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Tenant screening can be one of the most important aspects to owning rental property. The more due diligence you preform in this area will only lead to a more stress free future when managing your property. So first, what are some qualities that make up a great tenant?

Qualities:
Ability to afford rent – not just the rent, but look for the applicant’s income from their job to be at LEAST 3x the monthly rent.
Stability of housing – look for renters that have lived somewhere for more than a few months at a time. Finding those who have rented for at least a year are most desirable.
Cleanliness – it would be best to desire someone that will appreciate the quality of apartment you are providing them and know that they are going to take care of the unit as you would. A neat trick that you can do is to take a peak inside the applicant’s car. This can often times be a good indicator as to how people treat their own possessions.
Pays rent on time – this one could be argued both ways, (opportunity to collect a late fee) but the issue here is the tenants are more likely to stop paying altogether in the long run. Ultimately this just creates more stress than is worth your time.

Here are a few things that you should be looking for in each applicant and if they do not meet these standards, should lead to a denial.

What I would call “absolutes.”
Income greater than 3x monthly rent
Good references
No evictions EVER
Clean background

As a reminder, never discriminate against race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status or handicap as these are all protected classes according to Fair Housing Laws. You should also check up on State and Local Fair Housing Laws to further ensure you have doing everything within your legal right.

To truly succeed in being a landlord, treat it like a business. And this is one of the most important parts of your business. Do your due diligence, be consistent in your screening and always, always stay true to your screening guidelines.

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Over the years we have seen the real estate market in Boston increase steadily. The Hyde Park Multi-Family market has experienced a $100,000 value increase in the last 2 years. Multi-families were sold for an average price of $417,000 in 2014, today, they are sold for upwards of $523,000.  Multifamily homeowners must be ecstatic with this because they are recouping some equity and making a huge profit.

Multi Families 2014 2015 2016 (January to July)
# Sales 31 46 28
Average Sales Price $417,710 $450,087 $522,978
Days on Market (DOM) 58 84 79

Condominium values have risen slightly from last year but Hyde park is more of a family oriented neighborhood so we suspect single families and multifamilies are a more stable purchase in this area. 

Condominiums 2014 2015 2016 (January to July)
# Sales 29 29 16
Average Sales Price $244,712 $232,617 $240,573
Days on Market (DOM) 56 46 77

Single family sales are on track to surpass previous years with value steadily increasing. Families looking for a great neighborhood should consider Hyde Park as you still get some land and a decent sized home.

Single Families 2014 2015 2016 (January to July)
# Sales 99 116 55
Average Sales Price $353,837 $385,299 $392,760
Days on Market (DOM) 64 62 58

For more information on the Hyde Park market, contact your Hyde Park Real Estate Specialist Denisha McDonald

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Work Your Financial Muscles To Better Credit

Financial habits and credit go hand in hand. Since your debt accounts for 30% of your credit score, it is safe to assume when your finances are in order, your credit should be as well (there are a few exceptions). This does not happen overnight. Similar to working out, you cannot eat a salad and go to the gym for 1 day and expect to lose 50 pounds. True success and results come with routine, discipline and sacrifice. Feel the burn!!

Set a budget – This is your foundation. Setting a budget will provide a guide for what expenses you have and how much income you have available to work with.
Monitor your spending – Mint.com is a free service that when connected to your acounts, tracks your spending and helps you set goals. CreditKarma.com is also great to automate monitoring your credit. They send you a message when there is activity or your score is updated. Numbers and facts are hard to deny. We can say that we are good with money but if you track your spending and see that you don’t save and eat out regularly and you have poor credit… something has to change.  Additionally, this can help you capture any kind of fraudulent charges if your info is ever at risk. 

Manage your debt – Pay off higher interest debts – Paying off higher interest accounts first will pay off in the long run. This will get you out of the rat race faster when it comes to minimizing debts, especially in credit cards.
Be proactive, don’t procrastinate – Avoid additional expenses and unnecessary late fees! Take advantage of any auto pay options to ensure payments are made on time. I simplified the process which helped me get focused very quickly… Do I want to give away my hard earned money? Interest payments are simply you giving your money away with no benefit to you. I am not cheap but I do not like giving away money if it is not for a good cause, my money going to a bank is not a good cause.

Eliminate bad spending habits – A little can go a long way. Bad spending habits will only set you back from your bigger goals. The monthly shoe subscription, coffee, eating out can add up to thousands yearly that you could be saving towards your financial goals. Spending less than you earn and sticking to your budget will allow you to have extra funds. Start setting these savings aside for your major purchases or for a cushion to fall on in case of emergencies. I save in a separate account that I do not have a card for, so in order for me to access the money, I need to transfer between banks which takes 3 days. This kills the urge to drain my savings. 

Stop impulse expenses – Rely on the bare necessities. I’m not going to lie, it’s very hard to pas up sales that are thrown at you, especially in the coming months but if you don’t need it….walk away. 

Invest in your future – I will put the disclaimer that I am a real estate professional so my investment advice is a little biased, moreso because I know that it works. If you do not own a home, consider purchasing a multi-family as opposed to a single or condo. You will have assistance with the mortgage and hopefully be cashflowing (passive income) from the rents you collect. This allows you to invest in other things and also brings a little more peace of mind. 

Feel free to connect with us on FACEBOOK or visit Urban Money Matters for FREE financial literacy seminars to help work those financial muscles.

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Secrets to Paying Off Your Mortgage Ahead of Time

 While the American dream may be to own a home, my dream is to own a home FREE and CLEAR. Although a process and a long term goal, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages of paying off your mortgage early. Even if you are not making $100,000/yr, any additional money you put toward your principal helps you in the long run. You may not see it initially but trust me… it matters over the life of the loan. 

Did you know that less than 20 percent of U.S. homeowners have paid down 50 percent or more of their mortgage?   This does not have to be your statistic. By making a few simple changes you will soon be on the road to becoming mortgage-free!

Set Attainable Goals

Decide how fast you want to pay off your mortgage. How soon can you afford to pay it off? Knowing how soon you want to pay it off will allow you to figure out how much money to add to your monthly payment to accomplish that goal. Knowing the additional money needed helps you figure out what expenses you can cut from your life.

