Jane Dunlap - New England R. E. Center, Inc.



Posted by Jane Dunlap on 10/14/2018

If you're in the process of preparing your home for the real estate market, get ready to roll up your sleeves and make your home as irresistible as possible!

While this may sound like an enormous undertaking that you don't have the time or energy to tackle, remember one thing: When you put your home up for sale, there's a lot at stake!

Generally, the longer your house stays on the market, the less marketable it becomes. If potential buyers learn that your house has been on the market for longer than, say, a few months, one of the first questions they'll ask or think will be "What's wrong with it?" Once questions like that start arising, the overall appeal of your home begins to decline. As you can imagine, your ability to get the highest possible price for your house also weakens over time. That's why it's important to do everything possible to enhance the look and feel of your home.

Home Staging Counts

Although effective home staging can be a crucial aspect of selling your house quickly, there is a point at which diminishing returns may come into play. Few home sellers have unlimited time and money to invest in staging their home, and it's easy to go above and beyond what's actually necessary to secure a buyer.

There are dozens of variables that affect a house selling strategy, including the real estate market and the condition of your home. If it's a "buyers' market" and there are a lot of comparable houses for sale in your neighborhood, then you might have to work a little harder to make your home stand out and attract offers. If you're fortunate enough to be in a desirable area and not facing a lot of competition from other home sellers, then the law of supply and demand should work in your favor! However, it's still important to make the most of your property's curb appeal and the overall appearance of your home's interior.

The cost of home staging can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands, but your real estate agent can provide invaluable guidance on how to cost-effectlively maximize the "eye appeal" of your house and property. While perfection is generally an unattainable standard in home staging (or anything else), optimal results only come from putting your best foot forward.

Several words to remember and be guided by when preparing a house for sale are "immaculate", "spotless", "manicured" (lawn), "fresh" (looking and smelling), "updated", "well-maintained", and "charming". If prospective buyers are using those words and phrases to describe your home, then you know you're on the right track! Your agent can provide you with helpful insights and suggestions for making a great impression on potential buyers -- without having to spend more on home staging than necessary!





Posted by Jane Dunlap on 10/7/2018

Perhaps one of the most challenging things about buying a home is saving for the downpayment. Collecting such a large sum of money can be difficult. The truth is that most buyers actually think that they need more than they actually do to buy a home. The downpayment doesnít need to be a barrier to your path to homeownership. There are so many programs that offer low and even no down payment home loans. Read on to learn more about down payments and programs that can help you. 


First, letís look at what a down payment is and how it can help you. If you put 10% down on a $200,000 home thatís $20,000. The downpayment minus the purchase price of the home is $180,000, and that's how much your home loan will be. The more money you can put down on the house, the lower your home loan will be and the lower your monthly mortgage payments will be. A large down payment can indeed save you in the long term. If youíre looking to move into a home sooner rather than later, saving a considerable sum isnít always possible.  


Low Downpayment Mortgages


You need to decide what type of home loan you need by the amount of downpayment youíre willing and able to put down. Some benefits go along with making a down payment, but there are some negatives. 


By making a substantial down payment you may despite your savings, leaving little money for emergencies. Your mortgage rate may not be affected by a large downpayment either. It can be hard to decide what type of loan to get and just how much you really can afford.  


FHA Loans


FHA loans are among the most popular type of home loans. The downpayment thatís required is just 3.5%. The requirements are simple, and you donít have to be a first-time homebuyer to qualify. 


The drawback to an FHA loan is that you cannot cancel the monthly mortgage insurance that comes along with it unless you refinance the home. Traditional mortgage insurance is canceled when you have built up 20% equity in the house, but this isnít the case with FHA loans. 


Another positive about FHA loans is that your credit score doesnít have to be stellar in order for you to qualify. Some lenders approve FHA loans with credit scores as low as 580. 


VA Home Loans


Buyers who have current or former military service status can qualify for this zero down mortgage. These loans are benefits to veterans and current members of the Armed Forces. While no downpayment is required, buyers may put down any amount they wish. The only requirements are that buyers be members of the military either currently serving for 90 days or two years of active duty service if not an active member.   


The above options are great for those who canít afford or donít wish to put down large down payments but still hope to be homeowners. 





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Posted by Jane Dunlap on 9/30/2018

Moving can be fun, stressful, or both. If you and your family are moving soon, your mind might be racing with all of the preparations you need to make before the big day.

The best course of action is to start organizing and planning now so that you can rest easy the night before your move knowing that everything is accounted for.

In this article, weíll show you how to do just that. Weíll talk about how to get the whole family involved in moving day, what to do with pets, and how to ensure the smoothest move possible so your family can look back on their first day in their new home with fond memories.

Getting organized

There are two key resources that youíll need to make and refer back to as you prepare for moving day. Youíll need a calendar and a well-organised to-do list.

If youíre prone to depending on your smartphone, then it could be a good idea to add these items to your existing calendars and to-do list apps and sync them with your spouse and children. Most apps have this capability, making it easy to all stay on the same page.

Alternatively, you can use a physical calendar that it hung up in a highly visible area, such as on the refrigerator. Keep your to-do list next to it so you can cross off tasks as theyíre accomplished.

On the calendar will be dates like calling your moving company for an appointment, closing on your new home, inspections, and confirming appointments with the movers and real estate agents. Youíll also want to pick a day close to your move to call and set up an appointment for utilities to be installed at your new home.

