard-fought. Plus, the fight might not be worth it. Learn more about refusing to join HOAs.

The complete house hunting checklist for buyers
Preparing to Buy
The complete house hunting checklist for buyers

We’ve made a house hunting checklist to help you remember all the important details you need to look out for while home shopping.

Is now a good time to buy a house?
Preparing to Buy
Is now a good time to buy a house?

Mortgage rates are high, home prices are leveling out, and inventory remains low, but it can still be good time to buy a house if you're financially ready.

11 best tips for buying a house in another state
Preparing to Buy
11 best tips for buying a house in another state

If you're looking to buy a house in another state, follow these tips and make moving to a different place easier.

How long does it take to buy a house?
Preparing to Buy
How long does it take to buy a house?

It typically takes around six months from start to finish to buy a house — but the exact timeline is different for everyone and depends on a few key factors.

The ultimate guide to buying a house in Texas
Texas
The ultimate guide to buying a house in Texas

To buy a house in Texas, start by assessing your finances. Your down payment and credit score requirements will depend on the type of loan you take out.

The Best Places to Live in the Triangle
Raleigh-Durham
The Best Places to Live in the Triangle

We ranked the top neighborhoods and suburbs in Raleigh-Durham based on housing, quality of schools, and commute times to help you find the best place to live.

The Best Neighborhoods in Charlotte
Charlotte
The Best Neighborhoods in Charlotte

We ranked the top neighborhoods and suburbs in Charlotte based on housing, quality of schools, and commute times to help you find the best place to live.

How long does a home appraisal take?
Offers & Negotiation
How long does a home appraisal take?

A home appraisal happens after you make an offer on a home and typically takes two days to a week to complete.

Thinking of buying a new construction home? Read this first
Buying a New Construction Home
Thinking of buying a new construction home? Read this first

Buying a new construction home is an exciting and unique transaction. We broke down the new construction homebuying process, along with its pros and cons.

The best places to live in Houston in 2024
Texas
The best places to live in Houston in 2024

We ranked the top neighborhoods and suburbs in Houston based on housing, quality of schools, and commute times to help you find the best place to live.

How to Buy and Sell a Home During the Coronavirus
Preparing to Buy
How to Buy and Sell a Home During the Coronavirus

Find information and answers to common questions on how to buy or sell a home during the coronavirus.

Should I Buy or Sell a House During the Coronavirus Pandemic?
Preparing to Sell
Should I Buy or Sell a House During the Coronavirus Pandemic?

If you were hoping to buy or sell a home this year, you might be second-guessing things now. Here's why this could still be a good time to buy or sell a house.

What is an Open House? Everything Buyers and Sellers Need to Know
Glossary
What is an Open House? Everything Buyers and Sellers Need to Know

Wondering exactly what an open house in real estate is? This post walks buyers and sellers through everything they need to know to make the most of open houses.

What is a proof of funds letter?
Mortgage & Financing
What is a proof of funds letter?

A proof of funds letter is a bank letter or bank statement that shows you have enough one to close on a home, and you'll need it to make offers.

5 Essential Questions to Ask When Buying a House
Preparing to Buy
5 Essential Questions to Ask When Buying a House

Here are 5 essential questions to ask when buying a house. Make sure to get all of the home buying questions answered before you sign on the dotted line!

Renting vs. buying a home: Which is better?
Preparing to Buy
Renting vs. buying a home: Which is better?

Renting is likely best for those looking for flexibility, but people who are ready to settle down and can afford the costs should consider buying a house.

How to Buy a House in 7 Steps
Preparing to Buy
How to Buy a House in 7 Steps

Ready to become a homeowner but not sure where to start? Here's an overview of how to buy a house so you can approach the home buying journey with confidence.