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How To Think Like An Investor When Purchasing Your Home

How To Think Like An Investor When Purchasing Your Home

Friends and family come to me all the time asking my advice on how to make sure they are making a good investment when they buy a new home. Some home buyers inadvertently luck out, buy in an area that happens to explode within a few years of their moving there, make a few improvements, and sell their home for twice what they bought it for just a few years prior. This is wonderful when it happens, but it is largely due to luck and timing. Other buyers get the short end of the stick and find that their home has not gained any significant value in the last 4 years and they are hardly going to break even after closing costs.

Many people don’t realize that buying a single family home to occupy is not likely to be an investment per se, meaning you are not likely to actually make much money on it, unless you are smart about it. You can’t control the market, but you can try to avoid making a bad purchase by following a few simple guidelines.

1) Plan to live in it for more than 6 years. If you are not sure you are going to stay long term, it might not make financial sense to buy unless you are doing so simply because you want to have your own place where you are the boss and might have a better quality of life than in a rental property. However, you shouldn’t count on making any money when you sell. Depending on appreciation in your area, your home might not gain value fast enough to make up for the large chunk of money you will spend on closing costs when you sell. Plus you will be spending money on maintenance and up-keep while you are living there—if you don’t, you can certainly expect your home to lose value due to wear and tear. Depreciation is just as real a factor as appreciation.

2) Never buy a $500k home in a town with a median home value of $200k. If you want your home to sell quickly and for a good price, buy at or below the median value for your area. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to sell a home that is too expensive for the average homebuyer. If most buyers in your neighborhood are looking for a 3 bed 2 bath home in the $200k range and yours is a 5 bed 3 bath home for twice as much as the typical buyer in your town can afford, it is probably going to take longer to sell. When you get farther out of the big cities, real estate markets are not so fast and furious and salability becomes a real concern.

3) It is always better to buy the worst house on the best block, than vice versa. As the old adage goes “location, location, location”: if you want your home to gain value and sell quickly for a good price when you move, buy somewhere everyone wants to be. Even if I am a hundred miles away and have never been to any of the towns my friends are considering moving to, I can pull some data on crime rates, appreciation rates, median home costs, school ratings, types of architecture and how educated the population is within a couple minutes and tell you which town is a better bet in terms of resale value.

4.) Finally, buy a house in which value can be added. If a house is perfect already, someone else is making money on you. If you want to think like an investor, buy a house in need of cosmetic updates, or a foreclosure. Plan to do some projects, and while you might have a few more headaches than the buyer of the move-in ready home, you will be glad you did when you make money on the other end.

Happy House Hunting!

 – Liz Newcombe, Sales & Leasing Consultant | Liz@MandrellCo.com

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With mortgage rates remaining near historic lows, many financial experts are making the case that student-loan debt doesn’t have to hold back millennials from buying a home. But the message isn’t getting across: Nearly 70 percent of millennials say they are delaying a real estate purchase because of their student debt load, according to a new survey by CommonBond.

Forbes.com recently highlighted whether a person with student-loan debt was ready to become a home owner with the following assessment:

  • Debt-to-income ratio isn’t everything. Yes, the proportion of your income that goes toward paying your debt is a central determinant of whether you’re ready to buy a home. Most lenders require a debt-to-income ratio of 36 percent or less to qualify for a mortgage. But a buyer with student-loan debt shouldn’t worry that their number will automatically disqualify them. The key is that they pay their bills on time and still have enough income left over to compensate for their debt.
  • You can still handle more debt. Life is all about balance. Take a serious look at your monthly budget/income. You either need to have a large enough cushion (20% down payment) or calculate what your monthly expenses would be to own a home. If the cost of owning is around the same as renting (all included), then you should be adjusting and preparing to purchase. The best interest rates tend to go to those who can offer a 20 percent down payment, but loans are available that require as little as 3 percent down on a home.
  • Make a budget. To save for the down payment, would-be buyers need a budget in place. Katie Brewer, a certified financial planner in Dallas, suggests budgeting with broad buckets: fixed expenses, variable expenses, and longer-term goals (e.g. paying down debt, buying a home, or saving for retirement). Brewer recommends keeping fixed expenses to 50 percent or less of your overall budget. There’s no one budget style that is more effective, however. The important part is to just pick a method and then start working toward the goal — saving for a down payment, in this case. With the Boston rental market being as aggressive as it is… It may be a great idea to downsize for a bit so you can save. Get Roommates, Eat out less, Decrease leisure spending. You have to tweak your “budget” to what makes logical and financial sense to you. I am a firm believer in those who want something bad enough…will do everything in their power to make it happen. The question then becomes: HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT?

