Claire LeBlanc - REALTY EXECUTIVES



Posted by Claire LeBlanc on 12/9/2020

Photo by StockEU via Shutterstock

Purchasing a home for the first time is often a daunting task. There are many things to know and a plethora of conflicting advice. If you’re new to real estate and the home-buying process, keeping these tips in mind can help make the path to homeownership smoother.

Pick the Right Person

Choosing a real estate agent that specializes in helping first-time homebuyers can relieve some of the uncertainty you might feel. You must seek professional help when buying a home because you need someone to watch out for your interests. A buyer’s agent only works for you. They do not represent the seller, so when it comes to negotiating, they are committed to your best interest.

Remember that your agent does this for a living. That means they are licensed by the state and maintain that license. The information they give you is for you, in your situation. Work with your agent exclusively and don’t keep them in the dark about what you want. You won’t make a better deal with the seller by excluding your agent, and since you have a contract with them, you may set yourself up for legal action if you do.

Choose the Right Lender

Apply to several lenders to find the best loan at the best rate for you. Many lenders offer first-time buyer programs that give preferential rates to buyers that attend classes or go through a seminar. Choosing the best lender means the difference between closing the purchase on your home or losing out. Your experienced agent helps you differentiate among lenders, but check with your bank or credit union as well, since they may have a better arrangement for you.

Follow Through on Paperwork

In the end, much of the process comes down to you. You’ll be asked for a lot of paperwork, and the sooner you turn it in, the better your chances of a timely close. Keep track of other paperwork too. Your agent handles the contracts and submissions to the seller and the lender, but you need to read them and ask questions about anything you don’t understand.

Know Why You’re Buying

Back in the day, buying a home for a tax deduction as a financial tool made sense. But modern tax laws make that less of an incentive. If you’re buying a home to lower your tax bill, you might be disappointed. But when you’re purchasing a home because it is where you want to live and you want to make it yours, you’ve got the right idea in mind.

Talk to your real estate agent about what you’re looking for in your first home and start on the path to owning your own home right away.




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Posted by Claire LeBlanc on 3/25/2020

When you decide to make an offer on a home, your mind may be flooded with dozens of questions and concerns -- several of which may involve money matters, while others are about the condition of the house.

However, if you've had the house professionally inspected and made sure your income is sufficient to absorb monthly expenses, than you've already taken steps to prevent or at least minimize future challenges.

Since buying a home is such a big investment and there are so many emotional factors that could influence your decision, it's essential to stay focused, adhere to a budget, and be aware of what you need in order to be satisfied with your purchase.

The Financial Side of Things: Even though a mortgage broker or loan officer may approve you for a large mortgage, only you can determine whether you'd be comfortable making those monthly payments. In  addition to the cost of your mortgage, property taxes, and school taxes, there are also other expenses to consider and include in the equation. If you're moving into a larger house, for example, the cost of heating and/or cooling your home may be higher than you're used to. Poorly insulated houses can also have a negative impact on home energy costs.

Another key factor to think about when you're figuring out the affordability of a potential new home is property maintenance, the cost of HVAC service, and miscellaneous expenses, such as appliance repairs, plumbing leaks, and electrical services. Some neighborhoods, residential developments, and condos also require a monthly Homeowner Association (HOA) fee, which can potentially put a burden on your cash flow situation. A good rule of thumb, of course, is to avoid spending beyond your means. While nobody would dispute the logic of that advice, it's often a lot easier said than done -- especially on an ongoing, consistent basis.

Non-Financial Priorities: The only way to know what you truly want and need in a new home is to clarify your goals, requirements, and wishes. Making lists, discussing it with your partner, and visiting lots of homes for sale will help give you the ideas, the inspiration, and helpful points of comparison you need. Online real estate listings and home improvement websites can also provide a wealth of practical ideas.

In addition to having enough bedrooms and bathrooms to meet your family's needs, it's also important to feel comfortable with the quality of the school district, the amount of noise in the neighborhood, and the traffic level on nearby streets. Proximity to recreation, shopping, and other amenities can also make the difference between your ideal home and one which doesn't quite make the grade. Privacy (or the lack, thereof) is also a major issue which can impact your satisfaction with a real estate purchase. While it's good to approach home buying with a sense of optimism, the best time to weigh all the pros and cons is before you sign the final papers at the closing table!





