Blog

Five Mistakes to Avoid For First-Time Home Buyers Part 2

Earlier we discussed the first five mistakes to avoid when buying a house in Waltham, MA. Below are five more additional mistakes to avoid if you are a first-time home buyer on the hunt.

  1. Not Getting Pre-Approved For A Loan – If you want to be taken seriously when you are looking for a home to buy it is good to have a pre-approved letter from a lender. This ensures the seller that a lender has looked over your financial situation and is comfortable with giving you the rest of the money you need to pay off the house.
  2. Paying Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – When buying a house, you will have to put down at least 20%, if not, then you will have to pay PMI. It is always better to not go this route which is why realtors advise to save enough money for the down payment. A lot of first-time buyers do pay this insurance so if you do, let your lender know when you pay down your mortgage and owe just 80% of the home’s value. The lender will then automatically cancel your PMI when you owe 78%, that way you aren’t paying a month more than you should.
  3. Not Checking the Homeowner’s Insurance Price – If you are looking for a beach home then you want to make sure you can afford the insurance of that home. Beach homes and homes located near a fault line, have a pool and other factors may have higher insurance rates. Before settling on your dream home, make sure that it fits your financial budget.
  4. Not Checking Your Credit Score – To buy a home, you need to have a good credit score. One of the worst feelings is finding your dream home but not being able to buy a house in Waltham, MA because of your credit score. Sometimes, credit reports contain errors that can show that you have late payments when you don’t which could hurt your score and chances of landing your home. Make sure to check your credit at least three months prior to starting the house hunting process. That way you can find any errors, contact the credit bureau, and get the errors fixed.
  5. Not Getting a Home Inspection – When looking for a home to buy, you want to make sure to get the home inspected. Regardless, if the home is new or not, an inspection is something you want to do. Some home buyers skip this step as they are so emotionally attached that they want it regardless. If your home of interest has issues, you’ll want the seller to fix those issues before the sale or ask for a lower price. A lot of first-time home buyers may be afraid to ask about fixing issues but the reality is the buyers who ask for more often get more.

    Comments

    1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

    Five Mistakes to Avoid for First Time Home Buyers Part 1

    If you’re a first-time home buyer, buying a house can be an overwhelming process. With an agent by your side, you will have amazing knowledge of the community and real estate market to help guide you to your dream home. Realtors can help immensely when you are buying a house in Waltham, MA as there are many amazing homes to choose from. Below are five common first-time home buyer mistakes to try to avoid when looking for a home to buy in Waltham, MA.

    1. Getting Emotionally Attached – Getting emotionally attached to one house is not best practice when house hunting. This is because there will be more aggressive buyers, and there are a lot of houses to choose from. If your first choice doesn’t work out, it is always good to have a few houses you are optimistic about.
    2. Finding The Home Yourself – Relying solely on your own research when buying a home in Waltham, MA is another mistake to avoid. Think of it like you are giving yourself a self-diagnosis, you aren’t the expert so you could be looking at houses that may look good online but not in person. An established real estate agent can help find you the best homes in Waltham, MA as well as finding homes that may not be on the market. The agent can also tell you anything and everything about the home in question to make your search easier.
    3. Go Directly To The Listing Agent – If you are thinking of going to a listing agent when you buy a house in Waltham, MA you may want to consider otherwise. This is because they represent the seller and not you. Knowing this, the agent may not always look for what fits your needs because they are focusing on making the sale for the seller.
    4. Assuming You Have No Rules To Follow – One of the benefits of owning your home is the feeling of freedom, freedom from getting out of someone else’s roof and having a place of your own. However, some homes do have deed restrictions that come with conditions you need to abide by. Make sure to check with your agent to see if the home in question has any deed restrictions. If so, get a copy and read them to see if there are any pet restrictions, if the neighbors are paying assessments and more.
    5. Not Saving Enough – Finally closing on a house but not having enough money saved up is a horrible a feeling. Make sure to save up more than just the down payment. Realtors advise having about two to three months’ worth of mortgage payments saved up in addition to your down payment. In addition to house payments, you want to make sure you save up enough money for appliances, tools, and other necessities you will need after buying your new home in Waltham, MA.

