The St. Martin Team - Westford MA Real Estate
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Posted by St. Martin Team on 5/21/2020

Image by MITCH WRIGHT from Pixabay

If you thought we'd answer "It all depends" you're absolutely right. So, lets take a look at the upsides and challenges of old and new homes.

Buying an Older Home or Condo

If you fall in love with an older home or condo, your real estate professional will guide you through the inspection process and help you estimate your costs for indispensable repairs. Electrical outlets, for example, must be up to today's standards... Safety first! Request the necessary fixes as part of the sale or ask the seller to prune the asking price. 

Compare homeowner's insurance estimates and taxes before making an offer, too. A more up-to-date property might be cheaper on both counts. 

For buyers with chemical sensitivities and allergies, old homes can be attractive. There won't be as many new materials in the older home.  

And some prefer a traditional aesthetic. Some of the most beautiful and well-made homes are older homes. As long as you have the home thoroughly inspected, and a plan to handle the needed upgrades, a home with history and character can be yours to enjoy for many years to come. 

Buying a Newer Home or Condo

New homes are made with state-of-the-art materials. They're usually energy-efficient. So are their appliances. Expect lower electricity bills with a newer house. 

For buyers considering condos or townhomes, monthly homeowners' association fees are often at their most reasonable when the property is of recent vintage. 

New homes are becoming increasingly safe and supportive, thanks to new technology. Smart homes can be a little pricier – perhaps 5% more than a traditional residence. Highly desirable technology could add as much as 10% to the price, but rarely more. 

Smart Home Technologies: Evolving From Options to Standard Features 

Across age groups, buyers appreciate smart home lighting and thermostat systems, as well as high-tech AC and kitchen appliances. Owners like security systems hard-wired into the home, and video doorbells. Devices that show visitors at the door and alert the owner if someone's on the porch are big draws in the era of home grocery and package delivery. 

So, be on the lookout for smart technology when touring houses and condo properties. A special mention goes to the innovations that make greater independence possible for homebuyers. New features include a wide range of security sensors, and devices that notify homeowners of medication times or help visually impaired people navigate daily errands, desires and needs. 

Need Support Finding Your Perfect Home?

Let us know! With an expert real estate professional on your side, your home can have the character and features you value. You'll also have support in negotiating a price. And that can help you update a new-to-you home just as you wish. 




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Posted by St. Martin Team on 5/7/2020

A homebuying budget can make a world of difference, particularly for those who want to streamline a house search. If you have a budget at your disposal, you will know approximately how much you can spend on a residence. Then, you can narrow your house search accordingly.

Establishing a homebuying budget can be simple. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you do just that.

1. Evaluate Your Finances

Your income and savings can have far-flung effects on your ability to acquire your dream house. If you perform an in-depth review of your finances, you can find out exactly how much money you have available before you launch a house search.

It often is a good idea to consider your long-term finances as you prepare to kick off a house search, too. A house usually is a long-term investment. And if you account for your long-term finances in your homebuying budget, you may be better equipped than ever before to conduct a successful home search.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Banks and credit unions are happy to teach you about different types of mortgages. Plus, they can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage without delay.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with several banks and credit unions. Of course, if you have mortgage questions, you should address them before you submit a mortgage application. Once you have a mortgage in hand, you can establish a price range for your house search.

3. Examine Your Potential Closing Costs

Attorney fees, house inspection expenses and other closing costs may surprise some homebuyers. Yet if you understand your potential closing costs, you can plan ahead for these expenses.

Closing costs generally range between 2 percent and 5 percent of a house's purchase price. They also may be incorporated into the overall cost of a house. However, if you evaluate potential closing costs early in the homebuying journey, you can account for these expenses in your property buying budget.

As you get ready to launch a house search, you may want to hire a real estate agent, too. This housing market professional understands what it takes to find and acquire a terrific home at a budget-friendly price. Therefore, he or she will do everything possible to help you accomplish your homebuying goals as quickly as possible.

If you want to purchase a house close to your office in the city, for instance, a real estate agent will offer tips and recommendations to help you find a first-rate house in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you aspire to own a home that boasts multiple bedrooms, a real estate agent will help you hone your house search to residences that fall in line with your expectations.

Ready to launch a successful home search? Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can prepare an effective homebuying budget. As a result, you could speed up your quest to discover and purchase your dream house.




