Robert Ross' Blog
If you intend to list your house in the weeks or months to come, it usually pays to assess real estate market data. In fact, there are many reasons why you should conduct housing market data analysis, and these include:
1. You can learn about the ins and outs of the real estate market.
Let's face it – navigating the home selling process can be difficult, regardless of whether you've sold houses in the past or plan to list a home for the first time. Fortunately, housing market data can help you better understand the real estate sector, increasing the likelihood that you'll make informed decisions at each stage of the home selling journey.
Remember, evaluating the prices of available houses in your area, finding out how long these residences have been listed and reviewing other pertinent housing market data can make a world of difference. If you use this information to understand the current state of the real estate market, you can boost your chances of enjoying a fast, profitable home selling experience.
2. You can determine a competitive price for your house.
What you originally paid for your house is unlikely to match your home's current value. Luckily, you can analyze real estate market data to find out how your house stacks up against the competition and price your residence appropriately.
Look at the prices of local residences that are similar to your own – you'll be glad you did. If you study this pricing data closely, you can narrow the price range for your house. Then, you can establish a competitive initial asking price for your house.
3. You can reduce the risk of encountering home selling pitfalls.
Want to avoid setting an initial home asking price that is too high or too low? Or, do you want to ensure that your house is buyer-ready from the moment that you add it to the real estate market? If you evaluate housing market data, you can obtain the insights that you need to avoid potential problems during the home selling journey.
Lastly, if you need extra help as you prepare to sell your house, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can provide you with a wealth of real estate market data and offer expert home selling recommendations. That way, you can optimize the value of all of the housing market data at your disposal.
Let's not forget about the comprehensive assistance that a real estate agent offers as the home selling journey progresses, either. A real estate agent will help you list your house, promote it to the right groups of buyers and negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf. And if you ever have home selling concerns or questions, a real estate agent will gladly respond to them.
Take a data-driven approach to selling your house – perform real estate market data analysis, and you can gain the home selling insights that you need to succeed.
849 Boston Post Road East, Marlborough, MA 01752
If you're in the market for a new home, one of the first things you need to determine is how much of a monthly mortgage payment you can comfortably afford. A loan officer or mortgage broker can help you figure that out, based on your income, debts, and other information.
One thing they probably won't include in the equation is the cost of home maintenance and other essential services, like garbage collection.
Ultimately, it's up to the homeowner to build in enough "breathing room" in their budget to cover unexpected expenses. Although you can't predict exactly what those expenses will be or how much they'll cost, it's virtually guaranteed that they're going to occur. Whether you're planning to buy a new house or a mid-century dwelling, here's the short list of typical homeowner expenses that could crop up. While all these items may not apply directly to your situation, many of them eventually will.
- Plumbing repairs: Leaky pipes, clogged drains, and broken plumbing fixtures are common problems in most homes. You may also need a plumber to fix or install a garbage disposal, repair or replace a hot water heater, or hook up a new refrigerator to your water supply.
- HVAC services: When you combine the cost of semi-annual routine service calls and unexpected emergency repairs, the cost of maintaining your heating and cooling systems can really take a bite out of your household budget!
- Appliance repair: The typical family depends on at least a half a dozen major appliances to prepare meals and keep their clothes and dishes clean. When one or more of those appliances break down, chaos can ensue! In many cases, it's more cost-effective and practical to call a repair service than buy a new appliance.
- Exterminator services: Regardless of whether you live in the city or the country, unexpected and unwelcome insects, rodents, and other miscellaneous varmints can show up in your home and yard. Sometimes it's even necessary to call a wildlife control specialist to remove skunks, raccoons, and other intruders!
- Electrical repairs and upgrades: Although electrical repairs are occasionally needed for safety reasons, most calls to electricians are more routine in nature. However, when light switches, electrical outlets, and ceiling lights stop working, it can be a huge inconvenience for you and your family. In some cases, you might even be desperate enough to pay extra for emergency electrical service on weekends!
- Miscellaneous expenses: Garage door repairs, fireplace cleaning, swimming pool maintenance, deck repairs, rain gutter cleaning, professional carpet cleaning, landscaping, fence repair, home siding repair, and wet basement problems are a few of the many expenses that may require you to dip into your savings or household budget.
