Archive for the ‘Buying’ Category

Short sales-Protect your credit score

Saturday, October 9th, 2010




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It is in the news. Bank of America suspends foreclosures. This does not let you off the hook; you will just dangle a little longer. But it gives you time to start the short sale process and limit the damage to your credit history. Remember, a foreclosure stays with you forever, can affect your security clearance, and can even affect the value of your neighbor’s homes. Contact me now if you have a hardship and can not maintain your mortgage payments.



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  • wp socializer sprite mask 16px Short sales Protect your credit score | CT Real Estate
  • wp socializer sprite mask 16px Short sales Protect your credit score | CT Real Estate
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  • wp socializer sprite mask 16px Short sales Protect your credit score | CT Real Estate
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7 reasons to own your home

Friday, October 8th, 2010




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1. Tax breaks. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, as well as some of the costs involved in buying your home.

2. Appreciation. Real estate has long-term, stable growth in value. While year-to-year fluctuations are normal, median existing-home sale prices have increased on average 6.5 percent each year from 1972 through 2005, and increased 88.5 percent over the last 10 years, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.
3. Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.

4. Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.

5. Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will increase.

6. Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and benefit from your investment for as long as you own the home.

7. Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years gives you a chance to participate in community activities, lets you and your family establish lasting friendships, and offers your children the benefit of educational continuity.

Online resources: To calculate whether buying is the best financial option for you, use the “Buy vs. Rent” calculator at www.GinnieMae.gov.

*Reprinted from REALTOR magazine, with permission of the National Association of Realtors. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.



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8 Tips to Guide You on Your Home Search

Thursday, October 7th, 2010




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1. Research before you look. Decide what features you most want to have in a home, what neighborhoods you prefer, and how much you’d be willing to spend each month for housing.

2. Be realistic. It’s OK to be picky, but don’t be unrealistic with your expectations. There’s no such thing as a perfect home. Use your list of priorities as a guide to evaluate each property.
 

3. Get your finances in order.Review your credit report and be sure you have enough money to cover your down payment and closing costs. Then, talk to a lender and get pre-qualified for a mortgage. This will save you the heartache later of falling in love with a house you can’t afford.

4. Don’t ask too many people for opinions. It will drive you crazy. Select one or two people to turn to if you feel you need a second opinion, but be ready to make the final decision on your own.

5. Decide your moving timeline. When is your lease up? Are you allowed to sublet? How tight is the rental market in your area? All of these factors will help you determine when you should move.

6. Think long term. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you.

7. Insist on a home inspection. If possible, get a warranty from the seller to cover defects for one year.

8. Get help from a REALTOR®. Hire a real estate professional who specializes in buyer representation. Unlike a listing agent, whose first duty is to the seller, a buyer’s representative is working only for you. Buyer’s reps are usually paid out of the seller’s commission payment.

*Reprinted from REALTOR Magazine, with permission of the National Association of Realtors.


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Connecticut Real Estate – Pleasant Northeastern Escape

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010




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Connecticut is close to all the major attractions in the Northeast, but has much to offer on its own.  If you’re looking for a little peace in the Northeast, Connecticut real estate is a good option.

Connecticut

With a colonial history, beach towns and little seaside villages, Connecticut is a classic Northeaster state. Unlike its neighbors, Connecticut tends to be less populated and have a bit of a slower pace of life.  Sitting close to New York City, Connecticut is a popular relocation spot for people working in the city, but trying to avoid the population crush.

Hartford

The capital of the state, Hartford is a modern city and considered the insurance company capital of the United States. With such a title, you might think Hartford isn’t exactly a vibrant city. Unfortunately, you’re correct. There isn’t much to recommend the city if you’re looking for nightlife or outdoor experiences. Real Estate prices, however, are reasonable for the Northeast and it is a relatively short trip to more vibrant locations.

Mystic

Unlike Hartford, Mystic is a town with a ton of culture. Located on the Atlantic seaboard, the town has a strong seafaring history and takes pride in it. With colonial architecture, the city is bursting with color as the leaves turn in the fall.  A classic seaport, Mystic celebrates the history with maritime museums, classic whaling schooner and as pleasant a group of people as you will ever find. You can even order 5-cent beers in a few local taverns. Admittedly, the glasses are very small but 5 cents is 5 cents!

Connecticut Real Estate

Connecticut real estate prices differ greatly from location to location. Generally, the closer the location is to New York City, the higher the prices. A single-family residence in Hartford will set you back $325,000 but prices range from the low $200,000 to over $1,ooo,ooo throughout the state.



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To Rent or To Buy??

Sunday, August 29th, 2010




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If you are wondering if you should rent or buy in Stamford, CT (or Beyond!) this video we found by the NAR® might help icon smile To Rent or To Buy?? | CT Real Estate

Source: Homes: Rent or Buy, (YouTube Video, Feb. 12, 2009).



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Open House

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010




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Open House 1-4pm.

