Kathy Foran - REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West



Posted by Kathy Foran on 11/15/2015

You've been thinking about buying your first home and it is a very big decision. It is typically not a decision you make overnight instead you need to take the time prepare yourself.  Here are the basic steps that you should follow when it is time to buy a home.

  1. Ask are you ready? Home ownership is quite different than renting. It is a lot more expensive than renting. You will have added expenses and responsibility. There will be expenses like repairs, added utility costs, such as garbage and water, plus taxes and insurance related to your home. You will want to make sure to have an emergency fund, before you purchase your first home.
  2. Shop for a loan. Your first step will be to get preapproved. Knowing how much you can afford will help you to look for homes within your price range.
  3. Figure out how much you can afford. Just because you are preapproved for a certain loan doesn't mean you can afford that in the real world. A good rule of thumb is to keep your mortgage along with your taxes and insurance between twenty five and thirty percent of your income. You don't want to be house poor.
  4. Use a real estate professional you can trust.  A good real estate professional will listen to your wants and needs carefully. It is important that you are also educated on the process of buying a home. A good real estate professional will help meet your needs while navigating you through the process and advocating for your best interests.





Posted by Kathy Foran on 11/1/2015

Buying a home can be an exciting time and there is no better time to buy and take advantage of low mortgage rates and prices. Buyer beware, just because it is a good deal you still need to do your due diligence before signing on the dotted line. Here are some potential purchase pitfalls to look for: Do-it-yourself anything Does the home you are purchasing have a great finished basement, new deck or three season addition? Check with city or town hall to make sure the work was done to code and the proper permits were pulled. Things not done to code can be expensive to fix and can ultimately lower the home's value. Structural problems Structural problems are a big red flag. Have a professional home inspection and if need be have a structural inspection on the home. Things to look for include doors and windows that don’t open and close properly and cracks along the foundation. Some cracks may be harmless and normal settling but typically the bigger the crack, the bigger the problem. Structural problems are usually a deal killer as they can be very costly to fix. Insect damage can be part of a much bigger problem. Signs of excessive termite or pest damage does not tell the whole story and often there is unseen damage inside the walls. This may require a special pest inspection to determine if the home's studs have been compromised thus affecting the home's structure. Water damage Another potential problem is water damage. Water damage can cause the failure of the foundation. Water needs to be always draining away from the house. Look for moisture or water stains in the basement. This may indicate a drainage issue. Also be sure to check if the home is in a flood zone. Water in the home can also cause mold. Mold can lead to many serious health issues and is expensive and time consuming to remove. Mold should always be removed by a professional specializing in mold mitigation. Electrical work Do-it-yourself electrical work or antiquated electrical can be a recipe for disaster. When looking at homes be wary of electrical work that has been added on over the years. If the home has an addition make sure to ask if the current electrical system is enough to handle the additional square footage. Be wary of older knob and tube wiring or aluminum wiring this can be very expensive to replace. A professional home inspector should always be able to help point out potential pitfalls in a home before you purchase it. Never skimp on peace of mind. To find a qualified home inspector you can check with the National Association of Home Inspectors.





Posted by Kathy Foran on 6/21/2015

If you are a seller, you need to know how buyers think. A study by the National Association of Realtors asked buyers who they are, why they need to buy, and what would make them buy. Here is just a few highlights from that study which provides detailed insight into the home buyer's experience with this important transaction. Here are highlights from that report.

  • Sixty-six percent of recent home buyers were married couples—the highest share since 2001.
  • For forty-two percent of home buyers, the first step in the home-buying process was looking online for properties. While fourteen percent of home buyers first looked online for information on the complete home buying process.
  • The use of the Internet in the home search process rose slightly to ninety-two percent.
  • The typical home buyer searched for 12 weeks and viewed 10 homes.
  • Eighty-eight percent of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker. This share steadily increased from sixty-nine percent in 2001.
  • Eighty-eight percent of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent when selling their home.
  • Two-thirds of home sellers only contacted one agent before selecting the one to assist with their home sale.
  • The share of home sellers who sold their home without the assistance of a real estate agent was nine percent. Forty percent knew the buyer prior to home purchase.
 





