Bernadette Calvario


Posted by Bernadette Calvario on 10/16/2019

Buying a vacation home is an important goal and milestone for many Americans who want to make the most of their holidays and plan for retirement.

Vacation properties neednít be lavish or expensive to still be a perfect way to enjoy the winter months at your home away from home. Furthermore, owning a vacation home can prove to be an excellent financial asset that increases in value over time, as more people seek to scoop up properties in your area.

In todayís post, Iím going to talk about some of the most important things to look for in a vacation home to help you kick off your search. Whether youíre months away from buying a home or the idea of a second home is still a far-off dream, this article is for you.

1. Consider locations

The most important aspect of any vacation home is that itís located in the perfect place for you to enjoy. Whether thatís a remote getaway in the mountains or a beachfront property in Florida, your plans for the home should be your number one priority.

If itís your ultimate goal to retire and move into your vacation home someday, consider what it would be like living in that location full time. Is it close to amenities like grocery stores? Or, if youíre moving to a coastal area, will the traffic drive you crazy?

On the other hand, if you donít intend to ever move into your vacation home full-time, it might be wiser to choose a location that will suit your familyís vacation needs while remaining a great asset to sell down the road.

2. Spend a week at your destination before buying

Some homeowners have a dream of buying a vacation home in a place theyíve always wanted to visit or have simply heard is a great place to own a vacation home in. The problem with this is that you might find, once you arrive, that you donít want to spend several weeks or months there after all.

It might get too crowded during vacation season or you might decide that there isnít enough to do that will keep you busy for extended stays.

To prevent buyerís remorse, spend a week or two in your planned vacation home destination to make sure it really is the best spot for you.

3. If you plan on renting, know what to expect

Many Americans purchase a vacation home with the intention of renting it out while they arenít using it to earn extra income. While this can be a great way to generate income, you will need to be prepared for becoming a landlord.

Look up local rental laws in the area to make sure you understand your responsibilities. Furthermore, understand that renting out a property part-time takes work; youíll interact with prospective renters, filter out those that you think arenít suited for your home, and handle problems with the property as they arrive.

If you keep these three things in mind, you should be able to find the perfect vacation home for you and your family.





Posted by Bernadette Calvario on 7/31/2019

Buying a home should be a quick, simple process. However, the homebuying cycle sometimes proves to be a hassle, particularly for those who are shopping for a house for the first time.

Lucky for you, there are many quick, easy ways to become a smart homebuyer Ė here are three tips to ensure you can make informed decisions throughout the homebuying journey.

1. Check Out a Broad Array of Houses

Purchasing a home can be a fun, exciting journey, especially if you explore a wide range of residences.

Remember, the more residences you check out, the more likely it becomes that you'll find one that matches or exceeds your expectations.

When you review houses, be sure to analyze each property's interior and exterior closely. That way, you can identify any problem areas and determine whether these issues are potential deal-breakers.

Also, don't hesitate to check out the same house multiple times. It never hurts to take a second look at a house. And if you find that you enjoy a home after a second walk-through, you may be ready to submit an offer on this residence.

2. Set a Homebuying Budget

Before you make an offer on a house, it is important to consider exactly what you can afford. By doing so, you can avoid the temptation to overspend in the hopes of acquiring your dream house.

Many homebuyers get pre-approved for a mortgage Ė something that may prove to be exceedingly valuable.

With pre-approval for a mortgage, a homebuyer will know exactly how much money he or she can spend on a home. This will enable a homebuyer to enter the housing market with a budget in hand and map out his or her home search accordingly.

Furthermore, consider your monthly expenses prior to submitting a home offer. Electricity and assorted utility expenses can add up quickly, so you'll want to account for these costs. And if you want cable and internet services at your new home, you'll want to evaluate these potential expenses as well.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a housing market professional, and as such, will help you simplify the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you to understand your homebuying needs. He or she then will help you develop a homebuying strategy, one that ensures you can purchase your ideal house at a budget-friendly price.

With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble acquiring a wonderful residence. This housing market professional will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new property listings and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. As a result, a real estate agent will guarantee you can get the best results possible throughout the home selling journey.

Don't leave anything to chance as you kick off your home search. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you can become a smart home shopper in no time at all.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Bernadette Calvario on 7/17/2019

Completing a successful homebuying journey may be difficult, especially for those who do not plan ahead. In fact, high-pressure situations may arise that lead you to make rash homebuying decisions. And if you make the wrong choices, you risk paying an exorbitant price to acquire your dream residence.

There is no reason to let high-pressure situations cause you to make poor decisions throughout the homebuying journey. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you map out your homebuying journey so you know exactly how to handle any high-pressure situations that come your way.

1. Maintain Flexibility

A high-pressure homebuying situation may make you feel like you are backed into a corner. However, it is important to remember that options are always available. And if you take a deep breath and step back and review a high-pressure homebuying situation closely, you can determine the best course of action.

Those who maintain flexibility as they try to acquire their dream home may be better equipped than others to handle high-pressure homebuying situations. Because if you maintain flexibility throughout the homebuying journey, you can take an objective view of the options at your disposal and proceed accordingly.

2. Establish a Budget

A budget generally is helpful, particularly for those who want to acquire a terrific home as quickly as possible. If you have a budget in hand, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a home. Then, if you face pressure to increase your offer to purchase your dream residence, you'll know whether you have the financing available to do so.