     

      Comments

      1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

      7 Ways to Cut Costs This Summer

      New England weather is recognized for being all over the place and anything but constant, especially in the summer. The temperature can look consistent but with the added humidity, the weather could feel like it’s ten times hotter than it is. This will tempt homeowners to turn their thermostats down and cool the house. However, the additional cost of cooling your home in the summer can dig into your savings over time. To fix this, here are seven ways to cut costs while still staying cool in the summer.

      1. Keep Windows Closed & Covered During the Day – If your home has a lot of windows then light and warmth can enter your home easily. This is perfect for the winter but not so much in the summer. During the day, it’s a good idea to block the heat and light by closing and covering your windows. This allows your room to stay dark and cool during the humid, summer months.
      2. Open Windows at Night – Everyone knows that the temperature drops throughout the night. Knowing this, opening your windows at night to let the cool breeze in your room is a great way to cut costs.
      3. Use A Ceiling Fan – A ceiling fan is another wonderful alternative to keep your home ventilated and circulated throughout the year. In the summer, set your fan to rotate counter-clockwise as the breeze will make your room feel about eight degrees cooler.
      4. Don’t Use Heat Generating Appliances – If you want to cut costs and prevent added heat in your home, try not to use your oven, stove or other appliances that will emit heat. If this is something that cannot happen, utilizing the laundry room fan or hood fan of your stove is a good way to cool off the area after using the appliance.
      5. Use Less A/C – If using the above tips work but you still need to run the A/C daily, try running it only when you’re home as you won’t be wasting energy or money by cooling your home when you are out of the house.
      6. Use A Smart Thermostat – Most modern heating and cooling units have programmable thermostats, so consider purchasing one if your thermostat is not programmable. These smart thermostats enable the user to remotely increase or decrease the temperature. In addition, these thermostats will learn your habits and adjust your home’s temperature accordingly, such as shutting off during certain hours you are not home. These devices have been known to save homeowners up to 15 percent in annual heating and cooling costs.
      7. Get An Energy Use Inspection – Whether you are a homeowner or are renting, power companies will come to your home and conduct free energy use inspections. These inspections can tell you where your money is going as well as give you recommendations on ways to cut your bills.

        Comments

        1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

        Benefits of Buying a House in Waltham, MA

        Moving is a major process and step in your life, and one of the biggest decisions you make is what town you want to move to. With this decision, many factors come into mind when deciding on a home town such as demographics, school systems, public transportation and much more. Another factor is how close a town or city is to the main city or capital of a state. For Massachusetts, Boston is a very attractive place for those ready to move. However, rent can be expensive as well as the area being over crowded. Homeowners often look to surrounding towns such as Waltham, MA when getting closer to the city of Boston. The city already has a base of families but it is now becoming an attractive location for young professionals as apartments are being built in Waltham, MA.

        Waltham, MA Attractions

        Waltham’s prime location on the Charles River splits the amenities of the city right down the middle. The northern part of the city is where you will find the lovely shops and buildings of Waltham Center. To the south you have many dining opportunities along the renowned Moody Street. Just like with Boston, Waltham is evolving into a more modern city with luxury apartments and contemporary homes being constructed. A quarter of Waltham residents were born outside of the U.S., which influences the many restaurants and eateries in the area. From Italian cuisine to Spanish tapas to Irish pubs, there are a slew of delicious restaurants to choose from.

        Waltham Life

        When you buy a house in Waltham, MA you are not only getting a remarkable home but you are getting the amazing Waltham lifestyle. The position of the city and the Charles Rivers gives residents access to walking and bike trails that run directly into Boston. During the summer, you will see many fishermen waiting for their big catch, runners, cyclists, and rowing clubs making the best of the great summer weather of Waltham, MA. If you are looking for a more formal way of getting into the city, Waltham has many bus routes, highways, and train stations that will connect you with Boston and other surrounding suburbs.

        For those looking to start a family in Waltham, you can rest assure that your child will be well-educated due to the town’s impeccable school system. In fact, Waltham schools are ranked among the state’s middle-tier and continues to trend upwards. Waltham is also home to two prestigious universities – Bentley University and Brandeis University.

