Posted by Betsy Graziano on 5/15/2017

Whether you are in the hunt for a starter home, seeking temporary housing or looking for a place to create lifelong memories, a townhouse could be a smart option. One of the biggest takeaways associated with buying a townhouse is the amount of maintenance and care that the home requires.

Homeownership with less hassle

Townhouses generally donít require as much upkeep as a single home. Smaller front and backyards and homeowners associations reduce the work required to maintain a townhouse. Move into a townhouse that includes roofing and lawn care in its fees and you could save time and money over the long term.

Some townhouses are located in neighborhoods that have community swimming pools.These community facilities should also be maintained by the HOA. This gives you access to a swimming pool without your having to pay to install an in ground pool or without you having to shell out extra money on a single home that has a pool in the back yard.

Treasure trove of benefits

Location, size, affordability and more opportunities to socialize are other advantages living in a townhouse can bring. Townhouses are often located in urban areas that are within walking distance of stores and businesses. Because of their location, you wonít have a boring social life. In addition to being centrally located, itís not uncommon to find townhouses on public transportation routes.

Despite whatyou might think, a townhouse isnít much smaller than a single home. In fact,some townhouses are so large that you wonít ever feel as if youíre sharing awall with a neighbor. Just make sure that you research the neighborhood beforeyou buy a townhouse. Itís better to know that the neighbors are conscientiousbefore you move in than to later find out that you just moved next to a noisy rockband.

On the upside, if you and your neighbors get to know each other, you could easily develop a lifelong friendship. Your neighbors may also look out for your home when youíre out of town.

Because they are attached units, prices on townhouses can be lower than what you may find on single homes in your area. As with any other house, conduct a thorough inspection on each townhouse youíre thinking about buying. Work to build up your credit, if necessary, so that you can get the lowest fixed interest rates on your mortgage.

Townhouses are located throughout much of the United States. If you live on the East Coast, you may hear townhouses referred to as row houses, as East Coast townhouses can be joined for an entire block. In other regions of the country, townhouses only connect two homes. The townhouses in places like New York and Boston are elegant. They are large enough to easily accommodate a family of five.

To gain more privacy, consider installing a fence around your front and back yards. Your front porch should be large enough to hang potted flowers and plants on. You should also have enough front porch room to place a porch swing and a chair on. Another plus, is a side driveway.




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Posted by Betsy Graziano on 5/8/2017

Take advantage of special home loans if you're currently serving in the military or have served in the military. You could qualify for mortgage cost savings as an active duty member or as a reservist. Specific mortgage cost savings that you could qualify for include a zero down payment, low interest rates, a cap on how much you have to contribute to closing costs and foreclosure protection. However, serving in the military isnít always a home loan savings slam dunk. Preparation and the right documents are important. So too are the following actions. Prepare to Meet and Negotiate with Mortgage Lenders Review your credit reports with the three major credit bureaus, TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Clear up discrepancies, including erroneous charges, collections and other late payments that you previously resolved. Pay down debt. Set a goal to pay off credit cards, especially high interest credit cards. Avoid opening new credit card accounts. Lenders are going to take a pulse on your overall financial health. High debts could indicate that youíd struggle to pay your mortgage should even one event change in your life. High interest credit cards could also lend the appearance that your credit isnít good enough for you to qualify for low interest credit cards, so again, pay off high interest credit cards early. If you receive a housing allowance, provide this information to lenders. A housing allowance is a benefit that active duty military members receive but may overlook when applying for a home loan. Should your spouse and you both serve in the military, the combined amount of your monthly housing allowance should be higher than if you were single. Contact your military human resources department if youíre unsure how much you receive in a monthly housing allowance. Get your financial records in order, meaning that you get paper copies of bank or credit union statements, a copy of your Statement of Service, DD-214 (if you're retired), paystubs, tax returns and paperwork on existing loans including any small business loans you took out to start a company. Before you meet with lenders, determine how much house you can afford. Take advantage of online mortgage calculators. Factors to include in your calculations when youíre determining how much house you can afford are monthly homeownerís insurance premiums, homeownerís association fees (if they apply), the down payment youíre going to put on your new home, property taxes, repairs, closing costs and inspection fees. If youíre thinking about buying an older home, consider increasing the amount youíll spend on repairs annually. Documentation together, itís time to start the loan pre-approval process. Meet with lenders who are approved by the Veterans Administration to offer mortgage cost savings to retirees, reservists and active duty members. Do this before you meet with realtors, as getting pre-approved for a loan can yield you greater mortgage cost savings. Use your military housing allowance to prove your loan repayment power. Prepare to negotiate with lenders to get the best interest rates and mortgage premiums that you can. In addition to your financial records, other factors that lenders will review about you include your marital status and your length of service. Lenders may focus on whether you just joined the military, are soon to be discharged or if your military job requires you to relocate often.





