In a recent survey, the most popular decorating trend for homes in Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, is Tuscan decor. The rustic, Italian look and Old World style can add a lot of charm to a space. If you've just bought a new home and are looking for a decor style that will make it seem homey and welcoming, Tuscan is a great option. Here are some Tuscan design elements you can incorporate into your space.
Closing on your home is exciting but also can be overwhelming, especially if you don't know what to expect. While we usually think of "closing" as being the day you sign all the paperwork, the closing process actually begins the minute the home goes under contract and only ends the day ownership is officially transferred. There's a lot that still has to be done during that time! Here is everything our real estate agents want you to know about closing, from beginning to end.
If you're one of the millions of employees working from home, it's important to create a dedicated space for your work activities. A dedicated workspace helps you increase your productivity and creates a distinction between your home and work life. Our real estate agents suggest adding these features to make working from home even easier.
Need a home with more space for your remote work days? Contact us to start your search!
Are you looking for a new decor style to use in your home? If you're like many people, you know what you like - and don't like - when you see it, but you may have struggled to tie your home decor into an appealing style. Without a general direction, you can end up with a collection of elements gathered over the years that don't seem to complement each other or create a cohesive look. Whether that's the case or you'd simply like a change from your current style, it may be time for a refreshed look.
Our real estate agents suggest the following tips to help you find the best decor style for your home:
Contact us if you'd like to see homes for sale so you can have a fresh start in discovering the best decor style. Whether you're looking for a home to buy, are ready to sell your home, or both, we're ready to help!
Thanks to the pandemic, our lives have changed in the last couple of years. How and where we work, shop, and live in our homes have been centers of significant change and re-evaluation. Whether you're considering selling your home or just looking to improve your quality of life, it's more important to know what upgrades have the best return on investment and adds value to your home.
For example, a dedicated home office and outdoor entertainment and living spaces are coveted by buyers in a house for sale. This blog post will look at trending home improvements that can add value to a house for sale in 2022.
We used surveys from real estate agents, expert data from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and other industry experts to determine what home buyers are looking for in a house for sale in 2022.
Researchers estimate that total spending on remodeling projects in the U.S. could reach $430 billion by the second half of 2022. Growth is expected to taper in the third quarter due to rising costs of materials, labor, construction, and interest rates. A 7% annual inflation rate, the highest since 1982, is making everything cost more, including putting in new floors or refreshing a dated kitchen or bathroom.
According to a Remodeling magazine survey of real estate professionals, the average recoupment of 22 popular projects came in at about 60% nationally in 2021. That's down from 63.7% in 2020 and 66.1% in 2019. Some upgrades can add perceived and actual value to a house for sale if you're considering selling, making it stand out to buyers and offer a good return on your investment.
The way we live in our homes has changed since the pandemic. Homebuyers are looking for specific features when touring a house for sale.
Buyers always appreciate space. However, over the past year, they want even more. The NAHB report What Home Buyers Really Want – 2021 Edition found that buyers wanted a median of 2022 square feet, about 8% more than they currently have. Specifically, 46% were looking for three bedrooms, 37% wanted two bathrooms, and 42% preferred a two-car garage. A 2020 survey of real estate agents found that 44% of buyers said the need for more space was their number one motivator. Another 31% cited the desire for more private outdoor space as a top motivation.
Here are some upgrades that will make your home stand out to buyers.
These can be pricey upgrades but make your home more appealing to buyers. If you're not ready to sell, these upgrades can improve your quality of life while adding to your home's resale value when it comes time to sell!
The trend for remote work was growing before the pandemic. The need for home office space exploded as we were forced into working from home in the early days of the pandemic. Even as we slowly return to the office today, remote work is here to stay.
A 2021 survey by Home Light found that 60% of top agents cited a home office as a top priority. Today, buyers care about a home office more than whether a home is move-in ready. Some buyers are looking for multiple home offices.
Creating a new room or dedicating existing space for a home office is a good investment if your buyers telecommute. Home Light data from mid-2020 indicates that a home office adds over $10,000 in resale value. Today, that number might be even higher as the hybrid work model takes hold.
Options include converting a walk-in closet or building an accessory dwelling unit. The estimated value that an ADU adds has gone from $47,600 to $66,000 since pre-pandemic times.
If you have an unfinished basement or attic, you have potential livable space future buyers can enjoy. Whether as a home office, a home theater, an extra bedroom, or an in-law apartment. according to HomeAdvisor, a finished basement between 400 and 1500 square feet has a potential ROI of 75%
Adding heated square footage bumps your house value to another level. Today, an unfinished basement adds $15,000 to $20,000 in value. A finished basement can add $40,000 to $50,000 to your asking price.
Buyers today love an open concept floorplan. People need a dedicated space to work, but they still want to entertain and enjoy time with family and friends. NAHB's survey found that 85% of buyers want an open floorplan between the kitchen and dining room. 79% prefer an open arrangement between the kitchen and family room.
While an open layout is great for adding natural light, you should speak with a contractor before knocking down any walls!
Simple exterior upgrades to your home's curb appeal can add significant value to your home. These affordable upgrades can grab a buyer's attention before opening the door!
Curb appeal impresses buyers before they enter your home. Attractive landscaping implies you maintain your home. In fact, buyers will pay a 7% premium for a house with stunning curb appeal. The highest ROI for curb appeal is in the Northeast, where an investment of about $3600 for curb appeal upgrades can yield a $14,800 bump in resale value for a 309% ROI!
Basic lawn care like cutting the grass, fertilizing, and controlling weeds costs around $340 but offers a 539% ROI!
Is your garage door looking worse for wear? Is it a dated design compared to your neighbors? A new garage door is another inexpensive way to add value. According to Home Light, a new garage door costs around $1200 but can add an average of $2797 in resale value for a 133% ROI.
If you live in a city, or town where street parking is at a premium, consider adding a concrete parking pad. It costs around $1200 and is a considerable upgrade in the city. It's affordable and can add significant value and up your asking price!
We've embraced the physical and mental benefits of being outdoors in the past few years. Today, outdoor living ranks third on the list of homebuyers' priorities, behind only a home office and excellent schools. Here are a couple of outdoor upgrades that can add resale value.
A deck or patio is the centerpiece of an outdoor living space. It's a place to eat dinner, entertain, have a drink, or work outdoors on a beautiful day. A deck can add over $7000 in resale value. You can build a deck for around $4380 to $10,000, so you'll likely break even or see a positive ROI for this upgrade.
54% of agents surveyed by Home Light said that 54% of their buyers cited having a fire feature, like a fire pit or outdoor fireplace, as a top priority. It's a great place to spend time with family and friends. An outdoor fireplace adds an average of $5700 in value.
Once reserved for luxury homes, today, everybody wants an outdoor kitchen! Along with a built-in grill, outdoor kitchens can include cabinetry, a bar, sink, and standard kitchen appliances. They can even include an outdoor flatscreen. The value of outdoor kitchens has increased since the pandemic. Pre-pandemic, an outdoor kitchen added $6100. An outdoor kitchen adds about $9800 in value in today's market.
These are just a few upgrades and projects that can add significant value to a house for sale. If you're considering selling your home, simple improvements can add interest to buyers and drive up your asking price.
As you look around your home and consider which upgrades are worth the investment, first consider your quality of life. If you're planning on selling in the future large projects like adding square footage can enhance your current enjoyment of your home, but when you decide to sell, they can add resale value.
If you're planning on putting your house for sale, look at any upgrades from a potential buyer's perspective. Does your home lack the modern features and amenities that a remote professional needs to balance family, work, and relaxation? Maybe it's time to add a dedicated home office or outdoor kitchen. If you're not sure, speak with a local Realtor®. They can tell you what buyers in your area value most.
The housing market has certainly been interesting in the past few years. The past year has seen limited supply and growing demand for the rental market and home sales. In fact, despite historically low-interest rates, the industry had an extraordinary booming year. 2021 showed the most significant annual gains in single-family house values and rental prices, low foreclosure rates, and the highest number of home sales in 15 years.
Rental prices kept pace with housing. Rental prices for single-family homes increased 7.8% in 2021, an all-time high according to CoreLogic. The rental market exploded as remote workers and young families fleeing the cities spurred double-digit increases in rental costs and squeezed supply.
With rental prices, home prices at all-time highs, and a tight housing supply, is it time to think about buying a home in 2022 instead of renting?
While the market in recent weeks has begun to cool a bit, it's still competitive. Since a home is likely one of the biggest purchases you'll make, it's essential to take some time and make an informed decision.
According to Redfin, as of June 30, 2021, the median sales price of a home in the U.S. was $386,888, a 24.8% year-over-year increase. The massive spike in demand in many markets has allowed for higher sale prices. This can often make it hard to decide whether to continue renting or purchase a home because you don't want to overpay.
Rental prices have also increased by double digits in most markets. According to Redfin, rents jumped more than 14% in December 2021, the most considerable rise in more than two years. However, in many major metropolitan markets, rents have skyrocketed. In Austin, Texas, New York City, Boston, several areas in Florida, and other cities throughout the country, rents have jumped by 35 to 40% year over year.
Add to this the fact that there is less housing available for sale or rent than in the past 30 years. With supply shortages worsening and growing inflation contributing to rising rental costs, it becomes difficult deciding whether to rent or buy.
While rental prices in the U.S. initially dropped when COVID-19 hit, prices rebounded strongly in 2021 and quickly outpaced pre-pandemic trends. As a result, rental prices have far outpaced wage increases.
Housing market predictions are about as reliable as the five-day weather forecast. The truth is that no one can predict what will happen with 100% accuracy.
However, many industry experts predict continued strong price appreciation, scarce inventory, and high demand. Overall, the housing market is doing well and will most likely not crash in 2022. The trends and forecasts for the next 12-24 months show that the market will most likely stay strong, with many of the factors that drove prices to new highs in 2021 remaining firmly in place. Last year, homeowners saw a market where properties sold quickly and often above asking, as numerous buyers fought for limited inventory.
