The St. Martin Team - Westford MA Real Estate
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Posted by St. Martin Team on 1/11/2018

Your credit score can play a major role in your ability to get the financing that you need to buy a house. As such, you'll want to do everything possible to improve your credit score before you enter the real estate market.

Now, let's take a look at three quick, easy ways to boost your credit score.

1. Pay Off Debt As Quickly As Possible

Get a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report annually from each credit reporting bureau, and you should take advantage of this perk so that you can learn about your outstanding debt.

If you have lots of outstanding debt, you'll want to start paying this off as quickly as possible. Because the less debt that you have, the more likely it becomes that you can get a favorable mortgage from a credit union or bank.

Don't wait to begin paying off outstanding debt. If you pay off even a small portion of your outstanding debt regularly, you can move closer to getting the financing that you need to acquire a terrific house.

2. Avoid New Credit Cards

A low credit score can be worrisome, and it may cause you to consider a variety of options to manage outstanding debt. However, if your credit score is low, there is no need to take out additional credit cards.

New credit cards may seem like viable short-term options to help you cover various expenses while you pay off assorted outstanding debt. But these cards are unlikely to help you resolve the biggest problem Ė paying off your outstanding debt to bolster your credit score.

Instead of signing up for new credit cards, it often helps to cut back on non-essential bills. For instance, if you don't need cable, you may be able to eliminate this expense and use the money that you save to pay off outstanding debt. Or, if you have first-rate items that you don't need, you may want to sell these items and use the profits to pay off myriad bills.

3. Keep Your Credit Card Balances Low

Once you have paid off your outstanding debt, you'll want to keep your credit card balances low.

It often helps to have one credit card that you can use in emergencies. If you keep one credit card and get rid of any others, you may be better equipped than ever before to maintain a high credit score.

Lastly, if you require additional assistance as you prepare to kick off a home search, you may want to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you narrow your home search to residences that fall within a specific price range. That way, you can avoid the risk of spending too much to acquire a house.

Increase your credit score Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you can raise your credit score before you launch a home search.





Posted by St. Martin Team on 11/9/2017

Buying a home is one of those things in life that requires you to take a certain order of steps to complete the process. First, youíll need to save up some money for a down payment and all of the other costs that go along with buying a home. Next, youíll take a look at what you can afford and perhaps get pre-qualified. Then, youíll hire a realtor and begin searching for properties. Finally, youíll make an offer, sign for the mortgage and close on the home. After that, youíll probably buy some furniture and paint the walls to make yourself feel at home. 


Would you ever dream of making that big home purchase without actually seeing the property first? One of the most time-consuming parts of the home buying process is that of viewing homes and visiting property after property. 


There are actually many reasons that a buyer might buy a property without seeing it first. With the Internet, itís fairly easy to get an idea of what a house might be like. Too, if youíre an investor, itís sometimes worth the gamble to scoop up a property at the right price in order to score a great deal. 


Itís also usually not detrimental to buyers who are trying to get a home in a high competition market to go after places they really love immediately. The early bird does get the worm, right?


Foreclosed Properties 


Properties in distress may be in poor condition, but for the right buyer can be a great deal. Banks want to get rid of these places as soon as possible due to the expenses incurred by keeping them. 


Pre-Construction Properties


Not all properties that are bought sight unseen are fixer uppers. Some properties can be bought in the pre-construction phase. These homes havenít been built but are already on the market available for purchase. Many times, buying properties this way can be cheaper than buying the new construction home after itís built. 


The Risks


There are obviously many risks to buying a home sight unseen. First, pictures can be deceiving. You never really know what youíre walking into until you see it. Photographs can easily hide major damage. Until a home is physically inspected, you may not know what the costs will be to repair it. 


The same risks apply to new construction homes. The layout of the home may not be what youíre looking for, or the home may not include the features that you want.


When you do decide to buy a home sight unseen you need to weigh the risk versus the reward in the transaction. It can be a valuable decision, in the long run, to take a chance on buying a home that you havenít been able to physically inspect.       

 





Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by St. Martin Team on 10/12/2017

Moving is stressful. You have to worry about cleaning out your old home, preparing your new one and all of the logistical headaches that come with it. If that weren't enough, you still have to balance your work and family life with the demands of moving into a new home. With all of those factors taken into account, it's easy to make mistakes on moving day.†Today, we'll cover five†of the most common mistakes people make while moving to a new home and how to avoid them.

1. Thinking you don't need help

None of us want to burden our friends or our wallets for moving. But unless all of your belongings fit in a suitcase and you're moving to a furnished apartment you're going to need some help. Whether it's friends, family, or professional movers, make sure you have enough people to help you with the moving process. Don't worry, you can repay them with free food or a good tip accordingly.

2. Assuming your help is reliable

If you're counting†on friends and family to help you move, check in with them a few days in advance to make sure they're still available. Give them details for the exact time and place they're needed. As a courtesy, order everyone pizza at the new house in exchange for their help. If you're hiring a mover, do some research before you commit to one. Read customer reviews and testimonials, make sure they have all required licensing, and so on. Call to confirm on the day before the move to make sure no mix-ups have been made.