-By your Staff Writer for the Property Network, Matt Giles

I spent the day with my fiancé running around to all the open houses in our area. There was a lot to see and some nice and some disturbing finds. Either way we are just one step closer to buying a new home.

First we plotted our plan of attack. We spent Saturday night on the computer looking for all the open houses in our area and surrounding areas. And boy did I get lucky….not like that; I got lucky because all the open houses were in the town I want to live in over the towns she likes.

We were on the computer looking at all the different houses we could afford and that we liked. She looks at the layout and how updated the kitchen was and I look to see if there is a sewer over septic and what the other utilities there are. When it comes to heating the house I would like natural gas over propane or oil and I will put my foot down on electric heat. I lived in Boston in an apartment with electric heat and our bills were almost as high as rent and it was never warm.

So anywho, after studying each picture and seeing what each listing had to offer we decided we would make an afternoon out of open house hunting. What I found out was some of these realtors try to lure you in with cookies. One had a big tin of sugar cookies and another was baking chocolate chip cookies why we were walking around. Very clever marketing ploy. Make the chubby out of shape writer want cookies and a place to live.

Now, I’m sure some of you have had this experience before. I’m not ashamed to admit before my relationship now I tried the whole internet dating thing. With that experience I found out that most of the time the person in the picture is not what you see when you actually meet. That is exactly what was happening today.

Every place we saw in the pictures looked like the ideal place to live. Just paint, maybe some updates in the kitchens but nothing to bad. In real life every place we saw needed all the carpets ripped out from one foul funk to another (now I know why she was baking cookies to cover up the stench of something).

The other thing I noticed was all the awful touch up spots that people tried to touch up either spackle or paint. Oh man, hire a professional to do the work if you don’t know how. It just looks horrible when what are supposed to be smooth walls are textured from the lack of patience to sand the spackle before you paint it.

The last thing is buy some caulk. Houses settle causing nail pops and things to move. Sometimes trim will separate off the wall from the house settling and the trim guy missing a stud when he nailed it on. Caulk fixes that problem and makes it look nice. Most trim is painted white so if you by white caulk and spend a few hours on a Saturday re-caulking it will help when people walk through.

That is one of the first things I notice, big black gaps against white trim. Just looks bad. I get not going through the hassle of fixing nail pops (nailing the nail in, spackling, sanding, spackling again, sanding, and than painting the whole wall so it blends), but get the caulk and have fun.

Needless to say we did not find first home lust or love today. We found a lot of places that needed a lot of work before we could move in. So now we are going to be setting up times to go see all the other houses to see how they compare from the pictures. I’m just hoping at least one looks better than the pictures this time.

-Matt Giles, Staff Writer for the Property Network, Freelance writer for hire. For more info visit www.mdgcopywriting.com



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4/6/10

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010




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She fell in love with a house…Me??? Not so much.

-By your Staff Writer for the Property Network, Matt Giles

Yeah she fell in love with a house we went to look at. It was cute, not very big at all. We talked prior to seeing this house and agreed we didn’t want to buy something we would out grow right away with starting a family. We wanted to find something we could grow into a little bit and maybe in 5 years or so move on.

But she had love in her eyes. This really surprised me because she normally hates old houses and this one was really old! I’m saying early 1900’s old. The owners of the house are house flippers and did a great job renovating it. They used quality products when finishing the house and great work. The only problem is it is way too small.

It had a new kitchen (which she loved), new carpet (which she loved), new tile (which she loved), are you getting the picture??? She likes new, not old…

To get up to the second floor you have to go up an old half spiral stair case, which means you can not get any furniture up the steps. If you want at least a full size box spring for your mattress you can forget it trying to get up these steps. We would have to buy either separate single box spring and push them together or sleep on the floor.

The same type of steps going down to the basement, pretty much a neck breaker. Put a laundry basket in your hand and start climbing the steps and you are done, hell with nothing in my hands I almost fell. Talk about an in home sobriety test.

If you venture upstairs you walk right into what is considered bedroom number one which is a nice size room and has a nice big bathroom off to the side. To get to room number too you have to walk through room number one, making room number one more of a living space rather than a bedroom.

There was still one more room up in the attic. Head up the death steps and you are in the attic. Nicely finished off with pine trim and a neutral color on the walls. The walls are in the shape of the peak of the house, so you are in one long triangle. I am a whopping 5’9” and I had to bend down to stand up in that room. My fiancé is 5’4” and loved the coziness of the room. You had a bout 4 feet across the room before you hit the slants of the ceiling. So there was no room for furniture or anything really except storage.

She loved, loved, loved the house. I thought it was alright at best. If we wanted to live there, we would need to put an addition on the house with in the first couple of years which I am fine with….except for the fact that additions cost a lot of money!!!! That is something we don’t have a lot of.

I have worked in the trades my whole life but still I can’t build an addition by myself so we would have to hire someone. Plus the cost of an architect for prints, materials, workers, zoning, taxes and everything else. I personally don’t think this is the house for us. I will let you know if it is the house for us by writing a blog titled: Welcome to our cozy home, she won.

