Jane Dunlap - New England R. E. Center, Inc.



Posted by Jane Dunlap on 9/23/2018

Buying a house is arguably the most expensive purchase most people will make in their lives. With real estate prices steadily rising year after year, many Americans are finding ways to save on housing.

At the same time, rent prices too are increasing, especially around metro areas where many young Americans are entering the workforce. With costs rising and wages stagnating, it can be hard to find an affordable place to live while still building equity that can be used later on down the road.

One option that many Americans are considering is the fixer-upper route. However, it takes know-how and a lot of hard work to make this method a good choice to save you money. In this article, weíll tell you how to make certain buying a fixer upper is a good idea and what costs you can expect along the way.

Adding up the costs

Buying a house that needs work means youíll need to spend a good amount of time calculating costs and getting quotes from professionals. Even if youíre familiar with several home maintenance tasks, there are some jobs that are safer if left to the pros. This isnít only a matter of physical safety, however. If you start a job that you arenít qualified to finish you could end up paying much more than if you had just hired a licensed professional to do the job in the first place.

When estimating costs for reparations and renovations, aim high. Itís better to plan for it to be more expensive and have more left over than to underestimate your projects and go over budget.

Get an inspection report

If you arenít sure whether or not you want to go through with a deal, make sure you have an inspection contingency clause in your contract. This will enable you to back out if the home inspector makes you aware of any costs that you werenít told about by the seller.

Donít forget added costs

There are several closing costs youíll be responsible for as a buyer. Make sure you keep tabs on how much you can expect to spend closing on the home. If youíre going through a mortgage lender, they are required to give you an estimate of closing costs.

Once you know the purchase price of the home and the closing costs, make sure you account for other aspects of your renovations, such as getting required permits.

Borrow wisely

If you do plan on taking out a loan to cover the cost of renovations, be smart with how you get and pay back that money. One option is the FHA 203(k) loan or renovation loan.

Renovation loans help you save on closing costs and simplify the lending process by giving you one loan that accounts for the cost of the renovations and of the home itself.





Posted by Jane Dunlap on 9/16/2018

Houses today are built larger than ever. In spite of all the extra rooms, homeowners still have one common complaint: not enough storage space.

When house hunting, buyers often name storage space as one of their key concerns. As nest-makers, we often find it difficult to part ways with toys for our kids, exercise machines that are collecting dust, or old appliances that ďstill workĒ but no longer worked for us. That leaves homeowners with two options: rent a storage facility or make room.

Taking on an extra monthly bill just to store things that you arenít using isnít an idea that sits well with most homeowners who are already inundated with monthly expenses. But how can you create more space in your home than you already have? The answer lies somewhere up near the ceiling.

In this article, weíll talk about the vertical space in your home and how to take advantage of it without making things appear cluttered.

When and when not to use vertical space

Before we give you vertical storage tips, first letís talk about where you donít want to stack the boxes high.

Rooms where you have guest and the places in your home where you spend the most time arenít the ideal place for vertical storage. The living room, bathrooms, and bedrooms are all places where you need room to breathe. We often recommend light colors, open windows, and mirrors to improve the usage of space in these rooms. However, there are other places in your home that arenít frequented as often.

ďWhere am I going to put this thing?Ē

Thatís a questions many of us ask ourselves when we make a new purchase. Letís start outside the house and work out way in, hitting all of the best areas to store things.

The garage or shed

If you have a shed or garage, odds are thereís a lot of space up toward the ceiling you arenít using. A good way to take advantage of this is to use shelving and hooks for your tools.

If youíre a cyclist but canít figure out where to store your bikes during the winter, consider buying hooks so that you can store them up out of the way of the more useful winter items like shovels and snow blowers.

Kitchen storage

Kitchen cabinets can get cluttered easily. Inside your cabinets, try using stacking shelves to make it easier to stack high things like plates and bowls. For frequently used utensils, pots, and pans, and knives, consider installing a hook board on the wall above your counter. This will open up room in your cabinets and make your frequently used kitchen tools more accessible.

Bathroom storage

The bathroom closet can be a scary place. It is often home to countless cleaning objects, dirty laundry, towels, and more.

One great way to open up a lot of space in the bathroom closet is to hang laundry baskets on the interior of the closet door, or to hang mops, sweepers, and vacuums on the interior of the door for easy access.

Now that you know the benefits of vertical storage, think about how you can use it in your home to save space.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Jane Dunlap on 9/9/2018

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases that youíll ever make in your lifetime. Youíll spend decades of your life making mortgage payments to pay off your home loan. Buying a home is more than just simply finding a place to live. Itís also a financial decision. Your home helps you to build equity, gives you tax deductions, and helps you to have some security in your financial future. 


One of the biggest questions that youíll have when you buy a home is ďHow much can I spend?Ē To answer this question, youíll need to dig a little deeper. 


Do You Have Money For A Down Payment?


The standard amount of money that youíll need for a down payment is 20 percent of the purchase price of a home. If you donít have the money for a full down payment, youíll need to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). This could add up to be an extra cost of hundreds of dollars per month in additional insurance payments on top of your mortgage and every other kind of expense that goes along with buying a home. Youíll need to take the time to save up for a down payment if youíre a first time homebuyer. If you already own a home, the equity that you have in that home can help you with the down payment.


