Francesca Volpe - RE/MAX Alliance



Posted by Francesca Volpe on 4/16/2018

For those who want to sell a home sooner rather than later, there is no time like the present to start preparing for the home selling journey. Lucky for you, we're here to teach you about the home selling journey and ensure you can enjoy a fast, profitable house selling experience.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you put together a home selling strategy.

1. Learn About the Local Housing Market

The real estate market is in constant flux. Thus, a housing sector that favors buyers today may shift into seller's favor tomorrow, or vice-versa.

If you learn about the local housing sector, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market. Then, you can map out your home selling plan accordingly.

Take a look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. If you find that homes are selling at or above their initial asking prices, this may be a sign of a seller's market. Or, if houses are selling below their initial asking prices, the current real estate sector likely favors buyers.

Furthermore, examine how long houses stay available before they sell. If you discover that residences linger on the real estate market for many weeks or months before they sell, you will need to prepare to enter a buyer's market. On the other hand, if houses are selling as soon as they become available, a seller's market may be in place.

2. Find Out What Your House Is Worth

Conduct a house appraisal – you'll be glad you did. If you perform a property appraisal, you can obtain an accurate valuation of your house and price your residence appropriately.

Typically, a home appraiser will examine your residence both inside and out. This property expert also will evaluate assorted housing market data. After a home appraiser's work is complete, he or she will provide you with a property valuation.

With a property valuation in hand, you can establish an aggressive initial asking price for your residence. This price will help you stir up interest in your residence as soon as you list it.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

There is no need to work alone as you try to navigate the home selling journey. Thankfully, you can hire an expert real estate agent who can take the guesswork out of selling any house, at any time.

A real estate agent understands what it takes to sell a home in a buyer's or seller's market. He or she will help you establish an aggressive initial asking price for your house and promote your residence to dozens of potential buyers. Plus, if you receive an offer to purchase your home, a real estate agent will help you assess this proposal and make an informed decision.

When it comes to getting ready to sell a home, there is no need to stress. Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can craft an effective home selling strategy.




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Posted by Francesca Volpe on 4/9/2018

If you are in the market for an FHA loan, you are probably happy to get many benefits from the loan like a good interest rate along with the need for a low downpayment. While these loans can be very helpful on the path to homeownership, they can be complex. It’s a good idea to hire a realtor who is well-versed in the ins and outs of FHA loans and standards. A real estate agent can help you to find the right property to suit your needs and meet the standards the FHA loan will require.    


Do you know what you’re getting into when it comes to shopping for a home? The FHA sets the rules for how homes get approved for an FHA loan and under what standards. These rules exist because the FHA is insuring the loan, but the organization is not directly funding the loan itself. This insurance protects the lender if the loan is defaulted on. An inspection appraisal report must be completed on each property. The appraiser is required to be an FHA approved appraiser to complete the job.


Loans


There are limits on how much of a loan you can get when it is FHA-backed. This is because the FHA will only insure a loan amount up to this limit. This means that you won’t be looking at high-end homes because the limits are usually quite restrictive as to the type of property you can get. This holds true unless you can afford a larger downpayment than the standard 3.5% required by the FHA.  


Condition Of The Home


FHA-backed home loans can be rejected due to the poor condition of the home. If an appraiser says that the home is unsafe or hazardous to occupants, the loan will be denied. The assessment of the home’s condition is very important to the lender’s decision to grant the loan. The lender may even require that certain improvements be made before the loan can be approved. These improvements can include pest treatments, fixing leaks, or other damages that are deemed hazardous.


The Property Itself


The FHA also sets guidelines for the type of property that you can get. A condo must be in a HUD approved complex, for example. If you want to research FHA-approved condo complexes, you can search right on the HUD website. Each complex meets the Department of Housing And Urban Development’s standards for financial stability, hazard, and liability insurance. If you’re looking at manufactured homes, these are also held to certain standards. The manufactured home must be permanently attached to the foundation, have the ability to be taxed as a real estate property asset, and have been constructed before June 15, 1976.   





Tags: Buying a Home   FHA loans  
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Posted by Francesca Volpe on 4/2/2018

If you’re planning to stay in your home as you age, or "age in place", it’s wise to begin planning to renovate your home for your future self sooner rather than later. This will save you money and headaches down the road. I know it’s not an exciting topic of conversation to discuss aging and how to make your home more accessible. However, it’s certainly an important one. And even if you never use these features yourself, they are great to have in a home even if just for visitors, such as your parents.

Renovating before retirement ensures you have the cash flow to fund each change you make to your home. By making these changes now when you don’t need them, instead of as you go, allows you time to do research on best pricing and how to add features that will look seamless in your home. Just because you are “senior proofing” your home doesn’t mean it has to look like an assisted living facility.

The best, and arguably most important, place to start is in the bathroom. This is also a room that accommodations can double as accessible and chic. For example, a lipless walk-in shower, also known as the European Wet Room, eliminates the need to step up which can result in tripping. But it also opens up the room to appear more spacious and allow natural lighting to reach every corner. When renovating choose dimensions that leave enough room for a wheelchair to enter.

