If Not Buying Now, Then When?

I get it. The journey toward homeownership can feel overwhelming. It’s a process led largely by the heart. Let’s be honest: Most times, 98% of the process is driven by emotion, and 2% by the math. The balance between feelings and financials is what turns waiting and dreaming into buying and living.

I know many of you have been cautiously waiting on the sidelines, watching market trends with the hope that housing prices will decline. That hasn’t happened except for a brief moment in 2008. History has shown us that these moments are not only rare but often fleeting. Since that brief dip over a decade ago, the market has shown resilience and strength. People invest in real estate for the appreciation.

Consider this: while waiting for the perfect moment, you might be missing out on the perfect home. For 16 years, the sidelines have been crowded with watchers waiting for signs and shifts that never materialize as expected. So I ask: when will you jump into the game?

Waiting for the right time (is there such a thing in a volatile market?) can often lead to missing the right home. As you think about stepping off the sidelines and heading into the action, remember: every moment is the right moment if you have all the facts and your ready to start your search for a great home.

Let’s turn your dreams into reality by taking those first steps together and discuss your mortgage and your plans your new home. I’m more than happy to have a phone or video chat to get the ball rolling.

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Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.


National Teacher Appreciation Day

This year on May 7th, we celebrate National Teacher Day, a day dedicated to recognizing the incredible impact teachers have on our lives.

But how can we truly thank these amazing individuals? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Replenish Classroom Supplies: Teachers often purchase essential supplies out of their own pockets. A box of crayons or construction paper might seem small, but it’s a thoughtful gesture.
  2. The Power of Words: Write a heartfelt card or letter to your child’s teacher. Expressing your gratitude for their commitment and highlighting their positive influence can make a world of difference.
  3. Ask Them What They Need Most: You may be surprised at the answers. Some may need volunteer help. Others may need socks or coats for their students.

You’ve got more than a week to plan. What small gesture can you make to thank a teacher?


Home Improver: Homemade Chemical-Free Bug Spray

Earth Day was this past Monday and lately I’ve been focusing on becoming less dependent on chemicals at home. I know many of you have expressed this eco-conscious sentiment to me over the years.

To start, why not create a chemical-free bug spray by using safe ingredients you may have in house right now? Here’s a recipe that’s safe to use around kids and pets, assuming they aren’t allergic to these ingredients:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 2 tablespoons of mild liquid soap – helps the solution adhere to surfaces
  • 1 tablespoon of white vinegar – deters insects and acts as a disinfectant
  • 10-15 drops of peppermint essential oil – known to repel mosquitoes and other flying insects
  • 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil – effective against many flying insects, including flies and mosquitoes
  • 1 lemon, juiced – unappealing to most flying insects

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large container.
  2. Mix thoroughly to ensure all components blend well.
  3. Pour the solution into a spray bottle.
  4. Spray around windows, doors, and other entry or gathering points throughout your home.

Here’s to a year of fewer chemicals — and fewer bugs — in your home!

How a Realtor® Settlement Could Influence Housing Costs

A recent settlement between the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) and home sellers could be a game-changer in lowering home costs. Here’s how it might influence housing prices once it’s made official.

Lower Transaction Costs. Traditionally, a 5%–6% commission (usually split between buyer’s and seller’s agents) is factored into the final home price. With the NAR settlement eliminating pre-set commission offerings on the MLS, sellers can now negotiate directly with buyer’s agents. This could lead to a decrease in overall transaction costs, potentially shaving a portion off the final sale price.

Increased Competition Among Agents. Without a standardized commission structure, competition among agents for client representation could intensify. This could lead to agents offering more competitive rates or bundled service packages to attract sellers. These cost savings could then be reflected in lower asking prices.

Shifting the Burden of Agent Fees. Previously, buyer’s agent commissions were often rolled into the overall home price. The settlement might mean buyers now pay their agents directly. This upfront cost might make some buyers more price-conscious, potentially leading to a downward pressure on prices, especially in high-demand areas.

More Listings, More Options. With sellers potentially saving on commission costs, they might be more incentivized to list their homes. An increase in available properties could create a more balanced market, giving buyers more negotiating power and potentially leading to lower prices.

Words of Caution. While the settlement has the potential to reduce home prices, it’s important to consider some critical factors:

  • Negotiation Expertise. Negotiating fees effectively requires knowledge and experience. Inexperienced buyers or sellers might end up paying the same or even more if they lack strong negotiation skills.
  • Impact on Agent Services. Lower commission rates could incentivize agents to offer fewer services or raise their base fees. You may also have less experienced agents working with you, who don’t mind a lower commission. This could impact the quality of representation for both buyers and sellers.
  • Market Dynamics Still Matter. While the settlement might influence pricing, overall market forces (like supply and demand) will still play a major role in determining home values.

The Bottom Line. The NAR settlement brings uncertainty into the real estate market. While the potential exists for lower prices, it’s too early to predict the full impact on housing costs. Stay informed about market trends and consult with your qualified mortgage professional (that’s me).

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Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.


