Lisa DeMaio Jeffrey Germagian Team - ERA Key Realty Services, The Bay State Group



Posted by Lisa DeMaio Jeffrey Germagian Team on 10/21/2017

One question that crosses many homebuyers’ minds is “Will it be cheaper to buy or build a home?” There’s many pros and cons of both new and older construction homes. The price you pay is a big part of how the entire decision breaks down.


Initial Costs


Prices for existing homes vary widely based on where you live. The same principle goes for buying land and constructing a home. You can check on the specifics of the price per square foot in your area for more details. These costs could have the biggest impact on how you go about the path to homeownership and what area you decide to settle down in. 


Keep in mind that new homes are often more spacious. This drives the cost per square foot down, yet there’s more square footage in the home. 


Cost Of Upkeep


Any kind of home has its regular maintenance tasks and costs that are included with the job of homeownership. Landscaping, the servicing of appliances, the upkeep of filters, and heating and cooling system maintenance are all a part of owning a home. If you buy an older home, however, you’re guaranteed to have a few more costs to worry about. If appliances are on their last leg or the roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, you’re going to need to foot the bill for the replacement cost. 


A new construction home can have issues as well, but it’s less likely to happen. The problems that happen in a new construction home are more likely to be due to building issues. Newer homes can, however, have a protection of up to 10 years with a new construction warranty. 


The Great Outdoors


When you buy an existing home, one of the major perks of it is that the landscaping is mature. There’s no need to plant grass, bushes, and flowers because there’s usually something in place. It’s less of an expense to have something to work with when it comes to landscaping. Trees that have been strategically placed can often add a lot of value to a property. 


On the other hand, building a new home can add years to the process of a finished landscape for a home. You’ll need to deal with tedious upkeep and spend thousands of dollars to get the property’s outdoor spaces looking green and beautiful. 


Energy Efficiency And Technology


If you buy a new home, you have the advantage of keeping up with the latest technology and energy efficiency standards. New construction homes are usually much more efficient than older homes. In a new home, you also have the advantage of being able to install smart technologies like thermostats and security systems to streamline with construction. These tools make your home more secure and easier for you to manage. 


There are a few different advantages to both buying an existing home and buying a new construction home. Your needs and your budget will determine the decision that’s right for you.





Posted by Lisa DeMaio Jeffrey Germagian Team on 10/20/2017

Buying a home can be a daunting and nerve-wracking experience, especially if it's your first time. Many first time homebuyers go into the process with little preparation other than financial planning. One great tool to have if you're entering the housing market for the first time is a timeline to owning your first home.

Why you need a timeline

There are innumerable benefits to having a timeline for buying a home. There's are several steps and a lot of information to remember during the buying process. Having a timeline will make sure you stay on top of those steps. Knowing that you're keeping up with your end of the deal will help you feel more relaxed and confident as you enter into this important step of your life. It will relieve anxieties that you are forgetting something or that you are overwhelmed and behind on the process.

Before you start...

There are a number of helpful tools to making a timeline. If you're the type who is constantly on your laptop or smartphone, you can keep your timeline in a document or spreadsheet there and make sure it's synced up between your devices so you can refer to it when needed. If you're more of an App kind of person, there are several apps on the market for helping you keep on schedule. They'll give you updates periodically and remind you when an upcoming task is due. Do you still keep a hard copy planner and carry it in your bag wherever you go? If so, consider drawing up a physical timeline that you can refer to. Just make sure you write it in pencil because you will invariably need to update it now and then.

Dates for your timeline

Here are some items you should strongly consider putting on your home buying timeline. Everyone's timeline is different because each person has their own requirements when it comes to how soon they want to move. Give yourself realistic dates and look ahead on the calendar to make sure your items don't conflict with holidays or upcoming vacations. TIMELINE ITEMS
  1. Consider more than finances. Before contacting realtors or even before browsing listings online think about your own goals. If you're moving with another person think about your futures and where your careers may take you. The first date on your timeline should be a long discussion about the future and what you would like it to look like.
  2. Crunch the numbers. Consider your savings, expenses, current income, and projected income. As a general rule, don't look into buying homes over 2-3 times your income.
  3. Research lenders. Odds are you'll have a mortgage for quite some time, therefore you'll want to make sure your relationship with your lender is ideal. Read reviews, speak with several lenders, and talk to your friends and family about their experiences.
  4. Research insurance. The sooner you know how much you'll be paying in insurance the better.
  5. Get pre-approved.  Doing this early tells home sellers that you are a qualified buyer.
  6. House hunt. This is the fun part. Give yourself plenty of time to consider options.
  7. Make an offer. Consider the features of the home, the cost of he homes in the neighborhood, and the seller's disposition toward the home (whether they need to sell it quickly or are just testing the water).
  8. Double check your contracts. Re-read all of your paperwork and make copies/back it up.





