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Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 4/15/2016

It is a great time to be a real-estate investor. If you are looking to jump in the investor market low home prices and low interest rates make this a great time. According to Zillow.com. the real-estate market is starting to recover: U.S. houses lost $489 billion in value during the first 11 months of 2009, but that was significantly lower than the $3.6 trillion lost during 2008 and things only continue to look up. While the timing may be right, you will need to have all your ducks in a row. An investment purchase is different than your typical purchase. Consider your options. Have a strategy and know what kind of investor you would like to be. Ask yourself if you want to be a landlord, or are you planning on flipping or restoring and reselling properties. What types of properties are you interested in? There are many choices from land, to apartment buildings, residential housing and other commercial real estate. Partner with experience. Real estate agents experienced in investment property deals know what to look for in a deal. You may also want to consider asking a more experienced real-estate investor for advice. If you plan on becoming a landlord make sure to familiarize yourself with the local laws regarding being a landlord. Location, location, location. If you buy a property with hopes of renting it out, location is key. Homes in high-rent or highly populated areas are ideal; stay away from rural areas where there are fewer people and a small pool of potential renters. Also, look for homes with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms in neighborhoods that have a low crime rate. Also think about potential selling points for your property. If it's near public transportation, shopping malls or other amenities, it will attract renters, as well as potential buyers if you decide to sell later. The more you have to offer, the more likely you are to please potential renters. Have capital lined up. Speak to potential lenders or a financial planner about what you will need for assets and cash flow. You will need to have enough assets to handle the ups and downs that could come with investing. Most experts suggest a fallback of about six months of mortgage payments for landlords. You will need this in case or vacancy or repairs. If you're planning to fix up a home and sell it, you will need reserves to cover the costs to maintain the home while it is on the market. Becoming a real-estate investor is much different than being a residential homebuyer. A buying decision is a business decision not one based on emotions.





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 1/29/2016

There is a lot to know when it comes to senior housing.†Thinking about future housing arrangements can be a stressful topic for both you and your family. There are so many options, types of housing and so much to know. In order to find the best fit you will have to learn about the different types of senior housing available, which choices may be best for you, and how to navigate the terminology. A great resource SeniorHousingNet has created a glossary of commonly used terms and the different senior housing and care choices available. You can find it here.  





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 8/28/2015

When you are looking to buy a home or refinance it is important that your credit is in tip-top shape. It is often a credit score that gets in the way of a home buyer and their dream home. Credit today means everything as far as your purchasing power. So if you want to be ready when opportunity knocks read on for some for smart ideas on how to keep your credit score going up.

1. Use your credit cards.

This may sound funny but it is important to have credit over having no credit. Paying in cash and over using credit cards isnít always a good move for your credit score. Cards that are seldom used are often shut down or closed by the credit card companies. Because 30 percent of your credit score is based on your debt-to-credit-limit ratio you will want to have a high your total available credit. Having one account closed increases that ratio of available credit to debt and thus lowers your credit score.

2. Pay off your credit cards.

It may seem to make sense to pay off the highest-interest card first and save the most money in the end. But your credit score will get a bigger boost from knocking off the lowest-balance card. Instead of spreading your monthly payments equally among credit cards, pay down the lowest-balance card first and pay minimum balances on the rest. As you pay off each card, apply the money you would have paid on it to the next-lowest-balance card.

3. Donít close cards once they are paid off.

The length of time youíve had credit determines fifteen percent of your score. By closing your oldest account, you can shorten the length of your credit history causing a big hit to your score.

4. Keep the balance low

Much of your credit score is determined by your debt-to-credit-limit ratio on individual accounts. Maxing out one card raises your debt-to-credit-limit ratio and your credit score. So be sure to keep balances as low as possible. Try to target no more than 30 percent of your credit limit.

5. Stay away from retail-card accounts.

These are a big no-no. Retail store cards often have lower limits and higher interest rates. So running up balances on low-limit store cards affects your credit score more negatively than does using one or two bank cards. So in the long run the fifteen percent you were going to save on the one purchase will probably cost you more in the end.  





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 8/21/2015

Child-Proofing Your Home. Unintentional injury is one of the leading causes of death in children under 14. That should be enough to make any parent shudder. Child-proofing a new or existing home can be quite the headache, but it's an incredibly neccessary step in making sure your home is safe for all members of your family. Luckily, by following a simple checklist, you can rest easy knowing that you've covered most, if not all of your bases. While there are extra steps that may need to be taken on a house-by-house basis, most of these steps are applicable to just about every kind of residence. Smoke Detectors - While this may seem like an obvious step, you'd be surprised how many people don't follow through with their fire alert system. Low batteries, improper placement, and broken detectors can all spell potential tragedy for you and your family. Pay close attention to the manufacturer's instructions. You should have at least one smoke detector per level of your home, including the basement and attic. One very important step you can take these days is to purchase batteries that are designated for electronic devices. Carbon Monoxide Detectors - These need to be placed near sleeping areas, and at least 15 feet away from any fuel-burning appliances. Anti-Scalding Devices for your faucets - Contact your local plumber to get an estimate. Door Stops and Door Holders - If your home already comes equipped with these, then make sure they are all in good working order. Outlet Covers and Plates - Ensure that covers and plates aren't easily removable. Edge and Corner Bumpers - These come in a variety of styles, and are easily installed on the sharp edges and corners of your home. Pay special attention to the corners in your kitchen, as many child injuries take place here. Safety Latches and Locks - These need to be installed in cabinets that would be accessible at your child's level. These will prevent your child from gaining access to areas that hazardous cleaning materials are stored, like under your sinks. Doorknob Covers and Door Locks - Use these on rooms that aren't child-proofed. If you can prevent unsupervised access to a room, you don't have to worry about keeping it in perfect working order in regard to child proofing. Child Gates - Stair-related accidents can be avoided by implementing a gate system. Pay special attention to the types of gates used.....Pet gates are NOT the same product, and may lack the level of protection needed to ensure proper safety of your child. Childen are resourceful individuals, and can breach many systems that your family pets cannot.





Posted by Stacey West (NH/MA) on 8/14/2015

Buying your first home can be confusing. Securing a mortgage is one of the most important parts of the home buying process. Making sure that you have the right loan and have chosen the right loan officer are among†the things a first time buyer has to do to start the process. Here are some more tips on how to ensure a successful purchase: 1. Make sure your deposit is in order. Talk to your loan officer about what amount of a deposit is required for the purchase and type of loan. You will also want to make sure the funds are accounted for and readily available. You can expect deposits to run anywhere between 3 and 20 percent of the purchase price. 2. Plan to have a cash reserve in addition to your deposit. You may want to have a reserve of at least two months mortgage payments. 3. Ask your lender to go over all the fees that apply to the purchase. It is better to be prepared and know how much the actual purchase will cost. These costs are typically added into your loan but there may be some out of pocket expenses too. 4. Consider how much you can comfortably afford not how much you have been approved for. These numbers may vary considerably. Your mortgage costs should not be more than†30% of your household income. 5. The lowest rate is not always the best deal. You will want to look at not only the rate but also the terms and fees associated with the loan.