Chris Werme and Mike Boland - ERA Key Realty Services - Westborough



Posted by Chris Werme and Mike Boland on 6/2/2020

It can be difficult to find the extra savings to put towards your first home as a renter. With rent and utility prices rising, most people’s paychecks are leaving them with less and less savings at the end of the month.

Buying your first home, however, can be a great long-term financial decision. It will help you build equity, and, eventually, you’ll be able to use that equity toward another home or toward retiring.

In today’s post, we’ll talk about some of the ways to save for a down payment while renting an apartment.

How much to save

In order to make the most of your first home purchase, you’ll want to save up as much of a down payment as possible. This will help you receive the lowest interest rate and reduce the amount you’ll pay toward interest.

If you can manage to save 20% of the loan, you’ll also be able to waive private mortgage insurance (PMI), that would otherwise set you back around $100 per month or more.

Smart ways to save while renting

If you’re ready to get serious about saving for your first down payment, let’s talk about the best way to approach your savings plan.

Pay off small debts

If you’ve had that lingering credit card debt that you’ve never quite paid off, now is the time. Take a look at your current debts. Pay off the smaller balances first and focus on debt with the highest interest rate.

This will enable you to start making larger deposits toward your down payment savings sooner and can help you avoid needlessly paying interest on small loans and credit card debt.

Open a dedicated account or CD

The best way to make sure you contribute to your down payment savings plan is to open a savings account or take out a CD (certificate of deposit).

A savings account with a high-interest return is a good option for people who are worried that they may need to access their funds before they’re ready to buy a home.

If you’re comfortable with not being able to access your funds until a set date, then a CD could help you save more money.

Since CDs are a one-time payment, many people choose to combine both CDs and high-interest savings accounts to achieve their savings goals.

Regardless of which option you choose, be sure to shop around for the highest interest rate. Online banks tend to have higher rates than traditional banks and are also easy to sign up for.

Direct deposit a portion of your pay

Opening a bank account or CD won’t do you any good if you don’t commit to contributing to it. If you are paid via direct deposit, visit your HR office and ask them to reassign a portion of your weekly pay to your new account.

By following these tips, you’ll be able to better prepare for your down payment. Don’t  wait! The sooner you start saving, the sooner you’ll be able to purchase your first home.





Posted by Chris Werme and Mike Boland on 5/12/2020

Home prices may vary greatly throughout the country. But, buying a home is most likely the largest purchase you will make in your life.

Deciding just how much to spend on your home isn’t just a matter of numbers--it also depends on your lifestyle and long-term goals.

In today’s post, I’m going to give you a few ways you can help determine how much is a safe amount to spend on your home so that you’ll feel confident moving into the home buying process that you’re making the best decision for you and your family.

Mortgage as a percent of your income

Like most large purchases, buying a home typically isn’t dependent on the amount you have in the bank. Rather, it depends on several factors including your income, credit score, and the type of lifestyle you want to maintain.

One of the simplest ways to determine how much house you can afford is to figure out what percent of your monthly income your mortgage and insurance will be.

For most homeowners, a mortgage payment that is 25% of their income or less is ideal. So, if you earn $6,000 per month, you don’t want your monthly mortgage payment to exceed $1,500.

This “25% rule” does have one flaw, however, and that does not--and cannot--account for each individual’s financial circumstances.

Let’s say, for example, that you earn $6,000 per month, but that you have a large monthly car payment and are trying to aggressively pay off your student loans. You might find that paying another $1,500 toward a mortgage on top of your current bills is bringing you over budget, especially when combined with your other monthly expenses and retirement contributions.

Plan for homeowner expenses

Another caveat to determining how much to spend on a home is that the home itself will require a budget for maintenance. When renting an apartment, repairs are mostly the responsibility of the landlord or property manager.

Homeownership, on the other hand, requires you to make the repairs yourself or hire a professional. And, if you neglect these repairs, you might find that they cost you even more in the long run or drive down the value of your home.

Create a comprehensive budget

Throughout a given person’s life, they’ll experience raises, promotions, layoffs, medical expenses, childcare costs, and any other number of financial changes. While it isn’t possible to foresee all of the financial fluctuations you’ll experience in life, it is always helpful to have a comprehensive budget.

What do I mean by “comprehensive budget”? The goal of a good budget is to know where each dollar of your income is currently going and to have a plan for each cent that you make. This is a proactive approach to budgeting that will give you an exact number for the amount you can afford when it comes to a mortgage payment.

Within your budget, it’s vital to account for things like an emergency fund, retirement, savings for vacations, and so on.

If you take this due diligence, not only will you have a better sense of where your money goes, but you’ll also be confident in knowing exactly how much you can spend on a home.




Tags: Buying a home   budgeting  
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Posted by Chris Werme and Mike Boland on 4/21/2020

Obtaining a home loan is a must for most homebuyers. However, assessing a wide range of home loan options and making the best-possible decision can be difficult, particularly for a buyer who is evaluating these options for the first time.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you perform a deep analysis of home loan options and make an informed decision.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you evaluate different home loan options.

1. Find Out How a Home Loan Works

The home loans that one lender offers may differ from the options provided by another lender. As such, you'll want to learn the ins and outs of each available home loan to guide your decision-making process.

