Friday, October 17, 2014 / by Marilyn Perna
Usually, when Real Estate Agents talk about referrals, people assume they’re hunting for new listings or more buyers to represent. This isn’t one of those posts! In fact, I wish more people would come to me looking for referrals in the community. A good real estate agent knows people in the community you can trust, and I’m always happy to provide the connection. If you think about it, agents pretty much interact with all of the people dedicated to protecting, improving, or maintaining your biggest asset: Your home. Whether it’s a local insurance agent, an honest contractor, or a crack crew of yard and maintenance people, agents are great sources of “who you should know.” (We’re also reliable sources of locals-only community info!)
It’s too bad that agents are often involved only in the sale or purchase of a house. I prefer to think of myself as ...
Monday, September 8, 2014 / by Marilyn Perna
It starts innocently enough... you pass a house in a neighborhood you like, you hear someone is selling their home, you happen to look up home prices online. Before you know it, you’re knee-deep in home shopping and open house visits. This can actually be exceedingly dangerous to your financial future.
Falling in love with a home before you actually know what you want in a home is risky. To avoid the “buy first, think later” syndrome that burdens family finances, marriages, and work life, ask yourself these important questions:
1.How much do we want to spend each month on home expenses?
There’s a tendency for people who shop first to try and “make the math work” on purchasing a home. Often this leads to stretching the home budget and ignoring crucial expenses such as maintenance and property taxes in order to “make the mortgage.” Determine a comfortable, conservative range for home expenses first.
2.Which neighborhoods ...
Monday, August 11, 2014 / by Marilyn Perna
Every month you pay the rent, you’re probably thinking, “I wish this money was going into my future.” For a lot of would-be first-time home buyers, it’s the down payment which makes home ownership seem impossible. Climbing the “down payment mountain” isn’t impossible. Like any major challenge, it’s all a matter of breaking your big, hairy, audacious goal down into practical steps. Here are some tips to conquer saving for a down payment:
Find out where your money goes.
You can’t start saving if you don’t know where you’re spending. For a month or two, track each expenditure, no matter how small. Get an objective picture of where you’re spending the cash.
Get specific about how much you need to save.
Even if you’re not 100% sure what your down payment needs to be yet, it’s good to start doing a little mat ...
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 / by Marilyn Perna
Think you’ve found the perfect home? Think again. There are three little details which can turn an ideal house into the world’s most annoying location. Before you make your offer, take into account these three small, but surprisingly important details:
#1: “Let me call you back on my landline.” Does your future dream home have cell reception? Check your signal when you’re on the property and see if it has dead spots, poor/limited data connections, or flat out “NO SERVICE” messages. This is especially important if you telecommute or had planned on skipping a landline entirely. While you can try and live on VoIP connections, WiFi, and other options, the hassle of a hole in cell coverage can wear on you.
#2: “Wow, the commute is longer than I thought.” It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon, and for kicks you de ...
Monday, August 4, 2014 / by Marilyn Perna
Schools are a contributing factor for anyone buying a home. Even if you don’t have kids yourself, your next buyer might, and they might base their decision to buy on the school district which serves your home.
The question remains: How do you evaluate schools? What’s the best approach for understanding if your local schools will score your property an “A” or relegate it to the land of “D-”?
Luckily, there are some excellent resources out there for vetting schools online. Here are a few I’ve come across which provide a good place to start:
Education.com: A major portal site for education everywhere, you’ll want to pay particular attention to the schools section, found here: http://www.education.com/topic/school-and-academics
GreatSchools.org: A good search engine for researching schools, you can do zip cod ...