Bob Falter, CRS, GRI - Exit Real Estate Executives | 508-612-1649 | [email protected]


Posted by Bob Falter, CRS, GRI on 10/10/2018

Home prices may vary greatly throughout the country. But, buying a home is most likely the largest purchase you will make in your life.

Deciding just how much to spend on your home isnít just a matter of numbers--it also depends on your lifestyle and long-term goals.

In todayís post, Iím going to give you a few ways you can help determine how much is a safe amount to spend on your home so that youíll feel confident moving into the home buying process that youíre making the best decision for you and your family.

Mortgage as a percent of your income

Like most large purchases, buying a home typically isnít dependent on the amount you have in the bank. Rather, it depends on several factors including your income, credit score, and the type of lifestyle you want to maintain.

One of the simplest ways to determine how much house you can afford is to figure out what percent of your monthly income your mortgage and insurance will be.

For most homeowners, a mortgage payment that is 25% of their income or less is ideal. So, if you earn $6,000 per month, you donít want your monthly mortgage payment to exceed $1,500.

This ď25% ruleĒ does have one flaw, however, and that does not--and cannot--account for each individualís financial circumstances.

Letís say, for example, that you earn $6,000 per month, but that you have a large monthly car payment and are trying to aggressively pay off your student loans. You might find that paying another $1,500 toward a mortgage on top of your current bills is bringing you over budget, especially when combined with your other monthly expenses and retirement contributions.

Plan for homeowner expenses

Another caveat to determining how much to spend on a home is that the home itself will require a budget for maintenance. When renting an apartment, repairs are mostly the responsibility of the landlord or property manager.

Homeownership, on the other hand, requires you to make the repairs yourself or hire a professional. And, if you neglect these repairs, you might find that they cost you even more in the long run or drive down the value of your home.

Create a comprehensive budget

Throughout a given personís life, theyíll experience raises, promotions, layoffs, medical expenses, childcare costs, and any other number of financial changes. While it isnít possible to foresee all of the financial fluctuations youíll experience in life, it is always helpful to have a comprehensive budget.

What do I mean by ďcomprehensive budgetĒ? The goal of a good budget is to know where each dollar of your income is currently going and to have a plan for each cent that you make. This is a proactive approach to budgeting that will give you an exact number for the amount you can afford when it comes to a mortgage payment.

Within your budget, itís vital to account for things like an emergency fund, retirement, savings for vacations, and so on.

If you take this due diligence, not only will you have a better sense of where your money goes, but youíll also be confident in knowing exactly how much you can spend on a home.




Tags: buying a home   budgeting  
Categories: Buying a Home   budgeting  


Posted by Bob Falter, CRS, GRI on 10/3/2018

Selling your house should be a quick, seamless task. Yet the home selling journey varies based on a number of factors, including the condition of a seller's residence and the current state of the housing market. And if you fail to plan ahead for the home selling journey, you may struggle to achieve your desired results.

There are several things that you can do to simplify the house selling journey. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you streamline the home selling process.

1. Craft a Home Selling Strategy

A home selling strategy is pivotal for any property seller, at any time. If you know what it takes to sell your residence, you can take the necessary steps to ensure success at each stage of the house selling journey.

Think about why a buyer may want to purchase your residence and craft your house selling strategy accordingly. Because if you understand the buyer's perspective, you may discover unique ways to help your house stand out from the competition. As a result, you could boost your chances of enjoying a fast, profitable home selling experience.

2. Establish a Competitive Initial Asking Price

The initial asking price for your home can make a world of difference. If you set an initial asking price that is too high, for example, buyers likely will shy away from your home. On the other hand, if your initial asking price is too low, you risk selling yourself short during the property selling journey.

Analyze the prices of available houses that are similar to your own in your city or town. Furthermore, it may be beneficial to look at the prices of recently sold homes in your area. Once you review this housing market data, you'll be better equipped than ever before to establish a competitive initial asking price for your residence.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

Let's face it Ė navigating the home selling journey on your own may prove to be difficult. As such, a real estate agent is a must-have, particularly for a home seller who is unsure about how to navigate the property selling journey. If you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive comprehensive assistance at each stage of the home selling cycle.

A real estate agent will help you craft an effective property selling strategy and determine the optimal initial asking price for your residence. He or she also will showcase your residence to prospective buyers, help you review offers to purchase your home and negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf. And if you ever have concerns as you navigate the home selling journey, a real estate agent is available to respond to them.

When it comes to selling a home, it is important to do whatever you can to keep things simple. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can move closer to selling your home and maximizing your house sale earnings.





Posted by Bob Falter, CRS, GRI on 9/26/2018

Chimney maintenance and repair is incredibly important. You need to complete certain tasks to ensure that your fireplace is working safely and effectively. Thereís no better time than the off season to get these tasks in order. 


Remember that you should only burn dry wood in your fireplace. Although fireplaces arenít high on the technology spectrum, they do require some effort to keep in working order. Failure to do so can result in smoke and even a chimney fire. Soot build up can put a damper on the proper ventilation of the chimney. The soot is partly a result of creosote- a combustible, tar-like substance. Itís a natural by-product of wood that has been burned. With reduced ventilation, the creosote will cause potentially dangerous build up.


While creosote itself is not flammable, it can cause the chimney to clog and structural damage could result. Itís important to properly maintain your chimney in order to prevent dangerous oil build-up that can cause a chimney fire.


