Kathy Foran - REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West



Posted by Kathy Foran on 12/16/2018

If youíre ready to buy a home, you probably have done a lot of research. One thing is sure: You know you need to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Itís perhaps the most critical step in the process of buying a home for a variety of reasons. Thereís down payments and debt-to-income ratios, and other financial issues to worry about. You need to know what type of mortgage you should get. To help you understand what kind of mortgage you need, you should get pre-approved.


Understand The Pre-Approval Process


There are many misconceptions about pre-approvals. First, buyers need to understand that there is a difference between a pre-qualification and a pre-approval. A pre-qualification merely scrapes the surface of your financial state, while a pre-approval goes through everything a mortgage company will need to grant you a loan. You may be pre-qualified for a much higher amount than you can actually afford, for example.


Pre-Approval Defined


A pre-approval is a lenderís written commitment to a borrower. The approval states that the lender is willing to lend a certain amount of money for a home. The lender obtains the following from the buyer:


  • Employment history
  • Credit report
  • Tax returns
  • Bank statements


The time and effort that it takes to get a pre-approval is worth it because everything will be ready for the lender to grant the mortgage once an offer is made on a home. It also gives the buyer an upper hand in finding the home of their dreams. Many sellers require a pre-approval with an offer.


When To Get A Pre Approval


As soon as you know youíre serious about buying a home and are ready to start the house hunt, you should get pre-approved. Pre-approvals do expire after a certain amount of time, but lenders can renew them with proper notice. 


The Importance Of The Pre-Approval


Many buyers feel that they can skip the pre-approval process altogether. It has many benefits. Besides giving you a better look at your finances and how much house you can afford, pre-approvals can:


  • Give you the insight to correct your credit score and help you correct credit problems
  • Help to avoid disappointment when you find a home you love
  • Allow first-time buyers to see all of the costs involved in buying a home


A pre-approval is a handy thing to have, and itís not just because the experts say itís essential. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help you to be more on top of your finances going into one of the most significant purchases you'll ever make in your life. 

 




Tags: mortgage   Buying a home  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Kathy Foran on 12/9/2018

Moving into your first home can mean steeper electric bill than you are used to. All those small differences can feel like they have added up quickly. Or perhaps itís not your first home but you want to start this one off on the right, economical foot.

Hereís your guide to using electricity wisely and start saving on your bill each month.

Cut back on hot water use.

Heating water is expensive. Cut back on how much you spend by taking shorter showers or cooler ones if you like a particularly hot shower. Purchase laundry detergent designed to clean well in cooler temperature water and start running your loads on the cold or warm cycle instead of hot.

Unplug unused electronics.

You might think that when a device is turned off it is no longer using power but if it is still plugged into the wall it is still taking it in. Instead of just switching off corded devices unplug them after use too. Alternatively, plug systems into a power strip to make it easier to manage and not have to unplug five different devices each time you power down. You can also invest in new technology that allows you to create smart outlets. Youíll be able to turn off devices from the other room or even while out of the house. You will also be able to hone in on which electronics are using the most energy and create a plan of action to course correct the problem.

Manage your homeís temperature.

If you have electric heat lowering the temperature by even just a couple of degrees can make a big difference in the long run. Make it even easier to manage and monitor by installing a smart thermostat like Nest. Youíll be able to set up schedules and reminders as well as see actual data to your energy usage.

Itís also wise to invest in smart blinds which can be scheduled to open and close at certain times of the day. Namely, you want them to be closed to keep the afternoon sun out in summers and let in during the winters.

Ditch big energy hogs.

Unplug your second fridge and/or freezer. At the very least do a cost analysis to determine the extra space truly saves you in the long run in comparison to the expense on your electric bill. Hang dry your laundry to really save on energy usage. Install a line outside for fresh, sun-warmed laundry and pick up a rack for those cold and rainy months.

There are a lot of different ways to save on energy each month. Some add up to just a few dollars of savings over the year while others make an impact you can see month to month.





Posted by Kathy Foran on 12/2/2018

Household recycling has become easier than ever. Many towns and cities offer free recycling pickup, and even private waste management companies are implementing recycling programs.

There are a number of advantages to recycling. It helps protect the environment by reducing the amount of waste and making it easier to reuse raw materials. But, recycling is also advantageous to homeowners who donít want to pay hefty fees for trash pickup when they can often recycle for free.

One of the more difficult aspects of household recycling is the learning curve of actually learning what is and isnít recyclable. Homeowners might think something is recyclable because itís made from plastic, only to find out later that itís a specific type of plastic that canít be recycled. On the other hand, you might be throwing some items in the garbage, filling up your bin each week when you could be recycling it instead.

In this article, weíre going to talk about some of the lesser known items you could be recycling. Weíll also cover some items you shouldnít throw in your recycling bin, and give you tips on how to tell which is which.

Things that shouldnít find their way into your recycling bin

Itís easy to assume that just because something looks like paper, plastic, or glass, that it can be tossed into your recycling bin. However, that isnít always the case. Look out for these items that may not be recyclable in your area.

  • Used paper food containers. Pizza boxes are one of the biggest culprits that end up in recycling bins when they shouldnít be. Items like paper food containers, use paper towels, and paper plates are all soiled with grease and other food residue making them ineligible for recycling.