If You would like more strategies on saving up for a home or would like to speak with one of our trusted mortgage lenders for more strategies on preparing for home ownership, please email us at Buy@MandrellCo.com.

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I have a confession to make, I was once a huge fan of real estate reality TV, house hunters, all the DIY shows but I’ve come to realize they paint a false picture for homebuyers.

If you’re a real estate newbie devoted to “House Hunters” or “Buying Alaska,” you may be left with some very wrong impressions about how the house searching and buying process really works. On TV, it seems that as soon as the idea of buying a home crosses someone’s mind—whether they’re a property virgin, serial home buyer, or any combination that a real estate agent swoops in and immediately, you find the home of your dreams! While I wish it were that simple, the process is a little more detailed than what they show you. 

In fact, 42% of all buyers and 38% of millennials say their first step in the home-buying process is looking for properties online. They utilize sites as Zillow or Trulia to begin their preliminary research. Contacting a real estate agent is next on that list. Buyers reported taking a median of two weeks as they are searching before contacting an agent. For millennials, the median was three weeks.

Moreover, websites are used throughout the process by 89% of buyers and 93% of millennials. Indeed, 71% of millennials are specifically using phones or tablets to access data during the process.This may not add up to compelling reality television, but it is actual reality.

What gets me roweled up is that  on TV, the TV camera-ready house hunters look only at the magic number of three houses before finding their perfect place. Every time! In real life, buyers look at a median of 10. Depending on your market and your budget this number can vary quite a bit. In Boston, the problem in our spring and summer markets is low inventory with a ridiculous amount of buyers. Homes are sold for well over asking in most cases due to bidding wars. They never show this on House Hunters but it is a reality in our market.

Let me tell you: Three houses just wouldn’t cut it. From my personal experience, I can attest that it is nearly impossible to grasp what is most important to you in a new home, and how to value the various trade-offs, without having real, honest-to-God examples in front of you. And there will be trade-offs: No two homes are alike, and what is available for sale at any given time is typically a subset of the features most buyers think are important. Your best chance to get your dream home within one of the 1st three homes viewed would be new construction or a home you customized yourself. 

You might think that being in a specific neighborhood, or having an open floor plan, or having the latest appliances seem most important—but when you actually walk through homes in various conditions, at differing prices, in a mix of locations and styles, suddenly you realize it isn’t so simple. Not even close.

Using a real estate agent is invaluable, especially in the Boston market because the process is complex, and buyers don’t want to make mistakes in what is likely the biggest purchase they’ve ever made. Your Real Estate Agent can walk you through the process, negotiate better terms on your behalf and provide feedback and draw attention to warning signs etc. highlight features or faults to a property and generally has a huge network of quality service providers to make the process less stressful.

In other words, it’s not about finding a home. It’s about finding the right home, making a good decision, navigating the entire process, and getting a good deal. And if you’re looking to buy a home, you’ve started in the right place here at The Mandrell Company.

We work with buyers and sellers throughout New England and our agents are trained to help you find the right home at the right price.

CONTACT US TODAY

WE WOULD LOVE TO ASSIST IN MAKING YOUR DREAM COME TRUE!

 

 

Source: Realtor.com
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Boston real estate is determined by supply and demand. There is a high demand for housing in our city due to our world renowned universities and hospitals. As long as there is a high demand for housing and the supply is limited… prices will continue to rise. We have a finite amount of land so developers are forced to be creative and build upwards or convert multi-families into individual condominiums.

