Kathryn Varjian Ferrazzi - William Raveis Real Estate & Homes Services



Posted by Kathryn Varjian Ferrazzi on 2/21/2018

Whether youíre buying or selling a home, one of the most important parts of the process is the negotiation phase. This means different things whether youíre buying or selling a home. When youíre selling a home, youíre usually looking to get the most money for your home that you possibly can. If youíre buying a home, you want the lowest possible price for the home. Hence, the reason for real estate negotiations. Buyers and sellers must meet somewhere in the middle. For your consideration, weíll break down some of the most important aspects of the real estate negotiation process. The Cost Means Different Things As we stated above, buyers want the lowest price, while sellers want the highest price possible for a home. Whatever side youíre on, expect to meet somewhere in the middle. The price of the home has to make sense for both sides. The seller wants the sale of their home to make sense financially and the buyer wants to home to fit into their budget while getting the things they desire out of the home. The Financing Process Is Complicated If you have your mortgage fully approved prior to making an offer, youíll be able to shorten the closing time of the home. The reason for this is that the preapproval shows that all of the buyerís finances are in order and there will be no financial problems in the transaction. Sellers often prefer these buyers since they can be trusted to close properly and there wonít any issues with the real estate transaction. The property also wonít be on hold for months on end. The Date Of Closing Matters If sellers need to get their home off of the market fast, they can negotiate when the closing date will be. As a buyer, this matters because the next monthís mortgage payment is skipped once you close on a house. The closing date affects when exactly this payment doesnít need to be made, which can have a positive effect on your finances when itís timed right. Closing Costs Are Actually Paid Upfront Escrow is when the mortgage company holds the money for taxes and insurance, which is the prepaid closing costs. Buyers sometimes ask sellers to pay a portion of the closing costs. This could be a flat fee or up to 3 percent of the included mortgage. This could all have an effect on the asking price for the home. Just Like A Car, Homes Can Come With Warranties Buyers can ask for a warranty on the home, or the seller can offer one. This warranty typically covers the homeís appliances and utility systems. This provides a protection if things like the air conditioning or the dishwasher break after a certain period of time and need repair. This may make the home extra enticing to buyers and give sellers an advantage to get their home off the market quickly.





Posted by Kathryn Varjian Ferrazzi on 2/14/2018

Now more than ever itís important to take personal steps to decrease your carbon footprint on the earth. As world leaders make plans to decrease carbon emissions worldwide, the threat of climate change can seem distant and far away. However, we are already seeing the beginning of the devastating effects it will have on the earth and humanity alike.

One of the ways that homeowners can reduce their carbon footprint is to turn to alternate forms of energy production, like wind and solar power. In this article, weíll discuss residential solar power, its benefits to you as a homeowner, and the different options you have available.

Why go solar?

Aside from the vitally important environmental aspect we mentioned above, rooftop solar is becoming increasingly beneficial to homeowners. Not only are many homeowners seeing their electricity bills cut in half, but leasing programs make installing panels a zero-liability issue for homeowners worried about damage to the panels or to their roof.

Solar technology is constantly improving. In the very near future, consumers will be able to move entirely off the grid when it comes to producing electricity for their home.

Teslaís Elon Musk recently announced a fully integrated solar rooftop that he claims will be as affordable if not cheaper than a regular roof. The bonus? The power that Teslaís roofs produce will be able to be stored in an integrated battery.

Aesthetics

Homeowners are often worried about the way their homes will look with solar panels on them, which is a valid concern. Fortunately, new technology has made solar more visually appealing than ever. Soon, homeowners will have the option of choosing between different styles of solar roofs that look like regular shingles.

Alternatively, if you donít want the solar panels at your home at all, there are currently companies that allow homeowners to utilize off-site solar panels for their home. This is ideal if your home isnít in a position to receive much sunlight, or if you just donít want to have to deal with the panels being on your property at all.

