Sherry Bourque - RE/MAX Main Street Associates

Posted by Sherry Bourque on 6/28/2020

Finding the right house that meets your family's needs is an important decision; it's one that can affect the quality of your life for years to come. That's why it's especially important to be in a focused, resourceful state of mind when house hunting. It's also helpful to have a clear idea of what you're looking for and have a system in mind for comparing the strengths and weaknesses of every house you visit.

Knowing What You Want

Chances are, you're going to approach your house search with some preconceived notions about features like the floorplan, bedrooms, and number of bathrooms. You may also have strong preferences for a particular school district, the size of the back yard, and proximity to neighbors. One thing's for sure: There are a lot of details on which you'll need to concentrate as you meet with your real estate agent and visit different homes for sale. While conditions are not always ideal for taking it all in, here are a few tips which may help you get the most from the experience.

  • Work from a checklist: Before plunging into a serious house-hunting campaign, it's a good idea to prioritize the features and characteristics you're looking for in a new home. Ideally, you should have a separate copy of the list for each home you visit and create a simple rating system for evaluating how well each property lives up to your expectations. Make note of your impressions and take a few photos of key rooms, such as the kitchen, master bathroom, or whatever areas are most important to you. As a courtesy, ask the real estate agent if they or the homeowner would mind if you took some pictures.
  • Arrange childcare if possible: When you're going over important details with your real estate agent or visiting a listed house for the first time, you'll be able to get more out of the experience if you can devote your full attention to it. Children, especially young ones, tend to be more focused on their own agenda, including hunger, boredom, sibling conflicts, and the impulse to wander off on their own to explore unchartered territory! When the opportunity arises to check out a potential new home, you'll want to have 100 percent of your mental and emotional resources available to appreciate and absorb all the details, nuances, and possibilities of a house that's for sale. Since "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry", it won't always be feasible to arrange alternative (and sometimes last minute) childcare plans for your little ones. When it is possible though, you'll have more of your wits about you for the important task at hand.
  • While it's unrealistic to always expect house hunting to go smoothly and without a hitch, a focused and organized approach to finding the home of your dreams will always yield the best results!

    Posted by Sherry Bourque on 5/7/2017

    If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future, there are a number of financial factors you’ll need to consider.

    One of the factors that all lenders will consider when determining whether or not to approve you for a mortgage is credit score.

    In this article, we’ll lay out the minimum and ideal credit scores that are needed for getting approved for a home loan.

    Determining Your Score

    As you may guess, credit reporting is a complicated business. There are three main reporting companies that lenders use to determine your credit: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. These companies largely collect the same data about your finances, but can have minor variations. Lenders will take these scores and use the median or middle score to determine your credit rating.

    Thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Americans have the ability to confirm the accuracy of their reports.

    If you want to find your credit score, there are a number of online reporting agencies that will show you your report for free on an annual or monthly basis.

    Minimum credit scores

    Depending on the type of loan you’re applying for and which lender you are pursuing, minimum credit scores vary.

    For those seeking first-time homeowner (FHA) loans, you’ll need a credit score of at least 580 to qualify for a 3.5% down payment. A score lower than this amount and you will need to put at least 10% down.

    Since FHA loans are insured by the government, you are more likely to be approved if you have a low or “poor” or “bad” credit score (usually anywhere from 300 to 650).

    Another type of loan that could help people with low credit is offered by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. These loans, known as VA loans, are guaranteed, in part, by the government. However, the loans are still approved and distributed by lenders who all have varying minimum credit requirements. A good benchmark is that you’ll need a score of at least 620 to be approved.

    Minimum isn’t ideal

    While you may get approved for a loan with a low credit, this isn’t always a reason to celebrate.

    Lenders use your credit score, among other things, to help determine the interest rate of your loan. A lower score often means a higher interest rate.

    While 1 or 2 percent can seem like a small number, it can mean paying tens of thousands of dollars more in interest over the span of a thirty-year loan.

    To illustrate the importance of one percent, consider the following. If you owe $200,000 on a home and intend to pay it over 30 years, you will pay $103,000 in interest at 3% and $143,000 at 4% - that’s a difference of $40,000.

    Rather than shooting for the minimum credit score, a better approach would be to build credit while saving for a down payment. Someone with a credit score of 740 or higher will be seen by most mortgage lenders as an ideal person to lend to.

    Of course, life doesn’t always allow for the ideal situation. So, do your best to save and build credit, and be sure to shop around for the best rates when you’re ready.

    Posted by Sherry Bourque on 3/5/2017

    Boston is the city that many people access to enter one of the six New England states. The six states, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Hampshire, are rich with history. The American Revolution, Pilgrim Monument, Martha's Vineyard, great lakes and miles of natural landscape are some of the historic events and modern day sights that help to give New England states a unique appeal. Surprising facts about New England Despite the fact that New England cities may not make national news as often as places like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami, towns in New England make great places to live. Check out these 10 reasons why it might be a great idea to buy a house in New England.

    1. New Hampshire has no state tax - Shop at New Hampshire department stores, antique shops or roadside retailers without worrying about the added costs of state sales tax.
    2. Four seasons - Buy a house in New England and you'll enjoy all four seasons. There are scented blossoms to watch pop open up during spring, filling the area with amazing sights, beaches to visit during summer, millions of leaves to watch change hues during Autumn and ski slopes to race down come winter. Regardless of where you are from, you'll find a season in New England to love.
    3. Ivy league colleges and universities - New Hampshire's Dartmouth College, Massachusetts' MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Connecticut's Yale University are all located in the New England states, putting a top postsecondary education within commuting reach.
    4. Coffee and donuts - Dunkin Donuts opened its first store in Quincy, Massachusetts. Now, you have another reason to feel good while enjoying a cup of Joe.
    5. Long trusted news - America's oldest newspaper, The Hartford Courant, is in Connecticut. The newspaper is still printing out great stories.
    6. Dairy - Vermont has more dairy cows per person than any other place in America.
    7. Location - New England states like Maine and Vermont are next door to Canada. Maine is also close to a hosts of islands, making a beach side vacation only a few hours away.
    8. Blueberries - Maine grows more blueberries than any other state. Love blueberry pie or blueberry muffins? Make New England home and you could enjoy a bounty of delicious locally grown blueberries.
    9. Let's play the lottery - Playing the lottery (also referred to as "the numbers" years ago) used to be illegal. It was New Hampshire that first legalized the lottery; the year when the lottery went legit in New Hampshire was 1963.
    10. History - Starting with the American Revolution, you'd be hard pressed to find towns that have as much history as New England cities. There's Fort George, the Strawberry Banke Museum, the Salem Witch Museum,  Mount Washington, Freedom Trail, the Robert Frost House, Walden Pond and Bunker Hill, to name a few.