Kathryn Varjian Ferrazzi - William Raveis Real Estate & Homes Services



Posted by Kathryn Varjian Ferrazzi on 1/10/2018

Purchasing a home is a large investment and not one that anyone should make on a whim. Itís important to understand your maximum budget but also what you are comfortable spending, which may not be the same number as your maximum budget. But itís also important to fully understand the hidden costs that come with owning a home. Your mortgage payment is not the only payment you will be making each month and itís certainly not the only cost associated with owning a home. Letís take a look at some hidden costs listed below: Home Insurance: Insurance is something that you may know you need, but not a cost you are thinking about when house hunting. Therefore, the cost can sneak up on you. Be sure to factor in this cost, as it will be associated with your homeís location, age and value. For example, you are going to pay more if you live in an area that is prone to natural disasters such as floods or tornadoes. Home furnishings: Is this your first home or, at least, your first home that you would like to furnish with new furniture not hand-me-downs or a couch from craigslist? There also may be items that you need for this home that you did not need in your apartment such as a dining room table or spare bedroom bed frame and mattress. Furnishing your home can be a large expense and one that you should be saving up for. You donít need to go out and spend thousands on each item and you may want to spread out your purchases, but this is a very important cost to consider when purchasing a home. Appearance: When you purchase a home there may be things about the house that you want to change or update. This is something that not many factor in when buying the home as they are so wrapped up in the process of purchasing. However, even small updates cost money and if you spend all of your money on the down payment, you will not have any leftover to make those updates to make the home truly yours. Maintenance: If you previously rented, then maintenance is not something that you had to handle, as that is what your landlord was for. However, when you buy a home all maintenance and repairs fall on you. If you are purchasing an older home itís extremely important to understand what needs to be updated or replaced now or in the near future, such as the water heater, furnace or roof. Itís possible that you may get the previous homeowner to take care of this if itís in need at the time of selling, but if these updates/replacements take place a couple years down the road then itís up to you to take care of it. There is also the general maintenance of your home such as landscaping and snow removal. Will you purchase your own equipment or hire a service? Either way, this is an additional expense. Utilities: Often times many utilities are included in your rent. Well, this is not the case when owning a home. If the home does not have a septic system then you will need to pay for water and sewerage. You will have to pay for your own cable, Internet, and phone, and letís not forget about electricity. Itís important to understand all of the utilities that you will have to pay when you purchase a home. Property Taxes: Property taxes vary by town, but will always be an additional cost when owning a home. And, this cost will increase if you make additions or significant updates to your home. More desirable/expensive locations will have higher property taxes. This is often a cost that catches many off guard so be sure to research the locations where you are house hunting to see if you can afford the property taxes on top of all of the other associated costs. This is not meant to discourage anyone but shed light on the costs that many do not consider when they are house hunting. Make sure your budget allows for your mortgage payment and the expenses listed above that are tailored to your situation and you will have no problem becoming and staying a homeowner.





Posted by Kathryn Varjian Ferrazzi on 9/20/2017

Buying a house may prove to be a long, complex journey, especially for a first-time homebuyer who decides to pursue a residence on his or her own. Fortunately, many real estate agents are available to help first-time homebuyers make their homeownership dreams come true.

Now, let's take a look at three tips that first-time homebuyers can use to find the right real estate agent in any housing market, at any time.

1. Go Beyond a Web Search

In many instances, it is easy to conduct a web search of real estate agents in a city or town. However, a diligent first-time homebuyer will know to look beyond a simple web search to discover the ideal real estate agent.

Take a look at a real estate agent's website. By doing so, a homebuyer can learn about a real estate agent's industry accomplishments and experience.

Also, don't hesitate to contact a real estate agent's office directly. This enables a homebuyer to have a brief conversation with a real estate agent and find out exactly what this housing market professional is all about.

2. Host a Face-to-Face Meeting

A face-to-face meeting may prove to be exceedingly valuable for both a first-time homebuyer and a real estate agent, and for good reason.

