Claire LeBlanc - REALTY EXECUTIVES



Posted by Claire LeBlanc on 4/1/2020

Personal financial in your twenties comes with a steep learning curve. One minute youíre studying for your finals and the next youíre expected to suddenly know about APR financing, 401(K)s, and fixed-rate mortgages.

If youíre in your twenties and are facing these new challenges, youíre probably equal parts terrified and excited for the future. And, although it can be anxiety-inducing to step into the world of personal finance, you have one tool to your advantage that your parents and grandparents didnít have: the internet.

So, in this article, weíre going to give you some tips about buying a home and managing your finances in your twenties.

Have an emergency fund

You probably have a lot of things you want to save for. Down payments on mortgages and auto loans, saving money for traveling, beginning your retirement funds, and maybe even starting a family; theyíre all important investments that will take time and financial planning to achieve.

However, one thing that many young people neglect when they first start saving is an emergency fund. There are any number of things that can throw a wrench in your plans in your twenties. You might lose a job and have to live off of savings while hunting for a new one. Maybe something goes wrong with your car and it costs hundreds to repair. Or, you could have unforeseen medical expenses that arenít covered by your insurance. Regardless of the reason, having an emergency fund will help you stay out of unnecessary debt.

Itís recommended to have at least 6 months of living expenses saved in your emergency fund. Once you have this amount saved, itís a good idea to keep it in a separate account to avoid spending it on things that arenít exactly an emergency.

Donít live above your means

We all know that buying a house, going to college, and even buying groceries are all exponentially more expensive than they used to be. However, itís still important to try to adjust your lifestyle to the things you can afford.

This includes the vehicle you drive, the first home you buy, and even smaller purchases you make.

Avoiding lifestyle creep

Related to our last point about living above your means, lifestyle creep is the phenomenon that occurs when you get a raise or a higher paying job: the more we make, the more we spend. However, itís possible to avoid this trend by keeping your finances in check.

The next time you get a raise, make sure that money is put to use in either your retirement fund or savings account. This method is based on the goal of ďgiving every dollar a job.Ē When every dollar you earn has a purpose, youíre less likely to spend it on new video game consoles every six months.





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 3/18/2020


 Photo by James DeMers via Pixabay

If you're hoping to make some major changes to your home, you're likely interested in the types (and terms) of financing available to you. The 203k loan was designed to give homeowners an attractive interest rate, so they'd be more likely to upgrade and modernize their homes. However, it's not available to everyone. Find out more about how the loan works and who qualifies. 

The Gist 

A 203k loan is granted by the FHA, though it's not the same as an FHA loan. You can apply for this loan at the time of purchase or after you've already owned the home for a while. Typically, these loans are granted to people who want to transform properties that have seen better days. So if you're buying a major fixer-upper in an abandoned part of town, you're more likely to qualify. Just as with any lender, you'll want to approach several before finding one for you. 

The Terms 

The interest rate that each homeowner qualifies for will depend on everything from the going rates to the homeowner's credit score. However, it tends to be around 1% more than a conventional home loan. A regular FHA loan has a minimum credit score of 580 but 203k loans typically require at least 640. You'll also need 3.5% of the total cost of the loan in order to qualify. (So if the repairs cost $10,000, you'll need at least $350 to get started.)

How Repairs Work 

These loans are only given to primary homeowners, as opposed to second, vacation or flipped homes, and you're typically not allowed to do the repairs yourself. These loans require you to have serious work completed by an approved contractor, despite the individual zoning laws of your neighborhood. Owners must include an itemized list of upgrades to lenders before being approved. If you aren't able to live on the property during the time of repairs, you can borrow up to six months of mortgage payments to counter the financial burden. 

Types of Loans 

You can either take out a streamline or standard loan. A streamlined loan is typically for those who need to make less than $350,000 in repairs, while a standard has no monetary limits. You can use a standard loan to essentially build an entire property, it only requires a small part of the foundation to exist before qualifying. As you might imagine, standard loans require a more intensive underwriting process. 

The 203k loan can be a great way for homeowners to get the home they want and take a big step toward revitalizing a neighborhood. And while not everyone qualifies, the terms of the loan are typically far more reasonable than conventional lenders. 




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Posted by Claire LeBlanc on 3/11/2020

Meticulously maintained 3 bedroom, 2 &1/2 bath Townhouse located in very desirable Nicolas Common, a 55 + community! This Townhouse has a flexible floor plan allowing you to enjoy single level living with the living room, kitchen, dining area, laundry, master bedroom, full and 1/4 bath, garage entry ALL ON THE FIRST FLOOR! 1st floor master bedroom with full bath, walk in closet! 1st floor custom built kitchen features granite counters, SS appliances, with a good amount of storage! This beautiful kitchen has an open plan with adjoining dining area that has a slider to a private deck for relaxing outdoor dining! 1st floor has a cozy living room with hardwood flooring, laundry area and 1/4 bath! 2nd floor features, 2 light and bright spacious bedrooms, with closets & another full bath! GAS heat, central A/C, 1 car garage that enters the unit just off the kitchen, on the same level, no stairs. Basement is very large unfinished space, that could be renovated for additional space!

More Info on this Property | New Listing Alerts





Posted by Claire LeBlanc on 3/11/2020


159 Allen Rd, Billerica, MA 01821

Condo

$449,000
Price

6
Rooms
3
Beds
2/1
Full/Half Baths
Meticulously maintained 3 bedroom, 2 &1/2 bath Townhouse located in very desirable Nicolas Common, a 55 + community! This Townhouse has a flexible floor plan allowing you to enjoy single level living with the living room, kitchen, dining area, laundry, master bedroom, full and 1/4 bath, garage entry ALL ON THE FIRST FLOOR! 1st floor master bedroom with full bath, walk in closet! 1st floor custom built kitchen features granite counters, SS appliances, with a good amount of storage! This beautiful kitchen has an open plan with adjoining dining area that has a slider to a private deck for relaxing outdoor dining! 1st floor has a cozy living room with hardwood flooring, laundry area and 1/4 bath! 2nd floor features, 2 light and bright spacious bedrooms, with closets & another full bath! GAS heat, central A/C, 1 car garage that enters the unit just off the kitchen, on the same level, no stairs. Basement is very large unfinished space, that could be renovated for additional space!
Open House
Sunday
March 15 at 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM
First Open House on 3/15/20! Great townhouse, great price, send your buyers! Best Regards Claire
Cannot make the Open Houses?
Location: 159 Allen Rd, Billerica, MA 01821    Get Directions

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