RE/MAX Main Street Associates
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Posted by RE/MAX Main Street Associates on 2/18/2018

Although you may be tempted to spontaneously make an offer on a house that triggers happy memories of your childhood, it's usually best to approach house buying in a methodical, dispassionate way.

Your emotions will come into play as you visit different listings, but they should be tempered by a realistic budget, a list of personal requirements, and a sprinkling of "wish list" items -- ones that will help make your new home extra special!

A lot will depend on whether you're a first-time home buyer or a seasoned home owner. In all likelihood, the more houses you've owned, the higher your expectations will be. That's certainly not a hard-and-fast rule, but it does lend itself to reason. As is the case with most things in life, experience tends to clarify our needs, our tolerances, our quality standards, and our lifestyle preferences.

Buying a home is a huge decision for two reasons: It not only impacts our financial situation (both immediate and long term), but it effects our quality of life for the foreseeable future. So, similar to the institution of marriage, buying a house is a commitment that should not be taken lightly!

Fortunately, there are several effective ways to help ensure that the home you buy will live up to your expectations. One of the most steadfast "anchors" you can have in your search for the ideal home is a seasoned real estate agent. They have the training, knowledge, and communication skills to help you find the house, the right property, and the optimal location that will best suit your needs.

Your agent will work closely with you to create a list of house hunting requirements and preferences. Although the location, school district, and number of bedrooms will probably have a major bearing on your decision, there are literally dozens of other features and characteristics that will influence your final choice. Among those will be square footage, number of bathrooms, and the property's tax rate.

Standard checklists that include a wide range of home buyer requirements are available online and through your real estate agent. These checklists will help you rank each house you visit and objectively compare the homes you like the best. While flexibility is a necessary part of a successful house-hunting campaign, there will invariably be items you won't want to compromise on.

By deciding in advance what your new home should include, you'll create a clear vision of the type of living environment you and your family will find the most satisfying. Whether you're looking for a home with an open floor plan, a screened-in porch, one or more fireplaces, a finished basement, a two-car garage, or ample space between neighbors, getting your requirements down on paper is the first step to turning your house-buying goals into reality!





Posted by RE/MAX Main Street Associates on 2/18/2018

Fireplaces can serve as a focal point in a room, provide a source of heat and add to the comfort of your home. They can also help you to save on energy costs. Thereís so many different kinds of fireplaces that you can either install or find in a home. If youíre shopping for a home, you may want a home with a built-in fireplace. You donít necessarily need one to get all of the benefits that a fireplace can provide. Thereís different types of fireplaces that are made to suit the many different needs of homeowners. Here, weíll show you some different kinds of fireplaces along with their pros and cons. 


Wood Fireplaces 


The most commonly thought of fireplace is the wood-burning fireplace. This will be built-in to your home, or you can install them in your home to use as a heat source. You may even install a wood stove in the upstairs part of your home and another in the downstairs in order to keep an even heat throughout the home. In some homes, however, just one wood stove is enough to heat the entire house! 


This type of fireplace requires maintaining from time-to-time including cleaning the chimney. Youíll also need to clean out ash from the inside of the fireplace. The material thatís being burned- wood, needs to be stored somewhere. Rain and inclement weather can cause a problem, as youíll need to dry the wood some before it can be burned effectively. Youíll need a screen to protect you and your family from the ash and embers that may be blown around form the inside of the fireplace while itís burning wood. These fireplaces are advantageous for a classic look and feel but can often be a pain to clean.   


Gas Fireplaces 


If your home is fitted with a gas fireplace, youíre lucky because these types of fireplaces are cleaner and provide a more even heat source. Gas fireplaces, true to their name, burn gas instead of wood. A vented gas fireplace will look very similar to that of a wood- burning fireplace. There is a firebox present in the chimney that allows for ventilation with these types of heating sources. You can use a variety of things to give the appearance that you are ďburningĒ them in a gas fireplace. This includes beads that will bring flames up and ceramic logs that appear just like the logs that would be present in a wood-burning fireplace. You can even easily convert a gas burning fireplace to a wood burning one. This is, if you seem miss cleaning up all of the ash that they create!   


Direct Vent Fireplaces


These fireplaces donít require a chimney. They draw in outside air and feed off a gas line thatís attached through the wall. The flame of these fireplaces is secured behind a piece of glass. The big advantage to these kinds of fireplaces is that they emit a large amount of heat and donít lose much heat in the process, since thereís no chimney to lose air through.  


Faux Fireplaces

If you choose, thereís a variety of options that you have in getting a fireplace that doesnít actually create a flame at all. These fireplaces are typically run on electricity and give the same effect of a fireplace but are much easier to install anywhere in your home. Consider these if you really would like a fireplace without the hassle!





Posted by RE/MAX Main Street Associates on 2/11/2018

When youíre searching for a home to buy, youíll probably attend many different open houses. The open house is meant to help you get a feel for different properties. While you canít get to know all the ins and outs of a home in a short time, you can get an understanding of some of the best things (and not so great things) about a property. Below, youíll find some of the biggest warning signs that a property may not be all that it appears to be. 


Thereís A Lot Of Odor Masking Elements In Place


When you walk into an open house, you may get the smell of freshly baked cookies or a lovely candle. While these are great marketing techniques, they also can be a tactic to hide things. Perhaps there are some offensive odors in the house from mold, leaks, smoke, or mildew. You may not be prepared to deal with these kinds of problems once you move into a home. 


