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10 Task Every Boston Landlord Must Complete To Find The Perfect Tenant

Cheryl Ricketts and Kate Brennan of The Mandrell Company take you through “10 Things Every Landlord Must Do Find Great Tenants”. While the information is geared toward Boston area landlords, must of the tips and tricks can be used anywhere in the state of Mass. For more information or for questions, you can contact them at Kate@MandrellCo.com or Cheryl@MandrellCo.com.

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Save Cash & Do Your Own Home Inspection 1st – 5 Things You Must Look For!

Willie Mandrell of The Mandrell Company breaks down 5 red flags that you can uncover on your own while searching for a home or investment property. You don’t need to spend money on a home inspector if you know what to search for. Discover the 5 “big money” elements of any New England home and how to avoid buying a bad piece of real estate! Hit play and listen in!

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Recently we hosted a webinar on the topic of Building Wealth In Your 20’s & 30’s. In the third and final section of the webinar we covered building equity, tax savings and some very important closing thoughts.

For more resources and tips on how to build wealth, please contact us.

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Recently we hosted a webinar on the topic of Building Wealth In Your 20’s & 30’s. In the second section of the webinar we covered saving for retirement, the importance of life insurance and the different types of investments.

For more resources and tips on how to build wealth, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Recently we hosted a webinar on the topic of Building Wealth In Your 20’s & 30’s. In the first section of the webinar we covered the importance of creating a budget for yourself and family, establishing personal finance goals and how to figure out, and improve on your credit.

For more resources and tips on how to build wealth, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

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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. 

Contact Us

 

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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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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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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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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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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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What Is Your “Commitment Day” When Purchasing A Home?

Many first time homebuyers are unaware of the timelines and deadlines associated with purchasing a home. They understand the list in that there is a close date on their offer but as real estate professionals we must inform our clients that sometimes, these dates are flexible depending on a few different factors. 

If there are delays in the checklist of items lenders, attorneys, inspectors, appraisers, buyer/seller documentation, then there can be a delay of the closing date in which we would request an extension.

On every offer submitted, we have a mortgage commitment date and a closing date. 

The mortgage commitment date is the date by which the bank says YES, you have truly satisfied all requirements and we are granting you permission to purchase this home. In order to issue a commitment letter, banks need current information on the following items which all have expiration dates as well. Here are 4 items that are good for 90 days, after which you will need to supply new documentation:

  • Income: Pay Stubs
  • Assets: Checking, Savings, Investment, Retirement
  • Credit: Must be re-pulled after 90 days but should not be re-pulled until needed (communicate with loan officer)
  • Appraisal: Good for 120 days before a new appraisal is required

The timing on these documents can create issues.  

If there is any change in employment status, let your loan officer know immediately. This is a MAJOR issue that will need to be addressed so you know what your options are moving forward.

Statements for your assets vary in terms of dissemination. A lot of real estate is about timing. Speak with your loan officer regarding the current statement for your investment and retirement funds. Checking and savings generally comes out monthly.

ALL loan approvals are at risk if the borrower ruins their credit, loses or quits their job or if they spend their down payment money.  This is true whether their Commitment Letter is issued 3 weeks prior to the closing or 3 months. Essentially, we advise our clients not to change anything in their life until the transaction is complete. Do not make any major purchases to alter your credit (I have seen client’s credit score drop as a result of a purchase and the reduced score disqualified them from purchasing. thankfully, the seller was flexible and we were able to extend the dates but this is few and far between)

We hope you found this little tidbit helpful.

As always – if you have questions, thoughts or concerns about the timing of a transaction, give us a call and we will coordinate with your loan officer to walk through the scenario with you to find a solution that is beneficial for everyone. Please feel free to reach out at 617-297-8641 or Contact@mandrellco.com.

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Recently we sat down with our very own Elizabeth Newcombe to cover a series of topics. One of these topics was about what is happening currently in her local real estate market, Attleboro. As most of you know, the real estate market for the greater Boston area is very competitive right now and it is even making its way down to Bristol and Norfolk counties. Liz provides a firsthand look into everything you want to know about the market in Attleboro right now.

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

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The last topic that we covered in our sit down with Anastasia Tacewicz from GMH Mortgage Services was some of the things you want to be considering when choosing a mortgage professional. This is a key individual throughout the home buying process so you will really want to do your due diligence when selecting someone to work with. Anastasia is a great reference as she is someone who we have worked with in the past and have had great experiences with.

Need more info about mortgages or about getting pre approved? Contact us at 617-297-8641

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Home Improvements and PERMITS

In this fast paced, high demand Boston real estate market, agents have to ensure they are doing their due diligence for everyone. Never assume the other side has completed their checklist of items. I want to share part of a situation that occurred with one of my buyers. We found their dream house and submitted an offer subject 2 the seller finding suitable housing (not sure I will be doing that again with first time home-buyers because the ball is in the seller’s court no matter how you look at it). That’s another story, but today, I will explain the OTHER issue with the home and ultimately why we walked away. The home was in impeccable condition and the buyers fell in love with the deck. Everything was great, inspector said home was in excellent condition and well maintained (kudos to the seller)… then comes the appraisal. The appraiser researched the property and discovered the sellers had extended the deck without permits. BIG NO NO Sellers!

