7 Areas a Home Inspector Checklist Doesn’t Cover

7 Crucial Areas a Home Inspector Checklist Doesn’t Cover

Did you know these items are on your home inspector’s checklist?

Hiring a home inspector is a crucial part of buying or selling a home. An inspector will assess the home for potential problems and identify any issues that may affect the continuation or negotiation of a sale in progress. But it’s also important to understand that inspectors don’t cover all of the bases in a home. In fact, it’s possible that an inspector may miss a significant issue. In many cases, you’ll need to hire a specialist to inspect certain areas, and you should always look closely at everything yourself. Here’s the skinny on the “home inspection checklist” and what is and isn’t covered:

#1 Inspectors don’t check for pests.

Home inspectors are not exterminators — their job is to find potential problems with the structural integrity of the house. So if you think you see a cockroach or another pest during a walkthrough, you’ll need to hire an exterminator to take a closer look. Don’t rely on the checklist or final report to yield that information.

#2 Inspectors don’t cover plumbing.

via Flickr MoToMo

Most home inspectors don’t have the qualifications to look at plumbing and can only call out visible issues like a leak or outdated plumbing. This means they probably won’t look at your:

  • Wall or undersink plumbing pipes
  • Swimming pools
  • Septic tanks

There are exceptions in which an inspector will have the qualifications to look at pools and septic systems, but this varies depending on the inspector and where you live. You shouldn’t rely on your inspector for this in any case. If you see serious cracks or dents in the swimming pool, you should probably hire a swimming pool pro to do an inspection. If you think the septic tank is making weird noises, have someone take a closer look.

#3 Inspectors won’t look at landscaping conditions.

While issues with landscaping should be obvious during a walkthrough — dead spots, potential pests, sprinkler issues, etc. — note that they aren’t on home inspector’s radar. If there’s a dead tree in the yard, you’ll be responsible for taking care of it. It probably won’t affect the final price of the house or your ability to negotiate with the seller.

#4 Appliances aren’t part of the inspection.

via pixabay

Home inspectors check only that the following appliances are working properly:

  • Washers
  • Dryers
  • Dishwashers
  • Refrigerators
  • Stoves

Most inspectors will run these appliances through just a cycle or two to make sure they work. So, the built-in microwave could have major problems and you wouldn’t know it. Plus, unless a major leak or smoke appears, the appliance is considered to be correctly functioning. If you think there’s a major problem, you should have an appliance technician perform diagnostics and necessary repairs.

#5 HVAC systems aren’t covered in the inspection either.

Home inspectors may or may not touch your heating or air conditioning system, depending on the climate conditions at that time of your inspection. They don’t want to cause damage by putting too much pressure on the system. In fact, in your home inspection report, there may be a liability disclaimer relieving your inspector of any responsibility for your HVAC system. Depending on the conditions at the time of purchase or sale, you may need to have it separately inspected.

#6 Roof leaks are the #1 missed problem.

via Wiki

Home inspectors don’t take huge risks, nor do all climb up onto the roof of a home to check for leaks. Inspectors will use binoculars to look at the roof from the ground level or from a higher window to identify any potential damages. This helps them see missing or torn shingles or nail pops and potential holes, but there may be more to the story. If you live in an area that’s had a lot of intense weather, you may want to hire a roof inspector to ensure that the roof is hole-free and durable.

#7 It’s all about what’s in plain view.

It boils down to what the inspector can see with the naked eye. Issues that may not be addressed in an inspection include those associated with the following:

  • Electrical wires
  • Foundations
  • Sheds or wells
  • Areas behind the walls
  • Mold, asbestos, radon, etc.
  • Chimneys
  • Insulation

Problems in these areas could cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars in repairs or replacements — especially if you don’t catch them early. It’s better to be safe and perform a specialized inspection than it is to be blindsided by unexpected repairs.

6 Revitalizing Update Ideas for Your Bedroom

Transform your bedroom from drab to fab with these easy updates.

