Ann Marie Martin


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 4/9/2018

Once you've made the transition from renter to homeowner, life is never the same again! While new responsibilities like home repairs and paying property taxes may sometimes feel like a burden, there are plenty of benefits that should outweigh the costs.

For example, home ownership usually brings with it tax advantages and investment features that can work in your favor. Getting guidance from a licensed tax advisor and financial consultant can help make sure you're getting the maximum return on your real estate investment.

Tips For House Hunters

If you're in the process of buying or looking for a new house, an experienced real estate agent (and home inspector) can be a valuable resource when evaluating the condition of a home, estimating the current market value of the property, and predicting the growth potential of the neighborhood. As you may already know, the location of a property is one of the most important aspects of its current and future value.

Seller disclosure laws, which vary from one state to the next, can offer buyers some measure of protection against costly problems, health or safety hazards, or quality of life issues down the road.

There are two reasons that seller disclosure requirements don't always protect home buyers from property flaws and repair problems: seller dishonesty or hidden conditions sellers aren't aware of. They can't reveal issues they don't know about, and in some cases problems are hidden behind walls, ceilings, and other places.

As mentioned, a potential obstacle to getting the full story about a home's history, flaws, and weaknesses is the seller's unwillingness to be completely honest. Even though they're opening themselves up to a potential lawsuit if they fail to reveal known problems with the property, they may risk it if they think full disclosure may derail their chances to sell the house or get top dollar for it.

From the buyer's standpoint, the best advice to keep in mind is caveat emptor: "Let the buyer beware." Your real estate agent can fill you in on the details of exactly what a seller needs to disclose, in terms of flaws, defects, hazards, damage, repairs, infestations, and even bizarre things like paranormal activity, suicides or crimes that occurred in the house. You'll also want to know things like whether the property is in a designated flood plain, whether there are any boundary line disputes, and if there are known toxic substances on the premises or underground.

While there are many variations in seller disclosure forms (depending on state laws and local conditions), there are also standard questions in most forms. As a side note, some localities may require disclosure about hazards such as earthquakes, fires, or other potential natural disasters.

You can get an overall idea of what's included by doing an online search for property disclosure forms. Generally speaking, the most reliable sources of information are your real estate agent, a real estate attorney, or your state's Department of State.





Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 3/12/2018

When you move into a house, the aisles of paint at the hardware store can seem awfully overwhelming. How will you ever choose a color for each area of your home? Adding color to a home is part of what will make it your own. One of the last things that you may think of is the color of your front door. Instead of painting the entire exterior of your home, it might be a good idea to look at your front door. 


It’s not a sin to think outside of the box when it comes to the color of your front door. Why not let your house stand out from the crowd? There’s many different colors that pop out and make great additions to any front door. We’ll break down some of the great possibilities for your front door here.


Red


Red is a great color because it goes well with many neutral tones. It brings a bit of life to a sometimes rather bland exterior color of the home. You can put a red door on a home that is a shade of tan, gray, or even white. Keep in mind that there’s also many different shades of red for you to choose from that allow you to find the tone and feel that works for you. 


Yellow Or Orange


You can certainly welcome visitors with a touch of cheeriness right at your front door. Yellow brings a certain kind of warmth to the entrance of your home. Yellow goes well with white, grays, tans, even brick and stone exteriors.


Orange needs to be used carefully. With the right tones surrounding it, you can make use of orange on your front door to make your home a bit more welcoming. Shades of orange work well with grays, blues, greens, and white exteriors. 


Earthy Tones: Green And Blue


Green and blue are great colors to help your home stand out from the crowd and provide a touch of style and warmth right at the front door. There are so many shades of green to choose from. You can go with a light green such as mint or lime. You can also choose a darker shade of green like olive or avocado. 

Green shades on a door pair well with whites, browns, tans, stone, cream, grays, and even shades of blue. 


Blue is often a color that we use more indoors. There’s so many different shades of blue that are available. Blue doors pair well with an exterior that is gray, white, tan, stone, brick, or gray.


You can really use the front door of your home as an element of surprise. When you think of what colors go together, it’s hard to go wrong with a bold front door.





Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 2/26/2018

Believe it or not, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be quick and simple, even for a first-time homebuyer. In fact, here are three tips to help a first-time homebuyer streamline the process of receiving pre-approval for a mortgage:

1. Meet with Several Lenders

Many mortgage lenders are available in cities and towns nationwide. Meanwhile, these mortgage experts are happy to teach first-time homebuyers about assorted mortgage options and help them get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Set up face-to-face meetings with various lenders in your area. That way, a first-time homebuyer can gain unparalleled insights into a wide range of mortgage options.

In addition, don't hesitate to ask questions during meetings with banks and credit unions. Mortgage lenders possess comprehensive mortgage expertise, and as such, a first-time homebuyer can rely on these mortgage professionals to receive the support that he or she needs to make an informed decision.

2. Understand Your Credit Score

Do you know your credit score? Ultimately, a first-time homebuyer's credit score may dictate his or her ability to obtain the ideal mortgage.

An individual can request a free copy of his or her credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) once a year. This report may prove to be exceedingly valuable, as it can help a homebuyer identify opportunities to improve his or her credit score before a mortgage application is submitted.

Also, if you identify errors in your credit report, it is paramount to contact the agency that provided the report immediately. This will allow you to correct any potential errors quickly and ensure that they won't affect your ability to get the best possible mortgage.

3. Consider Your Homebuying Budget

A first-time homebuyer may have lofty expectations prior to entering the real estate market. However, this individual should consider his or her finances before submitting a mortgage application.

With a budget in hand, a homebuyer can establish realistic expectations as he or she tries to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Plus, this homebuyer may be better equipped than others to obtain pre-approval for a mortgage and accelerate his or her search for the perfect residence.

Lastly, it may be worthwhile for a first-time homebuyer to meet with a real estate agent to learn more about assorted mortgage options.

A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with purchasing a house for the first time. As a result, this housing market professional can teach a homebuyer about all aspects of the property buying journey and help this buyer plan accordingly.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can set up home showings, keep a homebuyer up to date about new residences as they become available and negotiate with a home seller on a buyer's behalf. This housing market professional will even provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations to make it easy for a property buyer to acquire a top-notch residence at a budget-friendly price.

Move one step closer to purchasing your dream house – use the aforementioned tips, and a first-time homebuyer can speed up the process of getting pre-approved for a mortgage.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Ann Marie Martin on 12/25/2017

Finding a home can be intimidating, particularly for first-time homebuyers. As such, you'll want to conduct an extensive search, do plenty of research along the way and ensure any residence you check out meets all of your needs. Ultimately, you'll want to make an informed home purchase. And in order to do so, here are three factors that you'll want to consider: 1. The Current Real Estate Market Do you know the difference between a buyer's market and a seller's one? If not, you may be in trouble, especially if you hope to find a bargain on the real estate market. Real estate prices may fluctuate depending on a variety of factors, including the national economy and supply and demand for houses in a particular area. Thus, you'll want to be thorough and learn as much as possible about the real estate market in your area. Examining the prices of houses in a particular area is valuable, as this will enable you to see what previous homebuyers paid for residences over the past few months. Also, you should meet with a real estate agent who will be able to provide you with extensive housing market data that can help you make the best decision. 2. Your Budget Let's face it – a starter home may be one of several residences you own in your lifetime. As a result, it should serve as a viable residence that you can enjoy for at least a few years, then allow you to move on to a bigger and better house. When it comes to searching the real estate market for a starter home, you'll want to take a close look at your budget. By doing so, you'll be able to determine the maximum amount that you can afford for a starter residence and explore homes within a set price range. To establish a budget, you should consult with a lender and try to get pre-approved for a mortgage. That way, you'll know what you can afford, be able to improve your chances of purchasing a starter home that fits your budget and accelerate the process of finding a new place to live. 3. Your Must-Haves Although a starter home is commonly viewed as a short-term residence, there's no reason to settle for a subpar residence. Instead, you can make a list of must-haves and wants for your new home and explore the real estate market for a residence that fulfills your needs. Your must-haves are essentials, i.e. things like central air if you want to move to a warm-weather climate. On the other hand, wants may include things like a swimming pool and other non-essential features. Differentiate your must-haves from your wants by deciding exactly what you need from a starter home. Crafting a list of must-haves and wants will help you determine what is important to you and make it easier to search for residences that meet your homebuying criteria. Use the aforementioned tips to avoid the stress commonly associated with buying your first house, and you should have no trouble finding a great starter residence quickly and effortlessly.