If recent work has been done on a home, appraisers are expected to prove and document that the work had been properly permitted.  If the appraiser notes that a bath or in my case, a deck has been added and does not determine if proper permits were issued, the underwriter will request documentation to determine that the bathroom was installed legally. In our case, there was no documentation so the underwriter would not allow the purchase of this home. The only way my buyers were getting this house was if the seller ripped out the deck and rebuilt it with a permit. Needless to say… we walked away. (We did find another home but the process of the sub2 deal was daunting at best)

Sellers, please do things by the book so as not to delay the sale of your home or cost you money in the long run. If you are planning to sell and plan to be handy or have a “friend or family member” do some updates for you, please spend the extra money to obtain a permit.

The worst thing you want is that you spend thousands on adding a new bathroom/deck/finished basement and weeks before closing, the appraiser discovers you did not pull permits… guess what… you will be ripping out ALL the work you did and watch THOUSANDS of dollars go in the trash…this will also reduce the value of your home so add a couple thousand to the LOSS column.

 

If you are thinking of selling, call us today for a FREE no obligation consultationFREE no obligation consultation.

We prefer to make it a stress free process for you and help you avoid these hiccups that are totally avoidable.

 

 

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Another topic that we covered in our sit down with Anastasia Tacewicz from GMH Mortgage Services was the process of purchasing a condo vs. a single family and how the two differ. For those potentially in the process of looking at both options right now, there is some good information in this video from the perspective of someone who would actually be involved with you when considering your purchase.

Need more info about mortgages or about getting pre approved? Contact us at 617-297-8641

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8 Things Wealthy People Do Differently

  1. Wealthy People Assist the younger generation
  2. Wealthy People monitor their financials
  3. Wealthy People get rewarded for their spending
  4. Wealthy People”ACT” broke
  5. Wealthy People invest in assets, not liabilities
  6. Wealthy People always have another hustle
  7. Wealthy People are never afraid to ask for advice
  8. Wealthy People lower their interest cost
  9. Wealthy People THINK LONG TERM

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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Criminal Record and Apartment Rentals

2016 has been a year of initiatives, laws and policies affecting homeowners, and renters. One such “guidance”  as it pertains to screening tenant applicants with a criminal history record. I have mixed views on this as I can see both sides of the argument.

Tenant: I made a terrible mistake when I was 19 that has remained on my record. Now at age 29, I am trying to find an apartment and I am constantly being denied due to my prior criminal history. THEN I was a nuisance to society but today… I stand before you an upstanding citizen. I have my Master’s degree in Physical Therapy, I make $75,000/year but I cannot find an apartment because of my prior transgression. How do I grow? How do I move on to the next stage of life if I am constantly penalized for a mistake I made 10 years ago?

Landlord: The government is imposing poilicies and laws that make it increasingly harder to protect my investment. I believe in giving people a chance but I do not want to be forced into a decision. Criminal background checks are meant to protect my tenants. They want a safe place to live and not feel threatened. If someone has a history of violence or burglary… how can I in good conscience, accept them as a new tenant? I understand people change, but am I not failing in my duty as a landlord to the tenants I currently have? I believe this creates undue tension between landlord and good tenants.

I can argue either side. I choose to see the good in people most times but I do not want to be forced to overlook something that troubles me. I do also see the connection between minorities disproportionately being affected by this decision. What is the middle ground? How do we obtain more information on a person’s record with regard to timeline of criminal activity? Something I will be following over time to see what develops.

For more details see the excerpt below on the decision.

HUD issued legal guidance from the Office of General Counsel (OGC) regarding the likely violation of the Fair Housing Act when housing providers employ blanket policies in refusing to rent or renew a lease based on an individual’s criminal history because such policies may have a disparate impact on racial minorities. The guidance states, “Because of widespread racial and ethnic disparities in the U.S. criminal justice system, criminal history-based restrictions on access to housing are likely disproportionately to burden African-Americans and Hispanics.” The protected classes of the Fair Housing Act are race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability.

The guidance states that when a housing provider’s seemingly neutral policy or practice has a discriminatory effect, such as restricting access to housing on the basis of criminal history, and has a disparate impact on individuals of a particular race, national origin, or other protected class.

Some landlords and property managers assert that the reason they have blanket criminal history policies is to protect other residents and the property. Landlords and property managers must be able to prove through reliable evidence that blanket policies actually assist in protecting residents and property.

The guidance also states that a housing provider with policies of excluding people because of a prior arrest without conviction cannot satisfy its burden of showing such a policy is necessary to achieve a “substantial, legitimate, nondiscriminatory interest,” since an arrest is not a reliable basis upon which to assess the potential risk to residents or property. In instances when a person has been convicted, the policy must be applied on a case-by-case basis considering the nature and severity of the conviction, what the individual has done since conviction, and how long ago the conviction took place.

In addition, the guidance discusses how a housing provider may violate the Fair Housing Act if the provider intentionally discriminates when using criminal history information in evaluating applicants and tenants. “This occurs when the provider treats an applicant or renter differently because of race, national origin or another protected characteristic. In these cases, the housing provider’s use of criminal records or other criminal history information as a pretext for unequal treatment of individuals because of race, national origin or other protected characteristics is no different from the discriminatory application of any other rental or purchase criteria.”

The HUD guidance is at http://1.usa.gov/1TwM6m5

 

If you are a landlord and looking for assistance in finding quality tenants for your units… Call The Mandrell CompanyCall The Mandrell Company. We work hard to screen tenants to ensure you have the most qualified and highly referred tenants.

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