Last year prices increased by an unsustainable 18.8%. The market is even tighter than it was before the spring 2021 frenzy. Experts like Zillow increased their bullishness in January, predicting growth of up to 16.4% in 2022. They recently adjusted anticipated price growth to reach 22% by mid-year. However, price growth is expected to slow through February of 2023.
Fannie Mae is predicting that by mid-2023, price appreciation will return to the pre-pandemic rate of 5% annually. They also expect that mortgage rates will rise modestly, providing some relief to buyers as prices climb. Slowing price appreciation and potentially increased inventory could help avoid a crash in 2023. The main downside risk continues to be increasing inflation. As mortgage rates increase, refinancing activity will soften as rates gradually rise and the Fed works to tame inflation.
There is no single answer to this question, as there are both pros and cons to both options. However, there are a couple of factors to consider in your decision-making process. First are your finances. In a typical market renting is often the more affordable option. That being said, this is not a typical housing market. Rents have increased to the point where even as mortgage interest rates rise, buying a home might be a better option.
Ultimately, your choice depends on several considerations. One major factor is your personal finances.
In terms of lifestyle considerations, consider what is important to you. Are you seeking the flexibility to move if your career requires it, or are you looking for stability to put down roots in a place you can call your own? Here are five considerations to explore before you make a final decision on whether to rent or buy.
Are you planning on putting down roots in the community? If you're planning or have a family, are you happy with the schools? If you're sure you'll stay in the same place for at least five years, buying can make sense. It can be a good fit both personally and financially.
However, if you don't have kids or get that big promotion but it's halfway across the country, the smarter choice might be to rent. While you can buy a home and sell it in a few years if your situation changes, the costs like moving, closing costs, and repairs may not be worth it.
In the past, renting was almost always cheaper than buying a home because of the upfront costs involved, like the down payment, closing costs, moving expenses, and renovations. In today's market, rental prices have risen to the point where it may cost you more each month to rent than a mortgage payment. However, there are other ownership costs to consider, like property taxes, homeowners insurance, and HOA fees in some instances.
However, even in a traditional market, buying a home is almost always cheaper over the long term. According to the National Association of Realtors, a homeowner's mortgage payment is lower than that of a renter after six years. This assumes that the rent increases at 5% annually and the homeowner is paying a fixed monthly mortgage.
Things change. It can be hard to predict where life's road will take you. If you intend to stay in one place, close to family, or planning on raising a family, and you have the means, buying a home makes the most sense. Examine your current situation and whether it could change in the next few years. For example, if you're moving up in your career and an opportunity for a promotion comes up, but it is on the other side of the country, renting is probably the best choice. Think about your current lifestyle and where it will be before buying a home.
You need to be realistic about your financial situation when deciding between renting and buying. Once you analyze the costs involved, be honest about whether you can afford to own a home's upfront and ongoing expenses. The worst situation to be in is where you have a home but are cash poor and unable to enjoy life!
Consider all the factors when deciding on buying a home or continuing to rent. Renting and buying both offer pros and cons. In reality, your lifestyle, future plans, and financial situation will be the primary factors to consider when making a decision. Speak with a Realtor® or your financial advisor if you need additional information or are unsure which choice is right for you.
If you have a friend or family member who has recently bought a home, giving them a gift is a lovely tradition that helps them celebrate their new residence.
Our real estate agents suggest choosing from the following housewarming gift ideas that are sure to please new homeowners:
The past several years has seen one of the hottest housing markets in recent memory. Sellers are enjoying high prices while buyers face bidding wars for limited stock. These market conditions have resulted in buyers employing several creative tactics to give them the edge in a competitive market. Many homeowners are skipping the building inspection as one tactic to make their offer stand out.
While this tactic can help a buyer stand out and be the determining factor in closing a deal, it is not without serious risk.
A standard home building inspection can increase your confidence about a home before closing a deal. Having a professional home inspection can work as a negotiating tool if issues are found during the process. It also gives a buyer cause to walk away from a deal.
With just 1.04 million homes for sale by the end of 2020, home inventory supplies in the U.S. were at the lowest level since the National Association of Realtors began collecting data in 1982.
In this climate, with multiple buyers competing, the pressure to make an offer that stands out is intense. The National Association of Home Builders Trends Report found that in the 4th quarter of 2020, buyers' most common reason for not purchasing a home was being outbid.
In a hot market, it's not unsurprising that desperate buyers are amenable to waving the building inspection. For the seller, this makes an offer look more appealing. This can often be the deciding factor that can close a deal. However, most professionals suggest that waiving the inspection is a bad idea.
There are few benefits to skipping an inspection, but there are scenarios where it can make sense and be beneficial.
Besides these specific scenarios, there are a few advantages to skipping the inspection process. Waiving the building inspection means less hassle for the seller and can result in increased interest in an offer; however, buyers are putting themselves at significant risk by skipping this step.
The building inspection is intended to provide the buyer with accurate information on a building's current condition and alert a buyer to significant problems in the home. This information is crucial for both buyers and sellers.
A thorough home inspection will examine the following:
Problems in any of these areas could result in costly repairs. Armed with this information, a buyer can negotiate with the seller to make certain repairs or may choose to offer a lower price or walk away from a deal to avoid costly projects.
Buying a home is probably the most significant investment you will make in your lifetime. The building inspection process is the best way to know what you are getting yourself into. After the close, it becomes your problem. A missed problem can potentially cost you thousands of dollars in repairs.
Waiving the inspection is one way to get your offer considered. These are a few other tactics you can take to make your offer more appealing to the seller.
Have your finances in order – Get a preapproval letter from a lender. A mortgage preapproval in hand shows a seller you are serious and have the financing to close the deal.
Ask for an "informational inspection" rather than a contingency. This language lets the seller know that you will be getting the home inspected. Still, it is for informational purposes only, so the seller will not be responsible for any issues you uncover.
Make a larger down payment – More cash upfront is another way to show a seller you are serious. A larger down payment puts more money in the seller's pocket right away and signals that your financing is solid, and the deal will close.
Include an Escalation Clause – Sellers like this because it eliminates back-and-forth negotiations between buyers. For example, an escalation clause will automatically bid $1000 over any offer up to $250,000 on a property listed at $200,000.
With a careful offer in a hot market, you still might not close the deal. But remember, a home is a significant investment, and going in without a building inspection can lead to serious financial ramifications down the road.
Buying a home is an exciting adventure! According to NerdWallet's 2020 Home Buyer Report, about 99.3 million Americans plan to purchase a home in the next few years. Today, as we begin to return to normal, the Federal Reserve is signaling that interest rates are on the way up.
If you're one of the 99.3 million, or if you already have a home with a variable rate loan, you need to take steps today to secure the best mortgage rate possible. Here are some steps to take to help you prepare to apply for a mortgage.
Taking simple steps before applying for financing can help you get the best mortgage interest rate. It can save you real money over the long term. Here are some tips that can help whether you're buying a home or refinancing a variable-rate mortgage.
Any effort to secure the best interest rate possible begins with your credit. Start by checking your scores and reports with Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Check for any inaccuracies in your credit report that may be dragging down your score.
If your credit score is below 760, it's worth taking the time to improve your score. Take steps to pay down balances and clean up any inaccuracies on your credit report. Having excellent credit will make you eligible for the lowest mortgage rate.
Lenders look favorably on buyers who put down a larger down payment. With a lower down payment, your lender may require private mortgage insurance. Typically, this is the case if you put down less than 20%. However, a larger down payment can help you to avoid PMI costs. Plus, a larger down payment can also get you a lower interest rate.
The interest rate on a 15-year loan is lower than a 30-year loan. A shorter-term loan can save you tens of thousands of dollars in interest payments over the curse of the loan.
Decreasing your debt can improve your debt-to-income ratio. Banks measure this important ratio when issuing a mortgage. Combining paying down debt with increasing income can significantly affect your credit score.
There are literally thousands of mortgage lenders competing for your business. Another way to assure the lowest rate is to apply with at least three lenders and see which offers you the lowest rate.
The first step is to figure out what you can afford. Then you need to begin the search for a lender offering a great rate.
Understanding what you can afford when buying a home is a critical first step.
Answering the following questions can help you to define your needs.
Mortgages either have a fixed interest rate or an adjustable rate.
A fixed-rate loan locks you into a consistent interest rate for the entire term of the loan. The portion of your payment that goes toward principal plus interest remains constant. However, insurance, property taxes, and other costs can vary.
The interest on an adjustable-rate loan can change over time. Most ARMs begin with an introductory period of 10, 7, 5, or 3 years, during which your rate remains stable. After that, your rate may change periodically.
Discount points are fees borrowers pay to reduce the interest rate on their mortgage. One point is equal to 1% of the loan. Each point reduces the mortgage rate by .25%. However, the rate can vary. When you pay points, you are paying thousands of dollars upfront to save a few dollars each month. It takes several years for the monthly saving to add up to where they exceed the initial amount paid upfront.
Closing costs are charged by the lender and other parties. They do not affect the mortgage rate (unless you're paying points). But they do impact your expenses. Closing costs are typically around 3% of the purchase price of your home and are paid at the time you close.
Before choosing a mortgage, find out if any special programs can make homebuying less costly. Each state offers its own mix of programs, for example, first-time buyer programs or professionals like teachers, first responders, or veterans.
Some groups like Veterans may qualify for 100% financing. Other mortgages only require a down payment as low as 3% or 3.5%.
VA Loans – If you or a spouse are active military or a veteran you may qualify for a no down payment VA loan.
USDA Loans – If you live in a rural area, the Department of Agriculture might guarantee a low or no-down-payment loan, and even help cover closing costs.
FHA Loans – Mortgages insured by the FHA allow down payments as low as 3.5% and are more forgiving of low credit scores, but you will pay more in insurance over the life of the loan.
