Titine Joyce - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Scituate



Posted by Titine Joyce on 2/14/2019

Like most Americans, you probably carry some debt. Reaching your dreams such as saving for a down payment or registering for a class takes longer when you're also paying on money you owe. Paying it off might seem daunting when the only way you know is to either make more money or reduce expenses. There are other ways, though, to tackle debt. Here are three.

The avalanche

When using the avalanche method to pay off debt, organize debt by the highest interest rate to the lowest. Any extra funds you can come up with go toward the debt with the highest interest rate until it is paid off. Then, move to the debt with the next highest interest rate. Take the whole payment amount of the first debt and add it to the payment of the second highest debt, paying it much more quickly. As each debt is paid, move to the next highest interest rate until all debt is paid. Proponents of this method believe your debt is paid off faster with the least amount of interest paid.

The Snowball

This popular method to pay off debt focuses on paying off the smallest debts first, then taking that payment and adding it to the payment for the next lowest debt. As you pay each debt, add that payment amount to the next smallest debt's payment. Each time you pay off one debt, the amount you can throw at the subsequent debt increases in the same way a snowball rolling down a hill gets bigger and bigger. Eventually, you can apply the final amount to your last debt and pay it off more quickly. Champions of this method believe paying off smaller debts first provides a psychological boost, encouraging you to stay on track. 

The snowflake

Both the avalanche method and the snowball method rely on your coming up with some extra cash in your monthly budget to throw at the first debt. But what if your budget is so tight that you can't add a regular amount to your monthly outgo? The snowflake method is different. Always pay minimums on all your debts, but whenever you have random cash, apply the extra to the smallest bill. So, if you sell something online or if a friend pays you back for dinner from a month ago, apply that extra to your smallest debt. Use birthday money, the five dollars you found in a coat pocket, or your tax refund to pay toward debt. Even though you’re not adding a regular amount to your debt payment, you can still reduce the balance and pay off your debt more quickly than by just making payments.

Reach your dreams

Once you’ve paid off your debt, continue to pay the final payment amount into a savings account toward a down payment or some other goal.





Posted by Titine Joyce on 2/7/2019

If you want to purchase a home, it may be beneficial to check out the residences available in a major city. In fact, there are many reasons to pursue a city house, and these include:

1. You can live near a variety of attractions and landmarks.

Most cities provide quick, easy access to attractions and landmarks. And if you purchase a city residence, you can explore a wide range of attractions and landmarks any time you choose.

Of course, it generally helps to plan ahead if you intend to buy a city residence. If you enter the real estate market with a homebuying strategy in hand, you can narrow your city house search to residences near your preferred attractions and landmarks.

2. You can upgrade or downgrade from your current residence.

If you find your current residence no longer matches your needs, don't stress. Houses are available in cities around the country so you can upgrade or downgrade from your current home.

Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start to explore city residences. If you are pre-approved for a mortgage, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a city home. Then, you can hone your city house search and speed up the homebuying journey.

3. You can find a residence close to family members and friends in the city.

If your family members and friends frequently rave about life in the city, now may be the perfect time to join them. And if you kick off a city house search, you can find a great home that allows you to live close to loved ones.

The city real estate market often fluctuates, and a housing sector that favors buyers today may shift into sellers' favor tomorrow. Thus, if you want to buy a city home near loved ones, you should allocate time and resources to learn about the local housing sector. Because if you have housing market insights at your disposal, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market and prepare accordingly.

As you get ready to launch a search for a home in the city of your choice, you may want to hire a real estate agent too. By employing a real estate agent, you can get the help you need to streamline your city house search.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you, find out where you want to reside in your city of choice and help you budget for the homebuying journey. He or she also will keep you up to date about city residences that meet your homebuying criteria. And if you find a city residence that you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this home.

Simplify the process of locating and purchasing your ideal city home. Hire a real estate agent today, and you can receive extensive assistance at each stage of the property buying journey.




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Posted by Titine Joyce on 1/31/2019

One aspect of house hunting that some prospective home buyers overlook is security. Perhaps it's because they're looking at homes in "nice neighborhoods, where you shouldn't have to worry about that sort of thing happening." Maybe another reason they're paying little or no attention to security issues is that they're more preoccupied with the layout of the kitchen, the size of the backyard, and the condition of the master bathroom.

Even though there are dozens of details to compare and think about when you're house hunting, security features are important enough to include in your checklist. By letting your real estate agent know that home security is a high priority for you, they'll hopefully point out security features that they notice and perhaps ask the listing agent for any additional information on things like installed alarms systems, deadbolt locks, or security lighting on the property.

As a side note, if the present owner has recently installed an extensive security system in the house, you can also use that as an opportunity (excuse) to inquire about crime in the neighborhood and whether there have been any recent incidents in the area. Additional research may need to be done to ferret out that information.