Stress Awareness Month

April is Stress Awareness Month. It’s also tax time (coincidence? hmmm…) and then there’s inflation and it’s an election year and the world is in turmoil. It’s no wonder we’re feeling some pressure.

This month is a great reminder to prioritize your well-being. We’ve compiled 4 easy tips to help you minimize stress and feel more centered throughout the month.

  1. Get Outside. Exercise is a powerful stress reliever — and it doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Brisk outdoor walking, dancing, cycling, or a yoga class are all great stress relievers. Even short bursts of activity throughout the day can make a big difference.
  2. Tame the Tech Monster. Constant notifications and screen time can be major stressors. Set boundaries with your technology. Designate specific times to check email and social media, and silence notifications during work hours or relaxation time.
  3. Prioritize Sleep. When you’re well-rested, you’re better equipped to handle stress. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night if you can.
  4. Connect with Loved Ones. Social support is crucial for managing stress. Spend time with the friends and family who make you feel good.

Following these simple tips can lead to a calmer and more balanced April. Take good care of yourself!


Home Improver: Organized Home, Organized Life

Feeling overwhelmed by your spring cleaning to-do list due to a messy home? Give yourself a break. You’re not alone. Clutter happens. It’s well known that a cluttered space can lead to a cluttered mind. But there’s good news: creating an organized home can have a powerful impact on your overall well-being and efficiency.

Let’s take a look at how decluttering each room in your home can benefit your mental state and productivity:

  • Living Room. A living room filled with misplaced items can feel visually stimulating (not in a good way) and stressful. Dedicate specific storage solutions for remotes, magazines, and blankets. This allows you to unwind after a long day.
  • Kitchen. A cluttered kitchen counter can make meal prep seem daunting. Are you still using that Instant Pot? We didn’t think so. Sell or donate it and focus on what you actually use. Invest in organizers for utensils, spices, and pantry staples. Imagine your clear countertops having a sense of purpose that make cooking a more streamlined experience.
  • Bedrooms. Messy bedrooms can disrupt sleep, impacting your focus and energy levels. Put away clothes, clear surfaces, and ensure everything has a designated spot (not tossed in the back of your closet). A serene bedroom environment allows for restful night’s sleep and a clear head in the morning.
  • Home Office. A disorganized workspace can make it difficult to concentrate and find important documents. Use organizers for files, stationery, and office supplies. A clutter-free workspace fosters clear thinking and helps you tackle tasks efficiently.

Decluttering creates a space that supports your well-being and drives productivity. By eliminating visual clutter, you reduce stress and free up brainpower to focus on living well. An organized home brings a calm energy — and it’s the ideal environment for getting things done.

2024 Housing Predictions in an Election Year

We don’t need a crystal ball to know the Massachusetts housing market is very much a seller’s market these days, thanks to high demand, low inventory, and rising prices. A report from The Warren Group confirms this trend, with both single-family and condo prices reaching new highs in January 2024. While this may seem daunting, it’s important to keep in mind that the housing market is cyclical, and these trends will eventually shift.

Election Year Factors and Potential Shifts

In an election year like 2024, external factors could influence the housing market. While elections rarely have a direct impact on the housing market, we do know that economic directives by elected officials could potentially influence interest rates, as we have seen in 2023. The economy has been a hot topic among virtually all candidates at all levels of government, so it’s natural to expect campaign promises from the candidates as we inch toward November 5th.

Predicting the Future

Predicting the exact trajectory of the market can be challenging, but let’s break out the tarot cards and tea leaves and give it a try. While 2024 might see continued price growth, the rate of increase is projected to slow down compared to last year.

With our glasses half full, we’ll cautiously predict a gradual increase in available inventory, which should ease some of the current pressure on buyers and keep bidding wars in check.

Expert Guidance

Navigating a competitive market requires thoughtful strategies and expert guidance. I am dedicated to helping you achieve your goal of owning a home. I can also connect you with experienced real estate professionals who understand the local market and can help you find the right home. Let’s talk!

Get in Touch

I am dedicated to finding you a mortgage that fits your budget and works for your unique situation. Call me at 617-965-1236 to get started.

* * * * *

Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.


Leap Year

Happy Leap Day! 2024 is a leap year, which adds an extra day, February 29, to the calendar every four years.

This adjustment is necessary to keep our calendar in alignment with the Earth’s revolutions. It takes about 365.24 days to complete one orbit around the Sun. By adding an extra day every four years, we compensate for this discrepancy.

Leap Year Trivia:

  1. Every year divisible by 4 is typically a leap year unless it is a century year (ending in 00). Century years must be divisible by 400 to be leap years. Therefore, 2000 was a leap year, but 1900 was not.
  2. The chance of being born on February 29 is 1 in 1,461.
  3. The Summer Olympics and U.S. presidential elections are held in leap years.
  4. The concept of leap years dates back to the time of Julius Caesar in 45 BCE, with the introduction of the Julian calendar.

Home Improver: Pre-Spring-Cleaning Checklist

We are in for a warmup starting this weekend. Spring is only a few short weeks away. But before you begin your annual Spring Cleaning ritual, here’s a checklist of things to prepare in your home before the big scrub.

