Francesca Volpe - RE/MAX Alliance



Posted by Francesca Volpe on 8/14/2017

Condominiums and houses offer rent-to-own options. Renting your way into home ownership can take the fear out of owning a home. It gives you the chance to transition from relying on a maintenance professional to make all the repairs on your home to you starting to take on more of that responsibility. Work with a realtor to locate competitively priced rent to own properties in neighborhoods you love. Rent to Own Options You can also research rent to own properties online. Foreclosure houses can yield auction like savings. Walk through foreclosure and short sell properties. Although these homes can net you significant savings, they could also come with repair headaches. After you land on the home that you want to rent to own, negotiate a good price. Depending on the laws in the city where you live and on the particular rent to own agreement that you sign, you could have one to five years to rent the property before you enter an agreement as a buyer. Use this time to save a down payment on the home or another property. You could also use the time to strengthen your credit scores. Unlike traditional home buying agreements, you may have to pay an option price before you move into the house. If you want to rent and leave the option to buy open so that it’s not a requirement that you buy the house at the end of the rental agreement, state this in the lease agreement. Other agreements may have rent with the requirement to buy legal verbiage in them. Read through your contract thoroughly. Working with a realtor to find a rent to own property? Ask your realtor to review the agreement before you sign it. Accepting Maintenance Responsibilities If you’re renting so that you can improve your credit and you don’t plan to buy the house that you’re renting, consider adding in a clause that makes you responsible for maintenance but that leaves you open to walk away from buying the property at the end of the lease. You’ll gain firsthand experience as to what it’s like to perform or pay for all repairs needed at a home. Considering that maintenance is a leading reason why people put off buying a house, this option might be perfect for you. Other reasons to opt to take on maintenance while leaving the requirement to buy out of your lease agreement include if you serve on active duty in the military, work a civilian job that requires you to travel frequently or if you are planning on relocating to another area in a few years. If you do sign an agreement that requires you to own the house at the end of the lease and you don’t obtain financing or decide not to buy the property, you’ll be out of the option money that you paid. So, give rent to own homes as much thought as you would if you were, in fact, buying the house.




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Posted by Francesca Volpe on 7/10/2017

Buying a home is one of the largest commitments you will make in your life. It's also one of the best. Being a homeowner comes with a sense of independence that renting simply can't match. You can do with your home whatever you like, making it the place you love to go home to at the end of the day. Knowing when you're ready to buy a home is a complicated issue. But it's also a learning process that everyone is new to at some time in their lives. Sure, buying a home can be anxiety-inducing. But you don't need to add any more nerves to the process because you feel uninformed. In this article, we'll lay out a basic checklist that will help you determine when and whether you're ready to buy a home so that you can worry less about your credentials and focus more on finding the right home.

The checklist

  • Finances. We hate to put it first, but the reality is your finances are one of the main things that determines your preparedness for becoming a homeowner. Unlike renting, there's a lot more that goes into the home financing process than just your income. Banks will want to see your credit score to ensure you have a history of paying your bills on time. They'll also use your credit information to see how much debt you have and if you'll be able to take on homeowner's expenses on top of that. Another financial impact for buying a house is to determine if you can afford a downpayment. It's one thing to see that you can cover your bills with your income, but unless you have enough money saved for the downpayment (and any emergency expenses that may come up) you should wait a while and save before hopping into the market.
  • What are your longterm plans? Many people are excited at the thought of home ownership to the extent that they forget their life circumstances. If you have a job that might cause you to relocate in the next 5-7 years you might want to consider renting rather than buying. Depending on factors like the price of the home, cost of living in your area, and how long you plan on living in your new home, it may be cheaper to buy or rent in the long run. There are calculators available online that will tell you which option is probably more cost-effective for you. As a general rule, however, if you plan on living in a new home for under 5-7 years, it might be cheaper to rent.
  • Do you have the time and patience to be a homeowner? Owning a home means you can't call on the landlord to fix your leaks anymore. Similarly, you probably won't be able to depend on someone else to shovel snow or mow the lawn for you. It takes work to be a homeowner, and if your job has you away from home for long periods of time or working very long hours, renting might not be appropriate at this time.
  • Plan for new expenses. If you can comfortably pay rent and you find out your home loan payments will be comparable, you should know that there will likely be new expenses to consider as well. Home insurance, property taxes, and expenses for things like sewer, plumbing and electrical repairs all should be taken into consideration. Additionally, you will likely have new utility bills, including electricity, water, oil, cable, and others depending on the home.




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Posted by Francesca Volpe on 6/19/2017

