Claire LeBlanc - REALTY EXECUTIVES



Posted by Claire LeBlanc on 9/1/2021

Whether youíre a first-time homebuyer or youíre upgrading to a larger house to fit your familyís needs, itís vital to understand just how much house you can afford before you start shopping for homes.

When planning for your future home, there are two main things you need to figure out.

  • What is a smart amount to spend on a home for your budget

  • What are the key features in a home that will give you the most benefits for the cost

These two questions may seem simple, but there are quite a few factors that should go into determining each one.

So, in todayís post, Iím going to walk you through the process of determining what kind of house you can afford so you can make the best home buying decision for you and your family.

A smart home buying budget

To create an effective budget, youíll need to gather some information and possibly create a spreadsheet with Excel (or a free alternative like Google Sheets).

On your spreadsheet, youíll first want to add up all sources of income that your family has. This is the easy part for most people who only have one or two sources of income based on a salaried job.

Next, is the hard part--expenses. We canít just use your current expenses to determine the new budget because we have to account for changes in several areas.

If you arenít sure of the cost of living for the area you hope to move to, try plugging it into this cost of living comparison tool to see get a better idea of the cost of things like transportation, childcare, groceries, and more.

Likewise, itís also a good idea to assume youíll be paying more in utilities if youíre hoping to move into a home that is larger than your current home. Keep in mind, however, that different houses have different levels of energy-efficiency, so itís a good idea to also ask the seller of the homes youíre interested in to determine what your costs might be.

Now, subtract your expenses from your income. The amount remaining should easily cover whatever mortgage payment you receive along with, ideally, 20% of your income going toward savings.

Deciding what you need in a home

The second part of determining how much house you can afford is to find out exactly what youíre looking for in a home. The number of bedrooms, bathrooms, location, the size of the backyard; all of these are questions that have a monetary value.

So, to really answer this question youíll need a strong understanding of what you and your familyís goals are for at least the next 5-7 years, if not longer.

Once you have your long-term goals and a good understanding of your budget, you can start safely shopping for homes with a clearer idea of the type of home youíre looking for and just how much home you can afford.




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Posted by Claire LeBlanc on 6/30/2021

Entering the real estate market and buying your dream home may seem simple at first. However, problems may arise that make it tough to secure your ideal house at a price that matches your budget.

When it comes to finding the right home at the right price, it helps to prepare. Fortunately, we're here to help you get ready to enter the housing market and ensure you can quickly and effortlessly discover your dream residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to simplify the homebuying process.

1. Create Homebuying Criteria

Purchasing a house is rarely easy, particularly for a property buyer who has no idea how to kick off a home search. But if you establish homebuying criteria, you can speed up the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Allocating time and resources to create homebuying criteria is essential because it forces you to consider where you want to live and what amenities you want to find in your dream residence. Plus, once you have homebuying criteria at your disposal, you can start your home search and move one step closer to acquiring your ideal residence.

2. Obtain Home Financing

Home financing is paramount, particularly for property buyers who want to avoid the risk of spending too much to purchase a house. Thankfully, banks and credit unions can teach you about a variety of mortgage options and help you secure the financing you need to buy a home.

Typically, a lender will meet with you and outline your mortgage options. It also will explain the differences between fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages and respond to any of your mortgage concerns and questions. Then, after you review your mortgage options, a lender will help you make an informed home financing decision.

Don't wait to get home financing, either. If you have home financing in hand when you launch a home search, you may be better equipped than other buyers to quickly submit an offer to purchase a home.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

For those who want to avoid challenges throughout the homebuying journey, it generally is a good idea to collaborate with a real estate agent. In fact, a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you identify and resolve homebuying problems before they escalate.

A real estate agent is a housing market expert and is happy to assist you as you proceed along the homebuying journey. If you are interested in houses in specific cities and towns, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about residences that become available in these areas. Or, if you want to submit an offer to purchase a house, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive homebuying proposal. Best of all, if you have homebuying concerns, a real estate agent will address them right away.

Ultimately, buying a house can be easy. Use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline the homebuying cycle.




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Posted by Claire LeBlanc on 4/21/2021

Photo by Alex D'Alessio on Unsplash

Purchasing a foreclosure property is a great opportunity to own a home at an extremely affordable price. While many people successfully buy foreclosed homes and are happy with their decision, before making this large financial commitment, it’s a good idea to understand what you might be walking into—before you buy.

Homeowner Left Home in Disrepair

In many foreclosure situations, a home is left in poor condition. If the homeowner couldn’t keep up on their mortgage payments, there is a high probability they’ve neglected general upkeep and maintenance too. Common problems associated with foreclosed properties include:

  • Improvements made on the cheap and not up to code.
  • Garbage or other forms of waste strewn about the home.
  • Odors from rotting food left in an unplugged refrigerator.
  • Termites, rodents or other pests scurrying about.
  • Mold conditions due to leaky roofs, burst pipes or drippy plumbing.
  • Appliances or fixtures intentionally damaged.
  • If a home needs significant repairs, even if they're well-priced, it still might be a poor investment.

    Vandalism has Occurred

    When a home is left empty for a prolonged period of time, unfortunately, vandals or squatters sometimes identify these homes and enter them illegally. Problems to consider include:

  • Broken windows, doors and other areas of the home.
  • Graffiti on the interior and exterior of the house.
  • Evidence of drug activity or unsanitary waste left behind.
  • Stolen items including fixtures, appliances, copper piping or other items deemed to be of value.
  • Added up, these types of events might negate any savings you'd get on a foreclosed price.