Indoor Refresh

  • HVAC Tune-up: Schedule a check-up for your heating and air conditioning system. Improve efficiency and prevent breakdowns as the weather turns warmer.
  • Change Air Filters: Replace those dusty filters for cleaner air and better airflow.
  • Inspect Your Roof and Gutters: Look for missing shingles, damaged chimney flashing, and gutter clogs left behind from winter storms.
  • Check for Foundation Issues: Take a walk around your home and look for any developing cracks.

Yard and Garden Revival

  • Tend to the Lawn: Aerate and reseed if needed; start applying pre-emergent weed control.
  • Prune and Prep: Cut back dead branches on shrubs and trees, and prep your garden beds for planting.
  • Choose Your Blooms: Decide on spring flowers and start mapping out your garden design.

Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they’re in good working order.

Massachusetts Out-Migration: What It Means for 2024 Housing

According to the 2023 National Movers Study by United Van Lines, Massachusetts ranked seventh on the list of the “Most Moved-From States” last year. This is called “out-migration,” when a significant number of people leave a geographic area within a country. The reverse is “in-migration” (not “immigration,” which refers to moving to a new country.)

The Exodus Isn’t New

The study found that 7% of customer moves in Massachusetts were outbound. This figure is consistent with the previous year’s data, indicating a continuing trend.

Why Are They Leaving?

The reasons for departing Massachusetts are varied. According to the survey:

  • 28% moved out because they found new jobs in other states.
  • Just over 19% left for family reasons.
  • 18% said they were retiring elsewhere.
  • 16% departed due to “lifestyle changes.”

Here’s a surprise: Massachusetts, and especially the Boston area, are known for a high cost of living. Yet only 2% of those surveyed said they were moving due to rising costs.

Where Are They Going?

While Massachusetts saw a high percentage of outbound moves, other New England states are attracting new residents. Vermont was the top “inbound” state for the third-straight year, with over 65% of all moves being inbound. Those headed to Vermont cited family, lifestyle, and job reasons for their move.

Rhode Island was fifth on the inbound state list, with 45% surveyed saying a new job attracted them to the state. The other states seeing the most inbound moves for 2023 were Arkansas (4th), South Carolina (3rd), and Washington, D.C. (2nd).

How Are Home Sales Affected?

It would appear that with more people leaving the state than entering it, there would be more available inventory in 2024. This is not necessarily the case when you consider that many of those heading to new states are renters. In addition, homeowners are hesitant to sell now after having bought or refinanced at historic lows during the pandemic years.

No one knows how the market will play out in the coming months, but last Friday, Massachusetts lawmakers committed to working on solutions to this growing concern.

Get in Touch

I am dedicated to finding you a mortgage that fits your budget and works for your unique situation. Call me at 617-965-1236 to get started.

* * * * *

Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.


Groundhog Day

On Friday, will the groundhog see his shadow? I hope not! It would be nice to have an early spring for a change!

But wait. How accurately has Punxsutawney Phil, the most famous groundhog, fared in his predictions?

Records dating back to the 1880s show that Phil and his predecessors aren’t the most reliable. In fact, all the groundhogs who have played Phil over the years have combined for a 39% accuracy rate.

So have fun with the tradition, but know that the groundhog has a worse chance of being correct than having you flip a coin. He is very cute, though.


Home Improver: Regulating Humidity Levels in Winter

Ah, the dreaded dead of winter. It’s freezing outside, you threw your back out shoveling heavy snow, and your skin is so dry it’s cracking. We can’t do much about the first two winter-related issues, but let’s talk about that dry skin. You house may be too dry and needs to be humidified to add moisture to the air. Investing in a humidifier may be your best bet, but here are some DIY alternatives.

  1. Ventilation: Proper ventilation is crucial, especially in areas like the kitchen and bathroom where moisture levels can rise quickly. Use exhaust fans to help remove excess humidity.
  2. Air Leaks: Seal air leaks around doors, windows, and other openings to prevent cold, dry air from entering and warm, moist air from escaping.
  3. Indoor Plants: Some indoor plants can naturally increase humidity levels through a process known as transpiration.
  4. Use of Water Basins: Placing water basins near heating sources can help evaporate water into the air, slightly increasing humidity levels.
  5. Monitor Humidity Levels: Use a hygrometer to keep track of your home’s humidity levels. This will help you adjust your methods as needed to maintain the ideal range of 40%-60%. In this range, you’re safe from dry skin but also safe from mold and bacteria, which form when a house is too humid.
  6. Air Drying Laundry: Hanging laundry to dry indoors can increase humidity levels. This is a natural and energy-efficient method, though it should be used sparingly in smaller spaces to avoid excessive moisture.

Good luck, stay warm, and grab some hand lotion and lip balm at your local drug store!

Why Now Is the Time to Buy a Home

The 2023 housing market was a whirlwind, with interest rates soaring before taking a breather. This shift, brought about by the Federal Reserve’s pause on further rate hikes after a year of tightening the reins, has created new opportunities for both established homeowners and prospective buyers to navigate the landscape with renewed optimism.

