The St. Martin Team - Westford MA Real Estate
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Posted by St. Martin Team on 6/14/2018

You have finally found what you believe to be the perfect home. Then, something rings off in your gut. Maybe it was poor communication with the seller. Maybe a big change happened in your own life in a short period of time. All you know is that you really want to back out of the deal. You might have a lot of questions. Is this possible? Are there consequences? 


The short answers to these questions are yes, and yes. There is a possibility that you could be sued by your backing out of a deal. Itís rare that buyers are actually mandated to buy a home that they donít actually want to buy. Sellers will, however, be able to keep any money that has already been paid as a deposit after a certain point in the dealings on a home sale. Sellers may also be awarded damages in some cases. 


Legally Backing Out Of The Contract


There are a few circumstances where buyers may have a legitimate right to back out of a contract on a home. If certain contingencies werenít met, as a buyer, youíre free and clear to walk away. These circumstances include:


  • Financing falls through
  • You couldnít sell your former home
  • Flaws in the home have not been disclosed
  • Property boundary line issues exist
  • Liens are against a homeís title
  • The seller does not meet the terms for improvement
  • Undisclosed uses exist for the land such as a pathway


If none of these reasons apply to you and you still have reservations about buying the home, you may need to sacrifice a huge chunk of money. The way that you exit the deal will all depend upon the contracts that were signed previously.


Other Buyers Are Waiting For The Home


If you are in a tight market and decide to back out of buying a home, you could be in luck. Often, if thereís a backup offer, itís enough to satisfy a seller that at least the home will be sold promptly. However, donít hold you breath when it comes to getting your deposits back. If you have already ďpromisedĒ to buy a home, you can kiss the deposit goodbye, unfortunately. 


Always Hire A Real Estate Attorney


Whether your state requires it or not, you should always hire a real estate attorney. These professionals can help you to read each and every line of the contracts that youíre signing when buying a home. They will make suggestions as to how you can protect yourself through the process along the way. Itís a good investment to hire a lawyer when youíre buying a home.





Posted by St. Martin Team on 6/7/2018

Solar is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. Each year, hundreds of thousands of homes go solar, adding thousands of new jobs and preventing massive amounts of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.

It has never been a better time to go solar. However, the rapid technological advancements and the growing market of solar power companies means that you have several options to consider if youíre thinking about going green.

Types of residential solar power

The first thing to understand about solar power is that there are several different types you can get for your home. From roof-installed solar panels to off-site solar farms, you have options when it comes to powering your house cheaply and efficiently.

Leasing and purchasing PV panels

One of the most common ways that people power their home with solar power is by leasing rooftop photovoltaic (PV) panels from a solar company. There are different leasing options available from different companies, so itís a good idea to shop around the solar providers in your area.

Leasing is a great option for those who donít have the funds to purchase panels but still want to lower their monthly electricity bill. Companies who offer leasing often install and maintain the panels for free. The panels will be hooked up to your local energy grid. Each month, your electricity bill will be reduced by the amount that is produced by your panels. The way the solar company earns is by selling a portion of the solar produced back to the energy company and by collecting incentives from state and federal governments.  

Purchasing your panels outright has its advantages. When you purchase your own panels you can more greatly reduce or even eliminate your monthly utility bills without giving a cut back to the solar company. However, this also means youíre responsible for the care and maintenance, and insurance of the panels.

Off-site solar

Many people would love to reduce their electricity bill and help reduce carbon emissions, but they just canít stand the look of solar panels on their roof. Fortunately, off-site solar farms are also growing in popularity. This type of solar power comes with all of the same benefits of rooftop solar except that it isnít located on your house.

Typically a vacant spot of land is used as a solar ďfarm.Ē Community members can opt to lease or own a portion of the farm to contribute towards powering their home.

This option is particularly beneficial to those who lack roof-space, or who have a roof that doesnít receive an optimal amount of sunlight.

Emerging technologies

As I mentioned earlier, solar power is an industry that is rapidly changing. If youíre not ready just yet to install solar panels or join a shared solar community, itís still a good idea to look ahead at emerging technologies.

One such example is Teslaís new solar roofs. The idea is that instead of installing panels, the roof itself comes with panels built-in. Whatís more, the roofs are said to last longer than traditional roofs, and theyíll come in a variety of styles which mimic traditional shingles and comes in Tuscan, textured glass, and slate options.