-Matt Giles, Staff Writer for the Property Network, Freelance writer for hire. For more info visit www.mdgcopywriting.com



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4/20/10

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010




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We made an offer on our first house!!!

-By your Staff Writer for the Property Network, Matt Giles

And than we pulled the offer the next day. We have been looking for a while now trying to find a nice compromise of the fixer upper I want and the condo living she would like. We found a nice 3 bedroom starter home that would require some work but wasn’t over whelming with the amount of work it would need.

The only down side of this house was there wasn’t much of a buffer zone. If you don’t know what a buffer zone is, it’s how close you live to your family. In this case it was close to her family. I love her family to death, but there are one or two uncles and aunts who would love to just drop by un-announced every chance they got. But that is not why we pulled our offer.

When we first went to see the house, it was me, my girl, her mother, and of course the only realtor you could every want to use (wink, wink).  We walked through the house and I did not notice anything major going on as far as needs to fix up. In the description they said it was a newer roof, which I think either they lied or they did not vent the roof properly because of the bubbling of the shingles.

Roof doesn’t scare me, I could handle that. They never tiled the kitchen and again it may be killer on my knees but still I can handle it. Of course we would have to paint every room and my girl would want to change out the counter top because it is an ugly blue that matches nothing in the kitchen. All things I was fine with.

So we decided to make the offer. We went and signed what felt like a thousand copies of everything. My hand started cramping up but it’s all part of the process (so I am told).

The next day I wanted to have my brother who is in construction, her brother who is in construction, my dad who is in construction and her brother’s business partner (guess what he does???? Yup construction) come and look at the house.

With all of us walking through the kitchen at one time we started to notice a bit of a bounce in the floor. It almost felt like we were on a boat with the bounce and sway of the floor. This drew a lot of suspicion, so we ventured downstairs to the basement.

What we found was old framing, which I was fine with. But what did bother me was the columns they used to support the house were the temporary columns you use until you get the cement filled lally columns, they never got the lally columns and cemented the temporary columns into the floor. Than as we looked down the floor joist they were all rolling away from the house. That is why there was such a bounce in the floor with the more weight in kitchen.

The reason they never tiled the floor was because with that kind of bounce in the floor the tiles could pop up and break. What was supposed to be a non-fixer upper was going to need some major work to get the structure sound. Nothing was going to be a quick fix and because it was an old house a lot of headaches.

So I called my girl and she gave permission to pull the offer. So now we are back to the drawing board and looking for our first home. The process is not fun, but I am sure well worth it in the end.

-Matt Giles, Staff Writer for the Property Network, Freelance writer for hire. For more info visit www.mdgcopywriting.com



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We had the “talk”

Saturday, March 27th, 2010




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We had the “talk”

-By your Staff Writer for the Property Network, Matt Giles

Yup we had the “talk” and man was it embarrassing. My finances are a mess. My bookkeeping is even worse. Apparently stacking my un-opened bank statements for the last 3 years was enough to put my fiancé over the edge.

She wanted to know how come I don’t open the bank statements and I was thinking why would I??? No news is good news and besides it’s not like they send me money in a bank statement. Than somewhere around the August of 09’ statement she opened there was a check from the bank because they messed up and owed me money. A whopping 8 whole dollars and best of all the check expired as of March 1st.  Whoops.

I see her point of when buying a house every little bit counts, especially what little bit I am contributing because of my start up of my new freelancing writing career. Who would have thought starting a business during the recession wouldn’t bring in money hand over fist??? In my defense I started my business a month before the market crash so I really had no idea what was coming, but still those excuses only get me so far.

It is soooooo important when buying a house with someone to just lay all your finances out on the table. No matter how painful or embarrassing it is. I went from good money to making what I made in high school working at a pancake house, so it was definitely embarrassing. Knowing what your income is and what your expenses are will help you figure out what you can afford when it comes to buying a house.

We figured out we were looking in a price range almost $50,000 higher than what we should have been. We still have a lot of options in our price range, but when you figure on something way more than what you actually have it kind of breaks your heart when reality smacks you in the face.

I’m just glad we didn’t fall in love with any of the houses we looked at in that price range. We only had lust. But even at that the lust was for a place that was even higher than our original price we thought we could afford. My fiancé was a little crushed when that place sold before we even had chance to get our stuff together.

As they say in the business “whatever will be, will be.” Just be prepared for whatever it is. And start getting prepared by sorting through all of your finances and get everything in order. Remember we are in a “prove it” mortgage world. Whatever you say you made last year you better be able to prove it to them when they ask.

-Matt Giles, Staff Writer for the Property Network, Freelance writer for hire. For more info visit www.mdgcopywriting.com



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  • wp socializer sprite mask 16px We had the “talk” | CT Real Estate
  • wp socializer sprite mask 16px We had the “talk” | CT Real Estate
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Norwalk Homes for Sale | Way Below Market Value

Friday, March 19th, 2010




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