Put a mortgage down payment of 20% or more toward the purchase of a new home and you could lower your monthly loan installments by at least $100. A sizable down payment could also position you as a smart risk to lenders. If you're mortgage is approved, you could yield another reward, less interest to pay over the life of your loan. But, how do you get there, especially when you consider your other financial responsibilities, expenses like student loans, credit card bills and insurance. Fortunately, there are actions that you can take to start building money to put toward a down payment on a new home. Make a Decision and Stick To It Decide how much you want to save for your mortgage down payment. Give yourself enough time to build your savings. For example, if you want to put $10,000 toward your down payment, consider giving yourself two to three years to reach your goal. If you're downsizing, money from the sale of your current home could go toward the down payment on your new home. There are online budget templates that you can use to track your current spending. It’s also good to get in the habit of reviewing your monthly bank statement. Not only can this alert you to erroneous charges on your account, it can open your eyes to how much money you could be saving. If you’re still living with your parents, take an honest look at your spending habits. How much money do you spend on restaurant food, clothes, shoes, concert tickets and other entertainment? At first glance, you might think that you only spend $100 a month on entertainment, when you could actually be spending $250 a month. Let your parents know that you're putting money away for a mortgage down payment. They might lower your rent to help you save. Should you be living on your own, consider taking in a roommate to split your rent. Use the other half of the money that you formerly put toward your rent to save for your mortgage down payment. Other ways to save a mortgage down payment are: • Work a part-time job and deposit those earnings into an interest bearing account. Use your skills to telecommute. For example, you could work as a web page designer, computer programmer, freelance writer, virtual instructor or virtual assistant from home. • Put job bonuses and other incentive pay toward your down payment. • Deposit tax refunds in your interest bearing account. • Combine insurance plans and place the savings in your interest bearing account. • Take advantage of cable, telephone and internet service provider discounts, placing the savings toward your down payment. • Rent out a portion of your home and put the rent toward a down payment on a new home. • Use coupons when grocery shopping. Go to the grocery store on double coupon days and you could save $30 or more a week. • Limit unnecessary spending until you reach your mortgage down payment goal. • Set your thermostat to 65. During summer months, get outdoors to avoid keeping the air conditioner on for hours at a time. During winter months, consider using a sweater. • Sell furniture that you are not using. For example, you could hold a yard sale and deposit proceeds from the yard sale in your savings account. • Until you reach your mortgage down payment goal, consider taking day trips rather than vacationing overseas or on long out-of-town stays that require you to take on airline, hotel and rental car expenses. Stick to your plan. Doing so, could yield you thousands of dollars in savings during house buying negotiations and over the lifetime of your mortgage. Sticking to your savings plan could also strengthen your money management skills, so that you avoid debt and continue to build equity long after you move into your new home.




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Posted by Francesca Volpe on 6/12/2017

The location of the homes you’re looking at in your search is key. You probably have at least a couple of cities and towns narrowed down, but do you know specifics? Is there a particular neighborhood that you would prefer to live in? The street that you choose to live on will also have a lot to do with the way that you conduct your life. If you live on the main road, for example, you’ll face a lot of noise and traffic. If you have kids, that may not be the ideal situation. There’s many reasons that living on a dead end street is the ideal situation. Be on the lookout for homes on cul-de-sacs and dead end streets in your home search. Read on to see the many advantages of living on a street that’s not a throughway.


The Traffic Is Significantly Less


There are very few cars that head down a street that’s not a throughway. No one will be using your street as a shortcut. This makes it much safer for children to play outside and it reduces noise in the neighborhood. 


There’s A Sense Of Security


Since there isn’t a lot of traffic on a dead-end street, it‘s easy to identify strange cars that are lurking around. The people in your neighborhood will all be more alert to any kind of unusual activity on the street. This allows for a more secure feeling in your own backyard. 


A Dead End Street Is A Great Place To Raise Kids


Your kids will have a bit more freedom to play and be kids when you live on a dead end street. There’s less traffic to worry about while the kids play, yet you have a great opportunity to teach your kids about traffic safety rules and how to act around strangers. Your children will also become close with other children in the neighborhood. The adults who live in your neighborhood will become acquainted with your children as well. You’ll definitely appreciate a tight-knit community if you have kids. 


Your Property Value Will Stay High


It’s hard to say that a home on a dead end street will decrease in value. With a strong community sense and safety perks, these homes will be in demand. When you do decide to sell your home, you’re sure to get a good return on your property investment if you choose a home on a dead end street.




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Posted by Francesca Volpe on 5/22/2017

You may have the notion as you’re searching for a house that the first bid will win when it comes to jumping at the chance to buy a home. That’s not always true. however, can waiting too long to put in an offer on a home be detrimental to your home search? We’ll go over some of the best advice as to what makes a good offer, and when the best time to put that offer in is.  


There’s actually no real set timeline for when you should put an offer in on a home. The real determination of this is the type of housing market that we’re in in at any particular time. A fast moving housing market can equate to the need for you to make an offer quickly. Most realtors will agree that you shouldn't wait too long to put in an offer on a home that you like. 


If you have a good realtor, and you have done your homework as well, you’ll be able to make an educated offer. You’ll have done your due diligence if you have a pre-approval letter ready and understand a bit about the market itself, along with the pricing typical of the neighborhood where you’re interested in buying. Your realtor can help you to understand as to whether the offer you want to put in is a good one or not. 


Know What You Want


The most important part of putting in an offer on a home is knowing what you want in a  home. Before you get to the point where you actually want to put in offers, it’s a good idea to have searched a bit online, and even attended a few open houses in the area where you’re searching. This will give you a better idea of what’s out there in your price range.     


The First Offer Is The Best One


This is an old adage in the real estate business. If you’re a seller, you have to assume that what a buyer is offering is their top number. If other offers come in at a higher price, then buyers who were really interested in the home may be fresh out of luck. That’s why putting in a strong offer is so important. You don’t want to lose out on a home that you really want because you haven’t taken the time to understand what a good price point for a home in your neighborhood of choice is.


New Listings Have More Interest


Homes that have just been listed generate the most enthusiasm. Sometimes, the biggest part of putting an offer in on a home is trial and error. Many people will put in 2 to 3 offers before they finally secure the home of their dreams. Newer listings typically expect more for the price point the house is listed at. If a home has been listed for a short time, buyers can expect to pay close to the asking price for the home. Homes that have been on the market for a longer period of time have more negotiating power, giving the buyer a bit more wiggle room in their offer.  

The bottom line is that if you see a home that you love, you’ll want to put an offer in as soon as possible. When the market is hot, no home will last long. Be prepared to make an offer when you find that property you want so that the process will be a lot easier for you.