RE/MAX Advantage I



Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 5/9/2018

Buying a home is a process that can seem daunting and even a little scary to most first-time buyers. After all, being a homeowner is a huge financial and personal responsibility.

To make this lengthy process a bit more approachable, we’re going to break it down into five steps. While these five steps may be somewhat different for each person, depending on their own unique situation, they do comprise most home buyer’s experience.

If you’re interested in learning the steps you’ll need to take before owning your first home, read on.

Step 1: Know your long-term goals

Before you buy a home, you’ll want to have a clear understanding of what you, your spouse, and your family want from the next five or more years. You’ll want to make sure the area you’re moving to can provide things like career advancement and opportunity, good schools for your children, and so on.

These questions may seem obvious, but it’s an important conversation to have before making the long-term commitment of owning a home.

Step 2: Your budget and your needs

It might be tempting to hop online and start shopping for houses, but first you should get a clear idea of the size and cost of the house you’re looking for. This involves determining your budget, thinking about your credit and planning for your down payment.

Step 3: Mortgage pre-approval

Getting preapproved for a mortgage can be a great way to gauge the interest late and loan amount you’ll be approved for. You’ll need to gather paperwork, including income information (pay stubs), tax returns, and W-2 forms.

Be aware that lenders will run a detailed credit report. Since credit reports count as an inquiry, they can temporarily lower your credit score by a few points.

Applying to several lenders within a short period of time can make a significant impact on your score. However, it will start to rise again within a few months if you don’t open any new credit accounts or take out other loans.

Step 4: Get an agent

Real estate agents know the ins and outs of the home buying process better than anyone else. They’ll be able to guide you through the process and provide you with information that you can’t get anywhere else.

Step 5: Pick the right home for you

Now it’s time to start home shopping. However, before you begin, remember that getting approved for a loan doesn’t mean you must or should seek to spend the full amount on a home.

Plan for your needs, and keep the future in mind. Someday you might decide to upgrade, but in the meantime you can be building your credit and building equity in a smaller or more frugal home.





Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 3/21/2018

The rent vs buy dilemma is something that Americans have been facing for decades. Both options have their benefits, and it’s 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 today’s post we’re 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 isn’t 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 don’t 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, you’ll 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, it’s 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 haven’t quite decided where you want to settle down? Maybe your work keeps you moving from place to place or you’ve always wanted to move away to somewhere new.

Renting is typically a better option for those who aren’t 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 you’ve rented a home for a while, you might become increasingly aware that you want more space and more control over your home.

You’re 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 you’ve 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.




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Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 3/14/2018

The homebuying journey may seem daunting at first. Lucky for you, we're here to help take the guesswork out of finding and acquiring your dream house.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you approach the homebuying journey with poise and confidence.

1. Be Diligent

A diligent homebuyer may be better equipped than others to enjoy a seamless and successful property buying experience. In fact, this buyer likely will do whatever it takes to find the right house at the right price, regardless of the current real estate market's conditions.

To become a diligent homebuyer, it generally is a good idea to learn about the housing market in your preferred cities and towns. With this information, you can determine whether you're pursuing a home in a buyer's or seller's market and plan accordingly.

Furthermore, it may be beneficial to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you enter the housing market with a mortgage, you'll know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your dream house.

2. Know Where You Want to Go

Establish homebuying criteria – you'll be glad you did. If you know what differentiates your dream house from others, you can quickly and effortlessly search for residences that match your expectations.

Also, you may want to hone your home search to specific cities and towns. For example, if you want to find a house close to your office in the city, you may want to explore residences in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if your goal is to buy a house near the top schools in a particular state, you should narrow your house search based on school rankings and other pertinent data.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

Buying a house is no small feat, and ultimately, there is no reason to try to navigate the homebuying journey alone. Thankfully, you can hire a real estate agent who can provide expert support throughout the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent is a must-hire, and for good reason. He or she will guide you along the entire homebuying journey and respond to any of your homebuying concerns and questions. In addition, a real estate agent offers recommendations and suggestions to help you make informed decisions as you pursue your dream residence.

Usually, a real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and craft a personalized homebuying strategy for you. He or she next will keep you informed about available residences that meet your criteria and set up home showings. Once you find your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to acquire this house. And if your offer receives a "Yes" from a home seller, a real estate agent will help you finalize your house purchase.

