Francesca Volpe - RE/MAX Alliance



Posted by Francesca Volpe on 1/15/2018

Getting a mortgage is one of those things that everyone seems to have quite a bit of advice about. While people surely have good intentions, itís not always best to take the buying advice of everyone you meet. Below, youíll find the wrong kind of mortgage advice and why you should think twice about it. 


Pre-Approvals Are Pointless


Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can give you an upper hand when it comes to putting in offers on a home. Even though a pre-approval isnít a guarantee, itís a good step. It shows that youíre a serious buyer and locks you in with a lender so they can process your paperwork a bit more quickly when you do want to put an offer in on a home. 


Use Your Own Bank


While your own bank may be a good place to start when it comes to buying a home, you donít need to get your mortgage from the place where you already have an account. You need to compare rates at different banks to make sure youíre getting the best possible deal on a mortgage. Youíll also want to check on the mortgage requirements for each bank. Different banks have different standards based on down payment, credit scores and more. Youíll want to get your mortgage from the bank thatís right for you and your own situation. 


The Lowest Interest Rate Is Best


While this could be true, itís not set in stone. A bank with a slightly higher interest rate could offer you some benefits that you otherwise might not have. If you have a lower credit score, or less downpayment money, a bank offering a higher interest rate could be a better option for you. Low interest rates can have some fine print that might end up costing you a lot more in the long term. Do your research before you sign on with any kind of bank for your mortgage. 


Borrow The Maximum


Just because youíre approved for a certain amount of mortgage doesnít mean that you need to max out your budget. Itís always best to have a bit of a financial cushion for yourself to keep your budget from being extremely tight. When life throws you a curveball like unexpected medical bills or a job loss, youíll be glad that you didnít strain your budget to the end of your means. Even though the bigger, nicer house always looks more attractive, youíre better off financially if youíre sensible about the amount of money you borrow to buy a home.




Tags: Mortgage   mortgage rates   bank  
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Posted by Francesca Volpe on 1/8/2018

Buying a condo represents a life-changing investment. As such, you'll want to allocate the necessary time and resources to ensure that purchasing a condo is right for you.

So what does it take to determine whether to purchase a condo? Here are three tips for those who are evaluating the pros and cons of buying a condo.

1. Understand What Condo Life Is All About

A condo and a house are two very different types of properties. Thus, you'll want to understand what condo life is all about before you purchase a condo.

For example, homeowners likely will have a front yard and backyard that they will need to maintain year-round. Homeowners also can plant a garden, install an in-ground pool and perform various home maintenance and upgrade projects at any time.

On the other hand, condo owners frequently live in closer proximity to one another in comparison to homeowners. This means condo owners likely won't have to mow their own lawns or shovel their walkways in winter. However, condo owners might lack the space to set up a personal garden, and they may require homeowners association (HOA) approval to complete any home exterior modifications as well.

2. Know the HOA Fees

Although you'll pay a mortgage as part of a condo purchase, you will still need to consider the HOA fees in addition to your monthly mortgage costs.

HOA fees cover the costs of insurance, maintenance and other property expenses. Plus, if your condo's roof is severely damaged or destroyed, you should be covered thanks to your HOA fees.

To learn about your HOA fees, you can contact the HOA directly. Also, your real estate agent will be able to provide insights into the HOA fees associated with a condo.

3. Collaborate with an Experienced Real Estate Agent

When it comes to purchasing a condo, all real estate agents are not created equal.

Finding a real estate agent who possesses many years of experience with condos is paramount. This real estate agent will be able to help you understand the ins and outs of condo life, examine HOA fees closely and discover whether a condo purchase is right for you.

Furthermore, your real estate agent should be able to help you along each stage of the homebuying journey. He or she will be able to set up condo showings, assess condos that match your price range and provide expert homebuying tips as you move along the homebuying journey.

Perhaps best of all, your real estate agent understands that the process of buying a condo can be challenging. As a result, your real estate agent is happy to respond to your concerns and queries. That way, if you're uncertain about purchasing a condo, you can consult with your real estate agent and get the best support possible.

Hire a real estate agent with condo experience Ė you'll be glad you did. With this real estate professional at your disposal, you should have no trouble finding your dream condo in no time at all.




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Posted by Francesca Volpe on 1/1/2018

Anyone whoís ever been in an outdated house or hotel room can tell you that the way we decorate can have an effect on our mood. Certain colors, lack of lighting, and cluttered rooms are all things that, whether we realize it or not, can have a negative effect on our mood and productivity.

These concepts arenít recent realizations. In ancient China and India, concepts of architecture and decorating have been teaching proper design techniques for thousands of years. Today, these schools of thought are often lumped into the field of environmental psychology.

In todayís post, Iím going to talk about a few design techniques that will help you and your houseguests feel more welcome in your home and create a tone that matches your desires, whether thatís relaxed or energized.

The effects of color

With a quick Google search, youíll find hundreds of articles discussing the psychological effects of colors. What many fail to mention is the way these effects are based on things like the culture and time period we grow up in.

However, you may find that guests to your home will feel more comfortable in light, neutral- colored rooms than they will in a room thatís painted bold colors.

On a room-by-room basis, there tend to be certain colors that Americans associate with the ďrightĒ colors for the occasion.

