Gene Mullen - Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Commonwealth Real Estate



Posted by Gene Mullen on 12/11/2018

Selling a house and getting a residence show-ready are two entirely different things.

If you list your house, homebuyers can evaluate it at their convenience. But merely listing a residence offers no guarantees.

Instead, a home seller may want to get his or her residence show-ready. Because if a house is show-ready, the likelihood increases that homebuyers will fall in love with this home as soon as they see it.

There are many quick, easy ways to get your home show-ready, and these include:

1. Clean and Declutter Your Home

Mop the floors, wipe down countertops and conduct various home cleaning tasks. That way, you can transform an ordinary home interior into an immaculate one.

Also, don't forget to declutter your residence as much as possible. If you evaluate your personal belongings, you can identify clutter and work to remove excess items from your house.

For those who need to get rid of clutter, you may be able to sell excess items at a garage sale or online. Also, you can donate excess items to local charities or give these items to family members and friends.

2. Revamp Your House's Exterior

Mow the front lawn, repair any cracked or damaged home siding and complete assorted home exterior improvements. By doing so, you can boost your house's curb appeal and help your home stand out to potential buyers.

Remember, your home's curb appeal may make or break a possible sale. If you allocate the necessary time and resources to revamp your house's exterior, you can increase the chance that a buyer will set up a home showing that could lead to a home sale.

3. Perform Last-Minute Touch-Ups

The final hours before a home showing can be stressful. Fortunately, if you know how to perform myriad last-minute touch-ups, you can boost the likelihood that your residence will make a great first impression on buyers.

Opening the blinds is a great way to brighten up your house prior to a showing. Furthermore, you should empty any trash bins to minimize the risk that unpleasant odors may emanate throughout your home.

Clearly, there's a lot that you can do to get your house show-ready. And if you need extra help as you sell your house, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent as well.

A real estate agent is a housing market expert who understands what it takes to get a house show-ready. He or she is happy to provide home showing recommendations to ensure that you can stir up plenty of interest in your residence.

Of course, a real estate agent provides plenty of assistance throughout the home selling process too. This housing market professional will help you craft an engaging home listing, promote your residence to potential buyers and negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf. He or she will even respond to your home selling concerns and queries.

Prepare your house for a showing Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble getting your residence show-ready.




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Posted by Gene Mullen on 12/4/2018

Ready to buy a new home? Ultimately, there is no shortage of high-quality residences at your disposal.

For homebuyers, you'll likely need to conduct plenty of research to find your dream house. And as you begin your search for the ideal residence, you should consider a house's interior closely. By doing so, you'll be able to determine whether costly, time-intensive home interior repairs will be needed in the foreseeable future.

What does it take to assess a home's interior properly? Here are three questions that every homebuyer should ask when he or she evaluates a house's interior:

1. Does a home's interior match my personal style?

Do you prefer bold, vibrant home interior colors? Or, do you enjoy a subtle mix of light and dark colors? Consider your personal style as you study a house's interior, and you'll be able to decide whether a home's interior complements your individual preferences.

Remember, a home's interior might fail to meet your expectations. But keep in mind that there are plenty of fish in the sea. As such, you can explore a broad array of houses and should be able to find a residence with an interior that will make you smile.

2. Were recent home interior renovations completed?

Learn about any recent home interior renovations that were completed. That way, you can understand how much time a home seller has committed to improving a home's interior.

Also, if a home seller has performed myriad home interior improvements, try to find out when these renovations were finished.

As a homebuyer, information is key. With details about assorted home interior renovations, you may be better equipped than ever before as you decide whether a residence is right for you.

3. Am I comfortable with a home's interior?

A homebuyer should feel comfortable with a home's interior before he or she purchases a residence.

If you fall in love with a house's interior during a home showing, you may want to consider moving forward by submitting an offer on a house. On the other hand, if you find a home requires many home interior improvements, you may want to consider exploring other houses that are available.

For homebuyers who are on the fence about a home, a real estate may be able to help. This housing market professional can offer expert insights into a house that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere, ensuring you can make an informed decision about a residence.

Furthermore, a real estate agent can take the guesswork out of the homebuying journey. This real estate expert will keep you up to date about new homes as they become available, set up home showings for you and even negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. As a result, a real estate agent will make it easy to find a house that will serve you sell for years to come.

Work with a real estate agent, and you can move closer to finding a home that looks beautiful both inside and out.




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Posted by Gene Mullen on 11/27/2018

You can ask any homeowner-buying and owning a home is expensive. Mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and other bills quickly add up.

If you want to buy a home but donít have a large down payment saved, odds are youíve discovered something called private mortgage insurance (PMI).

PMI is an extra monthly payment that you make (on top of your mortgage payment) when you donít have enough to make a large (20%) down payment on your home.

However, if you want to buy a home and donít want to tack on an extra monthly payment for PMI, you have options. In todayís post, Iím going to talk about some ways to avoid paying PMI on your mortgage so you can save more money in the long run.

PMI Basics

Before we talk about getting rid of PMI, letís spend a minute on what to expect when you do have to pay it.

PMI typically costs 0.30% to %1.15% of your total loan balance annually. That means that your PMI payments will decrease a moderate amount as you pay off your loan.

Furthermore, once you have paid off 22% of your loan, your PMI will be cancelled and youíll only be responsible for your regular monthly mortgage payments.