What Are Your Other Financial Responsibilities?


Thereís more to buying a home than just the monthly mortgage payment. Youíll need to get insurance, pay taxes, and have some money set aside for repair and decorating costs. Youíll need to look at your monthly income to find out just how much you can afford on a home. You should take an honest look at your lifestyle and existing expenses in order to determine a comfortable monthly mortgage payment for you.    


Know Your Credit Score


Your credit score will be a major factor in how much house youíll be able to afford. Your lender will use your credit score and credit history to help determine what type of interest rate youíll get and how much theyíre willing to lend you in order to buy a home.


Understanding what you can afford for a home purchase is crucial before you even start shopping. Itís a good idea to meet with a lender to get pre-qualified. This is different than getting pre-approved. Your lender will give you a general idea of how much you can spend on a home without digging too deep into your finances. Getting pre-qualified is a great place to start when youíre looking at the numbers of being a homeowner.




Tags: Buying a home   finances  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Jane Dunlap on 9/2/2018

If you believe you are coming close to the time to buy your first home, you'll want to be informed. Itís never too early to begin preparing for a home purchase. The more organized you are, and the better you have your financial situation in order the better off youíll be when it comes to the home search. Where should you start? Below, youíll find some key things that you can do to maximize your chances of finding and securing your first home.


Check Your Credit


Your credit score is one of the most critical pieces of your financial picture. A FICO score ranges from 300 to 850. The higher the number, the better off you are. When youíre getting a mortgage, you want to have good credit. If your credit score is above 740, youíll be eligible for the best interest rates. If your credit score needs help, a higher score will get you the best interest rates available. Once you get your credit score, (Itís free to get through a variety of services.) aim to improve your score. Pay your bills on time. Use less of your available credit (target to use 30 percent or less of your total available credit.) The bottom line is that a low-interest rate will save you a significant amount of money over the life of your loan. 


Refrain From Opening New Accounts


If youíre in the market to buy a home, itís probably best for you to stay away from opening new accounts. Every store has their credit card and offers deals to open an account in store. While it could save you some money on your purchase, opening new accounts has a negative impact on your credit score in the short term. A car loan, for example, will also affect your credit score because it brings your debt-to-income ratio up, which can put a damper on your chances of getting a mortgage for a low-interest rate.


Save, Save, Save


If you want to buy a home soon, youíll need to save up a significant amount of money. These savings will go towards a downpayment, closing costs, and furnishing your new place. Every chance you get, you should be putting money away. Include gifts, bonuses, and any other income thatís outside of your average take-home pay. 


Itís also a good idea to set up a second bank account dedicated to saving for the home. Set up an automatic transfer each month that will go into that account from your primary earnings. You can d this based on how your employer pays you.


Look For A Real Estate Agent


Your real estate agent will be a crucial part of your home search. They will help in everything from finding the property of your dreams to negotiating the deal to sitting by your side at closing. You should do a bit of research to help you find a real estate agent who can assist you in finding the right property for you. 


Ask family and friends for recommendations of agents. You can search for the real estate agentís name online and see what kind of reviews the agent has and contact different agents. From there. You can make a decision.          


Now, good luck with your home search! 





Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Jane Dunlap on 8/26/2018

As incredible the act of purchasing a home is, many buyers end up regretting their purchase. Thereís a variety of reasons for this. It all comes down to being ill-informed about buying a home and the type of home needed for the most liable situation. Read on to find out some of the biggest regrets home buyers face and how to avoid them. 


Buying Too Small Of A Home


The most prominent regret that many buyers face is not buying a larger property. Many people want to live in a specific location or type of home that they overlook the size altogether. One reason that people end up buying a home thatís the wrong size is that they rush to find a property in a particular area. If you branch out on your search, youíll have a better shot at finding the right size home. The area might not matter as much as the space youíre living in, s keep that in mind. 


Not Doing Your Research


People tend to skip out on the research phase of buying a home. Itís critical that buyers understand things like mortgage rates, fees, credit reports, how much needs to be saved, and more. There are so many things that go into buying a home that you could easily miss out on something if you donít know what youíre in for ahead of time.


Not Saving Enough


Your home will be one of the largest purchases you make in your entire life. There is a lot more to the cost than just the monthly mortgage payment. Youíll need a lot of money upfront when you buy a home including a downpayment along with other closing costs and fees. Plus, youíll need to set some money aside for any repairs or replacements you need to do in the home once you move in. Itís also a good idea to have an emergency fund available just in case. Life happens, and you donít want your savings to be depleted because you bought a house. 


Keep in mind that the bigger of a downpayment you make, the better off youíll be. Even if you can buy a home with a low downpayment, you want to put down as much as possible. A higher downpayment will keep your mortgage payments lower, get you a better rate, and you may even be able to avoid paying for PMI (private mortgage insurance.) Aim to save a 20 percent down payment for the most optimal mortgage situation.      

   




Tags: Buying a home  
Categories: Uncategorized  




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