Blog

Yes You Should Take the Plunge and Buy a New Home in 2017. Here Is Why
By Peta-Gay
September 12, 2017

Are you thinking about buying a house, apartment or condo? In many markets across the country, there's never been a better time than now to become a homeowner. In this post, we'll share a few reasons why the conditions are right to jump into the market and buy a new home.

Interest Rates Are Heading Up

If you're like most home buyers, you're probably looking to make use of mortgage financing to help spread out the purchase cost over a longer period. If so, you'll want to make a move in 2017 so you can lock in a low interest rate. The Federal Reserve has indicated that interest rates are going to continue to rise over the next year or two. If that prediction holds true, mortgage costs will continue to grow along with rates. Buying in 2017 means that you'll be able to secure a lower mortgage rate which in turn will save you money.

It's A Buyer's Market In Most Areas

Depending on the community that you're looking to buy in, you may find that it's a bit of a buyer's market. There are many individuals looking to sell their homes to lock in the price appreciation that's taken place during the recovery since the 2008 financial crisis. More listings on the market mean that sellers will be open to negotiation as they won't want their home sale to take weeks or months. If you're pre-approved for your mortgage financing and are serious about buying, you may be able to convince a seller to take a lower offer than they normally would.

You'll Start Building Real Net Worth

Of course, one of the best parts of buying a home is that it's a significant financial investment. Properly maintained, your home should continue to increase in value over time. As you continue to invest in upgrades and renovations, you'll build more equity that can be used as leverage for additional credit or just pocketed when you eventually decide to sell. Even though every market has its ups and downs, owning real estate is a far greater path to prosperity than renting.

When you're ready to get into the market and find your dream home, we're here to help. Contact our professional real estate team today and we'll be happy to introduce you to some beautiful new homes that suit your tastes and budget.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, CMR®, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed Property Manager & REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8585 Fort Smallwood Road Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

4 Smart Money Habits That Will Help You Save up a Mortgage Down Payment Faster
By Peta-Gay
September 7, 2017

Are you ready for home ownership? The prospect of owning your own house or apartment is an exciting one, but with any financial transaction this large, there are some things to consider. The first is your down payment – that is, the initial payment you'll put against the cost of the house to reduce the amount that you're borrowing in a mortgage. Let's have a look at four habits that will help you to get your down payment saved up faster.

Build (And Stick To!) A Reasonable Budget

The first and most obvious tip is to stick to a reasonable budget. Determine how much you have coming in and going out of your bank accounts and credit cards each month. Group everything into areas like 'food,' 'utilities,' 'dining out,' 'entertainment' and more. Then, reduce each area to a reasonable amount and avoid any overspending.

Figure Out Your 'Latte Factor' – And Eliminate It

If you're unfamiliar with the term, a 'latte factor' is that one consistent purchase that you make each day which, over time, drains your bank account. For example, if you spend $5 each day on your coffee habit that adds up to almost $2,000 per year in unnecessary costs. Pay close attention to your spending habits and try to eliminate anything that you can.

Make Automatic Payments To A Down Payment Fund

If you're working a stable job and have regular pay periods, you may want to explore setting up a separate savings account for your down payment. Once you have this account opened, set up automatic deposits from your regular bank account after each pay day. This limits your ability to spend your cash while building up your down payment fund automatically.

Don't Carry Credit That You Don't Need

Finally, try not to carry credit that you aren't going to use. This includes department store credit cards, extra bank credit cards or lines of credit. While it won't necessarily harm your credit score to have available credit, if you do have it you're far more likely to use it than if you don't. You'll need to be disciplined to save up your down payment. So, don't bother with extra credit that may be too tempting to resist using.

These are just a few of the smart money habits that will help you get your mortgage down payment saved up as quickly as possible. When you're ready to look for your new home, contact our trusted real estate professionals. We'd be happy to share options that suit your budget as well as other tips for getting your down payment saved up.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, CMR®, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed Property Manager & REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8585 Fort Smallwood Road Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

Budgeting 101: How to Plan Your Budget Around Your Monthly Mortgage Payments
By Peta-Gay
August 31, 2017

If you've decided to invest in a home, you might be wondering how to make all the expenses work from the groceries to your mode of transportation to all those little things that quickly add up. Fortunately, it's easy enough to ensure you have the money each month by calculating your expenses and ensuring there's a little wiggle room in the leaner times. Here are the details on how to begin with your mortgage budgeting plan.

Calculate Your Monthly Payment

Whether you've just purchased a home or are trying to determine if your dream home is right for you, it's very important to establish approximately what your monthly payment will be. It's important to have a mortgage cost that is sustainable, so add up your payment, home insurance, property taxes and your interest rate. While this should give you an estimate, you'll want to ensure you add extra room if you are taking advantage of an adjustable rate mortgage.