Keep in mind that the costs associated with purchasing a home extend beyond the price of a house itself, too. As you establish a budget, you'll need to account for closing, appraisal and inspection expenses and various other fees in addition to the cost of a house itself.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can take the guesswork out of buying a house. He or she also will go above and beyond the call of duty to alleviate stress and ensure you can proceed with confidence as you pursue your ideal residence.

Let's not forget about the guidance that a real estate agent provides when you're ready to submit an offer to purchase your dream home, either. At this point, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase your ideal house. He or she next will submit this offer to a seller on your behalf and negotiate with the seller as needed. If you and a seller come to terms on a home purchase agreement, a real estate agent will help you close on your dream home as well.

For those who want to simplify the homebuying journey, it helps to prepare. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can get ready for high-pressure homebuying situations and speed up the process of acquiring your dream residence.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Bernadette Calvario on 4/24/2019

The rent vs buy dilemma is something that Americans have been facing for decades. Both options have their benefits, and itís really a matter of timing and preferences when it comes to choosing which is best for you.

However, there are a lot of things to consider before making this decision. So, in todayís post weíre going to break down some of the benefits of renting an apartment and of buying a home. That way you can make your decision with a clearer picture of what each situation looks like.

One thing to note first, however, is that it isnít always as simple as buy vs rent. Some living situations draw on the pros of each type of living. For example, living in a condo might be a good option for people who want the privacy and independence of owning their own home, but who also donít have the time or desire to keep up with maintenance.

So, as we compare buying and renting, keep in mind that the features of each are not mutually exclusive.

Renting an apartment

Most people who are living on their own for the first time start off renting. For younger people just out of school, renting offers the first taste of independence without the prerequisites of homeownership.

When you rent your first apartment, youíll learn the skills associated with budgeting for your monthly expenses, making your rent payments on time, and will start learning some of the skills that it takes to run a household.

In terms of monthly costs, apartments can vary greatly. Depending on where you live (and how luxurious the apartment is) you could end up having rent and utility payments that are much lower or much higher than mortgage payments for a house.

However, apartment leases often come with the benefit of utilities, trash removal, and other expenses built in. They also typically require the landlord to maintain the apartment and the land it sits on.

Live in the northern part of the country and hate shoveling snow? Make sure your lease specifies that your landlord will provide snow removal.

One technique that many renters take is to find an apartment that is small and affordable while they save up for a home. In this case, itís worth living with fewer amenities if your end goal is saving for a down payment.

But, what if you want to own a home someday but havenít quite decided where you want to settle down? Maybe your work keeps you moving from place to place or youíve always wanted to move away to somewhere new.

Renting is typically a better option for those who arenít quite sure what their plans are for the next coming years. They can have a stable place to live while they figure things out and plan their next move.

Buying a home

Once youíve rented a home for a while, you might become increasingly aware that you want more space and more control over your home.

Youíre also likely noticing how much money you spend on rent each month that is essentially a net loss.

When you buy a home, your mortgage payments might be going to the bank, but someday the money youíve paid toward that home will be yours in the form of equity. You can then use this as a down payment for another home.

This financial benefit cannot be understated. Since house values dependably increase over time, owning a home is a great investment toward your future.

So, those are the main pros and cons of renting vs buying a home. Think about your circumstances and determine which one makes the most sense for you right now. Then, start planning for the future.




Categories: Buying a Home   rent vs buy  


Posted by Bernadette Calvario on 1/23/2019

Closing costs are usually an unavoidable part of buying a home. While there are ways to reduce some closing costs and fees, they are an expense you will likely have to consider when it comes time to save for a home.

On average, buyers can expect to pay between 2 and 5 percent of the purchase price in closing costs and fees.

In this article, weíre going to break down those costs and talk about some ways to plan for, or limit, the fees associated with closing on a home.

A breakdown of closing costs

Most closing costs in a real estate transaction are paid for by the buyer. When getting approved for a mortgage, your lender is required to provide you with an estimate of the closing costs. This is called a ďClosing Disclosure statementĒ which overviews the details of your loan.

Different lenders will charge varying amounts in fees. Some are even willing to waive certain fees. But, weíll discuss that later.

For now, letís focus on the closing costs buyers typically have to pay:

  • Attorney fees - a flat-fee or hourly rate depending on the attorney

  • Origination fees - an upfront fee charged by the lender for processing your mortgage application

  • Prepaid interest or discount points - a payment for the interest that will accrue on your mortgage from the time you close until your first mortgage payment is due

  • Home inspection fee - the fee that a professional home inspector charges to inspect a home

  • Escrow deposits - Usually split with the seller, this is the fee charged by an escrow agent

  • Recording fees - fees for legally recording the new deed and mortgage

  • Underwriting fees - fees paid to the lender for researching your mortgage case and determining whether or not to approve your application

These are just some of the many fees that can be due upon closing on a home. Depending on where you live, which lender you choose, and the type of mortgage you secure, your closing costs will vary, so itís a good idea to shop around for a lender and mortgage type with reasonable closing costs.

Reducing closing costs

Some lenders offer no-cost, or low-cost mortgages. However, these savings often come with a higher interest rate which, over the lifespan of your loan, can cost you more in the long run.

You should also be aware of the different loan types that you may be eligible for. FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans are all designed for buyers hoping to make lower down payments on their home.

Each loan type provides different amounts due at closing. Fortunately, your mortgage lender will be able to give you an estimate of costs for each loan type.

Want to get an estimate of the closing costs youíll have to pay when you buy a home? You can use this online calculator to see an average.







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