Create a Budget

We all  know that we need a goal, a plan and deadlines to succeed. I do not know of a successful person who just goes through life “doing.” There is usually always a goal and a list of items/plan to complete in order to accomplish the goal. Once you set the goal of paying off your mortgage in “x” years, we need need to create a budget to achieve the goal. Figure out your monthly income and your monthly expenses.  See where you can free up money by reallocating some things. Then, figure out how much more you can add to your monthly mortgage payment. Be sure to write that the extra goes toward your principle or else they will put it toward your interest which defeats the purpose. 

Cut the Fat

We all hate when we have to live on the bare necessities but in order to build wealth and pay down your mortgage, sacrifices need to be made. I would much rather make the sacrifice today in not having my daily coffee or show subscription in exchange for paying off my mortgage early. Let’s say I am able to pay off my mortgage in 15 years if I live “broke” on purpose. That means, in 15 years I could buy all the shoes I want with the extra money I’m saving by not having a mortgage. Sacrifice $200-$1000/mo now  to essentially earn an extra $2000 for life later?… I’ll take that ALL DAY!

Large Payments

Tax season comes every year without fail. Most of us anticipate a refund check. Most of us also have that money “spent” before we receive it for things such as vacation, new TV, Car down payment… Invest in your future and use that lump sum toward your principle. You will be happy you did sooner than you think. We are a society of immediate gratification, we need to think long term if we ever have a chance at building wealth. 

Refinance

Refinancing gives you the ability to obtain a better interest rate. Even if you have the same interest rate… you could potentially lower your monthly payments by virtue of the fact that you are now redistributing your loan repayment period to 30 years. For example, you purchased at at $200,000 and your mortgage was $1,500. Now you owe $150,000 with a refinance, your payment decreases to $1,100. All you did was refinance. Since you were able to afford $1,500 initially, now you should pay $1,100 with an additional $400 toward your principal. Couple that with any extra money you were able to save due to cutbacks…. your mortgage will be repaid in no time. 

Want more tips on how to pay off your mortgage? Send us a message to be connected to loan officers who can advise on your options. 

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Color Psychology for Home Staging

Do you like one color over another? Do you feel a different way depending on the color you see? There is a psychological response related to color choices. It is based on the mental and emotional effects it can have on a person. 

Warm colors: instantly grab people’s attention (red). Use this to draw buyer’s attention to a positive feature in your home. Use as an accent color. Yellow makes a home feel warm and inviting. A little 

Cool colors: It is relaxing and creates a spa like feeling depending on the shade. Green provides balance as it reminds people of nature. 

Neutral Colors: breaks up colors to let the eyes rest. 

Whites: Feeling of cleanliness,purity

Black: Authority and strength

Grey: Timeless, practical and provides perfect background for any color. 

For more resources and tips on how to prepare your home for sale, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Your Home’s Been on the Market For How Long?

This blog is for my sellers in this crazy market. I want you to think of yourself as a homebuyer for a second… Would you pay more for a house if all the comparable homes in the area that have sold and others that are on the market are cheaper? What would make you choose the overpriced house?

Honest question because there are some people who willingly pay more for a home due to time constraints or a love for some specific feature in the home that they can’t live without. 

If there’s anything almost guaranteed to make your home sale experience a good or bad one, it will be price!

Price it correctly from the start and you’ll get offers in no time!

However, go with the “let’s see if there are buyers willing to pay that price” and as a home seller, you’ll undoubtedly draw the short straw!

How does a home seller know his home is overpriced?

The home is priced well-above neighboring properties for sale

“Of course, my home should be selling for more than some of my neighbors’ houses!”

As long as the market hasn’t spoken (i.e. no able & willing buyer and home seller have agreed on a mutually acceptable price), prices of properties in your neighborhood are just ASKING prices, but not given yet! As agents we base value on SOLD homes with a few adjustments to account for present market. If homes are listed and sitting in a hot market… that means they are overpriced.

The home isn’t seeing a steady stream of buyer showings

You agree on a list price, put your home on the market and nothing! No calls, no showing requests, nothing!! Other homes are on the market and accepting offers…what’s wrong? Well.. if you re the highest priced home in your neighborhood but clearly not new construction or newly remodeled… I think you know why.

The home hasn’t seen a single offer, despite months of marketing

If a home is priced right, there should be a lot of buyers knocking at your door (well, contacting your agent) and several showings. It should not take long for you to receive offers (within 30 days). If this is not your story… you should consider having a serious discussion with your agent and consider re-interviewing agents to sell your property.

The home has only seen ‘low-ball’ offers

The longer your home sits on the market, the greater the chance of low ball offers. All agents review days on market with their clients before submitting offers. If you have been on the market for over 30-40 days, expect less than asking, beyond that timeframe… even lower.

The real estate agent’s contract expired and the home is still on the market

When you agree to work with an agent, there is usually a start date and an end date to the contract. If you have not received offers by the conclusion of your contract… DO NOT RENEW with that agent. They did not fulfill their duties.  You also did not do your homework to understand the market and lower the price to what the market will bear.

Here at The Mandrell Company, we are honest and upfront. We provide honest numbers for home values. Some sellers choose other companies because our value was lower but we see that same home on the market months later and sometimes it sells for the price we told the seller but 5 months later. Had they listened, they would have had a sale months sooner.

For a complimentary value analysis and the opportunity to assist you in the sale of your home, please contact us to schedule your consultation. CONTACT@MANDRELLCO.COM or 617-297-8641.

 

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Many people think they can’t buy a home because they don’t make enough money. I honestly believe you can accomplish almost anything you put your mind to with hard work, sacrifice and some thorough research on your options. I am a fan of real estate as a tool to building wealth because it is tried and true…tested for centuries and when executed correctly (which isn’t that hard), it can really propel your financial trajectory. 

Let’s say you are looking for your first home purchase…. what are some sacrifices you are willing to make to get into the game? I’ll tell you what I would do in this aggressive Boston market, especially if I HAD TO stay in Boston.

