Posted by Marie Presti on 10/15/2017

Since home values are continually on the rise, it makes more sense for many Americans to tap into their home equity for financial security. The home equity line of credit is a great resource that has come back with many benefits. You can finance so many things from home improvement projects to the vacation you have always wanted with a reverse mortgage. There are consequences if you don’t turn to home equity with careful thought. You could end up owing more than your home is even worth at a certain point. That’s not giving you any value. 

Smart Financial Moves

Tapping into a home equity line of credit could be a smart financial move. If you use little to none of the money it can be wise to have extra cash on hand for emergencies, considering rates are so low for home loans. It can help you to be prepared for unexpected financial setbacks. The key is to not use the money unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Good Ideas For Home Equity

  • Emergency fund
  • Home renovations
  • Education funds (if you’ll be able to pay it back in a timely manner)

Bad Ideas For Home Equity

  • Vacations
  • Car purchase
  • Random spending


If you’re expecting an increase in income and need some extra cash on hand for a purpose, using a home equity line of credit can be a good resource. Also, if you’re selling your home soon, tapping into home equity for improvement projects can help to give you a better return on the sale. 


Home Equity Is Not An Unlimited Source Of Funds


Home values can change drastically with the market and the amount of demand. The amount of equity you may have can change as well, and your repayment amounts can vary drastically based on the state of the housing market. While tapping into home equity will most likely put you in the positive, you could end up in the negative if you’re not carefully prepared.


The Ways To Draw On Your Home Equity


There are 3 main ways to draw on your home’s equity. In any of these cases, you cannot borrow more than 80% of your home’s value from any lender. 


Cash-out Refinance

This loan is exactly as it sounds; you take a set mount of cash out from your home and refinance it at the same time. 

 

Home Equity Loan

This is a loan that is sometimes referred to a second mortgage. This usually has a fixed rate. 


Home Equity Line Of Credit

This loan is like using a credit card. There’s a maximum that you can borrow, and you use money as you need it. After a certain amount of time, you can no longer draw on the money.  


Refinancing your home will extend the life of your mortgage. You’ll have higher costs but end up with lower rates most often.


Questions To Consider When Thinking Of A Home Equity Line Of Credit

  • Does your home need renovations?
  • Is the loan rate lower than other types of loans like car loans?
  • Do you need to consolidate your debt?
  • Are you facing large bills like medical bills or college tuition? 
  • Are you starting a business?

Used in smart ways, home equity can be a great financial resource for you. Consider your options and plan your finances wisely. Your home is in fact your biggest asset! 





Posted by Marie Presti on 10/9/2017

 


 Zillow has been testing the market out with a program called Instant Offers, which some of you may have heard of by now. Zillow is claiming this program is a quick way for someone to sell their house to investors — all with no prep, no waiting, and no uncertainty. It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? So I looked into it, and there are pitfalls.


This program is not available in all markets yet, but I found out that Instant Offer only showcases real offers, if a large Zillow investor is ready to buy the home and not an actual person who would live there. There are many other things you must understand before you determine if this service is right for you. The price the investors will offer you is based on the data that Zillow has on record. This data usually comes from the assessor's office of your local municipality. Most of the time, this information is right, but many times it’s not. In fact, in the past year, I’ve had only one out of eight properties listed accurately on the site. Either the lot size or the square footage was wrong. Or there were too many or too few bathrooms. In several cases, important features, like a garage, fireplace, and central air were not listed. Of course, these missing elements will sway investors’ offers. The bottom line: Make sure you know the real market value of your home before you consider selling.


Investors scouring Zillow’s site will also look at a ‘zestimate’ before making their offer. According to Zillow, the Boston market ‘zestimate’ has a median error percentage of 6.1 percent.  Let's look at the month of August, as the most recent example of updated figures. According to the Greater Boston Association of Realtors,® the median sale price of a single-family home (in their jurisdiction) during that month was $610,000. That equates to a potential error of $37,210. Few of us can afford that kind of mistake!  


In The Presti Group’s market, Newton, Mass., the error rate is even higher.The year-to-date median sale price of a single-family home there is $1,295,000. With the Zillow error rate of 6.1 percent, the zestimate could be potentially off by $79,000. Maybe even more. Illustrating this point, one of our most recent listings was priced at $749,900. Zillow’s ‘zestimate’ listed the property at $802,000. I knew this was too high a price, as the house was in rough shape. We worked with the seller to fix up the place a bit, staged it, took professional photos, and executed quite a bit of online marketing. As a result, we got substantial traffic into the house in just its first week on the market. We received six offers and the house sold for $100K more than the original listing. Had the owners accepted an Instant Offer on Zillow, they would have washed at least $50,000 down the drain, because of the condition the property was in to start with. By using a Realtor®, they were able to use the complete services provided by The Presti Group to put the seller in the catbird’s seat.