You may also want to consider adding a built-in shower bench. This could be a seamless tiled addition styled like a window seat or a chic wooden seat that folds up and out of the way. Grab bars don’t need to be an eyesore either. There are so many options on the market for bars that integrate with your bathroom’s style instead of looking like an afterthought.

When house hunting for a new home, look for one-level open floor plans. Open floor plans are very on trend and a feature many buyers are looking for anyways. They come with the added bonus of having plenty of room for someone in a wheelchair or walker to get around. If a home you are looking at has any hallways measure them to make sure they are wide enough to be accessible for these kinds of mobility aids.

Choosing a home that is a one-floor plan is another subtle way you can “senior proof” your home. Stairs can become troublesome when mobility becomes limited due to arthritis for example. A lack of a staircase to climb also means never having to buy a chairlift down the line. Potentially saving your future self-money and the integrity of your home’s decor.





Posted by Francesca Volpe on 3/26/2018

If you intend to buy a house in the foreseeable future, it pays to prepare. That way, you can enter the real estate market as an "extraordinary" homebuyer, i.e. someone who knows exactly what it takes to find a great house at an outstanding price.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help any homebuyer go from ordinary to extraordinary.

1. Learn the Ins and Outs of the Housing Sector

The real estate market is complex, particularly for someone who is pursuing a house for the first time. Fortunately, plenty of housing market data is available that can help you gain the insights that you need to make an informed home purchase.

Take a look at homes that are currently available in your city or town. By doing so, you can better understand the prices of houses that match your expectations. Then, you can tailor your home search accordingly.

Furthermore, don't forget to assess the prices of recently sold residences in your area. This housing market data will help you determine whether you're about to enter a real estate market that favors buyers or sellers.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

Meet with banks and credit unions to learn about your mortgage options – you'll be glad you did. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can begin your home search with a budget in hand, thereby reducing the temptation to spend too much on a house.

Lenders are happy to provide you with information about a broad range of mortgage options. Also, if you ever have mortgage questions, lenders employ friendly, professionally trained mortgage specialists who are ready to respond to your queries.

In addition, it usually is a good idea to evaluate your credit score prior to applying for a mortgage.

You can obtain a free annual copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). If you review your credit report closely, you can identify and resolve any potential credit problems and increase the likelihood that you can obtain a favorable mortgage.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to becoming an extraordinary homebuyer, it is important to note that it can be difficult for even the most diligent homebuyer to succeed on his or her own. However, if you employ an expert real estate agent, you can streamline the process of acquiring your dream residence.

A real estate agent is committed to your homebuying success, and as such, will do everything possible to help you find the perfect residence.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. This housing market professional will even help you alleviate homebuying stress and ensure that you can quickly go from homebuyer to homeowner.

Ready to embark on the homebuying journey? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can become an extraordinary homebuyer in no time at all.




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Posted by Francesca Volpe on 3/19/2018

Whether your adult children have left the nest or you recently decided to "upsize" to a larger house, you're now faced with the minor "problem" of what to do with that extra space.

While some homeowners just use it for storage or guest bedrooms, there are plenty of other possibilities that are well worth considering.

Exercise room: In spite of the many proven benefits of regular exercise -- ranging from increased strength and endurance to weight control and slowing down the aging process, many people have trouble getting started and staying motivated. It's a lot easier to come up with a laundry list of excuses than join a gym and stick with an exercise program. It's surprising how many people actually join a health club, but then stop going after the novelty (and their enthusiasm) wears off.

However, when you create a dedicated fitness space at home, most of your former excuses no longer hold water! With a home gym or exercise room, you not only have convenience, privacy, and 24/7 availability, but there are no parking issues, traffic problems, membership fees, or noisy weightlifters. If you prefer a regimen that's less vigorous, there's always the option to use the room for yoga, tai chi, and meditation.

Home office: With more homeowners telecommuting, consulting, freelancing, blogging, and starting ecommerce stores, it makes sense to set aside a dedicated space in your home for business and career development. A home office is also a quieter place to go for other tasks, such as paying bills, applying for jobs, social networking, catching up on your email correspondence, or planning your next vacation.

Home library: If you or any of your family are avid readers, a room with lots of built-in shelving, comfortable furniture, and adjustable lighting would be the perfect place to curl up with a good book and a hot cup of tea. Not only would a home library be the ideal environment for reading, studying, or doing research, but it might even encourage your children to cultivate more of an appreciation for reading and learning.

Craft room: Whether there are artists, embroiderers, or jewelry makers in your household, a special room for artistic endeavors lends itself to creativity, while helping to keep craft supplies and projects confined to one area of the house! A craft room can also be ideal for storing gift-wrapping supplies and holiday cards.

Music room: If your family is musically inclined, a separate room for practicing instruments is beneficial to both budding musicians and those who want to watch TV, do homework, or have quiet conversations elsewhere in the house. A dedicated music room can also be a good spot for making music videos, recording music, and having jam sessions.

As you can imagine, extra space in your house gives you and your family the opportunity for more physical, intellectual, and creative development. Designating a spare room, a finished basement, or an attic area for artistic expression or personal development may even encourage others in your family to discover and cultivate their hidden and emerging talents!