Posted by Lisa DeMaio Jeffrey Germagian Team on 10/19/2017

Securing a mortgage can take years of planning and saving. Depending on credit score and financial history, it can be difficult for some people to secure a mortgage with a reasonable interest rate and down payment.

As a result, the U.S. government--at both the federal and state level--has created several programs to make the goal of homeownership more achievable for more Americans. 

These programs are designed to help a number of people, including first-time homebuyers, low-income families, people living in rural areas, Native Americans, and veterans and servicemembers of the United States military.

In today’s article, we’re going to be talking about “VA loans,” or loans guaranteed by the United States Department f Veterans Affairs.

What is a VA Loan?

When a bank chooses to approve someone for a mortgage, they have weighed the risks of that person’s ability to pay back the loan. The less certain a bank is that they will see a return on their investment with a borrower, the higher the down payment and interest rate they will require.

One incentive that the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs offers its service members and veterans is the ability to receive a loan that is, in part, guaranteed by U.S. Government. That means that lenders can safely approve you for lower interest rates and down payments knowing that the money they are lending you is insured.

Who is eligible for a loan?

Loans guaranteed by Veterans Affairs aren’t strictly for veterans. Active duty service members, including National Guard and Reserve Members may also be eligible. In addition to service members, people who are or were spouses of veterans or service members might also be eligible for a VA loan.

Specific eligibility requirements can be somewhat complicated, so it’s a good idea to visit the eligibility page or contact your local Veterans Affairs office.

What are the perks of a VA Loan?

If you’ve spent a significant portion of your time serving in the military, there’s a good chance that saving for a home has been placed on the back burner. Shopping around for a loan with an affordable down payment can be daunting or impossible for many.

Fortunately, with a VA loan eligible recipients are able to receive a loan with a low down payment or even no down payment.

In a time when down payments can average 20% of the mortgage, that can mean a lot of money you won’t have to spend up from. For example, a home that costs $275,000 would have a 20% down payment of $55,000.

What are the fees?

This great deal does come with one catch. As with many loan assistance programs, there is a fee charged for the services. On top of the funding fee charged by the VA, there are other costs associated with buying a home.

These may include appraisals, inspections, credit reports, and more. Additionally, lenders may charge a 1% flat fee for those using a VA loan.




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Posted by Lisa DeMaio Jeffrey Germagian Team on 10/18/2017

Although a home seller has already accepted your home offer, you'll want to employ a diligent home inspector to examine a residence before you finalize a purchase agreement. By doing so, you can identify any potential home problems that you might have missed during an initial house showing. Plus, a home inspection will allow you to find out if a home requires extensive repairs or maintenance and if you'll need to modify or rescind your original offer.

Hiring the right home inspector can make a world of difference for homebuyers. However, finding the ideal home inspector sometimes can be difficult, particularly for homebuyers who want to speed through the homebuying process.

So what does it take to employ the right home inspector? Here are three tips to help you do just that:

1. Review a Home Inspector's Qualifications

Learning about a home inspector's experience and skills is paramount. And if you devote the necessary time and resources to understand a home inspector's qualifications, you'll be able to find out if this individual is the right person to assess a residence.

Typically, you should try to find a home inspector who boasts construction and building maintenance expertise. Depending on where your home is located or your residence's condition, you also may need to find a home inspector who understands how to deal with asbestos, lead-based paint and other potentially hazardous conditions.

Be sure to conduct an in-depth evaluation of several home inspectors before you make your final decision. This will enable you to hire a top-notch home inspector who can help you identify and resolve any home issues before you conclude your home purchase.

2. Evaluate Sample Reports from a Home Inspector

Ask a home inspector to provide samples of past home inspection reports – you'll be glad you did! By getting copies of past home inspection assessments, you can better understand how an individual approaches a home inspection.

