Swanson Home Team Blog | Greater Boston - North Shore

Real Estate Info, How-To's, Advice, Market Updates & Musings

Oct. 1, 2016

Cheap Yet Chic: The Secret to a Stylish Home on a Shoestring Budget

So you have champagne taste and a wine box budget? Who doesn’t? The good news is that you can create the style and opulence of the high-end houses you see on the North Shore in a simple (and we do mean cheap) and creative way. 

This article will give you all of the tips, tricks and insider hints to create the illusion of luxury throughout your whole house. Giving you the golden rules of creating splendor in your home without the hefty price tag. We will also take you room by room and highlight what you need to do to ensure that you get the affluent style you desire for each room.

The Golden Rules

Declutter - less is more


If you have ever wished that your home looked more elegant or had that staged look that you drool over; the first step to achieving it is to declutter.

Home Decluttering Choices

Source: home storage solutions 101

Living in a high-end luxurious home means all of your worldly possessions aren't on show. Pick a few of your favorite knick knacks to go into a room. It’s a matter of taking the time and care to arrange things in an eye-pleasing way.

Eliminate dirt and grunge

Having a clean home can go a long way to making it look more expensive. Now we are not suggesting that you scrub your floors with a toothbrush every day or even once a week. However, freshening up your carpets and rugs with a deep clean twice a year is essential for that luxe feeling. Steam cleaning wood and tile floors also add sparkle to your home. 

Home Decluttering Choices

Ensure your home is dust free so as not to take the shine off your perfectly placed furniture. Go through your house once a month with the eyes of someone who does not live there and just see what you notice. Clean and organize anything that stands out for the wrong reasons. 


Painting is a simple cost effective way Ensure your home is dust free so as not to take the shine off your perfectly placed furniture. Go through your house once a month with the eyes of someone who does not live there and just see what you notice. Clean and organize anything that stands out for the wrong reasons. 

To make a dramatic change in your home, start with a neutral color pallet and then an accent wall, or simply decide to add color with your decor.

Crisp white walls accented by tastefully colored decor.

Clean White Walls accented by Tastefully Colored Decor

Clean, crisp white walls, ceilings, skirtings and crown molding provide clean lines and push your home into show-home status. 

Extra Tip: Keep small pots of paint on hand to allow for touch ups throughout the year. There is nothing worse than scuff marks on your walls and skirting boards.

Start Neutral and add layers

Your walls are painted in a neutral color and  you have all the furniture you can afford but your home still looks unfinished. One of the things you will notice if you have ever been to an open house in Marblehead or Rockport is the layers. 

A luxurious home always has layers: books and candles to decorate, a rug to delineate spaces or draw attention to or away from something, floor to ceiling curtains framing the windows, throw pillows or a cozy blanket laying on the sofa and bed. The reason you should paint your walls in a neutral color is so that you can use these layers to add color and style that can be easily changed as trends change.

Beautiful Home Decor Ideas for Fall

Source: Layer on the Home Décor for Beautiful Fall Style

Keeping up with the latest trends is the best way to make your house look expensive. Marrying the new with the old in a timeless and fashionable way will make your home the  envy of everyone. Keeping your home on trend with accessories is the most cost effective way to do this.

Living Room Decorating Ideas

The living room is the heart of the home and therefore, when you are on a budget it is a good idea to start with this room first. 

Paint: Paint your walls in neutral colors. Whites and creams will make everything brighter and cleaner giving your room a more high-end vibe. In the living room, keep everything uniform when it comes to wall color. That means no feature wall here for us.

Modern Living Room Design Examples

Source: 25 Beautiful Modern Living Room Interior Design examples

However, it has always been my personal belief that if you have a beautiful feature in your room you should highlight it in some way. If you want the focal point of your room to be the beautiful fireplace then painting this in a contrasting color is a great way to do it and will add instead of detracting from the expensive feel.

Art: Supersize the art in the room. There is no need to spend a fortune on art, you can find inexpensive pieces at Target. Or if you want a more individual piece go to auctions and see what you can grab for a bargain. Better yet DIY  your own art to reflect your personal style; a printed photograph on canvas or a one-off masterpiece of your own creation is perfect. 