          Comments

          1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

          The Importance of Having Your Home Tested For Radon During a Real Estate Transaction

          Radon is an odorless, colorless gas that cannot be detected without a radon test. The EPA strongly urges homeowners and other property owners to test for radon and to install a radon mitigation system if radon levels are at or over 4 pCi/L. When inhaling this much radon, overtime, you could potentially develop lung cancer.

          I Had Low Levels of Radon Two Years Ago, is This Necessary?

          The short answer, yes. Two years ago, your radon level could have been 2 pCi/L, last month it could have reached 4.5 pCi/L, and today your home could have a radon level of 6.1 pCi/L. Radon isn’t a static measurement, rather, it tends to fluctuate depending on changes in the outdoor environment, renovations to your home, and other factors.

          If you’re ready to sell your home and think your radon level is fine, you really need to update your knowledge. Of course, you can always leave this in the hands of the buyers when they have a home inspection. But why wait? If you’re a home seller, you’ll want to fix up your home to prepare it for sale, so why not test the home for radon prior to listing the property?

          Why It’s Such a Smart Move to Test Your Home Before Listing

          Nothing is more frustrating than finding the home of your dreams only to hit a stumbling block during the home inspection, such as finding out it has a serious radon problem. So, if you don’t want this to occur for potential buyers of your home, go ahead and get your house tested and mitigated, if necessary. Even though taking care of radon is often a quick and relatively inexpensive fix with the right radon contractor, you really want to avoid having home buyers back out of the deal when you could have made radon a nonissue.

          I Found High Levels of Radon – Now What?

          Radonaway logoIf your radon test results show a radon level at or over 4 pCi/L, get in touch with RadonAway for a referral to an expert radon mitigation contractor. RadonAway has nearly 30 years of experience in the industry and has compiled a network of the best radon contractors in the country. Each radon mitigator has undergone extensive training and is fully certified. These radon professionals will work with you to make you feel comfortable about the mitigation process.

          Fill out their contact form to get in touch with a radon contractor in MA today.

            Comments

            1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

            Choosing The Right Realtor In Waltham, MA Does Make A Difference

            When you're looking to hire a Realtor in Waltham Massachusetts, sometimes it's hard to know where to even begin. Buying or selling a home is not something to be done lightly, and having the right professional in your corner will make all the difference when it comes to giving you options you didn't even know you were missing. Of course, you want a Realtor with experience and expertise, but we'd like to tell you a few more things to consider before settling on your real estate representative.

            The first thing to consider is whether you are hiring a real estate agent or a registered Realtor. Believe it or not, there is a difference. A real estate agent is anyone who earns a real estate license by taking a certain number of classes required by their state. A Realtor however, is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, which means that he or she must uphold the standards of the association and its code of ethics.

            Another aspect to consider is whether they work full time or only part time. Jumping on the perfect deal usually requires a constant eye on the market. If your Realtor has another job, or is only active on the weekends, for example, chances are they you'd be missing prime opportunities in their off time. As a client, feel free to look as far ahead as you can and even ask them to lay out exactly what their marketing plan is. The dedicated Realtors are the ones that are going to be constantly putting themselves out there for you and your family's needs.

            One of the other important factors is how familiar the Realtor is with your area. Make sure they understand the local market, and feel free to verify that they know what they are talking about by asking plenty of questions. You want a Realtor that knows the area they work in, or lives in the town they serve. You need an agent that knows their area inside and out and can answer your questions about school, local restaurants or who can provide local services. It's also always a good idea to search for references, and see what others say about the agent in question.

            Try to find out their listing to sold ratio. Especially these days, it is easy to find reviews and information on a Realtor. Which brings us to the next thing to make sure your Realtor has; a strong web presence and use of today's modern tools. Ask about what networks your potential Realtor has access to, in order to ensure that your home is actually being seen, and that you see absolutely everything available in the area you are looking for.

            Finally, the most important thing is to find a Realtor that you trust. It's tempting to go with someone you know or are related to and sometimes that works out just fine, but your priority should first be to find the right person to get you the most that you can. And when you find the right person for the job, you'll know because you'll feel relaxed knowing that your future is secure.