During a face-to-face meeting, a homebuyer can ask questions and learn about a real estate agent's industry expertise. Plus, a homebuyer can receive comprehensive insights into what it will take to acquire a top-notch residence at a budget-friendly price.

Meanwhile, a face-to-face meeting helps a real estate agent learn about a homebuyer's goals. A homebuyer can provide information about what he or she wants in a dream home, and a real estate agent can offer details about what a homebuyer should expect at each stage of the property buying journey.

3. Receive Client Referrals

Although a first-time homebuyer may feel comfortable with hiring a real estate agent after a face-to-face meeting, it is always better to err on the side of caution. Thus, a homebuyer who requests client referrals from a real estate agent ensures that he or she can make the best possible decision.

A real estate agent should have no trouble providing you with multiple client referrals. Then, you can reach out to this housing professional's past clients to find out how he or she has helped homebuyers achieve their desired results.

Spend some time reaching out to a real estate agent's past clients Ė you'll be happy you did. With additional client insights at your disposal, you can improve your chances of choosing the perfect real estate agent.

Lastly, it is important to remember that a real estate agent should be available to guide you along the homebuying journey. This housing market professional boasts in-depth industry experience, and as such, can share deep insights to help you make informed decisions as you go from homebuyer to homeowner.

Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and a first-time homebuyer can employ a first-rate real estate agent and gain unparalleled support throughout the homebuying cycle.




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Posted by Kathryn Varjian Ferrazzi on 9/13/2017

After a home seller accepts your offer on a home, the next step usually involves a home inspection.

At this point, you'll hire a home inspector who will walk through the home you'd like to buy and offer expert insights into the residence's strengths and weaknesses. Then, you'll be able to assess potential issues with a home and determine whether to move forward with a home purchase.

A home inspection can be stressful, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Lucky for you, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of home inspections.

Ultimately, there are many questions to consider after a home inspection is completed, including:

1. What did the home inspection reveal?

A home inspection offers unparalleled insights into a residence. It enables you to look beyond a house's surface and find out whether major repairs will be required both now and in the future.

Hiring an experienced home inspector is paramount for homebuyers. With an experienced home inspector at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than others to identify "hidden" problems within a house.

Also, don't forget to review a home inspection report closely. With this information at your disposal, you'll be able to understand whether a residence meets your expectations.

Be sure to consider the long-term value of a property as well. Remember, a home that you plan to purchase should be able to serve you well for years to come. But if you encounter myriad home issues during a property inspection, you may want to consider rescinding your offer on a residence and restarting your search for the ideal house.

2. Are there major home issues?

As a homebuyer, it is important to be able to identify the differences between major and minor home issues.

For example, if there are tiny cracks and chips in the paint on a kitchen's walls, these issues are minor. In fact, you may be able to repair such issues quickly and effortlessly.

On the other hand, an old, inefficient furnace can cause major headaches. Without a properly functioning furnace, you may struggle to heat your home in winter. Meanwhile, it may cost several thousand dollars to replace this furnace.

If you encounter problems with a residence during a home inspection, consider the costs associated with these issues. By doing so, you'll be able to determine how much you may need to spend to correct such problems and can proceed with a home purchase accordingly.

3. What should I do next?

An informed homebuyer will be equipped with the knowledge and insights needed to make a great decision.

Consider the problems that were discovered during a home inspection. If you can fix home issues without having to commit substantial time and resources to complete various home maintenance projects, you may want to consider moving forward with a home purchase.

If you encounter major home issues, you can always ask a home seller to perform home repairs. Or, you may want to remove your offer on a home altogether.

Working with a real estate agent is ideal, especially for homebuyers who want help with home seller negotiations. With assistance from a real estate agent, you should have no trouble determining how to proceed after a home inspection.




