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September 13, 2013

Social Living – How To Buy A Comfortable Home Guests

Category: Home Buyer Tips – Tags: – Matt Ward 7:52 am

Social Living -How To Buy A Comfortable Home For GuestsWhen people are buying a home, one of the things that they sometimes forget to consider is the need to be able to accommodate guests. You likely have out of state relatives or friends who might come and visit you and you will probably want to be able to give them a place to sleep so that they don’t have to pay for a hotel.

You will also probably want to have your parents or your relatives stay over on special occasions such as Christmas. You might even need to host guests for long periods of time, such as if an aging parent needs to move in with you or you need to give a struggling friend some support while they get back on their feet.

Having a home that is well suited to having guests stay will make being a host a lot easier. Having someone sleep on a fold out couch in your living room can be inconvenient for both you and your guest, so what should you look for in a home so that hosting someone will be comfortable?

  • If you have a small home, you might not have room for an extra guest bedroom that is only used occasionally. Instead, choose a home with a multi-purpose room that can be used as a home office, a storage space or a hobby room as well as a guest bedroom.
  • You could use clever storage solutions and a Murphy bed or futon to make the transition into guest bedroom when your friends and relatives arrive. Another option is to choose a home with a finished attic, which can easily be turned into a great small bedroom for guests.
  • Does the house have enough bathrooms for everyone? Waiting for the bathroom while someone else has a shower can get annoying really quickly when there are extra people in the house. A guest bedroom with its own ensuite is ideal.
  • Have at least two or more “chill out” spaces so that everyone doesn’t have to enjoy the same activity. If some of your family members are watching a movie but a couple others want to have a quiet chat or play a board game, make sure that there is another spot where they can sit. It doesn’t have to be huge, just another set of chairs or a sofa somewhere.
  • For the guest room, choose a bedroom that is furthest away from the rest of the main traffic areas in the home. This means that if you wake up earlier or get in later than your guests, you can cook or go about your daily chores without making a lot of noise right outside their door.
  • Make sure that the dining area is big enough to accommodate a larger table to seat your extra guests.

These are just a few things to consider when choosing a home that will make hosting guests easy. For more info about buying a home, contact your trusted real estate professional. 

September 12, 2013

A Few Reasons Why That Extra Bedroom Might Be Worth It

Category: Home Buyer Tips – Tags: – Matt Ward 7:52 am

A Few Reasons Why That Extra Bedroom Might be Worth ItSo you are looking at buying a home, but you are wondering whether or not it is worth it to pay a little extra for a home with one more bedroom.

It’s a tough decision to make, especially when balancing other factors such as location and the other features of the home. However, having one more bedroom than you think you need could end up being a good thing for a number of reasons.

Expanding Family

Perhaps you only planned on having two children, but a third one might come along as an unplanned surprise… will you have enough room for everyone?

One of your children’s friends might have a bad home situation and need a place to crash for a while. One of your elderly parents might need to live with you for a while.

There are many situations when the family living under your roof might expand, (even if it’s just having guests over the weekend) so make sure that you have the space to accommodate.

A Home Office

If you are working from home or have your own business, a private space in the home to work can be worth its weight in gold. It’s really difficult to be productive when you are trying to work at the kitchen table with the rest of the family buzzing around you, so turn your extra bedroom into a home office.

Rental Income

An extra bedroom might be a great source of income, especially if it can be turned into a basement or attic suite. As long as you don’t mind the responsibility of being a landlord, you could rent out the room to a tenant and let their rent help you cover the mortgage payment.

Resale Value

Buying a slightly larger house with one more bedroom means that the home will be easier to sell in the future. This is especially true if all of the other homes in the area have similar amounts of bedrooms.

These are just a few reasons why an extra room can really come in handy. If you want to know more about home buying, you can contact me your trusted real estate professional.

September 3, 2013

What Happens If You Find Your New Home Before You Sell Your Old One?

Category: Home Buyer Tips – Tags: – Matt Ward 7:51 am

What Happens if You Find Your New Home Before You Sell Your Old One?What happens if you find the dream property that you want to buy before you have made the sale on your old property? Ideally you would have sold your current home before you buy your new property.

However, sometimes the transition doesn’t work out that way. You don’t want to give up the purchase if you have found a bargain on your dream home, so is it possible to buy the property before you have closed on your current residence?

The answer is yes, it is possible. You will need to use a financing option that will allow you to secure your next home before you have sold your existing property.

Getting A Bridge Loan

One option is a bridge loan. This is designed to wrap your payments for your current home and your future home into one loan, which can last usually between six and twelve months.

