Twila Palmer - Westford Real Estate | Westford, MA Real Estate, Chelmsford, MA Real Estate


Some people think that bigger is better even when it comes to buying a home. Before you buy the biggest house your budget allows you may want to consider if the size of the home is what will make you a happy homeowner. Besides the size of the home there are many other factors to consider, here are a few things you may want to think about when buying: Your Commute Often times a bigger home is one that has a longer commute. So would you choose a bigger home over a shorter commute? When considering a longer commute most home buyers significantly underestimate the negatives of a long commute like high stress levels, poorer health, and less active social lives.  Swiss economists, Bruno Frey and Alois Stutzer coined what they call “the commuters paradox”. They found that someone with a one-hour commute must earn 40% more money than someone who walks to work to be as satisfied with life. Community Another thing that can affect buyer satisfaction is the quality of a surrounding community Think about the community your home would be in. Is it a subdivision? Do you have to drive to get places? How far away are neighbors or stores? Walkable communities have more active residents, they are better for the environment and help us save money too. Studies have shown residents of a walkable neighborhood on average weigh 6 to 10 pounds less than someone in a car-dependent one. Walkable neighborhoods also give us more opportunities for social interaction. The more neighbors walk around the more involved they are in the community. Ultimately the more community involvement the happier people are.        

The past few years the news has been inundated with bad press about the housing market but the facts remain the same it is still better to own a home. In fact, there are more reasons than ever to buy a home. If you are on the fence about buying you will want to take note of some of the benefits of homeownership. Pride of Ownership It belongs to you! That's right, renovate, update, paint, and decorate to your heart's desire and you don't need to ask permission or waste money improving something that you do not own. Your home is your own so plant trees, install a pool, put up a fence, expand the patio, redo the basement or do anything you want. Owning something feels good. Equity Homeownership is about building long-term wealth. It may seem that buying a home has a lot of upfront costs but historically homes appreciate by about 4 to 6 percent a year. When you purchase a home, you build equity with each payment. Equity is the difference between what the home is worth and what is owed. Equity can be used to build wealth, save for retirement and even to secure a loan. For example, an $800/month rent payment equals out to be $48,000 over five years with no financial gain to you. Tax Benefits Homeownership has huge tax benefits. In the early years of a loan, mortgage interest is the largest part of your mortgage payment. Mortgage interest is fully deductible on your tax return. For example, a homeowner in a 28% federal tax bracket could lower their borrowing costs by almost a third. Better Living Studies have shown that owning a home can actually make you healthier, and is better for your family too. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) report: says “Homeowners accumulate wealth as the investment in their homes grows, enjoy better living conditions, are often more involved in their communities, and have children who tend on average to do better in school and are less likely to become involved with crime. Communities benefit from real estate taxes homeowners pay, and from stable neighborhoods homeowners create”. The National Association of Realtor's Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing reports homeowners experience: -Higher educational performance and better behavior of children -Lower community crime rates -Lessened welfare dependency among households -More household participation in civic affairs -Better household health Bottom line, it's a great time to buy! Interest rates are at historic lows; homes are more affordable so go ahead and invest in a safer, healthier, better future for you and your family today.

Buying a home can be an exciting time and there is no better time to buy and take advantage of low

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mortgage rates and prices. Buyer beware, just because it is a good deal you still need to do your due diligence before signing on the dotted line. Here are some potential purchase pitfalls to look for:

Do-it-yourself anything

Does the home you are purchasing have a great finished basement, new deck or three season addition? Check with city or town hall to make sure the work was done to code and the proper permits were pulled. Things not done to code can be expensive to fix and can ultimately lower the home's value.

Structural problems

Structural problems are a big red flag. Have a professional home inspection and if need be have a structural inspection on the home. Things to look for include doors and windows that don’t open and close properly and cracks along the foundation. Some cracks may be harmless and normal settling but typically the bigger the crack, the bigger the problem. Structural problems are usually a deal killer as they can be very costly to fix.

Insect damage can be part of a much bigger problem. Signs of excessive termite or pest damage does not tell the whole story and often there is unseen damage inside the walls. This may require a special pest inspection to determine if the home's studs have been compromised thus affecting the home's structure.

Water damage

Another potential problem is water damage. Water damage can cause the failure of the foundation. Water needs to be always draining away from the house. Look for moisture or water

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stains in the basement. This may indicate a drainage issue. Also be sure to check if the home is in a flood zone. Water in the home can also cause mold. Mold can lead to many serious health issues and is expensive and time consuming to remove. Mold should always be removed by a professional specializing in mold mitigation.

Electrical work

Do-it-yourself electrical work or antiquated electrical can be a recipe for disaster. When looking at homes be wary of electrical work that has been added on over the years. If the home has an addition make sure to ask if the current electrical system is enough to handle the additional square footage. Be wary of older knob and tube wiring or aluminum wiring this can be very expensive to replace.

A professional home inspector should always be able to help point out potential pitfalls in a home before you purchase it. Never skimp on peace of mind. To find a qualified home inspector you can check with the National Association of Home Inspectors.


The housing market has been heating up and lately there seems to be more buyers than homes. So where do you start when house hunting? Many buyers like to start at Open Houses to get a feel for the market. It is always best to try to find a real estate agent to help guide you through the buying process , however, if you want to try to get your feet wet first an Open House might be your best bet. There are some things you will want to know about how to tackle an Open House: 1. How do you find Open Houses? Your best bet is to find a real estate professional that represents buyers and have them help you find Open Houses that are right for you. Agents are familiar with the inventory and could save you an unnecessary trip to a house that isn't right for you. Most open houses take place on Saturday or Sunday, so Thursday is a good day to start your search. 2. Be prepared Plan your route, make sure you have the right directions and have plenty of gas to get where you are going. Take along a pen and paper to make notes on properties. 3. Get to know the area The house may be great; but how is the area? Take the time to drive around the surrounding neighborhoods of homes you like and get to know the area. A real estate professional is a great resource for community information. 4. Check for agency Most agents at an Open House represent the seller. You will want to work with an agent that is able to represent you as the buyer. If you like the agent at the Open House, and have not yet contracted with an agent, make sure to discuss agency and representation. 5. Take notes Take notes and write down a list of quick pros and cons after you have viewed a home. This will help you remember the houses you have viewed. Viewing Open Houses can help you get a sense for what’s out there in the marketplace. It will help you determine if the house you want and your finances match up with the houses that are on the market. It is always best to find a real estate professional to help you find the home of your dreams. Buying a home is no small matter.

Are you looking for a deal when buying your next home? Buying a fixer-upper home just might be the way to go but there are some important things to know before you buy. These helpful hints can help you save time, money and a lot of headaches when buying a fixer-upper. Set a budget: You need to know how much money you can afford to spend. You will want to factor in the price of the property plus the cost of the renovations. Remember to plan for the unknown, add at least 10% to it for "overruns". Most projects never seem to go as planned. Plan ahead: Buying a fixer-upper requires more planning. When looking at potential homes you will want to make a list of renovations. Try to come up with an estimated cost of the renovations. You will also want to identify whether or not you have the expertise to do the renovations or if you will need to hire a contractor. Get a home inspection: There are some things that are unseen to the untrained eye. A good home inspection will be able to tell you all of the needed repairs and potential pitfalls. Remember buying a fixer-upper is an investment. Follow the tips on this list and you will be prepared for the project of buying, renovating and owning a fixer-upper.



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