When it comes to art it is also a good idea to include your TV in your art wall as much as possible. There is nothing that brings a room down more than a great big black screen stuck in the middle of a wall. Try to lose the TV in a jungle of smaller canvases or simply frame your TV so it looks like its own piece of artwork. 

Lighting: The lighting in a lounge room needs to be warm and inviting. Try low hanging chandeliers or a pendant light. Warm table or floor lamps also work when trying to create warmth. 

Beautiful Interior Design Examples

Source: 25 Beautiful Modern Living Room Interior Design examples

Most people will make the mistake of just having this one source of light in their room. However, by adding some cheap table lamps and swapping out the shades or better yet DIYing them yourself. You can add layers  of light to your lounge room and highlight areas of importance or significance.

Making a sculpture from a lamp is  also a fabulous idea when you are trying to get the high-end vibe into your aesthetic. Try hanging a hinged lamp from the ceiling to create an interesting focal point. 

Storage: Every house needs storage. But going back to one of our golden rules at the beginning of the article and keeping this in mind will ensure you don't overfill your storage with clutter.

Find a nice bookcase or open shelf storage unit and begin by adding books. Books give a room an elegant feel and reflect your taste.

Great Storage Ideas

Source: Storage For Kids Toys In Living Room

As well as books you should always add fresh flowers to any surface you can find. It will brighten up the area and add a splash of color to your clean white walls. Flowers provide an organic feel to the room and placing them in an interesting vase will definitely class up your space and make more elegant.

NB: If you don't have fresh flowers in your garden yet buying quality silk flowers will save you money in the long run. Fresh flowers every week can become expensive if you don't have a source to get them for free. 

Any storage containers that you use should match, the uniformity will create the high-end feel you are looking for. Either baskets, storage containers or mason jars will work, as long as they are uniform you are on the right track.

Disguise the clutter with baskets and boxes.

Source: House Tweaking

Within your storage bookshelf, we also recommend using your decorative nick nacks that you have carefully chosen. Creating a cute, simple and elegant vignette in your storage area will help to dress up your space and create the staged look you desire. 

Throw Pillows and Area Rugs: Obviously, we are on a budget here so we can’t very well go out and buy the latest Italian sofa, however, the best way to conceal your worn sofa is to add inexpensive throw pillows. Using a range of colors and textiles that complement each other will draw the eye away from your seemingly boring sofa and add a touch of class and elegance to any style of room. 

An area rug has a similar effect. You don't have to spend a fortune on an area rug, you just need to choose one that is eye catching, and that uses complementary colors and textiles to what you have already chosen for your lounge room. The rug will delineate the space and provide the high-end, staged feel you are looking for. 

Curtains and Drapes: Our last tip to make your living room look as though it belongs in a North Shore Real Estate magazine is a simple one. Most expensive homes have high ceilings. If yours doesn't, never fear, with this simple trick you can create the illusion of space. 

When hanging curtains and drapes it is a natural tendency to want to place them just above the window frame. However, if you hang your curtains just below where the ceiling meets the wall and leave a little pool of fabric on the floor, you trick the eye into believing you have those 10ft ceilings we all crave.

Do's and Don'ts of Drape Hanging

Source: Classy Glam Living

Anyone who has ever been given a quote for custom made drapes understands how ridiculously expensive they are. Our trick to get that custom made feel from your store bought drapes is to double up the thickness of them. 


Paint: Again, keep the paint neutral in the bedrooms for cleanliness and brightness. However, you can choose from a wider range of neutrals depending on the coziness you want to achieve. Darker neutrals will close the room in more while lighter neutrals will open it up. In the bedroom, it is perfectly acceptable to add a feature wall if you have been dying to add some color to your walls.

Keep your bedrooms colors bright and neutral

Source: Good Housekeeping

Furniture: Again we aren't millionaires here, or you wouldn't be reading this you would be looking for an interior designer, but the furniture in a bedroom is important. The bed is obviously the biggest accessory and piece in the room and so it should reflect the opulence you want to create.


A heaboard is the best way to do this. You can easily reflect the affluent style you love with a little bit of DIY magic. Use the DIYers tool of choice, Pinterest, to find the headboard you desire and get to work on upgrading or making your own. Go for a heavy wood look or soft fabric feel. 