              Comments

              1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

              Preparing Your Home For The Real Estate Market In Waltham, MA

              Putting your home on the real estate market in Waltham, MA can be strenuous, but there are many steps you can take to make it easier and more effective. Ask any Realtor about this and they are likely to tell you that one of the most crucial steps is preparing the house for sale.  This is when you rearrange and decorate your home for the purpose of enhancing its appeal to the potential buyers. It's a demanding, yet interesting process, but before you begin, there are a handful of factors you should consider in order to ensure you receive the interest you are hoping for.

              Decluttering is the first step.  Chances are that you are moving to a new home anyways, so this is a good opportunity to get a head start on packing, while more importantly improving your homes marketability.  Decluttering is also an important way to show that your home hasn't experienced any neglect. If anything is broken, it is of course helpful to fix it. Painting can be helpful however it is best to stick to light, neutral colors to appeal to a wide variety of tastes and decorating styles. To get an idea of what colors are current and popular, you can research or visit model homes used by home building companies. They typically have designers who pick colors that appeal to the widest set of audiences.

              What sells a home best is its kitchen and bathrooms. These rooms also happen to be the rooms that get the messiest and are the hardest to clean. Try to employ a 'leave only footprints' mentality when living in a home on the market (but also don't leave any footprints!). Clear your kitchen counter tops and stove of nearly everything, including appliances you generally leave out. You can relocate your kitchen and bathroom counter top items to a drawer, but remember that the buyer is likely to open those too. They will want to get an idea of the storage space they offer so keep it clean and organized. If your dining room table have leaves in it, remove them to create a more open impression. It would also help if you set the table. The nicer the room looks, the more likely the buyer is to picture themselves enjoying the space in the future. If you have a china cabinet, you may want to remove its contents and dust the surfaces before they arrive.

              Many people have bedroom furniture that is too large for the size of the room. If this is true of your home, you may want to consider removing a piece or two to open up the room. Of course, you want to make your bed before each showing, but it may also help to buy a new set of sheets and covers. Perhaps you can use this as an excuse to buy a new set you would like to bring with you to your new home. If you have a home office it is important to remove any personal items like calendars, bulletin boards, or documents. Not only do you want to keep these items private, but you again want to depersonalize the home for the benefit of the buyer’s imagination. There is a chance that the buyer doesn't even want to use that room as an office so, in this case, less is more. The same is true of hallways, walls, and entryways. Clear the stairs of anything you may keep on them and limit decorative fixtures so that they are neutral and minimal. Mirrors are good as they add light and give the buyer an impression that the home is larger than it is.

              Many first-time sellers are under the impression that a successful arrangement is all about the home's appearance, when in fact there is much more you can do beneath the surface. For example, it is very important to remove any and all odors. Whether a smell is unpleasant or not, it's important to offer the perspective buyer a blank slate of smell by completely eliminating odors, and not simply covering them up with fragrances. You can also play soft music in the background to create a comfortable and inviting setting. Many realtors provide warm food and cold drinks in order to make the buyer feel more comfortable. Make sure to turn on every light in the house and set the rooms to a comfortable temperature. Set your home apart by catering to all five of the buyers senses and create for them, not only a tour, but an experience. As they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression.

                Comments

                1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

                Tips on How to Downsize Your Home

                Whether you’re looking to downsize your home because the kids have grown up and moved out or you’re a renter with a two-bedroom ready to transition into a studio, downsizing takes some serious planning. You must consider where you are going to move, what to do with your valuables, the benefits of downsizing, etc.

                Make Note of Items You Can Do Without

                When you make a list of items you can’t live without, it’ll be much easier to see what should be thrown out.

                Start Discarding Items Three Months Prior to Moving

                Take a little bit of time out of each day to go through your coat closet, filing cabinet, kitchen drawers, or bureau to remove any unwanted items. Paper surprisingly is a real time-killer so through it one box at a time.

                Label Your Bins & Boxes

                Keep between one-third to one-half of your belongings and label your bins and boxes with “to keep,” “to sell,” and “to be donated.”

                Prearrange Your Furniture

                Sketch in a furniture layout prior to your move. If you have to cram side tables, armoires and chairs into your new place, this can become very problematic.

