Caroline Bianchi - RE/MAX Acclaim



Posted by Caroline Bianchi on 4/14/2017

Many factors come into play when determining whether you can afford to buy a house. Since the monthly rent for an apartment is often close to what a mortgage payment would be, you can't help but wonder if your rent money would be better spent building equity in your own home.

While this is often the case, first-time home buyers often underestimate or overlook expenses that accompany home ownership. Although a mortgage broker or bank loan officer can help you calculate the maximum mortgage you can afford, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you weigh your options.

  • Create a detailed budget. By taking the time to figure out how your income stacks up to your monthly expenses, you can get a clearer picture of your financial situation. If you have a good credit score, a positive monthly cash flow, and enough funds to pay closing costs and a down payment, then home ownership may be a viable option. (Your credit score, which you can obtain once a year for free from the three main credit reporting companies, will have a major impact on both your interest rate and your monthly mortgage payments.)
  • Factor in other expenses: Figuring out your current budget is relatively easy, but predicting your future budget as a homeowner can be a lot more challenging. A big part of the equation will depend on the amount of property taxes and school taxes that will be tacked on to your mortgage costs. A real estate agent can provide you with those figures, as well as other information you need to calculate how affordable it would be to live in a particular house. They have access to a wide range of relevant information, such as utility expenses, water bills, and homeowner association fees (if there are any). Since property taxes sometimes cover the cost of services like garbage and yard waste collection, you may not have to factor in those items into your projected budget. Your real estate agent can help you come up with a rough estimate of home maintenance costs -- especially if they're familiar with the history of the home you're considering buying. As the process moves forward, a property inspector can provide you with more details about the condition of the home and whether any costly repairs are likely to be needed soon.
  • Home maintenance and furnishing costs: Other possible expenses to consider when estimating the cost of home ownership include yard maintenance, landscaping, HVAC service calls, electrician services, plumbing repairs, and homeowners' insurance. If you're a first-time home owner, there's also a good chance you'll need to buy some furniture to fill out those additional rooms!
  • Buying your first home definitely takes a lot of planning, budgeting, and research, but the rewards of owning your own home will more than justify the effort!





    Posted by Caroline Bianchi on 2/3/2017

    Ready to buy your dream home? You'll first need to develop an effective budget. Creating and maintaining a budget remains a tall task for even thrifty homebuyers. Fortunately, we're here to help you develop a budget that complements your paycheck and helps you achieve your homeownership aspirations quickly and effortlessly. Here are three tips you can use to budget for an upcoming home purchase:

    1. Know your credit score.
    When was the last time you checked your credit score? Ultimately, this score may†determine whether you're able to secure a loan with a great mortgage rate, so you'll want to check it regularly. You are eligible†to receive a free credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Each report contains information that is used to calculate your credit score, and as such, you'll want to ensure all of your credit reports include accurate information. If you discover an error on any of your credit reports, you should contact†the reporting credit bureau immediately. By doing so, you can dispute and fix credit report errors. In addition,†you can monitor†your credit score†to gain a better handle on your finances. Remember, if you have outstanding credit card bills and other debt, you'll want to pay this down as much as possible. This will allow†you to†bolster your credit score and improve your chances of securing your dream home.
    1. Establish savings goals.
    Saving for a new home requires hard work and patience. However, you can establish small, realistic savings goals to work toward buying a new house. For example, do you really need to buy a cup of coffee every morning from an upscale cafe? Or do you need the latest and greatest high-end fashion accessories to spice up your wardrobe? Simple sacrifices can go a long way and may help you accelerate your journey from homebuyer to homeowner. There are many simple ways to save money over an extended period of time. And if you†create a budget and try to stick to it consistently, you can move closer to†acquiring†your dream home.
    1. Become an expert homebuyer.
    Buying a home represents a life-changing decision. Thankfully, many great resources are available†to help you find the best value for your budget. Meeting with a lender enables you to map out your budget and plan accordingly. This lender can offer expert insights and ensure you can find the best mortgage rate for your upcoming purchase. Also, friends and family members who recently have purchased homes may be able to provide valuable insights into the homebuyer journey, particularly for those who are planning to purchase a home for the first time. When in doubt, it never hurts to receive expert homebuyer advice. And with assistance from lenders and past homebuyers, you should be able to discover the best way to budget for your new home. Devote the necessary time and resources to become an expert homebuyer Ė you'll be glad you did! As a result, you should be able to obtain†your dream home without delay.