Interest rates are relatively low so there are more buyers on the market so the competition is heavy

Price increases when you have multiple people applying for the same property. If you want an apartment or a house, you will increase your offer price to ensure you beat the competition.

 

In short, prices will continue to rise until supply meets demands.

For more information on the Boston Market or to connect with one of our agents please call 617-297-8641 or email us at contact@Mandrellco.com

 

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5 Reasons Boston Real Estate Was The Best Investment I’ve Ever Made!

 

Real Estate in Boston is one of the best investments because Boston has a very strong market compared to other cities.

  1. Appreciation: Over time the value increases. There is a high demand for housing thanks to our educational institutions
  2. Debt Reduction: As the asset is appreciating, the debt associated with the home (mortgage) is being paid down over time and even faster with tenants.
  3. Cash Flow increases over time: Debt pay down combined with rent increases makes this an AMAZING option.
  4. Tax Benefits: You can write several things off for owning rental property. Everything you do is tax deductible
  5. Tangible Asset: We can see it, we can touch it. You have a visual and control over the asset.

For more reasons on why I love Boston Real Estate, please feel free to email me at Willie@MandrellCo.com

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A lot of my friends comb through craigslist for apartments that do not have realtor fees. I completely understand as I used it as my primary search engine a few years ago as well. The problem with craigslist is that there are few checks and balances which therefore leads to rental scams posted. A new report from New York University explores just how common these scams are. Spoiler alert: they are everywhere.

How the Scam Works:

You are looking for a new place to live on the very popular Craigslist apartment listings. You know that scams are common on the site, but just how prevalent are they? Very! Craigslist fails to identify more than half of rental scam listings, and suspicious posts linger for as long as 20 hours before being taken down.

Researchers reviewed more than 2 million for-rent posts and found 29,000 fake listings in 20 major cities. Yes, Boston was on the list for researchers and I have discovered a few myself within 10minutes on the site. Of those, there were three key types of scams. In the first, a fake post instructs a would-be tenant to purchase a credit report. The scammer gets a commission from the credit reporting site, even though there is no property for rent.

In another scheme, con artists duplicate rental listings from other sites and post on Craigslist at a lower price. Prospective renters pay a deposit via wire transfer. Another pervasive scam is “realtor service” companies. Targets are asked to pay fees to access listings of pre-foreclosure rentals or rent-to-own properties. In the majority of cases, the companies leading the scams have no connection to the properties listed. Realtors do not ask for fees up front nor should you pay, especially when the information is public knowledge. There is NO SECRET PRE-FORECLOSURE LIST… ITS PUBLIC INFORMATION! You find them in your newspaper, local search engines, Zillow, RealtyTrac, your city’s public records database. If someone is asking for money before they prove themselves… RUN!

How to Spot a Rental Scam:

Don’t wire money or use a prepaid debit card: You should never pay a security deposit or first month’s rent by prepaid debit card or wire transfer. These payments are the same as sending cash – once you send it, you have no way to get it back. Real Estate professionals ask for checks which are held in escrow and you receive a deposit receipt. Realtors are held to a code of Ethics and you know who they are, you can track them, report them, not so with online tricksters.

Watch out for deals that sound too good: Scammers lure in targets by promising low rents, great amenities and other perks. If the price seems much better than offered elsewhere, it may be a scam. Many people search for rent-to-own opportunities… while these do exist, they are usually MORE EXPENSIVE than market rent and not thousands cheaper. You will never find a 3 bedroom for rent at $900 in Boston. We all know that is unrealistic..why would you fall for that scam on craigslist? Even if it was rent-to-own…where is their profit? Think like a business and you won’t get got!

See the property in person: Don’t send money to someone you’ve never met for an apartment you haven’t seen. If you can’t visit an apartment or house yourself, ask someone you trust to go and confirm that it is what was advertised. Call their bluff… You will show up with check in hand if you like the property…scammers generally never have access to the property so they will find an excuse as to why they can’t get you in on a specific date or ever.

Search for the same ad in other cities: Search for the listing online. If you find the same ad listed in other cities, that’s a huge red flag.

