The St. Martin Team - Westford MA Real Estate
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Posted by St. Martin Team on 10/18/2018

If this is your first time buying a home, you might be worried that you arenít asking enough questions. Or maybe youíre concerned youíre not asking the right questions--the things that matter the most when making a financial decision as important and life-changing as buying a home.  

While everyoneís situation is unique when buying a home, there are some questions that all buyers could benefit from asking. These questions will help you learn more about the home, how competitive the house is, and how much work youíll need to put into it.

Since time is usually of the essence for people buying a home, it makes sense to ask questions early on so that you donít waste too much time exploring an option that isnít ideal for your situation.

In this article, weíre going to give you 5 important questions to ask when you talk to a seller and their agent so that you can be prepared to make the best decision for you or your family.

1. How flexible is the asking price?

While few sellers or agents will outright tell you if theyíd accept a lower offer, itís still a good idea to ask this question, as it will open up a conversation about the sellerís feelings toward the home and whether theyíre pricing high with the hopes of receiving slightly lower offers.

2. How many offers has the home received?

It may seem counterintuitive, but most agents and sellers will be quite happy to tell you if theyíve received other offers. They know that once you know the current offer youíll have to either come up with a higher offer or move on. Itís a win-win for you and the seller, as it equips both of you with information you need to make the best choice.

3. Why are the sellers moving away?

This question can be personal, so if you receive an answer that suggests itís a family matter, donít press for too many details. However, some sellers and agents will let you know exactly why the house is for sale. From this simple question, you can learn the sellerís timeline for making the sale, details about the schools or neighborhoods, and any other reason that might drive someone to move out of the neighborhood.

4. Are there any problems with the house that you know of?

Although youíll have an inspection contingency in your contract if you do decide to make an offer on the home, itís better to know if there are any issues with the home before going through the bidding process.

Most sellers understand this and will be upfront about any problems with the home, including repairs that need to be made now or will need to be made soon after you move in.

5. What is the average cost of utilities?

Buying a home comes with a lot of added costs and fees. However, many people forget about the changes in the cost of utilities that comes with buying a home--especially if youíre moving from an apartment where some utilities may have been included.

The seller will be able to give you a good estimate on the cost of electricity, garbage removal, internet, heat, and more.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by St. Martin Team on 10/11/2018

One of the best things that you can add to your home is a solar power system. These can be costly but they save you a lot in the long term on utility costs. While government programs have scaled back for these energy saving improvements over the years, thereís still many benefits to them. You can even get a loan specifically for installing solar power to your home.


Before you take the leap, youíll want to know for sure if solar will really add value to your home. Of course, you want a return on your investment. 


The good news is that thereís no doubt about it that installing solar panels does definitely add value to your home. Thereís one caveat to the value: You should own your   solar power system as opposed to leasing it through a solar company or a power purchase agreement. 


Homes that have solar panels sell for more money simply because they offer a definite return benefit to the future owner. 


Does A Leased Solar System Offer The Same Benefits?


Owning your solar system will save you more money in the long run than leasing your system. When you own a solar power system, the FHA requires that the total value of your solar system be added to the total value of your home when you go to sell it. If you lease the panels, this value cannot be added to the home during an assessment.   


If you have financed the system, the rules may be a bit more lenient. While you technically donít own the system, you are paying towards owning the system yourself. Each lender will have their own standards for this, so check with them for specifics, as your home must meet certain standards and eligibility requirements. 


Securing A Mortgage With A Leased Solar System


If someone is looking to secure a mortgage with a leased or currently unowned solar energy system, there are a few hurdles that you might face through the process. These problems include:


Solar lease payments must be included in the buyerís debt-to-income ratio. 

The panel owners must have a third-party insurance to cover damage to the property thatís being mortgaged in the event of malfunction or faulty installation of the panels.         


Solar Panels Are An Overall Great Investment


Itís really hard to go wrong if you purchase or finance your solar panel system. As long as you own the system, value will be added to your home. Youíll also save on your own utility bills. Your home will undoubtedly become more attractive to buyers if you decide to sell your home in the future.




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Posted by St. Martin Team on 10/4/2018

There are countless reasons a homeowner might want to sell their home and buy another. Some want to move for a change of scenery or to relocate for work. Others are parents with a recently empty nest who want to downsize to something more affordable that meets their needs.

The good news for second time homebuyers is that you already have an idea of what to expect when buying a home. The research, paperwork, disappointments, and delays that come with buying a home can all be prepared for. However, if you have the burden of selling your old home, finding a temporary place to live, and then moving into a new one, your responsibilities can be doubled or tripled.

In this guide, weíll go over how to prepare for selling your old home and moving into the new one. Weíll cover some common mistakes and offer some advice to keep you sane throughout this daunting (but exciting!) process.

Buying or selling first

For most homeowners, selling first makes the most sense financially. Holding onto a second house often means having to make two mortgage payments at once. Similarly, selling first will give you a much clearer idea of your budget for your new home.

Depending on market conditions, your home may or may not sell for as much as you were hoping. Itís important to keep this in mind before signing onto a new mortgage.

Moving logistics

Once you sell your home, youíll have to work out living and storage arrangements until you are ready to move into your new home. It may seem easy at first--just rent for a couple months until your move-in date, right? It isnít always that simple, however, as deals can sometimes fall through and you can find yourself with a move-out date from your own home without having finalized a deal on your new home. Because of this, many homeowners elect to may their current mortgage for an extra month or two until they can move in to their new home. 