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Posted by St. Martin Team on 5/31/2018

If budgeting isnít your thing, youíll be glad to discover that itís quite simple. Thereís a way to categorize your spending and save money easily. If you learn the rule, it will become so automatic that you wonít even think about it. If youíre saving money for a home, this practice will be essential. Break your budget down into three categories: 


  • Living expenses
  • Financial goals
  • Personal spending


Half of your budget should go towards living expenses. This number includes all of the essentials like rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, commute costs, and insurances. 


20 percent of your income should go towards other financial goals like savings, investments, or paying down debt. Credit card bills, student loans, and other bills would fall under this category. This category is also where youíd save for your down payment, closing costs, and other expenses. This percentage can be adjustable depending on how much debt you have or how much you need to save for retirement. 


The remaining 30 percent of your income can go towards personal spending. This category includes everything that you use your money for but isnít a necessity. This percentage is also flexible. If your lifestyle doesnít require you to use all 30 percent each month, you can indeed save more money.


A Clear Plan 


These categories simplify your budget. Even if you make some adjustments to the numbers, the outline truly makes budgeting easy even for the most scatterbrained among us. It allows you to see where your money goes clearly. It also works no matter what kind of living situation you have.


The great thing about this budgeting plan is that you have some future needs built into it. Many times, when we budget, we think of our immediate needs and our shorter term goals. Saving for any occasion can never happen too early. You are able to not only focus on your current goals and the future.   



Steps


First, determine your monthly income. This number is how much money you take home after taxes. From here, youíll be able to split your money into categories by percentages. If your income fluctuates frequently, youíll need to take an average of your monthly income to determine your numbers. 


Next, you should take a look at your spending habits. These include everything from your morning latte to your monthly rent payment. From here you can make adjustments. Perhaps you need to look for a less expensive apartment. Maybe you need to cut down your weekly pizza to a bi-monthly purchase. Whatever you see in your finances, a simple percentage rule gives you the tools you need to become a saver and be well on your way to the purchase of your first home.     





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Posted by St. Martin Team on 5/24/2018

While there are plenty of weekend projects to take on that would be more satisfying to complete than ďage-proofingĒ your home taking the time to make these upgrades will make your home more accessible. Both to older family members visiting and even for your future self. These small changes will make a big difference and you might just find them helpful for your life now!   

Replace doorknobs with handles. Itís easy to take what, to us, feels like the simplest of actions for granted. The twisting action of a doorknob can be difficult and even painful for arthritic hands. This is a quick project and one that can add a fresh new look to the doors in your home. IF youíre looking to switch things up or modernize your home opt for a different, more modern finish for your hardware. Bronze and satin finishes are very popular choices.   

Turn a first-floor office into a guest bedroom. And move the office upstairs. Stairs can be an issue for those with limited mobility. Be proactive now by establishing a first-floor bedroom that can be easily accessed by older guests staying the night and by you down the line. Having a bedroom on the first floor can save you the cost of installing a chair lift down the line if stairs become a serious obstacle.

Install a hand held shower head. This is a shower feature that really is useful for the whole household, even the dog. But choosing a model with a sliding tube and optional side mount for the handle makes for an easier experience for those with limited mobility. It allows the ability for the shower head to be reached when sitting and also to be placed within arm's reach without having to stretch overhead.

Railings along stairs, ideally on both sides. When mobility and balance are an issue stairs can become dangerous. If your staircases donít already have railings installed this is an ideal feature to add. Make note of the dimensions of each of your sets of stairs and research what sort of style would best fit that area of your home. This is a project that adds an element that is seamless to a home and doesnít stand out. In fact, you may find guests of all ages will appreciate this addition.    

Less furniture in each room. Keeping less furniture in a room makes it easier to navigate a room and ideally fit mobility aids like wheelchairs and walkers. It also can bring new life to a room as well as make it feel more open and spacious. Keep only the most necessary elements to a room and take out shelves or bulky furniture designed to hold and/or hide knick-knacks. Make each element in the room really count. Youíll have a much more chic, magazine-esque room on your hands when you're finished.?





Posted by St. Martin Team on 5/17/2018

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 Ė use these tips, and you can become a resourceful home seller.




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