Lighting: Again soft warm lighting in a bedroom is ideal but we recommend using a dimmer switch to create different moods for the room. 

One source of lighting in the bedroom is never enough so add some lamps to the bedside table and so strip lighting around the vanity and dressing tables to highlight specific features.

Hardware: In the bedroom you want small elegant pieces placed around the room to give it that high-end feel. Using jewelry or small crystal knobs for drawers is an excellent way to achieve this. 

Bedding: In an elegant, high-end bedroom you should always have white linen. This doesn't need to be expensive, but soft cotton, bright white and ironed is a must. Covers and sheets should both be white.

Bright White Linens and  Over Stuffed Pillows.

Bright white linens are your friend in the bedroom.

Throw pillows and rugs: This is where you can add color and style to your room. Over stuffing your pillow covers is a great inexpensive way to create affluence in your bedroom. And using cheap, small faux fur rugs sewn together to create a throw will finish off the luxury hotel feel.


Arguably the most important area of your house and one of the most expensive to renovate. These quick tips are suitable for any budget. Labor is generally the most expensive cost in a renovation, so if you are handy or a handyman in your area owes you a favor you can create a relatively cheap luxury makeover in your kitchen. 

When it comes to countertops, obviously keep them clutter free. A tidy kitchen is the best way to create the illusion of luxury. The best part about this is that it is perfectly free. Having one or two uniform containers on the bench and fruit bowl or flowers is all that should be visible to a guest.

Makeover you backsplashes and countertops

Source: So Creative Things

Countertops and Backsplashes: However, if you want to take it a step further you can redo your countertops to give them a marble or quartz look finish. Just visit Home Depot and for less than $100 for 6.5ft you can purchase a laminate countertops. Adding a glass backsplash will also add luxury to your kitchen. 

Cabinets: One of the best thing about kitchen cabinets are that they are all made the same size. So you can swap out the old boring doors in your kitchen for new luxury ones from the hardware store. However, if your budget doesn't quite stretch that far the next best step is to remove them and spray paint them white to give them a fresh new look. Adding beautiful chrome knobs to your cabinets will add to the luxury feel also. 

Lighting: Chandeliers and pendant lights are perfect for your new light and bright kitchen. However, ensure you don't overdo it. You should use the showpiece lights to delineate the areas in your kitchen and then add downlights to create more light in the space without cluttering up the eye line of your kitchen. 

Kitchen lighting ideas from The Lighting Company

Source: The Lighting Company

Strip lighting under your cabinets is another great inexpensive way to create a more expensive feel to your kitchen. LED lights are cheap to buy and even cheaper to run, however, they highlight the new countertops and backsplashes you have just created and shine a light on the perfectly placed accessories and can accentuate the show home quality you have been striving for.

Decorative: Add some color and life into your kitchen with a few well placed decorative elements. Think a bright piece of art on the wall, a cool clock, throw pillows in the breakfast nook or a funky vase with fresh flowers. These little touches finish off the look you have been trying to create.

Fresh flowers add color and life to your kitchen.

Source: The Creativity Exchange


When it comes to the bathroom many people are too scared to even go near it let alone get stuck into making it more luxurious. 

It is a daunting and often expensive task, however, if you keep in mind a few simple tricks you will be able to turn even the most dated bathroom into simple spa luxury.

Tiles and flooring: When trying to keep costs down achieve brilliants results with simple solutions you can’t go past spraying your entire bathroom white. Most tiles, even in older homes, look fabulous with a new coat of white spray paint on them. 

The same technique can be employed if, god forbid, you have a bathroom with a pink or green bathtub and sink. You can purchase special paint from Home Depot to complete this yourself or alternatively hire someone to come in and spray the whole room. 

Paint: If you don't have floor to ceiling tiles in your bathroom, try keeping the paint neutral and white again. You can add some stencil work or a feature wall for color and style. Better yet if you have the funds buy yourself two rolls of patterned wallpaper and make a feature above your vanity or around a mirror. 

Seating: Nearly every high-end bathroom that you have ever entered has somewhere other than the toilet to sit. A beautiful armchair will give your bathroom a beautiful luxury feel. If you are constricted by space a simple stool painted in the right way to compliment your aesthetic will do the trick.

