Negotiation Tips for Buying a Home

If you’re in the process of buying a home, you know how important the price is. The cost of a property is one of the main influences on whether or not you are able to buy it. Luckily, the listed price is far from the final price. In fact, you can lower the price considerably, by using a few negotiation tips.

Take your time

In almost every case, the party that has more time gets a better deal. Try not to be in a rush to close on the property. Make sure you don’t have any deadlines. If you do, the seller will use it against you. If you find out that the seller has their own deadline, don’t be afraid to take your time. As they become more eager to sell the property, the price will come down.

Always ask for something in return

Don’t make any concessions without asking for something in return. It doesn’t make sense to let a chance to gain more from the deal pass you by, and giving an opponent something for nothing can create a sense that they deserve free things from you. This definitely isn’t a position you want to be in.

Listen

Many people negotiate by talking about what they want as much as possible. In reality, this is the opposite of what you should do. Give the seller plenty of time to tell you what they want. Whenever you listen, you gain knowledge, and knowledge is the best tool you can have when it comes to negotiation.

Looking for more information about negotiation or buying a home? Contact us.

Get Your Credit Back On Track So You Can Buy A Home

The holidays are over and the credit card bills have been rolling in. Now is the time to get your credit back on track so you can prepare to buy a home.

Is Credit Score Important?

Yes! Your credit score and credit report will be viewed by the lender before you are able to obtain a mortgage. If your credit score is very poor the lender will decide you are too risky and you will not be able to get a mortgage. With a moderate credit score you will be offered a mortgage but the terms will not be ideal. Therefore maintaining a good credit score puts you in the best position to get good mortgage rates.

Steps to Take

If your credit score has been impacted by your holiday spending you can take steps to make improvements. Consider the following:

  • First, check your credit report. If you don’t know your credit score or it doesn’t seem like it reflects what you expect, you should check the report. Many financial institutions suggest that the report should be checked once a year. Look for errors or identity theft. Contact the National Credit Reporting Bureau if you find issues.
  • The credit card company provides you a credit limit. It is not wise to spend to this limit however. Instead keep your purchases well under the limit so you do not appear to be a heavy user of credit.
  • Make payments on time! Your credit score is lowered when the payments are delinquent.
  • Pay as much as you can. Ideally you would pay off your card each month. If that is not possible pay as much as possible to reduce your balance.

Lenders study your credit score and credit report to verify that you will be able to pay your mortgage on time each month. They use the report to determine your credit history and if you are worthy of a loan. Taking your credit score seriously is important.  Contact us to learn more about being a first time home buyer.

Home Buying Tips: Why You Should Consider Seller Financing

If you’re buying a home in the near future, you’re probably trying to figure out how to finance it. You could take out a loan with a bank of course, but that tends to be expensive and not very flexible. You could try to pay in cash, but that only works if you have the money, which isn’t very likely. There is an alternative that you may not have thought of. It’s actually possible to finance your new property directly through the person selling it. Here are some benefits of seller financing for your next property.

Flexibility

This is by far the biggest benefit of seller financing for the buyer. Banks are very rigid in their expectations, but when you finance through the seller, the opposite is true. For example, maybe you don’t have enough for a down payment. You may be able to convince the seller to accept something of value, such as a car, instead. If you’re in a strong negotiating position, you may even be able to avoid the down payment all together. Perhaps in the middle of the loan, you find that you can’t afford a payment. A bank would send you angry letters, charge you fees, and eventually foreclose. A seller, however, could simply allow you to skip a payment, perhaps in exchange for a little extra the next month.

Negotiation

Seller financing can also help negotiation because it adds several new elements. More things that can be negotiated means more chances for both sides to be happy.

Interested in learning more about how seller financing might be the right choice for you? Contact us. We can help you with that, or anything else that you need.

Home Buying Tips: Close at the End of the Month

Buying a home could easily be the most expensive purchase you make in your life. And even after you’ve obtained the loan and budgeted for all possible costs, a lot of little expenses seem to appear out of nowhere. It would be useful to have a bit of cash on hand for such surprises. If you want to preserve your short-term cash flow, the best time to close would be on the last day of the month.

When you buy a home, you have to pay accrued mortgage interest from the time that you close until the end of the month. For example, if your mortgage runs $250,000 and your rate is 3.75 percent, you’d pay about $376 per month, or $12.53 per day, in interest.

  • If you closed on the first day of the month, you’d owe $376 in interest because you’re paying interest for every day of the month.
  • If you closed on the last day, you’d owe $12.53 in interest because you’re paying only for the last day. You’d save $363.47.

In the long run, all the interest payments balance out to the same total by the loan’s end. So don’t let these savings be the sole reason you close on a particular day. However, the extra cash could come in handy for paying deposits to utility companies, paying off movers or cleaners, or stocking the pantry. You could even add that extra pieces of furniture to the entry that you’ve always wanted.

If you want more home buying tips, or need help in looking for a place to own, please contact us.

Now is the Time to Buy a New Home So You Can Be in for the Holidays

Here in Connecticut, we’re all still enjoying the fall weather. Most days are still warm enough that we can even pretend it’s still summer, but the days are getting shorter, which means the holidays will be here before you know it. If you want to buy a new home and move in before the holidays, now is the time to make a move.

If you still don’t believe us that the winter season is not far away, just walk into any big box retailer. Yes, the Halloween decorations and costumes are out, of course, but take a turn down the next aisle and you’ll see it. Yes, the Christmas trees are up, and the stockings are hung with care.

Maybe you’ve been casually browsing the local real estate market, but if you want to hang your own stocking in a new house this year, it’s time to make a call. We can help you find the perfect home to celebrate the holidays. Whether you’re looking for a large dining room to host the family Thanksgiving dinner, or vaulted ceilings so you can get the biggest Christmas tree on the lot, we will do our best to find you the home of your dreams.