How’s your bedroom looking these days? When was the last time you replaced the linens or thought about getting the carpet deep cleaned? Since we spend so much time in our bedrooms — where we begin and end every day — it’s important to keep things clean, comfortable and in the best shape possible. Instead of taking everything out and starting anew every few years, use these ideas keep your bedroom feeling fresh:

#1 Declutter

21 Hurlingham Drive Greenwich, CT 06831

One way to keep your bedroom fresh is to get rid of the clutter. Whether it’s shoes, magazines, old clothes or the like, get rid of whatever you don’t need or don’t use often. It opens up floor space, closet space and other areas. Plus, there’s another bonus: if you clear a dreadfully cluttered floor, you reduce the risk of tripping and falling too.

#2 Add more lights

If your bedroom gets only a little natural light and looks shadowy the rest of the time, think about adding more lights — maybe standing or table lamps. You can also upgrade your fluorescent or incandescent lighting to their CFL or LED alternatives, which are more energy efficient and pay back in utility bill savings. A more expensive option is to replace the existing windows in the room with bigger, more energy efficient ones. This will probably involve expanding the space for the window, so keep that cost in mind.

#3 Paint the walls

Depending on the look and feel of your bedroom, painting the walls might be just the thing to revitalize the space. If you you’ve been living with a bright, pastel color that’s been there since you purchased the house, changing it might help renew the atmosphere of the room. The cost to paint a room varies depending on the paint you choose and the preparation involved. Usually, if you’re inexperienced and want to avoid carpet damage, you’ll call a painter. However, with some experience — or a lot of YouTube videos and trial and error — you can tackle this project over a weekend. Keep in mind that paint isn’t cheap; choose a shade that you’re willing to live with for five years, at least.

#4 Bring in natural elements

4044 Sonoma Highway, Napa, CA 94559

To add more oxygen and nature to your bedroom, think about adding houseplants. Houseplants helps remove toxins from the air, and many are very low maintenance. If you own pets, choose a variety that is not poisonous to them and that will still add to the overall aesthetic appeal of your bedroom. Just keep in mind if you do purchase a plant that requires watering, put down some kind of plastic catcher or rug in case of excess overflow.

#5 Hang a mirror

A mirror can be benefit a bedroom in many ways. For those who like to take the time and reflect on their image before work, it’s a handy accessory. For a bedroom that’s very small or narrow, it helps to add a feeling of more space and openness. If your bedroom is lacking in light, mirrors can be positioned to reflect natural or artificial light and cast it across the room to make it feel brighter. Plus, depending on the type of mirror you choose, it adds some extra appeal to the bedroom overall. Mirrors are relatively inexpensive to hang — about $270 depending on their size.

#6 Update the linens

If you’ve had the same linens since college, there’s a good chance it’s time to make an update. Think about how you can match the bedroom linens to those in your bathroom or complement the walls and carpeting. You might want to expand your color scheme in the bedroom, using the comforter as your centerpiece. You’ll want it to last for a while, so don’t invest in something that will tear or easily fall apart with repeated use. Think about an area rug if your flooring is prone to scratches, nicks or stains.

Are you stuck in a trap?

More Millennials Are Stuck in a Rental Trap

Nationwide rents have risen 15 percent, on average, between 2009 and 2014, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ data. In some hot markets – like New York, San Francisco, and Seattle – rental costs have surged more than 20 percent in that timeframe. Meanwhile, renters’ incomes have grown by only 11 percent.

Read more: Buying Is Cheaper Than Renting in Most Places

An increasing number of renters are spending more than 30 percent of their incomes on rent – what most financial analysts consider financially burdensome to a household. About 46 percent of renters age 25 to 34 spent more than 30 percent of their incomes on rent – an increase from 40 percent of renters 10 years earlier, according to a report by Harvard University’s Joint Center of Housing Studies. What’s more, a new analysis from Zillow shows that renters who spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent have a median savings rate of zero.

Rising rents are due to “supply constraints” in housing and rentals, says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. Fewer rentals have led to higher prices.