Posted by Betsy Graziano on 5/1/2017

A real estate agent doesn't get paid unless he sells your house or negotiates a great deal on a new house for you to move into. If you've never worked with a real estate agent before, you may have lots of questions about how the process works. The below points offer insight into what you can generally expect when you work with a real estate agent.

Start smart when dealing with a real estate agent

During early meetings with a real estate agent, expect to find out how many other sellers or buyers the agent is representing. You'll also learn about the agent's standard commissions or fees. Third parties that the agent works with should also be discussed during early meetings.

The agent will create a marketing and advertising plan if you are selling your home. If you are house shopping, your real estate agent will search indexes, websites and directories for houses that are within your price range. The agent will also look for houses that meet your square footage and amenities requirements.

Home staging and open house schedules will be shared with you, so that you can view houses you're interested in buying in person. This also gives you the chance to as current owners of the houses or their representatives questions. If you'reselling your home, real estate agents work with stagers and interior designers to get your house ready to be showcased. Agents may ask you to remove family pictures and bright colored decorations off walls and tables while your house is being staged.

Photographs and videos will be taken of your home to generate leads. These pictures and videos will be placed on realtor websites. As a buyer, your real estate agent will share pictures and videos of houses that match your new home requirements with you.

What happens when you get closer to buying or selling a house

Throughout the home selling or home buying process, your real estate agent may telephone and email other area realtors to learn about properties on the market.

When your real estate agent finds houses that fit your requirements, he'll contact you and schedule a day and time for you to visit the houses. This part of the home buying process could take weeks or months. The more clear you are about what you want in a house, the shorter the process generally is.

Your real estate agent should handle paperwork and negotiations. Your agent should stick with your pricing requests. Your agent shouldn't talk you into buying a house that you cannot afford. Nor should your real estate agent try to talk you into buying a house that's too big or too small.

Few are as well versed in the world of home buying and selling as a real estate agent. Knowing what to expect from a real estate agent helps to take the uncertainty out of the process, especially if you're a new home buyer or a new home seller. Knowing what to expect from the real estate agent relationship also helps you to know which questions to ask agents you're thinking about contracting with.




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Posted by Betsy Graziano on 4/24/2017

Buying a house puts valuable equity within your reach. It gives you the authority to decorate, structure and design a property to your liking. Little beats the freedom and power that you will feel after you pay your house off and become the sole owner of a unique property that may be valued at several hundred thousand dollars or more. But, getting approved for a mortgage doesn't just happen.

Proactive steps to first time homeowner savings

The best time to start saving money on your first home is before you start home shopping. If you immediately thought about your credit rating and the importance of going into the home buying process with a strong credit rating, you're on the right track. Keep reading, to learn practical steps that you could take to improve your credit rating.

Also know that there are other important steps to take to save money on your first home. These steps will also help you to save even if you're not a first time homeowner. Top of these steps is financing. Getting pre-approved for a home loan from a reputable lender can give you valuable price leverage.