For Homeowners:

  • A Bit of Stability: As the dust settles on the rate rollercoaster, you might consider refinancing in the future to capitalize on potentially lower rates and strengthen your financial standing.
  • Recommend Your Favorite Mortgage Broker: With a more balanced market, your experience could be invaluable for family or friends considering homeownership. Help them assess the new landscape and share your insights from navigating the recent fluctuations. Then have them give me a call to begin their homebuying journey.

For Homebuyers:

  • Off-Season Advantage: Don’t let the quieter market dash your dreams. While the competition might be less intense than the spring stampede, it also offers the potential for better deals and less pressured negotiations. Imagine finding your dream home without feeling like you’re locked in a desperate high-stakes bidding war. Now is the time to shop for homes.
  • Manifest Your Destiny: With fewer competing buyers, you have the luxury of conducting thorough property inspections and visualizing cozy evenings spent within your new walls. Imagine sitting by the fire in your spacious living room or building snowmen with the kids in your new backyard.

The winter months hold unique advantages for buyers. Less competition, potentially better deals, and a more relaxed environment can all contribute to a smoother and more rewarding homebuying experience. Bundle up, gather your resources, and prepare to explore the exciting possibilities of entering the housing market.

Get in Touch

I am dedicated to finding you a mortgage that fits your budget and works for your unique situation. Call me at 617-965-1236 to get started.

* * * * *

Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.


Happy New Year 2024

Welcome, 2024!

Before we ring in the new year, let’s take a look back at some actual good news that may have been lost in the turmoil of 2023. Here are seemingly random articles with one thing in common: it’s all good news!

  1. The James Webb telescope returned stunning images from space.
  2. Daughter surprises dad by being his kidney donor.
  3. Nonprofit The Ocean Cleanup removes 40,000 pounds of plastic and trash from the Pacific.
  4. New drug slows Alzheimer’s Progression.
  5. The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards has released its list of winning photos.

Happy New Year to you and your family.


Home Improver: Achievable New Year’s Resolutions For Your Home

Let’s face it, most New Year’s resolutions don’t last more than. a few weeks. But what if we set goals for something smaller in scope? Ditch the lofty, guilt-inducing promises and embrace these 5 achievable home improvers that will leave you feeling organized, calm, and ready to conquer 2024.

  1. Master the Mini-Declutter: Forget Marie Kondo-ing your entire house in a weekend. Instead, pick one hot spot (a drawer, a shelf, a corner) each week and give it a quick declutter. Sort, toss, donate, and relish the newfound spaciousness.
  2. Tame the Fridge Beast: Fear not, the back of your fridge can be conquered. It’s mostly just expired condiments and mystery Tupperware. Dedicate one afternoon to a fridge exorcism. Toss the expired, organize the edible, and label those mystery containers (bonus points for adding a date). You’ll feel lighter, cleaner, and ready to whip up some healthy New Year’s feasts.
  3. Embrace the “One-in, One-Out” Rule: Tired of overflowing cabinets? Implement the “one-in, one-out” rule. For every new item that enters your home, an old one must leave. This can be clothes, books, toys and shoes. Less clutter, less stress, more room for joy (and that fancy new air fryer you’ve had your eye on).
  4. Transform Your Home Office: Is your workspace more dungeon than den? Time for a makeover! Add a pop of color, bring in some natural light, and invest in a comfy chair. A few small changes can make your home office a haven of productivity (and less of a cluttered room of doom).
  5. Create a Cozy Reading Nook: Give those neglected books the spotlight they deserve! Carve out a cozy corner dedicated to reading and relaxation. A comfy chair, a soft blanket, a warm lamp, and a stack of your favorite books – that’s all you need to create your personal literary escape.

Remember, these are just springboards! Tailor these resolutions to your own home and lifestyle. Focus on consistency over perfection, and have fun! Let your home be a reflection of your happy, healthy 2024 self. Now go forth and declutter, organize, and celebrate your way to a happier home!

Top 5 Most Pressing Housing Concerns

This year, potential homebuyers have faced a multitude of concerns that can make the process of purchasing a home challenging, though not impossible. These concerns range from financial aspects to uncertainties about the property itself.

Let’s explore the top five concerns that buyers commonly encounter in today’s housing market.

1. Affordability. A primary concern for many buyers is the affordability of homes in their area, especially given the rising mortgage rates.

2. Mortgage Rates. The fluctuations in mortgage rates are a critical concern for buyers. Changes in these rates can significantly affect monthly payments, leading to apprehension about long-term financial commitments and the overall cost of a mortgage over time. Can you afford to wait if rates continue to rise?

3. Inventory Shortages. A limited supply of available housing leads to stiff competition among buyers. This scarcity often drives up prices, making it even more challenging for buyers to find affordable homes in their preferred locations.