Applying with multiple lenders means you'll need to compare loan offers. Here are a few tips for comparing offers.
by applying with multiple lenders, you'll receive different rates. The more you shop, the more you might be able to save. Apply with different types of lenders, such as a bank, a credit union, and an online lender so you can compare offers.
The big three credit bureaus encourage you to shop for the best rate. You typically have 14 to 45 days, depending on the scoring model, to apply for as many mortgages as you want with the same effect on your score as applying for a single loan.
Each lender is required to provide a loan estimate form that details the terms and fees of the loan. The loan estimate is designed to simplify comparing mortgages.
Taking the time to prepare and get your financial information in order by paying down debt, checking your credit scores and reports with the big three, and saving a bigger down payment can help you to get the best possible mortgage rate. Speak with your accountant and your realtor to learn about all of your options.
Getting a lower mortgage rate can save you thousands of dollars throughout your loan term. It's worth taking the time and effort to educate yourself and get your financial house in order before you begin applying for a loan.
If you've decided to adopt a dog, congratulations! You're about to embark on an exciting journey with your new best friend, who will shower you with unconditional love and affection.
A new pet often feels scared, anxious, excited, and inquisitive about a strange environment, so you need to prepare your home for your pet's arrival. To help your dog adjust, our real estate agents suggest that you pet-proof your home before your dog arrives. Here are eight tips to welcome your new fur baby to a safe, comfortable, happy home.
Purchase Essential Pet Supplies
Make a trip to the local pet store to gather essential supplies including dog food; tasty treats; food and water bowls; a dog collar and a leash; a comfortable dog bed; and a few toys. Dogs love to chew, so buy some milk bones, rawhide chews, and chew toys. If this is your first dog, talk to someone at the pet store or animal shelter about the best supplies for your dog's breed, size, and weight. You may need to make some adjustments in food and treats after you get to know your dog, but make sure you have the essentials ready for the new arrival.
Find a Local Veterinarian
Becoming a pet parent comes with responsibilities like regular visits to a veterinarian for health exams, vaccines and shots, dental cleanings, and medications. You need to find a veterinarian and a 24-hour emergency animal hospital that's in your area. Schedule an appointment for a checkup with the vet and keep the emergency numbers handy. If you adopt your dog from an animal shelter or rescue organization, try to get records of any shots and treatments the dog had while in their care. If the dog is not spayed, neutered, or micro-chipped, have those procedures done when you take your dog to the vet.
Create a Space Specifically for Them
To help your dog feel safe and comfortable in a new home, create a comfortable space where the dog can relax and sleep. Consider investing in a dog crate with a cozy bed inside where your dog can retreat when feeling anxious or fearful. Crate training provides a secure place for your dog when you're not at home. If you don't want a crate, set up a quiet space in the house with a dog bed, blankets, and a few familiar toys.
Prepare for House Training
While an older dog who lived with another family is likely house-trained, you will need to house-train a new puppy. Typically, puppies can control their bladder for one hour for every month of age. If your puppy is three months old, don't wait more than 3 hours between bathroom breaks outside and invest in puppy training pads for indoors.
Plan for Walks and Exercise
All dogs, big and small, love to go on long walks to see the sights, greet other dogs, and smell other scents around the neighborhood. If you're adopting a dog, it's important to make time for daily walks and regular exercise to keep your dog active, healthy, and fit. Larger, active breeds like border collies, huskies, labs, and German shepherds need to run and exercise, while small breeds like chihuahuas and terriers may be happy with a quick walk around the block.
Secure Your Home and Yard
Before you bring your dog home, secure your home and yard to minimize the chance of your dog getting injured or lost. You can also install a pet door that allows your dog to go outside when you're not at home. Keep in mind that some breeds like huskies are notorious escape artists, so your fence will need to be solid and at least 8 feet high.
Make Family Ground Rules
Before bringing your dog home, it's a good idea to make some family ground rules to ensure everyone is on the same page. Set rules about where the dog is and is not allowed to go if the dog's allowed on the furniture, and where the dog should sleep. Developing a chore list for family members makes everyone responsible for the dog's daily care and activities. Taking the dog for walks is a great task for older kids because it teaches them pet responsibilities.
Establish a Routine
Pets function best on a routine schedule for meals, walks, playtime, and sleep. Determine your dog care regimen with family members as soon as you bring the dog home. Most dogs are fed twice a day at regular times, so make sure someone is responsible for daily feedings. Establish routines for daily walks, trips to the dog park, playtime, doggie daycare, and sleep schedules. A routine will make your dog feel more secure and less anxious.
Adding a pet to your household is one of the many perks of homeownership. If you're considering buying a home that is more pet-friendly, contact us for information and prices on available properties that meet your needs.
If you're planning to buy or sell a home, then you should be prepared to receive loads of advice from family, friends, and neighbors. When it comes to real estate transactions, everyone has their own unique perspective. While advice can be helpful and well-intentioned, it's important to weigh the advice based on experience. The average person is involved in a real estate transaction once every 5 to 7 years while the average Masiello agent manages 11 transactions every year. These uneven experiences have given rise to numerous industry myths.
Real estate has always been a great way to build wealth. When you buy a property by putting a relatively small amount of money down and obtaining a mortgage, you're leveraging your investment; in other words, you're getting an asset worth significantly more than the money you've invested as a down payment.
If your home increases in value, you build equity based on the total price of the asset. Another significant benefit of real estate is the tax breaks. When you live in the home, the interest you pay on your mortgage is tax-deductible if you itemize your return. Thanks to the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, another tax break comes in reduced capital gains taxes. For example, when you sell your home, the first $250,000 gains are free from capital gains taxes ($500,000 for married couples). These tax advantages make owning a home a wise investment for many of us and allow us to build wealth relatively tax-free when investing in a residence.
If you're a commercial real estate investor, there is another rule you can also use to defer capital gains on your investment property to build wealth. It's called the 1031 Exchange Rule, and it has many moving parts. Real estate investors must understand the law before attempting to use it, and it can be complicated to follow. An exchange can only be made with like-kind properties. In addition, there are tax implications and time frames that must be strictly followed, or it may be problematic.
If you're considering using a 1031 Exchange or want to learn more, we're going to help you gain an understanding of this investment benefit in this post.
In simple terms, a 1031 exchange (also known as a like-kind exchange) is a swap of one investment property for another. Although most swaps are taxable as sales, if you meet the requirements of 1031, you'll pay no tax or a limited tax due at the time of the exchange.
In effect, you are changing the "form" of your investment in the eyes of the IRS without cashing out or recognizing a capital gain. This allows you to grow your investment tax-deferred. Because there are no limits as to how many times or how frequently you can use 1031, you can continue to roll your capital gains from one investment property to another, and another, and another.
Even though you may be profiting from each swap, you avoid paying any taxes until you finally cash out many years (or even decades) later. If it works as planned, you'll pay a single tax at the current long-term capital gains rate (currently 15 or 20% depending on your income).
Most exchanges must meet the criteria known as "like-kind." However, this phrase doesn't necessarily mean what the name implies. For example, you can exchange an apartment building for raw land or a ranch for a strip mall. The rules are surprisingly liberal. You can also exchange one business for another. However, there are "traps" of which you need to be aware.
The 1031 rules are for investment and business property, although they can apply for a former primary residence under certain conditions. It's also possible to use the 1031 Exchange for swapping a vacation home, but this loophole has been made much narrower in recent years.
As a real estate investor, there are several reasons that you may consider using a 1031 exchange. These include:
The main benefit of a 1031 exchange over simply selling one property and buying another is the tax deferral. By deferring capital gains taxes using a 1031 exchange, you're freeing more capital for investment in a replacement property.
Bear in mind that 1031 might require a higher minimum investment and a longer holding time. 1031exchange transactions can be complex and should be handled by professionals.
It's essential to understand the concept of depreciation to gain a proper understanding of the benefits of a 1031 exchange.
Depreciation is the percentage of the cost of an investment property written off every year, recognizing the effects of wear and tear. When you sell a property, capital gains taxes are calculated based on the property's net-adjusted basis, which combines the property's original purchase price plus capital improvements, minus depreciation.
If your property sells for more than its depreciated value, you may need to "recapture" the depreciation. That means the amount of depreciation is included as taxable income when you sell.
Since the size of depreciation increases with time, you might want to consider a 1031 exchange to avoid the significant increase in taxable income that recapture would cause. Depreciation recapture is a factor to account for when considering a 1031 exchange.
The classic exchange involves a simple swap of one property for another between two people. However, it's long odds to find someone with the exact property you want, who wants the exact property you have. As a result, the majority of exchanges are delayed, three-party exchanges.
In a delayed exchange, you need a qualified intermediary or middleman. He or she will hold the cash after you sell your property and then uses it to purchase the replacement property for you. This is a three-party exchange that is classified and treated as a swap. Here are two essential timing rules you need to follow in a delayed exchange.
This rule relates to the designation of a replacement property. Once a sale occurs, the intermediary receives the cash. Within 45 days of the sale, you must designate the replacement property in writing to the intermediary, specifying the property you wish to acquire. The IRS rule states that you can select three properties as long as you eventually close on one of them.
The second timing rule you need to be aware of in a delayed exchange relates to closing the replacement property. You must close on the new property within 180 days of the sale of your original property.
One crucial fact to be aware of is that these periods run concurrently. That means the clock starts when you close on the sale of your original property. For example, if you designate a replacement property exactly 45 days after you close, you'll have just 135 days left to close on the replacement.
While there are plenty of benefits to 1031 exchanges, it's essential to understand potential pitfalls if the transaction isn't handled correctly. For example, you may have cash left over after your intermediary acquires the replacement property. If so, they will pay it to you at the end of the 180 days. This cash is known as "boot," will be taxed as the partial sales proceeds from the sale of your property, typically as a capital gain.