                So, What are the Benefits of Downsizing My Home?

                Below are several benefits for those considering downsizing their home.

                •  You won’t need to clean a big house anymore
                • Less cooling & heating required which means less expensive utility bills
                • Less yardwork
                • You might not have a mortgage on your new home if you have money left over from the sale of your home
                • Expendable income which means more money for daily purchases and traveling

                Both selling and buying a home can be overwhelming but when you hire an experience real estate agent, you’ll be relieved to find out how simple it can be! Once you move into your new home and find that cleaning and doing housework is much easier, you’ll be thrilled that you downsized. If you need assistance buying or selling a home in Waltham or the surrounding towns, call me at 617.968.0022.

                  Comments

                  1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

                  How to Buy & Sell a Home in Waltham at the Same Time

                  Spring is almost here which means the real estate market will be picking up! In most cases when homeowners are selling their property, they’re usually on the hunt for a new home. Whether they’re looking for a fixer-upper, a downgrade or a larger home, buying and selling a home simultaneously can be a bit stressful. However, if you plan ahead, the process will be absolutely seamless.

                  1. Get Educated About the Housing Market

                  Once you’ve received the hard numbers on your home’s sale, you need to follow these steps for the purchasing aspect. Think about your priorities and what it is you’re looking for in a new Waltham home. You need to understand what you will get for your money and how financing will work. It’s critical to know how competitive the housing market is where you are living and how long it will take to search for a home.

                  2. Think About Your Finances

                  You should always have enough capital for the offer and purchase of a new home as well as the sale of your current home (ie: staging, preparation, etc.). Although some closing costs can be paid in escrow, it will be extremely stressful if you don’t have enough money for expenses.

                  3. Keep in Touch with Your Lender

                  While searching for a new home in Waltham, make sure you stay in touch with your lender so you can get prequalified or preapproved for a loan. You can apply for a new loan while also carrying out the original loan or you can qualify based on a pending sale status.

                  Work with Hans Brings When Buying & Selling a Home in Waltham

                  If buying a home prior to selling your current property is the best option, then make sure to stick with your decision! The same holds true if you want to sell your home before buying one. I typically recommend selling your home before buying one to make the process much less complicated.

                  I have been working with Waltham residents for over 27 years and would be happy to assist you in the home buying/selling process. Give me a call at 617.968.0022 or fill out my contact form.

                    Comments

                    1. No comments. Be the first to comment.

                    How To Get Your Waltham House Sold In Preparation For The Spring!

                    It is finally time to prepare your home to be sold, but the harsh winter elements can really take a toll on your home’s value. It’s important that you take the necessary steps needed to fix up your home because with the warm weather comes an excess of pent up buyer demand and we can tell you how to take advantage!

                    Outside Cleaning

                    First impressions are everything, especially when selling your home. If you can wow your audience right away, this will drastically help your chances of closing the sale. Things you can do include power washing the house, driveway, walkways, and trimming any the hedges and bushes. Even planting flowers in the front yard to give the property some color. Another option is to paint your front door, as it is the focal point of the house. Putting mulch down where needed will boost your home’s appearance. Your buyer is not expecting to see a home that looks brand new, but you still want to make a lasting impression!

                    Preparing The Inside Of Your Home

                    Once the outside is neat and tidy, you’re going to want to begin eliminating clutter inside your home. This includes closets, cabinets, furniture and anything lying around that might make rooms appear messy. Buyers take space seriously when making their final decision. This is a great way to show off your home while effectively meeting their standards. We also recommend painting the inside of your home in bright colors to illuminate the rooms. It also does not hurt to vacuum the floors and air out the home to rid it of any discouraging odors. Pets and kids can leave a lasting impression, and more than just meets the eye. Perhaps the most important step to take when preparing to sell your home is to perform any repairs that are needed. We recommend to hire a home inspector to perform necessary maintenance checks.

                    After the house has been prepped and is ready to hit the market, you want to find a realtor that can help take you the rest of the way. Don’t let the weather fool you because spring is right around the corner. Make sure your home is ready for the spring market!

                      Comments

                      1. No comments. Be the first to comment.