Unfortunately, real estate is not an instant business. It’s not like running into the store for a gallon of milk. It’s a process and it takes some time for banks and lawyers to get everything in order to finalize the transaction. For buyers, that means you need to think ahead when it comes to putting in a purchase offer. If you find something soon, you’ll most likely be able to celebrate the holidays in your new house, so contact us and we will work with you to find your new home.

Fun Real Estate Facts: Study Reveals Home Ownership Dream

Whether you are buying or selling a home in Connecticut, you can learn a lot by looking at the fun real estate facts revealed in a study on housing and homeownership. According to a survey by Trulia.com, home ownership dreams differ depending if you are a millennial in the 18 to 34 age category, a member of Generation X age 35 to 54 or a baby boomers 55 and older. By knowing who is in the market for a new home and when people plan to buy a home, you can make better educated decisions about the listing price, timing and targeted home improvements. According to the survey, 40 percent of baby boomers, 77 percent of Gen-Xers and 89 percent of millennials who currently rent plan to buy a primary residence.

Staging for people with children

If you are trying to sell a home in Connecticut, it’s a good idea to stage the home as a family friendly house. According to the Trulia.com survey, most people buy homes when they have children under the age of 18 living at home. Some ideas for creating a family friendly home even if you are single or married without children include setting up a playroom, decorating bedrooms for children and creating an outdoor play area.

Timing your home purchase

If you are hoping to buy a home in Connecticut, it is an excellent time. The survey showed other fun real estate facts such as the fact that 4 percent of millennials want to buy a home within 6 months; 7 percent plan to buy within 7 to 12 months while 17 percent want to buy within 13 to 24 months. Because interest rates will likely rise, it pays to lock in on a lower rate while also getting ahead of the home buying wave that will likely push up home prices.

Choosing an architectural style

The survey revealed the different architectural style of homes that people prefer. Members of Generation X and millennials like the modern home best, while baby boomers prefer the ranch style home. Three perfect of people want a penthouse apartment, while 2 percent want to live in a converted loft. Some of the most popular styles of home include farmhouse, Victorian, Craftsman, Plantation and Colonial as well as the ranch and modern styles.

Other fun real estate facts relate to the size of a home and the features. Those surveyed prefer homes more than 1,400 square feet but less than 2,600 square feet. Easterners prefer living in the suburbs. Favorite amenities include decks, gourmet kitchens, open floor plan and balcony. For more information on Connecticut real estate and fun facts, please contact us.

What to do if Your Pipes Burst and How to Prevent It.

pipes burst

Freezing weather can wreak havoc on your plumbing. When the temperature drops below 32 degrees, your pipes stand a chance of bursting due to the frozen water expanding. This, of course, can lead to flooding and damage to your home and property. Pipes in attics, crawl spaces, garages, and next to exterior walls are prone to bursting.

While it may seem like we’re out of the woods for most of the country, here in CT we can still get below freezing for a good part of spring. So we thought we’d pass along some DIY tips to help you prevent and fix burst or leaking pipes.

Prevention 

– The night before a deep freeze, wrap vulnerable pipes in insulation or old newspapers, covering the newspaper with plastic to reduce moisture. This will act as a blanket and keep the chill out.

 Locate the faucet farthest from your water meter and allow a trickle of water to run from the cold side. This simple task will keep the water flowing so it will not freeze, and will help to relieve the pressure if it happens to do so.

– If possible, provide your pipes with access to warm air. Open cabinets or doors from areas that are heated and let that warm air hit the pipes. A little warmth can go a long way.

Solution

– If you turn on your faucet after a particularly cold night and nothing but a trickle comes out (or nothing at all) you have a frozen pipe. It’s important to keep the faucet open while you treat the problem.

– Apply heat to the section of pipe that is frozen. Use towels soaked in warm water, a heating pad, or a hair dryer (avoid if there is standing water). Never use a blowtorch, kerosene, or anything with an open flame to thaw your pipes. This can cause explosion and/or the release of dangerous and lethal carbon monoxide.

– Only apply heat until the pressure is restored. Overheating can damage your pipes and lead to future problems. If there is damage, or you require assistance, call a plumber immediately.

Although we hope this never happens to anyone, applying any or all of these solutions/applications can help save you the cost of a very hefty plumbing bill.

For more information, please contact us any time.

DIY Home Furnishing Ideas for First Time Home Buyers Low on Funds.

Do it Yourself concept

Let’s face it: by the time you have finished with all the expenses involved in buying your first home, you may not have a whole lot left over for spending once you move into that home. Just keep in mind that owning your very first home is quite an accomplishment in itself. You don’t need to immediately plunge into further debt by spending big money to fully furnish every room. Especially when there are plenty of do it yourself (diy) tips for creating really cool furnishings on the cheap.

 

Headboards

 

Not every bed is adorned with a headboard. Part of the reason for that is the inescapable fact that this particular bedroom item can be surprisingly expensive. Fortunately, there is absolutely no reason why a headboard should cost so much. A perfectly serviceable and incredibly creative headboard can be fashioned out nothing but heavy-duty corrugated cardboard. Or a cornice and window drapes. You could even turn your favorite photographs into a headboard by cutting crown molding into frames on the wall. Use your imagination and come up with a creative do it yourself solution to not being able to afford a headboard for your bed. And here’s a nice Pinterest board to spark that DIY imagination.