For example, does a home inspector provide clear information in his or her reports? And does the inspector offer notes that highlight home problems? Take a close look at a home inspector's past reports, and you can find out whether this individual takes a basic or comprehensive approach to his or her work.

3. Get Home Inspector Insights from Your Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent may prove to be your best resource throughout the homebuying process. As such, your real estate agent can put you in touch with home inspectors who have your best interests in mind and will do everything possible to conduct a thorough inspection of a property.

In many instances, your real estate agent may be able to offer multiple home inspector recommendations. This professional also can provide details about what to expect during a home inspection and how to handle any home problems that you might encounter as part of a home assessment.

A home inspection may seem like a tall task, but with a great home inspector at your disposal, you can improve your chances of obtaining the ideal residence.





Posted by Lisa DeMaio Jeffrey Germagian Team on 10/17/2017

With age can come wisdom, insight and a growing ability to trust your instincts. After you reach your middle age years, you might have learned to stop second guessing your own inner wisdom. You also might have learned how to spot a real benefit from a fake advantage. But, it’s the way you learn to manage money as you age that could make waiting to buy a house a good choice.

Knowing when it’s the right time to buy a house

Even if you put a sizable down payment on a new house, it may take you two to three decades to pay off a mortgage. That’s a lot of time whether you’re just starting out and buying your first house in your early 20s or if you’re a seasoned worker who’s buying her first house in her mid-50s. Factor in rising interests rates,property taxes and inflation, and the costs of a mortgage could feel like too much the older you become.

You might feel like you simply won’t have enough time to afford a house. You might feel like you’ll always be paying the bank a monthly mortgage installment, reducing the chance that you can will your children your house without leaving them in debt.

These are just some of the concerns that buying a house later in life can raise. On the other hand, if you’ve practiced smart money management skills for years,waiting until you’re older to buy a house could help you to secure the best mortgage deal. You may also know exactly what to look for in a good home insurance policy. Choosing the best neighborhood could almost seem natural for you because you’ve had years of experience living in different types of communities.

Pros of waiting to buy a house

Ultimately, the choice on when to buy a house comes down to several factors, each which can impact your life for many years. Included among these factors are:

  • Existing debt – If you’re managed your finances well, by the time you reach your mid-40s or mid-50s, you might have paid off any student loans that you incurred. Other debts that you may have paid off include your auto, furniture and clothing expenses. This could give you more room to take on a mortgage without feeling financially cramped.
  • Happiness – Over time, you could also learn that material items won’t provide you lasting happiness. You could use this knowledge to avoid binge spending and buying products to try to boost your mood or strengthen your ego.
  • Children – If you have children, they may be grown or almost ready to leave the nest. Buying a house in your middle years could eliminate the need to take on a huge mortgage. Instead, you could purchase a house that’s large enough for you and your spouse with a spare bedroom for when your adult children visit.
  • DIY Skills – You may have developed solid DIY skills that can lower the times that you need to pay a contractor to repair a leak, the roof or an appliance at your new house.

Cons of waiting to buy a house

Yet, there are downsides to waiting to buy a house. As previously noted, if you wait until you reach your middle age years to buy a house, you may be responsible for a mortgage well into your senior years. Other downsides to waiting to buy a house include:

  • Health issues – Even if you exercise, drink plenty of water and eat a healthy diet, your body could start to show signs of wear and tear. Taking on a mortgage late in life could add stress to your life that you’d be better off without.
  • Grandchildren – Just because you don’t need a large home for your own growing children, doesn’t mean that a small house will work, especially if your adult children start having kids of their own.
  • Retirement – Unless you own your own business and plan to work until you leave this earth or for as long as your health allows, there’s a strong likelihood that you’ll retire. This employment shift can cut your income significantly.
  • Curb appeal – It’s easy to mow the lawn and climb up to the roof and clean the gutters when you’re in your 40s, 50s and 60s. However, that could become a chore by the time you reach your 70s or 80s. Of course, you could pay someone to take care of these household tasks. But, that’s also an added expense.

Consider the above factors when you think about buying a house. Also, consider other factors that will potentially impact your finances, health and overall well being over the short and long term. This includes your spending habits, existing financial responsibilities, job security and your ability to generate your own income.




Tags: older homeowners  
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