One way people can get into trouble with this type of transaction is by failing to consider loans. You must consider any mortgage loans or other debts on the replacement property. If you don't receive cash back, but your liability is reduced, that is treated as income to you – just like cash.
For example, if you were carrying a mortgage of $1 million on your old property, but the mortgage on the replacement property you receive in the exchange is only $900,000, you will have a $100,000 gain. This is classified as "boot," and it will be taxed.
While we've just touched on the highlights of 1031 exchanges, the fact is, 1031 is an intelligent tax-deferral strategy that real estate investors can use to build real wealth. The bottom line is that while using a 1031exchange strategy is a savvy business move, there are many complex moving parts that not only require you to understand the rules. It is important to enlist professional help, even if you're a seasoned real estate investor.
It's no secret that moving can be stressful! When you're packing up your entire life and relocating across the country, it's important to make sure you're prepared. Spending some time planning your move will help ensure everything goes off without a hitch.
Not sure where to start? You're in luck! Our real estate agents often work with clients from out of state and have created a helpful guide to help with planning cross-country moves. Here are a few of the most important tips.
Are you planning to relocate soon? Our agents would love to help you find your dream home! Contact us today.
Baby boomers have always been an independent, active generation. As they begin to enter retirement, many are planning on aging in place. Aging in place is a growing trend. The phrase refers to people living in their current home as they age and continuing to live there until they are no longer able.
It is basically the opposite of moving to a retirement community.
The main prerequisite for aging in place is retrofitting your home to make it more amenable and easier to live in as you age. If you are planning on staying in your home as you age, you will need to make accommodations for future issues that may arise, like arthritis, knee problems, or the need to use a walker or wheelchair to get around.
But it also helps if the community you live in offers accomodating amenities and services geared toward older residents. Some cities are better than others. Many are not as accommodating as they would like to be given the increasing numbers of boomers reaching retirement age.
The good news is that developers are building planned communities that feature amenities accomodating to older homeowners. In addition, many cities are taking stock of what their communities have to offer senior residents. They are making adjustments to accommodate older citizens, as they begin to realize that boomers are making decisions about where to spend their post-retirement years.
Here are seven aging-in-place features to look out for in any prospective community to make your post-retirement more enjoyable.
A feature homeowners seeking to age in place are looking for is one-floor living. The best aging in place communities have plenty of one-floor living housing options. These communities also have good local remodelers who know how to adapt existing housing stock to make it more livable for older residents.
To attract seniors, communities are changing their zoning laws to allow for rental units or affordable housing. Some have instituted tax breaks available for residents over 65 based on income.
Communities that offer reliable mass transit and senior transport programs are also high on many senior's wish lists. Walkable neighborhoods that are safe for pedestrians and adequately lighted are also essential. It is also crucial that roads are as safe as possible, with clear visible signage, making it easy for older drivers to navigate.
Along with traditional methods for crime control, successful aging in place communities also incorporates "friendly call" programs geared toward older residents who live alone. People volunteer to call older residents every morning at a pre-arranged time.
Communities that have adequate numbers of primary care physicians, specialists, and hospital facilities get high marks with older residents. A retiree-friendly community will also offer preventable health care activities at local senior centers, along with exercise programs for older residents.
Home and community-based caregiving support services become very important to seniors, whether it's the availability of home health care, adult daycare, or meals on wheels. For example, one such program is called the Caring Collaborative and has chapters in New York, Long Island, and San Francisco. These are essentially chapters that connect people in need with those who can help.
High marks in this category mean that a community has retail outlets, restaurants, and grocery stores offering healthy foods within walking distance. Policies that support local farms, and farmer's markets are also a big plus.
Having these types of amenities woven into a community is extremely attractive to older residents. Mixed-use downtown areas appeal to older residents and are luring some affluent retirees to give up homes in the suburbs for apartments or condos in central business districts.
Staying social is crucial to good mental and physical health as we age. Communities that offer places of worship, libraries, museums, universities, and colleges provide outlets for residents to stay social. But they need to be easily accessible as well.
Opportunities to volunteer as we age are also important. As you get older and work responsibilities diminish, many seniors find happiness in helping others and giving back.
Having wider doorways, threshold-free showers and one-story living are all important elements if you are considering aging in place. Preparing your home for safely aging in place can start well before retirement age. As you remodel and renovate, work with your contractor to incorporate universal design elements into your home renovations. Even if you choose to move, having a home that is ready for older homebuyers can add value and increase demand.
Today, seniors are more active than previous generations and looking for more from their communities. If you are planning on aging in place, look around your community for these seven features. As more people reach retirement age, many cities and towns are beginning to adapt to this growing demographic.
If you're in the market for an aging-in-place, forever home, begin by identifying your needs now and into the future. Then explore your community to see what it offers aging residents.
Before the pandemic, the population growth of many cities in the U.S. with over 1 million people was stagnant or declining. As the pandemic peaked, smaller communities began to experience a growth surge as people, newly working from home, realized that they could live anywhere and chose to relocate away from cities.
As urban populations disperse, smaller metropolitan areas, suburban counties, and rural areas have experienced unprecedented demand for housing. This has caused many markets to heat up and become hyper-competitive.
In a market where supply is low, and demand is high, it's not uncommon to find yourself in a bidding war as multiple offers push prices higher and higher. Add low mortgage rates to the mix, and you may find yourself edged out of the running several times when trying to buy a home!
While no single strategy can guarantee that you'll win a bidding war, there are several steps you can take to make your offer stronger when buying a home and put you in the best position to compete and prevail!
When you're competing in a hot housing market like we're experiencing today, most agents agree that it's best to push aside your emotions, regardless of how difficult that might be. After all, much of the home buying process relies on making an emotional connection with a home. However, to succeed in a bidding war, you need to begin your home search with a fully stocked arsenal!
That means, having your finances in order, thoroughly researching potential target neighborhoods, and building a team of trusted experienced professionals well before you need to move a deal along. This team should include everyone from your banker, to your broker, lawyer, and engineer, as well as a contractor.
Getting your finances in order means deciding the maximum comfortable number you're willing to pay for a home, which doesn't necessarily mean what the bank will approve you for.
Along with all of this, you also need to bring a willingness to compromise to the bargaining table. Right now, it's a strong seller's market. Sellers have the option of asking for the world, and more often than not, they're getting whatever they ask for!
Here are some tips for coming out ahead when buying a home in a bidding war.
This is one of the first and most important steps of the entire process! A mortgage pre-approval letter shows a seller that you've done your homework, and you're not only a serious buyer, you're also a qualified one. This is an especially effective tactic should you enter a bidding war.
It's important to understand that a pre-approval letter is different than a mortgage prequalification. To get a preapproval letter, your lender evaluates every financial detail, including your credit score and report, then decides whether they will loan you the money to buy a house, and the amount they will loan. Pre-approval is based on documentation which includes W-2 tax forms and bank statements.
Sometimes the highest bid does not win. Sometimes money talks when bidding on a house. Paying cash is often much more appealing to a seller because it virtually eliminates the possibility that financing will fall through before closing. Cash deals also typically close faster. Offering a substantial down payment or making a cash offer often go right to the front of the line in a bidding war.
Can't pay cash? Your earnest money deposit can show a seller that you are a serious buyer. The typical earnest money deposit is 1 to 2% of the purchase price, but this varies by location. A higher earnest money deposit can catch a seller's attention and signal that you're serious, especially in a hot housing market.
Including an escalation clause can work to strengthen your offer. if other offers come in that match or beat your initial bid, an escalation clause states that you are willing to incrementally increase your offer up to a fixed limit
For example, say the asking price is $200,000. Your REALTOR® would prepare your office to state:
My initial bid is $200,000 with an escalation of $2000 over any and all competing offers with a cap at $210,000. However, if another bidder offers more than $210,000 you'd be out of the running.
Contingencies allow buyers to walk away from a deal without losing their earnest money if certain conditions are not met. In a bidding war, you want to carefully choose them.
Try to submit a clean offer without too many contingencies. To be competitive today, you need to do your homework. Know you can obtain financing so you can eliminate a credit review contingency. Understand what to look for when walking through the home before submitting an offer to forego the inspection. Agree to pay a certain amount over the list price, and know you can afford that over the appraised value.
This can be an effective tactic in a couple of ways. For example, let's say you get outbid by a few thousand dollars, but you're willing to give the seller more time to move out. That flexibility can often make you the frontrunner in a bidding war.
Extra closing time might be attractive to a seller who might otherwise have to spend more on moving or storage. Especially if they're crunched for time to find another home in a tight market. Sometimes you can win the bidding war by extending the closing date. For example, if the sellers are in a crunch, offer to rent the home back to them cheaply, for a fixed period. If the home is already vacant, you can sometimes win by offering to close quicker, reducing the seller's expenses of carrying two mortgages.
One final thing to keep in mind...
Just because another buyer was chosen over you doesn't necessarily mean you've lost the war. When buying a home, transactions can often fall through for any number of reasons. If you make a well-thought-out offer, a strong enough bid, and are ready to act quickly, you might be next on the seller's list!
If you're serious about winning a bidding war, work with a seasoned real estate professional with experience in this type of market. A real estate agent or REALTOR® will have the skills to help you prevail in a bidding war. They will also have extensive market knowledge, which is critical for determining the fair market value of any home you're interested in.
The housing market is on fire right now, and the New England region is the hottest of the hot! According to a National Association of Realtors study, because of pent-up post-pandemic demand for homes and a short supply of inventory, the median sales price of single-family homes is up 16.2% year-over-year in the first quarter. Along with high demand and low supply, other factors helping to move the market include historically low interest rates and a large market of first-time homebuyers.
New England is home to the top two real state markets in the country – Manchester and Concord, New Hampshire. Manchester is New Hampshire's largest city and no stranger to the hottest market list, while Concord leaped up 22 spots from last year to end up at number two.