    Posted by Caroline Bianchi on 12/30/2016

    Imagine what it will be like when you discover your dream house. In all likelihood, this residence will meet all of your needs, along with your budget. However, it is important to note that the final price of your home is unlikely to be what you'll wind up paying for your new residence. There are many hidden home costs that you should consider before you finalize your home purchase, including: 1. Property Taxes Property taxes are a necessary evil. And even though every homebuyer would like to avoid them, these taxes must be paid consistently. Typically, property taxes are billed annually as a percentage of your assessed home's value. They may total thousands of dollars that you'll be responsible for paying every year, and as such, should be considered when you budget for your home purchase. Although you cannot avoid property taxes, you can plan for them. Homebuyers who budget accordingly, meanwhile, will be able to ensure that they can pay these taxes on time for the length of their mortgage. 2. Utilities You've decided to buy a home, but how do you plan to pay for electricity for your new residence? Or how do you intend to pay to heat and cool your home? Utilities are paramount, and the costs associated with utilities need to be evaluated during the homebuying process. Fortunately, working with an experienced real estate agent ensures you'll be better equipped to understand the utilities costs you may encounter when you buy a new residence. A real estate professional may be able to provide insights into how much utilities will cost based on the size of your home and your individual needs. That way, you'll be able to get a better idea about how much you'll need to save each month for electricity, heat and other utilities. 3. Home Repairs and Maintenance Even a brand new house will require repairs and maintenance over time. And even though every room in a home looks like it is in great shape now, the same may not hold true even a week, month or year from now. Putting aside money each month enables you to prepare for any minor or major home repair or maintenance projects that could arise. Furthermore, those who are in dire need of extensive home repairs may be able to apply for a home improvement loan to ensure they can get any home improvement projects done as soon as possible. Remember, planning ahead usually is a good idea, particularly for homebuyers. Budgeting for the unforeseen costs associated with buying and owning a home is important, and doing so will ensure you're prepared for any challenges that may come your way. Creating a budget and sticking to it can help you find a great home that won't force you to stretch beyond your means. Plus, those who develop a budget that includes potential hidden homebuying and homeownership costs can avoid the risk of falling into debt. Prepare for the hidden costs of buying a new residence, and you'll be able to maximize the value of your purchase.





    Posted by Caroline Bianchi on 10/21/2016

    If you are looking for a piece of property that you and your family can call home, there are a few important factors to consider beforehand. First, shopping for homes does not have to be difficult if you do it online. One way to do that is by using the ďSearch PropertiesĒ link above or the "Find Your Home" at the top right. It will help you to find the perfect home in the area of your choice. You can also Sign up for ďNew Listings Email AlertsĒ that will email you every day with new listings, price changes, back on the market and open houses. You will have the ability to search the MLS and get the addresses of properties, view full listings sheet, show where the property is on a map, etc. You can keep the homes you like in a saved folder to view at anytime or email them to a friend or colleague. This website also will allow you to sign up for MLS Property Messenger which will alert you of a new property as soon as it comes on the market. Be the first to know about new listings or price drops with the great service. In the end, you and your family want to be as comfortable as possible in your new home, and so it is important that you find the perfect environment for your property. Once you begin shopping for homes, try to search for property that is located in a good area, and more importantly, the property should be close to your work and to your children's schools, as this in turn will ensure that commuting does not take too much out of your time. Do not focus on pricing alone, as this will limit your search. Instead, focus on how much room you are looking for, and make sure that these rooms are spacious enough so that no one feels crowded. Pricing can always be negotiated down the road, and you will find that if you negotiate a price on a home that you truly do like, then you will feel that you got a great deal. In the end, you and your family want to feel comfortable in your home, so it is important to begin your search on the right foot.





    Posted by Caroline Bianchi on 9/2/2016

    Purchasing a home is a large investment and not one that anyone should make on a whim. Itís important to understand your maximum budget but also what you are comfortable spending, which may not be the same number as your maximum budget. But itís also important to fully understand the hidden costs that come with owning a home. Your mortgage payment is not the only payment you will be making each month and itís certainly not the only cost associated with owning a home. Letís take a look at some hidden costs listed below: Home Insurance: Insurance is something that you may know you need, but not a cost you are thinking about when house hunting. Therefore, the cost can sneak up on you. Be sure to factor in this cost, as it will be associated with your homeís location, age and value. For example, you are going to pay more if you live in an area that is prone to natural disasters such as floods or tornadoes. Home furnishings: Is this your first home or, at least, your first home that you would like to furnish with new furniture not hand-me-downs or a couch from craigslist? There also may be items that you need for this home that you did not need in your apartment such as a dining room table or spare bedroom bed frame and mattress. Furnishing your home can be a large expense and one that you should be saving up for. You donít need to go out and spend thousands on each item and you may want to spread out your purchases, but this is a very important cost to consider when purchasing a home. Appearance: When you purchase a home there may be things about the house that you want to change or update. This is something that not many factor in when buying the home as they are so wrapped up in the process of purchasing. However, even small updates cost money and if you spend all of your money on the down payment, you will not have any leftover to make those updates to make the home truly yours. Maintenance: If you previously rented, then maintenance is not something that you had to handle, as that is what your landlord was for. However, when you buy a home all maintenance and repairs fall on you. If you are purchasing an older home itís extremely important to understand what needs to be updated or replaced now or in the near future, such as the water heater, furnace or roof. Itís possible that you may get the previous homeowner to take care of this if itís in need at the time of selling, but if these updates/replacements take place a couple years down the road then itís up to you to take care of it. There is also the general maintenance of your home such as landscaping and snow removal. Will you purchase your own equipment or hire a service? Either way, this is an additional expense. Utilities: Often times many utilities are included in your rent. Well, this is not the case when owning a home. If the home does not have a septic system then you will need to pay for water and sewerage. You will have to pay for your own cable, Internet, and phone, and letís not forget about electricity. Itís important to understand all of the utilities that you will have to pay when you purchase a home. Property Taxes: Property taxes vary by town, but will always be an additional cost when owning a home. And, this cost will increase if you make additions or significant updates to your home. More desirable/expensive locations will have higher property taxes. This is often a cost that catches many off guard so be sure to research the locations where you are house hunting to see if you can afford the property taxes on top of all of the other associated costs. This is not meant to discourage anyone but shed light on the costs that many do not consider when they are house hunting. Make sure your budget allows for your mortgage payment and the expenses listed above that are tailored to your situation and you will have no problem becoming and staying a homeowner.