Sherry Bourque - RE/MAX Main Street Associates

Posted by Sherry Bourque on 10/2/2017

Although an exciting time in your life, moving out of the home you grew up in or your college/first apartment can seem scary and daunting. The thought of packing and unpacking is intimidating. And letís not forget about the cost. Making such a large investment for the first time and really, truly living on your own is a whole new experience. Itís important that when you visit a house for sale you can feel yourself living there and turning it into your home. Here are a few tips for making a house a home: Photos & Artwork: What better way to bring personality and familiarity into a home than photos of family and friends or artwork from a favorite artist. Often frames can become a thing of clutter and even dust collectors. However, adding photos and artwork can be done tastefully. A popular approach is a grid-like arrangement created on large, open walls. This is one way to display many beloved photos without creating clutter on tables or other pieces of furniture. Have a long wall thatís runs along a hallway? This would be a great place to display larger photos or artwork that would run horizontally. This is especially nice for sequenced pieces such as change of season photos or artwork. DIY projects: Add your personality and blood, sweat, and tears to your home with DIY projects. Ok, maybe Ďblood, sweat and tearsí is a little dramatic but get ready to get your hands dirty. Mason jars, glass vases, and empty wine bottles can be turned into beautiful home dťcor with only a few materials and a couple hours. Items like rope, artificial flowers, ribbon, and craft glue are just a couple examples of supplies that can be used to turn those boring items into a homemade masterpiece. To make this idea even more appealing invite friends or family over for a craft day and work on multiple DIY projects. Keepsakes: Have a family heirloom that has been passed down from generation to generation? An heirloom could range from a quilt or afghan that a great-grandparent or grandparent had knit, family photos that span over many generations, clocks, diaries and recipes. Recipes could simply be displayed on a kitchen counter or you can get creative and design custom wallpaper from the recipe cards. Wall clocks can be displayed in family or dining rooms and grandfather clocks fit the atmosphere of dens. There are tasteful ways to add each one of these into your home and preserve the memory of these mementos. Fresh flowers: Nothing adds life to a home like fresh-cut flowers. The colors and the scents just fill a room. Add a pop of color to a room with dyed carnations, tulips, roses or hydrangeas. Add elegance to a room with white or cream colored flowers such as roses, daisies or lilies. Small, horizontal arrangements look lovely on a rectangle or square dining room table. Taller arrangements are perfect for a bay window or small table. Fresh-cut flowers would also pair well with a DIY vase.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Sherry Bourque on 9/24/2017

When it comes to purchasing a home, there is no need to settle for an "average" homebuying experience. Instead, there are many things that you can do to become an expert homebuyer, i.e. someone who can discover a first-rate house at a budget-friendly price.

Now, let's take a look at three ways that a "typical" homebuyer can become an extraordinary one:

1. Evaluate the Housing Market Closely

The housing market can be complicated, particularly for those who are searching for a house for the first time. Fortunately, an informed homebuyer will be able to identify real estate market trends and plan accordingly.

For example, if there is an abundance of houses available and a shortage of homebuyers, you likely are operating in a buyer's market. In this market, you should have no trouble locating a top-notch house at a price that corresponds to your budget.

On the other hand, a real estate market that features a limited number of outstanding houses commonly favors property sellers. Therefore, you'll need to proceed cautiously if you want to acquire a high-end house at an affordable price.

Of course, you should always check out a wide range of houses in cities and towns where you'd like to live. This will enable you to explore many houses and improve your chances of finding a residence that matches or exceeds your expectations.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

Although you'd like to buy a home in the near future, you still need to figure out how you'll pay for it. Lucky for you, many credit unions and banks are available that can make it easy for you to get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Lenders are happy to meet with you at your convenience. These financial institutions can outline a variety of mortgage options and help you make an informed mortgage decision.

With a mortgage in hand, you can enter the real estate market with clear-cut financial expectations. This may help you avoid the temptation to overspend on a home. Plus, you'll be better equipped than other property buyers to narrow your home search, thereby accelerating the process of acquiring your ideal house.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a housing market professional. As such, he or she can help you simplify the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

For homebuyers, hiring a real estate agent is essential. This housing market professional can keep you up to date about new properties as they become available, set up home showings, submit home offers on your behalf and much more.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is available to respond to your homebuying concerns and queries at any time. He or she will even provide homebuying recommendations to ensure you can navigate the property buying cycle quickly and effortlessly.

Ready to become an expert homebuyer? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline the process of acquiring a terrific home that you can enjoy for years to come.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Sherry Bourque on 9/17/2017

There are so many factors that go into finding and securing the financing to buy a home.   While lenders require quite a bit of information for you to get a loan, you still need to be aware of your own financial picture. Even if youíre pre-approved for a certain amount of money to buy a home, you still need to dig into your finances a bit deeper than a lender would. The bottom line is that you can't rely solely on a lender to tell you how much you can afford for a monthly payment on a home. Even if youíre approved to borrow the maximum amount of money for your finances to buy a home, it doesnít mean that you actually should use that amount. There are so many other real world things that you need to consider outside of the basic numbers that are plugged into a mortgage formula.   

Run Your Own Numbers

Itís important to sit down and do your own budget when youíre getting ready to buy a home. You have plenty of monthly expenses including student loan debt, car payments, utility bills, and more. Donít forget that you need to eat too! Think about what your lifestyle is like. How much do you spend on food? Do you go out to the movies often or spend a regular amount of cash on clothing? Even if you plan to make adjustments to these habits when buying a home, youíll want to think honestly about all of your needs and spending habits before signing on to buy a home. 

