RE/MAX Advantage I



Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 5/27/2020

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Whether it is a seller's market or you just have an appealing home, you could end up with multiple offers -- how can you decide which offer is best? Your agent is an excellent source of information and can help widdle through unqualified buyers, but if you still have to choose between multiple offers, here's what to consider. 

Understand fair market value: You should know what to expect and what a fair offer looks like -- your agent can help you discover what the fair market value is for your home. If there are any mitigating factors (you have been relocated at work or you need to move quickly) they could impact the decision-making process more than price.

Preapprovals in place: If you have multiple offers, the buyer with a preapproval in place has an edge. This signals that not only is the buyer interested in the home, but they are able to pay for it. It also indicates that the closing can move swiftly, since this key element is in place. A higher offer without preapproval could end up falling through if the buyer is unable to secure a mortgage. 

Payment method: In many cases, the type of mortgage the buyer is getting won't matter -- you'll get the funds at closing either way. If you are in a hurry, though, a cash buyer can move more swiftly than one with a conventional mortgage. Buyers using non-conventional mortgages like USDA loans may also encounter delays, as these can take more time to process. 

Timeline: What do the buyers propose as a closing date? Too soon and you'll have to rush to get your own things moved out -- and may end up under pressure to move. Too late and you'll feel like you are waiting forever and living between two homes -- your next, new home and the one you need to sell. 

Contingencies: A contingency for financing, appraisal or inspection is common, but too many contingencies or unusual requests could mean you're in for a problematic closing process. Consider any contingencies the buyer is demanding before deciding which offer is right for you to avoid surprises later in the process. 

Special requests: Are there any unusual requests, or does one buyer want more than others? A buyer who wants you to leave kitchen appliances is reasonable (and most expect these to convey). One who wants your heirloom furniture or outdoor equipment may be asking for more than you want to sell. You should be aware of and consider any special requests when you review offers for your home. 

Having to choose between more than one offer puts you in a great position, but it can still be nerve wracking. Working with an experienced seller's agent to vet the offers and determining which factors matter most to you can help you make the right decision for your home sale. 




Tags: seller tips   home seller   offer  
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Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 5/20/2020

Image by Mark Ort from Pixabay

While house-flipping in general is slowing down, and profits are slowly decreasing, there are still a few places left worth flipping. Here, real estate investors can score big returns by buying foreclosed or distressed properties, renovating and then selling them. If you're an investor who's looking to dive in, these five U.S. cities are tops in the nation for home-flipping profits.

Pittsburgh, Scranton, Reading

Pennsylvania is a big player when it comes to the best cities for home flippers. Pittsburgh, Scranton, and Reading all consistently average well above a 100-percent ROI for investors brave enough to take the plunge, with Scranton topping the list at 134, according to AnchorLoans. Pittsburgh is second at 132.5 percent, and Reading comes in at an impressive 129.3. Several factors combine to make these areas ideal for home investors:

  • Pennsylvania hovers near the top of the list for home foreclosures, meaning plenty of properties are available.
  • Home values in these cities are beginning to edge up. Once you've flipped your home, you won't have any trouble selling it. 
  • These towns are riddled with older homes that sell low because they need renovation. Once flipped, the market for reselling them is prime. 

If you're considering entering the house-flipping industry, these three towns in the Keystone State are good places to begin. 

Kingsport, Tennessee

Kingsport, TN boasts high livability scores, thanks to its strong economics, sweeping Smokey Mountain vistas, and tons of green space. The average annual income here is around $37,500, lower than other cities in the U.S. But it's high enough to make the average home highly attainable at just over $135,000. Kingsport is right in the middle of a huge tourism industry that's built around country music, and you can't fault the view. House flippers who come to buy up older homes, renovate and then sell them are earning up to a 104-percent ROI. This makes Kingsport a major attraction for investors looking to flip. 