Add seating to your bathroom to give it that luxurious feel.

Source: Apartment Therapy

Containers: Unlike in the kitchen where it is essential that you pack everything away, in the bathroom having a few well-appointed containers will add opulence to your space. Having a dish for the soap to sit on, a tumbler for your toothbrush and a beautiful jar for cotton buds and Q-tips will create the staged feel we all admire. 

Bathmat: Just like in the other rooms of our house we can add style and color with area rugs in the bathroom too. Instead of the old tired bath mat try the new trend of a Turkish rug. It is beautiful and soft underfoot and will look fantastic even as it fades. 

Towels: We can all empathize with Monica from friends and her 11 different categories of towels, can't we? She may have taken it to the extreme, however, having a nice set of towels for display in your bathroom will add to the luxury feel of it. 

Display towels in your bathroom for that upscale look.

Source: My Best Friend Craig

For the rest of your towels if you don’t have an enclosed space to put them get yourself a nice basket and roll all of your white towels and place them in there to create a spa feel.

Mirrors: No one said that we have to settle for the old medicine cabinet mirror. You can either splurge on a one off mirror for your bathroom or find a cheap mirror and frame and upscale it yourself. Again, Pinterest is our friend here. A lot can be done with rope and a hot glue gun!

Framed bathroom mirrors give a cozy look.

Source: Built Smart House

Lighting: People generally overlook the lighting in the bathroom and go for something practical like a heat lamp and fan extractor. However if you want to add style and opulence to your bathroom you can’t go past a beautiful low hanging chandelier. Something spherical in nature to compliment the bathroom aesthetic.


The last room that we have to talk about is the most overlooked room in the house, it is the hallway. You will never walk into a high-end Lynnfield home and see a sparse hallway. They will all have cleverly thought out design features to draw your eye to all of the right places. 

Paint: Nothing different with the walls here, keep them white to open up and brighten up the space. However in a truly elegant and expensive home, the doors will all be painted in gloss black. The crisp pops of black will add sophistication and detail to your space. This is an easy way to improve your cheap doors without spending large amounts of money on replacing them. Pair this will chrome handles and you are definitely on to a winning look.

Elegant, gloss black doors.

Source: Where We Are Blog

Mirrors: Using different sized with neutral frames throughout your hallway is essential to making it look bigger and brighter. You want this aspect of your home to be inviting as it is the place in your house that takes you on the journey to whichever room you want to get to.

Make a room look brighter with mirrors of different sizes.

Source: Interior Color Ideas

Rugs: Having a large runner in your hallway is another way to create a sense of opulence. Using a large runner adds style, color and warmth to an area that is usually forgotten about. 

Decorate with Faux Flowers

Source: Playing With Time

So there you have it. If you follow The Golden Rules of - decluttering, cleaning, neutral walls and adding layers throughout your whole house you will be well on your way to living the luxury of a professionally staged home. For those of you who want to take on a bigger project use the room by room guide to add style and elegance to every room of your house. 

Anyone can create opulence and affluence in their home on a shoestring budget you just have to be ready to do your research and get creative with a few DIY projects. Be patient and the right idea for your home will come to you. And remember you can never go wrong with some fresh flowers or greenery picked from your own garden to add a touch of organic class to a room. 


Posted in Home Tips
Sept. 20, 2016

Benefits Of 1031 Tax Deferred Exchanges In MA

A 1031 exchange is a way to postpone taxes when selling a property and buying another. It applies to real estate used for business or investment purposes. When executed properly, it may result in significant savings. This article provides the benefits of 1031 tax deferred exchanges in MA.

Qualified Real Estate

You must own qualified real estate before considering a tax deferred 1031 exchange. Qualified properties are ones involved with a business or for investment purposes. It can be land, residential, rental, commercial, and industrial properties. You must also expect to buy similar real estate that is also qualified.

Benefits Of 1031 Tax Deferred Exchanges In MA

Usually, when you sell an investment property, you must pay capital gains taxes on the profits from the sale. This is true regardless of what the funds are used for afterwards. Taxes may be levied by the federal and state government. Based on how many years you owned a property and how much equity you have in it, the taxes due may result in a large sum. A 1031 exchange gives you a means to put the earnings from one property directly into purchasing another like-kind property and delay capital gains taxes until you sell that additional property. Actually, a 1031 exchange may be an option on that future sale to defer taxes again.