Millennial renters may be particularly hard hit too, as rising rentals costs are exceeding wages and millennials are renting for longer periods of time than previous generations. The typical first-time buyer now has rented for six years prior to buying – up from 2.6 years in the early 1970s, according to an analysis from Zillow. The median first-time buyer is age 33; a generation ago the median first-time buyer was about 30 years old.

The longer rental times coupled with high rental costs are causing renters to struggle with saving for a downpayment.

“With rents taking up a larger chunk of household incomes, it’s difficult for first-time buyers – especially in high-cost areas – to save for an adequate down payment,” Yun said in a news release from an NAR study earlier this year that showed the widening gap between rental costs and household incomes.

Source: “Rents Are Rising, But There Are Ways to Stretch Your Dollar,” CNBC (Aug. 18, 2015) and “More Millennials Stuck Renting for Years Before Buying Home,” The Associated Press (Aug. 17, 2015)

July’s Real Estate Statistics

6 Key Housing Stats to Gauge the Market

Existing-home sales were back on the rise in July, marking the third consecutive month of increases, while low inventories of homes for-sale and rising prices were the reason behind first-time buyers falling to their lowest share since January, according to a new report from the National Association of REALTORS®.

Regional Breakdown

Here’s how existing-home sales fared across the country in July:

  • Northeast: sales fell 2.8 percent to an annual rate of 700,000, but are 9.4 percent above a year ago. Median price: $277,200, which is 1.3 percent higher than a year ago.
  • Midwest: sales held steady at an annual rate of 1.32 million, unchanged from June but 10.9 percent above a year ago. Median price: $186,500, up 6.6 percent from a year ago.
  • South: sales rose 4.1 percent to an annual rate of 2.29 million in July, and are 9.6 percent higher than a year ago. Median price: $203,500, up 7 percent from a year ago.
  • West: sales increased 3.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.28 million in July, and are 11.3 percent above a year ago. Median price: $327,400, which is 8.4 percent above a year ago.

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

Total existing-home sales – which include single-family homes, townhomes, condos, and co-ops – rose 2 percent in July to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.59 million. Sales are at the highest pace since February 2007, and are 10.3 percent above a year ago.

“The creation of jobs added at a steady clip and the prospect of higher mortgage rates and home prices down the road is encouraging more household to buy now,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist. “As a result, current home owners are using their increasing housing equity toward the down payment on their next purchase.”

Here’s a look at five main indicators from NAR’s latest housing report:

1. Home prices: The median existing-home price for all housing types was $234,000 in July – 5.6 percent above a year ago. “Despite the strong growth in sales since this spring, declining affordability could begin to slowly dampen demand,” says Yun. “REALTORS® in some markets reported slower foot traffic in July in part because of low inventory and concerns about the continued rise in home prices without commensurate income gains.”

2. Housing inventories: At the end of July, the inventory of homes for-sale fell 0.4 percent to 2.24 million existing homes available for sale. The inventory now is 4.7 percent lower than a year ago and at a 4.8-month supply at the current sales pace.

3. First-time home buyers: The percentage of first-time home buyers fell for the second consecutive month, reaching 28 percent in July – the lowest share since January. Last year at this time, first-time buyers comprised 29 percent of all buyers.

“The fact that first-time buyers represented a lower share of the market compared to a year ago even though sales are considerably higher is indicative of the challenges many young adults continue to face,” says Yun. “Rising rents and flat wage growth make it difficult for many to save for a down payment, and the dearth of supply in affordable price ranges is limiting their options.”

4. Days on the market: Properties stayed on the market for an average of 42 days in July, below the 48 days average from a year ago. Forty-three percent of homes were on the market for less than a month in July. Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 135 days while foreclosures were on the market for 49 days and non-distressed homes sold in 41 days.

5. All-cash sales: The percentage of all-cash sales rose to 23 percent of transactions in July, down from 29 percent a year ago. The share of individual investors – who account for the bulk of cash sales – was 13 percent in July, down from 16 percent a year ago.

6. Distressed sales: The percentage of foreclosures and short sales declined to the lowest share since NAR began tracking it in October 2008. Distressed sales fell 7 percent in July month-over-month and are 9 percent below a year ago. In July, 5 percent of sales comprised foreclosures while 2 percent were short sales. On average, foreclosures sold for a discount of 17 percent below market value while short sales sold for an average discount of 12 percent.