This type of loan usually involves a small fee and you will also be responsible for the closing cost on the mortgage on your next home.

Borrowing From Your 401K

Another option that might work is to borrow from your 401K, if your company allows it. In this situation, you will be able to borrow the money and then repay it right away when you sell your home. Of course, make sure you find out the rules on this first so that you are not at risk of incurring any penalties with the IRS.

Taking Out A Personal Loan

Another possible option is to take out a personal unsecured loan. Keep in mind, these types of loans usually have high interst rates and they will only last for a few years. Also, you will need to include the payments that you are making on that loan when you are qualifying for a mortgage on your next home.

Advantages To Buying Before Selling

One thing to keep in mind is that if you buy a new home before selling your old one, you will save yourself from a period of transition when you are between homes. Also, you will only need to hire a moving company once and you won’t have to put anything into storage, which will save you money.

For more information on how to make the best transition into your new home, speak with your trusted real estate professional today.

August 7, 2013

A Few Red Flags To Look For When Buying Real Estate

Category: Home Buyer Tips – Tags: – Matt Ward 7:52 am

A Few Red Flags To Look For When Buying Real Estate

If you’re looking to purchase real estate, keep in mind that the homes you are considering might be in need of repairs or improvements.

In a recent study done by a major home inspection company, at least 40 percent of previously owned homes on the market have at least one serious issue or defect.

When buying real estate, you should have a professional inspection performed on the property to look for any issues that might not be visible to the untrained eye.

It’s better to identify this damage before you buy so that you are not stuck with budget-busting renovations.

Below are a few major red flags you should look for when buying a home.

Foundation Damage

Look at the slope of the yard. If the land slopes towards the house, this could be causing water to run down into the foundation, which will result in moisture damage. Take a look at the foundation for any bulges or cracks that could indicate serious issues.

Faulty Wiring

Your home inspector should be sure to check the electrical wiring — especially if it is an older house. If there are any flickering lights, circuits that don’t work, or warm outlets, these are telltale signs of wiring issues that might be expensive to fix.

Ceiling Stains

This is usually a sign that something in the house is leaking. Ceiling stains are common underneath bathrooms when a toilet, shower or bathtub has a leak. A leaky roof could be an even more expensive repair.

When you are negotiating to buy a house and damage is discovered, you can either change your mind about the sale or renegotiate for a lower price that factors in the cost of repairs. Either way, it is always worth having the home professionally inspected to identify red flags and avoid any surprises.

Please call me, your trusted real estate professional for more information about buying your next Fitchburg home.

July 30, 2013

Questions To Ask Your Home Inspector Before Buying Your Home

Category: Home Buyer Tips – Tags: – Matt Ward 7:53 am

Questions to Ask Your Home Inspector Before Buying Your HomeImagine how frustrated you’d be to find out that the hot water heater wasn’t working – in the middle of your very first shower in your new home!

This, among other very good reasons, is why you should have a home inspection before you buy your home.

When you buy a home, you need to know exactly what you’re buying.

A home inspection is an important part of buying your home. Before you hire a home inspector, ask candidates a few questions to make sure you hire a trustworthy inspector.

What Does Your Inspection Cover?

Not all inspections are the same. Ask for copies of previous home inspections so you can see exactly what they will check inside the home.

If you are concerned about something specific, like a leaky faucet in the bathroom, mention that to the inspector so they can check it out.

Are You Licensed Or Certified?

If you live in a state that licenses home inspectors, ask to see their license. Most reputable home inspection professionals provide this information right at the start of your home inspection.

At the very least, choose a home inspector who belongs to American Society of Home Inspectors. This shows a level of professionalism and education that you can trust.

What Kind Of Report Will You Give Me?

You should expect a written report detailing what the inspector found. Most inspectors will give you a typed report within a week of the inspection.

Many even take digital color photos of any issues with the home in order to make their report as clear as possible. Make sure the inspector will be available to explain anything on the report that doesn’t make sense to you.

Will I Be Able To Attend The Inspection?

If the inspector refuses to let you be present during the home inspection, find someone else. This is your chance to know exactly what you are buying and what potential repairs you or the seller will have to make.

Please feel free to contact your trusted real estate professional today to answer this and any other question you have on the home buying process.

July 23, 2013

First Things First, What To Do Upon Moving Into Your New Home

Category: Home Buyer Tips – Tags: – Matt Ward 7:53 am

First Things First What To Do Upon Moving Into Your New HomeIf you have purchased a new home and are going to move in soon, what are the first few things that you will need to do upon moving into your new home?

Moving can be very stressful, but having a checklist can make your move effortless.