4. Economic Uncertainty. The broader economic environment plays a crucial role in the decision-making process for homebuyers. Factors such as job stability, the health of the economy, inflation, world events, and the state of the economy can greatly influence a buyer’s confidence and willingness to invest in a property.

5. Home Inspection and Repairs. Prospective buyers often worry about hidden issues that might be uncovered during a home inspection. The possibility of unanticipated repair costs after purchase adds another layer of concern, as buyers must assess the potential risks and expenses that could arise.

Understanding these concerns is crucial for both buyers and real estate professionals, as they navigate their homebuying journey. By addressing these issues head-on, you can make more informed decisions and find solutions that align with your needs and finances.

Get in Touch

I am dedicated to finding you a mortgage that fits your budget and works for your unique situation. Call me at 617-965-1236 to get started.

* * * * *

Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.


Black Friday

Black Friday marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. But when did this frenzied shopping tradition start

Originating in the 1960s in Philadelphia, the term initially described the disruptive traffic post-Thanksgiving. It later evolved into a retail term, indicating the period when retailers would start earning profits —moving from being “in the red” to “in the black.

The phenomenon of Black Friday has grown beyond its American roots, becoming a global event where retailers offer steep discounts on a vast range of products. The advent of online shopping has further expanded its reach, allowing consumers to access deals both in physical stores and digitally. This has led to the emergence of Cyber Monday, a day dedicated to online shopping deals

While Black Friday significantly boosts the economy by increasing consumer spending, it is often criticized for promoting excessive consumerism and materialism. The frenzied pursuit of discounts has led to concerns over shopper aggression.

In response, there’s been a growing emphasis on safer shopping practices and support for local businesses.

Despite these criticisms, Black Friday continues to be a major shopping event.

Shop safely!


Home Improver: Rid Your Rooms of Drafts

If you’re feeling a chill from drafty areas in your home, here are four solutions to reduce the amount of heat escaping your home.

  1. Weatherstripping and Caulking: Identify gaps around doors and windows where drafts commonly occur. Apply weatherstripping to the edges of windows and doors to seal these gaps. Use caulk to seal cracks or gaps in the window frame or the area where the frame meets the wall. This is a cost-effective and straightforward solution that can significantly reduce drafts.
  2. Door Sweeps and Draft Stoppers: Install door sweeps at the bottom of exterior doors to block drafts from entering underneath. For a quick fix, use draft stoppers (also known as draft snakes) which can be placed at the base of a door or window. These are often fabric tubes filled with insulating material and can be a decorative way to prevent cold air from seeping in.
  3. Insulate Attics and Basements: Proper insulation in your home, particularly in attics and basements, can significantly reduce drafts. These areas are common sources of cold air infiltration. Adding insulation helps to maintain a consistent temperature throughout the home and reduces the chances of drafts forming.
  4. Window Treatments: Heavy curtains or thermal-insulated drapes can provide an additional barrier against drafts. These window treatments help trap air between the fabric and the window, acting as insulation and reducing the chill from cold windows.

Scary Housing Prices: Get Creative With Financing

If you’re thinking about buying a home, you’re probably feeling a little spooked. The housing market is competitive, and prices are high. But don’t scream! There are still ways to afford a mortgage, even in this scary market.

One way is to get creative with your financing. Here are five ideas:

  1. Buy with a cosigner. If you have a friend or family member with good credit and a stable income, they may be willing to cosign on a mortgage with you. This can help you qualify for a loan and get a better interest rate.
  2. Consider a fixer-upper. Fixer-uppers are often less expensive than move-in ready homes, and you may be able to get a loan that allows you to finance the cost of repairs. This can be a good option for buyers who are willing to put in some work to get the home they want.
  3. Buy with friends or family. If you have friends or family members who are also looking to buy a home, consider pooling your resources. This can help you afford a down payment and monthly mortgage payments. Just be sure to set clear expectations about how you’ll manage the property and make decisions.
  4. Consider a two-family home. If you’re open to it, buying a two-family home could be a great option. You can live in one unit and rent out the other, which can help offset your mortgage costs.

No matter what your financial situation is, there’s a creative financing solution that can help you afford a mortgage in today’s market. If you’re not sure where to start, talk to a highly creative mortgage broker — like me! I have years of experience helping clients and friends buy homes, even in the most challenging markets. Let’s explore your options and find the best financing solution for your needs.

Get in Touch

I am dedicated to finding you a mortgage that fits your budget and works for your unique situation. Call me at 617-965-1236 to get started.

* * * * *

Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.


Happy Halloween!

Ever wonder what the best scary movies by decade are? Here’s the list courtesy of movieweb.com.

Pop some corn and break out the leftover Halloween candy. It’s time for a scary movie or two tonight!

