Posted by Christine Reilly on 1/21/2020

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

If you’re in the market for a new home, chances are you’ve been evaluating your finances. As a first-time homebuyer, there are programs in place to help with the down payment. According to the December 2019 Realtor Index Confidence Survey, first-time homebuyers accounted for 31% of all sales, and 77% put down less than 20%.

Once you’ve worked with a mortgage lender to get a competitive rate, these programs may help with getting into your dream home:

  • VA Loans
  • Are you a veteran or active duty? If so, you won’t need to look far. This program helps individuals get a home with no down payment. It’s backed by the government and has a series of requirements to meet. There are also Adapted Housing Grants, which help purchase a home adapted for a service-related disability, or if upgrades need to be done to the home to make if accessible.

  • USDA Loans
  • If you’re looking in a rural area, this loan by the Department of Agriculture may be the one for you. There is no down payment to participate, but there are income requirements. When hearing the word rural, you may think it’s totally country but there are tons of “rural” areas that are well populated.

  • HUD Good Neighbor Next Door
  • This program from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) lists eligible properties by state and is not limited to first-time homebuyers. The property must be in an area marked for revitalization and is only open to certain professions like law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and teachers. If approved, you must live in the property for at least 36 months and receive up to 50% off the list price of the home.

    Local First-Time Homebuyers Grants

    Many municipalities offer funds from their own first-time homebuyer programs. There are certain requirements to meet, such as requiring the owner live in the home for a short period of time. In many cases, the grant is forgivable over a period of time. There are also block grants through Congressional districts, which are distributed through local programs.

    A mortgage broker will be able to recommend additional programs you may qualify for based on the area you are attempting to purchase in. Homeownership doesn’t have to be complicated – it may just take a little work to get what you want and the assistance you need. Call a realtor and mortgage broker to get started on the process today.




    Categories: Uncategorized  


    Posted by Christine Reilly on 1/17/2020

    This Condo in Worcester, MA recently sold for $175,000. This Garden style home was sold by Christine Reilly - ERA Key Realty Services.


    327 Plantation St, Worcester, MA 01604

    Condo

    $169,900
    Price
    $175,000
    Sale Price

    5
    Rooms
    2
    Beds
    1/1
    Full/Half Baths
    The Perfect Gift! Recently renovated First Floor Bloomingdale Condominium is ready for a quick sale! This adorable unit features a New White Kitchen with Granite Countertops and Stainless Steel Appliances! All new flooring,plus new vanities and toilets within one year! There is one full and one half bath with stackable laundry for your convenience. Large open dining and living area combination with slider to patio. Nice sized Master bedroom with additional slider to the outside. The second large bedroom is a welcome space for guests or home office. This is a perfect location for commuters with easy access to Major routes, Union Station, UMass, Shrewsbury Street Shops and Restaurants! Minutes to Shrewsbury for the best that both Worcester and Shrewsbury have to offer! Easy to Show and quick closing possible! One Year AHS Warranty included! ****Offer deadline is set for Friday at Noon 12/13. Seller will respond on or before 5pm.****************

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    Tags: Worcester   Real Estate   Condo   01604  
    Categories: Sold Homes  


    Posted by Christine Reilly on 1/14/2020

    We live in a world of convenience and endless choices. To watch a TV show, you can find it on cable, Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, and more. Sometimes, all of these options make it easy to spend more than necessary on monthly services.

    If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future, one way to save a bit more each month is to cut corners wherever possible.

    In today’s post, I’m going to cover some tips that will help you start saving toward the down payment on your first home.

    Cutting down on monthly services

    They’re enticing, the myriad of entertainment services that we can now take advantage of. For a seemingly low monthly cost you can have hundreds of channels through cable. However, many cable users have noticed that their cable bill keeps creeping up each year and the service doesn’t get any better.

    One way to start saving more each month is to ditch cable altogether. For news and the weather, there are many websites available. And, some local news stations stream live on their websites for free.

    But, what about watching your favorite TV shows and movies? One of the world’s best kept secrets is that of interlibrary loans. Most public libraries are part of a system that allows you to get books, games, movies, and TV shows shipped to your local library for free. You simply reserve the latest season of Game of Thrones and wait for an email from your library.

    Another issue many people have with monthly entertainment services is their tendency to add up. Reassess your monthly bills. If you’re paying for Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, do you really need all three?

    Be smart about your savings

    To save effectively, make sure your savings account is seeing a high return on its interest rate. Online banks tend to have higher returns than their brick & mortar counterparts, and most people don’t need to make regular visits to a bank anymore anyway.

    Similarly, for credit cards, choose one with cashback rewards. Only use your credit card for necessities, like groceries and gas. Then, pay off each statement in full each month. Once you get your rewards, use them for more groceries and gas or put them in your down payment savings account, if possible.