Preparing for a 1031 Exchange

There are different components to a 1031 exchange that you should understand BEFORE selling a property. 1031 Exchanges are not something that you can take advantage of after the fact. You must plan to complete an exchange when selling. Particular steps must be completed to complete the exchange. This includes time frames for selecting and buying a replacement. A qualified intermediary must also be used to administer the process. If a step is skipped, all applicable tax savings will be lost. Consult with a knowledgeable 1031 exchange consultant for more on 1031 exchanges and to enjoy the full benefits of 1031 tax deferred exchanges in MA.

Posted in Buying
Sept. 13, 2016

An Overview Of Purchasing Homes In 55+ Communities In MA

Purchasing homes in 55+ communities differs from other types of homes. 55+ communities may include unique features, conveniences, and rules. This blog contains an overview of purchasing homes in 55+ communities in MA.

What Defines 55+ Communities

55+ communities have certain age conditions. The precise restrictions depend on the individual community. Some mandate that one occupant be at least age 55 while others are stricter and require every resident be at least age 62. Some allow children while others forbid them. It is critical to be aware of these and other rules before putting in an offer.

55+ Communities and Typical Features

55+ communities are created to provide maintenance-free living for its residents. Most come with certain amenities. Golf courses, tennis courts, swimming pools, gyms, and club houses are very popular. An association is generally responsible for routine upkeep of landscaping, property exterior, and shared facilities. Many may also offer special programs. Ask about the fees for these services.

Homes within 55+ communities typically include specific features. Among these are a master suite on the first floor, less acreage, and low-maintenance appliances. If buying new construction units, some enhancements may require an additional charge. Model units are often upgraded to showcase add-on amenities, so do not assume that everything you see in a model come included.

Purchasing Homes In 55+ Communities In MA

Each community provides a different environment and lifestyle. This is dependent upon age restrictions, rules, services, property features, location, and type of residents. It is critical to evaluate and weigh all of the details on a particular community. Working with a real estate broker who specializes in this type of property can make a big difference in the process. Your real estate broker can help you evaluate community paperwork, advise you on questions to ask, and help you come to an educated decision about purchasing homes in 55+ communities in MA.

Posted in Buying
Sept. 6, 2016

MA North Shore Buyer Property Viewing Recommendations

Picking properties for viewing can be a bit stressful. There are many things to consider when selecting homes to view, prior to showings, and during visits. The MA North Shore buyer property viewing recommendations in this blog can help make it a little bit less cumbersome.

Deciding Real Estate to See

Price Range Is Key

It will be heart breaking to fall in love with homes that are not feasible for you to purchase. This can also waste valuable time and energy. Obtain a mortgage pre-approval and keep in mind what you can buy before taking the time to visit homes for sale. This is probably the most critical of the MA North Shore buyer property viewing recommendations.

Know What You Want

Create a wish list with items that are absolutely needed and those that are not required. Remind yourself that no property may contain everything on your list and that you may need to identify things that you can live without. Ask your real estate broker for information on what different amenities may cost or are commonly included in homes within your price range. Considering this information prior to viewings will help make the process more effective.

Research and Planning


Preview virtual tours of homes on the Internet ahead of time and rule out listings that off the bat do not match your criteria. Think about driving by the listings ahead of time. Familiarize yourself with different neighborhoods. In markets with high inventory, narrowing down listings will make the time spent seeing properties in-person more efficient.

Back-to-Back Viewings

Make effective use of your time by planning visits to multiple properties back to back. Your real estate broker will compile the right order for viewing listings and take care of contacting listing agents and/or sellers to confirm appointments. Try not to be too ambitious as you can experience information overload.

Advice During Viewings

MA North Shore buyer property viewing recommendations would not be complete without guidance for during and after showings. If you immediately realize that you do not like a listing, do not waste any additional time seeing it. This allows you to spend more time in properties that you do like. Write down your thoughts during or immediately after a showing. List items that you liked and did not like. These personal notes will help may help refresh your memory later. Use first visits to narrow down your list and return for second visits for final choices. You may notice different things upon seeing a listing a second time or at a different time of day.

