RE/MAX Advantage I



Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 6/9/2021

Do you ever wish that they taught a class in high school called, “Things You’ll Actually Need to Know In Life?” You’d learn how to prepare your taxes, what investing is, and how to buy a home.

Unfortunately, all of these important life lessons tend to be self-taught; you pick them up along the way and learn from your mistakes.

However, it needn’t be that way. Our goal today is to give you an accurate idea of what to expect when you’re buying your first home. We’ll go over a typically home buying timeline and discuss how long each step can take. This will give you a better idea of how long it will take to close on your first home.

Step 1: Build credit and save for a down payment

Estimated time: 2+ years

The first step of buying a home is to make sure you’re financially secure enough to do so. While there are ways to purchase a home with low or no down payments (See FHA, USDA, and VA loans), generally it’s wiser to wait until you have a sizable down payment saved. This will save you money in interest and mortgage insurance in the long run.

Next, you’ll need to start working on your credit. If your credit score took some hits due to late payments when you were younger, now is the time to start fixing those mistakes by making on-time payments and paying off outstanding balances.

Step 2: Have a plan for the next phase of your life

Estimated time 6+ months

One of the most important, and least talked about, parts of buying a home is understanding what it means to own a home. If you have a spouse, partner, or family, you’ll need to be in agreement that you’re prepared to stay in one place for the next 5 or more years.

Buying a home is expensive and you won’t want to go through the process of closing on a home if you aren’t sure you’ll stay. This means making sure your career won’t bring you elsewhere in the near future.

Step 3: Get prequalified and preapproved

Estimated time 1-3 days (depending on how much initiative you take)

Getting prequalified for a mortgage takes minutes. You simply fill out an online form and the lender will give you an idea of the type and size loan you could qualify for. Be forewarned: they’ll also use this information to call and bother you about getting a mortgage from them.

Once you’re prequalified, it’s just a matter of working with the lender to provide the correct documentation for pre-approval.

Getting preapproved takes a bit longer (1-3 days), since it requires a credit check and some work on your part--namely, gathering and sending income verification.

Once you’re preapproved, you can safely start shopping for homes without worrying that you’re wasting time looking at homes that are overbudget.

Step 4: House Hunting

Estimated time: 30+ days

It’s a seller’s market. So, if you’re buying a home right now there is competition out there. You’ll need to dedicate a substantial amount of time to researching homes online, contacting sellers’ agents, and following up on calls. Like before, the amount of effort you put into this process determines how quickly and smoothly you’ll get through it.

Step 5: Making an offer and closing

Estimated time: ~50 days

Average closing times for buying a home has grown to 50 days according to a recent study. However, by securing financing ahead of time and acting quickly, you can drastically cut down the time of these process to as little as two weeks.




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Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 5/26/2021

If you're planning to sell your house soon, you should prepare for the property selling journey. This can mean identifying potential home selling obstacles so that you can address these issues right away.

Now, let's take a look at three issues that house sellers commonly face, along with tips to address these problems.

1. Exorbitant Initial Asking Price

You may believe your house is worth more than you originally paid for it. However, there is no guarantee your home's initial asking price will fall in line with buyers' expectations. And if you ultimately set a high initial asking price for your home, your residence may linger on the real estate market for an extended period of time.

Oftentimes, it helps to evaluate the housing market in your city or town. This enables you to see how your residence stacks up against comparable houses. Then, you can use this housing market data to price your house appropriately.

You may want to conduct a home appraisal as well. Once you obtain an appraisal report, you can use the report's property valuation to determine how to price your house.

2. Poor Curb Appeal

How your house looks to buyers is key. If your residence has a messy front lawn, deteriorating siding, and other exterior problems, it is unlikely to garner buyers' interest.

For a home seller, it is important to allocate time and resources to boost a house's curb appeal. By mowing the lawn, repairing cracked or damaged home siding and performing other property improvements, a seller can instantly upgrade his or her residence's curb appeal.

If you need help with home improvements, you can reach out to local professionals. With assistance from landscapers and other home improvement specialists, you can quickly transform your house's appearance from drab to fab.

3. Cluttered Home Interior

If you have collected a vast array of antiques and artwork over the years, you may want to remove these items from your house before you sell it. Remember, the goal of a home seller is to make it easy for a buyer to envision what life may be like if they purchase your residence. If your house is filled with myriad personal belongings, it may be tough for a homebuyer to do just that.

To cut down on clutter inside your home, you can always host a yard sale or list various items online. You can also donate any unwanted items to a local charity, or give them to family members or friends.

As you get set to sell your house, don't forget to hire a real estate agent, too. This housing market professional can help you identify and resolve potential home selling obstacles. In addition, they will do whatever it takes to help you get the best price for your house.

Ready to list your residence? Consider the aforementioned home selling issues, and you can take steps to minimize these problems prior to embarking on the house selling journey.




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Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 5/19/2021

One of the best things that you can add to your home is a solar power system. These can be costly but they save you a lot in the long term on utility costs. While government programs have scaled back for these energy saving improvements over the years, there’s still many benefits to them. You can even get a loan specifically for installing solar power to your home.


Before you take the leap, you’ll want to know for sure if solar will really add value to your home. Of course, you want a return on your investment. 