  • Those glossy drink cartons made from unknown materials. Thereís a good chance that if you canít find a recycling logo on it somewhere it canít be recycled. However, a growing number of cities are accepting milk cartons, so be sure to check on the rules in your area.

  • Plastic shopping bags. Those flimsy bags that you get from the supermarket? You canít recycle those. As a result, many cities and stores are encouraging the use of reusable shopping bags. If you forget your bags at home, however, fear not: many supermarkets now accept your used plastic bags to be recirculated.

So that eliminates a lot of common household waste from being recycled. However, there are plenty of items you might not be aware of that can be tossed into the recycling bin.

Lesser known recyclable items around the house

Even if something isnít eligible for curbside recycling doesnít mean you should just toss it into the trash. There are many items that you can drop off or donate. Here are just a few items that are likely sitting in your house right now:

  • Old cell phones and electronics. Our gadgets are becoming obsolete at an ever-increasing rate. That means many of us have a lot of old tech junk sitting in boxes in our basements. The good news is that several stores accept free drop-offs of old electronics for reuse and recycling.

  • Mattresses and furniture. Large items like mattresses and old furniture are a pain to get rid of. Theyíre also likely useful to someone out there. For mattresses and box springs, try contacting retailers to see if they reuse them for materials. Furniture that is still in usable condition can be placed on Craigslist or donated to a thrift store like Goodwill or Salvation Army.

  • Oil and ink. Run out of ink in your printer? Online retailers will often pay you for your old cartridges. Also, if you recently changed your oil, drop it off at an auto parts store to be recycling into other automotive materials.




Tags: recycling   recycle   household  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Kathy Foran on 11/25/2018

An ambitious homebuyer goes above and beyond the call of duty to find a great residence at an affordable price. As such, this individual is better equipped than others to streamline the homebuying journey.

Anyone can become an ambitious homebuyer. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you seamlessly discover your dream residence.

1. Create Homebuying Criteria

Buying a home can be simple, particularly for those who establish property buying criteria. If you enter the real estate market with homebuying criteria in hand, you can hone your search to residences that match your expectations. Then, if you find a house you want to buy, you can move quickly to acquire this residence.

As you craft homebuying criteria, it often helps to evaluate your short- and long-term aspirations. For example, if you strive to live close to the beach, you may want to pursue residences near top beaches in various cities and towns. On the other hand, if you require a house that includes a central air conditioning system, you can search for residences that boast this feature.

2. Develop a Budget

A homebuying budget is essential, as it will help you search for houses that fall within your price range. Perhaps most important, a budget limits the risk that you will be tempted to spend beyond your means to purchase your ideal house.

Generally, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions before you launch a home search. These financial institutions can teach you about a variety of mortgage options and help you make an informed mortgage selection. Best of all, banks and credit unions can respond to any of your mortgage concerns or questions, at any time.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you want to speed up your home search, you may want to hire a real estate agent. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can get the help you need to discover a terrific home that can serve you well for years to come.

A real estate agent understands the importance of conducting a comprehensive home search. Thus, he or she will do whatever it takes to help you find a home that suits you perfectly. From setting up home showings to helping you craft a competitive offer to purchase, a real estate agent is prepared to assist you in any way possible.

Furthermore, a real estate agent will offer plenty of guidance as you get ready to close on a home. The weeks and days leading up to a home closing can be worrisome, but a real estate agent will provide tips to alleviate stress. As a result, a real estate agent will help you enjoy a stress-free homebuying experience.

Want to navigate the homebuying journey like an expert? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can become an ambitious homebuyer and find and purchase your dream house in no time at all.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Kathy Foran on 11/18/2018

Do you keep tabs on your HVAC system regularly? For many people, the heating and cooling system in their homes is an out of sight out of mind item. Only when there is a problem with the system do people think about it. 


The important thing for you to remember is that you donít need to wait for an issue to arise for you to take continual care of your HVAC system. You can take action to continually have a supply of efficient, uninterrupted heating and cooling. With the right maintenance, your system will also run more efficiently as well. Keep the tips in mind below and show your HVAC system some love. 


Keep Regular Maintenance Appointments


As with most other things that we own, a little tune up from time to time helps to keep things running smoothly. You can keep a checklist of the monthly and annual tasks that you should complete for your HVAC system. You could ask your oil or gas company for some advice on regular tasks that you should complete as well. These could include everything from clearing out leaves and grass to changing air filters. Doing these things will not only help your utility bills and HVAC system performance, but can also help you to ward off allergens that may cause bothersome symptoms right inside your home.


Tame The Trees


While it can be tempting to want to disguise your outdoor units with trees and shrubs, these can do some damage. You should make a habit to trim any nearby bushes to your units as well as clear away debris. Be sure that the system isnít clogged with pollen, grass clippings, and dust. There should be at least a 2-foot clearing around the unit to prevent damage and airflow restriction.


Inspect Before Each Season


At the end of each season, you should make a point to inspect your HVAC system. See what the system looks like from the outside. Is the system doing its job as far as heating and cooling go on the inside of your home? Does the system sound extra labored while itís running? If there doesnít seem to be enough airflow or there is too much noise coming from the system, then you could have a problem with your system. You may need to call in a qualified professional to help you remove debris from your system, as leaves and branches can get into the coils of it, severely impairing the systemĎs function. A professional can also help you to learn how to properly clean the HVAC system yourself.


With a little effort, youíll save big in many ways just by paying close attention to your HVAC system.




Categories: Uncategorized