 

Nightstand

 

Here’s a little secret that those big furniture warehouses don’t want you to know: pretty much anything with a flat surface can be made into a DIY nightstand that is every bit as functional and twice as decorative. Take one of those weekends when you are anxious over how long construction of your first home is taking to prowl through yard sales, flea markets, pawn shops, antique stores, junkyards and anywhere else you could potentially find an object capable of becoming a do-it-yourself nightstand. What to look for? An old barrel. A vintage suitcase and some bowling pins. (The pins can be glued to the suitcase to become a nightstand for a low bed.) If you find a nightstand in bad shape, consider sawing off the worst part, redecorating what you have left and affixing half a table directly to the wall. As with the headboard, the creative limits to a DIY nightstand are far less constricting than the financial limits to buying one.

 

Tables, Dressers, Chests…and More

 

The magic of decoupage can turn almost any old home furnishing into something that looks like it was bought brand new. All that’s needed to give your spare new home the look of a polished entry on the showcase of homes are paper with something you love about it, glue, paintbrushes and varnish. Oh, and any furnishing that has a minimum of one flat surface. That means, in addition to the above, garbage cans, laundry hampers, lamps, window shades, chairs and, well, you name it. The love you feel for the paper to be glued and varnished to the flat surface can be the result of an image, patterns, color, text or, well, you name it. That’s the great thing about decoupage as a way to creatively furnish your home on what’s left over after the initial investment of buying a home. By changing the way it looks, you can start down the path of transforming a few cheap pieces of wood covered in water stains and spattered paint into a one-of-a-kind coffee table featuring a glorious j igsaw puzzle on permanent display. For some wonderfully creative ideas as well as information on how to decoupage, take a look at these examples.

 

The ability to furnish a brand new home on the cheap need not sacrifice creative decoration. The internet is a goldmine for first time home buyers seeking do it yourself (DIY) tips for way to afford all the furniture to transform that sparse house into a home overflowing with the stamp of your distinct personality.

For more information on all the aspects involved with buying a home, staging, or renovating please contact us.

3 Important Financial Factors: Buying Your First Home.

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Buying a home can be a taxing affair. It can take a toll on your mental stasis, as well as your wallet. But doing your research will go quite a long way in reducing your anxiety. 

3 important financial factors to consider

1. Credit Report

It goes without saying that you credit is one of the most important factors involving the decision to grant you a mortgage. Your credit report is, after all, a complete record of your borrowing and repayment history with credit card companies and other lenders. Mortgage brokers will be very discerning when it comes to this document, so a positive credit report is a must. learn how to improve your credit score and be on your way into your new home

2. Credit Cards

In tandem with your credit report and score, lenders will look at what they call your “debt to income ratio,” or the amount of money you make versus the amount of debt you have.

Many experts agree that if you are planning on relocating, it’s best that in the months leading up to you securing a mortgage that you get a handle on your credit card payments so that it shows positive on your report. Don’t cancel any cards that are in good standing and show established credit. Also, do not apply for any new cards three to six months before applying for a mortgage. Eliminate all red flags.

3. Employment

If you are trying to secure a mortgage, and you recently accepted a new job, be sure you are prepared to show proof of your new income. The length and overall terms of your employment are always in question when large sums of money are being discussed. So whether you are self-employed, work several jobs, or even relocated for work, providing evidence of your income through pay stubs, bank statements, and tax returns is essential. Lenders want proof that you can pay back the money you borrow.

First Time Home Buyers: Be in the Know

1. The purchase price is not the only cost of home ownership.

With many fees and expenses involved with home ownership, it doesn’t end with the purchase price. As a home buyer you have to understand on top of your monthly mortgage payment, there are many other fees and expenses to owning a home that first time home buyers overlook. When your going over the monthly budget and expenses keep these in mind. Some might be included in your monthly mortgage payment and some may not.

  • Home owners insurance
  • Property taxes
  • Utilities (heating costs) (electric bill) (water bill) (condo fees)(garbage removal)
  • Home maintenance

2. Getting Pre-approved for a loan can help with your budgeting and home buying power.

A pre-approval is one of the most important steps for a first time home buyer. This will help you understand how much home you can afford with your current credit rating, income and expenses, and other factors. The pre-approval also shows home sellers that you are a serious buyer and able to afford their home. It gives a confidence to the seller and could set you apart from other home buyers that may not be pre-approved yet. The best part of the pre-approval process is it’s fast, easy and free. Contact us to put you in touch with 1 of our veteran mortgage officers who can get the ball rolling for a pre-approval.

3. There is no such thing as the perfect home.

Most first time home buyers think they’re going to find the perfect home, with the perfect upgrades, in the perfect neighborhood. Unfortunately most home buyers have a huge list of wants that most homes cannot live up to or they can afford. The trick is to make a home wish list that has everything that you want and desire with out holding it 100% accountable. It is also wise to separate your wants and needs. Understand that you might not find the perfect home within your budget. Here are a few quick bullet points on things to know that will help you prioritize.

  • You cannot change the location of the home.
  • You usually can change the floor plan.
  • You can update kitchen and baths, along with many other things.

Overlook paint color, outdated light fixtures,  and grandma’s wallpaper because these are the most simple and inexpensive updates that many first time home buyers take on as projects. If your up for the challenge, buying an outdated home can actually be beneficial. You are going to get in the home at a cheaper price and you will be able to customize the home to your liking. Unless your buying new construction, you can expect to do at least some updating.

4. The economy would love for you to buy a home.

First time home buyers stimulate a lot of local economic activity and growth. Therefore banks and the government are constantly changing rules, credits, loan programs and giving general help geared toward getting a first time home buyer in the home of their dreams. The best resource to see the latest loan programs and local government help is talking to an experienced mortgage officer to see what is available and would work best for you.

Questions to ask your loan officer

  • Do no money down programs exist?
  • What government back programs are available?
  • What are the guideline and income limits for programs available?