“Five years ago, distressed sales represented 33 percent of the market in July,” says Chris Polychron, NAR’s president. “For many previously distressed homeowners throughout the country, rising home values in recent years have helped recover equity and the vast improvement in several local job markets means fewer are falling behind on their mortgage payments.”

Don’t be a Liar, Pants On Fire

fingers crossed behind back
fingers crossed behind back

Let’s start with the (blatantly) obvious: Getting a mortgage and buying a house involves a lot of money. And the answers you give on your mortgage application have a direct impact on how much money you’ll get approved for—or whether you’ll be able to get the loan in the first place. So it’s not surprising that some people may be tempted to fudge the facts just a bit.

After all, it’s just paperwork, and a little white lie. What can it hurt?

A lot, actually. In fact, it can make the process downright excruciating.

To begin with, the phrase “little white lies” is a bit of a misnomer as far as mortgage applications are concerned. If you’re fudging the facts in a way that affects your costs or ability to get the loan, that small untruth is likely to turn into a whopper. And since lenders verify most of the key information on your application, your chances of getting away with it aren’t very good to begin with.

What are the possible consequences? Getting turned down for the mortgage is the least of them. If your falsehood is discovered after you get the loan, your lender could boost your interest rate or even demand immediate repayment in full. Tax-related falsehoods could get you in trouble with the IRS.

In addition, penalties for mortgage fraud—which is what lying on a mortgage application is—range as high as 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. You likely won’t face a penalty like that for a small exaggeration or omission, but you could still end up with a fine and a conviction.

The following “white lies” might seem fairly harmless but could get you into hot water once the truth comes out.

1. Who will live in the house

This is one of the most common. A person applies for a mortgage to buy a home as their primary residence when they actually plan to rent it out as an investment property. The benefit is that lenders charge higher interest rates on loans to buy investment properties than they do for a primary residence.

The borrower might think, “What difference does it make? A loan is a loan. I’m responsible for it either way.” But lenders know that default rates are higher on investment properties than they are on primary residences—people try harder to keep up the payments when their own homes are on the line—and that’s why they get lower rates than investors do. Minimum down payments are significantly larger on an investment property as well.

From the lender’s perspective, you’re stealing money from them by making them take on more risk than they agreed to. And risk costs money.

And don’t assume your lender won’t find out. There are several red flags that can tip them off. Buying a home in a neighborhood that doesn’t fit your socioeconomic profile is one. Another would be if your mortgage statements are being sent to a different address than your new “primary residence.” Either might cause your lender to send someone to investigate.

2. How much money you make

It’s really hard to exaggerate your income on a mortgage application. For one thing, your lender is going to verify all of the financial information you provide on your application, so if your tax returns, bank statements, W-2 forms, and the like don’t support your income claims, you won’t get the loan.

The tax return is the big one. Your lender is going to request copies of your two most recent ones, and will obtain them directly from the IRS—you can’t simply alter your own copies and try to submit them. If you do, your lender is going to wonder why your copy and the one from the IRS don’t match.

People who are self-employed sometimes feel they have a bit more room to fudge things, since they’re reporting their own income. But again, your tax return is going to tell the tale. You might exaggerate your earnings on the profit-and-loss statements from your business, but unless those also match up with your tax returns, you’re going to have a hard time getting your lender to buy those figures.

3. The origin of your down payment funds

Here’s one that many borrowers think is harmless: You’re short of cash for a down payment, so you ask a family member to front you the necessary funds, and pay them back later. What’s the harm in that?

The problem is that when you apply for a mortgage, you need to disclose all your other debt obligations on the application—and that loan from a family member is one of them. It represents part of your financial burdens that will compete with your mortgage payments for your financial resources. So your lender will want to know about it.

If you receive down payment assistance from a relative or anyone else, most of the time your lender will want you to provide a letter from them stating that the funds are a gift and do not need to be repaid.