Ready to streamline the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can kick off a house search and discover your ideal residence in no time at all.




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Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 3/7/2018

An open house is a big deal, particularly for a homebuyer who is intent on finding his or her dream residence as quickly as possible. If you plan ahead for an open house, you can make the most of this event.

Ultimately, there are many reasons for a homebuyer to craft a list of questions prior to an open house, and these reasons include:

1. You can optimize your time and resources.

Let's face it – few homebuyers have time and resources to spare. And if you attend an open house, it is important to do everything possible to maximize its value.

With a list of questions in hand, you can attend an open house and learn everything you want to know about a residence. Then, when you have answers to your questions, you can decide whether to submit an offer on a residence or continue your search for your dream house.

2. You can obtain in-depth home insights.

In many instances, homebuyers will attend an open house and leave with many questions about a residence. Yet homebuyers who create a list of questions prior to an open house can quickly gain the insights they need to identify their ideal home.

For homebuyers who want to obtain in-depth home insights, preparing a list of questions prior to an open house is a must. Homebuyers who ask questions about a house's interior, exterior, condition and age can learn about many different aspects of a residence. As a result, these buyers can use all of the information at their disposal to determine whether a house matches their expectations.

3. You can make the best-possible decision regarding a home.

Buying a house is rarely a simple decision. Fortunately, attending an open house with a list of questions can help a buyer make an informed decision about any residence, at any time.

When pursuing homes, there is no reason to leave anything to chance. By preparing questions before an open house, a homebuyer can take a data-driven approach to evaluate a house. And after a comprehensive assessment, a buyer can move forward with a home offer or reenter the housing market.

As you get ready to attend an open house, it may be beneficial to hire a real estate agent too. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you may be able to achieve your homebuying goals faster than ever before.

A real estate agent understands the housing market and its intricacies. As such, a real estate agent can keep you up to date about open house events and help you plan accordingly.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will do everything possible to take the guesswork out of buying a house. If you ever have questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them.

Prepare a list of questions before you attend an open house – you'll be glad you did. By doing so, you should have no trouble discovering your ideal residence.





Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 2/28/2018

Before you kick off a home search, it is important to differentiate an ordinary house from a dream residence. That way, you can set realistic goals for your home search and accelerate the process of acquiring a house that matches your expectations.

Ultimately, each homebuyer's definition of a dream home varies. But for homebuyers who want to streamline the search for a dream home, there are several home factors to consider, and these include:

1. The Age and Condition of a Home

Dedicate the necessary time and resources to learn about a home's age and condition – you'll be glad you did. With these home insights, you can determine whether a home will require substantial repairs in the immediate future.

To evaluate a house's age and condition, you should hire a home inspector. This professional will examine a residence both inside and out and search for any structural problems with the property. Then, the home inspector will provide a detailed report that outlines any home issues.

A home inspection offers a valuable learning opportunity, one that can help you determine if a house is right for you. And if a home inspection reveals your dream home is actually a dud, you can always rescind a home offer and reenter the housing market.

2. A Home's Price

Many people want to own large, extravagant mansions. Yet the costs of these properties can be prohibitive, which is why most homebuyers search for houses that fall within a specific price range.

As you prepare to search for your dream home, you should get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will enable you to enter the housing market with a budget in hand and avoid the temptation to spend too much on a house.

Also, it is important to realize that no home is perfect. Although you may search far and wide for a dream house that has all the amenities and features that you want, you'll likely need to make trade-offs to find your ideal residence.

Creating a list of must-haves and wants for your dream home usually is a great idea. This list will enable you to narrow your home search, evaluate properties that fall within your price range and discover your dream home faster than ever before.

3. A Home's Location

Consider where you want to live before you launch a home search. By doing so, you can identify available houses in certain cities and towns and map out your home search accordingly.

Think about what's important to you in terms of home location. For example, if you want a home that's close to your office in the city, you may want to search for residences in or near the city itself. Or, if you want to live close to the beach, you can explore properties that are conveniently nestled along the beachfront.

Lastly, if you need help finding your dream home, you should hire a real estate agent. With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble making your homeownership dreams come true.




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Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team
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