You Notice Glaring Issues


While the home inspection will reveal many problems that may be invisible to the casual observer, you should still be on the lookout for issues on the surface of the home during the open house. These issues can include cracks in the ceiling or walls, cracks in the floor, or even squeaky floor boards. If you happen to see patchy walls in the home, that could indicate that repairs have been made several times. Be alert for these potential problems.


Does The Home Look Well-Kept?


When you pull up in front of the home is the lawn trim? Does the home appear clean? While everyone would hope that a homeowner would clean up their property before an open house, small and big things like this can indicate a bigger problem. If the home is not cared for on the surface, how many other underlying maintenance issues are there in the home? Neglected regular maintenance can cause larger problems of all kinds in a home.


Strange Cosmetic Fixes


A freshly painted wall could be suspect of a big problem. Under the paint could be mold, cracks, or other issues. Some homeowners do put fresh paint on their walls before selling in order to give the home a neutral feel. However, you should be on the lookout for other signs of problems in the home.          


Channel Your Inner Detective


While you donít need to dig as deep into a home as a home inspector does, you should be on the lookout as you scan a home for the potential livability for you. Things like glaring cracks in the ceiling, or a strong odor of cigarette smoke could be signs of future problems living in the home. The open house is your time to find a home that fits you and your life, so make the most of the opportunity.  




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by RE/MAX Main Street Associates on 2/11/2018

Home renovations are generally thought of as a good thing. You can update your home for your own comfort. New amenities will make your life easier. Your home can expand in size. Whatever you are planning to do in your home is bound to have a positive affect. One thing to be aware of when youíre gearing up for the process of any type of home renovation is that of your home insurance. You want to protect yourself and your home as your go through the stages of home renovations. Below, youíll find some tips to help you complete renovations you desire in your home without having surprise insurance bills. 


Check That Your Contractor Has Insurance Coverage


Before you sign a contract with any contractor be sure that they have sufficient insurance coverage. In particular you want to be sure that they have workersĎ compensation coverage and liability insurance. Donít be afraid to ask the contractor for the necessary certificates and confirmation of insurance coverage before you even sign the contract. Itís your right as a consumer to know that your contractor is covered properly.


Beware Of Subcontractors As Well


Just because your general contractor is covered doesnít mean that all subcontractors that are hired have the correct insurance. Electricians, plumbers, and other specialty contractors will need their own insurance on the job. The same rules apply as when youíre hiring any other contractor. Check with the general contractor to understand if their policy will cover all workers that are hired, or if these individuals need to carry their own insurance policies. Check with your home insurance company to see what your home insurance does and doesnít cover during a renovation period on your home. The more knowledge that you have going into the process, the better it is for you. 


For Your Homeownerís Insurance Policy


Once the renovations are complete, youíll need to reassess the policy coverage amounts that you have for your home insurance policy. The renovations that you have completed will undoubtedly increase the value of your home causing you to need to increase the replacement value of your home on your insurance policy. Donít forget to include everything from new appliances to furniture that has been replaced in the renovation. This will help you to avoid any gaps in coverage. This way, youíll know that your home will be fully covered. With the right insurance coverage youíll know that your home is can be rebuilt to the same specifications in the event of a complete loss. You always want this peace of mind as a homeowner.      





Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by RE/MAX Main Street Associates on 2/4/2018

Saving for a down payment on a home is a long process that requires discipline and organization. But we all know that with so many other things going on in our lives it can be hard to spend enough time focusing on your budget.

Fortunately, there are several tools available to soon-to-be homeowners who want to keep track of their spending and make sure they meet their down payment goals. In this article, weíre going to talk about some of the best budgeting apps, websites, and other tools to help you keep yourself accountable so you can be living in your new home as soon as possible.

Why budget for a down payment?

If youíve saved money in the past for a purchase without a budget you might be wondering why you should go through the effort of creating one now.

However, there are many reasons to have a budget, especially if youíre planning on making an investment as large as a home. Here are just a few:

  • Keeping an accurate budget will let you know almost exactly how much you can expect to save for a down payment

  • Budgeting helps you locate and cut out expenses that would be better used in your savings account

  • Budgeting will give you peace of mind along the road to saving for your down payment

Now that weíve talked about the importance of making a budget, letís talk about some of the best ways to get it done.

YNAB

You Need a Budget, often shortened to YNAB, is one of the most useful tools for learning about and creating a budget. I donít know about you, but I was never formally taught how to budget in school. But, it would have been a useful class to have!

YNAB combines budgeting tools with educational materials to help you save while you learn more about managing money. It can be easy to feel lost when it comes to learning about personal finance--thatís what makes YNAB so great.

Their basic precept is that you ďgive every dollar a job,Ē meaning there wonít be any money in any of your accounts or in your paycheck that doesnít have a purpose. That doesnít mean you canít spend money on yourself every once in awhile, just that youíll have planned ahead for moments so you can manage them.

You Need A Budget is available for Apple, Android, on Alexa and in your browser.

Saving with your spouse

Planning a budget yourself is complicated as it is. But planning together with a spouse can be even more confusing. However, there are ways to effectively make a family budget to save for a down payment.

First, you should both make sure you have individual budgets to make sure you know how much money from each of your incomes can go into savings. Opening a joint savings account and having a certain percentage of your paycheck direct deposited into that account is a good place to start.


From there, monitor your savings for a month to see if you need to alter this number, and try to stick to your monthly savings goal.




Tags: budgeting   down payment  
Categories: Uncategorized