 

The moral of the story is…. feel free to use craigslist for finding apartments and homes but understand there are ALOT of scammers out there. Do your due diligence (research) before handing over your hard earned cash. Sometimes paying a realtor fee is worth it not to have the stress or risk losing your money. For assistance in finding an apartment in the greater boston area…be sure to connect with one of our agents

Source: PR Newswire
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Unrealistic Buyer Expectations (Pt I)

As real estate professionals, we hear A LOT about about what’s happening in the market and how to do our job. Fortunately for us, most of this “advice” and “input” comes from individuals with no knowledge of real estate or how to truly evaluate it… They watch a couple commercials, read a few blog posts and think that they are the expert. No hard feelings, I smile and nod, then I have a real conversation. Many times its a matter of educating people on our current market and what is actually happening versus what they think is happening. This is pretty easy to do since I work with DATA and FACTS that I have access to, which allows me to track trends. Short of the story…  Listen to your Realtor!

Below are some misconceptions real estate professionals hear all the time. Please do not be offended by my honesty. It is this same honesty that will get you the right home at the right price at the right time.

1. Buyer: “It’s a Buyer’s market.  The Sellers need me more than I need them.  My neighbor’s boyfriend’s cousin who has his real estate license but works at Star Market told me so.”

Realtor:  I can understand why you might think that but the market has flipped the other way, inventory is low, and we are seeing multiple offers out there, often over asking price… i.e. Seller’s market. Boston, particularly Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury and Roslindale are seeing offers sometimes $50,000 over asking because of bidding wars. That screams SELLER’S MARKET to me.

Everyone and their brother has got a real estate license these days… go by the FACTS they present and not just their opinion. 

2. Buyer:  “I can get a mortgage with no problem. Let’s go see these 10 houses first, and then I will get a pre-approval letter once I have found the one.”

Realtor:  We are about efficiency and results! How will we know the price range of homes you can actually look at without a pre-approval? It’s also gotten tougher these days to get a mortgage if you have some flaws on your credit report or high debt-to-income ratios, so its best to find out what’s on your credit report by doing the mortgage pre-approval up front.  Then you’ll be able to make an offer on the spot if you find “the one”. You would be pretty upset if you drove around to 25 homes, finally found “the one” then realized you had to get pre-approved and someone else put in an offer before you that was accepted… or worse…you could not afford it. My job is to get you into homes you can buy now if you wanted to. EFFICIENCY AND RESULTS!

Sell My Problem Property Quickly

3. Buyer: “What do you mean there are closing costs on top of the down payment for my mortgage?!  Can’t the Seller pay that?  I have $1000 saved – that’s enough, right?”

Realtor: Yes, there are closing costs too!  No, $1,000 is not going to cover it!  You’ll want to talk to your mortgage professional about how much you have saved towards closing costs and down payment.  Sometimes the Seller can contribute a portion towards the closing costs, but it depends on what type of loan you are getting, and generally Buyers will up their offer if they expect the Seller to pay closing costs.  The lowest down payment option available is on an FHA loan – 3.5% of the purchase price, plus closing costs can be several thousand additional. (Currently, Mass Housing has a 3% down program)

4. Buyer: “I would like to make the Seller an offer 50% of the asking price and don’t plan to go up a whole lot.”  

Realtor: If this is your strategy for every home moving forward… I can refer you to another great agent. (code for… get the heck outta here! Time is money honey!!) Most Realtors will not waste their time with a buyer who wants to make such lowball offers. Boston is largely a sellers market. Your offer gets laughed at and immediately discarded! Don’t be “that” buyer… give competitive offers. (Unless it’s an “ugly house” in which case… game on)

5. Buyer: “I want a rent-to-own home in Hyde Park. Preferably in the Fairmount area. Can you help me find a Seller that won’t ask me to put much money down?”

Realtor:  Probably not.  Lease options and Rent-To-Own scenarios are, in this Realtor’s opinion, not really beneficial in this market to the tenant and generally require a sizable deposit.  It can work if you find a seller who is not completely aware of the process and charges less than the normal fee for such transactions. Typically you pay an “option” fee of between $5,000-$30,000 that is NOT REFUNDABLE. In a Seller’s Market, you are losing for sure… why would I sell my house to you on a rent to own basis (collect small monthly payments over time) when I could easily sell to a ready and willing buyer with cash or a pre-approved mortgage (Fat wad of cash within months vs years).

