Inexpensive Ways to Save on Your Home Heating Bill This Winter

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Have you lost any deals due to a Home Inspection?? — Bill Nickerson’s Blog

A great read!

We hear so many times of home sales falling apart due to home inspections or some minor repair issues. Broken steps, missing railings, chipping or flaking paint and the list goes on. These are typically minor issues and can be fixed quickly and affordably. What if I told you I have the answers to your […]

via Have you lost any deals due to a Home Inspection?? — Bill Nickerson’s Blog

Tips To Make Spring Cleaning A Breeze

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Beyond Curb Appeal

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Home Buying & The Down Payment

Massachusetts Home Buying – Is the Purchase and Sale Deposit the Same as the Down Payment?
Being a Massachusetts home buyer is a bit different than buying in some other parts of the country. Here in Massachusetts we have a two part contract system. It consists of the “Offer to Purchase” and the “Purchase and Sale Agreement.”

Initially, at the offer stage it is customary to put a deposit of $500 to $1,000 along with the offerdownpaymentonhouse in order to bind the agreement.

Ten days to two weeks after the offer comes the Purchase and Sale Agreement. This is the actual complete document that will have all the terms and conditions of the sale. At Purchase and Sale signing, the buyer will put down a more substantial deposit in order for the seller to feel secure about taking the property off of the market.

The question then arises – is the Purchase and Sales deposit the same as the “down payment?”

The customary amount for the P&S deposit is equal to 5% of the purchase price you will be paying for the property. And, I would not advise putting down any more than this. There is really no reason to do so.

Unless you are in the situation with an FHA or VA loan in which you will be able to put a low down payment, 5% will not be a significant enough amount to qualify as your complete down payment. This is still merely a deposit that holds the property off of the market.

When the P&S is signed and executed, the deposit check is cashed and the funds are put into an escrow account. There they will stay there until your closing at which time this money is brought forward and applied to your purchase.

At the time of your closing you will be bringing “good funds,” usually a bank check, for the remaining amount of your down payment as well as any closing costs.

As a Massachusetts home buyer you should know – there is a definite distinction between the Purchase and Sale deposit and your down payment.

Home Shopping in Spring: 3 Things You Need to Know

Fotolia_91431339_Subscription_Monthly_MSpring represents a lovely time to buy a house. As such, many homebuyers enter the spring real estate market with a common goal – to find the best house at the best price.

What can you do to separate yourself from the homebuying competition? Here are three spring homebuying tips that you need to know:

1. Plan Ahead

The housing market moves quickly, and homebuyers who lack the necessary real estate skills and know-how may fall behind the competition. On the other hand, homebuyers who prepare for the spring real estate market should have no trouble discovering the perfect house.

Evaluate the real estate market closely. Consider your finances and the size of the house that you would like to purchase. Also, examine the prices of houses in your area and how long these homes have been available.

Ultimately, a diligent homebuyer will plan ahead as much as possible. By doing so, this individual will be ready to browse properties and submit offers on residences as soon as springtime arrives.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Homebuyers who receive pre-approval for a mortgage can set realistic expectations for the spring housing market. These homebuyers will know exactly what they can afford, and as such, can narrow their home search.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will require you to meet with a bank or credit union and consider all of the financing options at your disposal. Each lender will be able to explain the differences between adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages and respond to your mortgage concerns and questions as well.

With pre-approval for a mortgage, a homebuyer may stand out from the competition. This individual will be able to streamline the process of submitting an offer on a home. Plus, this homebuyer may be able to boost his or her chances of receiving a “Yes” from a home seller.

3. Hire an Experienced Real Estate Agent

An experienced real estate agent won’t take shortcuts, and as a result, will go above and beyond the call of duty to help you find the perfect home in spring.

Hiring an experienced real estate agent may seem difficult due to the sheer volume of real estate professionals that are available. However, homebuyers who consider a real estate agent’s reputation and credentials may be able to work with a great real estate professional who can guide them along the homebuying journey.

How do past homebuyers rate a real estate agent? Does a real estate agent possess many years of experience? And how will a real estate agent handle tough negotiations with a home seller? These are just some of the questions for a homebuyer to consider when he or she evaluates a real estate agent.

In addition, homebuyers will want to hire an experienced real estate agent who is available to answer their homebuying queries. This real estate professional will allocate the necessary time and resources to support a homebuyer and ensure that this individual can make informed decisions.

Employ an experienced real estate agent to help you find a home in spring. With this real estate agent at your side, you can move closer to purchasing your dream residence

How Much Does It Cost to Sell a House? Here’s a Reality Check

Show me the money! Admit it, that’s what you’re thinking when you consider selling your house. In fact, chances are good you’ve mentally spent much of the proceeds already—on a new house you’re buying, and maybe even a nice vacation this summer. Slow down there—while selling a home can indeed bring in some sweet profits, not every dollar goes into your pocket. You also have to pay the professionals who help you unload your property. So now the question in your mind is probably: How much does it cost to sell a house? Really?

On average, home sellers pay their listing agent a commission amounting to about 6% of the price of their home (although that percentage can vary). On a $250,000 house sale, this amounts to roughly $15,000.

That might seem like a huuuuge chunk of change, but don’t go assuming you’re getting ripped off! Here’s where that money goes, and why it’s totally worth it.

The real estate agent commission, explained

If you’re picturing your real estate agent pocketing the whole sum, think again.

“Sellers are often confused by the often-quoted ‘6% commission fee,’ and it’s because many agents don’t explain clearly why it’s being collected,” says David Nelson, a real estate professional with Re/Max Advantage Plus in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

In fact, that commission is split between the buyer’s agent‘s brokerage and the seller’s. They might split it evenly, or the seller’s agent’s side might get a bit more. From those splits, the respective brokerages take their cut—which, again, varies—and the remaining amount goes to the agents.