Pre-approval for a home loan alerts your realtor to how much mortgage you can afford to take on. To save on a house, avoid shopping for houses that are priced at the maximum of your home loan approval rate. See pre-approval when interest rates are low. Items that you need for pre-approval include pay stubs, income tax returns, current loan amounts and your credit score.

More ways to save money on your first home

Shopping for a home loan with your local bank could net you lower mortgage interest rates. This can be particularly helpful if your income is directly deposited into your account and if you have several thousand dollars of savings in your bank account. If you know that you want to buy a house a year from now, start working on your credit score now. Also, start building your bank account savings.

Another way to save money on your first home is to work with a real estate agent who takes a good credit score seriously, a realtor who won't tempt you to take on more house than you can afford right now.

To improve your credit rating, pay down high interest loans. Also, pay down or, better yet, pay off high interest credit cards. If you have accounts in default, also pay these off or, at the least, pay the accounts up so that they are current.

Take charge of the home loan process

Millions of Americans apply for a home mortgage each year. Not everyone is approved. This is a time when being proactive can help you fulfill a dream. Paying off debts and getting caught up in late payments help to improve your credit which, in turn, improves your chances of securing a home mortgage. Getting an okay from a lender is another huge step forward.

Connecting with a mortgage lender before you start home shopping not only gives you money to work with, it is a great way to know what areas you need to work on to increase the amount of money that a lender will loan you. Additionally, if you aren't pre-approved for a home loan, you can find out why you weren't approved and take steps to correct these weak spots.




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Posted by Betsy Graziano on 4/17/2017

Selling your home can conjure up a variety of emotions, ranging from exuberance to sadness. If you associate your home with raising a family or starting a life with your spouse, then putting it on the market can be a bittersweet experience. In addition to the emotional side of things, there's also the stress that inevitably comes with change and uncertainty. Putting your house up for sale raises several fear-based questions in your mind, such as "How long will it take to find a buyer?" On the average, houses remain on the market for a month or two, but it's not unusual for it to take much longer. To complicate matters: If you're in the position of selling your home before you have another one to move into, then your stress level is probably even higher. Although some factors are outside of your control, such as ever-changing market conditions, there are a few ways you can tip the scales in your direction. Pick the Right Real Estate Agent The real estate agent or Realtor you choose can make a big difference in how fast your home sells and the price it ultimately sells for. A seasoned agent can also make the whole experience a lot less stressful by providing regular progress reports and helping you navigate through the various disclosures, inspections, and paperwork that's required. An exceptional real estate pro will also provide you with valuable advice on how to improve the marketability and appearance of your property. Since "time is of the essence" when you put your home up for sale, it's important to get as many qualified prospects walking through your house, as possible. Good salesmanship, competitive pricing, and sharp negotiating skills can also help bring in bonafide offers on your property -- possibly even multiple offers. Stress Reduction Tips For Home Sellers In addition to having the support of a dependable real estate agent, there are also other strategies you can use to maintain your equilibrium.

  1. Make lists of all the things that need to be done, so that you don't wake up in the middle of the night wondering if you forgot to do something important. Staying mentally organized is one of the keys to feeling like you have some control over all the chaos that's going on in your life. Writing things down is also the first step to getting them completed. Keeping track of appointments, documents you need to gather, and professionals to confer with can also help prevent delays, miscommunication, or confusion.
  2. Schedule time for recreation, entertainment, and physical activity. Selling a home can bring with it a lot of ups and downs, so activities like socializing with friends, going for a walk in nature, or meditating can help maintain a positive outlook and a more balanced perspective on things.
Perhaps the most desirable attitude to adopt is to expect the best, but be prepared for temporary setbacks. While it's true that some properties languish on the market for months, countless others have been scooped up by eager buyers in the first week or two on the market. It depends on a lot of factors, including preparation, excellent timing, and a smidgen of good luck!







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