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Posted by Kathryn Varjian Ferrazzi on 9/6/2017

For homebuyers, finding a dream home may require many days, weeks or months. However, when the big day finally arrives, you'll want to submit the right offer to ensure you can secure your ideal residence quickly.

Unfortunately, making the right offer on a home can be tricky. If you submit a proposal that is far below a home seller's expectations, you risk missing out on your dream home entirely. Or, if you submit an offer that is above your comfort level, you may wind up paying more for a house that it is actually worth.

So what does it take to make the right offer on a home? Here are three tips that every homebuyer needs to know to ensure he or she can submit the perfect offer on a residence.

1. Use Housing Market Data to Your Advantage

The internet is a powerful tool, particularly for homebuyers. And if you search for housing market data, you should have no trouble finding the information that you need to submit an offer that matches your budget and satisfies a home seller's expectations.

For example, a homebuyer who finds a two-bedroom home that he or she would like to buy should consider the prices of comparable houses in the area. Also, be sure to look at what other homes in the same neighborhood may be worth and tailor your offer accordingly.

A wealth of real estate market data is readily available across the web, and homebuyers who use this information to their advantage can submit a reasonable offer on a house at any time.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Although you may submit the best offer for a home, there is no guarantee that a home seller will accept your proposal if you lack the necessary financing. On the other hand, a homebuyer who receives pre-approval for a mortgage may be able to stand out to home sellers, and for good reason.

With pre-approval for a mortgage, you may be able to move through the homebuying process faster than other potential homebuyers. Thus, a home seller may choose your offer over others, as he or she will be able to minimize the risk that a deal could fall through due to a homebuyer's lack of financing.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of both seller's and buyer's markets. Therefore, this real estate professional will offer tips and insights to ensure you can submit a fair offer on a residence.

Remember, your real estate agent is happy to help you in any way possible. And with this professional at your side, you can gain insights into the home seller's perspective. Plus, your real estate agent will be able to negotiate on your behalf to help reduce the risk of overspending for a house.

Find a real estate agent who boasts years of industry experience, and you can reap the benefits of unparalleled support throughout the homebuying journey.




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Posted by Kathryn Varjian Ferrazzi on 8/23/2017

Once you have found the home that you want to live in, put in the offer, and start the process of closing on a home, you may feel like youíre ďhome free.Ē The hard part may technically be over, but thereís one more important thing that you need to think about before you get the keys to your place: Closing costs. 

A few days before you head to sign all of your paperwork to close on the home, your lender will send you a detailed report of different closing costs that you need to pay upon the settlement of the property. 


Closing Costs Defined


Closing costs are what you pay to the lender and third parties. These are due at the time of closing on the property and must be paid up front. You should estimate that your closing costs will be between 2 and 5 percent of the purchase price of the home.


Everything Included In Closing Costs


Closing costs cover both one-time and recurring fees that are a part of your home purchase. The one-time fees are things that are generally associated with buying the home. These would include attorneys fees, lender fees, home inspection fees, document prep fees, underwriting fees, credit report fees, and realtor fees. Youíll also need a bank issued check for your down payment at this time.  


At closing, an escrow account will be set up. This is like a forced savings account that will be drawn from to cover things like taxes, insurance, loan interest, and title insurance. These are all very important costs that are a part of buying a home.     


Do Your Homework Ahead Of Time


The best way to deal with closing costs is to be prepared ahead of time. Talk to your lender in order to get an estimate of the closing costs. From there, youíll need to decide if you need to finance your closing costs or simply pay them up front. There are advantages to both approaches. Sometimes, lenders will look at you as less favorable if you need to finance all of your closing costs. It all depends on the terms of your loan. This is why research is vital.


Compare Rates And Lenders


Itís important not to go with the first lender you talk to. Get some recommendations from your realtor and friends to see who might be a good fit for you. Every lender specializes in something different, so you want to be sure that who you chose is a good fit for you. 


The most important thing that you can do with closing costs and the financing of your home is to get educated!     





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