The St. Martin Team - Westford MA Real Estate
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Posted by St. Martin Team on 7/30/2020

As a homebuyer, you may want to consider the seller's perspective before you submit an offer to purchase your dream house. That way, you can boost the likelihood of receiving an instant "Yes" to your homebuying proposal.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you analyze the seller's perspective.

1. Review the Prices of Comparable Homes

Once you find your dream home, you may want to take a look at the prices of comparable residences in the same city or town. This housing market data can help you narrow the price range for houses in a particular area.

With insights into the prices of houses that are similar to your dream home, you can put together a data-driven offer to purchase. Perhaps best of all, you can avoid the risk of submitting a "lowball" homebuying proposal that misses the mark with a home seller.

2. Assess the Housing Market

The current state of the housing market may have far-flung effects on how much you should offer to pay for a residence.

For instance, in a buyer's market, there is an abundance of available houses and a shortage of buyers. This often means buyers can browse dozens of outstanding houses and won't necessarily face steep competition to acquire the right residence at the right price.

On the other hand, a seller's market favors sellers. It generally features an abundance of buyers and a shortage of top-notch residences. Therefore, if you're searching for a home in a seller's market, you may need to submit a competitive offer to purchase to secure your dream house.

Review the housing market closely so you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market. If you find houses are selling quickly at or above sellers' initial asking prices, you likely are operating in a seller's market. Or, if you find houses linger on the real estate market for many weeks or months and sell at or below sellers' initial asking prices, you may be working in a buyer's market.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who can provide you with housing market insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. Plus, he or she can help you evaluate the seller's perspective so you can submit a competitive offer to purchase the home of your choice.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides throughout the property buying journey, either. A real estate agent can help you hone your home search and find your ideal residence in no time at all. Furthermore, if you have concerns or questions at any point during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is ready to address them.

Want to purchase your dream house at a price that matches your budget? Consider the seller's perspective you'll be glad you did. If you review the seller's perspective, you can craft a competitive homebuying proposal and move closer to acquiring your ideal house at a budget-friendly price.




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Posted by St. Martin Team on 7/16/2020

Shopping for a new house can seem like an overwhelming experience because there are so many factors to consider.

The top priorities for the majority of house hunters include the quality of the school district, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the overall condition of the house. Price is also a major consideration, as is square footage, commuting distance, and the character of the neighborhood.

In many cases, house hunters have specific requirements in mind, ranging from privacy to the layout of the rooms.

Although your search will be much more efficient if you know exactly what you want, the process of looking at houses will help you clarify your preferences, needs, and design ideas for your next home. Touring houses online and browsing home decorating websites can give you a lot of useful ideas, but nothing compares to actually visiting houses and taking a close look at everything the property has to offer.

Working with an experienced real estate agent is often the best way to find a home that checks off most of your priority items and meets your expectations. Searching the real estate market on your own is like going on a self-guided tour of a large historical site or tourist attraction. Without expert guidance, you could easily overlook some of the best aspects of the property, and you could also miss some "red flags" and negotiating opportunities that only a trained real estate professional could recognize.

Other than price, location, size, and property condition, what are other key features you might want to keep your eye out for? Everyone has different priorities and "wish lists," but when you know what you want, you'll be a lot more likely to be satisfied with the outcome! While there is no shortage of house hunting checklists online, here's a quick overview of some of the features and property characteristics you'll want to keep in mind.

Although you'll generally want to have a home inspector take a close look at any home you've made an offer on, there are a few key things you can notice before you even get to that stage. The condition of interior walls, the roof, and basement are three areas worth paying close attention to. Wet basements are not uncommon, but they can cause damage to your foundation and many things you might want to store there. Wet basements are also breeding grounds for mold spores, so a chronically wet basement can potentially be hazardous to your health, too -- especially if you or your family is prone to allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. The Environmental Protection Agency is a good source of information on indoor air quality issues.

There are literally dozens of other details you'll want to pay attention to in prospective homes, including amount of storage space, the size of the back yard, privacy -- or the lack, thereof -- the house's distance from the street and other houses, the neighborhood noise level, the amount of street traffic, the reputation of nearby schools, and convenience to shopping centers, medical facilities, transportation, recreation, and entertainment. Other desirable features include a nice patio or deck, a garage, a fully functional HVAC system, updates to bathrooms and the kitchen, and enough room in the house for your growing family, overnight guests, and the occasional holiday party.





Posted by St. Martin Team on 6/18/2020

 Photo by Alexander Zvir from Pexels

Those who currently own a home may consider investing in a second home for income purposes. However, it is important to understand you may have hurdles to overcome when searching for a mortgage or obtaining homeowners insurance. Here are some of the most significant differences between buying an investment property and a primary residence.

Obtaining a Mortgage

In nearly all cases, mortgage rates for investment properties are higher than when you buy a primary residence. The reason for this is that lenders tend to view an investment property as a riskier loan than a loan provided for an owner-occupied property. Lenders may also impose more stringent requirements on debt-to-income ratios and credit scoring.

The news is not all bad because while a lender may have stricter debt-to-income requirements, a portion of your anticipated rental income may help offset the change.  Not all lenders will include potential rental income, but it is worth asking about. If your mortgage lender is willing to use the rental you expect to collect as part of your income it is likely they will use a percentage of the rent, less potential repair costs, and vacancy costs.

Down Payment Requirements

Typically, if you are purchasing an investment property, the lender will require you to make a larger down payment. In many cases, you may be required to put down as much as 25 percent of the purchase price. The good news is that unlike with the purchase of a primary residence, you may be able to borrow the down payment. However, this will have an impact on your debt to income ratio because you will be paying another loan.

Greater Reserve Requirements

Your mortgage lender may have a reserve requirement when you purchase a primary residence. Reserves are generally to ensure you have an emergency fund for things like unexpected repairs. When you seek financing for an investment property your mortgage lender may require you to have a larger reserve in case your rental income decreases unexpectedly.

Potential Tax Consequences

If you are considering an investment property, you should also understand there are certain tax benefits and drawbacks. Unlike a primary residence, you will have to claim the income generated from the property. You may also get some important tax breaks so it is a good idea to talk to a tax specialist about tax issues you may face.

If you are considering investment property as a means of generating additional income and building future equity, make sure you understand the hurdles you may face. Your real estate agent can help you learn the rental history of the property, neighborhood details, and other information you should know before making this important decision.




Tags: buyer tips   investing   homeowner  
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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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