    Expensive to Make the Home Habitable

    Even if no disrepair or vandalism is present and the home looks to be a good investment, it’s a smart financial strategy to tally up the general costs of any repairs and cleaning needed to see if these expenses outweigh any savings.

    For instance, if a prolonged leaky roof created a serious mold situation or structural problems, you could be talking about thousands of dollars for the cleanup and repair alone. Any major repairs necessary to get the home up to living conditions may not be worth the investment, especially when you add in other minor repairs or desired cosmetic work.

    Difficulties with Lenders

    In foreclosed homes, lenders sometimes won’t want to give a mortgage to borrowers looking to purchase what they deem as a risky property. They’ll look at appraisals and, if it falls below the purchase price, they may deny you a mortgage. You also might encounter problems with the bank (or lender) currently in possession of the house. 

    Always do your homework. Understanding the pitfalls associated with buying a foreclosed home will help you to make an educated decision. Hire a qualified inspector to carefully comb through the home and talk to neighbors about the house’s history. Once you gather solid information, you can better determine if purchasing a foreclosure is a smart investment.





    Posted by Claire LeBlanc on 3/31/2021

    Purchasing a home in a buyer's market may seem like a fast, simple process. However, it is important to realize that homebuyers constantly compete for the best residences in cities and towns nationwide. And if you're not careful, you risk missing out on an opportunity to acquire your dream house.

    What does it take to secure a home in a buyer's market? Here are three tips to ensure that you can do just that.

    1. Study the Housing Market Closely

    A buyer's market features a large assortment of top-notch residences and a shortage of property buyers. As such, this market heavily favors homebuyers, and property buyers who examine the real estate market closely may be able to boost their chances of purchasing a terrific house at a budget-friendly price.

    For homebuyers, it is essential to establish criteria for your dream residence. With homebuying criteria at your disposal, you can narrow your search for the ideal residence and accelerate the homebuying process.

    Don't forget to check out homes in-person, either. If you set up a home showing or attend an open house, you'll be able to envision what it's like to own a home and determine whether a residence is right for you.

    2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

    What good is shopping for a house if you cannot afford to pay for it? Fortunately, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage to understand exactly how much you can spend on a new house.

    To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll want to meet with several banks and credit unions. These lenders will be able to offer insights into a variety of mortgage options, respond to your mortgage concerns and questions and help you select a mortgage that suits you perfectly.

    Pre-approval for a mortgage is vital for homebuyers, particularly in a buyer's market. If you have a mortgage in hand when you explore available homes, you may even be able to avoid the temptation to overspend on a residence.

    3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

    When it comes to navigating a buyer's market, a real estate agent can deliver outstanding support.

    A real estate agent can teach you about the intricacies of buying a home and help you streamline the homebuying process. He or she also will be available to respond to your homebuying questions, ensuring you can make informed decisions as the homebuying journey moves forward.

    Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can help you alleviate stress as you search for your dream home. This housing market professional will keep you up to date about new properties as they become available, set up home showings and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. By doing so, a real estate agent enables you to focus on what's important Ė purchasing a first-rate house at a price that matches your budget.

    Buying a home can be challenging, even in a buyer's market. But with the aforementioned tips, you can simplify the homebuying process and move closer to securing a house that meets or exceeds your expectations.




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    Posted by Claire LeBlanc on 3/3/2021

    Want to relocate to a condo? With assistance from a real estate agent, you should have no trouble moving into the condo of your choice.

    Employing a real estate agent with condo experience is ideal, particularly for property buyers who are considering condos for the first time. However, it is important to note that not all real estate professionals with condo experience are created equal, and some stand out for all the right reasons.

    Ultimately, there are several factors to consider as you search for a real estate agent to help you find the perfect condo, including:

    1. Expertise

    How many years has a real estate agent been assisting condo buyers? Does a real estate agent know how to get information from a homeowners' association (HOA)? And can a real estate agent set up condo showings at your convenience? These are just a few of the questions that condo buyers need to consider before they employ a real estate agent.

    As a condo buyer, there is no need to settle for a subpar real estate agent. In fact, real estate agents with condo expertise are available across the country. And if you conduct a comprehensive search for the right real estate agent, you should have no trouble finding a real estate professional who can guide you along each step of the condo buying journey.

    2. Communication Skills

    How does a real estate agent keep in touch with his or her clients? Try to find a real estate agent who provides regular updates throughout the condo buying process. This real estate professional will make his or her clients a priority and do whatever it takes to help them get the best results possible.

    Ideally, you should be able to get in touch with a real estate agent via phone, email or text. And if a real estate agent is unavailable, you usually should expect to hear back from him or her within a few hours at most.

    A real estate agent who is readily available will be able to provide you with the condo buying support that you need, any time you need it. As a result, this real estate professional can keep you up to date about new condos as they become available, the state of negotiations with a condo seller and much more.

    3. Client Satisfaction

    Are past clients satisfied with the support that they received from a real estate agent? Ask a real estate agent for client referrals to find out.

    Reaching out to past clients can provide you with a better idea about how a real estate agent will assist you during the condo buying journey. That way, you can determine whether you will feel comfortable working with this real estate agent or if you should consider other options.

    Dedicate the necessary time and resources to find a great real estate agent to help you find your dream condo. By doing so, you can move one step closer to making your condo ownership dreams come true.




    Tags: Buying a home   buyer tips   condo  
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