There are many more “reality check episodes” to come but these are a few that we hear regularly. Let The Mandrell Company help you get into the home that is right for you today.

Schedule your consultation with one of our real estate agents.

 

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Debt Buster Tip: Attacking your Credit Card

Never assume that you can’t improve the terms of your credit card payments. Many people are unaware of the power they possess inside of them! Our job is to tell you…you can do it… we have…we’ve suggested it to others…they have and they’ve seen results. Here are 2 tips to help you start chipping away at your credit card debt. 

Get Your Interest as Low as Possible

If you have a solid track record of paying on time and your card is not close to the limit, renegotiate the interest rates on your cards. Tell the companies that you’ve been a valued customer for X years and you have never missed a payment. You would like to see if they can give you a better interest rate on your card for being a valued member.

I promise you it works! It may not work overtime, but I’ve done it and other clients have done it and it works. The trick is not to bother them. Call once every 6-12 months to request a better interest rate.  Usually they decrease your interest rate by 1/2-1 percent. Although this amount does not sound like a lot…you are starting the process of saving more money.

Side tip: If you are given a decrease, calculate your payments based on the higher interest rates and pay that amount… you will be lowering your balance and climbing up the ladder toward financial freedom.

Pay off Debt from Highest Interest Rate to Lowest

There are different strategies to paying down debt. Some need small victories to motivate them to larger victories. This would be, for example, paying off the credit card with the smallest balance first. Once this card is paid off, you feel accomplished and energized to move on to the next. While I like this method, and use it depending on my mood, I think the best strategy is to pay the highest interest card first.   This is the mathematically correct way of doing things. You may end up spending thousands of more dollars in interest because while you paid off your $1000 card at 10% interest, you still have a $5,000 card with a 15% interest accruing over time. Interest is pretty much you giving away your hard earned money. Go with the mathematically correct way! Do not go with your emotions. Paying off small debts may feel nice but it’s a superficial feeling. Superficial feelings get people in trouble. Trust math. It has no emotions.

Financial Freedom requires determination and strategy. Pick which works best for your discipline level and for your wallet.

Our goal is to help our clients, improve their credit worthiness in preparation for a home purchase. For more information, please contact us and schedule your free no obligation consultation.

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Start Building Credit While You Are Young

Breaking-Down-Your-Credit-Score-mortgage-infographic

At The Mandrell Company, we are firm believers in educating our clients so they make wise financial decisions. These decisions go beyond purchasing a home but truly building a foundation on how to grow wealth. We found this infographic (source: MGIC Connects) and wanted to share this statistic that over 74% of college students do not know their credit score. Again, this is something that is not taught in school but we should all review our credit report at least Bi-Annually. Credit Karma is a free service, and although it does not provide your FICO score, it can be a great tool to monitor your credit so you have an idea of where you stand. 

Credit impacts your purchasing power and unknown to many, it can also affect your hiring status for a new job. You may be wondering why… well… some careers that require you to work with money or others’ finances want to ensure you are also financially responsible. Their goal is to limit their liability so it makes sense to hire a candidate with a strong history of being financially responsible.

Are you a Greater Boston college student interested in building credit and truly paving the way for when you enter the real world? The world of “adulting” with rental applications, car loan application and mortgages, can be stressful but we would love to point you in the right direction to increase your chance of success.

Please contact me to schedule FREE seminars on your campus. 

I look forward to speaking with you!

Denisha

Denisha@MandrellCo.com  |   617-982-3337

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Know to Own

A recent Bankrate.com survey finds while 29 percent of renters say they can’t afford a down payment, nearly a quarter report they don’t have a clue how much they would put down to buy a home.

Only 9 percent of non-homeowners said they would put down 1 – 5 percent of the purchase price as a down payment. It’s possible to get an FHA loan with just 3.5 percent down, or a conventional loan with 3 percent down.