    Don’t forget about CDs (certificates of deposit)

    One of the most effective ways of saving for a down payment is a certificate of deposit. CDs are perfect for down payments because you aren’t able to withdraw from them until they have matured--i.e., until you’ve reached your savings goal. They can be set for 6 months, a year, or more, and they tend to have higher returns than savings accounts.


    Using a combination of these methods will help you start saving more each month so you can achieve your dream of owning a home sooner.





    Posted by Christine Reilly on 1/7/2020

    If you have just purchased a home, you have the option to refinance your home soon. Just because you can refinance your home doesn’t mean that you should. How long you should wait to refinance your home depends on a few things including:


    • Your refinancing goals
    • The rules of your lender
    • If your mortgage has a pre-payment penalty clause

    Goals


    Your goals for refinancing are among the most important things when considering whether to refinance. Lenders typically won’t refinance a loan that you have secured in the last 120-180 days, so if you’re looking to lower your monthly payments, you may have to shop for a new lender.    


    The Type Of Loan You Have


    If your financial situation has changed, it may be smart to change the type of loan that you have. Oftentimes, changing the rate and the terms of the loan can give you the extra freedom that you need for your loan and your life. 


    Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster


    If you do a cash-in refinance, this could be a smart way for you to build equity for your financial future and help you to secure a lower rate for your mortgage. Keep in mind that FHA loans are a bit different when it comes to paying down your mortgage. The FHA streamline program requires that you wait a minimum of 6 months before you refinance. 


    Pre-payment Penalties


     Before you refinance your home, you’ll need to double-check to ensure that your mortgage doesn’t have a pre-payment penalty. If you do have one of these clauses included in your loan agreement, you should consult your lender to make sure that refinancing is a smart move for you.


    Lender’s Rules


    Every lender has different rules as to how quickly you can refinance your mortgage. You may also need to meet certain qualifications in order to go ahead with the refinancing. 


    As tempting as it can be to try and get a lower mortgage rate, you may want to hold off on refinancing for a variety of reasons. Remember that every time you refinance your home, you’ll need to pay closing costs and other fees. While it may be a savings in the long term, it could cost you some up front cash. 


    The best course of action is ideally to shop for  a lender and a mortgage rate that will suit your needs from the beginning. While no one can completely predict a changing market, you can shop around and find the right rate and loan for you at the time.




    Tags: refinancing  
    Categories: Uncategorized  


    Posted by Christine Reilly on 12/31/2019

    When it comes to making your home and property safer for your family and others, the Boy Scouts motto says it all: "Be prepared!"

    While it's next to impossible to completely eliminate all risks and potential hazards in and around your home, there are dozens of things you can do to make your property safer.

    Every family's safety needs are unique, but here are a few basic precautions that can help reduce the chances of home accidents occurring -- both large and small.

    Stair safety: All things being equal, it's riskier to walk down a flight of stairs than it is to walk on level ground. While that may seem obvious, most people don't stop and think about the potential risks of descending stairs as they're about to do it. Although tripping and falling on stairs can be injurious to just about anyone, it's especially dangerous for elderly people. From a homeowner's standpoint, there are several things you can do to reduce the risk of family or friends stumbling on your stairs. On an ongoing basis, it's necessary to make sure there are no loose objects on the stairs that could cause someone to lose their footing. Keeping stairs clear of toys, building blocks, and slipping hazards can be challenging if you have young children. Until they're taught to pick up after themselves -- which might occur sometime between now and college -- stair safety is an important issue to be aware of. Another key strategy for preventing household accidents is to make sure railings are properly installed and firmly anchored. Basement stairs can pose additional risks because they're sometimes inadequately lighted. Concrete floors at the bottom of some staircases can make a fall even more hazardous (not to mention painful). Increasing lighting, if needed, and making the bottom step more visible so that it's not accidentally skipped, are two preventative measures for reducing the chances of anyone falling on basement stairs.

    Fire safety: Most people are aware that it's essential to have several working smoke detectors placed in strategic locations in your kitchen, bedroom area, and other parts of your house. Even though it's common knowledge, people don't always remember to install enough of them, replace worn out batteries when necessary, or test them every few months to make sure they're in good working condition. Some people remove the battery to silence smoke alarms while they're cooking, which can be dangerous if they don't remember to put them back afterwards. If your kitchen smoke detector has a "push to hush" button, then that can be a safer way to temporarily quiet a smoke detector when you're cooking dinner. Home fire safety also entails several other precautions, including having a fire extinguisher in the kitchen (and other areas), having a second-floor fire-escape ladder available, and teaching children how to avoid and respond to potential fire dangers. More detailed information and educational materials on fire safety is available from government agencies and non-profit organizations like the American Red Cross and the National Fire Protection Association.

    Stay tuned to this blog for more helpful tips, pointers, and ideas for keeping your home safer and more secure.







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