  1. I would research the most inexpensive yet safe and inviting neighborhoods in the city…. currently, Mattapan is wide open but picking up steam, some parts of Dorchester, and Hyde Park, however, the prices in these areas are constantly being pushed to a new limit. 
  2. See you qualify for any city programs. There are numerous options available to first time homebuyers through the city. Although you may have money saved for a down payment, if there is free money available… utilize it.
  3. I would research streets within these neighborhoods to identify where I could see myself living for 3-5 years. Select multi-family homes in decent condition. Depending on the time of year and your pre-approval amount, the property condition could be a little worse and you can utilize a rehab loan. 
  4. Screen ALL tenants to ensure they are most likely to pay rent on time monthly. If the place comes with tenants, when do their leases expire? What is their payment history? Are they paying market rent? (sidetone: I am for giving a discount to great tenants but still keep within reach of market rents; not more than $200 discount. If you are providing a larger discount, this WILL hurt your resale value.)
  5. Occupy one unit for 3-5 years which will allow the market to possibly rise and therefore increase your equity; you can start saving again for the downpayment to your second property (now at 20-25% down)
  6. Be smart…run this like a business. Set aside 3-5% of rent toward long term maintenance and repairs (water heater, furnace, plumbing, roof). Budget for incidentals, things break down in every home over time. The income generated from your 1st property will be utilized to calculate your pre-approval amount for your second property.
  7. Depending on which home you like more, decide which you will live in and which will be 100% investment property.
  8. Rinse, and reuse. The key is knowing the numbers of how much to spend. Our agents are trained to evaluate the numbers to ensure you buy at the right price point for your goals.

To connect with one of our real estate specialists, please click on the link

Below is a story of a gentleman who followed the steps above and owns 9 properties while working full time. 

Full Story

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The Mattapan market has probably been the quietest in Boston  thus far. This signifies a stable community with homeowners who are satisfied with where they are and limited interest in selling. 

Multi Family homes have gained over $60,000 in equity since 2014. 

Condominiums are not popular in this area as evidenced by only one being sold thus far this year. 

Single family homes have experienced over $50,000 in added value of the past 2 years. Homes are selling for more and in less time. 

Multi Families 2014 2015 2016 (January to July)
# Sales 27 30 11
Average Sales Price $414,996 $434,081 $478,000
Days on Market (DOM) 70 57 124

 

Condominiums 2014 2015 2016 (January to July)
# Sales 7 5 1
Average Sales Price $115,357 $217,580 $185,000
Days on Market (DOM) 153 84 269

 

Single Families 2014 2015 2016 (January to July)
# Sales 14 26 12
Average Sales Price $255,743 $293,885 $313,158
Days on Market (DOM) 96 58 54

For more information on your mattapan market, contact your Mattapan specialist Rebecca Moise

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Break These Habits To Get From Paycheck to Paycheck TO Owning Your First Home (Pt. 3)

Over the past few days, we’ve reviewed some habits to get from living paycheck to paycheck to owning your own home. Below are some more habits you should consider altering if your long term goal is to build wealth. I think everything in moderation is okay but it is human nature and especially American nature to sometimes go a little over board.

11. Throwing Your Child a Huge Birthday Party

Your child will forgive you for not throwing them an expensive birthday bash. Children are as simple as you help them develop to be. I you keep their lives simple… why would they want the extravagant? I never understand the expensive 1st birthday parties… the baby has NO IDEA what is happening, it is simply an opportunity for the parents to have a party.

TRUE STORY: I know several people who throw their kids lavish birthday parties yearly so that their instagram/facebook/twitter is filled with photos/comments/likes yet… they are still renters and always complain that the market is expensive. Can you imagine how much you could save toward a down payment if you made the sacrifice for 2-3years? In addition to your regular savings, opt for a no party or low cost party. The money you save should go toward your down payment fund and NOT toward gifts There is a prize at the end of this sacrifice, I promise.

12. Shopping Impulsively

If you’re considering making an impulse buy, wait 14-30 days and ask yourself if you still want or need that item. You might even forget about the item completely, which pretty much answers the question for you. There is hardly anything in the world you need immediately (except maybe necessary food and water), Resist the temptation. If you do not need it… walk away. Always keep the big picture in the back of your mind.

TRUE STORY: To help me save, I put all extra cash (minus living/survival expenses) in a savings account that I do not have a card for and the bank does not have a physical branch (online only). If I wanted money… I had to transfer it into another bank’s checking account, this process took 3 days. The urge to purchase something dies when you have to wait 3 days to have the funds. It was my tool that helped me save $10,000 in a year and pay off my first car. You never realize your shopaholic tendencies until you start “rehab.”

13. Skipping Breakfast

Eating breakfast gets your day started on the right foot and can keep you from buying a huge, expensive lunch. Try filing breakfast foods, like oatmeal or eggs, which will likely keep your stomach (and wallet!) full. When you skip breakfast, you are starving by lunch time and become quite ravenous. This seemingly insatiable hunger leads to purchasing larger lunches and thus less savings toward your home.

TRUE STORY: There was a period in 2016 that I purchased breakfast everyday for my 2 children and myself (hangs head in shame.) This usually occurs during winter when it is cold and you crave the extra 10 minutes of sleep which then makes you late and breakfast has to be on the go. Easily, I spent $15/day that works out to $75/wk on BREAKFAST ALONE. Do not skip breakfast and DO NOT BUY breakfast either.

14. Paying Multiple Student Loans

Interest rates are still relatively low for student loans, and I presume mid range for credit cards depending on your score.  If you have the discipline to not take on additional debt, it could be a good time to consolidate your debt. By consolidating student loans, you might even be able to lower your monthly payments and extend your repayment period. For credit card and other debt, pay attention to the interest rate. The goal is to utilize a balance transfer, consolidate debt and pay as much as you can OVER the minimum payment monthly. Generally, most cards provide 12 months interest free. Plan to pay off this debt within 12 months. note: your interest rate when the promotion ends, should still be less than your current credit cards.

TRUE STORY: I was able to pay down $5,000 credit card debt by consolidating. I saved on interest, that I would have paid out monthly AND I received a lower interest rate than my current card. I hen went to my initial card and stated I wanted my interest rate lowered because I have good credit and guess what… they lowered my credit. YOU HAVE TO ASK! They will NOT tell you this information.

15. You Focus on Saving More — But Not Earning More

Millionaires aren’t in the business of wasting money, but they also recognize the greater importance of earning additional income as a way to attain financial goals faster. “[Wealthy people] understand that while there is a limit on how much you can save, there is no limit to how much you can make,” Tardy says.

In other words, even though slashing your expenses by $50 or even $100 a month will boost your bottom line a little bit — raking in thousands more from a salary bump will have a much greater effect.

Invest your time more wisely by seeking out ways to earn more. An obvious place to start is by examining your current salary. If you haven’t asked for a raise recently, and know you’re delivering value to your company, schedule a meeting with your boss to make your case for earning more.

