Matt Gamache - Touchstone Realty



Posted by Matt Gamache on 7/1/2020

Image by Gino Crescoli from Pixabay

Although a 20 percent down payment is no longer the norm, you still need to save a considerable amount to cover all the initial costs of buying a home. With median down payments at seven percent, a $250,000 home will require a down payment of $17,500. Plus, you need to have funds for all the closing costs, including title fees. Thankfully, to get started in putting away that $20,000, or more, you do not have to make monumental changes to your finances. Just these small ones will do — and it can be a lot of fun, too!

Tuck Away All Your Fivers

To start your savings off right, you can tuck away every five dollar bill that comes your way. Simply put the fivers in an envelope as they appear, then deposit the whole lot at the end of the week. If you do not regularly carry cash, however, you can adjust this method to transferring the five bucks over to savings anytime your balance ends in a 5 or 0. That’s it. By the end of the year, you will marvel at how many fives have piled up.

Get Rolling with a Nickel

To take a progressive savings approach, all you need to start with is a nickel. On day one, take a nickel from your pocket and plunk it into a jar. Then, on the next day, put in 10 cents, then 15, then 20, and continue on in this manner until the end of the year. By day 365, you will only have to put in $18.25 to complete this savings plan. You can also switch it up a bit by working from $18.25 and moving downward or alternating from either end of the scale with 5 cents here, then $18 there. At the end, you will have more than $3,000 in savings without batting an eye.

Round It Up & Into Savings

Another painless way to save is by rounding up each and every one of your purchases, putting the remainder into savings. Although you will only put away 99 cents at most each purchase, the funds will add up quickly and leave you with plenty in the account by year’s end.  

Chart Out a Sinking Fund

If you just love to see your progress in action, chart out a sinking fund to track your savings. Simply print an outline of a house and create a lined chart up the side, starting at zero and moving all the way up to your savings goal. Then, fill in the home from the bottom up as you deposit money into savings. To figure out how much to save in your sinking fund, just divide your goal by the number of months you want it to take.

Since these saving methods do not require much of a lifestyle change, they can be a lot of fun to complete, especially as you see your balance grow. Just keep making small adjustments to your finances to continue to build your savings and your dreams of homeownership will come into focus before you know it.




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Posted by Matt Gamache on 6/24/2020

Let's face it – selling a home in a buyer's market is far from ideal. In this scenario, a home seller likely will compete with many property sellers to promote his or her residence. And despite a home seller's best efforts, there are no guarantees that he or she will be able to maximize the value of a residence.

A buyer's market often is a dream come true for property buyers and a worst nightmare for property sellers. Lucky for you, we're here to help you navigate a buyer's market and ensure you can get the best price for your home.

Now, let's take a look at three tips that every home seller who is operating in a buyer's market needs to know.

1. Complete a Home Appraisal

A home appraisal offers a valuable opportunity for a home seller because it enables this individual to identify a property's strengths and weaknesses. That way, a home seller can find the best ways to enhance a residence and help it stand out from other available properties.

Typically, a home appraiser will inspect a residence both inside and out. After the evaluation is completed, the home appraiser will provide a home seller with a report that describes problem areas that were identified during the assessment.

A home appraisal report can make a world of difference for a home seller, particularly in a buyer's market. With this report in hand, a home seller can work toward enhancing a house's interior and exterior.

2. Establish a Competitive Price for Your Residence

What you paid for your home a few years is unlikely to match the value of your house today. Meanwhile, a home seller should set a competitive price for a residence to ensure that his or her house stirs up plenty of interest from homebuyers.

To determine a competitive price, examine the prices of comparable homes that are currently available in your area. This will help you establish a price range for houses similar to your own.

Furthermore, check out the prices of recently sold homes in your city or town. This housing market data can help you make an informed decision about how to price your residence.

3. Work with an Experienced Real Estate Agent

An experienced real estate agent is unafraid to list a home in a buyer's market. In fact, this housing market professional knows exactly what it takes to sell a residence in any real estate market, at any time.

Thanks to an experienced real estate agent, you can streamline the home selling process. This real estate professional will showcase your house to the right groups of property buyers consistently. He or she also will set up home showings and open houses, negotiate with property buyers on your behalf and do everything possible to help you optimize the value of your residence.

Take the guesswork out of selling a home in a buyer's market. Use these tips, and you can keep things simple as you sell your residence.




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Posted by Matt Gamache on 6/17/2020

A condo can be a great resource in expanding your property search for a home. Condos allow the same benefits of traditional single family home ownership with slightly less hassle. If you have been juggling the idea of buying a condo versus a traditional home, you may be in luck. The first thing you should worry about is whether or not your needs will actually be met by condo living. Do you want a big yard? Are you comfortable having neighbors super close by? Most importantly, you need to make an informed decision that will help you to find the kind of property that’s right for you.


The Advantages


If you want a secure space and living that provides you with easy upkeep, a condo is really a great option. Condos provide many advantages that people may have not even thought of until now. 


Great Amenities


Condo living has different perks than that of traditional homes. Your condominium complex can include things like a swimming pool, a clubhouse, community events, tennis courts, fitness centers, and more. You won’t get all of these little extras living in a single family home. It can be a great environment for both single people and families alike.    


