Century 21 North East - Norton Group RE



Posted by Century 21 North East - Norton Group RE on 2/16/2020

Once you move in with a partner, you know you have reached an important milestone in your relationship. For the first time, you could be talking about money with your partner. Whether youíre moving into an apartment or buying a home together, itís important to break down how youíll merge your finances together. 


While itís one of the least romantic conversations that youíll probably have as a couple, sharing your financial situation is one of the most vital. Below youíll find some tips on starting that conversation and making it a smooth one.


Be Honest


In any relationship, honesty and communication are key. This is especially true when it comes to finances. Thereís a lot that goes into your own financial picture, and itís important that you share that with your partner. This is important for everything that will happen in the future including purchasing a home. Some things that your partner should know:


  • How much loan debt you have
  • A rough idea of your credit score and history
  • Your income
  • Your spending habits
  • Your saving habits

Itís important to know how another personís habits will affect you as a whole when youíre thinking of making an investment together like a piece of property. Everyone handles money differently, and you should know how someoneís spending habits meshes with yours. Do they live paycheck to paycheck? Do they save money regularly? Are they financially strained? All of these questions help you to understand where you are similar and where you are different when it comes to money.



Have A Plan For How Youíll Divide Expenses


It may seem like a 50/50 split on expenses makes the most sense. For many couples it does. In other situations, if one person makes more money, they may need to pay a bit more of the costs. Some couples have one person pay the rent while the other takes the utilities on as an expense. Take amounts and percentages that you feel comfortable with and do what wrks best for the both of you. 


Remember that chores count too when it comes to dividing up the ďexpenses.Ē This is just an extra tip that will help you to build a stronger relationship in the long term and help to save arguments.


Use A Joint Account For Expenses


You should still keep your own bank accounts when you move in with a significant other.  All of your money shouldnít be funneled into one singular account. Create a separate bank account for your expenses like rent or mortgage and utilities. All of your personal expenses should come out of your own respective accounts. 


Make Contracts


No matter how much you feel that you can trust a person, itís always good to put everything in writing. This way, if there are any disputes in the future, youíll always have a contract that you can refer back to. Itís also important to have these documents for things like security deposits or down payments. If the relationship ends at any point, itís important for the person who paid for certain things to get their money back.     


Planning and tracking your finances when you move in with a significant other is important. It will certainly make your life easier if you have these conversations beforehand.





Posted by Century 21 North East - Norton Group RE on 2/9/2020

If you work from home part or all of the time, chances are you have a specific place in your house where you go to work to be free from distraction.

Many people spend a lot of time thinking about the decor of their home office. They decide how much light they want to let in, what they need on their desk, and which distractions to keep out of the room entirely.

Surprisingly few people, however, consider the ergonomics of their home office.

What is ergonomics?

Simply stated, ergonomics is the study of peopleís efficiency in the workplace. When it comes to office work or working at home, that means studying things like posture, desk height, eye strain, and much more.

In this article, weíll talk about some ways you can improve the ergonomics of your home office to prevent injury and to make your office a more productive and less stressful place to work.

Choosing a desk chair

Letís begin with one of the most common complaints in offices and home offices around the world: chairs.

You could spend several hundred dollars on an ergonomic office chair. But in reality it only needs to meet a few criteria that you can often find in inexpensive computer chairs. When buying a chair, look for the following:

  • Lower back support what will help you keep a straight spine

  • Adjustable heights for the chair, the backrest, and the arm rests

  • A firm, but comfortable cushion that you wonít slide down on

Picking the right desk

The most important ergonomic factor of a desk is that you can easily fit your legs under it and donít have to crane over it to write.

Regardless of where you keep your keyboard, it will help if your arms can fall on it naturally and at a close to ninety-degree angle.

Screen height and distance

The vast majority of work performed at home is done with the use of a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet.

Ideally, the height of your screen should be adjusted so that you can view it straight on, and not have to look down or up at it. This will help protect your neck from strain.

For eye strain, itís a good idea to keep the monitor a couple feet from your eyes and to adjust the brightness so that itís easy to read but not too bright.

The best thing you can do to avoid headaches and eye strain is to set reminders for yourself to look away from the screen every twenty minutes or so or get up and go for a walk.

Take more breaks

Speaking of taking breaks; sitting in one position for too long can contribute to muscle and joint pain. If youíre working at home, it should be easy to get up and stretch or move around every half hour or so.

You donít have to take a long break; even a minute or two is sufficient enough to help take the strain off of your tired eyes and stiff back and neck.




Tags: home office   ergonomics  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Century 21 North East - Norton Group RE on 2/2/2020

Photo by Paul Brennan via Pixabay

If you're like many prospective homeowners who've been looking at listings lately in preparation for moving forward with purchasing property, you've noticed listings for foreclosures. Some people in your position are attracted by the idea of saving money on foreclosures, while others may simply have fallen in love with a home that just happens to have been repossessed by the lending institution. Foreclosures are sold primarily in two ways ó through public auctions and by private sales by the banks that own the property. Here's what you need to know about buying a foreclosed property.

Foreclosed Properties Are Sold As-Is

Homeowners typically at least apply a fresh coat of paint and perform basic repairs before putting their properties on the market, but foreclosed properties are sold as-is. Because most of them have been sitting empty for quite some time, they may require serious repairs. You may think you're getting quite a bargain and wind up having to pay so much for repairs that you actually haven't saved any money. 

