The St. Martin Team - Westford MA Real Estate
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Posted by St. Martin Team on 1/3/2019

The process of finding and purchasing your dream house may prove to be difficult, regardless of whether you are an experienced or first-time homebuyer. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to avoid hurdles as you navigate the homebuying journey.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you quickly discover a quality home at an affordable price.

1. Narrow Your Home Search

Understand what you want to find in your dream home. Then, you can enter the housing market with a plan in hand to discover your ideal residence.

To narrow your home search, think about the features you require from a home. If you need a house that offers multiple bedrooms, for example, you can hone your house search accordingly. Or, if you want a home that boasts an outdoor swimming pool, you can search for a house that matches your expectations.

Don't forget to consider where you want to reside as well. That way, you can narrow your house search to a select group of cities and towns.

2. Establish a Homebuying Budget

If you know you want to buy a home soon, you may want to search for a mortgage. Because if you begin a home search with a mortgage at your disposal, you will know how much you can spend on a house.

To obtain a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you about different mortgage options and help you make an informed home financing selection.

Also, you can always ask mortgage questions when you meet with financial institutions. If you receive expert insights into assorted home financing options, you can choose the right mortgage.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can receive plenty of assistance as you navigate the homebuying journey. And as a result, you could streamline your search for your dream house.

A real estate agent is a homebuying specialist who is ready to help you accomplish your desired results. For instance, if you want to acquire a budget-friendly home in the city of your choice, a real estate agent can help you do just that. On the other hand, if you are looking to buy a house that provides convenient access to your office, a real estate agent can help you map out your house search so you can quickly find your dream home.

In addition, a real estate agent can help you submit a competitive offer to purchase your ideal house. And once a seller accepts your offer to purchase, a real estate agent will help you finalize your home purchase.

Finding and purchasing a home sometimes can be tricky. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, however, you can simplify your quest to buy your ideal residence. Perhaps best of all, these tips may make it easy for you to navigate the homebuying journey like a pro.




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Posted by St. Martin Team on 12/27/2018

If you want to buy a terrific house at a budget-friendly price, it generally is a good idea to plan ahead as much as you can. In fact, with a homebuying strategy in place, you can boost the likelihood of a fast, seamless homebuying experience.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you craft a successful homebuying strategy.

1. Think About Your Homebuying Goals

Do you want to live in a warm-weather region? Or, would you prefer to buy a house in a city or town where you can experience all four seasons? Regardless of where you want to live, you need to think about your homebuying goals and incorporate them into your homebuying plan.

Make a list of what you want to find in your dream house – you'll be glad you did. With this list, you can narrow your home search.

Also, it often helps to review your future plans as you put together a homebuying strategy. For example, if you intend to return to school, you may want to consider houses located near top colleges and universities. On the other hand, if you plan to settle down and start a family, you may want to pursue houses near parks and other family-friendly attractions.

2. Consider Your Financing Options

Buying a house likely will be impossible without home financing. Fortunately, there is no shortage of home financing options available.

Oftentimes, it is beneficial to meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you about myriad mortgage options and help you get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Once you have your home financing settled, you can incorporate a budget into your homebuying strategy. Then, you can check out available houses and avoid the risk of overspending to acquire your ideal residence.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

Developing a homebuying strategy sometimes can be tough, particularly for those who are crafting a homebuying plan for the first time. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available nationwide who can help you complete a successful homebuying journey.

A real estate agent is happy to meet with you and discuss your homebuying goals. He or she also can review your homebuying strategy and offer expert homebuying recommendations.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent can deliver during the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses as they become available and negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will help you minimize stress throughout the homebuying journey and ensure you can purchase your dream home in no time at all.

If you want to get the most out of the homebuying journey, creating a homebuying strategy is a must. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can craft a successful homebuying strategy.




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Posted by St. Martin Team on 12/13/2018

Let's face it – there is no shortage of buyers competing for the top residences. However, there are many things you can do to rise above the homebuying competition, and these include:

1. Review the Local Housing Market

The housing market fluctuates. In some instances, the housing market may favor buyers. Or, in other cases, it may favor sellers.

If you analyze the local housing market closely, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market. You then can map out your homebuying journey accordingly.

To distinguish a buyer's market from a seller's market, you may want to look at available houses in your city or town. If homes are selling just days after they become available, a seller's market may be in place. Comparatively, if houses linger on the real estate market for an extended period of time, the real estate sector likely favors buyers.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

With pre-approval for a mortgage, you will know how much you can spend on a house. Then, you can narrow your house search to residences that fall within your price range.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of lenders. These financial institutions can teach you about many mortgage options and help you choose home financing that suits you perfectly.

Of course, selecting a mortgage can be difficult, regardless of whether you are a first-time or experienced homebuyer. But if you ask mortgage questions and perform a comprehensive home financing analysis, you can choose the right mortgage without delay.

3. Establish Homebuying Criteria

Homebuying criteria is a must, particularly for those who want to seamlessly navigate the property buying journey. Because if you enter the real estate market with homebuying criteria in hand, you can speed up the process of finding your dream residence.