Security


Condos often offer either a gated community or security staff on the premises. These features allow you to feel a lot more secure in your home environment. Security will keep rowdy kids from roaming the property and only allow owners and their visitors. This feature alone may be worth it for many home buyers when shopping for a place to live.   


No Maintenance


If you’re the type of person who doesn’t enjoy yard work and is not a DIYer, condo living could be for you. Included with your condo fees is the ability to have different things in and around your home taken care of. Although the fees include different extras from place to place, Living in a condo is definitely less work as far as home care goes than a traditional house.


Price


Although condos do include additional fees, the price point of most condos is much lower than that of a traditional home. If you are just starting out, a condo is a great way to ease into homeownership without needing to save up an exorbitant amount of money for a downpayment.


The Disadvantages


While condo living has many different advantages, they do carry some disadvantages for people. These include:


  • HOA Fees
  • Lack of privacy
  • A difficult sell if you want to move
  • You live under management rules



These points can be deal breakers for some buyers. While many relish their freedom from maintenance responsibility, others just want to do as they please with their yard without needing approval. A condo could be a great choice for you in your own situation, you just need to step back and look at the pros and cons.





Posted by Matt Gamache on 6/10/2020

Whether you're looking for your first house, a vacation home, or a retirement condo, there's always an element of excitement in finding a new place you can call your own!

Although buying and selling real estate can be stressful, especially if you've never done it before, being prepared and knowing what to expect can help keep things on an even keel.

Similar to planning a vacation or a cross-country trip, you'll want to avoid missed connections, frustrating delays, and wasted time. When it comes to buying a home, a little research, planning, and expert advice can go a long way toward ensuring a smooth journey. Here are a few specifics:

Check your credit score: Your credit rating has a major impact on your ability to successfully apply for a mortgage and be offered a relatively low interest rate. Knowing your credit rating can help you understand your options, avoid unexpected surprises, and take action to correct errors in your credit report or improve your credit profile.

Prepare a wish list: One of the keys to getting what you want in a new home is to clarify and prioritize the features that matter the most to you. Your checklist can include everything from lot size and architectural style to the reputation of the school district and proximity to stores. Some house hunters also place a high value on features like a fireplace, screened-in porch, and an open floor plan.

Find a good real estate agent: A buyers' agent can provide you with an immense amount of help in finding properties for sale that meet your specifications. They can also provide assistance, advice, and guidance on the many steps involved in going from loan applicant to new home owner. An experienced agent can also negotiate the best possible deal, in terms of price, seller concessions, and other advantages.

Meet with mortgage lenders: A crucial step in preparing to become a homeowner is understanding the mortgage application process, knowing how much banks would be willing to lend you, and determining an affordable price range. Meeting with lenders is also the first step to comparing interest rates and choosing a financial institution that would best suit your needs. Here's a helpful tip from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: "Getting a preapproval letter helps you show sellers that you are a serious buyer – but it doesn’t commit you to a lender."

When it comes to searching for and buying a house, probably the best advice anyone could give you is "stay the course!" Let's face it: It's easy to give up, get discouraged, or settle for a home that's less than what you really want. However, when you adopt a "stay the course" mindset, you'll do a better job of staying motivated, focused, and well organized until you find just the right home for you, your family, and your future!





Posted by Matt Gamache on 6/3/2020

There is always an undeniable appeal to move into a brand new home. After all, there shouldn’t be any problems with a new construction home, right? While shiny new appliances and brand new flooring can be appealing, there are many advantages to buying an older home.


The Price


It may seem obvious, but older homes are less expensive than newer homes. You might be able to get a bit more for your money if you decide to buy an older home. 


Construction Quality


Older homes tend to have a bit better quality in their construction. Some aspects of older construction homes cannot even be reproduced with all of the technology that we have in the present day. It’s often true that “they don’t build homes like they used to.” Certain building materials of the past are actually more sturdy than the materials that are used in the present day. Older homes have stood the test of time for a reason! 


The Location Is An Established Neighborhood


If you’re not looking to move into an up and coming neighborhood, you could be better off buying an older construction home. You’ll know that a neighborhood has already been established and that people have enjoyed living in the area for years before you got there when you find an older home to purchase. In finding a neighborhood, you’ll look at the important factors like the school district, the walkability of the area and the crime rate. Older homes tend to be in more stable areas. Keep that in mind. 


Older Homes Have More Personality


Sure, you could move into a street with new construction and be happy there. Yet, if you move into an older home, you will find a lot of advantages. The landscaping may be more well-established, allowing you to find your favorite features on the outside of the home right when you move in. In a new home, it could take years to establish the same type of curb appeal that you’ll get from moving into an older home.    

 

There’s More Space In An Older Home


An older home may afford you much more yard space and overall square footage. As the world gets more and more developed, space runs short. Older homes were constructed at times when space was at a maximum. These homes were built on larger lots, giving homeowners the advantage of more space. 


While you may think that buying a new construction home is the way to go, older homes offer many different things that newer construction homes just can’t bring to the table. Broaden your search and look for older homes, you could be very surprised!