Augusta, Georgia

Home flippers in Augusta are still clearing an average profit of 101.1 percent -- even as the flipping industry continues to decline. This is due, in part, to the downtown area that's rapidly under development. Augusta University and the Cyber Training and Innovation Center are huge draws for this area, and rental properties are in great demand. This makes downtown Augusta a prime real estate market for anyone hoping to buy high and sell higher. 

If you've always wanted to try your hand at real estate flipping, you're getting in near the end of the game in 2020. Still, if you snap up the right properties in the right areas, there's money to be had. These cities are great jumping-off points.





Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 5/13/2020

Many homeowners or soon-to-be homeowners are anxious about making big purchases online. However, there’s a lot to be said for the perks of online shopping for things like furniture and appliances for your home.

As technology progresses and more and more retailers build their online presence, the selection has never been bigger. That’s why we’re going to show you how to find the nicest furniture and appliances online, get the best deals, and ensure that you’re buying from a trustworthy seller.

Read on for our tips on online appliance and furniture shopping.

The efficiency of online shopping

If done correctly, shopping online is much faster than driving to your local furniture store. The best way to achieve this is to know exactly what you’re looking for before ever opening up your browser. This will help you avoid scrolling endlessly through Ikea’s or Best Buy’s websites wondering what’s worth clicking on.

You’ll need to determine the following:

  • Your budget. This will narrow down the selection immensely and keep you from dreaming about unnecessarily expensive items.

  • Your style. Is there a specific color that you’re hoping to match? Does your furniture need to meet a specific style, such as mid-century modern? Using these search terms will help you find very specific results.

  • Practicality. There’s a difference between buying a washing machine and refrigerator for yourself and buying one for a family of five. Knowing the size and load specifications you need will help you narrow the search.

Take advantage of user reviews

One of the immense benefits of online shopping is the wealth of reviews that can be read. User reviews help the consumer and the company--it tells the company what products people prefer and it tells the consumer if the product met the description and quality standards of other customers.

It’s best to purchase items that have a higher number of positive reviews. A refrigerator that has a single five-star review might be of good quality, but I would trust that the refrigerator with twenty four-star reviews is consistently a top-quality item.

If you’re buying from a smaller online store, check out reviews for the retailer itself. Websites like Yelp and Google+ are both good places to look before hitting the “checkout” button.

Try before you buy

The internet is just one tool used for online furniture and appliance shopping. If possible, make a list of your favorite products and visit a local retailer who has them in stock. This will allow you to compare how the products look and feel in real life, as sometimes photos don’t quite portray the color and texture correctly.

This is also a good time to make sure the items are sized correctly to fit your home. Before leaving for the store, measure the space you have to work within your home. Remember that there often needs to be room behind your appliances for wiring. At the store, check to see if the products you looked at online will meet your space requirements.





Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 5/6/2020

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

While your credit score will play a role what your mortgage interest rate will be, there are also various types of loans that can increase or lower your monthly mortgage payment. In general, there are two specific loan types, adjustable rate loans, known as an ARM and fixed rate. However, within these two categories, there are various options you should be aware of before shopping for a mortgage.

Fixed Rate Loans

The fixed rate loan is exactly what it sounds like. This means your interest rate will remain stable throughout the life of your loan. Keep in mind, this does not mean your payment will remain the same — if your property taxes or insurance premiums increase and are part of your mortgage payment, the monthly payment will increase.

There are four categories of fixed rate loans that are available to borrowers. The shorter the term of the loan, the lower the interest rate. However, the shorter the term of the loan, the higher your monthly payment will be. The four categories are 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, and the most popular, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage.

Fixed rate mortgages can be as short as 10 years and as long as 30 years. Assuming you were able to secure a $100,000 30-year mortgage at a fixed rate of 3.92 percent, your total mortgage payments would be $172,000 over the life of the loan. If you were to secure a 20 year at a fixed rate of 3.5 percent, you would pay approximately $139,190 over the life of the loan. As you can see, a small decrease in rate, and decrease in time can make a significant difference.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages

If you are considering an adjustable rate mortgage, your lender may offer you different options. The most common types of ARMs are 3/1 ARMs, 7/1 ARMs and 10/1 ARMs. What this means is the first number (3, 7 and 10) means your rate will be fixed over that number of years. The second number (1) means your rate will change every year after the fixed rate period ends.

