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Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 10/13/2017

Is now the right time to lower the asking price for your residence? If you've studied the housing market closely, set an aggressive price for your home and are still struggling to generate interest in your residence, the answer to this question may be a resounding "Yes."

Ultimately, there are many reasons why you may want to consider lowering the asking price for your house, including:

1. It has been many weeks or months since the last home showing.

Although your home listing initially may have stirred up plenty of interest, homebuyers have shied away from your residence over the past few weeks or months. Thus, there may be no time like the present to lower your house's asking price to widen your net of prospective homebuyers.

Reducing your house's asking price by even a few thousand dollars may help you generate interest in your residence. And in the days following a price drop, you may notice a significant increase in the number of requests for home showings as well.

2. Your home asking price no longer corresponds to the current real estate market's conditions.

A seller's market can quickly morph into a buyer's market. As such, you should evaluate the real estate sector regularly to ensure your home asking price corresponds to the current housing market's conditions.

Take a look at available houses that are similar to your own – you'll be happy you did. This housing market data can help you determine if your house is priced appropriately based on the competition.

Also, examine the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. That way, you can see how long these residences were available before they sold, find out whether you're operating in a buyer's or seller's market and plan accordingly.

3. You need to sell your house as soon as possible.

If you face a time crunch to sell your home, you should establish an aggressive price for your residence from the get-go. However, if you fail to generate substantial interest in your residence, you may need to act fast to lower your home asking price to meet your deadline.

For those who want to avoid the possibility of lowering a house's asking price, it often pays to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you establish a fair, competitive price for your residence, one that should help you stir up significant interest in your home.

In addition, a real estate agent will work with you throughout the home selling process. He or she will set up home showings, host open houses and negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to respond to your home selling questions and ensure you can make informed home selling decisions.

Before you lower your home asking price, consult with a real estate agent. By doing so, you can get the expert home selling advice that you need to determine whether to wait out the current housing market or reduce the price of your residence.





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 10/6/2017

Homeowners insurance could potentially save you thousands of dollars in repairs and product replacements. If you don’t read through your homeowners insurance thoroughly prior to signing the policy, you could also be responsible for paying thousands of dollars to repair your roof, floor, a septic tank and more.

General events that homeowners insurance policies offer protection on

Depending on where your house is located, you’ll need different types of insurance coverage.For example, if you live in a high flood risk area, make you that you get flood insurance. The same applies for areas that experience hurricanes and mudslides.

Think twice before you sign a policy with an insurance carrier who won’t offer you the protections that are generally required where you live. As a starting point, following are common protections that a homeowners insurance policy offers:

  • Fire damage
  • Hail
  • Vandalism
  • Theft

Damages that your homeowners insurance may not cover

Depending on your insurer, your homeowners insurance may not cover all natural disasters. For example, homeowners insurance may not cover damage caused by an earthquake. Floods, hurricanes and mud slides are other natural disasters that homeowners insurance may not protect you from.

Other damages that your homeowners insurance may not cover include:

  • Sinkholes
  • Asbestos
  • Chemical warfare
  • Mold (You could get rid of a small amount of mold in your bathroom, kitchen or another room at your house on your own. But,let mold spread into your walls and you’ll need to contact a professional to inspect, clean away the mold and treat your home. Don’t assume that your insurance carrier will pick up the cost of these repairs. Check to see that mold is covered in your policy before you enter into an agreement with a homeowners insurance provider.)
  • Plane crashes (This is an uncommon event, but it happens. Should a plane land on your house, as destructive and emotionally damaging at the experience may be, your insurance carrier may not pay for repairs that are associated with the plane crash.)
  • Auto accidents (Similar to plane crashes, if someone runs their car into your garage or house, your insurance carrier may not pay to have the property repaired. If your house is located on a road that has seen its share of auto accidents, speak with insurance carriers to see if they will offer you coverage that protects your home against auto accidents.)
  • Damages due to aging (for example, if your roof becomes damaged due to age, your insurance carrier may not pay to replace the roof)

As with any type of insurance, including auto and health insurance, check with your insurance provider to determine what you are actually covered for. Do this before you sign an insurance policy. Generally, the broader the span of coverage, the higher your monthly premiums will be. But, these higher premiums can prove to be well worth it should an unexpected emergency or disaster occur.

Also,compare insurance rates across companies. Keep your eyes open for regulatory changes that could impact your insurance rates. For example, if your homeowners insurance goes up, check to see if a new state law impacted the industry, causing insurance carriers to raise rates in the state that you live in.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 9/29/2017

We’ve all had those times when we can’t seem to get a good night’s sleep. If you recently moved to a new home or if you’re on vacation, the new environment or mattress can make it difficult to fall asleep.

It’s even more frustrating when you’re in the comfort of your own home but are still having trouble sleeping.

In this article, we’re going to give you some tips and habits you can build to help better your sleep. We’ll talk about ways to get to sleep on time, how to improve your sleeping habits, and how to sleep through the night.

Getting to bed on time

Most of us live busy lives that make it hard to unwind at the end of the day. Others simply have a hard time calling it quits on the show or movie they’re watching when they should be getting some sleep. Either way, it’s essential to build a good bedtime routine to make sure you’re falling asleep at an appropriate time each night.

To start, you’ll want to make sure you assign yourself a bed time. Though bed times seem like a rule for children, it can help adults vastly improve their sleep. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each morning reinforces your body’s natural sleep cycle.

To ensure you go to bed on time, you can set a reminder or alarm on your phone for a half-hour before you need to be in bed. This will give you time to finish what you’re doing and get ready for bed.

There are also apps that will help you do this, which we’ll talk about in the next section.