Here are 6 easy steps that can eliminate any frustration and help you feel safe and secure: 

Change Your Address

You will need to change your address for all magazine subscriptions, bills and other services. You can update your mailing address online or visit your local post office to find out what needs to be done.

Set Up The Utilities

When you move into a new home, you may get all of the contact information from the previous home owner or real estate agent for the utility companies. Be sure to change the services into your name before you move in, such as gas, cable, electricity, internet, telephone, sewer and water.

Change The Locks

You have no way of knowing who the old home owners gave a copy of the key to, so having the locks changed is something that you should do right away when you move into your new property.

Have The Carpets Cleaned

Get your life in the new house off to a fresh start by having the carpets steam cleaned before you move your furniture in. You could either rent a steam cleaner or pay a carpet cleaning service, but either way this will make the house feel really clean and new.

Figure Out Your Breaker Box

Another important first step to owning your new home is to figure out which breakers control each part of your home.

Knowing how the breaker box works will ensure that you can flip the right switch when you need to. You might need to ask someone to help you by standing in another part of the house and letting you know which lights come on or off when you flick the switches.

Check Your Smoke Alarms

The smoke alarms and CO monitors in your home might not have been checked recently, so make sure that they are functioning properly. Depending on how old they are, you might need to change the batteries. This is an important maintenance task for your own safety.

These are just a few of the important first steps that you should take when you first move into your brand new home.

For more information about buying a new home, feel free to contact your trusted real estate professional today.  

June 27, 2013

5 Important Tips To Help Smooth Your Move When You Have Teens In The Home

5 Important Tips To Help Smooth Your Move With TeensYou’ve got a new job offer across the country and you are planning to pack your things, buy a home and make the big move.

However, when you tell your 17 year old daughter your plans, she lets out a mournful wail and cries that it is not fair. How can you possibly take her away from all of her friends, her favorite hangout spots and the cute boy she just started seeing?

Moving is a difficult transition and it is often even more traumatic for teenagers. The teenage years are an important stage where young adults establish their individuality and independence and during this time their social circle is extremely important to them.

Being removed from that against their will can make any teen feel sad, confused, angry and resentful. Also, fitting into a new social scene in a different location can be a challenge for a teen that might be singled out as the “new kid”.

How can you help your teen during this transition so that the experience will be easier on them?

5 Tips To Help Your Teen Move More Smoothly

Here are some tips that will make the experience of moving a little bit easier on your teenager:

  • Give them as much notice as possible so that they have time to adjust to the idea of moving. They will feel like they have enough time to say goodbye to their friends and close a chapter of their lives.
  • Try to schedule the move around the school calendar, as moving in the summer is much less disruptive to your teen’s life than relocating in the middle of the school year.
  • Make sure that they have ample time to spend with their close friends before they leave and once you arrive, understand that they might go through a grieving process of missing their old pals.
  • When you get to your new home, make sure that your teen has plenty of ways to keep in touch with their old friends, such as an internet connection and a cell phone plan.
  • Encourage your teen to get involved in the community of your new hometown, like joining sports clubs or attending events. This can help them to make new friends.

Moving to a new city is always exciting but offers challenges like this one for families. For more advice on moving to a new Fitchburg home, contact your trusted real estate agent today.

June 20, 2013

Three Tips To Get The Best Financing On Your Second Home Purchase

Category: Home Buyer Tips – Tags: – Matt Ward 7:52 am

Three Tips To Get The Best Financing On Your Second HomeAre you buying a property as your second home? Perhaps you are looking for a small cottage or apartment where you can escape to for your vacations, or maybe you want to have another home closer to your relatives?

Maybe you want to rent out your second property and make a steady income from your investment. Whatever the reason, a second piece of real estate can be a fantastic investment. However, sometimes getting a mortgage on your second home can present a challenge.

Generally, a mortgage lender will have tougher standards for vacation home — or second home — loans than primary home loans. This is because usually when you are buying a second home your finances will be stretched thinner and you will have less money to spare due to already paying a mortgage on your primary home.

This additional risk may mean that your second home mortgage can be more difficult to close and likely could carry a higher interest rate.

Here are three tips to keep in mind that will help you to get the best mortgage on your second property:

Build up a decent amount of savings.

Your mortgage lender will want to be able to see that you have a large amount of savings in reserve so that you will have enough to pay for the mortgage even if you were to lose your job or other income source.

Pay off any credit card or installment debt.

Many lenders will be hesitant to approve your second home mortgage if they see that you have a lot of debt on your credit card. They will want to see that you have a low debt to income ratio so that you will be able to pay back the loan.