As real estate professionals specializing in multi-family properties, we come across a lot of rental clients. Many of them are unaware of what is required to purchase a home. They are uninformed about the various programs available to assist with down-payment costs. As the real estate market continues to rebound and home values increase, many renters are feeling the heat with rising rent costs, making it harder to save for a down payment. 

We take time to research programs and educate potential clients on what is needed to purchase a home and provide resources to assist them in setting goals, finding financial assistance programs and becoming more financially responsible to build wealth through real estate. For more information on our upcoming FREE seminars, please visit www.urbanmoneymatters.com or contact us at Contact@MandrellCo.com

We look forward to serving you. 

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Assessed Value Vs. Market Value – Do you know the difference?

When searching for properties many first time home buyers often get confused about how the value of real property is determined. It’s falsely assumed that the assessed value (on a listing sheet) is also the “market” value of that particular home. Here in the city of Boston and throughout Massachusetts that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The “assessed” value of a home is the value the local municipality places on the property for the purposes of assessing taxes. The government (simply put) looks at the size of the lot, the square footage of the home and any improvements recently done and determines the value for assessing taxes. The total tax bill given (annually) to that particular property is determined by dividing the total amount needed for the municipality by the local homes and the associated values.

The “market value” or true value of a piece of property is determined by supply and demand and a few other factors. Market value is based on what the market (or able and willing buyers) are willing to pay for that home. The market value can be higher or lower than the assessed value.

In Massachusetts the market value is often much higher than the assessed number. Taxes can be paid on an assessed value of $200,000 while the home recently sold for its market value of $300,000. Local governments typically review assessed values annually and adjust accordingly.

One last point. The “listing price” for a home is not always an indication of the property’s value. A seller’s real estate agent can list a property for any number they want. Unless they can find a buyer to pay that price, the listing price is just a seller’s wish.

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Millennials Choose: Boston Condo versus Single Family?

For the first time in the region’s history, the median sale price of condo units in greater Boston is virtually equal to the median sale price of single family homes. In 2000, condos sold for two-thirds  the price of a single family home in Greater Boston. Today, they are at 99 percent of the value of a single family home. The increase demand and subsequent price hike is due to high-end units and amenities as well as the buying power of younger buyers and investors. 

Millenials do not want maintenance heavy homes as they prefer to enjoy the finer things in life. They prefer to pay the higher price to forego, yardwork, snow removal, and other bothers. The convenience of proximity to public transportation, simple luxuries as in building gyms or pools are extremely appealing. In the past, inventory was cramped and older, today, we have more amenities which comes at a premium. In addition, the cost of construction has increased which makes more sense for developers to produce luxury units as opposed to single family homes as they also get a greater return on their investment.

Millenium Tower is under construction and it’s already more than 90 percent pre-sold. It is not scheduled for occupancy until the summer of 2016. Buyers are signing Purchase and Sale agreements 2 years in advance to secure this prime real estate. Although many are priced out of these areas, the key is to focus on the next up and coming neighborhoods. Prices in these areas are also on the rise but at a slower rate than the most desired neighbrohoods. Currently, Roxbury is the hotbed for millenials due to its proximity to the city and rich culture.

 

For more information or to work with our Roxbury specialist, Call Terrance Moreau today  at 857-399-0960 or email us at contact@Mandrellco.com for more information.

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**Your lender decides what you can borrow but you decide what you can afford.**

When you make the decision to purchase a home, it is worth your time to consider total expenses and mortgage payments in your decision.
Lenders are careful, but they make qualification decisions based on averages and formulas. They do not take into account the nuances of your spending patterns and responsibilities. So, leave a little room for the unexpected, as well as the obvious new opportunities your home will give you to spend money, from furnishings, to landscaping, to repairs.
No matter how expensive your market though, we urge you to think carefully before stretching your budget quite so much.
Deciding how much you can afford should involve some careful attention to how your financial profile may change in the coming years. In the long run, your own peace of mind and security will matter most.
If you or your spouse suddenly became unemployed, would you be able to cover your mortgage and other expenses?
Would you be able to maintain your current lifestyle with your new mortgage payments?
Would you be able to pay your mortgage with the addition of a child?
Would you have money for emergencies (car troubles, broken heater)?
These are all things you need to think about when deciding to purchase a home. It is an investment into your future and you want to make a wise choice. To learn more about investing in real estate visit BostonWealthBuilders.com or schedule a no obligation consultation today!