The key is figuring out what skills you have that can be of value to others and then determining how to charge for that value.

 

We hope you found these suggestions helpful! For more tips on how to save for a down payment, please connect with us on:

Dorchester Real Estate Agent

 

Excerpts from full article.

 

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The Roxbury Real Estate market is experiencing a boom. Condo sales are through the roof and buyers cant seem to get enough. Single families and multifamilies are selling off market more than on market and being converted to condos because the demand is greatest. 

Mutli family home values have aggressively increased due to the high demand for rental units and the lure of condo conversions. MF homes were selling for $532,000 in 2014 and to date (keep in mind we are only in July) are selling for $879,000.

Multi Families 2014 2015 2016 (January to July)
# Sales 24 33 13
Average Sales Price $532,595 $574,782 $879,308 
Days on Market (DOM) 53 57 105

Half way through the year and condo sales have already matched the entire year of 2015 sales and surpassed that of 2014. Values have increased by $100,000. Savvy investors have taken notice and have been trying to meet the demand for luxury condos in the community. 

Condominiums 2014 2015 2016 (January to July)
# Sales 29 34 32
Average Sales Price $290,023 $404,094 $387,293 
Days on Market (DOM) 65 58 62

Single family sales have always been lower because they are hard to sell due to their large size. The average family does not want the responsibility of these massive Victorians. Savvy buyers have started converting them to multi-families to utilize the space. 

Single Families 2014 2015 2016 (January to July)
# Sales 12 14 7
Average Sales Price $435,975  $406,214   $444,964 
Days on Market (DOM) 63 94 43

For more information on the Roxbury real estate market, connect with your area specialist Terrance Moreau

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Avoid These Financial Sins When Applying For a Mortgage

If you are planning to buy a home soon, make sure that you are aware of all the factors that can affect your ability to qualify for a mortgage approval. Many people think it is as easy as walking into a bank and saying ” I want to buy a home.” Banks are in the business of lending and making money… they need to ensure you are financially responsible and able to repay possibly the most money you have borrowed to date. To allow for a higher probability for an approval and the best terms, follow these 10 home buying commandments.

Thou shalt not change jobs, become self-employed, or quit your job.

Changing jobs resets the clock. You need 2 years of full time employment or employment within the same field to be a god candidate for a mortgage. Any sudden changes raises a red flag. 

Thou shalt not buy a car, truck, or van.

Do not incur any additional debt when you plan to purchase a home. This not only affects your debt-to-income ratio, it also affects your credit score. You essentially just borrowed against your home loan. BAD IDEA

Thou shalt not use credit cards excessively.

I think this is a no brainer but again, do not incur any additonal debt. It shows that you are not responsible financially.

Thou shalt not miss payments.

Your credit score is made up of history of payments. If you show lenders you cannot repay your current debt… do you think they are more or less likely to approve you to take on more debt?

Thou shalt not spend money you have set aside for down payment and closing costs.

Purchasing a home is expensive, let’s be honest. Do not spend ANY money until you have keys to yout new place. There are usually surprise costs so be prepared. 

Thou shalt not buy furniture.

Again, NO SHOPPING until you are the legal owner of the property.

Thou shalt not originate any inquires into your credit.

Do not apply for any other credit, loans etc until AFTER you own your home. Inquiries raise red flags.

Thou shalt not make large deposits without checking with your loan officer.

EVERY DOLLAR needs to be accounted for. Do not make deposits or large withdrawals from your account without checking with your loan officer. They can advise on what to do, how to “source” your money etc. This goes back to money laundering, they need to ensure it is your money and not someone using you to “clean” their money.

Thou shalt not change bank accounts.

DO NOT CHANGE ANYTHING that affects your finances in any way until you take ownership of the home. 

Thou shalt not co-sign a loan for anyone.

DO NOT and i repeat DO NOT co-sign for anyone for anything. I have 2 kids and I already let them know… I will not be co-signing for student loans, car loans, nothing. If they laps on payment, it affects your credit score. Their debt also becomes your debt and impacts your debt-to-income ratio.

 

I hope these commandments help you as you start thinking of purchasing a home. Check back on our site for more information on how to make yourself the best candidate for a mortgage approval. 

Email us your questions and we will create a blog post on them to assist others searching for the same information. CONTACT@MANDRELLCO.COM

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When you are preparing to sell a MultiFamily, Here are 8 things you should do to ensure a smooth transition and to limit surprises. 

  1. Hire a Certified Professional Accountant (CPA) who is well versed in real estate. You want to know what your tax consequences are when you sell. There are capital gains taxes associated and you want to know next steps before you begin the process.
  2. Talk to a Realtor who is familiar with your area and multi-family homes. It is not just about listing your home, they need to understand the intricacies of a multi-family and how rent, condition, location etc affects the value. Is it a buyer’s market or a seller’s market?
  3. Does it make sense to sell as condos? Boston is experiencing a real estate boom and oftentimes in some neighborhoods, it is more profitable to divide the property and sell as condos as opposed to selling as a multi-family.
  4. Informing tenants of the sale. You want to inform them as early as possible. You want to be respectful of your relationship because a disgruntled tenant can hinder the sale of your property. You want their cooperation in coordinating showings, assist them in providing information for relocating.
  5. Gather property Financials. Buyers want to know the additional cost associated with the property so they know if the numbers make sense
  6. Gather tenant lease information. The buyer will want to see the lease agreements. When do leases expire? Are they market rent rates or below market rents?
  7. Fix any major and minor repairs in home. You want building in best shape possible as first impressions are lasting. Also, home inspections are a time to renegotiate the price. If you do not want to renegotiate the price, repair as much as you can that makes sense (discuss with realtor) so that you get the strongest offers.
  8. Connect with a real estate attorney. You want to ensure your best interests are protected.

For more information and helpful tips, please follow our blog posts or connect with us on  facebook or email at contact@mandrellco.com

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What’s a Good Offer?

We are in the peak of the 2016 real estate season.  Buyers are getting out bid and sellers are sometimes overwhelmed with the multiple great offers they have to decide on.

As long as we are in a multiple offer market there will be one winner and many disappointed losers for every listing…. So how do we submit the best offer?

Other than price, what matters to most sellers?

Timing – look at date flexibility, find out what the sellers need and deliver those dates. Consul with your mortgage professional to ensure they dates you select are actually doable on his/her end.