If you're looking for loans with excellent interest rates, you may have heard the term USDA bandied about. This special type of loan is attractive on paper, but the reality is a little more complicated than what meets the eye. Learn more about what a USDA loan is meant to do, how to get one, and why the terms are so buyer-friendly.
The Goal of the USDA
The primary goal of a USDA loan is to infuse new life into rural communities. When people flock to cities, it causes rents to rise and small towns to crumble. A USDA loan is a way to entice Americans to renovate old homes and keep abandoned neighborhoods alive. These loans are backed by the government and issued by the lender. Because of the purpose behind the USDA, the applicant is judged more so on their general merits rather than their financial status. As long as the buyer is willing to commit to the property and the surrounding community, they're likely to be approved.
Requirements of the USDA Loan
Here are the key eligibility requirements for a USDA loan:
- Location: The majority of USDA properties will be in rural areas. You'll need to research the homes available under the USDA umbrella before applying for a loan.
- Credit score: The credit score minimum is ambiguous since the USDA loan is based on more than just straight financials. However, those with a credit score of at least 640 typically receive a fast-tracked application. This means fewer questions and underwriting from the lender and a nearly guaranteed approval.
- Down payment: USDA loans don't require a traditional down payment. However, you will need to pay 1% of the loan to the lender if putting down less than 20% of the total loan.
- Fees: There's a .35% fee every year for the entire course of the loan. The .35% is applied to the mortgage balance, meaning it decreases every year.
- Interest rates: The lender sets the interest rates for USDA loans, but they can go as low as 1% in some cases.
- Closing costs: Closing costs are typically between 1 and 3% of the total price of the home.
It's worth noting that some USDA homes are in more populated areas, so you shouldn't assume a property is ineligible until you confirm. If you're unable to secure a USDA loan, you may want to consider an FHA loan. While the terms are not quite as attractive, FHA loans are also backed by the government. This gives people with lower credit scores a way to secure a property at a reasonable interest rate.
If you have a list of home contractors that you use and are satisfied with, consider your yourself lucky!
Many homeowners find themselves in the unenviable position of having to blindly search online for reputable contractors, sort their way through dozens of miscellaneous reviews, and then hopefully find a handful of promising candidates to interview.
Even after all that, there's no guarantee you'll be 100% satisfied with your choice!
Although picking a contractor may sometimes feel like a gamble, there are strategies for lowering your risk factor.
A personal recommendation from someone you know and trust is usually the most reliable method of finding the right person for the job. If a relative or friend has had a positive experience with a roofer, bathroom remodeler, or plumber, then there's a good chance, you'll be satisfied with them, too. It's still a good idea to get two or three contractor estimates, but a good starting point is to have at least one recommendation from someone who has your best interest at heart.
Do Online Reviews Help?
Online review sites can also provide helpful information and feedback, but they're not always the "unvarnished truth". In spite of efforts by review sites to discourage biased reviews, some are probably going to slip through. For example: Have you ever read a review that sounded like it was an advertisement for the contractor? Sometimes when the praise sounds just a little too glowing and over the top, you can't help but wonder if those reviews are genuine and unbiased. Although the majority of online reviews are probably legit, the best way to view them is with a healthy dose of skepticism.
When it comes to the occasional scathing review by a disgruntled customer, one has to put it in context and look at "the big picture." There are some customers who are literally impossible to satisfy and will always find something to complain about. However, if a contractor has more than one or two negative reviews online, and they're not offset by a couple dozen positive ones, then that could be a potential red flag. Since you don't know the reviewers personally, and the reviews are often posted anonymously, the credibility factor is much lower than if you got a recommendation from one of your parents, a close friend, a next-door neighbor, a sibling, business associate, or your real estate agent.
The point at which you should be able to separate the "wheat from the chaff" is during your face-to-face meetings. If a contractor gives every you indication of being professional, honest, knowledgeable, experienced, ethical, and customer-service oriented, then they're probably a good prospect for the job. Other factors include the price they quote, their Better Business Bureau rating, and their willingness to provide references, proof of insurance coverage (such as general liability and Workers' Comp, if applicable) and direct answers to all your questions