Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA
RE/MAX Leading Edge | 781-944-6060 | marilynellis@remax.net


Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 9/14/2017

The prospect of buying your first home is both exciting and nerve-wracking. On one hand, owning your own house is the final step of financial independence. Youíre no longer accountable to a landlord and their rental agreement. On the other hand, buying a home is a huge financial decision that will determine where you live for the next several years.

As a first-time buyer, thereís a lot to learn about buying a house. Youíll often hear homeowners say, ďI wish I knew that before buying this house.Ē So, in this article, weíre going to give you some common mistakes that first-time buyers make so you can have the best possible experience in the home buying process.  

1. Underestimating the costs

When first-time buyers get preapproved for a mortgage, they sometimes see this as permission to spend whatever amount theyíre approved for. However, even after closing costs, there are a number of other expenses youíll need to account for in your budget.

Youíll be responsible for maintenance, utilities, taxes, and repairing things when they get old. If all of your money is tied up just paying your mortgage and other bills, you wonít have anything left over to maintain your house.

Furthermore, living your life just to make your mortgage payments is draining. Instead, buy a house that gives you enough room to save for retirement, vacations, a family, or whatever else you see in your future.

2. Prequalify first

Before you start shopping for homes, make sure you meet some basic prerequisites. Youíll need a solid credit score, steady income history, and money saved for a down payment. You might set yourself up for disappointment looking at homes that are outside of your spending limit if you donít get prequalified first.

3. This probably isnít your last home

While itís okay to dream about the future, donít set unrealistic expectations for your first home. You can always upgrade later on, and building equity in your first home is a good way to help you do that.

4. Donít get too attached to your ďdream homeĒ

So, youíve been shopping around for a few weeks and finally found the perfect house. If everything goes well your offer could get accepted. But if it doesnít, donít worry about it. There are constantly new houses appearing on the market, and thereís a good chance youíll like one even more than this one.

5. Donít waive contingencies without good reason

Contingencies are there to protect you. They might seem like a way to needlessly complicate a contract. Or, you might think that waiving them makes you look better in the eyes of the seller. However, both sellers and their agents know that contingencies serve an important purpose.

The three main contingencies youíll want when buying a home are an appraisal contingency, financing contingency, and an inspection contingency. Unless youíre buying under special circumstances, youíll want to keep all three in your contract. 





Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 9/7/2017

For many people, nothing beats condo living. As such, the demand for condos continues to grow, and many property buyers are relocating to condos across the nation.

Before you buy a condo, however, it is important to remember that condo living is different from living in a traditional house. Therefore, property buyers who plan accordingly can set realistic expectations for condo living.

How can a property buyer find out what it's like to live in a condo community? Here are three tips to help you prepare for condo living.

1. Learn About Condo Communities in Your Area

Condo communities come in all shapes and sizes, and you should take a close look at the condo communities in your city or town to find out what they're all about.

Even a quick drive through a condo community may prove to be exceedingly valuable. This will enable you to see the size and style of assorted condos, along with the distance between the properties themselves.

After you view a few condo communities, consider what you'd like to find in your ideal residence. This will enable you to compare and contrast your home must-haves versus what condos offer and map out your property search accordingly.

2. Meet with Current and Past Condo Owners

Do any family members or friends who currently live in a condo community? If so, schedule a meet-up with them so they can share their thoughts and views on condo living with you.

Nothing beats firsthand knowledge about condo communities. By meeting with current or past condo residents, you can better understand the pros and cons of condo living.

Be sure to come up with a list of questions before you meet with current or past condo residents as well. Remember, the more you prepare, the better off you'll be as you determine whether condo living is right for you.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent has a simple goal: to help you find a residence that you'll be able to enjoy both now and in the future. As a result, this housing market professional can set up condo showings for you, allowing you to find out what it's like to live in a condo community.

In addition, a real estate agent can provide extensive details about what to expect if you decide to purchase a condo. This real estate professional can provide a copy of a condo community's homeowners' association (HOA) rules, inform you about any HOA fees and offer details about community pools and tennis courts that may be available to condo residents.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to offer honest, unbiased condo buying recommendations. He or she can provide you with plenty of information about a broad assortment of condos to help you make an informed purchase decision.

When it comes to browsing condos, don't leave anything to chance. Instead, collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can explore a variety of condos any time you choose.




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Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 8/17/2017

A low appraisal is a possibility when youíre buying a home. This can happen for a variety of reasons. If it happens to you, donít panic! 


Once you get an offer accepted on a house you love, it may feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of your shoulders. As any seasoned homebuyer will tell you, this is only the beginning! 


It can be tough for both the buyer and the seller when a deal seemingly falls apart due to an appraisal that comes in too low. This is a common occurrence and there are ways to work around it. 


Reasons For A Low Appraisal


There are a few reasons for a low appraisal including:


Insufficient sales data for the area can often skew appraisal numbers

Lenders may only lend up to a certain percentage of the appraised value


If the appraisal comes in lower than what you offered for the purchase price of the home, youíll need to come up with the rest of the cash upfront in order to purchase the property. There are other options for you if you do come into this situation.


The Appraisal Contingency


The appraisal contingency is built into your sales contract and is a protection for the buyer, allowing them to walk away without financial burden if the appraisal comes in too low. This allows you room for negotiation on the sellerís part if they really are motivated. The contingency clause isnít a one-size-fits-all protection. Even with this clause, you could end up spending more out of pocket cash or walking away from the deal completely. Itís simply a protection.  