According to Joelle Sturms, a realtor with the Masiello Group in Concord, New Hampshire office:
"It is pure madness! We are seeing multiple offers all over the place and homes selling for tens of thousands of dollars over the asking price. It is mostly buyers from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York with plenty of cash. They almost do not care what prices are. I feel bad for our local buyers because first-time homebuyers are getting priced out of the market."
So how can you win a bidding war when buying a house in the blazing New England Market?
Read on to learn more.
If you are buying a house, you might consider waiting until supply picks up; in fact, you might not have a choice. Here are three stats to help illustrate why waiting might be your best tactic.
As a buyer, the worst thing you can do is rush into a hot seller's market needing to make a purchase. For example, if you are selling your home while looking for a new one, you might want to have a backup plan for where you will live if the process takes longer than expected. One tactic to consider is to negotiate a lease-back clause in your purchase and sales agreement. If you can eliminate the burden of time constraints and wait it out, saying "no, for now" might help you land a better deal!
In a market like New Hampshire today, even if you decide to wait before buying a house, you can prepare to move quickly when the market opens up. Here are some steps to take so you can move quickly when the time comes.
Obtaining a mortgage pre-approval letter shows sellers you are a serious buyer ready to make a deal. When you are pre-approved, it means that a lender has verified your financials and agreed to make a loan. Lining up financing takes time. Doing so ahead of time shows you are serious and can give you an edge over other buyers.
The process also gives you a better idea of what your homebuying budget looks like. You can then set realistic limits before you get into a bidding war.
Your REALTOR® is one of the most important members of your team. Find one who is an experienced negotiator but is also patient, objective, and resourceful. A good realtor can explain your local housing market using comps of similar properties that have recently sold, ideally in the neighborhood of your prospective home.
A well-placed nudge from your realtor is sometimes needed if you have unrealistic expectations. But you should never feel that they are trying to sway you or rush a decision.
Just because you are approved for a certain amount of financing does not mean you should only look at homes at the top of your budget. When buying a home in a hot market, expect to get outbid on many homes, especially in a seller's market. Instead, consider expanding your search and making concessions on the type of home you would like to own.
List your needs and wants for a home early in the process. It can help you to make better compromises later. For example, looking at homes in a different neighborhood, homes with fewer amenities, or needing some updates. In the end, any compromises will feel minor when you compare the monthly savings on your mortgage payments!
While it's never a good idea to waive a home inspection, as you may end up vulnerable if the home has undetected structural issues that can be expensive to repair. Instead, offer an "informational" inspection, which means you will not use the inspection as a negotiating tool for price concessions.
This offers the seller a good-faith gesture that you are interested in buying a house and not wasting their time. However, it also means, you can still walk away from any deal based on what the inspector finds.
Sometimes when buying a house, you need to look past the sticker price and see what is a priority to the seller. Maybe they are taking advantage of a hot market to increase their ROI but really don't want to move. Include a rent-back agreement with your bid allowing the homeowner to stay in the property for a few extra months. Or maybe the seller has to move in a hurry for their new job. You can offer to buy some of their big bulky furniture as part of the deal.
When buying a house, your job is to make the sale as painless as possible for the seller. If you look at the deal from both sides, you can often come up with ways to do that. The lack of inventory across the country has caused headaches for buyers finding themselves in a bidding war. If you think outside the box and make the transaction as painless as possible, then you can have a great chance of buying your dream home in a hot market like New Hampshire!
If you love to travel, you've probably vacationed in some spectacular places that hold special memories. Perhaps the ocean views, exotic cuisine, relaxing atmosphere, or abundance of nature make you want to return again and again to this special place.
The real estate market in many locations has simply been on fire! Today, here in New England and many other areas, homes that typically attract little interest are garnering multiple offers, and bidding wars are common.
Conventional wisdom says that when it comes to real estate, the highest offer gets the house. But the truth is, this is not always the case. Sure, a solid offer is the first thing that every seller wants to see, but an astute real estate agent or REALTOR® will advise a seller that each offer is more than just a number it is actually the sum of all its parts.
Here are seven reasons why your artfully crafted lower real estate offer might just help you beat the higher bidder after all!
If you can afford to pay cash, you just might beat a higher bidder. It might sound impossible to pay cash for your home, but many people do it. According to the National Association of Realtors, 12% of all houses sold in 2019 were all-cash deals.
An all-cash offer is attractive to a seller of real estate for several reasons. First, there are no mortgages or lenders involved, no appraisal to worry about, and escrow can close faster.
Pre-approval is much different than pre-qualification. A pre-approval letter is a confirmation from a lender that confirms you are ready to buy in a set price range and you have been pre-approved for the loan.
In essence, the real estate pre-approval lender turns you into a virtual cash buyer. Other buyers could offer more, but if they are not pre-approved, the deal could fall through. As a result, a pre-approval letter gives you a leg up, even with a lower offer.
Typically, the closing period can last anywhere from 30 to 90 days. Offering to customize closing to meet the seller's needs can sometimes seal the deal over a higher bidder. Sellers almost always want a fast close. If you have all your paperwork together you might be able to get it done! Be flexible! Sometimes the seller might need more time, for example, if the house they are moving into will not be ready for 60 days. Find out what works for the seller and accommodate their needs. Sometimes the lower offer does win.
It might seem cheesy, but much of the home buying process is emotionally based. Sometimes sending the seller a heartfelt letter letting them know you love their house and hope to raise your family in the home can sometimes make the difference!
Contingencies are typically negotiating tools that allow you to walk away from a deal without consequences. The three most common are inspection, financing, and appraisal contingencies. Every contingency you add can make your offer appear weaker because each can make the deal more difficult to close. Make sure you really need each contingency before building them into your offer.
Be careful what you ask for! If you ask for the custom drapes, the appliances, and the chandelier that was a wedding gift from the inlaws, (and was excluded in the listing) you risk offending the seller and having them walk away. Even if yours is the highest bid!
An escalation clause is an excellent way to make your offer stand out. An escalation clause states that you will pay a pre-determined amount over the highest bona fide offer that does not contain a home sale contingency. While not all agents use this tactic, it's a great way to stand out in a competitive situation.
For example, once all of the offers are reviewed, the seller's agent will contact the buyer's agent and forward them the highest offer. The buyer then has a fixed amount of time, for example, 30 minutes, to accept or reject the highest bid and include their escalation amount. So if the offer is $525,000 and the escalation amount is $5000, the buyer must agree to $530,000.
Sometimes the biggest wallet does not close the real estate deal. These tactics can help you develop a strategy to help make a lower bid more attractive to a seller. The best solution is to work with an experienced real estate agent or REALTOR®. They understand the local market and can help you develop a strategy to compete in a tight marketplace that goes beyond simply making the higher offer.
Remember, every term in a deal is negotiable. In today's market, the seller is in the driver's seat. However, if you understand their needs you can craft a strategy that offers benefits beyond the highest offer. A good seller's agent will compare and leverage all offers to achieve the homeowner's desired pricing and terms. A good buyer's agent will help you craft an offer that benefits you and meets all of the seller's needs.
If you missed part one of this three part series on Making an Offer when Buying a Home, here is the link to part one & two:
When it comes to buying a home, an all-cash offer can be a pretty powerful tactic, especially if there are multiple bids on a piece of property. However, making (or accepting) an all-cash offer is not always a no-brainer, either for the buyer... or the seller.
One big difference between an all-cash offer and a financed offer is that the cash offer can close quicker. As a general rule, while an all-cash offer might seem suspicious, if it's from a valid buyer, it is usually easier, with a lot less red tape.
In this post, we'll look at the pros and cons of the all-cash offer from the perspective of the buyer and the seller.
Recent data from the National Association of Realtors for 2019 found that 12% of all buyers purchased their homes with cash. As the name implies, an all-cash offer means that you have the ability and liquid cash available to purchase the house outright. You don't literally pay with a briefcase full of hundreds, but you'll need access to all of the funds in a liquid account that allows immediate withdrawals or transfers. For most people, that means a checking, savings, or money market account.
An all-cash offer means that you will not be getting a mortgage loan for any portion of the sale. This is important to the seller because it eliminates the financing contingency of the purchase agreement. A seller makes their decisions based on the terms of your offer, including contingencies. An all-cash offer also makes several other contingencies optional. That can be a powerful tool when engaged in a bidding war with multiple buyers. These can include:
Lenders require an appraisal, cash buyers do not. If you're confident you're getting a good price, you can waive the appraisal contingency.
As a cash buyer, an inspection contingency is also optional. However, this is one contingency you might want to keep in your agreement.
A sales contingency means that your current house must sell before you close on the new property. This is pretty much the opposite of liquidity. While you can include this contingency, it diminishes the attractiveness of an all-cash offer.
The bottom line? An all-cash offer means you have liquid funds available, so you will not need a mortgage loan. You may also waive certain contingencies to make your offer even more attractive to the seller.
An all-cash offer offers homebuyers some significant advantages. Here are some of the pros and cons of an all-cash offer:
As previously mentioned, one key benefit of making an all-cash offer is the ability to pick and choose which contingencies to include. Not only will this save money, but in a competitive market, this is very desirable to most sellers.
All cash offers are also good for the homebuyer because you do not have the hassle of dealing with a lender. That means no need to gather paperwork like tax returns, income statements, proof of employment, credit scores, or asset lists. You will also save on closing costs associated with getting a mortgage loan.
As a buyer, an all-cash offer gives you more control over the closing timeline. This means you can close faster because you are not waiting for bank approvals. This can be significant for sellers who need to move quickly.
As mentioned, sellers are often attracted to an all-cash offer because of fewer contingencies, fewer hassles, and a faster timeline. As a result, you may be able to make a lower offer and have it accepted, even in a multi-offer situation. An all-cash offer can give you leverage to negotiate a better price that can mean savings and increased equity right from closing!
There are some drawbacks to making an all-cash offer. You need to consider all of the positives and negatives before you commit to any deal. Here are some negatives to be aware of.
