RE/MAX Advantage I



Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 10/21/2020

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 isn’t just a matter of numbers--it also depends on your lifestyle and long-term goals.

In today’s post, I’m going to give you a few ways you can help determine how much is a safe amount to spend on your home so that you’ll feel confident moving into the home buying process that you’re making the best decision for you and your family.

Mortgage as a percent of your income

Like most large purchases, buying a home typically isn’t 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 don’t want your monthly mortgage payment to exceed $1,500.

This “25% rule” does have one flaw, however, and that does not--and cannot--account for each individual’s financial circumstances.

Let’s 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 person’s life, they’ll experience raises, promotions, layoffs, medical expenses, childcare costs, and any other number of financial changes. While it isn’t possible to foresee all of the financial fluctuations you’ll experience in life, it is always helpful to have a comprehensive budget.

What do I mean by “comprehensive budget”? 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, it’s 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 you’ll also be confident in knowing exactly how much you can spend on a home.




Tags: Buying a home   budgeting  
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Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 10/14/2020

No matter what your age, buying a new home symbolizes the beginning of a new chapter in your life. It's an exciting event, whether you're a first-time home buyer or a retiree looking to downsize. When you stumble upon a house in your price range that has the features and characteristics you've been searching for, it can be a life-changing moment!

Unfortunately, it's at this point that many people cast their good judgment to the wind! Although it's difficult to separate your emotions from the rational part of your brain, it's crucial that you try to make a balanced decision -- one that's based on your budget, your short-term needs, and your long-term goals.

Sometimes buyers can develop "tunnel vision" when they see a house with a white picket fence, a big backyard, or a cozy-looking eat-in kitchen. In some cases, people are irresistibly drawn to a house that reminds them of where they grew up. While all those elements can enhance a home's ambiance and charm, the most satisfying home-buying choices usually come from being able to look at "the big picture."

One vital step in the house-buying process that helps eliminate a lot of the risk is having the property carefully looked over by a certified house inspector. That way, even if your judgement is a little skewed by your emotional attachment to the house's architectural style or its resemblance to the house you grew up in, you can be reasonably sure it is structurally sound and free from any major defects. Although home inspectors can't look behind walls or accurately predict how long an HVAC system will last, they can provide you with valuable insights into the condition of the house, the stability of the foundation, and other aspects of the property. When you know the strengths and weaknesses of a house you're considering buying, you can make an informed decision that will be based, in large part, on a professional, objective opinion.

Other factors worth bringing into your decision might include the commuting distance to your job or business, the amount of privacy the property affords, the overall character of the neighborhood, and the proximity of the property to grocery stores, drug stores, other retail shops, entertainment, recreation, childcare, medical services, family, friends, and other necessities. When choosing a place to call home, you may also want to take note of how quiet (or noisy) the neighborhood is, its access to highways and transportation services, and the reputation and ranking of the local school district.

Additional information about desirable places to live can be gleaned from websites like Livability, U.S. News and World Report, Niche, Money Magazine, and the National Association of Realtors. To get expert guidance that relates to your specific circumstances and wish list, consider working with an experienced real estate agent. They'll help you navigate the market, negotiate on your behalf, and find the home that best suits your needs and lifestyle.





Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 10/7/2020

Image by Chanh Nguyen from Pixabay

Buying a home ranks among the largest purchases everyday people make in their entire lifetimes. If you have gone through the process at least once, you probably gained some valuable life lessons. Whether it’s time to purchase a larger home for a growing family or downsize to a more manageable living space, there are pitfalls that trip up even experienced homebuyers. These rank among the unforeseen issues that can cause setbacks and ways to avoid them.

1: Overcompensating For Past Regrets

When buyers search for their next home, it’s not uncommon to be driven by the perceived shortcomings of the last. For example, you bought a property that had all the living space you need. This may have included a home office, attached garage, and plenty of room to entertain guests. The downside may have been a lack of outdoor living space. Driven by the desire to have a veranda, deck, or big yard, emotion may cause you to compromise on other musts. It may be in your best interest to make a checklist of your needs and be certain you won’t experience buyer’s regret, a second time.

2: Skipping Contingency Planning

It’s not unusual for people to see properties moving quickly in their area and become overconfident yours won’t sit on the market long. The common mistake is to move forward and buy your dream home while expecting only a short period of holding two mortgages. If for some odd reason the market goes dormant in your neighborhood, the financial implications could prove disastrous.