However, this is often influenced by the architectural style of the house more than an internalized idea about specific colors.

How much is too much?

Itís easy to accumulate home decor and find your walls and surface becoming a little too cluttered. However, bare walls and sparsely decorated rooms can feel a bit too sterile and unlivable. Is there a balance between the two?

Oftentimes the best solution is to follow one simple decorating principle:

Rather than using several small items to decorate a room, choose just a few larger items. This will prevent the room from appearing cluttered but still give it a sense of character.

Taking advantage of the full area of a room

So far, weíve been talking about how colors and decor can make a room feel more spacious and welcoming. But, even if you have a small room, you can still often achieve this effect.

One solution is to add brighter lighting to the room. Increasing the light makes to room feel more open. And, if possible, natural lighting is the best option, as it can reduce any feelings of claustrophobia.

If better lighting or windows arenít an option, many homeowners turn to mirrors to make a room feel larger. Larger, wall-hanging mirrors are an excellent way to give the illusion of spaciousness in a small room.


Using the psychology behind these three decorating principles, youíll be able to make you and your houseguests feel more at ease within your home.





Posted by Francesca Volpe on 12/25/2017

One of the many things emphasized to sellers is removing their personality from the home. Too much personality in the home can be a distraction for potential homebuyers. Consider a model home, which automatically draws you in, from the biggest of details to the smallest. Most model homes have neutral colored rooms, rugs, and dťcor. The reason behind this? To give the potential homebuyer the opportunity to visualize themselves living in that home. You want to replicate that approach. Here are a few tips for depersonalizing your home: Pictures: Displaying family photos in the home is a great way to show that you made this place a home. However, when it comes to selling, itís best to remove these photos. Too many pictures and frames can make it difficult for potential homebuyers to visualize themselves and their family living there. Personal belongings: If you are still living in the home that you are selling, your personal belongings will likely be all over the house. Itís impossible for you to remove everything you own from a home when you are still living there. However, it is important to clean up and hide certain personal belongings when you can. This includes childrenís toys, animal toys and beds, knick-knacks, and drawings and grocery lists from the refrigerator door. Placing these items in storage or just finding places around the house to store them while trying to sell is best. Paint: Paint is a way of expressing yourself in your home. Whether you like really dark colors, warm colors, or cool colors or even just white, it showcases your personality. Drastic color schemes on either side of the color wheel can throw buyers off, especially if it contains colors that they are not really fond of. It will make it difficult for them to visualize how they would decorate that room. If this sounds like you, itís a good idea to go to the store and pick up some neutral tones and get to painting. Furniture: Staging is everything. You may have set up your living room or bedroom a certain way because thatís how you like it. However, that may not be the optimal use of that space. Itís best to do some research or hire a professional to assist with this. You have to pull your personal opinion out of the decision-making and think about what works best with the shape and size of the room. Whenever possible itís best to provide the homebuyer with a clean slate. Neutral colors and removing personal belongings will only increase the chances that potential homebuyers will envision themselves living there and hopefully make an offer. Depersonalizing your home is just one tactic for prepping your home for selling. If you are looking to sell quickly, be sure to read all the tips and tricks there are to getting youíre home sold.




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Posted by Francesca Volpe on 12/18/2017

On average each person living in the Unites States uses around 90 gallons per day. Thatís a lot of water. We are so fortunate to live in a country where we have easy accessible clean water, however, it is also something we easily take for granted. Using less water in our day to day lives not only means a smaller water bill each month and preservation of water, it leads to less energy usage as well . Here are some ways to save water, and energy, around the house: Upgrade - When it comes time to replace your old toilet look for a new one that is a low-flow model with a WaterSense label. This will ensure that each time you flush you consume less water without even thinking about it. Instant-gratification - Installing a recirculating water pump in your home will save on energy in a big way. Recirculating pumps create warm water the instant you turn the handle which means less time waiting for the water to heat up and less unused water running down the drain. Easy does it - Installing a low-flow shower head to your bath is another great way to limit how much water is used without even thinking about it. You can save up to 15 gallons of water per 10 minutes in the shower. Cool it - By washing laundry in cold water, you will not only prolong the life and color of your clothes, you will also be saving on energy. In fact, around 90 percent of the energy used during a wash cycle is from heating up the water. Make the switch, literally and figuratively, and the impact will be huge. Reuse - Most clothes are still clean after a first wearing. By getting more uses out of a garment before washing it you will prolong the lifespan of that item and use less water over time. Shirts can be worn a couple of times before washing while pants and sweaters can be worn up to five times before adding them to your next load. Speaking of, when you do wash your clothes ensure that you do a full load to further preserve water and energy with each cycle. Switch to off - The faucet that is. There are plenty of day to day scenarios in which we leave the water running when we really donít need it. When brushing your teeth and while soaping up when washing hands be sure to turn off the water. Fill up the sink with water when washing dishes instead of leaving the faucet running. When rinsing fruits and vegetable fill up a bowl to wash them in instead of passing them through running water. Instead of running water till it is cold keep a filled (reusable) bottle in the fridge which will be chilled and waiting for you when you need a drink. By establishing more water conscious habits you not only save yourself some money each month but you also preserve water and energy and therefore shrink your impact on the environment. And with most of these habits being so easy and free to implement, you canít lose!




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