RE/MAX Advantage I



Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 8/7/2019

That time is coming if it is not already here. The kids are gone, and it is just the two of you—or, maybe there’s only one of you—and you feel like you’re rattling around the house like a couple of beans in a can. You’re tired of cleaning rooms that you never use. You’ve stopped visiting the basement, and you pretend that it isn’t even there. But you have no idea what things you should consider in purchasing that next “smaller” house. All you’ve ever planned for is that perfect house for the family, so … here are some things to consider.

If you’re still young physically, it’s hard to imagine not being able to do the things you have always done. Unfortunately, time does take its toll. 

Steps and doors...

Consider that you might want to find a single-story place with a master bedroom and maybe one guest room. That would seem simple enough, but unfortunately, not all single-level homes are created equal. The number one challenge as people get older is managing stairs. When you put “no step” in the equation, all the sudden you start to see how many steps are in many single-level homes. For example, there may be steps up to the front door, steps from the garage into the house, single steps from the dining room to the living room, a step into the bathroom, etc. Now you begin to wonder if the architect had “steps” on the brain. 

When buying your family home, you may not have even thought about doors, but there is the possibility of one day needing to use a walker or being in a wheelchair. Now, those standard doorways are a problem. Medical needs might limit you to exiting only through the front door—the only 36-inch door in the house. Oh yes, and there might be steps to get out that way as well. 

Fixed income...

The second challenge that happens as people get older, besides health challenges, is having a limited budget. In most cases, it’s fixed to your retirement income. So, it’s not just about the house payments. Even if you pay cash for your home, you still have gas, electric, and water bills. Take time understanding what those bills currently are, and determine if those will fit your budget. Then, decide if there's your room in your budget for them to up because you know that nothing goes down in cost. 

Time and effort...

Another consideration is lot size. You may really love to work outside in the garden or to have a garden that looks beautiful—even if someone else does the gardening. That is all well and good, but you should consider that there may come a time that it is too big or too costly to maintain. Do you want to move again because you cannot afford to keep up the yard or pay for all the water needed to keep it green? If you live in areas of the country that have lots of snow or ice in the winter, how much of the front walkways can you keep clean so you can come and go? If it is a large front yard with a long driveway and long sidewalks it may be more than you can handle.

These challenges are only a few of the things to consider when downsizing. Let your real estate professional know your needs now … and in the future.




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Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 6/26/2019

A showing enables a buyer to walk through a residence and envision what life may be like if he or she purchases it. And if a buyer crafts a home showing strategy, he or she can make the most of this opportunity.

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

1. Review the Home Listing

A home listing may include details about a house, as well as images that depict different areas of a residence. It also may feature information about various attractions and landmarks near a house.

By reviewing a listing prior to a showing, you can double-check to ensure a home falls in line with your homebuying goals. Plus, you can use a listing to understand what you may see during a showing and establish realistic expectations for a residence.

2. Make a List of Questions

There is no reason to enter a showing without a list of questions about a residence. Because if you attend a showing without questions in hand, you risk missing out on valuable insights about a house that otherwise could help you determine if a home is right for you.

As you create a list of home showing questions, consider what you want to know about a house that you were unable to learn from the residence's listing. For instance, you may want to ask why a seller has decided to list his or her house. Or, you can craft questions about utility expenses and other home costs so you can get the information you need to analyze a house.

3. Prepare Your Home Showing Essentials

A home showing is a learning experience unlike any other, so it often helps to put together a bag of must-have items for the event.

For example, you may want to bring a pen and paper so you can take notes during a house showing. Meanwhile, some buyers carry a camera with them so they can capture photos of a house and review them after a showing.

As you prepare to attend a home showing, you may want to consult with a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can take the guesswork out of planning for a showing and help you gain the insights you need to assess all aspects of a residence.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with a buyer prior to a showing and offer insights into a house. A real estate agent and buyer then will attend a showing together and walk through a house. After a showing is complete, a real estate agent and buyer next will discuss the house and weigh its advantages and disadvantages. At this point, if a buyer wants to submit an offer to purchase a particular home, a real estate agent will help him or her craft a competitive homebuying proposal.

Want to maximize the value of a house showing? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can plan ahead for any home showing, at any time.




Tags: Buying a home   showing  
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Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 6/12/2019

Obtaining a home loan is a must for most homebuyers. However, there is a lot to think about to ensure a homebuyer can secure a loan that matches or exceeds his or her expectations.

Some of the key questions to consider about a home loan include:

1. What is a home loan's interest rate?

It is paramount to understand a home loan's interest rate, along with any associated loan fees. That way, a homebuyer will know exactly how much he or she will be paying over the life of a home loan.

If a homebuyer chooses a fixed-rate mortgage, he or she can lock in an interest rate for the duration of a home loan. This means a homebuyer will pay the same amount each month. And in many instances, a fixed-rate mortgage can be paid off early without penalty.

On the other hand, a homebuyer may prefer an adjustable-rate mortgage. With this type of mortgage, a homebuyer may receive a lower interest rate initially that rises after a set period of time.

Compare and contrast the different home loan options and their associated interest rates. By doing so, a homebuyer can make an informed home loan decision, one that serves him or her well both now and in the future.

2. Does a home loan require a minimum down payment?

Ask a lender about whether there is a minimum down payment required as part of a home loan agreement. Typically, a homebuyer will need to pay at least a small portion of a home's price to secure a home loan, and it certainly helps to have this information available before you start evaluating available residences.