  • 1930s: Dracula
  • 1940s: Cat People
  • 1950s: Creature From the Black Lagoon
  • 1960s: Psycho
  • 1970s: The Exorcist
  • 1980s: The Evil Dead
  • 1990s: The Silence of the Lambs
  • 2000s: Paranormal Activity
  • 2010s: Get Out
  • 2020s (so far): X

Home Improver: Last-Minute Creepy and Fun Halloween Party Foods

  • Spider Guacamole: Serve guacamole with tortilla chips and decorate it with black olive spiders
  • Mummy Hot Dogs: Cut hot dogs in half and wrap them in crescent roll dough. Bake until golden brown. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
  • Deviled Egg Spiders: Fill hard-boiled eggs with deviled egg filling. Top with black olive spiders and pimento webs.
  • Witch’s Fingers: Slice bread into finger shapes. Spread with pesto or another green sauce. Top with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake until golden brown. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
  • Candy Corn Popcorn Balls: Mix together popcorn, marshmallows, butter, and candy corn. Press into balls and let cool.
  • Apple Monsters: Cut apples into halves or quarters. Spread with peanut butter or another nut butter. Add your favorite toppings, such as chocolate chips, raisins, and nuts.

No matter what food you choose, make sure it’s fast, fun and festive for your Halloween party!

What’s Your Homebuying Tipping Point?

Is there ever a “perfect time” to buy?

One of my favorite books is Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point. In it, Gladwell describes a tipping point as the moment in time when a small change can lead to a large and rapid change in behavior.

We are at a tipping point in the housing market. Mortgage rates have been rising steadily for months, and they are now at their highest level in years. Inflation is also at a 40-year high, and there is a lot of uncertainty about the future of the economy.

This is causing many homebuyers to hesitate. But now more than ever, it’s important to get advice from your financial team (your mortgage broker, real estate agent, and financial advisor). They can help you assess your financial situation, understand your housing needs, and develop a plan to buy a home in these uncertain financial times.

So, what’s YOUR tipping point? What will it take for you to decide the time is right to buy a home?

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Can you afford to buy a home at current rates?
  • Do you have a down payment saved up?
  • Can you qualify for a mortgage?
  • How much risk are you comfortable with?

If you’re on the fence, I encourage you to give me a call. I can help you understand your options and make the best decision for your financial situation.

There are both pros and cons to buying a home in a volatile market. On the one hand, homes are still selling, and there are still buyers who are willing to pay top dollar. This means that if you’re selling your home, you may be able to get a good price.

On the other hand, the current environment can make it more difficult to buy a home. If you’re taking out a mortgage, you may find that it could become more expensive to borrow money.

Pros:

  • Homes are still selling.
  • You may be able to get a good price for your home if you’re selling.
  • Interest rates are still relatively low compared to historical standards.

Cons:

  • Low inventory can make it more difficult to buy a home.
  • You may find that it’s more expensive to borrow money if you’re taking out a mortgage.
  • There is a risk that home prices could decline if the economy worsens.

If you’re not sure if now is the time to buy a home, keep in mind:

  • Your financial situation. Make sure you can afford to buy a home at current rates and that you have a down payment saved up. Consult with your financial team.
  • Your housing needs. Do you need to buy a home now, or can you wait? If you can wait, you may want to do so until there is more certainty in the financial markets.
  • Your risk tolerance. How much risk are you comfortable with? If you’re worried about the economy worsening, you may want to wait to buy a home.

Ultimately, your homebuying tipping point is a personal decision. There is no right or wrong answer. But by carefully considering your financial situation, housing needs, and risk tolerance, you can make an informed decision that is right for you and your family.

Let’s Talk

I am dedicated to finding you a mortgage that fits your budget and works for your unique situation. Call me at 617-965-1236 to get started.

* * * * *

Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.


Autumn Is in the Air

The leaves are changing, the air is getting crisper, and the pumpkins are starting to appear. It’s time for all things spooky, from Spirit Halloween stores and haunted houses to scary movies and pumpkin spice lattes.

Here are a few ideas for things to do during spooky season:

  1. Visit a haunted house or corn maze.
  2. Watch a classic horror movie, such as “Halloween,” “The Shining,” or “Hocus Pocus.”
  3. Carve a pumpkin or decorate your home for Halloween.
  4. Attend a Halloween costume party or festival.
  5. Bake or buy Halloween-themed treats, such as pumpkin pie, candy corn, and chocolate bats.

No matter how you choose to celebrate, we hope you have a safe and spooky October!


Home Improver: Humidifiers for Fall and Winter

There are many benefits to using a humidifier in the fall and winter to add moisture to the air.

  • Reduced risk of respiratory illness: Dry air can irritate the airways and make people more susceptible to respiratory infections, such as the common cold, flu, and bronchitis. Humidifiers can help to reduce the risk of these infections by keeping the airways moist.
  • Reduced allergies: Dry air can also aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms. Humidifiers can help to relieve these symptoms by making it easier to breathe.
  • Improved skin: Dry air can dry out the skin, leading to itching, cracking, and flaking. Humidifiers can help to improve skin health by keeping the skin hydrated.
  • Improved sleep quality: Dry air can also dry out the nose and throat, which can lead to snoring and difficulty sleeping. Humidifiers can help to improve sleep quality by keeping the nose and throat moist throughout the night.

There are two main types of humidifiers: central and portable. Central humidifiers are installed into the home’s HVAC system and humidify the air throughout the entire house. Portable humidifiers are smaller and can be placed in individual rooms.