Down Payment Size – The greater the down payment, the more attractive the offer! I think that goes without saying. Offers with extremely low/ zero down payment, usually have a better chance in the winter that in the summer.

Cash – Cash is King! Pay cash if you can, you can finance the property at a later date. This is why investors are cleaning up shop in Boston.

Speed –Most agents will not show you property without first obtaining a copy of your pre-approval. The process is not difficult but it does require gathering a lot of documents. 

What about contingencies?

Financing – I am against waiving a mortgage contingency because I think you have to protect your client at all costs. You never know what could happen or be found and you have no just cause to break the contract without financial penalty. This is not the same as paying cash – what it means is that buyer’s cannot get the deposit back if denied the loan. Buyers with complicated self-employment income or other unusual financial circumstances need to be cautious when considering waiving their mortgage contingency. 

Inspections – Some people remove the inspection contingency and some people have the inspection at or even before they make an offer. We have seen other offers accepted with the condition that they would have the inspection right away, but that the results of that inspection could not be used to cancel the contract on the house or to renegotiate the agreed upon price. Some buyers conduct an inspection and specify a dollar amount above which, the seller would have to repair anything above that value.

 

Our agents are well versed in negotiations and understanding the best offer terms given the specific market season.submitting significantly below asking price in the summer is a poor choice. 

Call us today: 617.297.8641 to learn more!
 

 

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Break These Habits To Get From Paycheck to Paycheck TO Owning Your First Home (Pt. 2)

We discussed some habits to get from living paycheck to paycheck to owning your own home last week. Let’s review some more habits you should consider altering if your long term goal is to build wealth. 

6. Buying Brand-Name Products

Consumers find comfort in using brands they know and love, but oftentimes generic brands work just as well as their brand-name counterparts. Step away from brand names, and try a few generics. For example, you can save money by buying store-brand medications. I love hunting for a good deal and saving money, medication, oatmeal, rice, milk, frozen vegetables, plates, plasticware, among others, all taste the same (or close enough) and are of similar quality. What is the real reason you purchase brand name? If you TASTE the difference, then do not switch, but if it’s all about the “name” then you are missing the point. 

TRUE STORY: I purchase the above stated items in the generic store brand from Stop n Shop, CVS or Rite Aid. I am a frequent shopper at these retailers and I have come to trust their brand as much as I would the actual brand name product. If I were blind folded… couldn’t tell you the difference. My friend can taste the difference in water… so when she visits, I have to purchase Evian. 

7. Buying Lunch or dinner nightly

You’ve heard it before, but buying lunch at work is a huge waste of money. Buddy up with your co-workers, and try “brown bagging” it at work. You can end up saving a good chunk of cash. Having dinner at a restaurant is a great luxury, but it can wreak havoc on your finances. Be mindful about how often you eat out. Even something as simple as eating dinner earlier in the evening can help you eat less and save more.

TRUE STORY: Become friends with sites like Groupon, you can find great deals on ready prepped food to cut your cooking time in half. Not only do you get home cooked meals, you don’t need to be creative….they do it for you. Saves time, saves money (with coupons). Save the recipes to use again later without the company mailing you ingredients. 

8. Requesting Faster Shipping

It’s hard waiting for your online purchases to arrive, but paying extra for expedited shipping is a waste of money. Patience is a virtue, but if you really just want everything now, sign up for a service such as Amazon Prime, which includes free two-day shipping on most items. If you do not want to spend the $99 for membership, consider sharing an account with a friend. If you are a student, you get 1/2 off yearly membership. I think it’s worth it

TRUE STORY: I’m an amazon junky… I would do Amazonaholics Anonymous but it’s too good to quit. My family understands… if I can’t buy it on Amazon… you probably won’t get it from me. My life is hectic, I don’t enjoy shopping in stores, I need fast, economical and FREE shipping lol. PRIME is my BFF. 

9. Spending More Money on Snacks

According to The Huffington Post, Nielsen data showed Americans spend more on snacks such as protein bars, chips and beef jerky than they do on real food. If you plan your meals and shop with a grocery list, then you won’t need to fill up on unhealthy and expensive snack foods. It’s hard and no one expects you to perfect this over night but starting is better than not even considering it an option

TRUE STORY: My friend is obsessed with potato chips. She eats several bags a day. I’ve been working on getting her to cut it down to 3 small bags a week and to pack vegetables and fruits for snacks. She’s had more failed days than successful ones but she’s not giving up and neither will I. Anything worth having (a savings account, a healthy heart) is worth fighting for. 

10. Signing Up for a Gym Membership

Once January hits, many of the treadmills at the gym are usually occupied, and the Zumba classes are bumping. But just a few months later, the place looks like a ghost town — what a waste of money. Skip the pricey gym membership, and try joining an exercise club. Or, download a cheap fitness app to get in shape. I think this may be the worst New Year’s resolution idea EVER! Man I wish I owned a gym franchise… FREE Money because people never come back.

TRUE STORY: I fell victim 2 years ago and signed up for a gym membership because it had free babysitting… I figured, it took care of one obstacle. Well… 2 years later and I have been to the gym ONCE. I thought I cancelled the membership until I actually scrutinized my credit card statement and saw I was STILL paying for it. Thats $500 over 2 years I will never get back, never see a return on my investment and hang my head in shame over daily (well… when I remember… it’s so out of sight out of mind, it’s embarrassing) 

 

For more strategies on how to break bad habits and start building wealth please join www.urbanmoneymatters.com. If we do not have a seminar in your area, please let us know a good location and we will try to get something on the calendar. 

 

 

 

Excerpts from full article.

 

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Are you in the market to buy, rent or sell property in South End? Before you make a move, understanding the local market condition can make all the difference. We’ve outlined below exactly what’s happening with Condos in the area. All these number reflect what’s taken place over the last 6 months.

Condominium Listings
Total Condos SOLD: 251
Average Living Area by Square Feet: 1,148.33
Average Listing Price: $1,026,012
Average DOM (Days on Market):  36.49
Average Sales Price: $1,040,665

Want to get a FREE Sales and Rental Market Report for your specific area(s)? Just send a quick email to
Contact@MandrellCo.com to receive your monthly report. In the title put the words “FREE Boston Sales
Statistics” and in the body, add the up to 3 areas you’d like to receive data for. Your name and email will
be added to the next monthly reporting cycle. It’s that simple to stay up to date and ahead of the curve!
Please call us directly at 617-297-8641, for custom reports or questions above the data provided.