4. Undisclosed incentives/rebates

In some real estate transactions, borrowers and lenders are tempted to “sweeten the pot” by making a side deal apart from the declared sale price of the home itself. Often, this is in the form of a rebate or kickback from the seller to the buyer when the asking price is greater than the buyer is willing to pay.

The seller may offer to cover the buyer’s closing costs above and beyond what is normal and declared. In some cases, the seller may even cover the buyer’s down payment. Such arrangements may be allowed in some situations, but what makes them fraudulent is when the lender is out of the loop—when they’re done separately from the official sales transaction and without the lender’s knowledge.

The harm here is that the lender is being tricked into financing more than the actual sale price of the home—so the lender is taking on more risk than expected and would have a harder time recovering the money in the event of a default.

5. A bogus co-borrower

In some cases, a borrower who doesn’t earn enough to qualify for the desired mortgage may seek to enlist a bogus co-borrower. The co-borrower, often a relative, falsely states that he or she plans to occupy the residence and contribute toward paying the mortgage, and so his or her income is counted toward qualifying for the mortgage.

The party who really gets hurt with this one are the co-borrowers. Even if they aren’t actually contributing toward the mortgage, it’s listed as an obligation on their credit report. So if they later decide to buy their own home or take out some other large loan, it’s going to hurt their debt-to-income ratio.

In addition, they could get stuck with the loan itself if you’re unable to keep up with the payments, since they also signed off on the loan. Not only that, but any payments you might miss will damage their credit as well, since both of you are equally responsible for the mortgage.

6. Your employment status

People will sometimes be tempted to stretch the truth a bit when it comes to reporting their employment on a mortgage application. For example, claiming you’ve been working for a company for three years when you’ve been there for only one—because lenders want to see at least two years of steady employment before approving a mortgage (changing jobs in the same field is OK).

In other cases, they may claim to own a nonexistent small business or get a friend to pose as an employer for whom they work at least part time. But neither of these will help unless your tax returns support the income you claim.

7. Hidden liabilities

One of the keys to getting approved for a mortgage is your debt-to-income ratio. That is, how much of your earnings you have to pay out each month to cover all your debt payments. So some borrowers will omit listing certain debts on their mortgage application to try to make it look like they owe less than they do.

This rarely works. For one thing, just about all established creditors—banks, credit card companies, auto lenders, medical services, etc.—are going to report your debt and payment history to the credit-reporting agencies. Your lender is going to pull your credit history when you apply for a mortgage, so it’s going to find out about it.

This is also a great reason to check your credit reports before you apply for a mortgage, too—to know what a lender will see. You can get a free credit report summary every month on Credit.com to watch for important changes, and you can get free annual credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com.

Similarly, some borrowers may try to game the system by taking out a large loan just before the mortgage closes—perhaps by using a cash advance on a credit card—and hope it doesn’t show up in the credit-reporting system before the mortgage is closed.

However, when you sign off on a mortgage, one of the things you sign is a statement that the information you’ve provided is accurate to the best of your knowledge. If you took out a big loan the day before, the information on your application is no longer accurate—and that’s mortgage fraud.

Buyers: Wants vs. Needs

Wants vs. Needs When Buying a Home: How to Tell Them Apart

As a home buyer, visiting a home that seems to have everything you need can have you second guessing your top budget — and your perception about what you can live without. Here’s how to make your list of wants and needs work for you when buying a home.

As a home buyer, visiting a home that seems to have everything you need can have you second guessing your top budget — and your perception about what you can live without. Here’s how to make your list of wants and needs work for you when buying a home, so you get a home that works for you.

Don’t Go in Without a Plan

A rough idea of what you want in a home is great, but that perception can easily be swayed over multiple house visits and the realities of the market. Creating a list of needs and wants is essential for success, both in terms of daily living and protecting your investment, and it’s a great way of visualizing what you are searching for. This list won’t be the same for everyone, and it’s even bound to change before you come up with a final draft, but that’s okay! The more focused you can be about the process, the easier house hunting will become.