In addition, it may be worthwhile to save as much money as possible prior to starting a home search. With money at your disposal, you may be better equipped than ever before to make a large down payment, thereby reducing the amount that you'll need for a home loan. Plus, you may even be able to boost your chances of getting a favorable home loan interest rate.

3. Will I need to provide legal documents to obtain a home loan?

Lenders will require you to provide proof of your income and assets, W-2 statements and other legal documents to finalize a home loan agreement. If you stay organized and have these documents readily available, you should have no trouble providing them to a lender as needed.

Overall, the home loan application process may vary from several weeks to many months. The time it takes to secure a home loan can be stressful, and if you need extra help along the way, it never hurts to reach out to a real estate agent.

With a real estate agent at your side, you can streamline the process of buying your dream home. This housing market professional can offer expert tips throughout the homebuying journey and ensure you can discover a great house at an affordable price.

Take the guesswork out of securing a home loan – consider the aforementioned questions, and you can move one step closer to getting the financing you need to obtain your ideal residence.




Tags: Buying a home   loans  
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Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 3/6/2019

When your family is searching for a home, it’s an exciting time for the adults, but if there are children involved, it can be a difficult task. Children don’t have to be left in the dark during a home search. Children of all ages can be involved in the process of finding a home. Read on for tips on how to make your kids feel a part of the home search process. 


Young Children


Preschool-aged children might seem not to be aware of the fact that your family is searching for a home, but they can still very much be a part of the process. One thing to remember about young children is that you shouldn’t give them too many options. Once you have narrowed down the homes to a few and the time to buy a home is close, it’s a good time to tell your toddler about the fact that you’re moving. While you probably don’t want to take your kids along with you on all of your home viewings, you can bring the children with you. Even the opinions of the tiniest among us can help contribute to a final decision. 


School-Aged Children


Older children may be more challenging to deal with during a move. These kids are more aware of the changes to come and maybe more reluctant of the entire process. It’s best to include children this age (around 6-9 years old) in conversions about your plans. Where do you hope to move? What neighborhood will the home be? Show them pictures of potential new homes. Allowing kids this age to share their thoughts on location and the types of houses you’re looking at can help to ease fears and anxieties. Remind your kids that the final choice is up to the adults but that you appreciate and welcome their input. 


Older Children And Teenagers 


Pre-teens and teenagers can play a part in the house search. Make sure that they understand that there’s no pressure on them to pick a house but their input is essential to you. Teens are tweens should be encouraged to come along on house tours to help give an opinion on the properties in person. 


The older the kids that are involved, the more you should value and welcome your input.  Make sure that you reassure your teens, letting them know that they can continue their favorite activities. Do a little research on the new community first, or allow your kids to do a bit of research themselves.                     





Tags: Buying a home   children  
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Posted by Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team on 12/26/2018

Becoming a home owner for the first time is an exciting milestone for Millennials! Going from renting an apartment to owning your own property represents a big transition from dependency to independence.

For many people, it even symbolizes making the leap from childhood to adulthood. Once you're a homeowner and a property taxpayer, there's often a newfound feeling of being more established and successful.

While home ownership may bestow upon you a boost in status, the added responsibility of paying for your own repairs, maintenance, and upkeep can take an unexpected toll on your budget. With a little extra planning, however, you can avoid many of the pitfalls of home ownership.

Looking at the Big Picture

Here's a misconception that sometimes creates a financial strain for first-time homeowners: "If we can afford to pay $1800 in rent, every month, then we should be able to afford monthly mortgage payments in that same amount!" While that premise may sound logical, there are a few crucial "missing pieces" from that equation -- pieces which could throw your household budget out of kilter!

In addition to the costs associated with purchasing real estate, such as a down payment and closing costs, there's also the matter of home repairs and property maintenance. Depending on where you decide to live, there could be other fees to absorb, too, including garbage collection, yard waste removal, and water usage. Other expenses that first-time homeowners may overlook include the cost of buying a lawnmower, a snow blower, yard maintenance supplies, tools, and furniture. That's why creating a detailed estimated budget, based on your income, debts, and anticipated expenses can help you determine whether you're truly ready to take the plunge into homeownership.

Enlisting Professional Help

A mortgage broker or bank loan officer can provide you with assistance in calculating your financial readiness for purchasing a home. A good real estate agent can also offer insights and guidance into the process of finding, buying, and owning a house you can comfortably afford. They should be able to provide you with vital information about school taxes, property taxes, average utility bills, homeowner association fees (if any), and any issues revealed in the seller's disclosure form.

One way to avoid -- or at least be prepared for -- costs that often accompany home ownership is to have a qualified property inspector take a close look at the condition of everything in the house from the basement and attic to major appliances and structural features. They can generally tell you whether there are any concerns about mechanical systems, water in the basement, foundation damage, issues with property drainage, the electrical system, potential plumbing problems, and dozens of other vital checkpoints

Whether you're a first-time house hunter or a seasoned homeowner, it pays to understand, anticipate, and budget for the many costs of being a property owner. While owning your own home can be a rewarding and satisfying experience, a guiding principle to keep in mind as you consider available homes on the market is "caveat emptor" (Let the buyer beware)!




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Mark Consolmagno Michelle Curran Team
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