Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger - RE/MAX Executive Realty



Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 3/6/2019

Buying your first home is a big decision; one that involves a lengthy process of saving money, building credit, and planning the next phase of your life. However, owning a home comes with one major payoff: home equity.

Simply put, home equity is the amount of your home that you’ve paid off. However, it does get more complicated when we bring in factors like the market value of your home and how it shifts over the years.

In this article, we’ll discuss home equity and what it means for you as a homeowner. This way, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect when you finally make that last payment on your home or when you decide to sell.

Home equity and market value

As I mentioned earlier, home equity is more than just the amount you’ve paid toward your mortgage. Like most markets, the housing market shifts over time.

Most homes slowly increase in value over time. In the real estate world, this increase in value is called appreciation.

However, that doesn’t mean that your home is simply going to increase in value indefinitely until you decide to sell. As you will find out (if you haven’t yet already), owning a home can be expensive. Houses age and require upgrades. If you fail to keep up with the maintenance of your home, its value can diminish.

How to build equity

The most important thing you can do to build equity is to make on-time payments to your mortgage. Making extra mortgage payments will help you build equity even faster.

One method of paying extra on your mortgage that many people are adopting is to make bi-weekly payments. Twenty-six bi-weekly payments comes out to 13 full payments per year, the equivalent of making one full extra monthly payment.

The second method of building equity is something that you have less control over: appreciation. However, if you stick to a maintenance schedule for your home and keep it in good repair, you’ll most likely benefit from appreciation over the lifespan of your mortgage.

What can I use home equity for?

The most common way to use home equity is as a down payment or full payment on your next home. First-time buyers who don’t have a 20% down payment saved often buy a starter home and then later upgrade as their family grows and their needs change. In the years that they own their first home, they build enough equity to make a full down payment on their second home, avoiding fees like mortgage insurance.

Many homeowners planning on retiring in the near future use their equity toward their retirement home, often turning a profit in the process. If you plan on downgrading for retirement and have fully paid off your mortgage, you can often use your equity to pay for your next home in cash.





Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 2/20/2019

An open house can be a life-changing event for a homebuyer. If you plan ahead for an open house, you should have no trouble determining whether a residence matches or exceeds your expectations. And if the answer is "Yes," you can proceed quickly to submit a competitive offer to acquire a house.

What does it take to prep for an open house? Here are three open house preparation tips that every homebuyer needs to know.

1. Understand Your Budget

Before you attend an open house, you should find out how much money is at your disposal. Thus, you may want to meet with banks and credit unions to see if you can get pre-approved for a mortgage. That way, you can kick off your home search with a budget in hand.

Although you know that you have only a certain amount of money to spend on a residence, it may be worthwhile to consider attending open houses for residences with initial asking prices that are above your price range. Because in some instances, a home seller may be willing to accept an offer that falls below his or her initial asking price.

2. Create a List of Questions

A home is one of the biggest purchases that a person can make, and as such, it pays to be diligent. If you craft a list of questions before an open house, you can get immediate responses from the showing agent. Then, you can determine the best course of action.

When it comes to an open house, there is no such thing as a "bad" question. As a homebuyer, it is paramount to get as much information as possible about a residence to determine whether a house is right for you. Therefore, if you create a list of questions in advance, you can improve your chances of getting the most out of an open house.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

If you're uncertain about how to approach an open house, you're not alone. Fortunately, real estate agents are available nationwide who are happy to teach you the ins and outs of the real estate market. By doing so, these housing market professionals will make it easy to take an informed approach to any open house, at any time.

A real estate agent will always keep you up to date about new residences as they become available. Also, if you are interested in homes in a particular city or town, a real estate agent will notify you about open houses in this area. And if you need extra help prepping for an open house, a real estate agent is happy to assist you in any way possible.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent provides throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent will help you submit an offer on a house, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and much more.

Be diligent as you get ready for an open house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can fully prepare for an open house.





Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 2/13/2019

One of the perks of moving out of an apartment into a home is having your very own outdoor space. Depending on how close to the city you live, you may not get much of a yard with your home. If you’re looking for that perfect outdoor space to dwell in, read on for some tips on buying a house with a yard. If you check the yard out, you could save yourself from facing problems further down the road. 


Are The Trees In Good Condition?


While mature trees in a yard are a sure fire way to have privacy and shade, the trees must be safe. You want any trees in your yard to be healthy. Otherwise, during a storm, you may have an issue with falling trees. If you have a lot of trees in your yard, it may be a good idea to hire an arborist who can tell you if the trees are safe. Tree removal can be costly, so you’ll need to plan for this expense if your yard has many trees.


How Safe The Outdoor Living Areas?


You should check out any outdoor living areas the yard has. If the home comes with a patio, or gazebo the soundness of the structures should be checked. Any cement should be free of cracks or crumble.