As you check out different houses that your buyers' agent shows you, here are a few security-related checkpoints to keep in mind:

  • Do the doors look solid and are they secured by deadbolt locks?
  • Do first-floor windows have functional and securely locking mechanisms?
  • Are there any outside floodlights, lamp posts, and/or other forms of illumination around the house?
  • Are there any overgrown bushes next to the house that could conceal a burglar's attempt to enter the house through a window?
  • Are there any fences on the premises that might discourage a burglar from entering the property?
  • Do the main entrances have locking storm doors that provide an extra layer of security?
  • Are there any other security vulnerabilities that you or your real estate agent think need addressing, either now or in the immediate future?
While that list may not include every possible security feature and potential weakness to look for when touring homes for sale, it will hopefully heighten your awareness about the need to prioritize home security -- even before you actually close on a house and move in.

When you do find the ultimate house for you and your family, it's always a good idea to change the locks on all external doors as soon as possible. You never know how many duplicate keys have been circulated over the years to contractors, neighbors, cleaning people, pet sitters, house sitters, and family members. One way to take control of your new home's security situation is to make sure there are no extra house keys floating around in the hands of people you don't know.





Posted by Titine Joyce on 1/24/2019

If you're on the fence about whether to reject or accept an offer to purchase, it is important to remember that a third option is available: submitting a counter-offer.

Ultimately, deciding to submit a counter-offer can be a tough choice for first-time and experienced house sellers alike. But we're here to teach you about the benefits of counter-offers and ensure you feel confident to submit a counter-proposal as needed.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you decide when to submit a counter-offer.

1. Assess Your Residence

Although the initial asking price for your house is not set in stone, you likely have expectations about how much you should receive for your home. But if a homebuyer submits an offer to purchase that falls below your expectations, you should assess your residence to help you make the best-possible decision.

Try to take an objective view of your home – you'll be glad you did. For instance, if you discover your home is one of many similar properties available in a buyer's market, you may want to accept an offer to purchase, even if it falls below your expectations. On the other hand, if you feel that your home is in great condition and you receive an offer to purchase that is short of your initial asking price, you may want to counter the proposal or reject it altogether.

2. Review the Housing Market

Housing market data can help any home seller make informed decisions throughout the property selling journey. There is plenty of housing market data at your disposal, and you should not hesitate to use it, especially when you analyze an offer to purchase.

Oftentimes, it helps to look at the prices of recently sold residences, the prices of available residences in your area that are similar to your own and other pertinent housing market data. With this information, you can gain deep insights into the housing market. Then, you can determine whether an offer to purchase falls in line with the current state of the real estate sector.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

There is no need to review an offer to purchase on your own. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can get the help you need to perform an in-depth analysis of any offer to purchase.

A real estate agent is a house selling expert who will allocate the necessary time and resources to help you review an offer to purchase. He or she can provide a recommendation about whether to counter a homebuying proposal and explain the reasons for this recommendation as well. Plus, if you ever have concerns or questions about an offer to purchase, a real estate agent is happy to address them.

Should you counter an offer to purchase? The answer depends on the home seller, the real estate market and other factors. And if you use the aforementioned tips, you can perform a full evaluation of an offer to purchase and proceed accordingly.





Posted by Titine Joyce on 1/17/2019

If you want to purchase a home, it pays to establish a homebuying budget. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand and narrow your search for your dream house.

Now, let's take a look at three best practices to help you create a homebuying budget.

1. Look at Your Finances

Your finances will play a major role in your ability to purchase a home. Thus, you should evaluate your current financial situation closely so you can map out an effective homebuying journey.

Request a copy of your credit report – you'll be glad you did. You are eligible for a free copy of your credit report from each of the three reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) annually. Take advantage of this complimentary perk, and you can gain deep insights into your outstanding debt.

If you have outstanding debt, try to pay this down as much as possible. That way, you can boost your credit score, which ultimately will help you improve your chances to acquire your ideal residence.

2. Meet with Banks and Credit Unions

When it comes to buying a home, meeting with banks and credit unions usually is a great idea. That way, you can learn about your home loan options and get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Apply for a mortgage from several banks and credit unions. Then, you can receive various mortgage quotes and select one that suits you perfectly.

Also, don't hesitate to ask plenty of questions during a lender consultation. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage professionals – all of whom are happy to help you make an informed mortgage decision. Therefore, if you're unsure about whether to proceed with a 15- or 30-year mortgage or can't decide between an adjustable- or fixed-rate mortgage, you can ask these mortgage professionals for expert advice.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A homebuying budget is tricky to establish on your own, especially if you are entering the real estate market for the first time. Fortunately, a real estate agent can help you plan ahead for all stages of the homebuying cycle.

During a real estate agent consultation, a housing market professional will learn about your homebuying goals. Next, this professional will help you establish realistic homebuying expectations and ensure you can discover a great house at a budget-friendly price.

Of course, let's not forget about the world-class support that a real estate agent provides after you kick off a home search, either.

A real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you informed about open houses and offer homebuying recommendations and suggestions. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf to help you get the best price on a house.

Ready to begin your search for your dream home? Use the aforementioned best practices, and you can craft a homebuying budget and start your homebuying journey.




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