Don’t Confuse Wants with Deal Breakers

As tempting as it is to class every item in the “deal breaker” column of your list, being able to distinguish between “must-have” and “nice-to-have” items is critical. For example, unless you have a severe allergy, walking away from every home that doesn’t have hardwood throughout isn’t practical — and it can make you overlook properties that fit the bill in every other way.

Deal breakers should be reserved for those must-have items that are necessary to your life. For some people, storage space and good transit links are must haves; for others, it may be the number of bedrooms or a main-floor laundry. The key is to match the home features to your life, not the other way around. Which brings us to our next point.

Consider Your Current List

Whether you realize it or not, you likely already have a list of what must haves you would like in a home. Whether it’s lack of storage or an unfenced yard, consider the items that you wish most often, that you could change. Ask yourself, which features inconvenience or impede your life, and ask yourself what tweaks you would make to fix the problem.

If there’s a line up for the shower each morning, a second, or subsequent bathroom may belong on the must-have side of the list. On the flip-side: If you love your home but are selling to relocate — listing the things about the property that work well for you can be a great starting point.

Come Up with Compromises

If every item seems like a deal breaker, think about satisfactory substitutes before you begin your search. If a larger home or yard is important to you when buying a home, are you willing to move a little further from your ideal area to achieve that goal? If location is important, would a property requiring renovation be the key to your perfect home? By coming up with compromises, you just may find that some of those deal breakers have shifted onto the “nice-to-have” side of the page.

Stick to the List

Once your list is finalized, it may be tempting to push your budget to the limit to get what you want, but that could have drastic consequences down the road. A qualified real estate professional can help you find the best home in your price range that meets your needs, but knowing your top budget — and sticking to it — will help you protect your investment in the long run.

Steve from Coldwell Banker has a tremendous amount of resources to assist you with determining how to find your own dream home!   Call or text today 617-372-1870 or shoot an email to sfaye@cbzhomes.com.

What You Should Know About Credit Scores

A credit score is a complex mathematical model that evaluates many types of information in a credit file to determine your financial reliability or credit risk; that is, how likely you are to repay a loan and make your loan payments on time. Many factors influence your score, with the two most important being how you pay your debts and how much debt you owe. For example, late payments on loans, a past bankruptcy, debt collections or a court judgment ordering you to pay money as a result of a lawsuit will negatively affect your credit score.

According to the Fair Isaac Corporation that calculates the popular “FICO score”, the following factors (and weighting) determine your credit score.

• Payment History (35%) , which includes account payment information, bankruptcy or judgments, how long overdue payments are, amount past due, and the time since any adverse occurrences.

• Amounts Owed (30%) , which includes the amounts owed on accounts individually and totaled together as a whole, number of accounts with balances, proportion of credit line used and proportion of installment loan amounts still owed.

• Length of Credit History (15%) , which includes the time since you accounts have been open as well as the time since your accounts have been active.

• New Credit (10%) , which includes the number of and time since recently opened accounts and proportion to total accounts, number of and time since recent credit inquires, and the re-establishment of positive credit history following past payment problems.

• Types of Credit Used (10%) , which includes the number of various types of accounts, like credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, mortgage, etc.

Credit scores change over time to accurately reflect your current financial behavior and length of credit history. Accurate negative information can be reported for 7 years, with the exceptions of bankruptcy (10 years), lawsuits or judgments (7 years or until the statue of limitations runs out, whichever is longer), or information based on an application for a job with a salary of more than $20,000 (no time limitation). Since your credit score is a “snapshot”, it’s unlikely that your credit score a month ago is the same as it is today.

In order to ensure that credit reports are fair for everyone, certain factors are not included in your score. To name just a few, race, religion, national origin, sex, age, salary, and any other information not proven to be predictive of future credit performance are never included in calculating your score.

Don’t DE Value Your Home

4 Factors that Devalue Your Home

home-value-down.ju.09

Before listing your home for sale on the market, a few home improvements may be needed to increase your property’s value. There are some important factors that could devalue your property, some of which are in your control and others which aren’t. By being aware of these issues, it might provide you with additional perspective when it comes time to sell your property.