The good news is that there’s no doubt about it that installing solar panels does definitely add value to your home. There’s one caveat to the value: You should own your   solar power system as opposed to leasing it through a solar company or a power purchase agreement. 


Homes that have solar panels sell for more money simply because they offer a definite return benefit to the future owner. 


Does A Leased Solar System Offer The Same Benefits?


Owning your solar system will save you more money in the long run than leasing your system. When you own a solar power system, the FHA requires that the total value of your solar system be added to the total value of your home when you go to sell it. If you lease the panels, this value cannot be added to the home during an assessment.   


If you have financed the system, the rules may be a bit more lenient. While you technically don’t own the system, you are paying towards owning the system yourself. Each lender will have their own standards for this, so check with them for specifics, as your home must meet certain standards and eligibility requirements. 


Securing A Mortgage With A Leased Solar System


If someone is looking to secure a mortgage with a leased or currently unowned solar energy system, there are a few hurdles that you might face through the process. These problems include:


Solar lease payments must be included in the buyer’s debt-to-income ratio. 

The panel owners must have a third-party insurance to cover damage to the property that’s being mortgaged in the event of malfunction or faulty installation of the panels.         


Solar Panels Are An Overall Great Investment


It’s really hard to go wrong if you purchase or finance your solar panel system. As long as you own the system, value will be added to your home. You’ll also save on your own utility bills. Your home will undoubtedly become more attractive to buyers if you decide to sell your home in the future.




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Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 5/12/2021

Resourcefulness is a key trait of a successful home seller, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

Typically, a resourceful home seller will be able to identify opportunities to promote his or her residence in any real estate market, at any time. This home seller also will know what it takes to accelerate the property selling cycle and maximize the value of his or her residence.

So what does it take to become a resourceful home seller? Here are three tips to help you do just that.

1. Learn About the Housing Market

The housing market can be difficult to navigate, particularly for a first-time property seller. Fortunately, housing market data is readily available and can provide you many insights that can help you become a resourceful home seller.

For example, home sellers can check out the prices of houses that are similar to their own any time they choose. With this housing market data in hand, property sellers can understand how their residences stack up against the competition.

Home sellers also should evaluate the prices of recently sold residences in their city or town. That way, home sellers can find out whether they are preparing to enter a seller's or buyer's market.

2. Understand Your House's Strengths and Weaknesses

Although you've allocated substantial time and resources to maintain your residence over the years, it is important to realize that no house is perfect. However, a resourceful home seller will understand his or her property's strengths and weaknesses and plan accordingly.

A home appraisal offers a great learning opportunity for a home seller. During this appraisal, a property inspector will examine a home both inside and out. Then, a home seller will receive a report that outlines a house's pros and cons.

After a home appraisal, a property seller may be better equipped than ever before to establish a competitive price for his or her house. As a result, this home seller can boost his or her chances of speeding up the property selling process.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Even resourceful home sellers know that navigating the property selling journey on their own can be tough. Luckily, real estate agents are available who can help you analyze the housing market and get the best results during the home selling journey.

A real estate agent can help you set up home showings and open houses, negotiate with homebuyers and much more. In addition, a real estate agent will learn about your home selling goals and work with you to achieve them quickly and effortlessly.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can provide you with home selling resources and insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. He or she can teach you about the ins and outs of the real estate market and ensure you can seamlessly sell your house.

Get ready to sell your house – use these tips, and you can become a resourceful home seller.




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Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 5/5/2021

Finding and purchasing a home sometimes can be difficult, particularly for an individual who encounters assorted challenges throughout the property buying journey. Lucky for you, there are several shortcuts that a homebuyer can use to streamline the property buying process. These shortcuts include:

1. Narrow Your Home Search

If you know you want to buy a home, you should consider where you want to reside and what features you want in your ideal residence. That way, you can avoid the danger of committing time and resources to analyze houses that fail to meet your expectations.

Oftentimes, it helps to craft a list of preferred cities and towns. This list will help you hone your home search to specific areas and ensure you can accelerate the homebuying journey.

Think about what you want to find in your dream house and create a list of home must-haves and wants too. With this list in hand, you can further accelerate your search for your ideal home.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Some homebuyers apply for a mortgage after they find their dream residence, but doing so may prove to be problematic. Because if a buyer submits an offer to purchase a home without a mortgage at his or her disposal, this individual likely will need to move quickly to get home financing. Or, if a buyer provides a homebuying proposal but cannot secure a mortgage, this individual risks missing out on the opportunity to acquire his or her dream house.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can meet with banks and credit unions and explore a wide range of mortgage options. Then, once you select a mortgage, you can kick off your home search and know exactly how much you can spend to purchase your ideal residence.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who will guide you along the property buying journey. He or she can help you identify potential homebuying hurdles and overcome these issues before they escalate. Best of all, a real estate agent will do everything possible to ensure you can acquire a great home at a budget-friendly price.

In addition, a real estate agent will work with you throughout the property buying journey. He or she first will learn about your homebuying goals and help you craft an effective property buying strategy. Next, a real estate agent will help you put your homebuying plan into action and ensure you can discover a house that matches your expectations. And once you discover your ideal home, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase this residence.

As you prepare to kick off the homebuying journey, you should try to plan ahead as much as possible. By taking advantage of the aforementioned shortcuts, you can prepare for the homebuying journey and speed up the process of finding and purchasing your dream residence.




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Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team
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