What If The Appraisal Is Wrong?


The appraisal can be submitted for review. The appraiser would need to explain why they didnít use comparable sales provided by the lender. The property can also be completely reevaluated. In addition, you can request a separate appraisal from your lender. The seller may even pay for the second appraisal in order to keep the deal from falling through. 


Donít Offer More Than You Think The Property Is Worth


When you base huge financial decisions on emotions, you could end up in a bad situation. Your offer that wins the house can quickly become a case of regret as a buyer. Many times in a tight real estate market, youíll need to make decisions fast. If you have a general idea of property values and work with a realtor to make an informed offer, youíll be in better shape to avoid a big headache. While you may be able to afford paying more than a house is worth, itís not a smart financial decision.       



Low Appraisals Are An Opportunity


A low appraisal should be thought of by the buyer as an opportunity to renegotiate the sale price of the home. This step in the home buying process is a protection for you as a buyer for one of the biggest purchases that youíll ever make.





Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 5/25/2017

Let's face it Ė selling your home has been a long, complex and stressful journey. Now, you're only 24 hours from finalizing the sale of your house and moving on to the next chapter of your life.

Although most of the home selling process is complete, a homebuyer still needs to finalize the home purchase agreement. As such, there are several things that you may want to do before a homebuyer completes his or her final walk-through of your residence, including:

1. Clean Your Home's Interior

A messy interior is unlikely to ruin your home sale. At the same time, it is always better to err on the side of caution and provide a homebuyer with a fresh, clean residence that he or she will be able to enjoy instantly.

Spend some time mopping the floors, wiping down the walls and ceilings and ensuring your house's interior looks pristine. By doing so, you can minimize the risk that a homebuyer will find last-minute problems that could delay his or her home purchase.

2. Remove Your Belongings

If you have any belongings still at your residence, you'll need to remove them quickly.

When it comes to last-minute moving, you may need to rent a moving truck. With a moving truck at your disposal, you can remove items from your property and put them in storage or move them to your new address.

Also, don't hesitate to ask family members and friends for assistance. These loved ones may be able to provide a helping hand as you prepare to relocate from your current residence. Plus, they may be able to help you alleviate stress as you wrap up the home selling cycle.

3. Cancel Any Home Services

Contact your home cable, internet and telephone service providers to inform them about your upcoming move. You may be able to move various services to your new address, or you may need to cancel some of these services entirely.

Don't forget to contact any utilities providers as well. That way, you can avoid the risk of utility bills after you leave your current address.

4. Consult with Your Real Estate Agent

Your real estate agent has been a game-changer throughout the home selling cycle. As the home selling process draws to a conclusion, your real estate will continue to do what he or she can to ensure you can get the best results possible.

If you're uncertain about what to do to get ready for a home closing, be sure to give your real estate agent a call. This housing market professional will provide details about how the home closing process will work so that you can plan accordingly.

Moreover, your real estate agent is happy to respond to any home selling concerns, at any time. He or she will go the extra mile to provide you with the home selling support you need.

Get ready to finalize a home sale Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you'll be able to prepare for a home closing.





Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 5/4/2017

For homebuyers, it is paramount to remain patient as you explore the real estate market. At the same time, it is important to understand that the real estate market moves quickly. Thus, if you wait too long to submit an offer on a house, you could miss out on your dream home.

Lucky for you, it is easy to prepare to buy a house in a fast-paced real estate market Ė here are three tips to ensure that you can do just that.

1. Make a Competitive Offer

If you find a house that you like, don't wait to submit an offer on it. Instead, submit a competitive offer from the get-go, and you may be able to secure your ideal home immediately.

An informed homebuyer is a smart shopper who understands what a "competitive" offer means for both a homebuyer and home seller. Ultimately, a homebuyer who assesses the condition of a property and the current state of the real estate market should have no trouble submitting a competitive proposal.

2. Track the Housing Market Closely

As a homebuyer, you'll want to stay up to date on new homes as they hit the real estate market. By doing so, you'll be better equipped than other homebuyers to check out these properties and find houses that match your budget and lifestyle perfectly.

New homes become available daily, so be sure to track properties online. Also, if you understand exactly what you want from a residence, you can narrow your search and improve your chances of finding a home that suits your needs.

3. Work with a Fast-Paced Real Estate Agent

When it comes to purchasing a house in a fast-paced real estate market, there is no need to leave anything to chance. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent who can help you discover your dream home quickly and effortlessly.

A fast-paced real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to assist you. As such, this real estate professional will set up home showings and keep you informed about new properties as they become available. Plus, your real estate agent is happy to negotiate with home sellers on your behalf and ensure that you can purchase your dream home at a price that matches your budget.

Perhaps best of all, even a fast-paced real estate agent will slow down the homebuying process as needed. If you ever have concerns or questions about buying a house, your real estate agent will respond to your queries without delay.

Hiring a trusted real estate agent can make a world of difference for homebuyers in a fast-paced housing market. In fact, with a top-notch real estate agent at your disposal, you can browse the housing market closely and accelerate the process of finding your dream house.

Although the real estate market may fluctuate constantly, homebuyers who plan ahead will be able to simplify the process of acquiring exceptional properties. And if you use the aforementioned homebuying tips to your advantage, you can boost your chances of obtaining your dream home in a fast-paced housing market.




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