Sherry Bourque - RE/MAX Main Street Associates



Posted by Sherry Bourque on 1/6/2019

A home showing enables a property buyer to get an up-close look at a residence. After a showing, a property buyer can determine whether a house matches his or her expectations. And if a property buyer likes a house, he or she may be ready to take the next step in the homebuying journey.

Ultimately, a showing is crucial for a property buyer. And if you fail to plan accordingly for a home showing, you risk missing out on the opportunity to identify your ideal residence. Lucky for you, we're here to help you get ready for a house showing and ensure you can use this opportunity to your advantage.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare for a house showing.

1. Create a Checklist

You may have already learned about a home from a listing. However, there is only so much information available in a home listing. But if you craft a checklist prior to a house showing, you'll be better equipped than ever before to get the insights you need to determine if a home is right for you.

Include any questions you have about a home in your house showing checklist. Also, you may want to include areas of a home you want to review during a showing in your checklist.

2. Give Yourself Plenty of Time

There is no reason to rush through a home showing. Because if you fail to allocate the proper amount of time to conduct a showing, you may struggle to obtain the insights you need to make an informed decision about a house.

Clear your schedule for at least an hour before and after a showing Ė you'll be glad you did. This should give you sufficient time to arrive at a home and take an in-depth look at all areas of the property.

Of course, if you find that one home showing is insufficient, there is no need to stress. You can always schedule a follow-up showing to further review a residence.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can teach you everything you need to know about buying a house. Plus, he or she can help you get the most out of any home showing, at any time.

Typically, a real estate agent will attend a house showing with you. He or she can provide home insights as you walk around a residence and respond to your property buying concerns or questions. In addition, a real estate agent is happy to provide homebuying recommendations and suggestions. And if you're ready to submit an offer to purchase a home following a showing, a real estate agent can help you do just that.

As you get set to attend a home showing, you should prepare as much as you can. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can get ready for a home showing and use this opportunity to decide whether a particular residence will be able to serve you well for years to come.




Tags: Buying a home   showing  
Categories: Buying a Home   showing  


Posted by Sherry Bourque on 12/30/2018

The rent vs buy dilemma is something that Americans have been facing for decades. Both options have their benefits, and itís really a matter of timing and preferences when it comes to choosing which is best for you.

However, there are a lot of things to consider before making this decision. So, in todayís post weíre going to break down some of the benefits of renting an apartment and of buying a home. That way you can make your decision with a clearer picture of what each situation looks like.

One thing to note first, however, is that it isnít always as simple as buy vs rent. Some living situations draw on the pros of each type of living. For example, living in a condo might be a good option for people who want the privacy and independence of owning their own home, but who also donít have the time or desire to keep up with maintenance.

So, as we compare buying and renting, keep in mind that the features of each are not mutually exclusive.

Renting an apartment

Most people who are living on their own for the first time start off renting. For younger people just out of school, renting offers the first taste of independence without the prerequisites of homeownership.

When you rent your first apartment, youíll learn the skills associated with budgeting for your monthly expenses, making your rent payments on time, and will start learning some of the skills that it takes to run a household.

In terms of monthly costs, apartments can vary greatly. Depending on where you live (and how luxurious the apartment is) you could end up having rent and utility payments that are much lower or much higher than mortgage payments for a house.

However, apartment leases often come with the benefit of utilities, trash removal, and other expenses built in. They also typically require the landlord to maintain the apartment and the land it sits on.

Live in the northern part of the country and hate shoveling snow? Make sure your lease specifies that your landlord will provide snow removal.

One technique that many renters take is to find an apartment that is small and affordable while they save up for a home. In this case, itís worth living with fewer amenities if your end goal is saving for a down payment.

But, what if you want to own a home someday but havenít quite decided where you want to settle down? Maybe your work keeps you moving from place to place or youíve always wanted to move away to somewhere new.

Renting is typically a better option for those who arenít quite sure what their plans are for the next coming years. They can have a stable place to live while they figure things out and plan their next move.

Buying a home

Once youíve rented a home for a while, you might become increasingly aware that you want more space and more control over your home.

Youíre also likely noticing how much money you spend on rent each month that is essentially a net loss.

When you buy a home, your mortgage payments might be going to the bank, but someday the money youíve paid toward that home will be yours in the form of equity. You can then use this as a down payment for another home.

This financial benefit cannot be understated. Since house values dependably increase over time, owning a home is a great investment toward your future.

So, those are the main pros and cons of renting vs buying a home. Think about your circumstances and determine which one makes the most sense for you right now. Then, start planning for the future.




Categories: Buying a Home   rent vs buy  


Posted by Sherry Bourque on 12/16/2018

Making an offer on a home youíd love to buy is arguably the most stressful part of the buying process. Youíll be worrying about making the right offer, whether youíve presented yourself in the best possible light, and just how much competition youíre up against.

Today weíre going to help you alleviate that anxiety by giving you the most common real estate offer mistakes to avoid, and show you how you can increase your chances of getting the perfect home for you.

1. Do your research on the house

You have a lot of research to do before making an offer on a home. Youíll want to know the price the home formerly sold for and improvements that have been made and that will need to be made if you move in.

It also helps to know the sellerís situation. Are they on a deadline and moving out-of-state? If so, they might be tempted to take one of the earlier offers they receive.

2. Know your own financial limits

Before you ever make an offer youíll need to know how much you can spend. This isnít just a matter of offering the maximum amount youíre preapproved for. Youíll have to factor in moving expenses, final payments on your last rent or mortgage, changes in utility costs, and more.