Research your options for short-term living and storage in your area. See if you can work with moving companies who will give you a discount for helping you move twice; once to the storage facility and again to your new home.

One way around this is to time your move out and move-in dates so that you donít have to worry about storage. Some homebuyers will even move into the new home before officially closing on the home (i.e., take possession before closing). While this may be convenient, it can also be dangerous for the buyer and the seller.

Plan meticulously

One of the best piece of advice we can give is to stick to your schedule and keep good records during your buying and selling processes. Make sure whoever buys your home is aware of your plans for moving out and that anything that could delay those plans (inspection issues, moving logistics) are taken care of.  

Keeping track of all this information can be difficult, so donít be afraid to keep a daily list or planner of the things you need to take care of, and never be afraid to reach out to your real estate agent who will often be able to advise you on the best way to make your move as smooth a process as possible.





Posted by St. Martin Team on 9/27/2018

Home is where the heart is and we all want to make sure the heart of our home, our family, is healthy and happy. Creating a home that sets your family up for success towards becoming a healthier, and therefore happier family can lead to happy memories you can cherish forever. Keep reading for tips and habits you can enforce and lead by example in your home to encourage your family to make healthy choices both mentally and physically. Practice gratitude. At the end of each day, perhaps even around the dinner table review your family's favorite moments of the day and what they are grateful for. Creating space for these moments is akin to writing out gratitude lists which have been scientifically proven to help increase happiness. This habit also has the added benefit of bringing your family closer together . Spend time together at home. Whether itís a weekly game night where your family gathers around the kitchen table to play board games, huddles up in the living room to play some video games or spend the day playing a game of ball in the backyard. Taking time to enjoy each other at home base creates happy memories and helps your family become more tight knit. Create zones in your house. Set up zones for activities such as tech only, homework, play, solo time and even family time to help encourage focus on the activity at hand while maintaining balance. By creating specific zones you help hardwire your familyís brains to focus on the activity at hand and allow a way for other members of the family to respect that personís time while they are engaging in an activity. Healthy Choices. Set out bowls of fruits, pre-cut veggies to snack on and keep a jug of cold water on hand to guide your family towards healthy choices on their own. This works especially well with younger children so that you can allow them to make their own food choices at snack time and ensure you are making it easier for them to reach for the good stuff. Encourage physical activity. If you child is interested in an afterschool sport, practice being enthusiastic and supportive of their new interest. Spend time practicing with them in the backyard and volunteer to host their friends over for a group practice in the backyard. If your partner is interested in joining the gym or an adult league, leave room in your familyís schedule for them to easily stick to and enjoy their new commitment. Make relaxation easy for your family. Consider what each member of your familyís go-to technique to relax is and set up ways for them to easily do so. If your children love to draw or paint set up an art station they can easily access at their discretion. If your partner enjoys curling up with a good book and some hot tea arrange a bookcase with their favorite titles within reach and keep tea making supplies at the forefront of your cabinet. Get outside.†Sometimes it's important to get out of the house too. A few times a month schedule times for family trips to get outside and visit nearby trails. Whether you walk, hike or ride bikes as a family getting outdoors to enjoy fresh air and be active will improve your familyís health and guarantee some quality time together. We all want health and happiness for the ones we love. You can help promote healthy habits that lead to increased happiness for your family with a little preparation and guiding by example. Working with, playing with, and supporting each other along the way will guarantee a healthier, more tight knit family with loads of memories to cherish for years to come.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by St. Martin Team on 9/20/2018

You've officially added your home to the real estate market; now, you just need to generate interest among family members, friends and others who may consider purchasing your house. Fortunately, there are many great ways to share an online home listing with others, including: 1. Facebook As soon as your home listing becomes available online, feel free to share it via Facebook, a leading social network among men and women of all ages. Sharing a link to your home listing via Facebook enables you to provide information about your residence to friends and family members instantly. Plus, Facebook enables your friends and family members to share your post with others, further increasing your reach. Don't be afraid to include high-resolution photos with your Facebook posts, too. This will improve your chances that your Facebook posts will be noticed, and ultimately, could help you garner attention from prospective homebuyers. Also, each Facebook post should consist of one to two sentences. Ensure that each Facebook post is easy to understand and encourages readers to click on the link to view your home listing, and you may find that a large variety of homebuyers could become interested in your residence. 2. Twitter With only 140 characters at your disposal, sharing information about your house via Twitter may seem nearly impossible. However, those who understand what it takes to put together a great tweet could generate significant interest in their homes by using this social media platform. Typically, a great Twitter post should include a brief description that explains your home is now available. You also may want to highlight one feature of your home (like the style of your house, where it is located or the number of bedrooms it offers) and include a call to action that encourages readers to click on the link to view your home listing. Like a Facebook post, you will want to incorporate a high-resolution image into your tweet as well. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words, and a first-rate picture of your home's exterior may encourage dozens of interested homebuyers to evaluate your home listing. 3. Email Have friends and family members who shy away from social media? No worries, as you can send them a link to your online home listing any time you choose. If you send an email to a friend or family member, be sure to include a clear, concise subject line. This will allow you to minimize the risk that your message could wind up in a recipient's junk email folder. Furthermore, be sure to include your real estate agent's contact information in your email. Because if a homebuyer knows how to reach your real estate agent, he or she can contact this real estate professional to set up a home showing immediately. An online home listing increases your house's visibility. And if you share your online home listing with others, you may be able to increase interest in your home accelerate the home selling process.







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