As you craft homebuying criteria, you should try to define your dream house. Think about the features you want to find in a home. You next can include these features as "must-haves" on your list of homebuying criteria.

In addition, consider where you want to reside. If you hone your house search to residences in a select group of cities and towns, you may be able to quickly discover a great home that you can enjoy for years to come.

For those who require extra help during the homebuying journey, you may want to hire a real estate agent, too. In fact, with a real estate agent at your side, you can receive in-depth assistance as you pursue your ideal house.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to navigate any housing market, at any time. He or she will help you search for residences that match your expectations. Plus, if you have any homebuying concerns, a real estate agent will address them right away.

Gain a competitive advantage over rival homebuyers – use the aforementioned tips, and you accelerate the process of finding and purchasing your dream residence.




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Posted by St. Martin Team on 12/6/2018

Buying your first home is a big decision; one that involves a lengthy process of saving money, building credit, and planning the next phase of your life. However, owning a home comes with one major payoff: home equity.

Simply put, home equity is the amount of your home that you’ve paid off. However, it does get more complicated when we bring in factors like the market value of your home and how it shifts over the years.

In this article, we’ll discuss home equity and what it means for you as a homeowner. This way, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect when you finally make that last payment on your home or when you decide to sell.

Home equity and market value

As I mentioned earlier, home equity is more than just the amount you’ve paid toward your mortgage. Like most markets, the housing market shifts over time.

Most homes slowly increase in value over time. In the real estate world, this increase in value is called appreciation.

However, that doesn’t mean that your home is simply going to increase in value indefinitely until you decide to sell. As you will find out (if you haven’t yet already), owning a home can be expensive. Houses age and require upgrades. If you fail to keep up with the maintenance of your home, its value can diminish.

How to build equity

The most important thing you can do to build equity is to make on-time payments to your mortgage. Making extra mortgage payments will help you build equity even faster.

One method of paying extra on your mortgage that many people are adopting is to make bi-weekly payments. Twenty-six bi-weekly payments comes out to 13 full payments per year, the equivalent of making one full extra monthly payment.

The second method of building equity is something that you have less control over: appreciation. However, if you stick to a maintenance schedule for your home and keep it in good repair, you’ll most likely benefit from appreciation over the lifespan of your mortgage.

What can I use home equity for?

The most common way to use home equity is as a down payment or full payment on your next home. First-time buyers who don’t have a 20% down payment saved often buy a starter home and then later upgrade as their family grows and their needs change. In the years that they own their first home, they build enough equity to make a full down payment on their second home, avoiding fees like mortgage insurance.

Many homeowners planning on retiring in the near future use their equity toward their retirement home, often turning a profit in the process. If you plan on downgrading for retirement and have fully paid off your mortgage, you can often use your equity to pay for your next home in cash.





Posted by St. Martin Team on 11/15/2018

Understanding how much your home is worth is important for a number of reasons. For one, when you go to sell your home, you’ll have an idea of how much equity that you’re working with. You may need to either refinance your home, take out a loan, or line of credit. Knowing the current market value of your home can give you a good idea of your finances and what to expect. Many people believe that their home is worth more than it actually is. In reality, your home is only worth what people will actually pay for the property in a certain time frame. 


Some websites offer basic ideas of how much your home is worth. You can also use the Internet to search for comparable properties and see what has been sold, how much it has been sold for, and how much other homes that are similar to yours in the neighborhood are worth. You’ll need to be sure that the comparing properties include the same types of features as your own home in order to get a good estimate. 


Consult A Realtor


Experienced realtors in your area are great resources for helping you to determine your property’s value. Many agencies offer free market value analyses, which can help you to see where your home would fall in the current real estate market. Realtors don’t get paid unless your home sells. They can use their many resources to work with you on the sale of your home and help you to price it appropriately.


Hire An Appraiser


If you want to dig a bit deeper in the pricing of your home, you’ll need to shell out a bit of cash. You could hire a certified appraiser who will dig deep into your property to determine the value. Once you find a buyer, another appraisal will happen on the property. The buyer pays for this. If you really want a good idea of how much your home is worth, hiring an appraiser beforehand is key. Keep in mind that appraisers may come up with slightly different estimates for the same home.      


Know The Key Things That Affect Home Value


There are a few big factors that influence just how much your property is worth. While you may love your big kitchen, it goes a lot further than that. Factors that contribute to how much your property is worth include:


  • The amount of land that you have
  • The neighborhood your home is in
  • The schools your home is near
  • How many square feet your property is
  • The condition of your home
  • Any updates that have been made to the home
  • The types of appliances you have
  • Has the home ever been foreclosed on? 
  • Is your home energy efficient?


Based on all of this information, you’ll be able to get a good idea of what your home is worth. Beware of things that can cause a major financial setback on your home’s value like an urgent need for roof replacement, dated windows, or an unknown crack in the foundation. Getting an idea of what your home is worth is a great way to keep on top of your own assets whether you’re prepared to sell or just curious about numbers.




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