3. Donít offer your full preapproval amount

Sellers who know that youíve offered your maximum preapproval amount may be wary of selling since they know you lack room to negotiate your budget and therefore might have a higher chance of backing out of the offer. They might favor other buyers who have room to negotiate and account for unexpected changes in their budget or of rising interest rates.

4. Avoid aggressive negotiation

We know the stakes are high for everyone involved in making a real estate deal. However, sellers are more likely to accept the offer of someone they trust and like over someone who seems to be trying to gain leverage.

Always be cordial with your offers and support them with numbers--explain to the seller why you chose the number you did, so that they can understand your reasoning.

5. Donít attempt to gain leverage by waiving a home inspection

By law, you are allowed to have a home professionally inspected before purchase. Waiving this right is sometimes misconstrued as a way to tell a seller that you trust them and donít want to cause them any unnecessary headaches.

The reality of the matter is that if you truly do want to own their home, sellers understand that you want to know what youíre buying.

6. This isnít the only house you can be happy in

Hunting for a home is hard work. Once you find one that seems perfect for you or your family, it can seem like everything depends on your offer being accepted.

However, the fact is there are endless houses on the market, and next week a new one could be put up for sale that is even better than the home youíre hoping for now.

If your offer isnít accepted and you donít feel comfortable committing to a higher price, move on to the next house knowing that you made the best decision under the circumstances.





Posted by Sherry Bourque on 11/11/2018

Conducting an in-depth home search may prove to be difficult, particularly for individuals with limited time and resources at their disposal. Fortunately, there are lots of things that you can do to streamline your home search and discover your ideal residence without delay.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.

1. Create Homebuying Criteria

Not all homes are created equal, and the dream house for one buyer may differ from the dream house for another. However, if you craft homebuying criteria, you can define your dream house and map out your property search accordingly.

Think about the features you want to find in your dream residence. For instance, if you want to own a house that features a dazzling backyard, you can explore residences that offer this feature. On the other hand, if you want to purchase a home that boasts multiple bedrooms, you can search for residences that provide plenty of space.

Consider where you want to reside, too. By doing so, you can narrow your home search to residences in a select group of cities and towns.

2. Know Your Homebuying Budget

Get pre-approved for a mortgage Ė you'll be happy you did. If you enter the real estate market with a mortgage in hand, you'll know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your dream residence. Then, you can search for houses that fall within your price range.

Obtaining a mortgage will require you to meet with banks and credit unions. You should review mortgage options from a variety of banks and credit unions, as this will allow you to select a mortgage that complements your finances.

Don't hesitate to ask mortgage questions, either. Banks and credit unions employ home financing specialists who are ready to respond to your mortgage queries. Plus, these specialists can offer home financing insights to help you make an informed mortgage selection.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with finding a great house at an affordable price. Thankfully, he or she can make it easy for you to conduct an in-depth home search in no time at all.

Typically, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new houses that become available in your preferred cities or town. If you want to view any of these homes, a real estate agent will set up a house showing. And if you find a home you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this residence.

As you get set to search for your dream home, you should try to prepare as much as you can. By using the aforementioned tips, you can simplify the process of conducting a comprehensive home search. Best of all, you can use these tips to discover a wonderful home that is sure to serve you well both now and in the future.





Posted by Sherry Bourque on 10/14/2018

Home prices may vary greatly throughout the country. But, buying a home is most likely the largest purchase you will make in your life.

Deciding just how much to spend on your home isnít just a matter of numbers--it also depends on your lifestyle and long-term goals.

In todayís post, Iím going to give you a few ways you can help determine how much is a safe amount to spend on your home so that youíll feel confident moving into the home buying process that youíre making the best decision for you and your family.

Mortgage as a percent of your income

Like most large purchases, buying a home typically isnít dependent on the amount you have in the bank. Rather, it depends on several factors including your income, credit score, and the type of lifestyle you want to maintain.

One of the simplest ways to determine how much house you can afford is to figure out what percent of your monthly income your mortgage and insurance will be.

For most homeowners, a mortgage payment that is 25% of their income or less is ideal. So, if you earn $6,000 per month, you donít want your monthly mortgage payment to exceed $1,500.

This ď25% ruleĒ does have one flaw, however, and that does not--and cannot--account for each individualís financial circumstances.

Letís say, for example, that you earn $6,000 per month, but that you have a large monthly car payment and are trying to aggressively pay off your student loans. You might find that paying another $1,500 toward a mortgage on top of your current bills is bringing you over budget, especially when combined with your other monthly expenses and retirement contributions.

Plan for homeowner expenses

Another caveat to determining how much to spend on a home is that the home itself will require a budget for maintenance. When renting an apartment, repairs are mostly the responsibility of the landlord or property manager.

Homeownership, on the other hand, requires you to make the repairs yourself or hire a professional. And, if you neglect these repairs, you might find that they cost you even more in the long run or drive down the value of your home.

Create a comprehensive budget

Throughout a given personís life, theyíll experience raises, promotions, layoffs, medical expenses, childcare costs, and any other number of financial changes. While it isnít possible to foresee all of the financial fluctuations youíll experience in life, it is always helpful to have a comprehensive budget.

What do I mean by ďcomprehensive budgetĒ? The goal of a good budget is to know where each dollar of your income is currently going and to have a plan for each cent that you make. This is a proactive approach to budgeting that will give you an exact number for the amount you can afford when it comes to a mortgage payment.

Within your budget, itís vital to account for things like an emergency fund, retirement, savings for vacations, and so on.

If you take this due diligence, not only will you have a better sense of where your money goes, but youíll also be confident in knowing exactly how much you can spend on a home.




Tags: Buying a home   budgeting  
Categories: Buying a Home   budgeting  




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