Remember, most agents don’t receive a salary, so that fee pays for all that time the agent spent marketing your home. It also includes costs like photographs and signage, as well as the cost to list it on the multiple listings service. And if your house doesn’t sell, the agent doesn’t get reimbursed for those costs—or paid for her time.

How much sellers pay in closing costs

While buyers tend to pay more in closing costs, sellers aren’t completely off the hook. You can expect to spend an additional 2% of your home’s price on this expense, says Keith Gumbinger, vice president at mortgage information resource HSH.com.

Closing costs tend to be fixed, including transfer taxes, escrow expenses, and notary fees. You’ll also pay at closing any outstanding property taxes, a prorated share of the water and sewage bills, and the remainder of your mortgage.

Yet you may have control over a few closing costs, says Gumbinger. If you hire a real estate attorney to oversee your side of the transaction, it’s worth shopping around to compare rates.

Should I just sell my house myself to save money?

In a hot market, many sellers may think they can sell their house themselves to avoid the commission fees.

However, most people don’t realize that if you sell your house on your own, you still have to pay for the buyer’s agent’s brokerage fee.

“Since over 93% of active buyers have a real estate agent representing them, it’s the only way to attract these agents—and thus their buyers—to even consider your home,” Nelson says.

What about that cash they would still be saving by selling their home as “For Sale by Owner,” or FSBO?

Consider what your agent brings to the party:

  • Marketing, signs, advertising support, and professional photography
  • The time and “hassle factor” savings of not having to be present for showings, manage calls, host an open house, set up legal representation for paperwork, and conduct the negotiations
  • The legal protection that comes with working with a licensed real estate agent
  • The professional market knowledge that can help you wisely price the house
  • Negotiating expertise that allows your agent to extract the best terms and price from the buyer
  • A wider pool of potential buyers that comes with listing your home on the MLS
  • Access to other agents, who have or know potential buyers. In fact, notes Nelson, many sales can happen before a home is even listed, because agents will reach out to one another.

 

“In the end, that ‘savings’ to list a home yourself doesn’t usually save you any money,” Nelson says. “In fact, it can cost you in terms of time, stress, and often a lower price for your home.”

You know the saying “you get what you pay for”? Well, you also earn what you save. Think long and hard about your limitations in terms of time and expertise before heading down the home-selling path solo. After all, this home sale may be one of the largest financial transactions of your life, so it’s not exactly something you should cut corners on with the hopes of saving a few bucks.

 

Courtesy of http://www.realtor.com/advice/sell/how-much-does-it-cost-to-sell-a-house/

10 Emergencies Every Homeowner Should Know How to Handle

Burst Pipe

Whether it’s a broken radiator or a rusted-out drain outflow, a burst pipe can cause a lot of trouble in a short period of time. If water is gushing, close the valve closest to the link first, then shut off the main water valve into the house. Once you’ve turned off the main water supply, reopen the smaller valve and slowly drain any remaining water into buckets.

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Black Out

During a power outage, the safest course is to disconnect all appliances and electronics. That way, you’ll avoid damage from power surges when the juice returns to your home. Take great care using candles for illumination, exercising proper fire safety, and be sure to stock up on batteries and flashlights. You can find more power outage safety tips at Ready.gov.

Gas Leak

If your carbon monoxide detector sounds or you simply detect a gas odor, evacuate the house immediately. Once you’ve relocated to a safe location, call the gas company’s 24-hour help line and ask them to send a technician to check your home for leaks.

Basement Flood

Before you charge into a flooded basement to rescue your belongings, be safe. Turn off the circuit breaker to the house (or, if you can’t reach the circuit box, call your utility and ask them to do it for you). Wear thick waterproof boots and gloves to protect against toxic elements in the floodwater.

Roof Damage

For patching a roof battered by storm damage, tarps nailed down with wood strips are the quickest and easiest fix. Just be sure to let any weather pass and take all precautions before climbing up—or even better, call a professional to do it for you, then arrange for more permanent patch-ups to happen as quickly as possible.

Furnace Malfunction

Somehow, the furnace always seems to give out on a frigid evening —and Murphy’s law states it will happen on a Saturday night, when the repairman charges double his usual rate. Before you pick up the phone, check to see if a clogged filter or a tripped circuit breaker might be the culprit.

Locked Out

Getting locked out of the house is a little embarrassing, and, if you have to call a locksmith, can be mightily expensive, too. Keeping a hidden key poses security risks. So remove your extra key from inside the hide-a-key garden stone or from under the back porch door mat, and consider leaving it with a trusted friend or neighbor instead.

Kitchen Fire

First, don’t panic. Keep a box of baking soda in a handy spot for dousing flare-ups in a toaster or stovetop pan. Avoid tossing water on the blaze, and don’t try to smother the flames with a dishtowel or anything that could catch fire. The better course of action is to use a pot lid to extinguish the flames. If it’s an oven fire, don’t open the door—close the oven and the fire should extinguish itself. Although some fire extinguishers are rated to extinguish grease fires, those handheld fire fighters can spread flames rather than extinguish them when used improperly. Educate yourself on the types of extinguishers and how to use them so you’re always ready in case of a disaster.

Flush Fail

Obviously, a plunger is your first line of defense for a clogged toilet. If you’ve cleared the clog but flushing troubles persist, open the tank and investigate. The handle may have gotten disconnected, or part of the flush mechanism may need to be replaced.

Animal Invasion

When backyard wildlife finds their way indoors, they can wreak havoc in a home. If a wild animal gets into your house, keep it contained in one area. Open a window, close all the doors, and it should find its way out. If it doesn’t, call animal control

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