ARMs typically have what is known as a “cap” which means the amount your loan can increase cannot increase more than a specific amount. The caps may be defined as how much the monthly payment can increase over the life of your loan, over how much the rate can rise over the life of your loan, or how much the rate can increase from year to year. Before agreeing to accept an ARM, make sure you have a full understanding of the terms. It is also worth noting that many ARMs also have prepayment penalties associated with them. This means you may pay a fee to the lender if you sell your home, or you decide to refinance your mortgage.

Deciding whether a fixed rate or an adjustable rate mortgage is the right choice for you can be challenging. Some borrowers may opt for an adjustable rate, so they can meet other criteria such as debt to income ratios. Your real estate agent, and your mortgage lender can help you determine which loan is right for your needs based on the value of your home, how long you plan to own the home, and your current financial status.




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Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 4/29/2020

Image by Valter Cirillo from Pixabay

In Italy, it's long been a cherished tradition to harvest beans, place the pods over the ground under the autumn sun, then store the sun-dried beans for wintertime. On brisk days, beans would be cooked up with a medley of vegetables and pasta. When the cook tossed dry pasta tossed into the stew, the starch from the beans and pasta would lend themselves to a creamy mix, thickening to form a robust and aromatic winter meal.

Keep the history alive! Make it tonight, or prepare it a few days in advance and let it marinate. Either way, this rustic, casserole-style soup will not disappoint. Here's how to do it like the Italian cooks do.

Step 1: Pronounce It Authentically 

It has to be said. Pasta fazool, as folks say in the northeastern U.S., comes from pasta e fasule — the Neapolitan term. It got a little exaggerated when Dean Martin famously sang about those stars that make you drool Joost like-a pasta fazool. That’s amore!

But if the dish is named pasta e fagioli, it's pronounced PAH-stah eh fah-JOL-eh. The first “i” in fagioli blends into the o that comes after it.

The exact translation? Pasta and beans.

Step 2: Gather the Ingredients

Here's what to lay out on your counter:

  • 1 ½ cup small pasta shells 
  • 2 cups dried Cannellini beans, cooked (or 1 can, with the liquid)
  • 2 Tbsp. cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large, finely chopped onion of your choice
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, with the strings pulled out and discarded
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes or fresh cherry tomatoes
  • ½ tsp. salt and pepper, mixed
  • 1 Tbsp each dried basil and oregano 
  • 1 quart of hot water
  • Step 3. Prepare a Red Sauce

    Make a simple Italian sauce by blending your tomatoes and olive oil, the chopped onion, basil and oregano, salt and pepper.

    Step 4. Make and Cook the Soup

    Heat the olive oil over medium hear in large, nonstick pan. Chop the celery and add it, as well as your chopped garlic clove. When they are about to brown, stir in the red sauce.

    Simmer for 10 minutes.

    Add the quart of hot water.

    Blend the beans in.

    Bring the mix to a boil, and cook for another 10 minutes. 

    Step 5. Bring the Pasta Into the Mix

    Finally, add the dry pasta shells and boil the complete soup, stirring, for a final ten minutes, or until the pasta is just becoming tender. Continual stirring will keep your shells separated.

    Step 6. Serve and Enjoy

    Serve immediately, while it's hot.

    You might wish to garnish your Pasta e Fagioli with fresh Italian parsley, and serve with crusty bread and extra virgin olive oil. Two people can enjoy this meal, and have enough left over to marinate in the fridge and enjoy again the next day. That's amore!




    Tags: recipes   Cooking  
    Categories: Uncategorized  




    Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team
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