3. Not taking traffic into account

If you and your movers are on a deadline, take traffic into account for your move. Do a test run along the moving route during the hours you'll be traveling to find out how long it will take. This will also help you plan out stops for gas if needed. Another good practice is to print out directions to the new home and give them to everyone who will be driving. This way you and your moving van know exactly which route to take.

4.†Forgetting overnight necessities

Necessities like a tooth brush, deodorant, soap, and cell phone charger should be packed in a separate bag that stays with you. This way it won't get lost among your boxes and regardless of where you're sleeping that night you'll know where to find the important items you need.

5.†Not planning for their pet

Moving your belongings is easy, but moving your pet will require extra planning. You'll have to ready your crate, pet food, toys, litter box or dog bags, and anything else your pet needs. You'll also need to look out for your pet during the move since doors will be opening and closing and they'll be in a new (potentially frightening) environment. If you can, have someone pet sit for you on moving day. If that isn't possible, keep the pet in an empty room with everything they need until you've settled in, checking up on them periodically.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by St. Martin Team on 7/20/2017

When it comes to purchasing a home, there is no need to settle for an "average" homebuying experience. Instead, there are many things that you can do to become an expert homebuyer, i.e. someone who can discover a first-rate house at a budget-friendly price.

Now, let's take a look at three ways that a "typical" homebuyer can become an extraordinary one:

1. Evaluate the Housing Market Closely

The housing market can be complicated, particularly for those who are searching for a house for the first time. Fortunately, an informed homebuyer will be able to identify real estate market trends and plan accordingly.

For example, if there is an abundance of houses available and a shortage of homebuyers, you likely are operating in a buyer's market. In this market, you should have no trouble locating a top-notch house at a price that corresponds to your budget.

On the other hand, a real estate market that features a limited number of outstanding houses commonly favors property sellers. Therefore, you'll need to proceed cautiously if you want to acquire a high-end house at an affordable price.

Of course, you should always check out a wide range of houses in cities and towns where you'd like to live. This will enable you to explore many houses and improve your chances of finding a residence that matches or exceeds your expectations.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

Although you'd like to buy a home in the near future, you still need to figure out how you'll pay for it. Lucky for you, many credit unions and banks are available that can make it easy for you to get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Lenders are happy to meet with you at your convenience. These financial institutions can outline a variety of mortgage options and help you make an informed mortgage decision.

With a mortgage in hand, you can enter the real estate market with clear-cut financial expectations. This may help you avoid the temptation to overspend on a home. Plus, you'll be better equipped than other property buyers to narrow your home search, thereby accelerating the process of acquiring your ideal house.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a housing market professional. As such, he or she can help you simplify the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

For homebuyers, hiring a real estate agent is essential. This housing market professional can keep you up to date about new properties as they become available, set up home showings, submit home offers on your behalf and much more.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is available to respond to your homebuying concerns and queries at any time. He or she will even provide homebuying recommendations to ensure you can navigate the property buying cycle quickly and effortlessly.

Ready to become an expert homebuyer? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline the process of acquiring a terrific home that you can enjoy for years to come.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by St. Martin Team on 3/23/2017

Imagine what it will be like when you discover your dream house. In all likelihood, this residence will meet all of your needs, along with your budget. However, it is important to note that the final price of your home is unlikely to be what you'll wind up paying for your new residence. There are many hidden home costs that you should consider before you finalize your home purchase, including: 1. Property Taxes Property taxes are a necessary evil. And even though every homebuyer would like to avoid them, these taxes must be paid consistently. Typically, property taxes are billed annually as a percentage of your assessed home's value. They may total thousands of dollars that you'll be responsible for paying every year, and as such, should be considered when you budget for your home purchase. Although you cannot avoid property taxes, you can plan for them. Homebuyers who budget accordingly, meanwhile, will be able to ensure that they can pay these taxes on time for the length of their mortgage. 2. Utilities You've decided to buy a home, but how do you plan to pay for electricity for your new residence? Or how do you intend to pay to heat and cool your home? Utilities are paramount, and the costs associated with utilities need to be evaluated during the homebuying process. Fortunately, working with an experienced real estate agent ensures you'll be better equipped to understand the utilities costs you may encounter when you buy a new residence. A real estate professional may be able to provide insights into how much utilities will cost based on the size of your home and your individual needs. That way, you'll be able to get a better idea about how much you'll need to save each month for electricity, heat and other utilities. 3. Home Repairs and Maintenance Even a brand new house will require repairs and maintenance over time. And even though every room in a home looks like it is in great shape now, the same may not hold true even a week, month or year from now. Putting aside money each month enables you to prepare for any minor or major home repair or maintenance projects that could arise. Furthermore, those who are in dire need of extensive home repairs may be able to apply for a home improvement loan to ensure they can get any home improvement projects done as soon as possible. Remember, planning ahead usually is a good idea, particularly for homebuyers. Budgeting for the unforeseen costs associated with buying and owning a home is important, and doing so will ensure you're prepared for any challenges that may come your way. Creating a budget and sticking to it can help you find a great home that won't force you to stretch beyond your means. Plus, those who develop a budget that includes potential hidden homebuying and homeownership costs can avoid the risk of falling into debt. Prepare for the hidden costs of buying a new residence, and you'll be able to maximize the value of your purchase.







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