Yvonne McNamara
SUCCESS! Real Estate | 508-858-8044 | ur@homewithyvonne.com


Posted by Yvonne McNamara on 12/16/2018

Shopping for a house is a high-stakes game. If you’re a first-time buyer, it can be difficult to gauge the value of various components and features of a home. Appraisals are designed for just this reason.

However, an appraisal is a subjective tool to determine a rough estimate. Furthermore, there are a number of things you can’t learn from an appraisal--such as how convenient the home would be for your work commute.

In this article, we’re going to help you, the homebuyer, determine the true value of a home as it would mean to you in your everyday life. Read on for tips on finding out the value of that home you’ve been dreaming of and deciding whether it’s really the best home for your budget.  

Appraisals are a baseline

When lenders are in the process of approving your home loan, they’ll want to decide whether the home you’re buying is worth the amount you’re paying. To achieve this, they’ll typically hire a third-party appraiser.

Find out from your lender which appraiser they use and read their online reviews. This will ensure that they’re a trustworthy source of information. Also be sure to check that the appraiser is certified and that they work with a diverse range of clientele (not just your lender!).

Since you’ll likely be paying the appraisal fee as part of your closing costs, make sure you’re happy with the appraisal and appraiser.

Key appraisal factors

After the appraisal, consider getting a second opinion or inspection of any of the key components of your home that may impact the appraisal. Some of these factors include:

  • The roof, HVAC system, and septic systems

  • The energy-efficiency of the home

  • The current market value in the area

  • The general upkeep of the home--a few cosmetic problems shouldn’t affect the home value much, but serious neglect can cause long-lasting and expensive issues like mold, water damage, pest invasion, and more

What an appraisal can’t tell you

Now that we’ve discussed the nuts and bolts of home value, we have to venture into what value means to you and your family. You’ll need to ask yourself a series of questions, and some of them won’t have a cut-and-dry answer.

First, how well does this home fit into the work life of you and your spouse? Will it mean a shorter commute, and therefore lower transportation costs and more free time? Putting a dollar value on an extra thirty minutes not spent in traffic can be difficult, but it’s a worthwhile exercise to take part in.

Furthermore, does the house have features that will make it a better asset in years to come? Energy-efficiency, proximity to in-demand schools, businesses, etc., can all be selling points for future buyers that are willing to pay more for your home.


Using a combination of a certified appraisal and some introspection, you should be able to come to a confident conclusion as to the value of the home as it means to you and your family.




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Posted by Yvonne McNamara on 12/9/2018

For home sellers who want to do whatever it takes to enhance a house's interior, depersonalization is key.

By depersonalizing a house's interior, a home seller can make it easy for a homebuyer to envision what life might be like if he or she purchases a residence. That way, a home seller can increase the likelihood of a fast, seamless and profitable home selling experience.

Effectively depersonalizing a home's interior can be simple – here are three areas that a home seller needs to consider to depersonalize a house's interior:

1. Photographs

Although photographs of loved ones, celebrations and family vacations may hang throughout your residence, now is the right time to take them down if you're selling your house.

Removing photographs from all walls and shelves is necessary to effectively depersonalize a house. In addition, don't forget to hide any photographs located in a home office.

2. Antiques

Antiques are beautiful treasures that deserve to be displayed. However, if you're selling your house, it may be worthwhile to temporarily store these items outside your residence.

When it comes to antiques, it is always better to err on the side of caution. If you have priceless treasures that need to be removed from your house, you should allocate the necessary time and resources to store them properly. This will enable you to minimize the risk of damage to your antiques while you sell your home.

In some instances, renting a storage unit for your antiques may prove to be a great idea. Or, if you have a family member or friend who has extra storage space available, he or she may be able to hold your antiques until your residence sells.

3. Artwork

Awe-inspiring artwork can help you show off your unique personality. But if you have bold paintings, sculptures or other artwork in your home, you may want to remove these items while your house is listed on the real estate market.

Artwork sometimes can be distracting, and as a result, may make it tough for homebuyers to imagine what life could be like if they purchase your house. Also, if artwork takes up lots of space, it might be difficult for homebuyers to see the full potential of your living space.

If you need help with depersonalizing your house's interior, you should reach out to a real estate agent for support.

A real estate agent understands how to showcase a residence to homebuyers. As such, he or she will offer honest, unbiased recommendations to help you depersonalize your residence's interior and ensure your home will capture homebuyers' attention.

Furthermore, a real estate agent can serve as your guide along the home selling journey. He or she will set up home showings and open houses, negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf and respond to your home selling concerns and questions at any time.

Ready to depersonalize your house's interior? Consider the aforementioned areas, and you can give your home's interior a fresh look and feel before you list your residence.




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Posted by Yvonne McNamara on 12/2/2018

If possible, it helps to maintain a flexible deadline as you navigate the homebuying journey. Because if you have a tight deadline in place, you risk making a rash homebuying decision. And as a result, you may pay too much to acquire a home. Perhaps even worse, you risk purchasing a house that fails to match your expectations.

As you prepare to kick off your homebuying quest, it helps to plan ahead. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to streamline your home search and discover your ideal residence in no time at all.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you accelerate the homebuying journey.