 

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Pending home sales in Massachusetts climbed 36 percent in June, compared with the same month last year, according to a new report from the Massachusetts Association of Realtors (MAR).

There were 7,316 homes put under agreement in June of this year, compared with 5,349 in June 2014, with median prices of $375,000 and $364,900, respectively. Condominium sales increased to 2,777 in June 2015 from 2,082 in June 2014 – an increase of 33 percent – with the median price dropping to $330,000 from $332,000.

“The summer market is heating up. June was a very active month even with the usual end-of-school activities and graduation celebrations,” MAR President Corinne Fitzgerald, broker/owner of FITZGERALD Real Estate in Greenfield, said in a statement. “Buyers are out there, and they are making offers. Sellers who price their house correctly are benefiting from all this activity and entering into agreements shortly after they are listed.”

Want to find out how your neighborhood is doing and what homes are selling? Send us an email at Contact@MandrellCo.com and request a FREE market report. We can help you gain complete insight into your real estate market by showing you exactly what homes are selling and what buyers are paying for them. Give us a shout today!
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Drinks & Networking – Local Investor Gathering!

Come join us for drinks, appetizers and networking. This is an informal gathering for local Boston Real Estate Investors and a great opportunity to meet potential partners and mentors. The best way to push forward with your investing career is to surround yourself with people who want the same. Here’s your chance! Look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 – 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Savvor Restaurant & Lounge, 180 Lincoln Street, Boston, MA

RSVP @ http://www.meetup.com/Networth-Investors/events/220073418/

Boston Home Center University – Meet The Lenders

Meet The Lenders is a one-stop shopping opportunity to meet different mortgage lenders and learn about special mortgage programs, money to close, free mortgage pre-qualification, affordable homeownership listings applications, home repair, lead paint assitance and sign up for a free homebuyer and credit course.  Come learn about your options to get you on the right path to Homeownership! FREE Event!

Saturday, February 7, 2015 – 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

Edward Brooke Charter School, 190 Cummins Hwy, Roslindale, MA

RSVP @ http://www.meetup.com/Urban-Money-Matters/events/219759172/

Building Wealth Through Home Ownership

Come learn how many build wealth through smart home ownership. Topics will include but not limited to the following:

• Why the surest path to wealth is through home ownership

• Basics of home buying and getting yourself on the path to ownership

• Home buying timeline and what to consider when searching

• The pre-approval process and mortgage loan basics

• How to manage yourself through bad times and avoid foreclosure

• Quick tips on how to repair bad credit and save for a down payment

• Loan programs and grants offered for first time buyers

• Intro to personal finance software and monitoring your financial position

Thursday, February 19, 2015 – 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Roxbury Community College, Academic Bldg #3 Rm 121, 1234 Columbus Avenue, Roxbury, MA

RSVP for FREE @ http://www.meetup.com/Urban-Money-Matters/events/219829343/

Dorchester Real Estate Agent

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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 Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WMandrell.

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Massachusetts Home Buying Timeline

As a future home buyer, it’s a good idea to understand as much as you can about the process so little comes to you as a surprise when you get started. Many first time buyers or buyers who have been out of the market for awhile often think the process take much longer than it does, while many others think the process happens much more quickly than it really does.  At the end of this post you will find a Massachusetts home buying timeline you can save and use as a guide as you go along.   

The Offer to Purchase:

Once you’ve lined up your financing and found a home that suits your needs, the next step would be to make an “Offer to Purchase”. You and your real estate agent would discuss what you think the property is worth and if that number is what you’re willing to pay for it. When the OTP is submitted to the selling parties, it will have the price you’re offering as well as several contingency clauses. Contingency clauses are stipulation in the OTP that protect your interest and prevent the purchase from moving forward if they are not met. Two of the most common clauses inserted into the offer  are the “Home Inspection” and the “Mortgage” contingencies. We will discuss each of these.