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Posted by St. Martin Team on 4/9/2020

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 St. Martin Team on 2/6/2020

If you've been pre-approved for a mortgage, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand. In fact, this mortgage will enable you to spend up to a certain amount on a house. But in many instances, it pays to buy less house than what you can actually afford.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to consider purchasing a house below your means, such as:

1. You might not have to worry about significant home maintenance.

A small house likely means less home maintenance than would be required in a large house. Therefore, you may be able to spend less time worrying about keeping your residence looking great if you acquire less home that what you can afford.

Of course, let's not forget about the money that you might save by purchasing an affordable residence. If you buy an inexpensive home, you may be able to use the money that you save to hire professional home cleaners, landscapers and others to help you enhance your residence's appearance.

2. You'll be better prepared than ever before for unexpected expenses.

There is no telling when a family emergency, natural disaster or other dangerous situations may arise. Fortunately, if you spend less on a house now, you may be better equipped than ever before to handle the expenses commonly associated with these unforeseen events.

Purchasing a cheap house may prove to be valuable if you encounter costly, time-intensive home repairs down the line too.

For example, your home's roof won't last forever, and you likely will need to fix or replace it at some point. But if you purchase a budget-friendly home, you may be able to save extra money that you can use to cover the costs associated with various home repairs.

3. You'll have more money that you can use to personalize your house.

The money that you save on a house today may be used to upgrade your home both now and in the future.

For instance, if you want to install a deluxe swimming pool or fire pit in your backyard, spending less on a house now may provide you with the financial resources that you need to fund these projects. And if you complete a broad range of home renovations, you may be able to increase your house's value as well.

Deciding how much to spend on a house can be a tough decision for any homebuyer, at any time. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can explore a vast array of residences that fall within your price range.

A real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and tailor your home search accordingly. He or she also will set up home showings, keep you informed about new residences that become available and ensure that you can discover a home that matches or exceeds your expectations.

Consider your budget closely as you prepare to kick off a home search. By doing so, you should have no trouble finding a terrific house at an affordable price.





Posted by St. Martin Team on 1/9/2020

If you plan to purchase a house in the foreseeable future, it generally is a good idea to plan ahead for all of your potential homebuying costs. That way, you can secure the funds you need to purchase your dream house.

Now, let's take a look at three costs that every homebuyer needs to consider during the property buying journey.

1. Credit Report

A lender likely will request a verified credit report before it provides you with a mortgage. The fee for a credit report usually is minimal, but it is important to note that this fee adds to the overall cost of purchasing a house.

Oftentimes, a homebuyer can get pre-approved for a mortgage and pay a credit report fee prior to conducting a house search. On the other hand, if a buyer wants to secure financing from a lender after he or she discovers the perfect house, the cost of a credit report may be incorporated into this individual's home closing costs.

2. Home Inspection

A property inspection is crucial, as it ensures a property expert can analyze a house and identify any underlying problems with it before a buyer finalizes his or her home purchase. As such, it is paramount to account for home inspection fees to ensure you have the funds available to hire an inspector who can perform an in-depth evaluation of a house.

The cost of a home inspection varies based on the size of a residence. Meanwhile, there is no need to forgo this evaluation. Because if you ignore a home inspection, you risk encountering costly, time-intensive problems after you buy a residence.

3. Pest or Mold Inspection

A pest or mold inspection is not a requirement if you purchase a new house. Conversely, if you purchase an older residence, it typically is beneficial to inspect it for pests and mold prior to finalizing your house purchase.

Pest or mold inspection costs vary based on a home's size and location. And if you feel a home may be susceptible to pests or mold, you should pay the necessary fees to conduct a pest or mold inspection. Otherwise, you could encounter home pests or mold that may cause major problems down the line.

As you prepare to pursue your dream residence, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. If you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive comprehensive guidance as you navigate the homebuying journey.

In addition to teaching you about homebuying costs, a real estate agent is happy to educate you about all aspects of the housing market. Plus, a real estate agent will respond to your homebuying queries and help you make informed decisions as you search for your ideal residence.

When it comes to purchasing a house, it helps to budget accordingly. If you consider the aforementioned homebuying costs, you can craft a homebuying budget and speed up your quest to discover your dream house.




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