The Layout Of The Lot


There is more to a yard than the size of a property. You should keep in mind where the home is situated on the lot. Is the front yard more prominent than the backyard? Is the home on a slope? Is there a chance water will pool near the foundation of the house? All of these questions are important for the long-term health of the property. 


How Much Yard Are You Willing To Care For?


You need to know how large of a yard you’re actually willing to care for. For many buyers, a small yard is just enough. Other buyers aim to care for a large lawn the many flowerbeds. The larger the yard, the more possibilities you have. If you are willing to take the extra time and incur the additional expense that a large yard will cost, it could be a good feature to look for. Yard size may also narrow down your home search considerably. 


Buying a home with a yard can be a great decision, all you need is to understand your own preferences and ability to care for properties of different sizes.        






Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 1/23/2019

If you want to enjoy a successful homebuying experience, it may be beneficial to hone your house search to residences in a select group of cities and towns. That way, you can speed up the process of finding and buying your dream residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you narrow your house search.

1. Review Your Short and Long-Term Goals

Consider your immediate and long-term goals. By doing so, you can focus on finding a home that falls in line with your aspirations.

For instance, if you want to work in the big city, you may want to search for residences in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you have children, you may want to explore houses near top schools and parks.

Be flexible as you consider homes in assorted cities and towns, too. If you are open to homebuying opportunities in different areas, you may be able to quickly find a great residence at a budget-friendly price.

2. Obtain a Mortgage

With a mortgage in hand, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a house. Then, you can narrow your home search to residences that correspond to your budget.

Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, and you can get pre-approved for a mortgage. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable home financing specialists, and these professionals can help you determine which type of mortgage will suit you perfectly.

Also, you may want to ask questions as you review your mortgage options. Home financing specialists at banks and credit unions are happy to reply to your mortgage questions, and ultimately, help you make an informed mortgage selection.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

Finding a home in a particular city or town may be tough, especially if you try to navigate the real estate market on your own. Conversely, if you hire an real estate agent, you can get the help you need to discover your dream house.

A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who will go above and beyond the call of duty to transform your homeownership dream into a reality. He or she first will learn about your homebuying goals and budget. Next, a real estate agent will provide you with details about available homes in myriad cities and towns. A real estate agent then will help you kick off a home search so you can locate your ideal house.

Of course, once you discover your dream home, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence as well. And if your homebuying proposal is accepted, a real estate agent will devote the necessary time and resources to ensure you can immediately finalize your home purchase.

Take the guesswork out of finding your dream residence – use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost the likelihood of acquiring a terrific house that you can enjoy both now and in the future.




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Posted by Sandi Boucini & Michelle Granger on 1/9/2019

After you submit an offer on a home and complete a property inspection, there may be only a short amount of time until you close.

Ultimately, it pays to prepare for closing day. If you start planning for your home closing today, you can identify and address any potential problems.

To better understand how to get ready for a home closing, let's take a look at three questions to consider before your closing.

1. What needs to get done before my closing date?

Your closing date may be a few weeks away, but time moves quickly, particularly for a homebuyer who wants to get into a new residence as quickly as possible. Fortunately, homebuyers who understand what needs to get done prior to a closing can plan accordingly.

Typically, a homebuyer will need to secure homeowners insurance and title insurance before closing on a house. Insurance companies are available to provide information about both types of insurance. If you reach out to these companies immediately, you can guarantee that your home and personal belongings will be covered against loss or damage.

You'll need to contact utilities providers as well. That way, you can ensure that your gas, electric and other utilities are good to go as soon as you close on your home.

2. How much are my monthly mortgage payments?

You know that you've been pre-approved for a mortgage. However, if you don't know how much that you'll be paying for your home each month, you'll certainly want to find out sooner rather than later.

Monthly mortgage payments can add up quickly, particularly for homebuyers who fail to budget properly. If you know exactly how much that you'll be paying each month for your home, you can effectively map out a budget.

3. What do I need to bring to my closing?

Homebuyers are required to bring a government-issued ID to a closing. In some instances, you may need to provide a certified or cashier's check to cover assorted closing costs as well.

If you are unsure about what to bring to a home closing, it often helps to consult with a real estate agent. In fact, this housing market professional can help you seamlessly navigate all stages of the homebuying cycle.

Prior to a home closing, a real estate agent is happy to respond to any concerns or questions that you may have. This housing market professional will explain how the home closing process works, how long the process generally takes to complete and, perhaps most important, when you'll receive the keys to your house.

A real estate agent also goes above and beyond the call of duty to provide assistance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she can help you compare and contrast a broad range of houses, submit a competitive offer on a home and ensure that you can discover your dream residence in no time at all.

Get ready for a home closing – consider the aforementioned questions, and you can prep for your closing date.




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