Getting PMI waived early

With conventional loans, you can request to have your PMI cancelled once youíve paid off 20% of the mortgage. However, many buyers with PMI are using some form of first-time buyer loan, such as an FHA loan.

With an FHA loan, youíll be stuck with PMI for the lifetime of the loan if you donít make a down payment of 10% or more. Thatís a lot of PMI payments, especially if you take out a 30 year loan, and it can quickly add up.

If you have an FHA loan with FHA insurance, the only way to cancel the insurance is to refinance into a non-FHA insured loan. And remember--refinancing has its own costs and complications.

Making it to the 20% repayment mark

On conventional loans, the best way to get rid of PMI is to reach your 20% repayment mark as soon as possible. That could mean aggressively paying off your mortgage until you reach that point.

This can be achieved by making extra payments, or just paying more each month. However, you donít want to neglect other debt that could be accruing costly interest in favor of paying off your loans. Make sure you do the math and find out which debt will be more expensive before neglecting other debt.

Once you do reach the 20% repayment mark, youíll have to remember to apply to have your PMI canceled with your lender. Otherwise, it will be canceled automatically at 22%.





Posted by Gene Mullen on 11/20/2018

There is no shortage of smart home devices available to property owners nationwide. From light bulbs to thermostats, there are lots of devices that you can pick up to transform an ordinary residence into a smart house.

Ultimately, there are plenty of reasons to invest in smart home devices. These reasons include:

1. Smart home devices offer unmatched convenience.

A smart home device is designed to simplify a myriad of tasks. Plus, a smart home gadget is easy to use, regardless of your technical background or expertise.

When it comes to automating chores around the house, there may be no better option than a smart home device. For instance, a smart vacuum now enables homeowners to control a vacuum from any location, at any time. This means you can use a smart vacuum to keep your house neat and tidy Ė even when you are not at home.

2. Smart home devices are proven to perform.

Smart home gadgets are equipped with state-of-the-art technology. Additionally, they are constructed from heavy-duty materials to ensure they can serve you well both now and in the future.

And let's not forget about the savings that smart home devices can provide. For example, a smart thermostat may be used to activate your home's heating or cooling system at different times during the day. As a result, this thermostat may help you save hundreds of dollars on your heating and cooling expenses over the course of a year.

3. Smart home devices won't break your budget.

Many smart home devices are available, and they are sold across a wide range of price points. In fact, some smart home devices may require a minimal upfront investment, and the savings that they provide may quickly exceed this investment.

Of course, smart home devices may help you boost the value of your residence as well. With smart gadgets installed throughout your home, your residence may prove to be an attractive option to buyers if you ever decide to sell it. Or, if you decide to remain in your current residence, you can continue to enjoy your smart home gadgets for years to come.

4. Smart home devices can help protect your residence.

Smart security cameras are available that make it simple to monitor your residence on your smartphone or tablet. Meanwhile, these cameras allow you to track activity outside of your home and limit the risk of theft or property damage.

Some smart security cameras also may allow you to lower your home insurance costs. Insurers may provide discounts based on home security investments, and as such, smart security cameras may allow you to reduce your home insurance expenses in the foreseeable future.

Clearly, there are many reasons why homeowners choose smart house devices. By reviewing the smart home devices at your disposal, you are sure to find some that will serve you well.





Posted by Gene Mullen on 11/13/2018

If budgeting isnít your thing, youíll be glad to discover that itís quite simple. Thereís a way to categorize your spending and save money easily. If you learn the rule, it will become so automatic that you wonít even think about it. If youíre saving money for a home, this practice will be essential. Break your budget down into three categories: 


  • Living expenses
  • Financial goals
  • Personal spending


Half of your budget should go towards living expenses. This number includes all of the essentials like rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, commute costs, and insurances. 


20 percent of your income should go towards other financial goals like savings, investments, or paying down debt. Credit card bills, student loans, and other bills would fall under this category. This category is also where youíd save for your down payment, closing costs, and other expenses. This percentage can be adjustable depending on how much debt you have or how much you need to save for retirement. 


The remaining 30 percent of your income can go towards personal spending. This category includes everything that you use your money for but isnít a necessity. This percentage is also flexible. If your lifestyle doesnít require you to use all 30 percent each month, you can indeed save more money.


A Clear Plan 


These categories simplify your budget. Even if you make some adjustments to the numbers, the outline truly makes budgeting easy even for the most scatterbrained among us. It allows you to see where your money goes clearly. It also works no matter what kind of living situation you have.


The great thing about this budgeting plan is that you have some future needs built into it. Many times, when we budget, we think of our immediate needs and our shorter term goals. Saving for any occasion can never happen too early. You are able to not only focus on your current goals and the future.   



Steps


First, determine your monthly income. This number is how much money you take home after taxes. From here, youíll be able to split your money into categories by percentages. If your income fluctuates frequently, youíll need to take an average of your monthly income to determine your numbers. 


Next, you should take a look at your spending habits. These include everything from your morning latte to your monthly rent payment. From here you can make adjustments. Perhaps you need to look for a less expensive apartment. Maybe you need to cut down your weekly pizza to a bi-monthly purchase. Whatever you see in your finances, a simple percentage rule gives you the tools you need to become a saver and be well on your way to the purchase of your first home.     





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