Archive for the ‘Buyers’ Category

The loan process. The buying process. Lots to think about and remember. So nervous, don’t remember what your Realtor said. Sound familiar? You’re not alone.


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Here in the suburbs north of Boston, first-time homebuyers are coming out of the woodwork and buying homes. It’s so exciting to be a part of the economic recovery, witnessing first-time buyers getting into the game and taking advantage of this incredible moment in history. The TAX CREDIT of $8,000 doesn’t hurt either. Did you know you can get your money early? To find out more about the tax credit, read my other posts.

Give me a call if I can help you buy your home.

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Calling all first-timers!  Here is a Q&A written and published by the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS regarding YOUR First-Time Homebuyer’s Tax Credit.  Contact me with any questions:

Frequently Asked Questions 

In 2008, Congress enacted a $7500 tax credit designed to be an incentive for first-time homebuyers to purchase a home. The credit was designed as a mechanism to decrease the over-supply of homes for sale. For 2009, Congress has increased the credit to $8000 and made several additional improvements. This revised $8000 tax credit applies to purchases on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009. Tax Credits — The Basics 

1. What’s this new homebuyer tax incentive for 2009? 


The 2008 $7500, repayable credit is increased to $8000 and the repayment feature is eliminated for 2009 purchasers. Any home that is purchased for $80,000 or more qualifies for the full $8000 amount. If the house costs less than $80,000, the credit will be 10% of the cost. Thus, if an individual purchased a home for $75,000, the credit would be $7500. It is available for the purchase of a principal residence on or after January 1, 2009 and before December 1, 2009. 

2. Who is eligible? 


Only first-time homebuyers are eligible. A person is considered a first-time buyer if he/she has not had any ownership interest in a home in the three years previous to the day of the 2009 purchase. 

3. How does a tax credit work? 


Every dollar of a tax credit reduces income taxes by a dollar. Credits are claimed on an individual’s income tax return. Thus, a qualified purchaser would figure out all the income items and exemptions and make all the calculations required to figure out his/her total tax due. Then, once the total tax owed has been computed, tax credits are applied to reduce the total tax bill. So, if before taking any credits on a tax return a person has total tax liability of $9500, an $8000 credit would wipe out all but $1500 of the tax due. ($9,500 – $8000 = $1500) 

4. So what happens if the purchaser is eligible for an $8000 credit but their entire income tax liability for the year is only $6000? 


This tax credit is what’s called “refundable” credit. Thus, if the eligible purchaser’s total tax liability was $6000, the IRS would send the purchaser a check for $2000. The refundable amount is the difference

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Okay, would-be homebuyers, check out the hot-off-the-press information on The Tax Credit.  As I’ve been saying for a while now, it’s a GREAT time to buy your first home.  If you need more information, read on for posts on credit, working with a Buyer’s Agent, and how the whole home-buying process works.  
Yes, Virginia, you CAN be a homeowner.
Click on this link for the Homebuyer Tax Credit:

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oxThis is the year of the OX. President Obama, born in the year of the Ox, has called upon all Americans to be steadfast and strong, hard working, to dig deep to find our resolve, tenacity, will to sustain ourselves in these extraordinarily challenging times. We are being called upon to be oxen.

Here in the Northeast, many homeowners who were thinking of putting the house on the market are now “upside down” so are staying put; homebuyers who wanted to upgrade are now needing to wait to see if they still have jobs; first-timers are worried that their credit scores are not high enough, their FICO reports aren’t squeaky clean enough. Everyone wants to know if the mortgage rates will fall lower, if housing prices will continue to decline.

The Question of the Year is: when will we hit bottom?

Many forecast that the Boston market, one of the first to plunge, is now on the upswing. So the bottom may finally be here.

It’s the Year Of The Ox. Are you ready for it?

You need honest, practical advice about the current market value of YOUR home. If you’re hoping to get started with your new home search, or if you’re thinking about renovating or staging your home to sell, you need a professional who’s in the trenches every day.

These are extraordinary times. Make sure you have an extraordinary Realtor on your team.













Five facts about the Year of the Ox

By GREG MORAGO Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle

The Lunar New Year, which begins today, ushers in the Year of the Ox. Those born under the Ox sign are dependable, calm, modest and stable. But the ox (or buffalo, cow or bull) takes on added significance in a year of global financial hardship, explains Nine-Min Cheng, community outreach director of Houston’s Chinese Community Center. “We need the Year of the Ox. We want a bull market,” says Cheng.


1. Bullish on Obama

President Obama, who has pledged to begin rehabilitating the economy, was born in an ox year. Those born in this year achieve through hard work and routine.

2. True blues

The ox, according to Chinese astrology, is the best friend you could choose. So are ox celebrities Meryl Streep, George Clooney, Dustin Hoffman, Jane Fonda and Warren Beatty good to their friends? Other ox celebrities include Meg Ryan, Bruce Springsteen, Bill Cosby, Robert Redford and Jim Carrey.

3. Know thy Ox

Ox lucky numbers, according to an online horoscope, are 1, 3, 5, 12, 15, 33, 35, 51 and 53. Ox careers include composer, landlord, doctor, cook, police officer, teacher, judge, banker, insurance broker and gardener.

4. Money talks

At Chinese New Year, elders give young people red envelopes filled with money. “In the western world, people exchange gifts,” Cheng says. “We exchange cash.”

