Mary Foley Real Estate Inc.
Mary Foley Real Estate Inc.


Posted by Mary Foley Real Estate Inc. on 2/18/2020

No matter how you look at it, putting your home on the market is a life-changing experience!

Not only will it change your future circumstances, but it will have an impact on your day-to-day routine, right now.

If your home is actively being shown by real estate agents, there are a few things you may need to do on a regular basis to make the best possible impression on potential buyers:

Keep it clean: Ordinarily, most homeowners aren't inclined to thoroughly clean their house every day -- or "at a moment's notice." Very few people have the time or motivation to keep their home's immaculate on a constant basis; it's exhausting just thinking about it! However, when your house is being viewed by prospective buyers, cleanliness -- or the lack, thereof -- will be noticed. Although "old habits die hard," it may be necessary to enlist the help and cooperation of your children (and spouse) in keeping the house looking presentable at all times. While it's unrealistic to expect your home to look immaculate day after day, it might be necessary to establish some new rules and standards for your family to follow about picking up clothes, toys, snack wrappers, and food residues. If you can maintain a "semblance of order" on an ongoing basis, then it shouldn't be too difficult to prepare your home for the next showing. While you'll usually get at least 24-hours notice before a house showing is scheduled, there may be the occasional request for a same-day visit.

Appearances count: "Keeping up Appearances" is more than just a popular British sitcom; it's a necessary goal for anyone hoping to sell their home within a reasonable period of time. Doing your best to stage your home in an attractive, inviting way is a key ingredient to a successful home-selling strategy. Setting priorities for curb appeal will also help you put your best foot forward in a competitive real estate market. Although many aspects of home staging are based on common sense and simple home decorating principles, it's difficult to be objective when your family's home is involved. There's certainly a lot of credible information online concerning the benefits of reducing household clutter and leaning toward neutral paint colors, but you can also turn to your real estate agent for tips on enhancing your home's curb appeal, interior appearance, and overall marketability.

Unless the home you're selling is relatively new or completely updated, there are a lot of decisions to make about how much time, energy, and money should be spend on upgrades, repairs, and enhancements. While everyone's situation, budget, and timetable is different, it's usually necessary to correct issues that might be considered a glaring problem or a deal breaker. Sometimes those issues don't come to the forefront, however, until you get specific feedback from agents and prospective buyers.





Posted by Mary Foley Real Estate Inc. on 2/11/2020

Photo by Tumisu via Pixabay

Maybe you’ve thought about buying rental property. Wouldn’t it be great, you think, to own something that someone else pays for? It can work out that way, with your property increasing in value while you pocket money every month. But with the wrong home, the wrong tenants or the wrong management, it can go horrendously sour. Here are eight ways to make your first venture as a landlord a successful one.

  1. Start small. Buy a single house, townhouse or condo rather than an entire apartment building.

  2. Decide how much work you’ll take on. Are you a DIYer? Can you make minor repairs yourself? Are you willing and able to recruit tenants and deal with them on an ongoing basis? If this isn’t you, you’ll be wise to hire a property management company to handle these items.

  3. Really, really, understand your income and expenses. Project them forward 5 to 10 years and make sure you have a margin. There’s more than mortgage, taxes, insurance and utilities. There also can be landscaping, pest control, landlord insurance and minor repairs. Be especially aware of big ticket items. If you’ll need a new roof eight years from now, set aside for it. Be aware of property tax trends so you won’t be caught be surprise. Consider what will happen if a tenant leaves and your property is vacant for several months.

  4. Arrange financing in advance. Most mortgage lenders will pre-qualify your loan. It helps close the deal if you can show this to a buyer.

  5. Know the neighborhood. If you’re not familiar with it, drive around. Talk to people. Research it online.

  6. Learn how to be a landlord. Talk to other landlords. Join a landlord’s association. Familiarize yourself with tenant rights and local regulations.

  7. Know your tenants. The right tenants can make your experience a joy and the wrong ones can make you rue the day you got into this business. Use a screening service. Have a written lease ready to go and specify exactly what is expected: when the rent is due, what the grace period is, what’s the penalty for being late, who pays utilities, what - if any - maintenance the renters are required to do. Insist on prompt rent payment right from the get-go. No matter how much you like your tenants, it's imperative to keep the relationship professional. Visit your property from time to time. You’re not permitted to barge in, but a drive-by can tell you a lot.

  8. Keep business and personal finances separated. Maintain separate bank accounts and credit cards. Be clear on which is which for record keeping and tax accounting.

People have put children through college and financed their retirement through rental property while also working at paycheck jobs. But being a landlord is not for the timid, the inflexible or the careless planners. Think before you make the leap, and if you decide to go for it, all the best!




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Mary Foley Real Estate Inc. on 2/4/2020

Photo by Mohamed Hassan via Pixabay

Buying and selling real estate is a complicated process that takes time. Because you are making a life decision and dealing with strangers, you should always have a valid purchase contract. Real estate agents use a standard contract, but the buyer and/or seller may make changes to that contract. In making changes, be careful not to make the contract invalid.

A Valid Contract

Four elements make up a valid contract:

  • You must have an offer. In real estate, this is the party purchasing the real property.

  • You must have consideration. This is something of value, usually cash. In real estate contracts, this is called good faith money or earnest money and is usually 1 to 3 percent of the purchase price. The good faith money is typically non-refundable should the buyer back out of the contract. The consideration shows that the contract is not a gift.

  • The other party must accept the offer in the contract. If the seller signs the contract, they accepted your offer. However, if the seller does not accept your offer, they do not sign the contract. If the seller wants to counter, this may be verbal until the two parties agree upon a number. The real estate agent drafts a new contract that both parties sign.