Posted by Claire LeBlanc on 8/29/2018

Even a first-time homebuyer can become an informed shopper, i.e. someone who understands the ins and outs of the housing market. In fact, some of the best ways to become informed as you move along the homebuying process include: 1. Determine How Much Money You'll Need. How much money do you have to spend on a home? Find out by getting pre-approved for a mortgage and establishing a homebuying budget. Pre-approval for a mortgage may help you speed up your journey from homebuyer to homeowner. And with the right homebuying budget, you'll be able to narrow your home search to residences that fall within a set price range. Plus, you'll be able to avoid the dangers associated with overspending for a home, along with the risk of falling behind on mortgage payments down the line. In addition, try to determine how much you'll need to cover the down payment, closing costs and other fees you may encounter during the homebuying process. By doing so, you'll be prepared to manage your expenses and ensure you have enough money to purchase your dream home. 2. Evaluate a Wide Range of Houses. Although you might fall in love with the first house you view, it is important to keep in mind that the real estate market is filled with a variety of exceptional residences. Therefore, if you spend some time attending open houses and home showings, you may be better equipped to find the right home quickly. For homebuyers, it usually is a great idea to create a list of must-haves for your house. This list will allow you to search for residences that fit specific criteria. Furthermore, don't forget that an informed homebuyer frequently asks questions as he or she assesses a residence. There is no such thing as a bad question to ask during an open house or home showing, and ensuring all of your concerns and queries are addressed is paramount in your quest to find the right home at the right price. 3. Collaborate with a Friendly, Experienced Real Estate Agent. When it comes to finding your dream home, who says you need to navigate the homebuying process alone? Instead, find a friendly, experienced real estate agent to guide you along the homebuying journey, and you can reap the benefits provided by a housing market expert. Your real estate agent will serve as a key contributor in your efforts to discover your ideal home quickly and effortlessly and will help take guesswork out of the homebuying process, too. Moreover, your real estate agent will be able to set up home showings, keep you up to date about new real estate listings in various cities and towns and provide comprehensive insights and resources into the housing market. As a result, this professional will make it simple for you to move along the homebuying process and guarantee you're satisfied with the end results. Be an informed homebuyer – use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble purchasing your dream residence.





Posted by Claire LeBlanc on 8/8/2018

Buying a home is one of the more complicated purchases that you’ll make in your lifetime. It’s not something that you can just open your wallet, pull out a wad of cash and buy. There’s a warm-up period for a house hunt. You need to prepare before you even start the process of the purchase. There’s a lot of different things that you should do to ready yourself to buy a home. You’ll need to organize your finances, find a real estate agent and ready yourself. If you’re looking to buy a home in the near future, it’s time to get busy! 


Keep Your Credit Score In Check


Your credit score is so important for so many reasons. The highest your credit score can be is 850 and the lowest it can be is 300. You’ll get a really good interest rate on a home if your credit score is 740 or above. A lower interest rate can save you a lot of money over a year’s time. 

The good news is that you can spend time repairing your score. This will include paying down debt, asking for credit limits to be raised and correcting errors that may be on your credit report. You want to be sure that you’re using 30% or less of your total available credit. As always, if your bills are paid on time, it will help you to keep that score up. Also, stay away from opening new credit cards, as this can bring your score down due to frequent credit checks. 


Put Gifts To Good Use


Whenever you get a financial gift, whether it be for a wedding, a Christmas bonus, or a birthday gift, make sure that you save it for your home purchase. You’ll need quite a bit of capital between closing costs, fees and down payments. You’ll be glad you saved the money once you start the home buying process. You’ll also want to make sure that you have and emergency fund built up. You don’t want to buy a home without some sort of a financial cushion behind you. 


Research Real Estate Agents 


Your real estate agent will be your right hand person when it is time to buying a home. You’ll want to know that your agent is knowledgable and can help you in this big decision. Your real estate agent is the person who will help you reach your goals, and you want to feel comfortable with them. Ask for recommendations and do your research.  


Get Preapproved


Sellers love buyers who have been preapproved. This shows that they’re reliable and financially able to buy a home. A preapproval can be done a few months in advance of buying a home. It will take an in-depth look at your finances including:


  • Proof of mortgage or rent payments over the last year
  • W2 forms for the past 2 years
  • Paycheck stubs for the past 2 months
  • List of all debts including loans and court settlements
  • List of all assets including car titles, investment accounts and any other real estate you may own.


Buying a home is a big deal but with the right preparation, you’ll be on the road to success and ready to secure a home purchase.




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Posted by Claire LeBlanc on 5/17/2017

Buy A common misconception amongst the general public is that using a real estate agent when purchasing a home will be costly. What consumers don't realize is that they won't actually be saving themselves any money by foregoing the use of a buyer's agent. Buyers may inaccurately assume that they'll get a better deal by working directly with the listing agent of a specific property they're interested in, rather than by adding a buyer's agent to the mix. This belief is grounded in the ideology that if there's only one agent involved, only one agent is being paid. While this is true, the money-saving theory behind this type of one-agent-transaction is being misconstrued. There is, in fact, only one agent being paid, in this case the listing agent, however, this agent will receive the full commission from both sides of the negotiation. The same monetary value is wielded whether one agent or two agents are involved in the contract making this alleged shortcut inconsequential. The drawbacks of dealing directly with a listing agent as a buyer, are however, substantial. The listing agent is contractually obligated first and foremost to the seller. The listing agent represents the seller's best interests by law. By hiring a buyer's agent, buyers are actively ensuring that their best interests are not an afterthought, and are on the contrary, of the utmost importance to their agent. If you are a potential buyer, looking to purchase a new home or make a real estate investment, allow a real estate agent to act on your behalf. A successful buyer's agent is not only obligated, but happy to hold you, the buyer, as his or her number one priority in every part of the purchasing process. As your buyer's agent, my job would be to help you, help you. How can I help you today?







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