Pat Baker - REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West



Posted by Pat Baker on 10/20/2017

Renting a studio apartment is a great way to save for a down payment on a new house. Studio apartment living has additional benefits that you might want to take advantage of. But, first you may have to get accustomed to living in a smaller space.

Making the shift

If you’re transitioning from living in a college dorm to a studio apartment, the size adjustment should be simple. In fact, you may hardly notice the change. Moving into a studio apartment from a full size house is another story.

The average size of a studio apartment depends on where the apartment is located. In New York, the average size of a studio apartment is about 550 square feet. In Chicago, a studio apartment runs between 400 to 500 square feet. A studio apartment can be less than 400 square feet in other cities. Location also has a significant impact on the monthly rent that you’d pay for a studio apartment.

Ways that you can save by living in a studio apartment

Using New York as an example, you could pay more than $2,300 for a 550 square foot studio apartment in a hot spot like Manhattan. Shop around. Don’t assume that because the unit is small that the rent will also be small. Wherever you rent, you should pay less than you would pay for a standard one or two bedroom apartment.

Although a studio apartment is small, there’s enough room to fit a sofa bed, one tall dresser, a television stand and a television and a stereo. The apartment probably won’t have a kitchen. Pay attention to the layout. You’ll get more for your money if the layout is completely open except for the bathroom. More ways to save while renting a studio apartment include:

  • Buy food that doesn’t require cooking.Fortunately, a lot of healthy foods do not have to be cooked, so this could motivate you to develop a more healthy diet. Avoid eating out to save on food expenses.
  • Wear clothes that are a part of your current wardrobe. To save on space, you won’t be able to buy lots of clothes and shoes,another motive to save money for a down payment on a new house.
  • Get outdoors. Hang out with family and friends at great outdoor spots like free outdoor concerts, sports competitions and outdoor festivals and cultural events. Being outdoors can keep you from feeling like you’re confined to a small space.
  • Take advantage of living in a smaller space to focus on your career. You could use the time that you spend at your studio apartment, to start a business. Put a portion of these earnings toward your down payment.
  • Get exercise. Instead of taking the bus or train to work, if you live close enough, bike or walk to and from work. Deposit the money that you save on transportation toward your down payment.

Starting small could yield big results, especially as it relates to buying a house. If you rent a studio apartment at a reasonable price, you could use the money that you save on the difference in the rent versus what you would pay for a one or two bedroom apartment or a condo as a down payment on a new house. Rent a studio apartment and you could also adjust to living on your own for the first time, especially if you’re a recent high school or college graduate.




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Posted by Pat Baker on 10/13/2017

Money is the root of many people’s stress and anxiety and it’s also the cause of many fights. But it doesn’t have to be for you. You may own a home now, but it doesn’t mean you should stop saving or that saving has to be a difficult undertaking.

Ideally you already have a robust emergency fund—this type of account is suggested by financial experts to have even before paying down ‘good’ debt such as student loans. This account is extremely important as you never know when or if that “rainy day” will come. The suggested amount to have in an emergency fund is six to nine months’ worth of income—and to be on the higher end if you own a home and have children. For instance, if you take home $3,000 a month, you should have $18,000 to $27,000 in your emergency fund. You should also consider whether it’s best to keep these funds in a regular savings account or a money market account.

Now that we’ve covered the importance of an emergency fund,let’s discuss how to keep saving—whether you are saving just to save or saving for a vacation, new car, or that fancy grill you’ve been eyeing.

Automatic deposit from primary income: If you aren’t doing this already then you should be. Automatic deposit is the easiest way to save money. Many places of employment offer this option, and if not your financial institution will. Automatically depositing money into a savings account (separate of the rest of your income) will force you to save. And if your place of employment offers this option then that money will never enter your checking account—out of sight, out of mind. If you must use your financial institution then have the automatic transfer occur on the day you are paid so the money is almost like it was never there for spending. Of course, this will be an adjustment if you are used to living off that money, especially if you just purchased a home. However, you can start small and work your way to a larger amount such as when you receive a raise or have other forms of incoming income.

Automatic transfer from checking to savings: Many financial institutions offer the ability to automatically transfer funds between your checking account and savings account each time you use your debit card. If your bank does not offer this opportunity there are apps for your phone that can easily connect to your online bank accounts and do the work for you. It’s a great way to save a small amount of money each time you swipe your card. And depending on how often you use your debit card, those savings could add up quickly. For example, you spend $25.33 at the grocery store and use your debit card to pay. Your bank (or app) will round that number up to $26.00 and transfer .67 into your account of choice. It’s too easy not to participate!

There are many other ways to be a better saver, but it’s best to start simple and small. Overwhelming yourself with how much you need/want to save and with many ways of saving, might cause the opposite to happen. Remember, you have a house to pay for and all the other expenses that come with it. Be conscious of your financial situation and be diligent with your savings strategy and you’ll be on the road to being a savings master.





Posted by Pat Baker on 10/6/2017

At a glance, buying a home seems like a daunting and complicated process. If it's your first time buying a home you're probably hearing a lot of terms that don't mean much to you like "rate commitment," "prequalify," and an array of acronyms that no one has ever really explained like APR and ARM. What many first time homebuyers don't realize is that the mortgage application process is relatively straightforward. It's a way for lenders to determine if they will lend money to the homebuyer. The lender will require some documentation on your part and you'll want to do your homework when it comes to choosing the right mortgage for you, but if you're confused about where to begin, here's everything you need to know about the home mortgage application process.