Monitor your sleep

Sleep is deeply important to how we function throughout our day. A poor night’s sleep is a short-term hindrance, putting us in a bad mood or making it difficult to focus. But, in the long run, lacking sleep is a health risk that has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other serious illnesses.

The takeaway? We should all take sleep seriously. To do so, a good way is to monitor your sleep. One easy way is to download an app that does just that. For iPhone users, the pre-installed Bedtime feature (part of the Clock app) is a simple way to set reminders and gain insight into your sleeping habit.

A more thorough way to monitor your sleep is to keep a sleep journal or to buy a smartwatch that tracks your sleep for you. Regardless of your method, keeping tabs on your sleep quality will help you prioritize your health and wellness.

Quick tips for improving your sleep


  • Go to bed at the same time each time

  • Avoid bright screens (phone, TV, laptop) for an hour before bed

  • Read, knit, or do some other relaxing hobby before bed

  • Don’t eat for two hours before bed

  • If you can’t sleep, try listening to calming music or a guided meditation

  • If you’re a light sleeper, try wearing comfortable earplugs and an eye mask to bed





Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 9/22/2017

At a glance, buying a home seems like a daunting and complicated process. If it's your first time buying a home you're probably hearing a lot of terms that don't mean much to you like "rate commitment," "prequalify," and an array of acronyms that no one has ever really explained like APR and ARM. What many first time homebuyers don't realize is that the mortgage application process is relatively straightforward. It's a way for lenders to determine if they will lend money to the homebuyer. The lender will require some documentation on your part and you'll want to do your homework when it comes to choosing the right mortgage for you, but if you're confused about where to begin, here's everything you need to know about the home mortgage application process.

Gather your documents

Each lender will be slightly different when it comes to what records and documents they require from you. In general, lenders will require two years of work history, proof of income, and tax papers. They will also ask for your permission to run a credit check. Some things you should bring when applying for a mortgage include:
  • Your most recent pay stubs (at least two)
  • Your most recent W-2 forms
  • Completed tax returns
  • Bank statements
  • Gift letters
  • Debt - credit cards, student loans, etc.

Filling out the application

The actual application for the mortgage is pretty simple. Be expected to provide your personal and marital information, as well as your social security number. When you apply for a loan you'll also be determining if you're applying singly or with another person, such as a spouse. Some people apply jointly to seek a higher loan amount. However, you should be aware that if this is your plan of action the lender will require income and credit information from both of you. Keep in mind that it isn't easy to remove one person from a home loan once the contract is signed, so you should make certain of this decision before applying jointly.

Locked-in interest rates

It won't come as a surprise to you that, like in other industries, interest rates on mortgages fluctuate. For this reason, many home buyers attempt to "lock-in" their interest rate, meaning the lender is no longer allowed to change the interest rate after signing. The benefit of locking in your interest is that it can avoid having your interest rate raised before you sign on the home. The disadvantage is that since rates fluctuate, you could miss out on a lower one. This is also the difference between APR (annual percentage rating) and ARM (adjustable rate mortgage). With an APR, the cost of borrowing money (interest) is fixed. For an ARM, the interest rate can increase, decrease, or stay the same at different points in the repayment process.

Refinancing

Your financial situation is bound to fluctuate throughout your life, hopefully for the better. At some point down the road, it might make sense to refinance on your mortgage. Essentially this means you are agreeing to change the details of the mortgage to either accept a different interest rate or to alter the length of the loan term. Refinancing usually involves fees, however, so you don't want to rely on it too heavily as a fallback.





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 9/15/2017

In theory, a Homeowners Association (HOA) is a great idea. It gives homeowners a say in how their neighborhood or complex is run and maintained and it gives people an opportunity to get to know their neighbors.

But we’ve all heard stories about homeowners associations that range from a small annoyance to a nightmare, and even some that are just plain strange.

On reddit, homeowners were asked to share some of the stories from their homeowners’ associations. Here are the best ones.

Outsmarting the HOA

Reddit user Bundabar tells about the numerous difficulties they’ve had with their homeowners association when it comes to home improvements. In one instance they were told by the HOA that their fence was a few inches too tall. In response, Bundabar appealed their decision and presented new plans for his backyard… plans that included at 40ft HAM radio tower, which incidentally cannot be regulated by a homeowners’ association. The HOA quickly changed they mind and allowed Bundabar’s fence to remain a few inches outside of regulation.

Backyard engineering

In another strange HOA tale, reddit user Furlessxp shared their experience with a neighbor who loved to tinker. The neighbor began work on a treehouse in his backyard which the HOA disapproved of. A years-long dispute followed, and ultimately the HOA told the neighbor that he would have to have the plans for his treehouse certified by an engineer. At the next meeting, according to Furlessxp, “he handed in the blueprints signed and stamped by no other than himself. That was a great meeting. It turns out that he had a PhD in civil engineering.”

Rooting for the home team

In a different thread, user Viking042900 explains that he liked to fly the flag of the Georgia Bulldogs when the football team was playing. The HOA regulations in his neighborhood state that homeowners are only allowed to fly flags on the day that sports teams are playing. User Viking042900 notes that he accidentally left the flag out a day longer than was allowed, but the HOA was still threatening him with fines.

His response?

“Now I was mad. I printed off a schedule of every sporting event the Bulldogs had in every sport, even club sports and then proceeded to fly the flag every single day.”

Since the University of Georgia has some time of sporting event nearly every day, it became impossible for the HOA to enforce this rule. Ultimately, the association gave up and let him fly his flag freely.



We’ll leave you with one last HOA tale from reddit. This time, user Interwebbing was running the show as president of the homeowners association. His policy?

“I was HOA president for 3 years and never enforced anything. Power to the people.”




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