Posted by Kathy Foran on 6/7/2015

The housing market has been heating up and lately there seems to be more buyers than homes. So where do you start when house hunting? Many buyers like to start at Open Houses to get a feel for the market. It is always best to try to find a real estate agent to help guide you through the buying process , however, if you want to try to get your feet wet first an Open House might be your best bet. There are some things you will want to know about how to tackle an Open House: 1. How do you find Open Houses? Your best bet is to find a real estate professional that represents buyers and have them help you find Open Houses that are right for you. Agents are familiar with the inventory and could save you an unnecessary trip to a house that isn't right for you. Most open houses take place on Saturday or Sunday, so Thursday is a good day to start your search. 2. Be prepared Plan your route, make sure you have the right directions and have plenty of gas to get where you are going. Take along a pen and paper to make notes on properties. 3. Get to know the area The house may be great; but how is the area? Take the time to drive around the surrounding neighborhoods of homes you like and get to know the area. A real estate professional is a great resource for community information. 4. Check for agency Most agents at an Open House represent the seller. You will want to work with an agent that is able to represent you as the buyer. If you like the agent at the Open House, and have not yet contracted with an agent, make sure to discuss agency and representation. 5. Take notes Take notes and write down a list of quick pros and cons after you have viewed a home. This will help you remember the houses you have viewed. Viewing Open Houses can help you get a sense for what’s out there in the marketplace. It will help you determine if the house you want and your finances match up with the houses that are on the market. It is always best to find a real estate professional to help you find the home of your dreams. Buying a home is no small matter.





Posted by Kathy Foran on 2/15/2015

Buying a new home is a significant investment and it's best to get it right the first time. To achieve this, it is important that you take into consideration lots of important factors before signing on the dotted line. Many people, in a state of euphoria and excitement hurry into making  decisions that they later regret. There are many important elements involved in purchasing a home that need serious consideration to avoid long term remorse.  Here are some important factors to consider when you are looking to purchase a home. The Condition Of The home The condition of the home you are buying is very important as it should be a true reflection of the purchase price. Here are a few specific issues you must keep an eye open for.

  • Start in the kitchen, make sure all appliances are functioning. Make sure the integrity of the kitchen cabinets are intact. Turn on the tap and leave it running for a few minutes to make sure there are no problems with the drainage system.
  • What is the capacity of the hot water system? Is it sufficient for the needs of the entire family? Check for leaks, rust and aging indicators. Be careful with this as repairing a hot water system is quite expensive.
  • Examine the walls carefully, were they recently painted? If so, do not be deceived, a fresh coat of paint could be masking existing cracks in the walls resulting in an investment of thousands of dollars to repair.
  • Tap the walls to perform a preliminary termite infestation check. You may need the services of a professional to do this for you.
Financial Requirements After certifying that all is well with the home, you can then proceed to negotiations. Although this requires some skills, here are a few tips.
  • There is no harm in negotiating as much as possible, push as far as you can. Some individuals hire a negotiator for this, as cool as this may seem, it may not be the best idea as you are the only one who can effectively communicate your needs. It is recommended you do the negotiation yourself. You will be amazed at how much you can save.
  • Make sure you are familiar with the entire terms and conditions. What is the down payment? What is the payment plan? Are you comfortable with it, what is the interest rate? You must be familiar with all these factors before signing on the dotted line.
The History Of The House
  • It would be nice if you had a little insight into the history of the building. How do you go about this? Ask the neighbors, do your due diligence. Inquire about previous owners, ask about recent renovations, get a feel for the vibe in the neighborhood.  Get as much information as possible, in short learn the story of the house before making it your home.
In summary, there is a lot of joy and sense of fulfillment that is associated with buying a new home. In order to make this joy last, you have to get it right the first time, taking the aforementioned into consideration would help you achieve this.