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Assessed Vs Appraised Vs Market Value| Which Do I Use?

How do we determine Value?
Many of our clients question how the value of their home was ascertained. They see various price quotes on Zillow, Public records, assessors office. All of these values are accurate but they serve very different purposes. It is important to understand what each number represents.

Assessed Value: Value determined by local municipality for tax purposes only. You pay property taxes based on this value. It has nothing to do with the resale value of your home. 

Appraised Value: An Appraiser is hired to determine value that banks are willing to lend on. Essentially, they want to find similar homes in the area that have sold and how much they sold for. They then compare your home to this home and assess whether your home is worth more or less. 

Market Value: What a buyer is willing to pay for the property. It is a combination of Appraised value, inventory, and demand. We understand that if there are several homes on the market listed around $500,000 but none of them are going under contract… these homes are more than a buyer is willing to pay. However, if homes at this price are going under contract within days/weeks, we know that buyers are willing to pay within this price for homes in the area. 

Determining the value of a home for Sale is a little more in depth than simply reviewing comparable homes. 

If you are interested in finding out the value of your home, please call today to schedule your FREE home value analysis! 

617-297-8641 or email us at contact@mandrellco.com

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10 Minute Room Transformation

Transforming your home to appeal to buyers does not always involve buying new furniture or expensive upgrades. This video shows that it can be as simple as decluttering and allowing natural light to enter. Buyers want to envision themselves in your home so your goal is to keep the room as simple as possible. 

Remove personalized items from the walls and tables

Remove throws, blankets, extra “Stuff” from sofas and chairs

Remove electronics that are not pertinent to the space 

Have a “catch all” bin to toss all the items you do not have a storage space for currently.

For more tips on how to stage your home on a budget, please feel free to connect with us online at contact@mandrellco.com or call us at 617-297-8641.

 

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Cash Flow

Cash Flow by definition is the total amount of money being transferred into and out of a business, especially as affecting liquidity. In real estate investing, what this means is:

Total Income – Total Expenses = Cash Flow

While you would assume total income would consist of just rent, make sure to include other potential sources of income including application fees, late fees and laundry income. If these sources are possible, also make sure to estimate your numbers using a conservative approach. In the long run this will be the most beneficial approach. On the flip side, your total expenses are NOT simply your mortgage, property taxes and insurance. Other expenses that cannot be overstated include utilities, potential flood insurance, repairs, vacancy, property management and capital expenditures. The last three expenses can be used as percentages against your monthly income from the property. Failure to include ALL possible expenses could lead to you purchasing a “deal” that actually turns out to be no deal at all.

Depreciation/Appreciation

Once you have purchased a property and become a landlord, it is to stay up to date with the value of your property and identify whether appreciation or depreciation has taken place. While this is very important post purchase, factoring in appreciation for an investment decision is speculative in nature and brings unneeded risk into the situation. In the event that your property has depreciated over time, there may be significant tax advantages to this and those same advantages may even be available to you if your property has appreciated over time.

Net Operating Income

Net Operating Income by definition equals all revenue from the property minus all reasonably necessary operating expenses. To look at this simply, NOI is calculated on a monthly basis using monthly income and expense data, therefore it can be converted to annual data just by multiplying by 12. The important thing to remember with NOI is that the formula does not include debt service costs, (loan costs) which differs from cash flow. One of the biggest reasons a landlord will want to know this number is because Net Operating Income plays a huge role in determining the value of your property. For this reason, it is in your best interest to work towards maximizing this number using different strategies to accomplish this.

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Break These Habits To Get From Paycheck to Paycheck TO Owning Your First Home (Pt. 1)

 I don’t think the majority of Americans willingly blow their paycheck weekly/monthly. It’s hardly ever a big purchase but several smaller, seemingly insignificant purchases that keep us living paycheck to paycheck. Let’s take a look at some of the obvious and not so obvious suspects that prevent us from saving to purchase our first home or investing in real estate to build wealth.

1. Paying Too Much on Housing

Since housing is likely your biggest monthly expense, this is where you can really make or break your budget. Personal finance experts recommend spending no more than 30% of your income on housing. You can spend even less and save more by getting a roommate or moving to a different neighborhood or a city where it’s easier to save money. Of Course this is easier said than done in Boston and surrounding towns. TRUE STORY: Consider living with family if roommates are not an option. Don’t try to live for free but rather, share the expenses so that you are helping with their financial burden but it is still cheaper than renting on your own. Give yourself a HARD deadline on when you need to  move out to hold you more accountable. 

2. Spending Too Much on Car Costs

Aside from housing, transportation is likely your next biggest expense. Buy a reliable and affordable used car, try to live close to where you work, and consider taking public transportation to cut down on gas and maintenance costs. If you work downtown, living close to work is an unlikely solution. Consider living close to public transportation, carpooling, biking?

TRUE STORY: My cousin realized he was paying more owning a car (car payments, insurance, gas, maintenance, parking) than utilizing public transportation. He sold his car and takes the train to work daily and utilizes Uber and zip car on the weekends if he has a lot to do. This strategy helped him save for an engagement ring and wedding.

3. Not Planning Meals Ahead of Time

Keep your grocery budget under control by planning out your meals and shopping accordingly. One of my favorite meal-planning apps comes from Food.com. It combines meal planning and money saving all in one app. If you like to live on the adventurous side, consider Daily Table, a non-profit grocery store that has discounted food items to help you stick to a tight budget; the catch… food items vary weekly so you will have to cook based on what you buy as opposed to buy what you plan to cook. 

TRUE STORY: A friend purchases prepared meals from Daily Table and says it is really good. The price works for her budget where she can have a nutritious meal (not prepare lunch herself) for a lot less than cooking when she considers her time and money to prepare a meal for herself. 

4. Buying Coffee or any other vice

America’s love affair with coffee shows no signs of slowing down. ABC News reports that the average American worker spends $1,100 a year, or $14.40 a week, on coffee. I don’t know about you…but that’s a lot of money spent on a drink. That’s down payment money or debt reduction money in the mind of someone who’s actively trying to build wealth.