Thinking ahead

When considering solar, you also have the future to consider. Not just of the planet, but of your wallet. Solar is an investment. If you plan on paying off your solar panels within 10 years, you could end up with years of free electricity, which adds up.

Similarly, many solar programs offer a guarantee that your rates wonít go up or they will rise slower than standard utility companies. So, even if you canít afford to buy your solar system outright, you can still invest in the long term.

Helping the economy

Fossil fuel defenders often claim the loss of jobs associated with the increase of the renewable energy industries. At the same time, jobs to manufacture, sell, install, and repair solar and wind power are skyrocketing.

Regardless of which option you choose, reducing your carbon footprint is doing your small part to help the environment for your children and grandchildren. And, it can save you a lot of money in the long run too.





Posted by Kathryn Varjian Ferrazzi on 2/7/2018

Imagine an area of your home that's particularly cluttered now, and then picture in your mind's eye how nice it would look if it was cleaned and organized. If you take a few seconds to visualize this scenario, it will feel like a breath of fresh air! For many people, a cluttered, disorganized living space or working environment tends to create mental clutter -- and that makes it nearly impossible to be at your best. On the other hand, when you create a plan to organize your storage space and get rid of household clutter, you're taking a major step toward enhancing your home and the way you feel about it. Although you may have a dozen or more areas that need to be organized, if you create a methodical plan to tackle one small area at a time, then the project is much more achievable and less overwhelming. The Outcome Is Worth The Effort If you've ever undertaken a task like this, you know how rewarding it can be to see the results. You'll also enjoy the feeling of pride that accompanies improving the look and feel of your home. When you've transformed chaos into a semblance of order, it can have a positive effect on your attitude and your self esteem. Although taking charge of household clutter is not a panacea for stress, it can be one of several improvements that make a big difference. Where to Begin You can infuse a feeling of fresh energy into your home by organizing and cleaning the following ten areas:

  1. Closets: Most homes have a ton of them and they're probably in a major state of disarray!
  2. Book shelves: If you have a library of books, then organizing them can dramatically improve the appearance of any room -- from living rooms and family rooms to bedrooms and home offices.
  3. Kitchen cabinets (Check expiration dates while you're organizing.)
  4. Bathroom cabinets and drawers (Refer to note in item #3.)
  5. Junk drawers: Virtually every home has them, and they usually consist of a combination of junk and treasures. In most cases, it's obvious what should be thrown away and what's worth saving.
  6. Garage and tool sheds: These areas are typically in desperate need of cleaning and organizing.
  7. Work bench: If tools, hardware, and supplies are haphazardly piled on top of each other or randomly strewn on your work bench, then finding what you need when you need it becomes increasingly frustrating and time consuming. Taking an hour or so to organize your work bench can make life a lot simpler and more productive.
  8. Spare bedrooms: In many people's homes, that area tends to become a repository for things that either need to be put away, given away, or thrown away.
  9. File cabinets: Being able to find important documents, information, and receipts depends on well organized and clearly labeled files. Ideally, that takes place on an ongoing basis, but if that's not happening, a semi-annual review of your filing system can help keep things in good order.
  10. Basements: Depending on how long you've lived in your house, this might be a project that needs to be spread out over a few days!
Involving members of your family in the cleanup plan can also make it move along faster and feel more like a team effort, rather than a solo undertaking. To avoid procrastination, start small and branch out from there. As the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step."





Posted by Kathryn Varjian Ferrazzi on 1/31/2018

Believe it or not, your home's bathroom may make or break your open house.

If you allocate the necessary time and resources to enhance your bathroom's appearance before your open house, you may be able to boost your home's chances of making a positive first impression on property buyers.

On the other hand, a dirty, messy bathroom is unlikely to do you any favors, particularly in a competitive real estate market.

Transforming an ordinary bathroom into an attractive space may seem difficult. Lucky for you, we're here to help you simplify the process of cleaning your bathroom from top to bottom.

Now, let's take a look at three tips that you can use to improve your bathroom's appearance before your open house.

