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via 16 Water Street, Winchester, MA | Powered by Postlets.

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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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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:
file:///Users/katherinewatersclark/Desktop/TAX%20CREDIT%202009.pdf

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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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Hmmm. Should you stay or should you go? These days, many Homeowners, when deciding about selling,  are staying put.  
Still wish you could have a bigger kitchen, an updated bathroom, a fresh face on your old home?  check out my renovation tips!

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You’ve got good credit, you’ll GET a good tax credit, and you’ve been saving for your down payment.  You’ve even gotten pre-approved. You don’t have a property to sell, and you’re really sick of renting. You no longer want to pay someone else’s mortgage. You’re ready to make a change.

Sounds like this could be YOUR year to become a homeowner.

Not sure where to begin?  Okay, let’s back up.

Although you can certainly look for a home on your own – lots of people do – you may end up surfing the Internet till all hours for listings, dragging your missing-football-game partner, your missing-naptime new baby, or your missing-patience mother-in-law to Open Houses all winter long, trying in vain to figure out WHAT to offer for a house. What if you offer too much? How will you know?

Once you get a house “under agreement,” what happens when the Inspection doesn’t go well? What if you need a new roof or heating system and the Seller won’t pay for it? What if there are termites? What if your financing falls apart right before your P&S? What do you do then? Remember that Listing Agent? Well, they work for the SELLER, not for you. Their job is to get the BEST deal for the Seller. So who’s going to help YOU?

If you had a Buyer’s Agent, you could turn to them.

So… just what is a Buyer’s Agent? What will a Buyer’s Agent do for you? And more importantly, how much does a Buyer’s Agent cost?

WORKING WITH A BUYER’S AGENT IS FREE.   A Buyer’s Agent earns a commission at closing that is a portion of the fee that the Seller has agreed to pay an agent.  So the fee is paid from the proceeds of the sale of a home.

What Is A Buyer’s Agent?

A Buyer’s Agent is a real estate professional who works for home buyers. A good Buyer’s Agent will be your advocate, assertively guiding and advising you through every step of the complex homebuying process. A Buyer’s Agent will put your best interests first, negotiating the best price, terms for your new home.

Working with a Buyer’s Agent will save you stress, time and money.

How Much Does a Buyer’s Agent Cost?

Working with a Buyer’s Agent is FREE.

How Does A Buyer’s Agent Get Paid?

A Buyer’s Agent is paid a percentage of the proceeds of the sale from the Seller at closing. When a homeowner decides to sell his/her property with a Realtor (the Listing Agent), they agree to pay that agent a percentage of the sale as commission. The Listing Agent works for the Seller to market the home and find a Buyer. Their loyalty lies with the Seller, not the Buyer. When the house is sold, that commission goes to the Listing Agent. If there is a Buyer’s Agent (which there usually is North of Boston), then the commission is split between the Selling Agent and the Buying Agent.

So, there is NO upfront cost to you when you work with a Buyer’s Agent.

A Buyer’s Agent will help you:

  • Recruit your Home Team: lender, real estate attorney, and inspector.
  • Advise and assist you with the pre-approval process.
  • Find and preview properties for you.
  • Schedule showings for you.
  • Tour houses with you.
  • Formulate Offers and Counteroffers with you.
  • Oversee inspections, radon tests, contingencies, paperwork.
  • Manage all aspects of your purchase & sale and closing.
  • Assist in assembling your Move-In Team: home insurance company, movers, roofers, house cleaners, plumbers, electricians, and painters.

Don’t forget: unless you’re buying a home directly from an Owner (FSBO), the real estate agent that’s listing the house works for the Seller – not you. Why shouldn’t you be represented, too?!

It’s oh-so-much easier to work with a Buyer’s Agent then to go it alone.

Especially if it’s FREE.

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Ask anyone about “Home” and they are sure to quickly conjure up memories, feelings, names and faces.  It’s right below the surface –  that destination about which poets and lyricists have long written, the childhood spot we journey back to for holidays and on summer vacations.  Home is the screened-in porch where we sit at the end of the day, the back yard where we entertain friends, or front stoop where we chat with neighbors.  Families create years of memories at home.  We remember home when we look for our own place.

What about you?  What’s Home?  Perhaps a sleek condo in the city with views of the river, or a two-bedroom, one-bath, fixer-upper in the suburbs; how about a multi-family with room for mom and dad, or a sprawling farm house with woods and land?  Maybe all of these will be Home during your lifetime.

The wonderful thing about real estate is that there is a home out there for everyone at every stage of life.    

My mission in this blog is to provide you with knowledge, support and strategies to help you find or sell you and your family’s home.   I will share up to-date-information on the local market, home-buying and selling tips as well as my thoughts about Home and Home Life.

Thank you for reading.  I look forward to hearing from you, and I welcome the opportunity to earn your business.  

Katherine Waters-Clark, REALTOR ABR


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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