TRUE STORY: Be real with yourself, maybe don’t quit cold turkey but try to reduce the number of coffees you buy by 2 each week until you are bringing all beverages from home. I weaned myself off of Orange Fanta… that was my vice. Saved a lot of money, water with lemons was my alternative. Now, I don’t crave drinks when I eat out, I can have a water with lemons alongside my meal. 

5. Carrying Credit Card Debt

Credit card debt is one of the most expensive types of debt you can carry. Those minimum payments might seem low now, but they can cost you hundreds to thousands of dollars in interest. If you have credit card debt, make a debt reduction plan. For example, try transferring your balance to a low-interest credit card, and commit to paying it off for good. Even if you can’t pay more than the minimum EVERY month… whenever you are able, try to make additional payments.

TRUE STORY: Even paying $20 extra a month helps you save. Also consider calling your credit card company every 6 months (if you have a history of on time payments) and request a rate reduction. I do it yearly and it makes a difference in the long term.

Be sure to sign up for our blog newsletter to stay informed on quick tips for a better financial future.

 

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There are some key differences between a short sale and a foreclosure in today’s real estate market. Although the economy is on the up and up, many people are still faced with this decision and we hope this video clarifies some of the differences to help you make an informed decision.

5 comparison criteria:

  1. Ability to obtain a mortgage in the future
  2. Effect on credit score and credit history
  3. Possible effects on security clearances
  4. Current and future employment
  5. Deficiency judgement

Short Sales impact you less severely than foreclosures!

If You have further questions on the process or would like to schedule a free, no obligation consultation, contact us at Contact@MadrellCo.com.

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Now that summer is finally here, it is a good time to take a look at all potential maintenance needed for your properties. As the winter months tend to be the quieter time of year, spring is typically the time that tenants move out, whether it is a result of a new job or just general life changes. Therefore, it is most important that you inspect your properties to ensure that the condition is such that you can turn them over quickly. If not, it is definitely important to address such issues to maintain the desirability of your property. Some specific areas of maintenance include:

Landscaping
One of the more important summer maintenance areas, a well landscaped property can do very well for the desirability of your property. Falling under curb appeal, this is one of the first things a potential tenant or buyer will notice when first seeing your property. And seeing as first impressions can be very important, it is critical to keep your property well maintained on the outside. The good news is that this is one of the easier jobs to do yourself and should be relatively easy to receive help if need be.

Siding and Walls
Like landscaping, the siding and walls on the outside of your property go a long way to maintaining its desirability and positive first impression appeal. When cleaning your siding is all that is required, simply wash the siding with a soft cloth or ordinary long-handled, soft bristle brush. This can be done using water and mild soap. The best approach is to start at the bottom of the siding, work your way up and rinse the cleaning solution completely before it dries. If siding needs to be replaced, this is another relatively small job and can be learned and applied in a relatively short period of time.

HVAC Systems
Your tenants are definitely going to have working A/C during the summer months, so this is one of the most important areas of focus within your property. One of the specific components to pay attention to for A/C maintenance is cleaning the air conditioner coils, both inside and out before cooling season begins. When the coils are dirty, the system runs longer, which reduces efficiency and increases cooling costs. Another component to address is to check and refill the refrigerant charge if necessary. If you do not have the right amount of cooling refrigerant, you run the risk of damaging the air compressor. Lastly, clean and calibrate the blower system components for optimal airflow. This will lead to a longer lasting and more efficient system.

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The majority of Bostonians hate writing a check to their landlord every month, particularly if you live in Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, and Lower Mills areas. Sometimes you are cursed with noisy neighbors, or a super strict landlord who is looking for any reason to push you out so he can get the next highest paying tenant.

If any of the above applies to you, you probably want to buy a home…yesterday! Wanting to buy a home and being ready to do so are two different things. Are you financially ready for the monthly mortgage payment and budgeting for repairs?

Here are five signs that you’re not ready to buy a house just yet. But don’t fret; even if you are struggling with these financial issues, you can still become a homeowner. You’ll just need a bit of patience and improved financial skills.

Buying a home is expensive. You’ll need money for a down payment. If you are buying a home with an FHA loan, you’ll need a down payment of 3.5% of your home’s final purchase price, depending on your credit score. For a $300,000 home, that comes out to a down payment of $10,500. Thanks to Mass Housing, we have a 3% down payment program, but that still equates to $9,000. These numbers do not include closing costs, moving costs and other miscellaneous costs associated with moving into a new home. 

Closing costs are the fees that mortgage lenders, title insurers, attorneys and others charge you to originate your mortgage loan. We generally tell people plan for an additional 2% to cover these costs which equals $6,000.

It’s true that you can get help with some of these costs. You can use gift money from relatives, for example, to pay for all or part of your down payment. You might be able to convince a home’s seller to pay for all or part of the closing costs. In our current market, sellers are not inclined to do closing cost assistance unless you plan to purchase well above asking. 

What to Do

It’s best to start searching for a home only after you’ve saved enough money to cover a down payment and your estimated closing costs. Another option would be to look into programs available by your municipality that encourages home ownership by providing financial assistance. There are also some non-profits and other organizations that allow you to purchase with 0% or a rate lower than industry standard. (NACA.com)

Sign 2: Your Credit Score Is Bad

Your credit score is a key number when you’re applying for a mortgage. The best interest rates go to individuals with the best credit scores (above 740). The lower your score, the higher your interest rate and subsequently, the higher your monthly mortgage payment. You can purchase a home with a 580 credit score according to FHA guidelines but there are only a few lenders willing to accept a score this low. 

What to Do

First, order at least one of your three credit reports from AnnualCreditReport.com. You are entitled to one free copy of each of your three credit reports — maintained by the national credit bureaus of Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion — once every year. Once you get your report, read it carefully. It will list how much you owe on your credit cards and how much you owe on student loans and car loans. It will also list whether you have any late or missed payments during the last seven years. Those late or missed payments will send your credit score tumbling.

Next, order your FICO credit score. You can do this from the credit bureaus, too, but you’ll have to pay about $15 to do so. If your score is low, and there are negative marks on your credit report, it’s time to start a new history of paying all your bills on time. You also need to pay down as much of your credit card debt as possible. Both of these actions will steadily increase your credit score, though it could take months or even more than a year before your score recovers enough to make you a good candidate for a mortgage loan.

