Robert Ross' Blog
Buying a home ranks among the largest purchases everyday people make in their entire lifetimes. If you have gone through the process at least once, you probably gained some valuable life lessons. Whether it’s time to purchase a larger home for a growing family or downsize to a more manageable living space, there are pitfalls that trip up even experienced homebuyers. These rank among the unforeseen issues that can cause setbacks and ways to avoid them.
1: Overcompensating For Past Regrets
When buyers search for their next home, it’s not uncommon to be driven by the perceived shortcomings of the last. For example, you bought a property that had all the living space you need. This may have included a home office, attached garage, and plenty of room to entertain guests. The downside may have been a lack of outdoor living space. Driven by the desire to have a veranda, deck, or big yard, emotion may cause you to compromise on other musts. It may be in your best interest to make a checklist of your needs and be certain you won’t experience buyer’s regret, a second time.
2: Skipping Contingency Planning
It’s not unusual for people to see properties moving quickly in their area and become overconfident yours won’t sit on the market long. The common mistake is to move forward and buy your dream home while expecting only a short period of holding two mortgages. If for some odd reason the market goes dormant in your neighborhood, the financial implications could prove disastrous.
The flipside is selling your hot property and renting as a stop-gap measure. Low housing inventories and competitive markets could land you in a pinch, and home-ownerless for an extended period. These are the reasons why people rely on contingency plans. Craft a deal that sets the homes up like a series of dominoes. When one sells, they all move, and you spend only one day relocating instead of many in a tight spot. Contingencies provide security and stability.
3: Forecasting A Neighborhood’s Future
No homebuyer or real estate professional has a crystal ball that accurately predicts a property’s value. But there is plenty of hard data that can be used to indicate whether a neighborhood is trending in the positive or negative. This may be particularly true in 2020.
Potential homebuyers can look at the pricing that includes listing, sales, and valuations that began before the last recession and lending crisis. You can expect to see a decline in these measures during that rough period. But these days, the economy is robust in many areas. How the property, and surrounding area, performed coming out of the recession could be a telltale sign of where values are heading. The point is to conduct thorough due diligence about the home and others in the neighborhood. Making an informed decision is critical to purchasing a property, regardless of whether you’re a newbie or seasoned homebuyer.
249 Hollis Street, Holliston, MA 01746
Finding financing for a home could be as simple as applying for a conforming FHA loan or it could be as difficult as having to locate a portfolio loan or even a combo loan. What you need depends on the real estate you are buying. Most people buying a primary residence get a conforming loan, whether it is conventional or government-backed.
Conforming vs. Non-Conforming
The first thing to determine is whether your loan is going to be conforming or not. A conforming loan for a single-family unit must be under $510,400 in most areas and $765,600 in other areas. The Federal Housing Finance Agency sets the rates. If you have to borrow more, you will need a jumbo loan or a piggyback loan. A common piggyback loan is where you pay 15 percent of the price, then take out two mortgages: one for 80 percent of the purchase price, then a second mortgage for 5 percent of the purchase price. You can work the percentages however you need them based on the purchase price. The piggyback loan keeps you from going into jumbo loan territory and possibly paying higher interest rates.
Conforming loans are conventional or government-backed loans. A conventional loan usually has a higher interest rate because it’s riskier to the lender. A government-backed loan, such as a VA or FHA loan is guaranteed by the federal government, thus it is less risky to lenders. Because of the lower risk, you get a better interest rate as long as your credit is good.
Adjustable vs. Fixed-Rate Loans
If interest rates are low and are projected to stay low, you can get an adjustable-rate loan to save a bit on the interest rate. As interest rates change, so does your mortgage payment. Adjustable rates are based on a certain index. For example, if your base interest rate is 4 percent, which means your interest rate will never go lower than that, and the Libor London rate is 1 percent, your rate is 5 percent. If the Libor London increases by a half percentage point, so will your loan. However, if it decreases by a point, your interest rate also lowers by a point.
Adjustable-rate loans are risky for the buyer because you don’t know if the rate will significantly increase over the life of the loan. If you plan on refinancing or selling the home after a few years, an adjustable-rate might be beneficial.
A fixed-rate loan means that your interest rate does not change over the life of the loan.
You might have a hard time finding a loan because you are self-employed, your credit isn’t the best, or you are buying a property that doesn’t conform to most lenders’ standards. A lender doesn’t sell the loan on the secondary market, but instead holds it in the bank’s portfolio. These loans are riskier for the lender and will often have a higher interest rate.
4 Brackett Road, Framingham, MA 01702
Pressure washing your home can be an excellent way to increase curb appeal on a budget. A good pressure washer can be used to clean vinyl siding, windows, driveways, decks and sidewalks.
You can buy, rent, or hire a pressure washer. And, there are a number of different types of machines available. So, in this post, I’m going to give you some tips on pressure washing your home to increase curb appeal and discuss which option might be the best for you.
Buying a pressure washer
If your next move is to a new home with vinyl siding and you plan on living there for several years. You may find that buying a pressure washer is the best option for you.
Many pressure washers pay for themselves after 3-5 uses. However, high end washers can be much more expensive.
The first thing to consider when buying a pressure washer is to determine what you’ll need it for and how often you’ll use it.
If you have a deck, sidewalk, or driveway that sit underneath pine trees, you can bet that they’re going to get dirty frequently.
If you find yourself wanting a washer more than once a year, it’s likely a safe investment.
Gas vs electric
Consumer pressure washers come in two main types: gas and electric. Gas-powered washers tend to be stronger (and therefore more dangerous). They’re also noisy and will require maintenance and tune-ups on occasion.
Electric, on the other hand, are better for less heavy duty cleaning. They tend to be cheaper, at around $100 - $250 each (vs $250 - $500 for a gas-powered washer), but you do sacrifice some power at the expense of cost and convenience.
Regardless of which option you choose, it’s important to understand that pressure washers can be dangerous machines if not used correctly. Be sure to fully follow the instructions on your washer and to never point it at yourself, including shoes, or clothing.
Renting a pressure washer
If you don’t want to deal with storage or maintenance, renting is a great option for a one-time job. Perhaps your next home will be a condo or townhouse where you don’t have to worry about exterior maintenance. In these situations, a one-time rental can be a good option.
Power washers can be rented from many hardware stores, including The Home Depot. But, a quick Google search for your area should bring up multiple places to rent nearby.
Hiring a professional pressure washer
Pressure washing your home, driveway, or deck is a lot easier than scrubbing them with a brush. But, it still takes a good deal of time to go out and pick up the rental, return home, figure out how to set up the washer and then clean your entire home.
To avoid the headache (and the potential safety risks), many homeowners hire a local pressure washing company to do the job.
Hiring a company has its advantages; namely, when you hire a professional (one with good reviews on Yelp and Google), you’re going to get the best results.