Getting the family involved

Every team needs a leader. If youíre leading your family through the moving process, itís your responsibility to keep them in the loop. There may seem like an overwhelming number of tasks to achieve, but your family is there to help. Pick days to have your kids help you make boxes and pack the non-necessities.

You can make moving fun by ďcampingĒ inside your home for the last few nights. Since most of your belongings will be in boxes, itís a fun excuse to set up a tent in the living room and take out the flashlights.

During the last day in your old house, make sure everyone has a survival kit filled with the items theyíll need when arriving at the new house. This includes toothbrushes, medication, phones and chargers, and other essentials.

Moving with pets

Moving can be even scarier for our pets than it is for us. Thereís no way to explain to them whatís going on, and theyíll be looking to you for cues that everything is okay.

If you have a friend or relative who can take your pet to their home during the move it will make the moving process much easier--keeping track of a pet while youíre trying to carry boxes is no easy feat.

To ease your pet into their new home, take them to visit before the move if possible. Put some of their favorite toys or their bed and blanket in the new home so theyíll have some comforts for their first impression.


If you follow these tips youíll be on your way to a fun, and mostly stress-free move into your new home with your family.




Tags: moving tips   pets   moving day   family  
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Posted by Jane Dunlap on 9/23/2018

Buying a house is arguably the most expensive purchase most people will make in their lives. With real estate prices steadily rising year after year, many Americans are finding ways to save on housing.

At the same time, rent prices too are increasing, especially around metro areas where many young Americans are entering the workforce. With costs rising and wages stagnating, it can be hard to find an affordable place to live while still building equity that can be used later on down the road.

One option that many Americans are considering is the fixer-upper route. However, it takes know-how and a lot of hard work to make this method a good choice to save you money. In this article, weíll tell you how to make certain buying a fixer upper is a good idea and what costs you can expect along the way.

Adding up the costs

Buying a house that needs work means youíll need to spend a good amount of time calculating costs and getting quotes from professionals. Even if youíre familiar with several home maintenance tasks, there are some jobs that are safer if left to the pros. This isnít only a matter of physical safety, however. If you start a job that you arenít qualified to finish you could end up paying much more than if you had just hired a licensed professional to do the job in the first place.

When estimating costs for reparations and renovations, aim high. Itís better to plan for it to be more expensive and have more left over than to underestimate your projects and go over budget.

Get an inspection report

If you arenít sure whether or not you want to go through with a deal, make sure you have an inspection contingency clause in your contract. This will enable you to back out if the home inspector makes you aware of any costs that you werenít told about by the seller.

Donít forget added costs

There are several closing costs youíll be responsible for as a buyer. Make sure you keep tabs on how much you can expect to spend closing on the home. If youíre going through a mortgage lender, they are required to give you an estimate of closing costs.

Once you know the purchase price of the home and the closing costs, make sure you account for other aspects of your renovations, such as getting required permits.

Borrow wisely

If you do plan on taking out a loan to cover the cost of renovations, be smart with how you get and pay back that money. One option is the FHA 203(k) loan or renovation loan.

Renovation loans help you save on closing costs and simplify the lending process by giving you one loan that accounts for the cost of the renovations and of the home itself.





Posted by Jane Dunlap on 9/16/2018

Houses today are built larger than ever. In spite of all the extra rooms, homeowners still have one common complaint: not enough storage space.

When house hunting, buyers often name storage space as one of their key concerns. As nest-makers, we often find it difficult to part ways with toys for our kids, exercise machines that are collecting dust, or old appliances that ďstill workĒ but no longer worked for us. That leaves homeowners with two options: rent a storage facility or make room.

Taking on an extra monthly bill just to store things that you arenít using isnít an idea that sits well with most homeowners who are already inundated with monthly expenses. But how can you create more space in your home than you already have? The answer lies somewhere up near the ceiling.

In this article, weíll talk about the vertical space in your home and how to take advantage of it without making things appear cluttered.

When and when not to use vertical space

Before we give you vertical storage tips, first letís talk about where you donít want to stack the boxes high.

Rooms where you have guest and the places in your home where you spend the most time arenít the ideal place for vertical storage. The living room, bathrooms, and bedrooms are all places where you need room to breathe. We often recommend light colors, open windows, and mirrors to improve the usage of space in these rooms. However, there are other places in your home that arenít frequented as often.

ďWhere am I going to put this thing?Ē

Thatís a questions many of us ask ourselves when we make a new purchase. Letís start outside the house and work out way in, hitting all of the best areas to store things.

The garage or shed

If you have a shed or garage, odds are thereís a lot of space up toward the ceiling you arenít using. A good way to take advantage of this is to use shelving and hooks for your tools.

If youíre a cyclist but canít figure out where to store your bikes during the winter, consider buying hooks so that you can store them up out of the way of the more useful winter items like shovels and snow blowers.

Kitchen storage

Kitchen cabinets can get cluttered easily. Inside your cabinets, try using stacking shelves to make it easier to stack high things like plates and bowls. For frequently used utensils, pots, and pans, and knives, consider installing a hook board on the wall above your counter. This will open up room in your cabinets and make your frequently used kitchen tools more accessible.

Bathroom storage

The bathroom closet can be a scary place. It is often home to countless cleaning objects, dirty laundry, towels, and more.

One great way to open up a lot of space in the bathroom closet is to hang laundry baskets on the interior of the closet door, or to hang mops, sweepers, and vacuums on the interior of the door for easy access.

Now that you know the benefits of vertical storage, think about how you can use it in your home to save space.




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