This should be a top consideration before making an all-cash offer. Real estate is a non-liquid asset which means it can be challenging to get cash out when you need it.
If you place much of your liquidity into a home purchase, you may lose out on potentially larger gains that could be realized elsewhere. Real estate typically earns around 2 or 3% annually.
If you itemize deductions, mortgage loan interest is tax-deductible on your federal income taxes. Without a mortgage loan, you lose that deduction.
Owning a home requires more money than the purchase price. You still need to budget for closing costs, any renovations, and general maintenance and upkeep. Make sure you have enough money to cover taxes, repairs, and other items.
As with buyers, there are pros and cons for sellers when an all-cash offer is made for your property. Several situations encourage an all-cash offer. In recent years a new phenomenon has emerged: direct homebuying online. Companies like Open Door, Redfin, and most recently Zillow are buying homes directly from sellers.
Let's take a look at the pros and cons of an all-cash offer as the seller.
The traditional route of using an agent and listing on the MLS, or going "FSBO" offers no guarantee your home will sell. Assuming you've priced it right, it should sell, but it can take months to get the deal you're looking for. Realtor.com data suggests that it takes about 65 days to sell (which can vary widely by location). Once under contract, escrow can last 30 to 60 days, or longer. That being said, if you need money fast, going the traditional route has drawbacks. Online direct homebuying, for example, can get you an offer in a fraction of the time.
If you're in a hurry or don't have cash on hand, the idea of repairs that might be needed to maximize your home's value may not be doable. Cash sales are typical "as-is." You'll still need to disclose defects, but if your home needs repairs, and you're not in a position to do them, an all-cash offer may be the way to go.
This was also a pro for the buyer. A traditional sale often comes with a list of contingencies. If it's a buyer's market (not applicable right now!) your buyer might even request a home sale contingency which can drag out your sale for months.
While it seems like there are a few great benefits of receiving and accepting an all-cash offer, there are a couple of drawbacks to be aware of:
This is the big one! If you're looking for top dollar for your home, then an all-cash offer will often disappoint. In a seller's market, like today, an all-cash offer is a good tactic for a buyer to win a bidding war if you're selling to an individual who is looking to live in the home. However, investors are buying homes to resell them. They will offer less if they are coming to you with an all-cash offer. If you're selling to a company like Zillow they may offer less and give you great terms like a 10-day close and no contingencies. It depends on your situation as to whether it's a good deal.
If you're dealing with a reputable company like Zillow or Redfin, or a REALTOR® or agent who has vetted their client this isn't a concern. However, if you received a "We Pay Cash" postcard in the mail, make sure they have the cash they're offering. Ask to see a bank statement or "proof of funds" letter. In these types of deals, since all-cash offers often have a short escrow (sometimes as short as 7 to 10 days) you may want to negotiate a lease-back so you don't have to rush into a move. This is a smart tactic. In the event the deal falls apart, you'll have fewer worries.
The all-cash offer brings with it both benefits and drawbacks for both buyers making the offer and sellers who accept it. The bottom line is that for buyers, the all-cash offer is an interesting tactic in a hot market that can help make them stand out from among the crowd in the event of multiple offers on a property. There are some considerations including contingencies and closing dates you'll need to think through.
For the seller, the all-cash offer can mean a quick close and fewer hassles, but unless it's a seller's market, it's likely to be below the market value of your home. But it is fast and convenient. In the end, whether you're the buyer or the seller, you need to consider all of your options including which factors are most important to you in your unique situation.
If you missed part one of this three part series on Making an Offer when Buying a Home, here is the link to part one: https://www.masiello.com/news-and-updates/2021/06/16/the-logistics-of-a-seller-backing-out-of-a-purchase-and-sale
To build or to buy? It's one of the first and most important questions that you'll need to answer when considering your next home. The right answer for your family depends on a variety of factors, including your budget, where you would like to live, your preferences for the home, and your future plans. Our real estate agents are here to help you make an informed decision, with a closer look at whether building or buying a home might be the right choice for your family.
The real estate market is on fire right now! If you're a seller, the good news is houses are coming on the market and receiving multiple cash offers within days of listing. If you're a buyer, chances are you're going to be vying with several other buyers for any home you are interested in.
After months of house hunting, you might not want to let this one getaway. You need an edge. One way to sweeten your offer is to waive the home inspection to expedite the buying process and stand out from the competition. While this tactic could end up with you winning the home, it could also end up costing you big time down the road!
A home is probably the biggest and most important investment you'll make in your lifetime. So it's absolutely crucial to your sanity and your bank account that you do your due diligence and have all of the facts and figures in place before you commit and sign a purchase agreement. Otherwise, instead of your dream home, you could be investing in a money pit!
Of course, some homeowners are ok with taking the risk to get the house they want. In this post, we will take a closer look at what a home inspection is and offer the pros and cons of waiving a home inspection.
If you've ever gone through the home buying process, you're probably familiar with a home inspection. Typically, once you've signed a purchase agreement and the home is under contract, you bring in professional, certified home inspectors to perform a visual, in-person inspection.
This process is done to protect the buyer from any hidden problems. The inspector will walk through the home, inside and outside, and check its condition, the issue a report outlining what they have found. Inspection reports typically include any roof and termite damage, as well as structural issues and systems checks, including electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. In addition, the inspector will also document the home's general interior and exterior features and condition, appliances, sprinkler system, pool, windows, doors, etc.
When the inspection is complete, the inspector sends his findings to the buyer. The buyer uses this information to first decide how to proceed. Depending on the information in the report, the buyer may use it as a negotiating tool to request that the seller pays for certain repairs before closing or reduce the sale price. If the damage is extensive, it provides a legal way to back out of the deal.
For this reason, sellers want the inspection to go as smoothly as possible. If they want to sell quickly, they are often willing to negotiate to make it happen.
Right now in New England, we're in the hottest real estate market in DECADES! According to NerdWallet's 2021 Home Buyer Report, nationally, an estimated 28 million Americans are planning on buying a home in the coming year. At the end of 2020, the supply of homes available in the US was just 1.04 million units. According to the National Association of Realtors, this is the lowest number of available units since data collection began in 1982!
With multiple buyers vying for properties and bidding wars becoming the norm, waiving the home inspection can become a compelling offer for a seller. The National Association of Home Builders Housing Trend Report found that being outbid was the most common reason buyers cited for not yet purchasing a home. So it makes sense that an eager buyer would be willing to waive the home inspection contingency.
A home inspection is an important element of the home buying process for protecting a buyer's financial interests. For example, learning that a home you're interested in may need a new septic system costing $10,000 can change your mind about buying it or the amount you're willing to spend. Without a home inspection, you might not find out about the problem until after you take possession, and you will lose any negotiating leverage you might have.
Another consideration is the health and safety of your family. Home inspections can uncover potential hazards in a home, like bad wiring, unsafe heating, or asbestos that the average person would not find during a pre-closing walkthrough.
As a general rule, the answer is no unless you're willing and financially able to assume all potential risks. Waiving the inspection is especially problematic in an older house. That being said, there are a couple of instances when waiving the inspection is more of a calculated risk.
If, for instance, you are buying new construction and the home is under the builder warranty, or if the seller of a home or condo has had existing conditional reports compiled within the past year, it is "potentially" ok to waive the right to an inspection, IF it's the only way to ensure your offer is accepted.
Again, it all comes down to the amount of risk you're willing to take. Remember, even new construction can have problems that an inspection could uncover. The bottom line, spending a few hundred dollars on an inspection is almost always a good investment. However, in a market that is hot, taking a calculated risk may be necessary to ensure your bid is accepted.
While any seller will prefer receiving an offer that waives the home inspection, there are ways and tactics allowing you to present a strong offer that will appeal to a seller and keep the inspection on the table.
Having a preapproval letter from a lender in hand when presenting your offer carries weight. It not only shows the seller you're serious but that you have financing available to close the deal.
This language tells the seller that you will be getting a full, professional inspection but only for informational purposes. Any information it uncovers will be for you. You won't be asking them to pay for any issues it uncovers.
It might mean saving for a little longer, but seeing more upfront cash might tempt a seller. It feels like more money in their pockets right away. This can signal that your financing is solid and the deal will close.
This is another tactic that is attractive to sellers. An escalation clause eliminates the need for a back-and-forth negotiation between two buyers. For example, say you're interested in a home that is listed for $175,000. You can offer to automatically bid $1000 over any other offer with a cap of $200,000.
While these tactics can help you look more attractive to a seller and leave the home inspection clause intact, you might still lose out to a buyer willing to take the risk and waive the inspection, especially in a tough market like today. Regardless, if you lose out, brush yourself off, and keep looking! Eventually, you'll find your home and do it in a way that is comfortable for you!
Ultimately, if you opt to waive the home inspection, consider purchasing a home warranty. Whichever path you choose, a home warranty provides you with a safety net should unexpected expenses present themselves. Click here to learn more about Home Warranty programs, benefits, and pricing.
Sustainable kitchen products are those that use eco-friendly materials, last longer, and are more easily recycled than traditional items. Buying these products has become more popular in recent years as more consumers consider the impact on the environment when they're making purchases.
Our real estate agents know that there are many reasons why homeowners opt for sustainable kitchen products. Some of the top benefits include:
Thinking of how to make your kitchen more eco-friendly? Opt for some of these products in your home.
Looking for a brand new kitchen to enjoy for years to come? Contact us today if you're interested in buying or selling a home in New England.
Home improvement shows can be pretty intriguing. With the exquisite finishes, the grand reveals, the hugs, and the grateful smiles, it's easy to get sucked into a five-hour marathon session of entertaining reality TV. Unfortunately, these shows can be misleading. They give viewers unrealistic expectations of what can be accomplished when it comes to remodeling, flipping, buying, and selling a home. Our real estate agents reveal 5 things that home makeover shows never tell you.