Determine Your Necessary Expenses

It's easy to be idealistic and assume that you'll be able to come up with the money for your ideal home, but it's very important to keep your feet on the ground and be realistic about your budget. Once you've determined your payment, calculate the average amount for your utilities, transportation costs and any debt you have. You'll also want to add in groceries, toiletries, and extras like gym passes, meals or entertainment. By adding up your monthly payment and your expenses, you should be able to determine if a house is realistic for you.

Leave A Little Extra

If your expenses and your home costs add up to balance out, that's great, but it's also important to leave some wiggle room in your budget for the other things you'll need. While you'll want to ensure you're saving money for the future, if you have any short-term life goals like a travel destination or going back to school, you'll need to leave a bit for the month-to-month. The unexpected can occur at any time so you'll want to have some leverage for the times when the car breaks down or there's a medical issue.

When investing in a home, it's very important to know that you can make the monthly mortgage payment and still have enough left over to pay your expenses and save for down the road. If you're currently preparing to buy, you may want to contact one of our trusted real estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, CMR®, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed Property Manager & REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8585 Fort Smallwood Road Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

Upgrade My Life Alexa: 4 Great Reasons to Invest in a Home Smart Assistant
By Peta-Gay
August 30, 2017

In an age of rapidly changing technology, doing things like programming in temperature changes and monitoring your home security from afar are pretty par for the course. Fortunately, having a smarter home is even easier these days with Alexa, which was created by Amazon in 2014 as a smart home assistant. If you're looking for an instant home upgrade that will utilize the smart technology on the market, here's why Alexa might be a great option for you.

Hands-Free Convenience

Whether you're doing laundry or cutting up vegetables, being able to do a lot of tasks around the home hands-free can be a great benefit. Fortunately, with Alexa, users can use their voice to get things done whether it's activating an app, turning on their music or even getting the weather report. The only thing that's required is for the user to make the command.  

Control The Temperature

Having to set up the temperature in your home so it goes down at night and heats up throughout the day can be a challenge, particularly since the outside temperature is always changing. Fortunately, Alexa allows you to adjust the temperature wherever you are. Whether you want to increase, decrease, or set the temperature, the command is as easy as: "Alexa, set the temperature to 67."

Adjusting The Lights

In addition to the temperature, Alexa also gives you the ability to adjust the lights in your home using a variety of different commands. Whether you want to turn the lights on or off, dim the lights or even adjust their color temperature, you just need to call Alexa's name. Conveniently, you can even create groups of lighting that will turn on at a specific command!

Making Simple Purchases

Whether you want to order take out for dinner from places like Domino's or purchase home necessities that you're running low on, all you need to do is engage Alexa with the appropriate command. While there has been known to be issues with using Alexa to order products, it tends to work well for household items that you order frequently.

There are many great upgrades available on the market, but Amazon's Alexa is a great choice for those who want a product that's easy to use and technologically adaptable. If you're currently on the market for a new home, you may want to contact one of our trusted real estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, CMR®, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed Property Manager & REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8585 Fort Smallwood Road Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

Squad Goals: 4 Steps to Throwing a Patio Party Your Friends Never Forget
By Peta-Gay
August 29, 2017

Summer may be the season for swimsuits and beachside barbecues, but it's also a great time to get your friends together for a party in your own backyard. Whether you're ready to show off your new home or are just looking for a good reason to celebrate the season, here are some ways to ensure your party is one that will make the summertime memorable.

Choose Dollar Store Decorations

When it comes to throwing the best party, nothing will work to create an atmosphere like the decorations! Instead of heading to the party store, take a trip to the dollar store where you'll be able to find a variety of fun stuff for an inexpensive price. To have a theme that will work, just ensure that you stick with a color pattern so your guests won't be overwhelmed.

Prep The Food Options

Planning the food for a big patio party can sometimes be difficult, but by determining a theme and getting prepared ahead of time, you should have a good handle on the offerings. Whether you opt for a Mexican theme with tacos and nacho chips or a barbecue with beer and brisket, preparing what you want to serve ahead of time will make party time more manageable. It's even better if you can prepare a few items ahead to make the day a little smoother.

Pick The Right Tunes

Putting the tunes on full blast might seem like a summertime solution, but this can scare away your guests and negatively impact the conversation. In addition to making sure that the music is at an appropriate volume, it's also good to offer up a lot of classics your guests will know. If conversation is at a standstill, a great song will get them into the partying spirit. 

Mix It Up

Many people have a variety of different friends they share interests with, but it can sometimes be hard to get them all in a room together. Fortunately, a fun party is the ideal time to get people talking and make your crowd mix! There's no assurance that everyone will become friends, but there's bound to be some fun conversation.

Throwing the best summer party might seem like a high-stress situation, but by picking the right tunes and sticking to a theme, you'll have a party your friends will remember. If your party is a pre-home selling celebration, you may want to contact one of our real trusted estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, CMR®, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed Property Manager & REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8585 Fort Smallwood Road Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com