Central humidifiers are more expensive to purchase and install than portable humidifiers, but they are also more effective at humidifying your entire house.

Which one should I choose? When choosing a humidifier, it is important to consider the size of your home, the amount of moisture you need to add to the air, and your budget. If you have a large home, you may need a central humidifier. If you have a smaller home or are on a budget, a portable humidifier like the one pictured above may be a good option.

Use it safely. Choose a humidifier that is easy to clean and maintain. Humidifiers can become breeding grounds for bacteria and mold if they are not cleaned properly. To use a humidifier safely and effectively, follow these tips:

  • Use distilled water to prevent mineral buildup in the humidifier.
  • Clean the humidifier regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Place the humidifier in a central location in the room, away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
  • Set the humidifier to maintain a humidity level of 40-60%.

Here are some precautions to keep in mind:

  • Do not use a humidifier if you have a mold allergy.
  • Do not use a humidifier in a room with a baby, as high humidity levels can increase the risk of SIDS.
  • Do not add essential oils or other fragrances to the humidifier, as this can irritate the airways.

Has the American Dream Changed? How Generational Attitudes Influence Homebuyers

Back in May, we talked about which generations were buying the most homes — and it became one of our most popular articles to date. We thought we’d give another breakdown by generation, this time to see how mortgage rates and attitudes have influenced homebuying practices. The way that different generations view the need for home ownership has changed over time, and mortgage rates have played a significant role. This article was inspired by this recent piece in the Boston Globe.

Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) came of age during a time of economic prosperity and low interest rates. As a result, many Baby Boomers were able to buy homes at a young age. Home ownership was seen as a sign of financial success and stability.

In the 1980s, mortgage rates soared to record highs. This made it more difficult for Baby Boomers to buy homes, but many were still able to do so because they had already saved for a down payment and had strong credit scores. Homes were considerably cheaper back then, so the exorbitant rates of 18% didn’t necessarily hinder sales.

Generation X (born 1965-1980) came of age during a time of economic recession and rising interest rates. As a result, many Generation Xers were unable to buy homes as easily as Baby Boomers. Home ownership was still seen as a desirable goal, but it was not as attainable for many people.

In the 1990s, mortgage rates began to fall. This made it easier for Generation Xers to buy homes, but many were still hesitant to do so because they were worried about the possibility of another recession.

Millennials (born 1981-1996) are the first generation to come of age in the digital age. They have faced a number of challenges, including student debt, stagnant wages, and rising housing costs. As a result, many Millennials are delaying home ownership or choosing to rent instead.

In recent years, mortgage rates have fallen to historic lows. This has made it more affordable for Millennials to buy homes, but many are still hesitant to do so because they are worried about the possibility of another housing bubble.

Gen Z (born 1997-2012) is the most diverse generation in American history. They are also the most tech-savvy generation. Gen Z is still coming of age, so it is too early to say how they will view the need for home ownership. However, it is likely that they will be influenced by the experiences of Millennials.

The Need for a Holistic Approach

The decision of whether or not to buy a home is a personal one. There are many factors to consider, including your financial situation, your lifestyle, and your long-term goals. Mortgage rates are just one of the factors to consider.

If you are thinking about buying a home, it is important to do your research and understand the market. You should also talk to a financial advisor and a real estate professional to get personalized advice. Let’s look at the full picture and its impact on your future to decide what makes the most sense for you.

Let’s Talk

I am dedicated to finding you a mortgage that fits your budget and works for your unique situation. Call me at 617-965-1236 to get started.

* * * * *

Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.


September Fun

Feeling like summer’s over and you didn’t have enough fun with friends and family? Here are some events and activities you can attend in September:

  1. Davis Mega Farm Festival and Corn Maze. So much to do and see. Perfect for a family outing. (Sterling, MA)
  2. The Big E is the ninth largest fair in North America. Enjoy the sights, sounds and taste tempting aromas of the fall season. (West Springfield, MA)
  3. The Lawn on D is a playground for adults (though kids are welcome), complete with LED swings, pickleball, live music, food and beverages. (Boston)
  4. Whale-Watching Catamaran Cruise. Have a guided tour on the open water to see nature at its finest, with up-close views of whales and dolphins. (Boston)

Home Improver: Get Creative with Welcome Mats

Welcome mats are a great way to add personality and style to your home’s entryway. But why settle for a boring, generic mat when you can get creative? Here are a few ideas for making your welcome mat unique and eye-catching:

  • Choose a unique material. Traditional welcome mats are made from coir, but there are many other materials to choose from, such as rubber, acrylic, or even bamboo. Each material has its own unique look and feel, so take some time to explore your options and find one that fits your style.
  • Add a personal touch. Consider personalizing your welcome mat with your name, initials, or a special message. You can also have a photo of your family or pet printed on the mat.
  • Get creative with the design. There are endless possibilities when it comes to designing a welcome mat. You can choose from a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. You can also add patterns, graphics, or even quotes.
  • Go for humor. If you have a good sense of humor, a funny welcome mat can be a great way to add a touch of personality to your home. Just be sure to choose a mat that is appropriate for your guests.