A good way to create a focal point in your living room is to craft a gallery wall. One that is well done makes a home look inviting and helps tie the room together. This creative collage does require a bit of planning! The following guide will help you to create a stunning gallery wall you'll love to look at in your home.
Know that you want to buy a new home, but haven't found a property that meets your needs? Consider buying land and building your own home. When you purchase land, you control the size and location of your home's lot. Here are some things to keep in mind if you're buying land this year.
Ready to start searching for land for your home? Contact us today to get started!
With all of the economic chaos that is 2020, real estate has remained a bright spot.
There are 4 major economic factors affecting home prices:
As a home seller, you can take advantage of the market and, essentially, get a premium price for your home.
But here's the catch: you then have to become a buyer in the same market of low inventory & high demand.
This is the exact reason to engage a Better Homes & Gardens, The Masiello Group REALTOR. We recommend consulting with a Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate The Masiello Group REALTOR to determine these 3 parameters to help hand-craft a solution for you:
Next, your Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate The Masiello Group REALTOR can approach other home owners with properties like the ones that best fit your ideal new one. These will likely be other owners who, like you, are not currently on the market but would move if they could find a home. See how the chain can work?
At BHGRE The Masiello Group, our agents have 2 important tools in our internal website to make this work for you:
The Haves & Wants System is like a bulletin board for our agents to share info on people, like you, that are looking for something that is not yet on the market as well as sellers who would sell if they could buy.
Our Reverse Prospecting Tool matches information about registered users on our website to each other. For example, a potential seller in Portsmouth, NH looking to buy in York, ME gets matched to a buyer in Portsmouth, NH.
While technology provides many answers, only an experienced Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate The Masiello Group REALTOR can apply their market knowledge, street wisdom and technology to your unique situation.
Reach out today and let's explore what this market could do for you & your family.
You've found a home that you love, and the seller has accepted your offer. However, it isn't a done deal until you sign the closing documents.
In the meantime, here are a few things that our real estate agents recommend that you avoid during the closing process. While some of these don'ts may result in a higher interest rate, others can potentially sabotage the purchase of your new home.
When it's time to move to a new home, not only do you need to ensure that the home meets your needs, but you should check that the neighborhood is right for your household. Find the right neighborhood for you and your family by keeping the following 5 things in mind during your search.
Ready to begin the search for your new neighborhood? Contact us today!
With all of the unanswered questions caused by COVID-19 and the economic slowdown we're experiencing across the country today, many are asking if the housing market is in trouble. For those who remember 2008, it's logical to ask that question.
Many of us experienced financial hardships, lost homes, and were out of work during the Great Recession – the recession that started with a housing and mortgage crisis. Today, we face a very different challenge: an external health crisis that has caused a pause in much of the economy and a major shutdown of many parts of the country.
Let's look at five things we know about today's housing market that were different in 2008.
When we look at appreciation in the visual below, there's a big difference between the 6 years prior to the housing crash and the most recent 6-year period of time. Leading up to the crash, we had much higher appreciation in this country than we see today. In fact, the highest level of appreciation most recently is below the lowest level we saw leading up to the crash. Prices have been rising lately, but not at the rate they were climbing back when we had runaway appreciation.
The Mortgage Credit Availability Index is a monthly measure by the Mortgage Bankers Association that gauges the level of difficulty to secure a loan. The higher the index, the easier it is to get a loan; the lower the index, the harder. Today we're nowhere near the levels seen before the housing crash when it was very easy to get approved for a mortgage. After the crash, however, lending standards tightened and have remained that way leading up to today.
One of the causes of the housing crash in 2008 was an oversupply of homes for sale. Today, as shown in the next image, we see a much different picture. We don't have enough homes on the market for the number of people who want to buy them. Across the country, we have less than 6 months of inventory, an undersupply of homes available for interested buyers.
The chart below shows the difference in how people are accessing the equity in their homes today as compared to 2008. In 2008, consumers were harvesting equity from their homes (through cash-out refinances) and using it to finance their lifestyles. Today, consumers are treating the equity in their homes much more cautiously.
Today, 53.8% of homes across the country have at least 50% equity. In 2008, homeowners walked away when they owed more than what their homes were worth. With the equity homeowners have now, they're much less likely to walk away from their homes.
The COVID-19 crisis is causing different challenges across the country than the ones we faced in 2008. Back then, we had a housing crisis; today, we face a health crisis. What we know now is that housing is in a much stronger position today than it was in 2008. It is no longer the center of the economic slowdown. Rather, it could be just what helps pull us out of the downturn.
We encourage you to reach out to our expert agents to discuss your unique buying or selling situation. We're here for you!
Before 1940, it wasn't uncommon to find three or more generations living in one home. After WWII and the suburban boom, families increasingly became smaller, with just parents and their minor children living together. In recent years, our real estate agents have noticed that multigenerational living is becoming more and more popular. In 2016, nearly 20 percent of the US population's living situation involved multiple generations living under one roof, according to the Pew Research Center. There are several benefits families enjoy when living under one roof. If these benefits speak to your situation, a multigenerational might be a good investment opportunity for your family.
Why Is Multigenerational Living Making A Comeback?
Many families are still getting on their feet after the Great Recession and the rising cost of living. For them, living with multiple generations in one home may make financial sense. Baby Boomers are now growing older and need help. Moving in with their children helps them get the care they need and can save everyone on housing and other costs. Child care is also a factor—many people are now opting to have grandparents take care of their children instead of spending a good chunk of their income paying for outside child care. Also, more adult children are moving back in with their parents after college to pay off debt and get some financial ground under their feet before venturing out on their own.
If you are planning on using a VA loan to purchase a home this year there are several changes you should know about.
Following the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, veterans and military service members will enjoy more borrowing power but pay slightly higher fees when applying for VA home loans. The Act was signed into law in June 2019 but took effect Jan 1, 2020.
Navigate these changes to VA loans with a little help from our team. Our REALTORS® highlight everything you need to know about using VA loans in 2020!
The VA loan limit is the maximum loan amount the Department of Veterans Affairs can guarantee a veteran or military service officer without making a down payment. The loan limit adjustment is a big win for veterans across the nation, especially for those buying in pricier markets. Extending the zero-down purchasing power will save many veterans a lot of cash and help them remain competitive.
However, the elimination of loan limits doesn't signify unlimited borrowing power with no down payment. Veterans will still need to have adequate income and meet their lender's credit demands to qualify for the VA loan amount. And if you still have impending VA loans or have defaulted on a previous loan, the loan limits will still be applicable throughout 2020.
Before this act went into effect, VA loan limits equaled the limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency on complying loans. In 2019, the limits were set to $484,350 in a typical US county and slightly higher in high-cost counties.
Our REALTORS® are there to guide you every step of the way when it's time to buy a home. Still, it's important to understand what you're getting into – and how to advocate for your interests.
Buying a home can include twists and turns, even when everyone has the best intentions. Knowing which questions to ask will help you get the information you need to make an informed decision about your real estate options.
Don't forget these vital questions when you're getting ready to buy a home:
Every first-time homebuyer is quickly faced with the same question: to build a budget for a forever home, or shop for a starter home that suits your current needs? A starter home can be an excellent option for a first-time buyer, allowing you to get used to the homeowner's lifestyle, build equity in the home over time, plan for the future, and eventually move on to a forever home. Our real estate agents know exactly what it takes to find the right home for any buyer, and we've put together a guide for what you should look for in a starter home.
Neighborhood and Location
The neighborhood that you choose plays an important role in both the price of the property and how much you'll enjoy living there. To start, decide whether you want to live in an urban, suburban, or rural location. Then look at specific neighborhoods to find a spot with the right mix of attractions, services, and commute times for your needs. The most popular neighborhoods tend to be more expensive, but most neighborhoods have affordable starter options if you're willing to search.
If you've been dreaming of buying your first home or selling your current house, New Year's is the time to resolve to make it happen.
Our REALTORS® suggest the following five ways to make a New Year's resolution of a new home a reality in 2020.
If you're anything like the typical couple or family getting ready to sell your home, hiding clutter is your idea of cleaning before a home showing. We know – throwing some clutter in a few bins and storage solutions is a go-to quick fix for emergencies (see our first post in this Clean Up series), but cleaning up and getting rid of the stuff you are just shuffling from spot to spot is key – especially if you're getting ready to move!
"My rule on clothes? If you haven't wore it in a year, get rid of it!" says Erika Gaudreau, Real Estate Agent/Interior Designer.
"That panini grill you got as a wedding gift that's still in the box? Toss it. No one will know" Gaudreau continues, "unused items just take up usable space."
Discard any small appliances collecting dust, outdated food items, opened spices, sauces, flour, etc. that have been sitting on the shelves longer than you can remember! Plus, home buyers will want to SEE your pantry, so, be sure it is organized and not stuffed to the brim.
So, how do you KEEP it all CLEAN for GOOD?
Part of the stress of selling a home is keeping the home you're living in clean – consistently.
Cleaning is CONSTANT.
As you may have guessed, decluttering is more than a one-time deal. It's something you have to keep up with in order to keep things in order. When the entire family is home, set aside time to all focus on cleaning up. Give each person a specific job before they enjoy free time…grown-ups included! Albert Einstein once said; "Out of clutter, find simplicity."
Decluttering will give you the peace of mind you never knew you needed. So, as you prepare to pack and move into a new space, really dig in and dig out of the mess that may be holding you back! Moving won't seem like a huge hurdle when you have fewer things to pack - and unpack!
You've Cleared all the Clutter... now All Hands-on Deck! Parents, get kids in on the clean up before moving out!
Promise, they can help (after they have a meltdown because you asked them to do something other than play Minecraft)! Getting kids involved in your family's home-selling plan gives them some control and makes them feel they are part of the process. It is important to keep rooms, especially bedrooms, picked up before you have an Open House or home showing because we all know; less clutter shows off your space and most buyers are looking for bigger and better! If potential new homeowners see objects scattered around, taking up desks, counters, etc. they will assume the home is too small or it doesn't offer enough storage options. Not to mention, they can't visualize their family's stuff in the home either! So, get your cleaning crew (this is your family, by the way) ready! Here are 5 tips to get your kids to help clean up – quickly!