1. Remove Shower Scum

Soap scum may accumulate in your shower over an extended period of time. However, it is quick and easy to eliminate this problem.

To remove shower scum, use a mixture of dish soap and vinegar. Then, scrub the scum with a dish wand, and you can make your shower sparkle.

2. Clean the Toilet

When was the last time you cleaned your bathroom toilet? If you don't know the answer, it probably means your toilet is overdue for a comprehensive cleaning.

A bathroom scrub brush can help you eliminate grime inside your toilet. You also may want to use white vinegar, as this all-natural cleaning solution has been shown to eliminate bacteria, germs and mold.

In addition, don't forget to wipe down your toilet's exterior. Dust and debris on the toilet surface are simple to eliminate in just seconds.

3. Take a Look at the Mirror

A bathroom mirror may appear streaky and blotchy. But for those who want their bathrooms to impress homebuyers, it is essential to clean a bathroom mirror extensively.

Cotton pads and rubbing alcohol may prove to be exceedingly valuable. Together, these products will enable you to clean your bathroom mirror and avoid streaks altogether.

Or, if you're searching for an alternative to rubbing alcohol or traditional glass cleaner, you may want to use vinegar and water. The combination of vinegar, water and a microfiber cloth offers proven results, especially for those who need a quick, easy solution to clean a bathroom mirror before an open house.

If you need extra help cleaning your bathroom, don't hesitate to reach out to cleaning professionals for expert support. These professionals can streamline the process of getting your bathroom ready for your open house.

Moreover, if you're uncertain about how to prepare for your open house, your real estate agent will be happy to assist you. This housing market expert will describe how the open house will work and what to expect from it. Plus, after the open house ends, your real estate agent can provide homebuyer feedback and insights.

Don't wait until the last minute to clean your bathroom. Instead, use the aforementioned bathroom cleaning tips, and you should have no trouble prepping your bathroom for your open house.





Posted by Kathryn Varjian Ferrazzi on 1/24/2018

One of the biggest hurdles in becoming a homeowner is that of saving for a down payment. In todayís world, itís hard for anyone to save sizable amounts of money due to the extreme cost of living in most areas. With less income and higher expenses, many people have less of an opportunity to save money.


Saving Isnít Impossible


Many homebuyers are first-time homebuyers. While many simply dream of owning a home, others work to make it happen. Saving money is a goal. Once you save the money, you have made a real accomplishment. Youíll have a huge reward waiting for you once you reach your goal. How can you save effectively? Thereís a few simple steps that will allow you to start saving for a down payment on a home. Remember that no matter how slow you go, every step is one step closer to hitting your goals. 


Get A Savings Account


Preferably, the savings account that you open should be dedicated to your house expenses. Most of the time, your bank will allow you to set up automatic transfers from your checking account. See how much you can afford to save and set up these transfers. Each time you get a paycheck from work, have a certain amount put right into the savings account. Youíll be saving without even thinking about it.


Be Budget Friendly


Budgeting sounds complicated, but really, itís quite simple. First, put your monthly gross income on a spreadsheet. Then subtract things like taxes and fees that come out of your paycheck. Next, subtract all of your necessary monthly costs. These can include student loan debt, car loans, rent, and how much money you spend on food and entertainment. There's so many little things that we spend our money on everyday, you may be surprised to see how much youíre spending and what youíre spending it on. Some categories are important and others are not.       


See Where You Can Cut Costs


After you have made a concrete budget, see where you can cut some costs. If you need to cut out going to dinner and the movies, then do that. Thereís bound to be something that you can cut out of your budget thatís not a necessity that can help you to save some cash. The sacrifice will be worth it in the end!       


Indulge For Your House


Every time that you get a small bonus, a gift, or a tax refund, put it away. It can be tempting to want to go buy a brand new TV or spend your money on entertainment, but saving that money for your house fund will be a lot more rewarding. 

The bottom line is that it wonít be a huge task saving your money for a down payment once you put your mind to it. Happy saving!







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