First Time Home Buyers: Getting Started

Defining Your Ideal Home  and Neighborhood

The property you buy will be much more than a house; it will be
your home. The following questions can help you describe the things
that are most important to you in your ideal home and neighborhood.

Home Buyer Checklist

The Home Buying Process usually includes many of the following elements. Understand the Checklist and steps you will need to take to go from a CT Home Browser to a Connecticut Home Buyer.

Home Buying Resources

Advanced Home Searching Toolssearch icon page veiw
Browse like a Pro. Feature rich Home Searching tools that are easy to Use. Includes easy glide parameters,distinct mapping, and much more. Make sure you set up an account while your there and receive email updates with the newest listings that hit the market in your search criteria.

Mortgage Calculator
Check out are 19 in 1 Mortgage calculator. calculatorMany different detailed calculations to choose from that you do not want to miss out on. Feature rich with calculations such as “rent vs. buy” “affordability calculator” “how much income do I need to qualify” along with many more. Its a great tool to start understand how much home you can afford and exact payments,along with tax benefits and different payoff scenarios for credit cards and other loans.

 

Check out articles we update regularly regarding helpful Home Buying Tips.

Also feel free to Contact Me anytime to answer any questions you may have and get the home buying process started.

 

 

Why not improve your Home Buying Experience.

keep-calm-because-it-s-all-about-you-2

Buying real estate is far from a simple process, but there are simple home buying tips to improve your overall experience. While most people may pay attention to the major details, it is the minor details that can add up and help a homeowner save thousands of dollars or avoid common frustrations that come with buying a home. For instance, participating in a home buyer seminar is a great way to acquire knowledge straight from professionals, as opposed to gathering information online. As far as specifics, you can expect to become an expert in the process of shopping, financing, and home maintenance after you end up purchasing a home.

It is important to have a checklist of wants and needs, but you should not forget about the fact that your financial situation will change drastically. It is quite possible that your source of incomes and how much money you make can adjust in your move, but there are additional expenses that need to be considered to ensure that everything is covered. Along with monthly mortgage payments, some additional costs of being a homeowner include homeowners insurance, increased utilities, property taxes, and needing to pay for professional assistance with your own money.

If you intend on living in your home for many years, it makes sense to spend a few weeks or months trying to get the best value on your mortgage. In order to do this, you need to have enough patience to meet with multiple lenders, which should help you get a wide range of interest rates. After this is done, you should negotiate with the lender that provided the greatest customer service to see if they will adjust their interest rate to match their competition. If everything goes as planned, you will end up with a superb rate on your home loan, as well as top notch customer service that you will definitely enjoy having while you are paying your mortgage.

It is extremely wise to pay attention to the home inspection process of buying a home, especially when you are considering older homes since they usually have the most hidden problems. While you may not be intending on spending a lot of money for a home inspection, even increasing your budget can ensure you make a superb investment on a property, knowing that there are no hidden and expensive problems. If you intend on buying a home in Connecticut, please contact us and follow these home buying tips to secure an amazing home buying experience.

Home Buyers

Finding and buying the right home is a highly personalized
process, and it all begins by identifying your needs.home buyers
  • The values, interests and priorities you want this move to support.
  • The features you are looking for in a home.
  • How a neighborhood can best match your needs and lifestyle.
  • How the homefinding process will need to be tailored to fit your plans.

Defining Your Ideal Home  and Neighborhood

The property you buy will be much more than a house,it will be
your home. The following questions can help you describe the things
that are most important to you in your ideal home and neighborhood.

Home Buyer Checklist

The Home Buying Process usually includes many of the following elements. Understand the Checklist and steps you will need to take to go from a CT Home Browser to a Connecticut Home Buyer.

First Time Home Buyers: What You need to know

There is a first time for everything and if you’re buying your first home, there are things you need to know and should be educating yourself about before you take the plunge into home ownership. First time home buyers have many questions that need answering before they can go from home browsing to home buying.  Being in the know will help you make smart decisions throughout the home buying process, along with avoiding common first time home buyer mistakes.

 

Advanced Home Searching Toolssearch icon page veiw

Browse like a Pro. Feature rich Home Searching tools that are easy to Use. Includes easy glide parameters,distinct mapping, and much more. Make sure you set up an account while your there and receive email updates with the newest listings that hit the market in your search criteria.

 

Mortgage Calculator

Check out are 19 in 1 Mortgage calulator. calculatorMany different detailed calculations to choose from that you do not want to miss out on. Feature rich with calculations such as “rent vs. buy”  “affordability calculator” “how much income do I need to qualify” along with many more. Its a great tool to start understand how much home you can afford and exact payments,along with tax benefits and different payoff scenarios for credit cards and other loans.

Snowbirds: Is it time to Downsize?

downsize homes

Are you a snowbird? Thinking of being a snowbird? A move to warmer weather each winter sounds lovely, especially that the cold weather in New England can be taxing. Of course, during the months you’re gone you’ll miss your friends, family and neighborhood, which is what keeps bringing you back here each spring. But what about your house in Connecticut?  Are you starting to think it’s a lot to take care of? Downsizing might be a consideration.

 

  • Save money. Downsizing to a smaller winter home could mean savings in many areas. Property taxes and sewer taxes could all be lowered giving you extra money to spend on those southern beaches and golf courses.
  • Summer maintenance. A smaller home means less time cleaning and fewer repairs to manage. A smaller yard still gives room for gardening and entertaining but allows you to spend more time with family and friends when you return home.
  • Winter maintenance. Even though you should be relaxing in the nice southern weather, you still have concerns about your northern house. You might be concerned about the older roof and the heavy snow. Maybe you pay to have your driveway plowed and sidewalks shoveled while you’re away. By having a smaller, even newer home, these concerns will lessen.