Now, youíll know what your true monthly costs are. Be sure to include things like home insurance, property taxes, monthly utilities, and any other personal monthly expenses in this budget. If you plan to put down a lower amount on the home, youíll also need to include additional insurance costs like private mortgage insurance (PMI).

The magic number that you should remember when it comes to housing costs is 30%. This is the percentage of your monthly income that you should plan to spend on housing. Realistically, this could make your budget tight so this is often thought of as a maximum percentage. By law, a lender canít approve a mortgage that would take up more than 35% of your monthly income. Some lenders have even stricter requirements such as not allowing a borrower to have a mortgage that would be more than 28% of monthly income. This is where the debt-to-income ratio comes into play.

As you can see, itís important to take an earnest look at your finances to avoid larger money issues when you buy a home.  

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Sherry Bourque on 9/10/2017

When spring rolls around our backyards come alive with birds, squirrels, rabbits, and other wildlife native to your area. They're soon followed by their young offspring who they're working tirelessly to feed and raise. Many a well-intentioned homeowner has stumbled upon a baby bird or squirrel in their yard and moved them in an attempt to rescue them. Unfortunately, this often does the animal more harm than good. Whether you've just come across a lone baby animal in your yard or you want to be prepared for when it happens, this article will tell you everything you need to know to make the right decision.

Knowing when to interfere

The most important takeaway from this article is that just because a baby animal is alone does not mean they need your help. The parents of these animals have a hard job. They're trying to feed and rear their offspring while modeling behavior that will help them eventually care for themselves. If you take a baby bird or other animal from its home and attempt to care for it there are several things that could go wrong.
  1. It could die. We are not adept at raising baby animals who sometimes require very specific diets and feeding times that humans cannot provide for.
  2. It might become dependent upon you.†This isn't usually a good thing. Wild, undomesticated animals aren't meant to be kept as pets. Furthermore they'll develop trust of humans which can harm them later on.
  3. It will miss out on important lessons from its mother.†Birds and other animals learn through imprinting. Without gaining this vital survival knowledge from its parents a baby animal won't survive on its own for long.

When to help

There are certain instances when it is okay to interfere. Again, finding an animal alone is not sufficient cause for concern. Its mother might be away gathering food or is†hiding nearby waiting for you to go away before it returns to its young. If you happen upon a baby animal alone leave it be but keep an eye on the situation from afar. If several hours pass by and the baby is still alone it might be time to step in. Depending upon the animal, babies can be alone for a range of time per how often they need to feed or†drink.   In some situations it is absolutely okay to step in. Some such scenarios include:
  • the animal is bleeding
  • the animal has an obvious broken limb
  • you find the animal's parent dead nearby
  • the animal has been crying and wandering for hours
  • a featherless baby bird is on the ground alone for several minutes
  • your cat or dog brings the baby animal to you

How to help

Once you've determined that the baby animal is truly in need, it's time to carefully tend to it. Put on gloves and gently†place the animal into a safe, warm, and ventilated†container. Now that the animal is in a safe place, call your local animal hospital for further instruction. If they are closed, research a reputable website online that can tell you how to care for the specific species†until the animal hospital opens the next day.  

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Sherry Bourque on 8/20/2017

Home renovations can be painful, inconvenient and noisy at best. This is because major home renovations generally aren't quick. In fact, the path to an upgraded home is multi-faceted.

There's the planning stage, which is the time to share your vision as to how you want your home to look after all of the noisy construction work is finished. Share your vision clearly and you'll be fascinated with the blueprints that designers and engineers create.

Getting to more home renovation enjoyment

Following the planning stage come pricing, team building and material gathering. Then, the upgrades begin. Renovate an entire room and you'll see and hear walls being knocked out. Dust and debris could fly and splatter, covering your floors and blanketed furniture.

A few days of this and you could start to regret the fact that you decided to widen a room, add new cabinets and counters to your kitchen or replace the flooring, tiles and shelves in your bathroom. Following are five options that could take the pain out of a home renovation:

  • Get clear about the specific project that you're going to undertake. Avoid turning one home renovation into four major upgrades. Definitely schedule a time for when the construction work will be performed. For example, you might want to steer clear of scheduling construction early in the morning.
  • Research what's involved in the home renovation. Find out how much time and money are generally needed to finish the work. You could even check out online videos to get a closer look at the upgrade process,including the background noise that comes with the work.
  • Set a budget and stick to it. This should be relatively easy if you pick a specific home renovation that you're going to perform and stick to that one renovation. You can always go back months later and pay for another upgrade. Also, price shop to get the best deal. By avoiding debt, you'll have one less thing to concern yourself with as your house is being improved upon.
  • Work with experienced, licensed contractors or interior designers. These professionals might charge a little more, but they could keep you from having to pay to repair shoddy work that less experienced professionals do.
  • Consider staying in a part of your house that's furthest from where the construction is being performed. It might also be a good idea to stay at a hotel or a relative's while your house is being renovated.

Home renovations don't have to be hard and painful

It can take the best construction crew weeks to finish major upgrades at your house. This can make staying at your house while it's being renovated aggravating. As a matter of fact, it's the hallmark home renovation noise, clutter and disorganization that keep some homeowners from making major changes to their house.

Fortunately,there are steps that you can take to make home construction less painful. Familiarizing yourself with activities that are involved the specific home renovations that you are getting is important. The better you understand and prepare for scheduled upgrades, the less aggravating the path to an improved house can be.

Categories: Uncategorized