No matter what your style or budget, there is a creative welcome mat out there that is perfect for you. So take some time to explore your options and find the perfect mat to greet your guests.

When Big Banks Can’t Compete—Or Just Don’t Want To

The housing market in 2023 has been a challenge for buyers, banks and brokers. According to a recent Yahoo Finance article, housing prices have reached unprecedented levels, while a report from The Hill highlights a concerning trend: big banks are increasingly bailing on small mortgages, driving potential homebuyers to alternative—and often riskier—financing options. In this complex and sometimes daunting market, the role of an independent mortgage broker has never been more critical. Here’s why.

More Options, More Opportunities

Unlike banks or other direct lenders, independent mortgage brokers have access to a wide range of loan products and lenders, including non-traditional financing options that big banks don’t typically offer. This broad scope is invaluable at a time when banks are backing away from smaller mortgages, as The Hill reports. When traditional financing avenues are closing their doors, a broker can keep them open, helping buyers explore an extensive pool of potential mortgage solutions.

Navigating Market Complexity

The housing market in 2023 is not just about high prices; it’s also about rapidly changing conditions, complex rules, and often opaque lending practices. An independent mortgage broker can act as a guide through this maze. They are familiar with the ins and outs of the market and can provide clarity and advice based on years of experience and specialized knowledge. In other words, a broker can help homebuyers understand the terrain and make informed decisions.

Tailored Mortgage Solutions

In a housing market marked by high prices and challenging financing conditions, there’s no one-size-fits-all mortgage solution. Here’s where an independent broker shines. They can take the time to understand a buyer’s unique financial situation and goals, and then tailor a mortgage solution to match. Whether it’s securing a competitive interest rate, finding a lender comfortable with a smaller mortgage, or navigating the nuances of alternative financing options, a broker can provide a personalized solution that a big bank might not offer.

Competitive Advantage

Your mortgage broker’s relationships with various lenders can lead to faster turnaround times, providing a significant advantage in the race to secure a home. They provide more options, guide buyers through market complexities, offer tailored solutions, and provide a distinct competitive advantage.

As the housing market continues to shift and evolve, independent mortgage brokers may not just be a good option—they might be your best one.

Let’s Talk

I am dedicated to finding you a mortgage that fits your budget and works for your unique situation. Call me at 617-965-1236 to get started.

* * * * *

Ready to buy a new home or refinance the one you own? Please get in touch and I’ll be happy to answer your questions and help guide you through the process. I look forward to speaking with you.


It’s Almost August!

We hope you’ve been enjoying your summer. As we head into the eighth month of 2023, here is some trivia you might not know about August:

  1. The month of August was named in honor of Augustus Caesar, the first emperor of Rome. It was originally named Sextilis because it was the sixth month in the original ten-month Roman calendar.
  2. The month of August used to be 30 days long. However, it was said that Augustus Caesar added an extra day to the month to match the length of July, which was named after Julius Caesar. So competitive!
  3. The birthstones for August are the peridot and the sardonyx. The peridot symbolizes strength and the sardonyx represents courage and happiness. The flowers for August are the gladiolus and the poppy.

World Records: On August 12, 2012, Usain Bolt set the record for the fastest 100-meter dash at 9.63 seconds in the London Olympics.

Space Exploration: The Mars Rover Curiosity landed on Mars on August 6, 2012, starting a mission that has lasted for many years and has greatly increased our knowledge of the Red Planet.


Home Improver: Do You Really Need Gutters?

Gutters serve several important purposes in a home, and while they might not be absolutely necessary in every situation, they are generally recommended for most homes. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Close up of gutters along a residential rooflinePreventing Water Damage: Gutters direct rainwater away from your home’s foundation, siding, and landscaping, preventing erosion and water damage. Without gutters, water can pool around your home and potentially leak into your basement or crawl space, causing significant damage over time.
  • Protecting the Roof: By directing rainwater off the roof and away from the house, gutters help prevent potential damage to the roof itself. If water accumulates on the roof, it can lead to leaks or even structural damage.
  • Preventing Soil Erosion: Without gutters, the impact of rainwater falling directly from the roof can erode the soil around your house. This can lead to landscape damage and may potentially disrupt your home’s foundation.
  • Protecting the Siding: When rainwater drips down the side of a house, it can cause damage to the siding, paint, or any other exterior surface. Gutters prevent this by channeling the water safely away.
  • Preventing Mold: Water infiltration into your home can lead to mold growth, which is a significant health concern. By keeping water away from your home’s foundation and preventing leaks, gutters can help minimize the risk of mold.

However, there are some exceptions. In arid climates where rainfall is minimal, gutters may not be as necessary. That is not the case in New England, so installing a gutter system is probably necessary. Here’s the exception: certain architectural styles or building codes may not require gutters.

If you’re unsure whether your home needs gutters, it would be best to consult with a local home improvement professional or building inspector who can assess your specific situation.