8 Tips Every First-Time Homebuyer Should Know

Happy Covelle & Cohen homebuyer at closing

So, you’re ready to purchase a home? Congrats! As Suze Orman says, “Owning a home is a keystone of wealth — both financial affluence and emotional security.” There’s no place like a home of your own, but for the first-time homebuyer, what follows the decision to buy can be both overwhelming and intimidating. Here are some tips and tricks to consider before you start house hunting.

1. Hire The Professional

You’re about to execute the biggest investment of your life. Work with an expert who can guide you through the process! You’ll need someone who understands current market conditions and can evaluate a property, negotiate, walk you through the paperwork, and more. Professional buyer’s agents have the tips and tricks to help you save the most money, and they often don’t cost the homebuyer anything. (Pssst! We can help you.)

2. In a Few Years, Everyone’s Going to Wish They Bought Now

Interest rates are at a historical low — mortgage loan rates are currently at 4 percent! Now’s the time to buy because those rates might soon go up. And Steve Murray, owner of Real Trends, reports that homes will steadily appreciate in the next 8 years. Consider your new home a smart investment.

3. Getting Pre-Approved Should Be Your First Step

How much home can you afford? Many potential homebuyers overestimate the down payment and credit scores they’ll need. Pre-approval will tell you how much you can afford and give you confidence to dive into competitive markets. Plus, you’ll need an ironclad pre-approval letter for a winning offer. If you can’t find a bank willing to lend to you, consider an FHA loan. The Federal Housing Administration insures the mortgages of many first-time homebuyers. And, they’ll only require a down payment of 3.5 percent.

4. You Should Buy Smart (Buy the Ugly House)

Buying smart is buying good location, flow, light, amenities, and space for the price. The homes your realtor takes you to see aren’t always going to look like Pinterest masterpieces. If you can see past clutter and outdated decorating, there’s a good chance you’ll buy into property with more equity after minor cosmetic overhauls. Visit those sloppy listings that other buyers are overlooking, and have vision!

5. Sometimes, Speed is Key

If you come across a well-priced property, don’t hesitate to put in an offer. Hesitation opens the door to competition from other potential buyers, and when someone else wants it, the seller’s more likely to raise the asking price.

6. Strengthen Your Good Faith Deposit

When you execute a purchase contract as a homebuyer, it will specify how much you’ll initially put down to secure it and show “good faith.” In other words, it’ll show the seller how badly you want this property — and how serious your offer is. Increase your good faith deposit from the usual $1,000 to as much as $10,000.

7. Be Aware of Additional Fees

Yes, you’ll need to put a deposit down of about 5 percent. But did you know you might also need to pay for additional closing costs? Home inspection, appraisal, oil left in the home’s tank, one year of homeowner’s insurance, seller adjustment for taxes and condo fees, and next quarter’s tax payment can all add up. You’ll want to have extra cash for home improvements, surprise fixes, and furniture to make that house a home. Before buying, pay down your debt and have money in the bank.

8. Be Flexible — and Realistic

We’re fortunate to live in Greater Boston, a hot market where there’s continuously a demand for real estate. That being said, certain towns have extreme competition! If you’re uncomfortable paying tens of thousands over asking price, be open to shopping in a more gentle market. Don’t commit to more than you can financially handle.

Ready to buy? Using cutting edge strategies, Erica & Mike help buyers save money. We’re happy to guide you home. Contact us here or call 857.529.SOLD (7653).

5 Things You Need To Know Before Renting A House

1. Research the area.

Think about the area before you move in. Is it near a hospital? If so, can you hear ambulances all the time? Is it near a noisy pub? Check all the surroundings before you sign. “It is up the tenant to do their own research and inspect the dwelling and surrounding area before they sign the agreement and move in,” James Plunkett, head of consumer research at Citizens Advice, tells BuzzFeed Life.

2. Discuss pets early.

“Bring up pets early in negotiations with your prospective landlord,” Plunkett says.

“If the landlord does not want pets at the address, then the tenant should look elsewhere. Having a pet in breach of a tenancy agreement that prohibits pets will generally lead to a possession action and eviction further down the line.”

Renting

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30 Luxury Home Design Trends And Features Adorning 2017

Originally posted over on Inman

What high-end homebuyers seek, and sellers should consider…

Key Takeaways:

  • Luxury buyers look for anything but cookie-cutter, while convenience, style and recreation opportunities make the top of their wish list.
  • A ranch-style featuring a designer kitchen, blended living space and mixed-metal trimmings — such a house would embody 2017 luxury, so long as it was also decked out in smart home technology.
  • That’s according to twin brothers Jonathan and Drew Scott, co-founders of Scott Brothers Entertainment and Scott Living.
  • The duo and HGTV hosts — real estate agent (Drew) and fixer-upper transformer (Jonathan) — launched their first book this year, New York Times’ best-seller Dream Home: The Property Brothers’ Ultimate Guide To Finding & Fixing Your Perfect House, along with a luxury home project in Las Vegas: Dream Homes by Scott Living.
  • The project offers well-to-do buyers the chance to snag a new build from their portfolio of customizable original designs.
  • What do the brothers have to say about this year’s biggest luxury design trends, features and homebuyer requests? Which investments add value, and where should the top 1 percent of sellers refrain from splurging?

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Sell Your Home Fast: 21 Staging Tips

Originally posted on Houzz

If you are planning to put your house on the market, it goes without saying that you are hoping to sell your home as quickly as possible and get your asking price. Set the stage for success with these 21 tips for styling and upgrading your home, and see results — fast.

Traditional Exterior by Case Design/Remodeling, Inc.
Case Design/Remodeling, Inc.

1. Boost curb appeal. This is something you always hear, and with very good reason. Many people thinking of touring your home will do a quick drive-by first, often deciding on the spot if it is even worth a look inside. Make sure your home is ready to lure in onlookers with these tips:

  • Power wash siding and walkways (How to Wash Your House)
  • Hang easy-to-read house numbers
  • Plant blooming flowers and fresh greenery
  • Mow lawn, and reseed or add fresh sod as needed
  • Wash front windows
  • Repaint or stain the porch floor as needed

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