1. Prepare Homebuying Criteria

If you know you want to buy a home, you should put together property buying criteria. That way, you can enter the housing market with a plan in hand to acquire your dream residence.

To establish homebuying criteria, think about where you want to reside. For instance, if you want a home close to parks and other family-friendly attractions, you should hone your house search accordingly. On the other hand, if you need a house that offers quick, easy access to family members, you should search for a home near these relatives.

Consider the features you want to find in your dream home, too. If you make a list of home must-haves, you can focus exclusively on houses that have the features you require.

2. Establish a Budget

Usually, it is beneficial to begin a home search with a mortgage at your disposal. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you will know how much you can spend on a house. Then, you can search for houses that won't force you to exceed your budget.

To obtain a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you everything you need to know about home financing. Plus, they can help you make an informed mortgage selection.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble performing a successful home search.

A real estate agent is devoted to homebuyers' success, and as such, will do what it takes to help you achieve your desired results. For instance, if you want to buy an affordable house in a small town, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to do just that. Or, if you want to purchase a home near your office in the city, a real estate agent will craft a custom homebuying plan so you can accomplish your goal.

Furthermore, a real estate agent takes the guesswork out of buying a house. If you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent will respond to them – without exception.

Want to enjoy a fast, stress-free homebuying experience? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you may be better equipped than ever before to seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.




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Posted by Yvonne McNamara on 11/25/2018

As a home seller, you likely want to set a "fair" initial asking price for your residence. Because if you fail to do so, you risk pricing your home outside of your target buyer's price range. Perhaps even worse, you risk pricing your house too low – something that may cause you to miss out on the opportunity to maximize your home sale earnings.

Ultimately, there are lots of things that you can do to ensure you establish a fair initial asking price for your residence, and these include:

1. Study the Local Housing Market

For home sellers, it is important to perform plenty of research before you list your residence. If you assess the local housing market closely, you can obtain insights that you can use to set a fair initial asking price for your home.

Evaluate the prices of available houses in your city or town that are similar to your own. This will help you determine the price range for comparable houses in your area.

Also, find out how long some of the recently sold houses in your city or town were available before buyers purchased them. This can help you differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market so you can price your house appropriately.

2. Conduct a Home Appraisal

A home appraisal delivers immense value, as it enables you to receive a property valuation. Once you have a property valuation in hand, you may be better equipped than ever before to determine how to price your house.

In addition to a home appraisal, you may want to conduct a house inspection as well. During a house inspection, a property expert will review your home and identify any underlying issues. You then can use a house inspection report to prioritize home repairs and upgrade your residence before you add it to the local real estate market.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

As you search for ways to get the best price for your home, you may want to hire a real estate agent. In fact, if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive comprehensive support throughout the house selling journey.

A real estate agent will learn about your home and help you determine exactly how to price it. Next, he or she will promote your residence to buyers. And if a buyer submits an offer to purchase your residence, a real estate agent will help you decide whether to accept, reject or counter this proposal.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is a home selling expert who is happy to share his or her housing market insights with you. If you ever have concerns or questions as you navigate the house selling journey, a real estate agent can address them.

Setting the right price for your home sometimes can be difficult. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can establish a fair initial asking price for your residence. As a result, you may be able speed up the home selling journey and optimize your house sale earnings.





Posted by Yvonne McNamara on 11/18/2018

Depending on how many years you’ve been working, retirement can seem like it’s too far in the future to worry about or too close to be able to effectively make any real change.

 However, retirement is about more than doing the math and investment planning. Retirement includes making several life decisions, and considering things you may not have thought of before.

 In this article, we’re going to talk about planning aspects of your retirement including your home and assets, your savings and investments, and setting and achieving goals for yourself.

Pay yourself first

If it feels like your paycheck is spent before you get a chance to set any aside each week, you’re not alone. However, it’s never too late to start setting aside money for retirement. The “pay yourself first” theory states that you should set aside a certain amount for bills, savings, and retirement plans before you spend a dime of your paycheck each week.

The easiest way to achieve this is to take advantage of an employer-based contribution matching program such as a 401K. However, if you are self-employed you can still open up an individual retirement account (IRA) or a Solo 401K. With an IRA, you determine where you want to invest your money, and can choose safer or riskier investments based on your own preferences.

Draw up your plan, literally

There’s no better way to start planning than to actually sit down with a notebook or your computer and start figuring out what you want to save and how you want to achieve those savings.

You’ll want to determine how much money you can accrue in your savings account, estimate the price of your assets and properties, and look at the projected return on investment for any IRAs or 401Ks you have in place.

As you likely know, these numbers are all projections. There’s no way to know for sure how much your home will be worth, or how well your investments will do by the time you’re ready to retire.

So, one of the most important aspects of making this checklist is to return to it yearly to determine if you should change your investments or alter your retirement goals.

Determine your lifestyle needs

Whether you have dreams of settling down in a quiet town for retirement, touring the country in an RV, or traveling the world, you’ll need to find out how you can make it possible on your retirement plan.

You and your spouse will need to sit down and draw up a plan for your mutual retirement goals. Determine which expenses you can do away with in retirement so that you can fulfill other goals. Having these conversations now will help you more effectively plan for the future. And, remember that the time of your retirement is always closer than you think.  




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