The flipside is selling your hot property and renting as a stop-gap measure. Low housing inventories and competitive markets could land you in a pinch, and home-ownerless for an extended period. These are the reasons why people rely on contingency plans. Craft a deal that sets the homes up like a series of dominoes. When one sells, they all move, and you spend only one day relocating instead of many in a tight spot. Contingencies provide security and stability.

3: Forecasting A Neighborhood’s Future

No homebuyer or real estate professional has a crystal ball that accurately predicts a property’s value. But there is plenty of hard data that can be used to indicate whether a neighborhood is trending in the positive or negative. This may be particularly true in 2020.

Potential homebuyers can look at the pricing that includes listing, sales, and valuations that began before the last recession and lending crisis. You can expect to see a decline in these measures during that rough period. But these days, the economy is robust in many areas. How the property, and surrounding area, performed coming out of the recession could be a telltale sign of where values are heading. The point is to conduct thorough due diligence about the home and others in the neighborhood. Making an informed decision is critical to purchasing a property, regardless of whether you’re a newbie or seasoned homebuyer.




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Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 9/30/2020

Image by Shahid Abdullah from Pixabay

A home inspection is a service that’s usually paid for by the buyer in a real estate transaction, and you have the option to forgo this when you’re purchasing a house. In almost every situation, however, real estate agents recommend getting a  home inspection. Here’s why an inspection is so important.

What is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is essentially an audit of a home’s structure and vital systems, and the audit is performed by a home inspector. Home inspectors are independent parties, which allows them to provide objective assessments, and they specialize in this particular service. Home inspectors have a broad knowledge about foundations, structural integrity, HVAC systems, plumbing systems and much more.

A basic home inspection generally includes an assessment of the house’s structure and essential systems. Some inspections will also check for mold, pests, lead paint and other potential issues.

How Much Does a Home Inspection Cost?

The cost of a home inspection is usually based on the size of a home and what exactly an inspector is looking for. An inspection that checks for mold and pests will typically cost more than only a basic inspection that looks at structural integrity and essential systems. Even among basic inspections, there are sometimes varying levels that cover different systems at different costs.

Despite the variance in price, however, home inspections tend to be quite affordable. Most inspections cost a few hundred dollars for a fairly common single-family house.

What Do You Do With Results from a Home Inspection?

After a home inspection is complete, the inspector will furnish a report that details their findings. Few homes are absolutely perfect, and there are normally at least a few issues noted on an inspection report. Depending on what the real estate market is like and what’s noted on a report, there are a few ways you might use this information.

First, the report at least tells you what issues the house has so that you can make sure you want to purchase the property. Second, you can also use the report to prioritize projects once you own the building. Finally, sometimes items in a report can be used to negotiate the sale price lower.




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Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 9/23/2020

A home showing is a valuable opportunity for a property buyer. In certain instances, buyers will set up dozens of showings to review a wide range of residences. Meanwhile, a buyer sometimes finds the perfect residence during his or her first home showing.

Ultimately, there is no set number of showings that you will need to attend before you find your ideal house. It also is important to note that there is no time limit on a showing, and some showings may be shorter or longer than others.

Regardless of how many house showings you schedule, it is paramount to do everything possible to get the most out of a showing. Lucky for you, we are here to teach you about property showings and ensure you can optimize their value.

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

1. Review a Home Listing

A home listing may include various information about a house's age and condition, but you likely will require additional details about a residence before you decide whether to submit an offer to purchase. Fortunately, a home showing enables you to gain additional insights that may be unavailable in a listing.

Take a look at a home listing and put together a list of questions about a home. Then, when you attend a showing, you can receive instant responses to your queries.

2. Give Yourself Plenty of Time

There is no need to rush through a home showing. As such, you should give yourself plenty of time to check out a house and walk through it during a showing.

Oftentimes, it is beneficial to bring a pen and paper so you can jot down notes during a showing too. You also may want to take a camera with you. This will allow you to capture photographs of different areas of a home so you can review them after a showing and decide whether a house is right for you.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is happy to help you prepare for a house showing. He or she will learn about a home prior to a showing and may be able to provide you with insights that you won't receive elsewhere. Plus, a real estate agent will offer honest, unbiased feedback about a residence and ensure you can make an informed decision about a house.

In addition, if you find a home that suits you perfectly, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase. And if you ever have concerns or questions during the property buying journey, a real estate agent can provide in-depth responses.

For those who want to get the most out of a home showing, it generally is a good idea to plan ahead. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can prepare for a home showing and use this event to analyze all aspects of a residence.




Tags: Buying a home   showing  
Categories: Uncategorized  




Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team
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