Understanding how a home loan works may make it easy for you to discover your dream house too.

For example, if you get pre-approved for a home loan, you can enter the real estate market with a budget in hand. You then can use this amount to narrow your house search, which may lead to a fast, seamless homebuying experience.

2. Understand All of the Costs

The total amount that you pay each month under the terms of a home loan agreement may vary based on a variety of factors. Fortunately, if you understand all of the costs associated with a home loan, you may be able to find a loan that matches your finances.

Review all of the paperwork associated with a home loan as well. That way, you can find out the length of a home loan agreement and other relevant home loan information and proceed accordingly.

3. Get Expert Home Loan Insights

There is no such thing as "bad" questions about home loans. And if you're uncertain about how to proceed with a home loan, you can always receive expert guidance from a lender.

Oftentimes, lenders employ friendly, knowledgeable home loan specialists who can respond to your concerns and questions. If you meet with these specialists, you can get comprehensive home loan insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

As you get ready to pursue a home loan, you also may want to consult with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you get in touch with the best lenders in your area and secure a home loan in no time at all.

Of course, let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide throughout the homebuying journey, either.

A real estate agent will serve as your guide to buying a house. He or she will help you hone your home search, explore top-notch residences in your city or town and find a residence that matches your expectations. Plus, a real estate agent will even negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf to help you get the best price on your dream house.

Ready to make your homeownership dream come true? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can secure a home loan and take the next step toward purchasing your ideal residence.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Chris Werme and Mike Boland on 1/21/2020

For those who want to buy a home, it generally is a good idea to remain open to negotiating with a seller. That way, you can acquire your dream residence without delay.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you streamline a negotiation with a home seller.

1. Be Flexible

There is no telling how a home negotiation will turn out. Fortunately, if you maintain flexibility, you will be able to go with the flow throughout a negotiation with a seller.

Remember, a homebuyer and home seller share a common goal: to ensure a seamless transaction. If you are open to negotiating with a seller, both you and this individual can work together to achieve results that satisfy all parties.

Don't forget to maintain open lines of communication with a seller during a negotiation as well. By doing so, you and a seller can keep in touch with one another throughout a negotiation and avoid potential miscommunications that otherwise could slow down or stop a home purchase.

2. Establish Realistic Expectations

A home negotiation may work out in your favor or a seller's favor. Or, in the best-case scenario, you and a seller will come to terms that fulfill the needs of both sides. On the other hand, in the worst-case scenario, you may need to walk away from a home purchase altogether.

As a homebuyer, it is important to prepare for all possible scenarios. If you establish realistic expectations as you enter a home negotiation, you can plan accordingly. Then, you and a seller can work together to accomplish the optimal results.

You may want to study the housing market closely too. In fact, you can review the prices of available houses that are comparable to the one you want to buy to ensure your offer to purchase falls in line with the current housing market's conditions.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is well-equipped to help you handle a homebuying negotiation. Thus, if you work with a real estate agent, you can get the assistance you need to acquire your dream house at a price that matches your budget.

Typically, a real estate agent will learn about your homebuying goals and help you discover your ideal residence. Once you find a house you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this home. Next, if a seller wants to negotiate the terms of a home transaction, a real estate agent is ready to negotiate with this individual on your behalf.

A real estate agent also will keep you informed throughout a home negotiation. Plus, if you ever have concerns or questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is prepared to respond to them.

Want to acquire your dream house as quickly as possible? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble handling a home negotiation with any seller, at any time.





Posted by Chris Werme and Mike Boland on 1/14/2020

One of the perks of moving out of an apartment into a home is having your very own outdoor space. Depending on how close to the city you live, you may not get much of a yard with your home. If you’re looking for that perfect outdoor space to dwell in, read on for some tips on buying a house with a yard. If you check the yard out, you could save yourself from facing problems further down the road. 


Are The Trees In Good Condition?


While mature trees in a yard are a sure fire way to have privacy and shade, the trees must be safe. You want any trees in your yard to be healthy. Otherwise, during a storm, you may have an issue with falling trees. If you have a lot of trees in your yard, it may be a good idea to hire an arborist who can tell you if the trees are safe. Tree removal can be costly, so you’ll need to plan for this expense if your yard has many trees.


How Safe The Outdoor Living Areas?


You should check out any outdoor living areas the yard has. If the home comes with a patio, or gazebo the soundness of the structures should be checked. Any cement should be free of cracks or crumble.


The Layout Of The Lot


There is more to a yard than the size of a property. You should keep in mind where the home is situated on the lot. Is the front yard more prominent than the backyard? Is the home on a slope? Is there a chance water will pool near the foundation of the house? All of these questions are important for the long-term health of the property. 


How Much Yard Are You Willing To Care For?


You need to know how large of a yard you’re actually willing to care for. For many buyers, a small yard is just enough. Other buyers aim to care for a large lawn the many flowerbeds. The larger the yard, the more possibilities you have. If you are willing to take the extra time and incur the additional expense that a large yard will cost, it could be a good feature to look for. Yard size may also narrow down your home search considerably. 


Buying a home with a yard can be a great decision, all you need is to understand your own preferences and ability to care for properties of different sizes.        








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