Foreclosure Auctions Can Be Tricky

You won't be allowed to see the home prior to the foreclosure auction, so you'll be basically flying blind when you make your bid ó and this means that you have no way of knowing what repairs the inside of the home may need to make it livable and how much they will cost. Although you certainly can drive by the property and see what kind of condition the exterior and the yard are in, you legally can't enter it. Another issue with foreclosure auctions is that most of those who attend are professional real estate investors who are very familiar with the auction process who can easily outbid the average inexperienced bidder provided the property is worth what they want to pay. Furthermore, auction sales of foreclosures need to be paid for in cash, and most buyers simply don't have as much free liquid capital as investors do.

A Good Agent Can Help You Navigate a Foreclosure Purchase

However, if you've fallen in love with a particular foreclosure and it's not yet slated to be sold at auction, a good real estate agent may be able to help you purchase it.  Buying a bank-owned foreclosure comes with far fewer obstacles than purchasing their counterparts that are available via the auction process, and a skilled agent can walk you through it. You'll be able to inspect the property and get an idea of what repairs are going to run, which will provide you with protection against unforeseen financial losses. Bank-owned foreclosure sales happen just like their conventional counterparts, and it's also possible to get financing on foreclosed properties in this stage.  




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Century 21 North East - Norton Group RE on 1/26/2020

Getting a home inspection is usually built into the purchase contract for most real estate transactions. A home inspection contingency protects the buyer from getting any unwelcome surprises after they buy the home (think water damage or an HVAC system whose days are numbered).

In some cases, home inspections are the defining moment between a sale or moving on to other options.

In todayís post, weíre going to talk about the reasons you might want to get a home inspection whether youíre buying or selling a home.

Home inspections for buyers

Thereís a reason most real estate contracts come with an inspection contingency. Expensive, impending repairs on a home can greatly affect how much youíre willing to offer on a home, or if youíre willing to make an offer at all.

Some buyers opt out of an inspection. This can be done for numerous reasons. The most common reason is that the buyer has a personal relationship with the seller and has faith that they are getting the full story when it comes to the state of the house. The other reason is that a buyer is trying to gain a competitive edge over the competition on a home, sweetening the deal by waiving the inspection and paving the way for a quick sale.

Both of these reasons have their flaws. For one, the seller might not even know the full extent of the repairs a home may need and an appraisal might not catch all of the issues with a home.

Another reason a buyer may waive an inspection contingency is because the seller claims to have recently had the home inspected. While this may be true, buyers should still opt to hire their own professional. This way, they can guarantee that the inspection was done by someone who is licensed and has their best interests in mind.

Home inspections for sellers

As weíve seen, home inspections are typically designed to protect the interest of home buyers. However, sellers also stand to gain from ordering their own home inspection.

If youíre planning on selling within the next six months to a year, it will pay off to know exactly what issues the home currently has or will have in the near future. This will give you the chance to make repairs or address issues that could cause complications with your sale. You donít want to be on your way to closing on an offer to suddenly realize you need to pay and arrange for a new roof.

So, whether youíre a buyer or seller, home inspections can be immensely beneficial to learn more about your home or the home youíre planning on buying. It will help you be prepared to make repairs if youíre a buyer. Or, if youíre a seller, you can make a plan to negotiate repairs with the seller based on the findings of the inspection.





Posted by Century 21 North East - Norton Group RE on 1/19/2020

Photo by Vincent Rivaud from Pexels

When you buy a luxury home, you have several options when it comes to paying for the home. While some luxury buyers invest fully in the home and purchase outright, most find that opting for a mortgage of some type keeps options open and reserves capital for other things. Mortgages can be used for high end homes, but not all products are available -- or useful -- for this luxury space. Whether you are buying or selling, knowing what to expect when it comes to financing can help you strike the perfect deal. 

 Conventional Mortgages

Depending on where you live and the cost of the high end home, a conventional mortgage could be all you need. In parts of the country where a huge home in pristine condition still falls within the guidelines of a complying mortgage, this may be your best option. While it may not always work for you, exploring the conventional financing options is an ideal first step. 

Conventional loans are conforming loans – that fall within a specific set of guidelines. You can use a conventional loan for your own residence or for a vacation or investment home. Opting for this type of mortgage could result in lower costs to you (if you have at least 20% equity, you can avoid PMI). If the mortgage for your prospective home is under the limit of $453,100, then you can choose a conventional loan for your home.

That $453,100 limit is for mortgages in most areas, but a few select zip codes in the US allow for an even larger limit. In these high end locations, the limit for a conventional loan is much higher: $679,650. These limits are not the cost of the home itself, but the amount that you can borrow and still qualify for the conventional, conforming loan.

Jumbo Loans

When a conventional loan isn't quite right, or the loan amount for the home in question is over the stated conventional limits of $453 or $679K, then a jumbo loan will work best. These loans are designed for expensive, high end homes and properties and may have more stringent requirements when it comes to down payment amounts and the assets that need to remain on hand after the home purchase.

Aside from the differences in the amount of the loan, a jumbo loan works in a way that is very similar to a conventional loan. Expect to go through an underwriting process, to supply proof of income and to shop around for the best possible rates when you choose this option. 

No matter what product you choose, expect a luxury home mortgage to follow similar steps to a conventional one. Depending on the amount borrowed and the buyer's financial health, the process could take less time than a conventional one. 




Categories: Uncategorized