Sign 3: You Have Mount Everest of Credit Card Debt

Your debt-to-income ratio is another key number when it comes to buying a home. Lenders want your total monthly debts, including your estimated new mortgage payment, to equal no more than 43% of your gross monthly income. If your debt-to-income ratio is too high, you’ll struggle to earn approval for a mortgage. Some lenders will go as high as 50% due to the high cost of rent but generally, they want to see that you are not up to your eyeballs in debt.  

What to Do

I would say pay off your credit card debt but if you could have, you probably would have by now. I will STRONGLY recommend you always make more than your minimum monthly required payment. 

Sign 4: You Routinely Miss Your Monthly Payments

Making late payments, or missing payments completely, is a sure sign that you’re not ready for the financial responsibility of owning a home.

If you miss a mortgage payment by more than 30 days, your credit score will fall by 100 points or more. If you miss enough, you could lose your home to foreclosure. This is not like a landlord where you get warnings before it affects your credit… this is immediate. 

What to Do

Learn better financial habits before you apply for a mortgage. Set up reminders on your phone or computer alerting you when bills are due or use my favorite method… automatic payment. You could set aside one day each month dedicated to paying bills if you prefer the old fashioned paper method. Don’t apply for a mortgage until you’ve broken the habit of regularly missing your monthly payment due dates. 

Sign 5: You Don’t Have a Stable Job

You’ll need a steady, reliable stream of income if you use a mortgage to finance the purchase of a home. If you’re worried that you’ll lose your job, or your income is sporadic with no real pattern, you should probably NOT purchase a home. Generally, you need 2 years of full time work history. If you are self employed, you will need other documentation to help qualify you for a loan. 

What to Do

Find a job that is reliable and that pays you a stable income each month. Don’t take the risk that everything will work out. You don’t want missed mortgage payments on your credit reports. And if your job is unstable? You’ll greatly increase the risk of these red marks. If you are self employed or you operate on seasons… then you should think of yourself as a chipmunk… get good at storing away for the slow months. 

I hope this advice was helpful. We strive for our clients to be responsible home owners and want to ensure you will not be putting your home up for sale due to foreclosure. We want to help you BUILD WEALTH THROUGH REAL ESTATE!

 

For More information, please contact one of our agent specialists for your area or connect with us on… 

Dorchester Real Estate Agent

 

 

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8 Simple Ways To Save Up Down Payment Cash

One of the largest obstacles between you and home ownership is coming up with enough money fund the required mortgage down-payment. Let’s assume that we’re looking for the average single family home in Massachusetts which is roughly $350,000. Let’s also assume you are like the majority of home buyers in this state and qualify for an FHA Loan, which is a 3.5% down payment or roughly $12,250. This isn’t amount of money most people have sitting in there bank accounts. So how do you find the cash to fund your dreams of home-ownership? Here are a list of things most buyers do to save up some cash:

Side Job or Temp Work –  Can you pick up a side job or work for a temp agency?  It’s may not be something you  ant to do permanently, but it’s worth it to reach your home-ownership goals.  Let’s assume you can pick up a part time job working 10 hours per week at $15 per hour. If you worked 48 of 52 weeks in the year you’d have an extra $7200 (before taxes) to add to your home savings account.

Cut Cable & Phone Bill – Many of us have Comcast or Verizon packages that consist of every movie channel, sport package and various other upgrades. Are these things we can live without for a little while?  The same goes for many phone bills. Many of us are paying $40 per month or more for data packages while the only thing we do with our phone that require data is posting to Facebook. If you can reduce one of these bills by $50 or two of them by $25 each, you would be saving a total of $600 for the year.

Cut Gift Spending – We all love our family and friends but could you cut back on birthday and holiday gifts for one year? I think your friends and family would stand by you if your gift were less expensive this year because you’re saving to purchase a home. Statistics show cutting this spending out entirely can put another $600 in your pocket for the year.

Work Overtime – Are there overtime hours available at your current job? Maybe it’s time to stay late or come in early. It may be a good idea to approach your manager and see what extra hours he/she can offer you.

Save Your Tax Returns – Getting a nice check back from the government this year? Don’t view this influx of cash as discretionary spending. Many Americans look at this check(s) as chance to buy a bigger TV or various other luxuries. Be smart and save this money for your down payment. The big screen will look better next year in your new home.

Hang At Home – Let’s assume that you’re like most of us and you love to hang out on the weekends. If you’re spending an average of $100 per weekend (drinks, food, movies etc) and your going out every other weekend, you’re spending an average of $2600 per year on entertainment. Can you cut than down this year to just 1 weekend per month? If so you’re saving $1300 per year and you’re that much closer to you saving goals.

Cut Your 401K Contributions – I’m a big believer in saving for your retirement, but I believe even more that every individual should own their own home. It may be a good idea for you to speak with your HR department and cut down (or cut out) your retirement contributions and add those additional funds to your savings.

Ask Your Family For Help – When your family sees all the lifestyle adjustments you’ve made to save for home ownership, they will see how important it is to you and will become important to them as well.  Can they help you with your down payment?

Are you looking for more helpful home ownership tips? Like us on  Boston Investment Specialist

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In our next topic of conversation with Elizabeth Newcombe, we asked her what the first step in the home buying process is. Liz is involved in this process on a regular basis so getting her perspective on the topic is very beneficial. For anyone looking to purchase a home in the near future, this is a great short video on how to get started with the home buying process and what to expect throughout.

For more information on homes for sale in Attleboro, contact Elizabeth Newcombe at 413-834-8052

 

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Why Inflation Is Making You POOR and What Can You Do About It?

 

Inflation is the average increase in prices over time. It affects everything we purchase.

Essentially, if you take an average basket of goods, over time, the average price of this basket of goods increases. What you were able to purchase at the grocery with $100, 20 years ago is a lot different than what you can purchase today.

Numerically, your money is worth the same. $100 fifty years ago is still $100 today, HOWEVER, your purchasing power is a lot less. Numerically, it is still $100 but you can buy a lot less with it today compared to 10 years ago. 

If you make $50,000 and inflation is eating away at your salary. The same $50,000 will not have the same purchasing one year from now. Essentially, you are becoming poor although your salary is unchanging because you the cost of everything else is increasing except your salary

How do you combat inflation:

  • You have to invest your money so that you receive a return on investment above the inflation rate. (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, treasury, real estate) Example, if I invest $10, can I get a return of $15?

For more strategies on how to improve your financial future, contact us directly at Contact@Mandrellco.com to set up your appointment. We have a wealth of resources and will be sure to connect you to industry leaders.

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