Our Real Estate Blog
When your pocketbook determines you can’t afford a new, energy-efficient home, you can still satisfy your preferences by upgrading an older house. Try these options for improving energy efficiency in your home.
Apply for the FHA’s Energy-Efficient Mortgage program. With an EEM, you can finance an already energy-efficient home or use funds for certified home improvements that promote responsible energy use. Contact your lender to see if your state participates in this federal program.
Ask your utility provider for an energy audit. Most utilities offer this as a free service to customers. They’ll check for leakage around doors and windows, outlets and vent pipes and make suggestions for improvement, repair or replacement.
Have your home inspector check your attic spaces. You'll gain knowledge about how deep your insulation should be to keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Hire an HVAC professional to inspect your furnace and air conditioning, ductwork, and airflow. If your ducts need cleaning, employ a service to handle that. Not only will you have improved circulation, but you'll also reduce allergens, and lower your energy costs.
Trade out traditional toilets for low-flow models. Add aerators and flow restrictors to faucets and showerheads to reduce water consumption.
Install solar-operated power vents to your attic to expel heat in the summer. Consider a solar-powered water heater too. And, if your roof can handle it, install solar panels to boost your electrical power. Many states offer rebates for solar panel installation, so check to see what’s available in your area.
Install a programmable thermostat to help you conserve energy when you are away from home.
If you have a larger improvement budget, consider big-ticket items such as a geothermal heat pump, a residential wind turbine, or a fuel cell. You’ll find that on-going tax credits for these items can save you money over the years. If your municipal codes allow it, add a roof garden or mini-ecosystem to cover your existing roof. These systems retain moisture and insulate your home from heat or cold.
Your property specialist can help you determine which homes lend themselves to these upgrades. They'll introduce you to mortgage lenders that specialize in energy-efficient loan products.
17 Burncoat Heights, Worcester, MA 01606
You’ve decided to sell your home to upgrade or even downsize, but you don’t know whether you should start looking and buy first or wait to sell first. The best-case scenario is to do both, but that takes a lot of planning. If you are sure your credit is good enough to get the loan you want, you can find a home and you have a buyer for your home all at the same time, the process could be quite smooth. Working with an excellent real estate agent goes a long way to making this scenario go smoothly.
If you decide to buy a new house before you sell, and then put your home on the market, or choose to put your home on the market and buy a new home, even if your home doesn’t sell quickly, you will most likely have a place to move to—and can take your time moving. This plan has two hitches, and they’re not necessarily bad:
Your house sells quicker than you expected. If it does and you haven’t found a home, or you did, but you haven’t closed yet, you may have to move to temporary housing until your deal closes. On the other hand, if the seller is not in any hurry, you could rent your home back until your deal closes and you get moved.
You will have to pay two mortgages. If your current home is not paid off, you will have to pay two mortgages. Depending on your income, you may not be able to close the loan on the new home until you sell your current home. If your debt-to-income ratio has room for two mortgages, this is not a problem.
Selling first is probably the safest way to go about moving. Once your house sells, put most of your possessions into storage and find a short-term rental. This allows you to take your time finding your dream home and getting the financing for the new house. Since you have all the time in the world, you’ll be able to shop around for the best mortgage without feeling pressured to take something because you need to close quickly.
Making the Decision
Before you decide on whether to buy or sell first or do both at the same time, determine which is best for your situation.
Check your credit score. The better your credit, the lower your new interest rate will be. Lenders will be more willing to work with you.
Start browsing for homes for sale to see if there is anything you are interested in.
Know how much mortgage you will qualify for. Speak to several lenders about the different available loan programs.
Contact a real estate agent to discuss listing your home. Ask about the listing contract and the cost of listing. Some real estate agents give you a discount on their commission if you use them to buy and sell.
Know the market. If buyers are flooding the market, it may be easier to sell your home. If sellers are flooding the market, it may take longer to sell your home because there are many homes for people to choose from.
The answers to these questions will let you know if it is better to buy or sell first.
19 Burncoat St, Worcester, MA 01605
If you’re searching for a home and are looking for a deal, you may turn to homes that are listed as “For Sale By Owner.” These homes tend to be a great deal for the sellers, but not necessarily the buyer. This makes it all the more important that you hire a buyer’s agent for yourself. Your agent can check a bit of the work that the owner is doing without hiring a real estate agent for himself. When buying a for sale by owner property you’ll want to do all of the same things that you would do if you were buying a property that was for sale through a realtor including:
- Check the asking price through comps
- Get a property inspection
- Make an offer and complete contract negotiations
- Check how long the home has been on the market
Just because a home is for sale by an owner, there’s no need to give up on the normal procedures that one goes through in buying a home. You have the right to have a buyer’s agent represent you in the transaction. Beware though as some for sale by owners are not willing to pay commission to any agents including buyers‘ agents. Be sure that the contracts are clear in this area so that you don’t fall in love with a home only to find out that you can’t use your agent in the transaction.
Other Points To Consider In A For Sale By Owner Transaction
You may need to hire an attorney, especially for an estate sale or short sale.
You still need a home inspection and have the right to back out of the sale if something isn’t satisfactory about the home. The home inspection is important because it can reveal serious problems with a home such as high levels of radon, issues with the furnace, or a possible plumbing disaster waiting to happen.
You may want a C.L.U.E. Report
This type of report tells you what kind, if any, insurance claims have been made on the property in the past 5 years. The report will detail the date of the claim, the cause (if a natural disaster) and the amount that was paid to fix the damage.
You should still get pre-approved
Getting pre-approved before buying a home is just something that should be automatic for buyers. It really lets the seller know that you’re serious about purchasing a property.
Buying a for sale by owner home is the same as purchasing any other property. You’ll just need to be an informed buyer through the process in order to make sure you’re doing what’s right for you.