5. Party like it’s 2009

The Chinese Community Center has its Lunar New Year Festival Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the center, 9800 Town Park. Cheng urges Chinese families to wear a traditional festival costume of bright colors. “The new year means a new dress,” she says. The festival is free and features dances and Asian food. Although, one assumes, no ox.

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by Katherine Waters-Clark

fall-cottage3The two little words, “We’re moving!” can stir up some very big emotions.  We might be thrilled — we’ve found our “dream house,” landed the job of a lifetime in our favorite city,  or finally saved enough to buy that farmhouse we’ve always loved. But it’s just as likely that we’re more than a little heartbroken – we’re empty-nesters who are downsizing , we’re relocating away from our family, we’re going through a divorce, surviving a death, or foreclosing on a house we can no longer afford. 

Whatever the reason, for better or worse, last year alone, millions of Americans changed addresses.  The transition has the potential to bring up a whirlwind of emotions, throwing us way off balance.

When we start to think about moving, most of us get frantically busy, arranging for moving vans, extra boxes, new paint, schools for the kids.  We push away the emotional pull seeing our son’s initials carved in the backyard oak tree.  We brush away tears when we drive by our favorite corner store.  We convince ourselves that we’ll be FINE – once we get THE MOVE over with.  Besides, we’re way too busy with the move to get all emotional.  Trouble is, once the SOLD sign is in the yard, and move is underway, we and our families are just that – all emotional.

We are emotional because we are human. We are deeply connected to those initials in the tree and that corner store.  This place that we’re leaving, our home, is where our daughter became an All-Star, our son kissed his future partner, our dad spent his final Thanksgiving.  Leaving our home is so much more than packing up the glasses, broom-sweeping the floors, signing the papers, and handing over the keys.  Our hearts and souls are buried deep within our homes. 

So how do we pull up those deep roots and leave our hearts and souls intact?  How do we maintain our equilibrium while handing over our home?

Perhaps if we put down the packing tape for a moment, we can gently say goodbye to our home, mourn the loss with our family, and let go before we leave. 

Where to begin?  These 5 “Goodbye” exercises will help.  Read them over, and if one or two resonate for you, then try them.  If you can, try them alone, with a close friend or partner, and with your children.

They will provide an emotional road map for the journey leading up to — and beyond — moving day.  Think of them as your Emotional Action Plan for integrating the emotions and the logistics of your moving day,  a “how-to” guide for acknowledging and embracing all the feelings that arise from leaving home.

1.    Reflect and Remember

grandparents-in-yardSpend some quiet time in each part of your home, inside and out. Try to recall 5 memories (wonderful or bittersweet) that took place in each spot — behind the garage, in the yard, in the living room.  Write a journal, create a videotape, or simply say them out loud, even if you’re alone.  Validate your memories – good and bad.

2.   Celebrate and Mourn

family-campfireMake a safe bonfire in your backyard (the barbecue grill or a candle work, too).  On scraps of paper, write down 5 things that you’ve loved and hated about your house, your neighborhood, and your life in this home.  One by one, toss those scraps of paper into the fire or barbecue, or burn them over the candle.  If you’d like, save a copy of this list before burning.  Create a saying (or blessing) to say (outloud or silently) each time a scrap of paper hits the flames.  “We love you, old home!”  “Goodbye, 12 River Street!” “I bless this house and I release it from my life.”  “We won’t forget our home!” and so on.

3.    Capture and Contain

Couple taking photos.Videotape the kids’ rooms.  Take a photo journal of the walls, the curtains, and the pictures on the wall. Ask the kids to “direct” the film.   Use this video to “recreate” or just remember the old room in the new house.  Walk around town, school, work, and photograph the local shops, your favorite teachers, the “gang” hanging out.  Make a DVD, create a photo album, or take footage of “an ordinary day” in the life of your home your town, your life here.

4.   Welcome The New

writing-letterWrite a “welcome” letter to the new homeowners (don’t forget, they’ve just moved, too).  Tell them about the secret room in the basement and the tree fort.  Let them know the best grocery store, the shortcut to the ball field, the name of a good babysitter.  Leave the letter for them on the counter, mail it to them the day you leave, or hide it in a secret place and wonder if they’ll ever find it!

 5.    Leave It Behind

dog-digging-in-yardjpg2Create an “Our Home” time capsule and bury it in the yard, in the wall, or in a secret place.  Make sure each family member puts in something special – but not something they’ll miss having later!  A note, a button from your jacket, a photo of your family, a newspaper with the date.


While some of these ceremonies will be difficult to start and get through, give yourself this very special Moving Day gift.  By taking the time to say goodbye to your old home, you will clear a space in your hearts and souls for the wonderful homes and lives of your future – wherever they may be!

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Wondering just HOW important your credit score is when you go to get a mortgage? One word: VERY. If you’re looking to buy a property in the next few months, get your credit pulled ASAP. Your loan officer can help you through the process. There may be leftover credit history items that are still lingering, or have never been removed, that will negatively affect your score – sometimes by 40 points! Getting credit cleaned up can take up to three months or longer in some cases.

Not sure where to begin cleaning up your credit? Contact me and I’ll be happy to help.

To give you an idea of credit score and loan rates, here are the very latest rates available according to credit score:

Credit Purchase Refinance no cash out
Score Equity 20% $400K loan Equity 20% $400K loan

740 4.625% 4.875%
720 4.750% 5.000%
700 4.875% 5.500%
680 5.125% 5.625%
660 5.625% 6.875%
640 6.250% 6.875% .5 pt
620 6.875% 6.875% .75 pts

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