Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger - RE/MAX Executive Realty

Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 5/6/2015

Have you noticed the number of new construction homes going up lately? A recent report by The U.S. Census Bureau and US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) showed single-family home building permits up almost 5%. The process of building a new home can be stressful; there are lots of decisions to be made and obstacles to overcome. Here are some useful tips to keep stress at bay when building a new home. 1. Get pre-approved for a loan. Make sure that you do all the steps necessary to put the proper loan in place. You will need to fill out a mortgage application and provide the necessary documentation to check your financial background and credit rating. This process will let you know exactly how much you can afford to spend. You will also need to make sure your lender knows you are planning on purchasing new construction. 2. Do your homework. Check the reputation of your builder. You can search for information online, contact the better business bureau or ask your friends for recommendations. If you are building in a subdivision you may want to ask some neighbors who have already moved in about their experience. 3. Watch you budget. The advertised price of a new home is rarely the final price. The price can escalate quickly when you start upgrading the standard flooring, cabinetry or lighting. Plan on how much you can afford to spend before you start upgrading and budget accordingly. 4. Don't forget about resale. You may love the upgraded plumbing and light fixtures but know that those things rarely bring in a good return. You will not be the last owner of your home. Be mindful not to add so many upgrades that you overprice your home for the neighborhood. 5. Keep the lines of communication open. Communicate with your builder, ask questions and make sure you know where your money is going. You may want to keep a running list of quotes for extras and upgrades. Be comfortable asking even the simplest questions. 6. Be prepared for delays. Building a home can be a long process. Depending on the size of your home it can take anywhere from three months to a year or more. Get an estimate of when the building of your new home will be completed and plan accordingly.

Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 12/31/2014

Trying to navigate your way through a short sale can be tough. Knowing how short sales work and how to make the sale happen is important in surviving the short sale process. Along the way there will be a lot of myths to dispel about short sales.  Here are just a few short sale myths: Sellers think that a short sale is worse for their credit score than a foreclosure. When determining your FICO, the Fair Isaac Corporation treats a short sale and a foreclosure the same. Buyers think a short sale is a deal. In fact, short sales tend to sell for more than foreclosed homes. A short sale is difficult. If you use an experienced agent you should be able to survive a short sale. Most short sales are denied because of a misunderstanding of the process. If the short sale process is not followed correctly, there is a good chance of getting denied. If I short sale my house I won't be able to buy another home. This will depend on your credit, restrictions can vary from 2-3 years.  Some FHA programs allow for a purchase sooner than that, however the guidelines are fairly strict. A house that is already in foreclosure cannot be sold as a short sale. Not true, a foreclosure notice or notice of default does not mean that you do not have time to perform a short sale. Banks will sometimes even postpone a foreclosure for the short sale option. These are just a few of the common myths surrounding short sales. As always, use a professional real estate agent to help you navigate your way through a short sale.

Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 4/9/2014

Getting a mortgage these days can be tough and it is even tougher for small-business owners. Potential self-employed borrowers usually have variability in their income streams. Today, banks are requiring more financial documentation from all buyers, and self-employed borrowers tend to face more scrutiny. Small-business owners may have a smaller income because they are typically knowledgeable about tax deductions and credits. This often reduces the amount of taxable income they have. Reducing the amount of taxable income on your tax returns means to the lender there is less income to qualify for a loan. There are ways self-employed borrowers can increase their chances of getting a home loan, however. Here are a few tips: What is the lenders history? Find out if the lender has a history of working with self-employed borrowers. Self-employed borrowers should focus more on finding a lender that will understand their situation rather than shop the loan rate. There are individual loan officers who will be able to think out of the box or come up with solutions. The lender you choose is key. Consider portfolio lenders. Portfolio lenders have more flexibility in originating loans because they don't have to sell the loan to Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. Portfolio lenders hold their own loans. That makes a big difference in their ability to loan. Another option may to consider credit unions. Many credit unions also keep a good portion of loans on their books. Boost your income. Show you make as much money as possible on your tax return. You might need to amend your tax returns. Some lenders will look at a loan application again if they have sent in amended returns to the government. Sometimes by rethinking deductions and credits on income taxes, a borrower can increase his qualifying income. Of course, with this strategy, the borrower would also face a new tax bill.

Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 11/1/2013

Thinking about selling your home? Want the secret to selling your house faster and for more money? If you answered yes to both of these questions, look no further. Staging is the answer! It is statistically proven that successfully staged homes sell faster and for more money than unstaged houses. The time you invest in strategically decluttering, cleaning, arranging and appropriately accessorizing your home directly correlates to your success on market. If you have six hours or six months, every minute dedicated to staging counts. If you are planning on selling your home next spring, THIS fall is the perfect time to start preparing. The items you purge today are items that you do not have to pack, transport and store at your next home. Summer is just a recent memory. Before your patio furniture is packed away, take the time to edit, clean, recycle, donate or sell your excess summer items. Badly stained lawn chairs, worn beach towels, and broken beach umbrellas take up space and decrease the value of your house. Once you sort through your summer clothing and furnishings, you are ready to work concurrently with the seasons. Now is the time to access fall décor, clothing, sports equipment, dishes, cookware, china, crystal, and serving dishes. Winter is the perfect time to evaluate holiday décor, bedding, blankets, rugs, window treatments, winter accessories, table linens, toys, winter clothing, sleds and skates. Give yourself permission to purge broken, dated and worn hand-me down items. In addition, let go of all pieces with negative emotional reminders attached to them. Sadly, in the midst of hastily preparing a home for market, perfectly good pieces are often discarded due to a lack of time. These excess items have potential to earn you money via a consignment shop, eBay, Craigslist, or yard sale. Moreover, these items could aid many worthwhile charity organizations and provide you with a tax deduction. Selling or donating seasonal items during the appropriate season will also yield higher monetary profit in resale. By starting your “spring” cleaning this fall, your to-do list next spring and future move will prove to be much less stressful. If you find yourself not knowing where to start or if you need help with identifying a list of action items you need to “complete in order to compete” in the housing market, please contact me at Visit and for additional staging information and to view my photo gallery.

Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 4/17/2013

Buying and affording a home is becoming a little bit easier for military families with the help of PenFed Foundation’s Dream Makers program. The Dream Makers program is funded by private donations from individuals and corporations and awards grants to military families to help them buy a new home. The program awarded its first grant in 2007 and today hopes to award a total of $1 million in grants. To be eligible for a grant you must:

  • be a member of the PenFed Foundation (Pentagon Federal Credit Union)
  • be a member of a military branch of service, including the Coast Guard (widows are also eligible)
  • be a first-time home buyer
  • have a gross annual income of $55,000 or less, or 80 percent of area median income, adjusted for family size
  • The program does more than just help military families buy homes it also provides emergency financial assistance and child care to wounded warriors and their families through its Military Heroes Fund and interest-free loans to service members through its Asset Recovery Kit program. If you would like to donate to the program or apply for a Dream Makers grant click here for more information.