Poor Location

location

Above all, location may be the most important consideration when a home buyer looks for a new home.Properties close to key services and transportation options are usually high in demand. You can’t do much about the location of your home, and it’s possible that your home used to be in an ideal location but the neighborhood has changed around it. An experienced local real estate agent may be able to find creative ways to enhance the property’s positives and downplay its negative aspects.

Bad Renovations

BAD-ADDITION2

You may try remodeling your home to increase its value, but poor renovation choices can have the opposite effect. Repainting a home to a garish color, going overboard on kitchen or bathroom renovations or over-personalizing certain rooms can sometimes devalue your home. That’s why most remodeling experts suggest that you undergo fairly modest renovations if you plan to sell your home in the near future. By choosing neutral colors and depersonalizing the home, home buyers may be more attracted to it.

An Unattractive Front Yard

ugly

The front yard is the first thing a prospective home buyer sees, and they can become immediately disinterested in the home for sale if the yard is unkempt and unappealing. Keep your yard neat and simple to attract a home buyer. A home that looks outdated or worn down on the outside can be unattractive to a potential buyer. A lawn with complicated landscaping and amenities might also turn away a home buyer looking for something that requires less maintenance.

The Home’s Interior

messy room

Home buyers want to feel comfortable in a prospective home, so it’s important that your home provides an appealing atmosphere. Pet smells, an unclean interior and evidence of shoddy upkeep can all deter a home buyer. Maintaining a clean home is a must during the home selling process.

Whether you are buying, selling, just looking, or need general real estate advice, you can find it all from Steve Faye @ Coldwell Banker.   Happy to help and ready to serve, just make a call!  617-372-1870

Time to Find your Dream Home?

Now that the housing market has stabilized, more and more homeowners are considering moving up to their dream home. With interest rates still near 4% and home values on the rise, now may be a great time to make a move.

Sellers should realize that waiting while mortgage rates are increasing probably doesn’t make sense. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain budget for your monthly housing costs.

Here is a chart detailing this point:

Buyer's Purchasing Power | Keeping Current Matters

With each quarter percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5%, (in this example, $10,000). Experts predict that mortgage rates will be closer to 5% by this time next year.

Act now to get the most house for your hard earned money.

Contact Steve at Coldwell Banker today and let’s see what we can do for you!

Is the Market Hot or Not?

Is the Market Hot or Not?

hot-text-fire-flames

There are various stories on any given day about the health of the real estate market. They are so varied in fact that is it extremely difficult to ascertain exactly how healthy the market is. Real estate agents from across the region are sharing stories of homes going under agreement within days of being listed, and offers coming in that are far above listing prices.  Is it too late, can you still afford to buy? Should you wait to sell until prices rise even further?

All the while reputable news outlets are reporting a drop in sales, prices, or both.  Should you take your home off the market? Will your property lose value? Who is telling the truth?

The reality is, real estate is a very local business and because of that, it is difficult to gage an entire industry’s overall success using anecdotes from any particular area of the country that isn’t your own. Of course most expect the real estate market in New York to be different than it is in Los Angeles.

Would you be surprised to know that your market can change depending on price point or even what street you live on? What is happening to the entry level market is vastly different than what is happening to the move-up market. Even the luxury market has its own price points that determine time on market and overall sale price. It really is that varied.

There are several lessons to be learned here:

  1. Don’t assume that daily news reports about real estate will determine your level of success with your own real estate goals. National data can provide an overall temperature of the market; however your success will be based on your marketplace. How many homes are on the market in your price point? How many days were they on the market? It’s a lot of information to collect and analyze.
  2. Never speculate or try to time the market. By the time you think you should make a move, the market has already changed.
  3. You have access to experts that can help you. There are so many variables that can determine your success and a real estate expert can advise you and lead you through the process. There is data readily available at any given moment, just like the data presented here. A real estate expert can translate the data for you and help you determine the best actions to take.
  4. Trust your real estate experts.  As your real estate expert we can tell you, the current market continues to improve and is moving steadily in the right direction.

Call me, Steve, today to find out more about what your particular property may be worth.  I am always available to answer any questions 617-372-1870.