More MA North Shore Buyer Property Viewing Recommendations

Real estate experts know the area and understand how to best arrange showings. Select an agent that understands your needs and trust that agent to guide you through the process. Your agent can also offer additional MA North Shore buyer property viewing recommendations. This guide was prepared by Jared Swanson at Keller Williams Realty and is intended strictly as an introduction.

Posted in Buying
Aug. 30, 2016

Annual Property Maintenance Tasks

Fall's cool temperatures provide a great environment to complete your annual property maintenance tasks. The change of weather is a useful reminder to start any maintenance to-do's that you may have been lingering on. The following are some tasks not to leave off your list.

Annual Property Maintenance Tasks

Ice Dam Prevention

Fall colors may appear gorgeous, but when they get stuck in guttersresulting damages will be not so visually appealing. The more often you clear your gutters, the less work it will take to keep clean. Furthermore, it will be easier to call a professional to take care of this on your behalf.

Power Wash Everything

Pollen and dirt can accumulate on exterior surfaces during the summer months. The quickest method to clean it is with a power washer. Before beginning, make sure that you have the right spray power for the material you are cleaning. Hook the power washer to a hose and start spraying. Your property will be clean in no time.

Cut and Trim

Survey the trees around your home for any loose limbs that could result in property damage when there is heavy snow or ice. Trim away excessive shrubbery and keep them a distance away from buildings. Wait until late fall to cut spring-flowering plants to avoid cutting away next spring's flowers.

Seed Your Lawn

Improving your lawn is a great way to retain home value. Autumn is a great time to feed and reseed your lawn for the next spring. Before you begin, mow the grass one last time.

Check Heating Systems

Have your systems serviced every year. This routine task will boost your furnace's performance and lower utility costs. It can also lengthen the life of a furnace.

Locate Drafts

Getting your furnace serviced can save money, but not if heat is escaping outdoors! Check for air leaks around windows and doors. Add caulk as needed to prevent heat from leaking out. For older windows that are impossible to caulk, think about buying plastic sealing kits sold at local retailers.

Clean Chimneys

You don't need to call the fire department when you first use your chimney come winter. A chimney sweep can take care of creosite buildup. This may also identify other problems with your chimney and allow you to repair them before they become a costly repair.

Why It Is Important

Your annual property maintenance tasks should not be forgotten. They do not simply refresh your property, but they also prevent future problems and, in the end, save you time and money. For future home repair ideas, subscribe to this website.

Posted in Home Ownership
Aug. 23, 2016

Pricing Strategies For Properties In MA

Pricing directly affects marketing time a listing and whether it may sell at all. Pricing is important at any time but is even more critical in a buyers market. Below is advice on pricing strategies for properties in MA.

Take Into Account Market Conditions

Each local market is different. When you learn about statistics on television, those almost always reference nationwide averages. Your specific region might not match that generalization. A MA real estate agent can provide a comparative market analysis that details sales of comparable properties in your area and provide an estimated price range in which your property might sell. This range may vary seasonally, so avoid relying on outdated figures.

Refer to Factual Data

When viewing the market report, remember that it is a range. Where your listing fits within that range is contingent upon different factors and your preferred timeline. As a seller, it is common to feel a sense of attachment to a house and the repairs put into it. Unfortunately, not all home buyers will attribute similar value to the upgrades. Remember that it is rare to recoup the total amount of upgrades. Additionally, market values can be affected by foreclosures in the region, which are often sold at lower prices but are nevertheless treated as comparable houses. Market valuation is technically the price that a potential buyer is offering to pay for a home during a defined time. It may not necessarily be close to your expectations or be close to the initial purchase price of the home.

Pricing Strategies For Properties In MA

Listing too high can result in loss of time. If the real estate market goes down during that time, the property may in the end be sold for even less than it could have if positioned correctly to begin with. Furthermore, buyers generally have a negative thoughts about homes that have remained on the market for an extended period of time. This can be sometimes impossible to get past even if a home lowers in price at a later time. Pricing too high can be irrevocably damaging.

