Tony Nakhle
RE/MAX Landmark, Realtors | 781-589-5622 | tnakhle@landmarkweb.com


Posted by Tony Nakhle on 10/6/2019

Becoming a home owner for the first time is an exciting milestone for Millennials! Going from renting an apartment to owning your own property represents a big transition from dependency to independence.

For many people, it even symbolizes making the leap from childhood to adulthood. Once you're a homeowner and a property taxpayer, there's often a newfound feeling of being more established and successful.

While home ownership may bestow upon you a boost in status, the added responsibility of paying for your own repairs, maintenance, and upkeep can take an unexpected toll on your budget. With a little extra planning, however, you can avoid many of the pitfalls of home ownership.

Looking at the Big Picture

Here's a misconception that sometimes creates a financial strain for first-time homeowners: "If we can afford to pay $1800 in rent, every month, then we should be able to afford monthly mortgage payments in that same amount!" While that premise may sound logical, there are a few crucial "missing pieces" from that equation -- pieces which could throw your household budget out of kilter!

In addition to the costs associated with purchasing real estate, such as a down payment and closing costs, there's also the matter of home repairs and property maintenance. Depending on where you decide to live, there could be other fees to absorb, too, including garbage collection, yard waste removal, and water usage. Other expenses that first-time homeowners may overlook include the cost of buying a lawnmower, a snow blower, yard maintenance supplies, tools, and furniture. That's why creating a detailed estimated budget, based on your income, debts, and anticipated expenses can help you determine whether you're truly ready to take the plunge into homeownership.

Enlisting Professional Help

A mortgage broker or bank loan officer can provide you with assistance in calculating your financial readiness for purchasing a home. A good real estate agent can also offer insights and guidance into the process of finding, buying, and owning a house you can comfortably afford. They should be able to provide you with vital information about school taxes, property taxes, average utility bills, homeowner association fees (if any), and any issues revealed in the seller's disclosure form.

One way to avoid -- or at least be prepared for -- costs that often accompany home ownership is to have a qualified property inspector take a close look at the condition of everything in the house from the basement and attic to major appliances and structural features. They can generally tell you whether there are any concerns about mechanical systems, water in the basement, foundation damage, issues with property drainage, the electrical system, potential plumbing problems, and dozens of other vital checkpoints

Whether you're a first-time house hunter or a seasoned homeowner, it pays to understand, anticipate, and budget for the many costs of being a property owner. While owning your own home can be a rewarding and satisfying experience, a guiding principle to keep in mind as you consider available homes on the market is "caveat emptor" (Let the buyer beware)!




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Posted by Tony Nakhle on 9/15/2019

The cost of buying a house extends beyond a seller's initial asking price. In fact, there are many "hidden" costs that buyers need to consider as they decide whether to purchase a house, such as:

1. Closing Costs

There are various closing costs that a buyer may encounter before he or she finalizes a house purchase, including survey, appraisal and wire transfer fees. As such, it generally is a good idea to prepare for these costs prior to launching a house search. Because if you prepare for closing costs, you can ensure that you have the finances available to cover these expenses when you are ready to complete a house purchase.

Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions prior to starting a home search. These financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage and teach you about home closing costs. Best of all, after you get a mortgage, you can start your home search with the financing you need to secure your ideal residence.

2. Property Taxes

Property taxes usually are assessed twice a year, and they vary based on state and county. However, if you learn about property taxes, you can map out your homebuying budget accordingly.

Real estate property tax information is part of the public record. Thus, you can access information about property taxes related to a particular home before you purchase it. And once you have this information at your disposal, you can use it to determine whether to move forward with a house purchase or continue your search for your dream home.

3. Utilities

Utility bills vary based on the size of a home, its location and other factors. If you devote time and resources to estimate your utility expenses, you may be better equipped than ever before to make an informed home purchase.

To assess your potential utility costs, you may want to consult with a seller's agent. This professional may be able to provide you with insights into the current homeowner's utility expenses to help you budget appropriately.

It never hurts to hire a real estate agent to help you navigate the homebuying journey, too. A real estate agent can offer expert insights into closing costs, property taxes and other homebuying fees, as well as help you quickly discover your dream residence.

Let's not forget about the comprehensive homebuying guidance that a real estate agent can provide, either. For instance, if you are unsure about whether to submit an offer to purchase a house, a real estate agent can offer recommendations and tips to help you make the best-possible decision. Or, if you have concerns or questions at any point during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.

For those who want to buy a house, it helps to learn about all of the potential costs associated with a home purchase. If you start budgeting for a home purchase today, you could accelerate your quest to find and buy your ideal residence.




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Posted by Tony Nakhle on 8/18/2019

Seeing your desire to buy a waterfront property through is a big accomplishment. Before you sign on the dotted lines, there are a few things that you should know about the process of choosing the perfect waterfront property for you. 


Decide What You Need


The first step in finding the right property of any kind is understanding your own needs. How do you want to use the property? Will it be your year-round home, or will you be there only a portion of the year? Really map out what your priorities are when it comes to searching for waterfront properties. From here, you can figure out what areas youíd like to search in and what type of property you want to find to suit you. What types of activities will you be doing at your property? Will a lake property do the job or do you need an ocean escape? Is canoeing or kayaking a part of your dream, or is simply sitting by the water enough enjoyment for your needs? Answering all of these questions can help you to narrow down your needs for a waterfront property. 