 

What type of home will suit your future needs? Downsizing could mean moving to a single story, smaller house.  It could also mean moving to a condominium or renting an apartment. As a professional realtor with a team of specialists,  we can help you sell your home or find a home that fit all your needs. Ask about our snowbird specials that could pay your moving costs in full!

Contact me, Michelle Manter Gigliette for more information.

Home Buying Tips: The Neighborhood

neighborhood

Your not only buying a home, your buying into a neighborhood!

 

As you’re looking for a home be sure to look at everything around it.  Look beyond curb appeal and veer across the street, at your neighbors homes.  The neighborhood you live in will determine if the home purchased is worth it.  The neighborhood will bring a feeling of safe and security.

 

When your searching for your next home, explore the neighborhoods to see what to expect should you decide to live there.  While there is no perfect neighborhood, determine what is important to you and focus on finding a neighborhood that comes very close to what you’re after.  The first thing you’ll notice is appearance.  Do the homes on the block match your home in size and appearance?  It should.  They should be maintained and landscaped.  If you see too many for sale/rent signs or lots of boarded homes, choose another neighborhood.  The residents their know something you don’t know.

 

Look for necessities and amenities nearby.  Your realtor can explain where they are and how close it is.  The most important things to have nearby are schools, police departments, fire departments, hospitals, public transportation and libraries.  Amenities to look for are shops, stores, restaurants, museums, theaters, stadiums, parks, gyms, laundromats and beaches.  Not all amenities have to be in or nearby the neighborhood; only pick the ones that are important to you and your family.  See how close your job is to the home.

 

If everything looks nice in appearance, it’s time to dig for secret information

Learn about crime in the neighborhood.  This information won’t be available to you at first glance so it’s up to the buyer to do their homework before settling into any neighborhood.  Your realtor or Connecticut police will know about the neighborhood’s crime history. You can also go online to look up crime history.  Be on the lookout for registered sex offenders living in your area.  The police will inform you of this as well.  If the home has bars on the windows or doors take notice.  Another sign is graffiti on walkways and walls and if the home is near a prison.

 

You can’t get away from noise and traffic but you can move into an area where it’s greatly reduced.  The sound of music cranked all the way up, arguing, fighting, kids yelling, glass breaking, airplanes flying overhead, cars passing by, animals making noise and gunshots are general noises people hear in neighborhoods.  That doesn’t mean you have to live with those noise.  Traffic can be so hectic that it’s hard to back out of the driveway.  To know if traffic or noise is going to be a problem drive by the home in the morning, afternoon, night and on the weekends.

Defining your Ideal Home and Neighborhood

 

The property you buy will be much more than a house; it will be your home. The following questions can help you describe the things that are most important to you in your ideal home and neighborhood.

 

  1. For some people, “home” means a hub of social activity; for others it might be a place to retreat from the pressures of daily life. What does “home” mean to you?
  2. Who will be living in your household? Will you often have other family members or friends visiting for more than a few days at a time?
  3. If you will be working outside your home, what would you consider a comfortable commute (in time or distance)? Will you be working at home?
  4. What are the most important activities for the members of your household? For example, hobbies, recreation, school, entertaining,religious or cultural activities.
  5. What are one or more features you liked most about homes you have lived in previously? This might include style: floorplan, yard, view, and neighborhood.
  6. What is something you disliked about the house or neighborhood where you have lived previously, and that you would want to avoid in your next home?
  7. What are the most important “must have” features of your ideal home and neighborhood? Why are they important?

 

 

You landed the Home of your dreams. Time to move!

moving-icon

It’s hard to trust your belongings to someone else when you’re Moving. To simply hand over your items in a moving truck and hope it gets there safely is too much to handle; it’s all you have. Everyone has heard one time or another about how movers have lost or stolen items. Moving insurance makes sure your items stay with you from your old home to the new one in the same condition.

Poor service and unreliable movers are the main reasons why items are missing or stolen. Avoid both of these hurdles through research. Look at the Better Business Bureau for complaints. Read reviews online and listen to loved ones for their opinions. On the company’s website read their testimonials and contact them about references. Learn about hidden fees and extra charges. Know the company inside and out before doing business with them to avoid surprises.

Moving insurance protects your belongings by covering damages, lost items and stolen items. It covers moves from one side to the other side of town, city to city, state to state, and country to country. There is a plan that works for you and your budget. The two plans available are full replacement and released value. Full replacement plans offer complete coverage for everything you own. The moving company is responsible for covering the liability up to the full value. Read the contract if you choose this option. It’s more expensive to buy, the deductible may not be what you expect, and it may not cover extremely expensive items. Released value is the cheaper option. They pay sixty cents per pound of total belongings. Some liability comes from the mover, but the majority of liability comes from the customers. Moving companies naturally add this basic insurance in moving expenses. However, it’s only added by request.

Both versions of insurance coverage are written in a contract, so look at it carefully before signing. Movers are not responsible for damages happening to the inside of boxes. The only way they’re responsible is if the box is damaged itself. If you want them to be responsible for the boxes, let them pack the belongings for you. Remember though that it will cost extra money to let movers pack and move your stuff.

If you move yourself anything that happens to furniture and personal belongings are your responsibility. The only way to get moving insurance is to hire a professional moving company or talk to an insurance company who handles this type of insurance.

Nicholas Despoteris

Licensed in CT – RI

860.889.3811 x54321

Fax: 1.888.510.6866

Nicholas.Despoteris@libertymutual.com

 

(DIY) How to Troubleshoot Boiler Problems

Do it Yourself concept

If your home uses a hot water boiler as your source of heat then having some basic DIY knowledge as to how they work can help you if trouble should arise. With winter just around the corner here in CT, knowing how to diagnose and fix simple problems, or how to relay that information to a professional, can help save you both time and money.