At the time of your initial offer, a small deposit ($500-$1000) must be submitted to the selling party. This deposit is to “bind” the offer and is fully refundable if the seller does not accept your offer or if one of the contingencies are not met. The buyer will typically allow the seller 24-48 hours to respond to the offer with acceptance, rejection or a “counter offer”. If the seller counters your offer you will negotiate back and forth until both parties have an agreed upon price & terms or decide to  walk away.

Home Inspection Period:

Once you’ve come to an agreement with the selling party on price and terms, you will enter the “Home Inspection Period”.  This period typically last about 10 days and during this time you are allowed to hire a home inspector to professionally review the property you intend to purchase. The home inspectors job is to walk through the property with you and bring to light any current issues with the home as well as things that may arise in the future. She will also provide you with a full written report of her findings after the inspection is completed.

There are 3 paths you can take after the home inspection takes place.

  1. The inspection reveals there is nothing wrong with the home and everything is in great condition. At this time you would inform the seller that you will be moving forward with the purchase.
  2. The inspection reveals there are some minor issues with the home and based on these issues you would like to lower the price you initially offered the seller. You may then go back and forth with the selling party until both parties have again agreed on a new price.
  3. The home inspector found issues with the property that are beyond your comfort level and you no longer wish to purchase the home. At this point you will inform the seller that you are backing out the transaction. The initial deposit will be refunded to you per the home inspection contingency.

Purchase & Sales Contract:

Assuming you selected to move forward with the purchase of the property in either case 1 or 2 above, you would now move into the purchase and sales contract. The “P&S” is the contract that further lays out the details of the purchase. These details will include dates, times and “to do list” for both the seller and the buyer. Some of these items will include:

  1. What date the buyer will need to have his financing in order for the purchase
  2. What items of the sellers are included in the purchase and which are not
  3. How tenant finance will be handled (if the property is a multifamily building)
  4. What  date will the buyer take possession of the property (the closing date)  

At the time of the purchase and sales agreement the buyer will be required to place an additional deposit with the selling party. This deposit will typically be 3-5% of the total purchase price. This is again to bind the contract and will be refunded if for some reason the buyer failed to be approved for the mortgage. This return of deposit is outlined in the purchase and sales “Mortgage Contingency”.

The Closing:  

Closing day usually take place bout 45-60 days after the initial offer to purchase was accepted by the seller… assuming everything goes smoothly. The closing day is when both the selling and buying parties get together and make the transaction official. As the buyer you will need to bring any final money due to the table. The seller will need to make sure any outstanding bills in connection with the house are paid off allowing you to take over with a clean slate. On this day the transaction will be recorded with the local registry of deeds and the buyer becomes the new owner.

 Massachusetts Home Buying Timeline

Still have questions? Please call us and one of our agents would be happy to provide you with some assistance! 617-297-8641 or email Contact@MandrellCo.com

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Boston is a great place for investing in real estate and now is the perfect time to be buying! Here are 3 quick reason that make this true:

1.  Why Boston? Boston vacancy rates are extremely low as of today.  The vacancy rate throughout the city is somewhere around 3%.  This means as a landlord you are not going to have trouble finding or replacing tenants. There are incredible amount of people in this city looking for quality rentals and that number is growing.

2.  Rents are rising rapidly…supply and demand.  We have more people looking for apartments than there are apartments available. The demand is higher than the current supply and it’s pushing the prices of our rentals upward.  This is a trend that is likely to continue into the near future. As your properties rental income grows so will its value.

3.  The economy and the job market here in Boston are very strong.  Because of this we don’t experience the wild swings in property values seen in some other areas of the country.  As a property owner you can be certain that value of your property will remain steady compared to other states.

If you’ve ever considered becoming a landlord or if you’re already a landlord looking to grow your investment portfolio….there has never been a better time to start shopping. You couple the market conditions here in Boston with historically low interest rates and to me it’s the perfect storm for buyers.

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