Some Additional Advice for Homeowners

If the current market value of your house is far too different than your expectations, it might be better to keep a close eye on the market changes and wait for the market to improve rather than overpricing and having little success for months or even years. If you must sell and need to do so in a particular time frame, choosing a price appropriate for the real estate market and competitive with current listings will be imperative to attaining your goals. Time and money are related and incorrectly pricing may be more expensive than you realize. For more information on pricing strategies for properties in MA, contact Jared Swanson at Keller Williams Realty.

Posted in Selling
Aug. 16, 2016

MA Home Equity Loan Tips

There are many different types of home equity loans. Some can be a better fit than others based on your circumstances, mortgage rates, and the purpose of your home equity loan. The MA home equity loan tips provided below may help you evaluate your options.

Types of Home Equity Loans

Cash-out Refinance

A cash-out refinance pays off your first loan and creates a new one. The new mortgage covers the balance of the old mortgage, the additional funds you are extracting and any closing costs. Because you are replacing the existing loan, rather than taking out a new loan as a second mortgage, the mortgage rates may be lower than a second mortgage. This is essentially a typical refinance except that you are extracting equity in the property. The equity funds are paid to you all at once. When evaluating a cash-out refinance, compare the mortgage rate of your current loan against the new one. If your existing rate is higher, then it would be a good decision to refinance everything to a new mortgage with a lower rate. Otherwise, you may want to review other options and preserve your first mortgage rate.

Home Equity Loan

A home equity loan is a second mortgage on top of your first mortgage. With this alternative, you borrow a lump sum of money that you pay back over a set amount of time, either at a fixed rate or at one that may increase or decrease after a certain period. Second mortgage rates may be higher than first mortgage rates. They also have settlement costs similar to first mortgages.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

A home equity line of credit traditionally has an adjustable interest rate that \"adjusts\" when the prime rate moves. HELOCs are open-ended, so they are similar to credit cards. The lender sets your maximum line of credit. You can borrow funds up to your limit and can access in varying amounts. Your payment reflects the current balance. As your balance gets paid down, the remaining credit may still be withdrawn. Credit limits may be lowered by the lender based on significant changes in the real estate market.

Review annual fees, cancellation fees, and mandatory balances or withdrawal restrictions. Similar to credit cards, HELOCs can be closed by the lenders at any point. This solution may be great if you are uncertain about needing the entire loan. However, be aware that the credit limit can be reduced, limiting the total funds available.

MA Home Equity Loan Tips

All home equity loans are based on the market value of your property and the balance of current loans. You can determine whether you have any equity in your property by calling a local real estate agent for an estimate on its value. Mortgage companies will request appraisals to identify a more definitive amount before lending you any money. Think twice before pulling more equity than you actually require. Also make sure that the new mortgage payments are within your budget. All home equity loans use your home as a lien, allowing them to foreclose if you are unable to make payments. This MA home equity loan tips is intended as a broad overview. Speak with a local mortgage consultant for relevant interest rates, closing costs, and other alternatives.

Posted in financing
Aug. 9, 2016

Overview Of HomeStyle Home Loans

Fannie Mae HomeStyle home loans allow people to include the expense of contract work into the loan. It can be used for the acquisition of a new home or the refi of a current home. It can apply to little or big projects and therefore is a great option for buildings needing improvement. The following overview of HomeStyle home loans includes important facts.

Types Of Properties Eligible For Fannie Mae HomeStyle Home Loans

Fannie Mae HomeStyle home loans may apply to different classifications of real estate, although there are certain restrictions. Single family properties are usually okay. Condos must be approved by FNMA and only interior work is permitted. Multi-family dwellings are allowed but the total number of units can not change from the renovation. Properties that will not be approved are mixed use buildings, cooperatives, new construction, and multi-family properties that are not occupied as a primary residence.

Limits And Terms

There are two different ways of calculating value. One is the forecasted value when completed based on a formal appraisal. The other is the purchase value of the home and the total repair cost. The lesser of these two is used to calculate the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio. This determines the mortgage amount.

The highest LTV depends on the type of real estate. For properties that will be used as a primary residence, 95% is permitted for single families, 85% for multi-families with 2 units, and 75% for 3 to 4 unit multi-families. Second homes are maxed at 90% and single family investments 85%. Obtaining cash out is not allowed for these loans.