First, follow these quick inspection steps for the physical locations of your boiler’s components:

Step 1: Familiarize yourself with the basic parts, apparatus and definitions that pertain to your boiler. The attached diagram shows a complete breakdown of all the exterior parts of on an oil-fired hot water heating boiler.

Step 2: Identify your specific boiler’s fuel source. Follow the supply piping to the source to establish what heating-fuel your boiler uses to heat your home, e.g. oil or water. This information can help you when doing some troubleshooting research.

Step 3: Establish the boilers heat distribution and follow the unit’s delivery of heat as it leaves the boiler and then returns to it. Having a tight system that follows logical paths can reduce potential, simple problems like adequate return, adding years to its life, and removing sources of heat loss like splits or cracks.

Step 4: Make observation of the unit’s controls at the source. These controls located around the boiler are designed for use by the homeowner (meters, gauges, etc.), as well as being a source of information by an inspector. Other issues related to the temperature/pressure release valve can originate here. Check your unit’s manual for adequate PSI.

Once you have made your basic observations of the unit, it’s then time to diagnose why you have no, or little heat. There are typically four possible causes that can be quickly assessed and fixed without much aid:
  • No power to boiler: Check the circuit breaker associated to the unit. Reset the breaker, or replace the fuse as needed. Believe it or not, this problem is very common and a quick check can save so much trouble.boiler problems
  • Low water level: The water level should remain around half-full at all times. The boiler pressure relief valve should be around 12-15 psi.
  • Pilot or electronic burner ignition malfunction: Check to see if the boiler burner is closed via the control valve. Additionally, verify that the pilot light is lit. If your boiler has no standing pilot light, consult the manual for your specific unit as to how to relight it. Don’t be afraid to call a professional if you are insecure about the process.
  • Thermostat error: Establish your thermostat is set to heating mode. Then, move the temperature setting up and down. If you hear that familiar click, and nothing happens, you’re problem may need servicing.

Once you have exhausted all of your resources, and you still can’t find a solution, it might be time to call a professional. The problem may be something far greater and going without heat is definitely not an option.

Click here for more DIY tips

Connecticut Real Estate News: Yes Interest Rates Are Still Affordable

mortgage news

You may have heard that mortgage rates are inching up throughout the country. Don’t worry. According to Bankrate, rates are still near historic lows and affordable. Pair this with rising home prices and you have ideal conditions to buy or sell a home. The following examples show what typical monthly rates and payments are for a $250,000 mortage with 20 percent down and no points, if you have an excellent credit score of 740 or above.

fixed-rate-mortgage

Fixed-Rate Mortgage

For most homebuyers, a fixed-rate mortgage is ideal because it grants a constant monthly payment throughout the life of the loan. However, it also has slightly higher interest than other types of loans and stricter qualification requirements. Two terms are typical.

30 years. The national average for this term is 4.61 percent, although in Hartford, the range is from 4.31 to 4.79 percent. Monthly payments run from $1,230 to $1,304.

15 years. The shorter term means higher payments but a lower total cost because of the lower interest rate. The national average is 3.66 percent. The range in Hartford is 3.39 to 3.94 percent, which equals monthly payments of $1,757 to $1,834.

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ARM

If you’re having trouble qualifying for a fixed-rate mortgage, then an adjustable-rate mortgage may be better for you. In exchange for the lower interest rate, which is easier to qualify for, your payment remains fixed only for a specified period. It then matches prevailing market conditions, which usually produce higher payments.

For example, a 5/1 ARM means that payments are constant only for the first five years. The national average is 3.61 percent but in Hartford the range is from 2.79 to 3.19 percent. Monthly payments go for $1,021 to $1,140.

19 in 1 Mortgage Calculator

 If you are looking for a loan quote or refinance in Connecticut, Contact Sherriann for all your questions and needs!

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The advantages of a buyer agency agreement

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Per Connecticut Real Estate Regulations, buyers wanting full representation must sign a buyer representation agreement. This agreement obligates your Realtor to their legal duties and obligations.

A buyer’s agent owes fiduciary and legal duties to their client:

  • Obedience to client’s lawful instructions
  • Loyalty to client’s interest above their own
  • Disclosure of all material and pertinent facts
  • Confidentiality regarding client’s motivation, urgency, financial position or personal situation
  • Accounting for client’s money, paperwork and pertinent dates
  • Reasonable skill and due diligence

THE ADVANTAGES OF A BUYER AGENCY AGREEMENT.

YOUR INTERESTS ARE PROFESSIONALLY REPRESENTED

Enlisting the services of a professional Buyer’s Agent is similar to using an accountant to help you with your taxes, a doctor to help you with your health care, or a mechanic to help you with your car.  If you had the time to devote to learning everything about accounting, medicine, and automotive mechanics, you could do these services yourself.  But who has the time?  This is why you allow other professionals to help you in their specific areas of expertise.
We will take care of the hassles of everyday real estate transactions for you.  We let you concentrate on your full-time job, while we do our job.  We will guide you through the home-buying process and exclusively represent your interests as we help you find a home, present your contract offer, negotiate, and close on your home!

YOU GET A PERSONAL SPECIALIST WHO KNOWS YOUR NEEDS

Just as your accountant, doctor, and mechanic understand your specific needs, your Buyer’s Agent gets to know your real estate needs and concerns.  This type of relationship is built through open communication at all times.  Your Buyer’s Agent will save you a lot of time by providing you all the details about any home before you see it.  In addition, your Buyer’s Agent will listen to your feedback and concerns about each home, answer questions, and give you full representation.