While Zillow can give you a general idea of what's out there, it doesn't know the local market conditions, the property, neighborhood, or features of the house.  And it can’t help you decide to target a large investor or a first-time homebuyer. Or negotiate and advocate on your behalf. Most importantly, “Instant Offer” buyers may try to rent it out or fix it up and flip it for a profit. So they may not even live in the house and care for it the way that you did.


So when all is said and done, whom would you trust with one of the most important assets in your life? A national website that uses algorithms to compute a home’s value? Or a local real estate pro who knows the insides and outsides of the market and has the negotiating chops to get you the best price? I know what I would do. But whatever method you choose, don’t sell yourself short.




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Posted by Marie Presti on 10/8/2017

As you may have noticed, your family's grocery bill accounts for a big chunk of your monthly household budget. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent your food bill from spiraling out of control! Some money-saving strategies are obvious, such as using discount coupons and not shopping when you're hungry, while others are not as widely known.

If you habitually buy more expensive name-brand products without having a specific reason for doing so, it might pay to experiment with generic or store-brand grocery items. When you compare the prices, the savings can really add up! In some cases, there is a noticeable difference in quality, but in countless other instances, the store-brand products are on par with the well-known name brands.

One question to ask yourself is this: "Why pay substantially more for name-brand products when all you're really doing is helping huge corporations pay for their immense advertising budgets?" Your challenge -- and this can be worth the effort -- is to determine which store-brand products are comparable in quality and which ones are not worth the savings. In many cases, the difference in quality is negligible (or non existent), but the total savings from comparing prices can easily add up to $5 or $10 per shopping trip -- and who amongst us would voluntarily throw away a ten-dollar bill every time we went grocery shopping!

It's also interesting to note that many supermarkets tend to stock their more expensive products at eye level. By shifting your glance to the higher or lower shelves at the store, you can often spot money-saving bargains that would have otherwise escaped your notice. While you're at it, it also pays to check out the expiration date on products so you don't end up wasting money on items that have been sitting around for a while. A big frustration that we've all experienced is getting home and realizing that a perishable item we picked up at the grocery store expires tomorrow -- or even worse, yesterday!

Here's a money-saving tip that not everybody thinks of: If an advertised sale item has been sold out, you can often get a "rain check" issued to you, which will entitle you to the discount price -- even after the sale is officially over. You may have to get it from the customer service desk or a manager, but if you're determined to be a savvy grocery shopper, it's worth the extra few minutes.

One of the easiest, most automatic ways to save money at the food store is to join your supermarket's "loyalty program". It goes by different names at different places, but once you sign up, the discounts, coupons, and special offers keep coming your way! Taking a few minutes to glance over your grocery store's weekly newspaper insert can also point you in the direction of worthwhile savings opportunities.





Posted by Marie Presti on 9/29/2017

This Single-Family in Newton, MA recently sold for $590,000. This Ranch style home was sold by Marie Presti - The Presti Group, Inc..


5 Kensington Ave, Newton, MA 02465

Single-Family

$574,900
Price
$590,000
Sale Price

6
Rooms
2
Beds
1
Baths
A great place to call home! This 2 bedroom 1 bath ranch is a great condo alternative. No walls to share! Plus extra room in the basement. This is a great first home or home to downsize into. With a little work this home could be handicapped accessible. Major remodel was done to make it open space living. New kitchen with stainless steel appliances, granite counters, and center island. New bathroom installed with beautiful tiled shower and glass door. Full basement with a partially finished family room and fireplace. Garage walkout from the basement. Sliders to a deck and covered patio. Just waiting for the new buyer to install a new hot tub. Roof replaced in 2016. Quiet side street in West Newton on a corner lot.

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Categories: Sold Homes  


Posted by Marie Presti on 9/28/2017


11 Campbell Rd, Arlington, MA 02476

Single-Family

$1,369,900
Price

9
Rooms
5
Beds
3/1
Full/Half Baths
4Ksf+ new construction that is waiting for you in the desirable Dallin School District! Beautifully designed home with open floor plan, 2 car attached high ceiling garage, floor to ceiling stone fireplaced living room with sliders to a large deck, high end kitchen with commercial style stainless appliances, granite counters with center island, 4 bedrooms on 2nd floor including a large master with his/her walk in closets, walk in tiled shower with rain head and double vanities. Top floor is a large finished room which can be a 5th guest bedroom, playroom, or office. Finished basement offers a large game area plus enough room for your sectional and TV and includes full bath for your overnight guests or possible in-law plus a walkout slider to your beautifully landscaped backyard complete with trees, plantings, stone walls, and patio. Quick access to route 2 for drivers or walk to bus to Alewife for commuting to Boston.
Open House
Sunday
October 01 at 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM
Cannot make the Open Houses?
Location: 11 Campbell Rd, Arlington, MA 02476    Get Directions

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Categories: Open House