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.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 8/31/2017

Trying to get your house ready for the real estate market? Ultimately, a home appraisal can help you set a fair price for your residence, thereby boosting your chances of a quick home sale.

During a home appraisal, a property inspector will evaluate your residence both inside and out. Then, this inspector will provide you with a report that details his or her findings, along with an estimated value of your residence.

With a home appraisal report in hand, you can establish home improvement priorities. Plus, you can enter the housing market with a good idea about your house's value and price your residence accordingly.

Clearly, there are many reasons to complete a home appraisal. But it also is important to do everything possible to get your house appraisal-ready to increase your chances of getting a high appraisal.

For those who are struggling to get their homes appraisal-ready, we're here to help.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prep your residence for an appraisal.

1. Take an Objective View of Your Residence

Consider how a homebuyer may see your house Ė you'll be glad you did. If you take an objective approach to selling your residence, you may be able to identify various problem areas before you list your house.

For example, cracked or chipped home siding may seem like a minor issue to you, but this problem can affect how homebuyers perceive your house. Conversely, if you fix cracked or chipped siding before a home appraisal, you can increase the likelihood of a favorable appraisal.

2. Spend Some Time Cleaning Your House

A tidy house is a pristine residence, one that will surely stand out to homebuyers. Meanwhile, if you allocate some time to clean your residence, you may be able to identify potential home problems that otherwise could hurt your residence's value.

If you need extra help with home cleaning, it certainly pays to hire a professional cleaning company. This business hires friendly, experienced staff members who will help you enhance your house's interior and exterior in no time at all.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

Getting a house appraisal-ready may prove to be costly and time-consuming. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive extensive support as you prep your residence for an appraisal.

A real estate agent will examine your residence before an appraisal and offer honest, unbiased home improvement recommendations. In addition, he or she can put you in touch with the top property inspectors in your area to guarantee that you can receive a comprehensive appraisal.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent acts as a home selling guide. This housing market professional is ready to respond to your home selling concerns and questions and will do whatever it takes to ensure you can maximize the value of your residence.

Move one step closer to selling your house Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline the process of getting your home ready for an appraisal.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 8/24/2017

When we decorate and organize our homes, few of us give more than a passing thought to the way our choices will affect our mood and behavior in our home. Most of us simply organize and decorate based on what we like on a whim.

There are, however, entire fields of study devoted to the way our environment affects us (environmental psychology), and ways we can engineer and design our environments to change our moods and behaviors.

If youíve ever visited a big city like New York you will likely have noticed an example of this firsthand in city parks.

When you sit down on a park bench, youíll likely find that it isnít the most comfortable place to sit. Thereís more than just a tight budget at play here. Many engineers who plan parks use the idea of ďunpleasant design.Ē They create benches with the intention of dissuading people from lying down  the benches by making them curved or putting arm rests in the middle of them.

In the same way that a city park can be designed to affect your behavior, your home can as well. In this article, weíll give you some tips on how you can better arrange and decorate your home to have a positive impact on both your mood and behavior.

Organize to your advantage

Many of us think of our homes as the opposite of work--itís a place we relax after a long day. However, there are a number of chores and tasks youíll complete at home that can be optimally engineered to save you time.

One simple example is to think about the placement of the items you use in the kitchen. Is your trash can far from the countertop, requiring you to constantly walk away to toss out scraps?

A good way to find out the needless extra work youíre doing around the house is to take note of how you go about your daily routine. This will give you insight into areas where you might better use your time.

Declutter for productivity

Whether you work from home frequently or you just need a quiet place to do taxes or pay bills, a home office can be a good way to avoid distraction. That is, until you fill your home office with distractions.

When organizing your office, think about the content of it. For most people, a decluttered minimalist environment is most conducive to work. Leave out the television, keep your cell phone at bay, and donít cover your desk in papers that youíll constantly be rearranging.

Similarly, your computer needs to be tailored to productivity as well. We all know how tempting it is to head over to Facebook or Reddit when we should be focusing on work. A good way to help break this habit is to utilize a time tracking app that lets you know when itís time for a break. Alternatively, you can use an extension or add-on for your browser that blocks sites like Facebook during the time you specify.

Colors matter more than you think

Each room in your home serves a different purpose. The kitchen is a place of activity and conversation, the bedroom is one of relaxation, and the home office one of focus.

Studies have shown that there is a correlation between the colors and brightness of the room we are in and our moods.

So, when youíre decorating a room in your home, think about the type of colors that fit how you would like to feel in that room.




Tags: home decor   home design  
Categories: Uncategorized  


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.