Touring Properties


As with any other type of home search, you should take the time to scope out the properties that youíre interested in. This means not only looking at the properties themselves but looking at the communities and neighborhoods as well. What does the area have to offer you? Is it near a town or nestled away in a secluded spot? Remember that with a typical house the size of the home is what contributes to the majority of the value of the home. With a waterfront property, the surroundings are key. The closer to the water you are, the more valuable your piece of real estate is. Consider all of the typical factors when looking at properties along with the additional concerns of being close to the amenities and natural pleasures that you crave. 


Other Important Things To Consider


Other things that you should consider in finding your perfect piece of waterfront heaven are things like:


  • How close is the beach?
  • Does the beach or lake have easy access?
  • Is there an adequate amount of privacy at this property?
  • What kind of view is there?


The more breathtaking the views and the more space between you and your neighbors will give you an advantage not only in your own living situation but in renting out the property and even selling it in the future. 


There are a lot of things that go into making the decision of finding the right waterfront property. Sometimes, hiring an experienced realtor in the area can be just what you need to understand all the aspects of your investment from the area to the type of home you choose. Donít be afraid to hire an experienced realtor to help you in your search.   






Posted by Tony Nakhle on 3/10/2019

If youíre in the market to buy a home, you want to find the perfect place for you and your family. In a sellerís market, the competition can be fierce. As a buyer, you may be under the impression that you need to make the highest offer in order to secure the home of your dreams. The problem is, you may never know what price other people have offered for the same home.


Know Your Budget


First, you should know what kind of a budget you have to work with to buy a home. You probably have done an online search to see whatís out there and what price range the homes you like fall into. Youíll want to go beyond the online search and actually see some of your favorite houses in person because pictures can be deceiving. 


Next, youíll want to do is speak with a lender. This can help you before you even hit the ground running on your home search. A lender can pre-qualify you then work you through the process of pre-approval. This will give you a definitive number to work with when searching for a home. With this number, youíll know how much you can offer comfortably when you find that house you fall in love with.


Make A List Of Priorities


Finding the ďperfectĒ house usually requires that you make a few compromises along the way. Itís very unlikely that youíll find one house that gives you everything you want in one place without a bit of imagination. Jot down all of the things about a home that are the most important to you. These items could include:


  • The neighborhood
  • Big backyard
  • Open floor plan
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Hardwood floors
  • The size of the rooms
  • Style of the house
  • Granite countertops


Whatever is important to you should be on the list. Next, go through the list and see what can be compromised on. There are probably a few luxuries on the list that you could stand to give up in lieu of something else.  


The Offer


Once you find that home you know that you absolutely want to live in, youíre going to want to make an offer. Let your realtor know immediately that youíre interested in the home and they can get to work. Your realtor can help you to make an offer thatís reasonable based on the asking price and your budget. Your offer doesnít have to be thousands of dollars over the asking price for you to win the bid. There are a couple of strategies that can help you to land the right home even if youíre not stretching your budget to the max.


Showing Youíre Serious


Taking steps like being pre-approved and having all of your finances in order can help to give you the upper hand in the house hunt. Sellers donít want to deal with a buyer who is ultimately going to have issues where the deal will fall through.


The Offer Letter


Writing a letter along with your offer is a great personal touch to help you land the home of your dreams. If a seller knows that the home they have lived in and loved will go to another owner who is going to appreciate and take the same great care of the home, they will be more likely to go with you as a buyer. First, tell the seller a bit about yourself and why you love the home so much. Compliment the landscaping. Tell the seller just how much your kids are going to appreciate living in the home. Donít be afraid to get too personal when it comes to writing an offer letter to the sellers. They will appreciate honesty and a candid approach in the sometimes all too serious matter of buying a home.





Posted by Tony Nakhle on 3/3/2019

Buying a home may seem like a smart financial move. However, it may not always be the right time or the right move for you. While buying a home is a great investment, you may not be ready to buy a home of your own. The following questions should help you to determine whether or not you are fully ready to buy a house in the near future.


How Much Money Do You Make? How Much Have You Saved?


buying a home is a significant expense. First, youíll need quite a large sum of money for a downpayment and closing costs on the home. Second, to get approved for a mortgage, the lender will look at every part of your finances from your income to your assets. Once the home is purchased, youíll also need quite a bit of capital for expenses including insurance, taxes, HOA fees, emergency funds, utilities, and furniture. You donít want to buy a home only to be overwhelmed with costs. You want enough of a financial cushion to enable you to furnish your home, decorate your home, and not have a completely empty bank account. Thatís why you should make sure that you do make enough money to buy a home.



How Much Debt Do You Have?


If you have established that your income is enough to buy a home, the next thing that you need to establish is that your debt isnít too high. Before you enter into the adventure of homeownership, youíll need to make sure that your bills are under control. These expenses include things like car loans, student loans, and credit card bills. Your lender will put your debt into consideration as a part of your entire financial picture. Your debt (including your proposed mortgage payment) should be less than around 36% of your gross income. Before you take the leap into buying a home, youíll need to make sure that your debt is under control. If you need to take a step back and pay your bills down before you start house hunting, you should as it will make buying a home easier for you.


Are You Seasoned At Your Job?


In order to secure a mortgage for a home, youíll need to show that you have been at the same job for a certain period of time. Your average income will probably be calculated based on how long you have been at the company and your job history. You should be able to explain any income gaps, changes in positions or companies. Otherwise, youíll appear to be an unstable person to lend to. Lenders want to know that youíll have a steady, stable income.


How Is Your Credit?


In order to secure a mortgage, youíll need to have a good credit score. Check on your credit report when you begin thinking about buying a home. If your credit is on the low side, youíll want to work on bringing that score up. 


     




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