Overview Of Home Repairs

Home repair estimates must be reviewed for underwriting approval. All estimates must have comprehensive details on the work, labor and material charges. Funds for the home repair expenses are held in an escrow account at settlement and paid out as projects are finished. Certain paperwork is required for each contractor. Home buyers may not request compensation for work completed on their own. All home repairs must be completed within 6 months of closing.

Overview Of HomeStyle Home Loans

This overview of HomeStyle home loans discusses only some of the most popular questions regarding Fannie Mae HomeStyle home loans. More conditions and restrictions apply to program processing and approval. All information is also likely to change without notification. Consult with a mortgage officer for updated information and to determine whether it is a good fit for you.

Posted in financing
Aug. 2, 2016

Green Building Insulation Options For Massachusetts Real Estate

Building green means considering energy consumption and the different materials used in a property. Lowering the expense of heating and cooling a property decreases energy waste, saves money, and also results in a more comfortable home. Insulation is thus an important element of building green, but there is more to it than picking the product with the best insulation rating. The following are different things to consider for green building insulation options for Massachusetts real estate.

Full Environment Impact

When evaluating green materials, it is advisable to look into how it is manufactured and installed. These all affect the environment. Some products, such as plastic-based rigid or blown foam materials, use less energy to create and emit less green house gases than traditional products. The application procedure will also require energy and other resources. These factors should be compared to the effectiveness of the insulation for an accurate measure of how green a product is.

Suitability of Alternatives

The climate and different spaces in a property must also be considered when picking insulation options. Real estate in warmer temperatures have different needs than those in extremely cold climates. Furthermore, no single product will fit every area in a property. For example, attics are more open whereas walls have obstacles and small corners. Thus, a solution that fits an attic may not work in a wall.

Using Green Building Insulation Options For Massachusetts Real Estate

There is no individual alternative that adapts to all needs. You must think about how well a material insulates, the environmental cost of creating it, the temperature of an area, and various areas where insulation is required. Consult with your builder or contractor for suggestions on the best green building insulation options for Massachusetts real estate. They retain valuable building knowledge and experience with using different options.

Posted in Home Tips
July 26, 2016

North Shore Of Massachusetts Real Estate Inspection Tips For Buyers And Sellers

Home inspections are an evaluation of the structure and all major systems by a certified professional. It typically involves a review of each visible element of the inside and outside of a property. A professional home inspector has inspected many structures and is therefore well-informed of all the features of home construction, systems, and how they all should operate. Even a knowledgeable home owner may not have the knowledge of an experienced inspector. North Shore of Massachusetts real estate inspection tips for buyers and sellers can be found in this blog.

North Shore Of Massachusetts Real Estate Inspection Tips

Home Buyer Tips

Real Estate purchases are a huge investment that you should not approach blindly. An inspection uncovers the condition of a piece of real estate and potential repairs. You may realize that some defects are acceptable and may be quickly repaired, while others might encourage you not to buy a specific property. Alternatively, an inspection may also validate that a home is in great condition. Negative or positive, having this valuable information will help you with making better real estate purchase decisions. A real estate broker will advise you on the best negotiation approach.

Seller Tips

Sellers can obtain home inspections before listing a property for sale to find necessary repairs. A renovated home might sell more quickly than one that is not. If you do not correct the problems identified, keep in mind that you are required to list any known problems to prospective buyers. This is not necessarily a terrible situation since buyers would undoubtedly uncover them during their inspection and would likely demand concessions. By giving them the information in advance, buyers can keep it in mind when making an offer, minimizing the potential added expense of addressing it later in the sale process.

Expenses and Other Things to Think About

The cost of an inspection typically depends on the size of a home. Extra charges may apply for inclusion of items such as septic systems. Fees can also differ depending on the expertise of the inspector. Consider the background of an inspector by reviewing training, experience, and professional affiliations. Regardless of the expense, an inspection is critical taking into account the large financial commitment that you will be making in the home. For additional advice on North Shore of Massachusetts real estate inspection tips and tips for home buyers and home sellers, contact JaredSwanson at Keller Williams Realty by calling 617-207-8060 or emailing jared@swansonhometeam.com.

Posted in Buying