Inspections


A professional can come and inspect your fireplace and chimney. They can check for damage, obstructions, build-up, or soot. The inspector will be able to determine if you need a sweep of your chimney. The inspector will be able to do the sweep on the spot in most cases. An inspection of your chimney should take place every year.   


There are different levels of chimney inspections that occur. Basic inspections are a visual look at anything that could be in your chimney from soot to a birdís nest. More complex inspections could involve taking the chimney apart and physically reconstructing the structure. This would occur after some kind of a natural disaster like a hurricane or a tornado. The cost of these inspections depends on how extensive they become.


Other Maintenance


You can improve your fireplaceís functioning with a few basic steps. Fist, you should only burn dry wood. Logs should be split and dried for 8-12 months. You should also burn certain types of wood especially hardwoods like hickory, oak, beech, maple and ash. These woods burn the longest. The most important thing about wood to be burned in the fireplace is that it is dry.       


Burn Only Wood


It can be tempting to throw things into your fireplace to burn, but you should keep away from burning construction wood, plastics, or other things that could let off odors. Even burning paper can be dangerous because of the embers that result as the fire burns.


If you keep on top of your scheduled chimney maintenance and replace parts as needed, youíll be able to have lovely fires all winter long with peace of mind.





Posted by Bob Falter, CRS, GRI on 9/19/2018

If you plan to sell a house for the first time, it pays to think about how you'll price your house. By doing so, you can establish a competitive price for your residence and boost your chances of a fast, profitable home sale.

Now, let's take a look at three pricing tips that every first-time home seller needs to know.

1. Perform Housing Market Research

Although you may have bought your home in the peak of a buyer's market, it is important to note that the real estate sector constantly fluctuates. This means the value of your home today is unlikely to match its value from a few years ago.

Before you price your house, you should take a look at a variety of housing market data. This information is readily available and will enable you to take an informed approach to the real estate market.

For example, a first-time home seller should examine the prices of available houses that are similar to his or her own. With this housing market data, a home seller can find out how his or her residence stacks up against the competition.

It also helps to review the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. That way, you can determine whether you're about to enter a buyer's or seller's market and set realistic pricing expectations for your residence.

2. Conduct a Home Appraisal

A home appraisal is exceedingly valuable, particularly for a first-time home seller who is uncertain about the value of his or her house.

During a home appraisal, a property appraiser will examine a residence's condition, as well as various housing market data. Then, this appraiser will provide a comprehensive report that includes a property valuation.

By completing a home appraisal, a first-time home seller can receive expert property insights. Plus, the appraisal enables a home seller to identify a property's strengths and weaknesses.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a housing market professional who is committed to client results. As such, a real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to help a first-time home seller set the right price for his or her house.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with a home seller and learn about his or her property selling goals. This housing market professional then will provide extensive housing market insights to ensure a home seller can establish a competitive home price from day one.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent provides throughout the home selling journey, either. A real estate agent will set up home showings and open houses and do everything possible to help a home seller optimize the value of a residence. Also, if a home seller has questions, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them at any time.

Take the guesswork out of pricing your residence Ė use the aforementioned tips, and a first-time home seller can establish a competitive price for his or her home.





Posted by Bob Falter, CRS, GRI on 9/12/2018

Home improvements are a vital part to keeping your home up-to-date with the times and also to ensure that it doesnít lose value when it comes time to sell.

To save money, many homeowners take the do-it-yourself route and use the tools at their disposal to upgrade their homes. Sites like YouTube have made it easier than ever to follow step-by-step tutorials that show you how to make substantial repairs and upgrades to your home without having to pay a professional.

The down side, however, is that when you choose to DIY, you take on the risk of going over budget by making mistakes. You also risk stretching out your project weeks or months longer than necessary due to a lack of time to work on it.

In todayís post, weíre going to talk about how you can stay on budget and on track to finish your home improvement project without bringing in the professionals.

Making a timeline

Letís start with the big picture for your home renovations. When deciding which improvements to make, itís important to know your limits in terms of the work you can do.

Set a reasonable number of hours you can work on your projects per week. Go easy on yourself. Most of us are already tired when we get home from work and probably wonít be able to start tackling big projects in the evenings. Rather, try to give yourself one weekend day to work on your projects and one weekend day to relax.

The most important aspect of creating your timeline is to try and keep your schedule open. So, write down the time you want to work on your home in your calendar, planner, or whichever app or tool you use to plan your time.

This will help you to avoid creating conflicting events and obligations, and help you stay on track to finishing your improvement projects.

If youíre looking for an evening activity related to your home improvement projects, itís a good idea to start watching some video tutorials of people doing the same renovations as you. This will help you avoid mistakes and look out for common obstacles that youíll face along the way.

Budgeting your improvement

Youíll want to save up for your project in advance, if possible, to avoid accumulating credit card debt. Your home improvement project should, in effect, gain you money by increasing the value of your home, not make you lose money on credit card interest payments.

Budgeting in itself is an art that few of us are taught in school. Fortunately, there are several free budgeting apps available. Or, you can simply draw one up yourself.

The key to creating a home improvement budget is to know how much of your monthly savings you can devote to this project without having to dip into other funds. To do this, youíll need a clear understanding of where your income goes.  

Once you have a budget and a timeline for your home improvement project, youíre ready to begin. Just make sure you check in on your timeline and your budget throughout the length of the project to make sure youíre meeting your goals and arenít overspending.




Categories: Home improvement   budget   timeline