In general, after playing with toys or games, always clean up before moving on to the next activity. Practice this every time they play so the expectation of picking up is always there. This will become a habit and not a chore…and it will be super helpful when it comes to keeping your new home tidy!
Now that the kids are on board, check out the next post in our cleaning series, Clearing out Clutter for GOOD.
Is the anticipation of needing to make a sizeable down payment discouraging you from homeownership? According to data from a U.S. Census housing survey, nearly 50 percent of current homeowners made down payments of 10 percent or less.
Don't let the need to make a down payment discourage you from purchasing your first home.
Our REALTORS® have put together a list of useful tips to save for a down payment.
We have years of experience helping people of all ages and financial situations reach their dream of homeownership. Contact us to learn more about what we can do for you.
Commute time is an important factor you should consider when buying a new home. While a long commute may not bother you at first, it may affect your lifestyle and ability to enjoy your new home. For many, finding the perfect home means balancing price, location, community amenities, and distance to the office. With a little planning, it is not hard to find a balance between time in the car and time spent in the home of your dreams.
Many people choose to commute do so because they find a little slice of heaven far away from city centers and nosy neighbors. Maine is filled with beautiful properties hidden in the hills or nestled along the coast. These charming properties are the perfect place to rest and recharge after a long day at work. If you want to purchase these relaxing retreats, it may mean a commute of 15, 30, 45 minutes, or more to your office. Nationwide, the average commute is 26 minutes. If you are looking at a longer commute, it means you will have that much less time each day to enjoy your home.
Our real estate agents understand there are many reasons you may not be able to purchase the home you want right away. The most common reason is that you want to wait until your home has sold. The fact is most buyers don't want to close on a new property until they have completed the sale of their current home. When a seller accepts your contingent offer, you will have first-right-of-refusal to either purchase or pass on the property.
There are many types of contingent sale offers, including appraisal contingencies, mortgage approval contingencies, and inspection contingencies. The most common are sale and settlement contingencies, which are used when a prospective buyer's home is on the market, but an offer has not been received. The second most common is a settlement contingency which is for buyers whose home is under contract but has not closed.
If you're a first-time homebuyer, chances are you're getting ready to enter into one of the biggest transactions of your life. Along the way, you'll experience peaks of extreme excitement and valleys of anxiety and uncertainty.
Our REALTORS® work with first-time homebuyers all the time. To help ensure your transaction goes smoothly, they've created this list of nine things all first-time homebuyers need to know.
Congratulations on taking the first steps in finding a new home for your family. Of course, your family may include furry friends and it's important that they feel at home just the same. As you tour homes for sale around town, our real estate agents have these points to keep in mind as you search for a pet-friendly home.
Welcome to your new neighborhood! Every move is the start of a new adventure and our real estate agents want to help you take the first step on your next journey. We've gathered the following six tips to help you get acquainted with your new neighborhood.
Multigenerational living is a term used to describe households in which there are at least two adult generations in residence. The number of these households in the U.S. is on the rise. Two types of multigenerational living are becoming more common in recent years; two-generation households, where adult children live with parents, and three-generation homes, where there are adult children, parents, and grandparents living under the same roof. Our real estate agents are here to explore some of the pros and cons of multigenerational households with you.
Do you dream of moving into an up and coming neighborhood? Our real estate agents are here to help you identify the areas around your town that will soon explode onto the real estate scene.
That's a question that many people struggle with, whether they are already paying on a mortgage or are working with our real estate agents to find a home to buy.
The answer to that question isn't the same for everyone since it depends largely upon each person's financial situation, as well as their long-term goals and preferences. Here are three things to consider as you determine whether or not paying off your home early makes sense for you.
The bottom line is that, if you can comfortably afford to pay off your home early, it makes sense to do so. You'll save money over the long-term by paying less interest, and you'll also have the peace of mind that comes with having clear title to your home. However, if paying more towards your mortgage will cause undue financial strain, it probably makes better sense to keep up with those agreed-upon monthly payments.
If you have more questions about the pros and cons of paying your home off early, please feel free to contact us. We're always happy to put our expertise and experience on all things related to home ownership to work for the benefit of New England homeowners and home buyers.
When starting your home search and looking for an agent, the first question a real estate professional will usually ask is "Have you been pre-approved?"
A mortgage pre-approval from a lender means they have verified and pre-approved the borrower to borrow a specific loan amount and possibly a specific mortgage type. It is the initial process of qualifying for a mortgage loan. The borrower has submitted the required financial information. This process usually requires pay stubs, bank statements, w-2's, social security number and an inquiry on the borrower's credit.
According to Investopedia, Consulting with a lender before the homebuying process can save a lot of heartache later. Gather paperwork before the pre-approval appointment, and definitely before you go house hunting.
Are you ready to get started? Click here to learn about our reliable mortgage partners!
So you have done the rounds shopping for just the right New England dream home for you. You're finally in the home stretch, having found your dream home. However, there is a problem. Other buyers have decided it is their dream home too, and you've found yourself having to compete for your new home. So what do you need to know about duking it out with competing home buyers to increase your odds of coming out on top?Our real estate agents have some tips and tricks that can help you get to your dream home fast and easy.
Use a buyer's agent
Having an agent that works directly for you is a big advantage when buying a home. A good buyer's agent will have extensive experience in the market you're shopping. They will also have access to more information about listed homes, and will be looking out for your best interests, rather than those of the seller. Having an expert in your corner to guide you can make a big difference when it comes to competing with other buyers to purchase the home you have your heart set on. According to the National Association of Realtors, 88% of buyers purchased their dream home through a real estate agent or broker—a share that has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.
It is always best to get a mortgage pre-approval before you begin shopping for a new home. It is essential to do so if you're planning to submit an offer on a house where there are likely to be competing offers from other buyers. You want to be able to show that you can afford the home in question to ensure that the seller takes your offer seriously. Also, if any of your competing buyers have not yet made this step, you'll increase your odds of being seen as the more prepared and serious buyer. Take a look at our blog on the importance ofmortgage pre-approval to learn more.
If more than one buyer is bidding on your dream home, presenting a clean offer, with as few contingencies and demands as possible, can increase the odds that the seller will look upon your offer more favorably than those of more demanding buyers.
Putting a larger than average chunk of cash down for earnest money can sway sellers. This will make it known that you are committed and ready to buy. Putting down a large earnest money deposit will also ensure added insurance on the transaction for both the buyer and the seller.
The personal approach when you deliver your offer can go a long way towards swaying the competition for a home in your favor. Most buyers send offers via email these days, a rather impersonal approach, so presenting yours face-to-face can certainly make you, and your offer, stand out from the crowd.
These five tips will greatly increase your chances of nailing down your dream home. If you could use a few more great tips on coming out the winner when you're buying a home, please feel free tocontact us. You can also check out The Ultimate Home Buyers Guide to learn more about all the steps it takes to buy a home. We're always happy to put our knowledge and experience to work for the benefit of New England home buyers.
Our real estate agents at the Masiello Group are always happy to assist current and future New England homeowners in getting the most value from their property.
That often involves pointing out resources buyers and sellers aren't aware of yet.
A prime example is National Home Warranty Day, celebrated on February 10. Yes, National Home Warranty Day is really a thing – and so are home warranties.
Just about everybody has heard of homeowners insurance. After all, it's required in many cases. The home warranty, on the other hand, is not well known. That's unfortunate since a home warranty can save you hundreds of dollars in an average year.
Let's take a closer look at the two and how they differ.
People often ask our real estate agents if they should wait until springtime to start looking for a new home. After all, the cold weather, blustery winds, and short days don't exactly create a welcoming environment for home shopping.
While the thought of trudging through the snow to go to open houses may not be appealing, there are several compelling reasons why winter is the absolute best time to find your dream home. Consider these points, and you just may decide that you're ready to start looking today.
When you buy a home, you are taking on the responsibility of maintenance costs. They're inevitable for all homeowners, but they can be significant depending on the specific property. Before buying a home, maintenance costs and unexpected repairs must be considered. It's recommended to hold back 1% of the home's value annually for maintenance and appliance replacement, but that does not cover unexpected repairs.
Property taxes can be a significant expense. The actual amount can fluctuate, and this must be considered before buying a home. There are a variety of factors to determine the amount of property taxes, such as the area, state, and local budget cuts, renovations, as well as many other things.
Many mortgage loan lenders require homeowners to have house insurance. Unlike rental insurance, which covers possessions, homeowners' insurance covers both possessions and the cost of the property. Although it's an extra expense, it's beneficial to have even if it is not required. As for the cost of home insurance, it depends on the specifics, but you can get an estimate by dividing the home's value by 1000, and then multiplying that by 3.5 (HomeGuides).
A benefit that comes when you buy a home is the tax deductibility of mortgage interest. This number is hard to estimate from a general standpoint because it greatly depends on your specific financial situation. However, owning a home can provide you more savings than if you were to rent, simply because of the tax deductible.
The appreciation of a home's value is generally high. However, this can change rather quickly depending on the housing market, as well as many other factors. ABC News estimates home prices will appreciate around 3%, according to the historical average. The thing that many people forget is that as a home's value increases, the cost of maintenance and insurance does as well, due to inflation.
In terms of liquid money, home ownership won't bring you much of that. However, buying a home does have the potential to bring you a high return on investment. More importantly, your monthly bills go towards something you own. When renting, you're essentially paying someone else's mortgage without receiving any ownership. Many additional factors also need to be considered when determining if buying a home is worth it, such as whether you want to buy a home as an investment property, plan on flipping the house, or want to retire in it. The first step is to answer the inevitable question, "Can I afford a home?" and these general guidelines can help you determine that.