YOU WILL QUICKLY AND CONVENIENTLY GET A GREAT HOME

The advantage to signing a Buyer’s Agency Agreement  is that you will have a professional agent working to find and secure the ideal home for you.  It is nearly impossible to find a home that meets your needs, get a contract negotiated, and close the transaction without an experienced agent.  You won’t need to spend endless evenings and weekends driving around looking for homes or trying to search computer networks by yourself.  When you tour homes with your professional Buyer’s Agent, you will already know that the homes meet your criteria and are within your price range.

WHAT IS THE BUYER’S AGENCY AGREEMENT

Entering into a Buyer’s Agency Agreement has countless advantages.  When you sign the agreement, you are simply agreeing to “hire” a personal representative who, by law, must represent your best interests to the best of his/her ability.  All of this personal service is available at absolutely NO COST TO YOU!  The Seller’s Agent is responsible for paying your Buyer’s Agent fee.  With me, you get a professional agent devoted to protecting your needs and to helping you make one of the most important investment decisions of your life –- and you don’t even have to pay a fee!

Full representation….Award winning customer service….Your Interests firstlogo-lightback-png

 

If your looking for a professional Realtor with endless experience representing buyers best interests contact Michelle Manter of the Manter Realty Group. 


Connecticut Real Estate News: Home Improvements with the Best Returns

remodeling cost vs value

Remodeling Magazine just released its “2013 Costs vs Value Report,” which talks about how much common remodeling projects costs and what they’re worth in the Hartford, Connecticut market. Some of its findings may surprise you, although keep in mind that these figures represent the middle range. Your actual prices will vary. These prices in my opinion are very high.

We would figure about half of the job cost for our median homes in Connecticut in the 200,000-400,000 price point.

New England — Midrange

2013 National Averages
Job Cost Resale Value Cost Recouped Project Job Cost Resale Value Cost Recouped Change vs. 2011-12
$49,719 $32,278 64.9% Attic Bedroom $47,919 $34,916 72.9% Change
$11,659 $5,547 47.6% Backup Power Generator $11,410 $6,014 52.7% Change
$63,919 $33,877 53.0% Basement Remodel $61,303 $43,095 70.3% Change
$38,781 $18,255 47.1% Bathroom Addition $37,501 $20,569 54.8% Change
$16,451 $9,697 58.9% Bathroom Remodel $15,782 $10,295 65.2% Change
$15,346 $9,634 62.8% Deck Addition (composite) $15,084 $10,184 67.5% Change
$9,825 $6,659 67.8% Deck Addition (wood) $9,327 $7,213 77.3% Change
$2,777 $1,808 65.1% Entry Door Replacement (fiberglass) $2,753 $1,813 65.9% Change
$1,153 $986 85.6% Entry Door Replacement (steel) $1,137 $974 85.6% Change
$82,569 $48,488 58.7% Family Room Addition $79,006 $50,013 63.3% Change
$50,385 $29,577 58.7% Garage Addition $48,806 $31,091 63.7% Change
$1,532 $1,153 75.3% Garage Door Replacement $1,496 $1,132 75.7% Change
$28,170 $11,113 39.4% Home Office Remodel $27,292 $11,911 43.6% Change
$55,522 $35,417 63.8% Major Kitchen Remodel $53,931 $37,139 68.9% Change
$106,278 $62,859 59.1% Master Suite Addition $101,873 $64,390 63.2% Change
$19,066 $14,430 75.7% Minor Kitchen Remodel $18,527 $13,977 75.4% Change
$19,850 $12,256 61.7% Roofing Replacement $18,488 $11,633 62.9% Change
$11,447 $8,579 74.9% Siding Replacement (vinyl) $11,192 $8,154 72.9% Change
$74,244 $32,521 43.8% Sunroom Addition $72,179 $33,529 46.5% Change
$156,044 $98,468 63.1% Two-Story Addition $152,470 $99,674 65.4% Change
$9,982 $7,208 72.2% Window Replacement (vinyl) $9,770 $6,961 71.2% Change
$10,962 $7,873 71.8% Window Replacement (wood) $10,708 $7,852 73.3% Change

New England — Upscale

2013 National Averages
Job Cost Resale Value Cost Recouped Project Job Cost Resale Value Cost Recouped Change vs. 2011-12
$72,860 $37,832 51.9% Bathroom Addition $70,969 $39,730 56.0% Change
$50,970 $27,646 54.2% Bathroom Remodel $50,007 $29,162 58.3% Change
$35,330 $19,217 54.4% Deck Addition (composite) $34,403 $20,532 59.7% Change
$82,452 $39,705 48.2% Garage Addition $80,511 $44,034 54.7% Change
$2,767 $2,119 76.6% Garage Door Replacement $2,720 $2,046 75.2% Change
$7,156 $4,418 61.7% Grand Entrance (fiberglass) $7,088 $4,528 63.9% Change
$109,524 $63,611 58.1% Major Kitchen Remodel $107,406 $64,113 59.7% Change
$225,527 $108,605 48.2% Master Suite Addition $220,086 $114,569 52.1% Change
$37,553 $20,065 53.4% Roofing Replacement $33,880 $19,194 56.7% Change
$13,329 $10,343 77.6% Siding Replacement (fiber-cement) $13,083 $10,379 79.3% Change
$14,140 $10,159 71.8% Siding Replacement (foam-backed vinyl) $13,818 $9,926 71.8% Change
$13,240 $9,322 70.4% Window Replacement (vinyl) $13,055 $9,295 71.2% Change
$16,597 $11,137 67.1% Window Replacement (wood) $16,361 $11,194 68.4% Change

If your curious about turning homes for a profit or getting the most bang for your buck with upgrades before selling contact Michelle Manter Giglietti.