Gather your documents

Each lender will be slightly different when it comes to what records and documents they require from you. In general, lenders will require two years of work history, proof of income, and tax papers. They will also ask for your permission to run a credit check. Some things you should bring when applying for a mortgage include:
  • Your most recent pay stubs (at least two)
  • Your most recent W-2 forms
  • Completed tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Gift letters
  • Debt - credit cards, student loans, etc.

Filling out the application

The actual application for the mortgage is pretty simple. Be expected to provide your personal and marital information, as well as your social security number. When you apply for a loan you'll also be determining if you're applying singly or with another person, such as a spouse. Some people apply jointly to seek a higher loan amount. However, you should be aware that if this is your plan of action the lender will require income and credit information from both of you. Keep in mind that it isn't easy to remove one person from a home loan once the contract is signed, so you should make certain of this decision before applying jointly.

Locked-in interest rates

It won't come as a surprise to you that, like in other industries, interest rates on mortgages fluctuate. For this reason, many home buyers attempt to "lock-in" their interest rate, meaning the lender is no longer allowed to change the interest rate after signing. The benefit of locking in your interest is that it can avoid having your interest rate raised before you sign on the home. The disadvantage is that since rates fluctuate, you could miss out on a lower one. This is also the difference between APR (annual percentage rating) and ARM (adjustable rate mortgage). With an APR, the cost of borrowing money (interest) is fixed. For an ARM, the interest rate can increase, decrease, or stay the same at different points in the repayment process.

Refinancing

Your financial situation is bound to fluctuate throughout your life, hopefully for the better. At some point down the road, it might make sense to refinance on your mortgage. Essentially this means you are agreeing to change the details of the mortgage to either accept a different interest rate or to alter the length of the loan term. Refinancing usually involves fees, however, so you don't want to rely on it too heavily as a fallback.





Posted by Pat Baker on 9/29/2017

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For home sellers, transforming an ordinary kitchen into one that garners homebuyers' attention is no small feat. However, there are many quick, easy ways to clean your kitchen and ensure it will dazzle homebuyers any time they visit.

Here are three kitchen cleaning tips that every home seller needs to know.

1. Eliminate Wall Splatters.

Wall splatters can be major eyesores in any kitchen. Fortunately, home sellers who spend a few minutes identifying and addressing wall splatters can beautify their kitchens with ease.

If you notice waterborne kitchen wall splatters like ketchup, mustard or wine stains, you can use a wet cloth or paper towel to wipe away these problems immediately. Or, if you find grease stains on your kitchen walls, be sure to utilize a mix of dishwasher soap and water to minimize such issues.

Try to eliminate kitchen wall splatters as soon as you notice them. Wall splatters may become more difficult to minimize over time, and the sooner you identify them, the sooner you can eliminate them altogether.

2. Clean Out the Refrigerator.

Homebuyers will examine every nook and cranny of your house, so don't be surprised if they take a look inside your refrigerator. However, if your refrigerator is messy, overloaded with leftovers or has not been cleaned out in several years, it could negatively affect a homebuyer's impression of your residence.

Even devoting a few minutes to cleaning out your refrigerator daily can make a world of difference for home sellers. Wiping down the refrigerator shelves, cleaning the refrigerator drawers and getting rid of outdated products can give your refrigerator a clean, streamlined appearance.

Don't forget to place an open box of baking soda inside your refrigerator every few months too. This box will help absorb and eliminate odors consistently.

3. Check Out Your Dishwasher and Sink.

If you run your dishwasher daily, you'll want to clean it out and ensure there are no dishes, pots, pans or cooking utensils inside of it when homebuyers visit your residence. Instead, you should try to keep your dishwasher looking pristine, as this will help you show homebuyers exactly what your kitchen has to offer.

Plus, you should keep your sink as clean as possible. Be sure to clean the sink itself after you wash dishes in it. Also, try to avoid leaving dirty dishes in the sink, as this may cause odors to form that could move throughout your home.

Maintaining a clean, beautiful kitchen can be tricky, but there is always extra help available if you need it.

For example, your real estate agent may be able to offer kitchen cleaning recommendations and ensure you can find a professional cleaning company to help you beautify your kitchen. That way, you can reap the benefits of an immaculate kitchen, one that homebuyers are sure to appreciate and may enable you to speed up the home selling process.

Conduct an in-depth review of your kitchen today, and you can move closer to transforming a bland kitchen into a fabulous one.




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Posted by Pat Baker on 9/28/2017

Lovely & solid 8 room raised ranch with 2 1/2 baths on the Wellesley side of town sited on nearly a half acre of land close to Newman School. Family room with fireplace on the first floor with sliders to a deck. Bright eat in kitchen . Good sized dining room with open flow to spacious living room. The lower level has a large finished den with sliders to a beautiful backyard. Extra large garage with entry into laundry/utility room with 1/2 bath. Bring your decorating ideas and make it your own in time for the holidays. Terrific starter home in a fabulous location. New hot water heater 2017. First showings begin on Sunday October 1st from 11:30PM to 2:00PM

More Info on this Property | New Listing Alerts




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