  • Finally, the contract must contain mutuality or what attorneys often call “a meeting of the minds.” By signing the contract, the parties agree that they understand and agree to the terms of the contract.

Components of a Real Estate Contract

A real estate contract must contain:

  • The buyers’ full names.

  • The sellers’ full names.

  • The address and legal description of the property.

  • The purchase price and how the buyer will pay it, whether cash, cash subject to a new mortgage, cash subject to an existing mortgage, cash with the assumption of the existing mortgage or sale by land contract.

  • The amount of earnest money.

  • How the buyers and sellers will handle real estate taxes, assessments and adjustments.

  • How the sellers will transfer title and that the title is free and clear.

  • Date and time of possession of the property or closing date. In most cases, this is the closing date since most people do not have the cash to buy the property without a mortgage. It generally takes 30 to 60 days for a mortgage to be approved.

  • A list of improvements and fixtures that the seller will include in the purchase price.

  • Any other general or special conditions for the sale and/or purchase of the property.

Exceptions

Most real estate contracts also have exceptions. If these terms cannot be met, the buyers’ non-refundable deposit becomes refundable. Common exceptions include an inspection meeting the buyers’ expectations and the ability of the buyer to procure financing. The parties may further negotiate the price of the real estate based on the inspection. The parties may also add any other agreed-upon exceptions.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Mary Foley Real Estate Inc. on 1/28/2020

Photo by Pixabay via Pexels

Thinking of buying a home in the near future? You're going to need a preapproval. This tells real estate agents that you're serious about the home-buying process, and it alerts sellers that you're a solid, low-risk candidate. Preapprovals aren't always easy to score, however. And if you're someone who's had a few credit issues in the past, you may need to improve your credit score before your dream of home-ownership becomes reality. 

Here's a checklist of best practices for prepping your credit to gain a preapproval:

Check Your Credit Reports

Before you ever approach a lender for a home loan preapproval, make sure you know what's on your credit reports. You're entitled to one free credit report each year from each of the three different reporting agencies:

Order credit reports for yourself and for anyone who will be a co-applicant on your home loan, and then scour your reports for inaccuracies. 

File Immediate Disputes Over Inaccuracies

Any discrepancies you find should be reported immediately. It's an easy process of reporting the issue to the credit bureau and waiting while they go back to the creditor to verify what you've claimed. In most instances, the inaccuracy will be removed within a week or two, though you may have to produce receipts as proof of payment. 

Contact Creditors to Offer Settlements

Make a list of old, unpaid debts that are valid and set aside the funds to pay them off, one by one. If you have cash-in-hand, call creditors and ask them to settle for a portion of the balance in cash. Some may be willing to work with you, others may not. But it never hurts to ask. 

Pay Current Bills On Time

Stay current on existing accounts. Make sure everything is paid on time, from credit cards to car payments, to ensure you don't lose points on your overall score while you're working toward credit restoration. 

Pay Down Your Debt-to-Income Ratio

Your debt-to-income ratio is an indicator of how responsibly you use your credit. The lower your ratio, the easier it will be to obtain a preapproval. Pay down big balances. The more credit you're able to free up, the more attractive you'll look to potential lenders. Prepping your credit to gain a preapproval is surprisingly easy, but it requires the funds necessary to pay off outstanding debts and to pay down current balances. 

Start early if you suspect there are items on your credit report that require fixing, and be patient as things circle back around. Credit repair is not an overnight fix, but with steady progress, it won't be long until you have a preapproval for your new dream home.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Mary Foley Real Estate Inc. on 1/21/2020

In the internet age, we’ve all seen dream homes on Google, Pinterest, or Instagram that seem to encompass everything we’ve ever wanted in a home.

Sometimes, obsessing over dream homes can be detrimental to us--making us feel bad about our own living situation or discouraged about ever being able to afford the home we truly want.

However, dream homes can serve a purpose when it comes to identifying what we really want out of a home.

In today’s post, we’re going to use the idea of a dream home “wish list” to help you narrow down what really matters to you and your family in your next home.

Step 1: Start by making a list of your dream homes

This is the easy part. If you’re like me, you probably have a Pinterest board or bookmark folder just for home inspiration.

Put all of the dream homes on your list. The order doesn’t matter, and you’ll find out why below.

Step 2: For each home, write down one or two of your favorite things

Is it the square footage? The location that’s perfect for your commute or for trips to your favorite places? Or, is it just the color scheme of the kitchen?

No aspect is too small for this list--it all depends on what you like, not what the price tag is.

Step 3: Go over your list and try to put the items in order of how much they matter to you.

An example would be:

  1. A cheerful, bright colored kitchen

  2. A cozy office to wok quietly in

  3. A two-car garage

  4. A playroom for the kids

  5. A location that’s close to the water

Looking over these five things, there are only two items that can’t be found in most houses, a two-car garage and a location that’s near the water. And, this house-hunter didn’t even list those items as the most important.

So, what can we learn from this exercise? Oftentimes, the things we’re looking for the most in a home can be things that we can do later, like interior decorating or designating spare rooms to serve as an office or playroom.

Step 4: Use your top 3 when house hunting

Now that you have the top three things that you’d find in your dream home, take this list with you on your house hunt. Try to seek out a home that has a combination of these items and one that will be the most practical for your family.

You might find that these conveniences, such as being closer to your work for a shorter commute, will pay off in the long run, as they’ll let you spend more time with our family and make each day a little bit easier.




Categories: Uncategorized