3 Tips for Buying Your First Home In Connecticut

My-FIrst-Time-Title

Buying your first home will be one of the biggest decisions that you make in your life. While the Constitution State’s draw may be its beauty and history, many young professionals and families would ideally love to live in this beautiful state. However, homes in Connecticut can be somewhat pricey and sometimes over 100 years old. Here are some home buying tips that can make the process of buying your first dwelling in Connecticut easy and stress free.

Prioritize Your Wants and Needs

Typically your first home will not be your dream home, but it can come pretty close if you’re patient and willing to bend on some of those little extras that you may not necessarily need in a home. First time home buyers have a hard time prioritizing. The best way to prioritize is to make a list of what is most important, second important and least important. Would you prefer to be in a more populated area? How close do you want to live to your child’s school? Are you okay with having oil heat? By making these decisions ahead of time, you will be able to sort through hundreds of homes to make the process easier. Keep in mind that winters can be very cold in Connecticut and summers can get up to 100 degrees so finding a house that can be cooled and heated easily are important.

Get Pre-Approved

While you’re in the process of looking for homes, it is a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage so when you find the home that is right for you and your family, can make an offer quickly and efficiently. It can take four to six weeks to be pre-approved so make this a priority and one of the first things you do when you’re ready to buy.

Find a Real Estate Broker

For free, a real estate broker will help you sort through the literally thousands of homes for sale in Connecticut. They can do the hard work for you as they have access to many resources that you don’t to search for the home that is right for you and your family. If you provide the broker with a list of the key points you’re looking for in a home, they will find listings that closely match what you want.

The secret to buying a home in Connecticut is to find a balance between what you want and what you can actually afford. It can feel like a long process but with patience and some hard work, you will find the home you are looking for to enjoy for years to come.

Michelle Manter As a local top producing Realtor, I would Love to get you started on you home buying journey, Michelle Manter Giglietti is here to help. I run a team of all star agents who specialize in first time home buyers. Feel free to Contact me anytime to talk about your real estate goals.
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First Time Home Buyer Resources

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  1. What you need to know
  2. Checklist
  3. Questions to ask Yourself?
  4. Mortgage Calculator
  5. General Home Buying Tips Articles

 

Home Buying Tips: Do you Need a Permit?

permitYou’ve found your dream home in the historic district of a quaint Connecticut town. The house needs new windows, but that’s okay. You’ve factored repairs into the price and you can afford them.

Or maybe you found a home that will soon be your dream home, once you build a front porch. You can picture yourself rocking in a chair, sipping iced tea and chatting with neighbors on that new covered porch.

Maybe you feel any house is your dream house, as long as you can build a shed in the back for your tractor and tools.

As you’re purchasing your new home and thinking about the improvements you’ll make, keep in mind building permits.

Each town or city in Connecticut has its own regulations for permits. In some towns such as Middlefield, permits are required for most construction, even sheds.

As you probably know, Connecticut is filled with old towns. Old towns often have historic districts in order to preserve the history and styles of buildings.  In a town such as Kent, you might need a certificate of appropriateness from the Historic District Commission for replacing windows and doors or to add a fence.

Inland Wetlands is also something to consider. Towns like Seymour are beautiful because of their wetlands. If you’re thinking of building on your property, check to see if there are inland wetlands and find out what permits you need before starting any construction.

With a little research at the town or city hall, you’ll know if you need a permit for you project. And soon, you’ll be sitting on your new porch, listening to the lovely evening sounds of crickets.

Contact Michelle Manter for more information.

Connecticut Real Estate, on the Map with the Best Small Cities

ConnecticutEvery year, Money Magazine publishes the Best Places to Live, their list of America’s best small cities. As we are all about Connecticut real estate, this list, if it were up to us, would simply have 100 Connecticut locations. But because the folks at Money have to be fair, in 2012 it featured four of our fine cities. And considering big states like California, Colorado and Texas only got five, we think that’s a pretty big deal.

According to Money, the best Connecticut small city of 2012 is Greenwich. It has the benefits of NYC being just an hour away on train without the hassle of actually living there. Plus you’ve got the 147-acre Greenwich Point Beach on a picturesque peninsula extending into Long Island Sound. As Money notes, “Greenwich is synonymous with luxury.”

While New Haven is hustling and bustling, we head 30 minutes up the road to Hamden for the next small city being honored. Home to Quinnipiac University, you get that college-town vibe that many enjoy, plus you get to go “Ooh, that’s us!” whenever they’re mentioned for their many political tracking polls. What’s more, they have the Hamden Symphony Orchestra, which is all-volunteer! Music for the love of music–neat!

Of course, if you really like the university lifestyle, Fairfield isn’t a bad place to be either. Home to both Sacred Heart and Fairfield University, it’s also got five miles of shoreline and is just an hour away from New York City. If the kids say “Aww, there’s nothing to do!” you can look back and say “Are you kidding?” Plus, with a highly rated school system, you know they could probably be doing their homework anyway.

Finally, any list of “best places to live” is rarely complete without looking at West Hartford. It’s pretty much a perennial favorite in lists looking for great places to set up a household. As Money notes, “Suburbs often compete with their big-city neighbor when it comes to nightlife and entertainment. Not so with West Hartford.” Families get the best of all worlds; Blue Black Square is the place to be for shopping, eating and culture, and the two public high-schools in town are in the top ten for the state.

If your in the market for a home in Connecticut, check out our  CT Home Buyer Guides before you start your Home Search.

There are so many great places to live in Connecticut. The four above are just the start; we could go on and on about 2011’s selections of Tolland, South Windsor, Simsbury, Cheshire and Portland (yes, we have one too). To hear us go on, and to get started on finding your ideal place to call home, please feel free to contact us. We would love to help.

 

 

 

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