Posted by Marie Presti on 5/15/2016

It’s time to buy a home! That is right you heard it here, no more doom and gloom for the real estate market. The time has come to go out and buy some real estate. The only thing holding buyers back has been consumer emotion but a look at the facts should help buyer feel more confident in opening up their wallets for a great opportunity in today's housing market. JP Morgan’s Market Insights report has outlined why people looking to buy a home have never been in a better position. Here are just three important points from the JP Morgan report. The Price is Right One measure the report looked at was the ratio of personal income to home prices. “Since 1966, the median price of an existing single family home in the U.S. has varied between 150% and 251% of personal income per household. However, roughly three-quarters of the time it has been in a relatively narrow band between 185% and 230%. In September 2011, the ratio was just 153%, implying that to get back to an average price to income ratio, home prices would have to rise by about 27%.” Mortgage Rates are Right Mortgage interest rates are at historic lows as compared to personal income.  The report notes, “During the week of October 7, Freddie Mac reported that mortgage rates had fallen to an average annual level of 3.94%. Assuming the use of a fixed rate mortgage with 20% down, this would make the median mortgage payment on a single family existing home just 6.9% of per household personal income, compared with an average of 14.4% since 1966.” What this means is that it is a buyers perfect storm. Buyers who buy now will likely reap a long term financial gain by buying a home at a lower than average cost and financing it for a lower than average cost. It is a win-win situation. Home Ownership Beats Renting The report goes on to look at the cost of renting versus owning. JP Morgan predicts that by the "third quarter of this year, we estimate that the implied median mortgage payment had fallen to just 78% of the median asking rent. In other words, at current mortgage rates, home prices would have to rise by 35% just to get back to their average relationship to rents." Home buying is now more affordable than it has been in decades. Home prices are at all time lows, mortgage rates are at rock bottom and income levels remain steady. Despite what you may hear on the nightly news home ownership has never been more affordable.





Posted by Marie Presti on 12/14/2015

Buying a home is a very important decision. Before you rush into a home you should consider all the factors. Making sure you end up with the right home involves figuring out exactly what features you need, want and don't want in a home. Before starting your search, you should make a "wish list" to decide which features are absolutely essential, which nice “extras” are if you happen to find them, and which are completely undesirable. The more specific you can be about what you're looking for from the outset, the more effective your home search will be. Also keep in mind, that in the end, every home purchase is a compromise. Create your own personalized "wish list" and when you're finished filling it out; share it with your real estate agent. Become an educated buyer •The web is one of the best ways to search for homes today. With this website, you can receive daily emails with new and updated listings from the towns and price range of your choice. •Search the entire MLS for all homes, condos, land, multi family, commercial properties, and past sold properties at your convenience. •View full listing sheets showing amenities, taxes, lot sizes, beds, baths, rooms, siding, fireplaces, garages, room sizes and much more. •Get property addresses and see where the properties are located on MapQuest. •Check schools and community profiles of your preferred towns. •Save preferred listings in your own file to view anytime. •Calculate approximate mortgage payments for specific properties. Home Inspection Once you have made an offer on a home, you will need to schedule a home inspection, conducted by an independent authorized inspector. It is extremely important to hire a reputable inspector so that you know exactly what you are buying. Do not hesitate to ask friends, family, and co-workers for advice. If you are satisfied with the results of the inspection, then you can proceed with the sale. If the inspector finds problems with the property, you may want to negotiate with the seller to lower the price, or to pay for certain repairs. Appraisal Your lender may require you to get an appraisal of the house you want to buy, to make sure it is worth the money that you are borrowing. You may select your own appraiser, or you may ask your real estate broker to help you with this task. Homeowner's Insurance Lenders require that you have homeowners insurance, to protect both your interests and theirs. Like everything else, be sure to shop around for insurance that fits your needs. Settlement or Closing Finally Make Sure Before you Buy Finally, you are ready for the closing. Be sure to read everything before you sign! You should have both your real estate broker and an attorney present at the closing to ensure that all is in order.





Posted by Marie Presti on 10/25/2015

Home prices are at rock bottom and mortgage rates at all-time lows so you may be considering going from renter to homeowner. If you are planning on staying put for a while the choice makes sense. There are a few things to take into consideration before you make the leap from renter to owner. First, you will need to determine how much you can afford. Consult with a mortgage professional to help you determine what kind of mortgage you qualify for. Just because you pay $1,000 a month in rent, doesn't mean you can handle a $1,000 monthly mortgage payment. There are more costs to owning a home than just the mortgage payment. As a homeowner you will also be responsible for property tax, home insurance, utilities, and repairs. To prepare for those costs plan on adding about 40 percent to your base cost. So, if your mortgage is $1,000, add about $400 a month for a better estimate of costs. Before you make a rash decision see if you really can afford the cost difference. Once you know the cost difference spend a few months depositing the difference between your rent payment and your cost estimate in the bank. In the previous example you would deposit $400 a month into savings. If you've been able to keep up the deposits and pay your other bills, that's a sign you can afford to buy. Now that you have been saving more you have more money to put toward the down payment of your new home. These are just a few tips to get you started. Once you have a better financial picture it will be time to start shopping. That is when the fun begins.