Use your primary home as a resource.

If you have always made your payments on time and you are well on your way through paying off your first house, you may have equity to borrow against for some or all of your second home purchase. Be careful here though.  There is a little known IRS regulation that requires the second home be financed under it’s own home loan within 90 days of closing to get the best tax advantages.

These are just a few tips to keep in mind in order to make getting a mortgage for your second property as easy as possible.

To find out more about investing in a second home or vacation property, contact your trusted real estate professional today. 

June 13, 2013

Why It’s Critically Important To Have A Home Inspection

Category: Home Buyer Tips – Tags: – Matt Ward 7:53 am

Why It's Critically Important To Have A Home InspectionMany home buyers have found the perfect house, signed on the dotted line and may think they’ve watched enough home improvement shows to know if the home they’re getting is in good shape. Unfortunately, some buyers make the mistake of skipping a home inspection in order to save a little cash.

Even if a home has already stolen your heart and you’re ready to pay for it as-is, you need to bite the bullet and hire a home inspector to let you know what repairs and financial repercussions await you.

Why You Should Hire A Home Inspector

You might know a thing or two about home remodeling and repairs. However, most people are not experts on the inner workings of a home. That is why it’s important to hire a professional to search for potential furnace issues, electrical wiring mishaps, plumbing weaknesses or roofing deterioration to name a few.

While a home might look like it’s in perfect condition on the surface, there could be major issues hiding beneath its façade. That’s why it really is imperative for your safety that you hire an inspector to scrutinize the bones of your home. Understanding any imperfections may also help you budget for immediate and future repairs.

When to Schedule the Home Inspection

Once you’ve signed a purchase contract, you’ll want to schedule a home inspection before the inspection period has ended. Even though you’ve signed the offer, an inspector could just find something that you just cannot live with or afford to fix.

While you would normally schedule an inspection after you’ve signed a contract, it’s important to have an inspector or two picked out beforehand. Ask your real estate professional or friends and family for referrals and then contact the inspectors for pricing and a list of what they will and will not cover at the inspection.

Once again, remember that the cheapest price may not be the best deal on home inspections.  Have a good understanding of what, and who, you are investing in.

Even if you do know a lot about the structure, plumbing and wiring of houses, don’t let your ego get the better of you. It’s important to shell out the additional money to hire an inspector and cover your assets. You’d hate to end up with a home that needs major renovations and not have known about it.

For more information on hiring a professional for your Fitchburg home inspection or for a referral, please call today!

May 9, 2013

What Women Want In Homes This Mother’s Day

Category: Home Buyer Tips – Tags: , , – admin 7:53 am

Home-Ideas-Mothers-Day-2013Whether you’re looking to buy a new house this month or do a little remodeling, take advantage of the opportunity to give the mom in your life a present she’ll appreciate every day.

Below are a few ideas for housing priorities and renovation projects that typically rate high on women’s wish lists for their homes.

Open Living Areas

The open floor plan is usually a big plus for any mother. They want to be able to cook dinner in the kitchen while monitoring their children’s schoolwork at the dining table.

So look for a house that affords this visual luxury or consider the generous gift of getting dirty and knocking down some walls.

Large Closets

What woman doesn’t need more room for her clothes, shoes and purses? If you’re looking at houses, keep in mind how much closet space will work for your wife or mother.

If it’s not enough, see if there’s another area you could convert to create a custom closet. Another great gift would be to upgrade your mom’s closet with a new shelving and organizing storage system.

And great storage doesn’t stop in the bedroom. Most women like to keep the family’s things organized and put away, so think about upgrading some of the other cupboards and closets in the home as well.

Low-Maintenance Living

Some women are expert gardeners or love home-improvement projects; however, many just want to leave those tasks to someone else.

Many moms love easy-to-wipe-down granite counters and hardwood floors.  These can be beautiful and functional home upgrades all at the same time.

And especially if you’re shopping real estate for an elderly mother, consider looking at Leominster homes that are new construction, have easy-to-care-for landscaping and maintenance-free siding or brick.

Easy-to-Use Security System

While security is important to everyone, it ranks high on most women’s list of priorities. As a Mother’s Day gift, research providers and have a security system installed.

Whether your mother is living alone or your wife is worried about the family’s safety, this practical present will give everyone peace of mind.

Make a big gesture this Mother’s Day by giving the woman in your life that renovation project she’s been pining over.

And, if looking at buying a new home, keep in mind what’s important to Mom. 

Finally, if you’d like more tips on Mother’s Day home shopping or upgrades, call your favorite real estate professional for the best advice.

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