Posted by Marie Presti on 12/14/2014

Owning a home is a dream come true for most people. To them, it is living the ideal life, for others, it is the worst decision they will ever make as far as their finances are concerned. The reason for this is that there was no proper in-depth analysis before they made the purchase. Many questions come to mind when it comes to owning a home, questions like, do I really need a home? Will I stay in this home long enough to reap the benefits of owning it? Am I ready for the financial responsibilities associated with owning this home? Owning a home is a major financial investment and should not be done without a proper understanding of all aspects of ownership. Below is a  look at the pros and cons of owning a home, this should help prospective home owners determine if owning a home is in their favor. Pros and Cons of Owning a Home There is the need to consider the financial impact owning a home will have on you. Would being a home owner have a positive effect on your financial position? Let us look at the advantages and disadvantages from a balanced point of view before arriving at a conclusion. The Pros

  • As a home owner, you have greater privacy.
  • There is a great possibility that your home will increase in value.
  • You tend to have a stable cost as compared to renting because most mortgage rates are fixed.
  • Interest and property tax portion of your mortgage is tax deductible.
  • There is pride and a healthy self-esteem associated with owning a home.
The Cons
  • The financial commitment associated with owning a home is long term.
  • All maintenance related expenses associated with your home is your responsibility.
  • When you own a home, you are more likely tied to your community making it more difficult to suddenly relocate.
  • When buying a home, there is a down payment, mortgage payment and closing cost.
  • If you do not make the mortgage payment, your home can be taken by the bank.
  • There is no guarantee that the value of your home will increase.
Pros and Cons of Renting a Home The Pros Depending on your financial standing, renting a home might be a preferred option. Here are a few pros and cons associated with the renting.
  • It may be a cheaper option than buying a home with comparable size. Your rent might also cover the monthly utilities.
  • It affords more flexibility especially when you have a job that requires you to move from place to place.
  • Maintenance expenses are not on you. The landlord is responsible for all maintenance from plumbing to electricity as well as other expenses associated with household repairs.
The Cons
  • You are not entitled to a tax break. When you file for a tax return, you cannot claim deduction for property tax and mortgage.
  • Your rent is not fixed and there is the possibility that it would increase from year to year.
In summary, there are several factors to consider when deciding whether or not to buy a home as ownership is not for everyone. This important decision should be based on your present financial status, the nature of your job and what plans you have for the future.





Posted by Marie Presti on 5/26/2013

The past few years the news has been inundated with bad press about the housing market but the facts remain the same it is still better to own a home. In fact, there are more reasons than ever to buy a home. If you are on the fence about buying you will want to take note of some of the benefits of homeownership. Pride of Ownership It belongs to you! That's right, renovate, update, paint, and decorate to your heart's desire and you don't need to ask permission or waste money improving something that you do not own. Your home is your own so plant trees, install a pool, put up a fence, expand the patio, redo the basement or do anything you want. Owning something feels good. Equity Homeownership is about building long-term wealth. It may seem that buying a home has a lot of upfront costs but historically homes appreciate by about 4 to 6 percent a year. When you purchase a home, you build equity with each payment. Equity is the difference between what the home is worth and what is owed. Equity can be used to build wealth, save for retirement and even to secure a loan. For example, an $800/month rent payment equals out to be $48,000 over five years with no financial gain to you. Tax Benefits Homeownership has huge tax benefits. In the early years of a loan, mortgage interest is the largest part of your mortgage payment. Mortgage interest is fully deductible on your tax return. For example, a homeowner in a 28% federal tax bracket could lower their borrowing costs by almost a third. Better Living Studies have shown that owning a home can actually make you healthier, and is better for your family too. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) report: says “Homeowners accumulate wealth as the investment in their homes grows, enjoy better living conditions, are often more involved in their communities, and have children who tend on average to do better in school and are less likely to become involved with crime. Communities benefit from real estate taxes homeowners pay, and from stable neighborhoods homeowners create”. The National Association of Realtor's Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing reports homeowners experience: -Higher educational performance and better behavior of children -Lower community crime rates -Lessened welfare dependency among households -More household participation in civic affairs -Better household health Bottom line, it's a great time to buy! Interest rates are at historic lows; homes are more affordable so go ahead and invest in a safer, healthier, better future for you and your family today.