Paul Stonkus' Blog
If you’ve been renting and preparing to buy a new home, you’ve probably saved up your down payment and are in the process of getting pre-approved for your mortgage loan. If, on the other hand, you’ve been living in a home you own and paying on your mortgage, you may be ready to buy, but only if you can use the equity in your existing property. Logically, that would mean you have to sell your home first, which pays off your existing mortgage, then live somewhere temporarily while you shop for your new home. However, you have more options, and none of them require you to live in a third location.
Option 1: Contingent Purchase
Ask your real estate agent for in-depth information on contingent purchases in your area, since different cities and states can have conflicting rules. This means making an offer on a new home that is “contingent” on your accepting an offer on your current home. Basically, you will do the buying and selling parts of your real estate plan at the same time. While your agent is looking for new homes, they are also showing your home to buyers. You can use the same agent for both parts of the process, which is often cheaper, or you can use a buyers’ agent for the purchase and a sellers’ agent for the sale, which may help you get better deals. Not all sellers are willing to entertain contingent offers since that can put a crimp in their own moving plans, so make sure your agent is aware of your circumstances from the beginning.
Option 2: HELOC Loan
Home equity line of credit or HELOC is a particular type of home loan. These loans are usually second mortgages of some sort but allow you to withdraw the entire amount within a given time period. This means you can keep your current home, and use the HELOC loan to buy your new home. Then, when your current home sells, pay off the mortgage on that home, and get a new mortgage on your new home to pay of the HELOC loan as well. This can be risky, however, since HELOC loans are based on the equity value of your current home, which may not be as high as the market value. In addition, they can have variable interest rates, which, if your old home ends up not selling for an extended period of time, can really start to drain your savings. If you plan to go with this option, make sure your real estate agent knows the timelines you’re working with, and try to find an agent with a “sellers’ guarantee.”
Option 3: Contingent or Rent-Back Sale
A contingent sale is similar to a contingent purchase, but instead of closing relying on you finding a buyer, it relies on you finding a new home and that offer being accepted. These tend to be shorter-term agreements, such as 1 to 2 weeks, but can be longer, even up to several months, depending on your buyer. Be careful and try to have contingencies on only one side of your purchase, since if you end up with too many chained together (you are on contingency, as are your buyers, and their buyers and so on) if one person’s plan doesn’t work, the whole chain could fall through. Alternatively, if your buyer has a longer moving timeline, they might be interested in setting up a “rent-back” agreement. This allows you to sell your home and then rent it back from the new buyers for either a specific time period or for as long as it takes for you to find a new home. This is especially a good idea if your buyers are currently renters on a month-to-month agreement since both of you can move whenever is needed.
If you’re ready to buy a new home, but are worried about selling your current one first in order to afford it, you are not alone. Make sure you explain your situation to your real estate agent during your very first meeting. Once they know what kind of agreements will work for you, they can do a much better job of finding your dream home and helping you complete the purchase.
57 North Bend St., Lynn, MA 01904
The idea of a tight-knit neighborhood seems like an artifact of a simpler time in our country. And, in many ways, it is. Improvements in transportation and technology make it easier than ever to be connected with friends and family across the country and around the world.
However, there are still many good reasons to get to know your neighbors, aside from as a common courtesy. In this article, we’ll break down those reasons for you.
A watchful eye
If you plan on going for an extended vacation, it’s good to know at least one neighbor who you can trust to watch over your home while you’re away. That can include reporting any suspicious behavior and bringing in your mail so that it isn't obvious that your home is empty.
If you have kids, your neighbors are a good way to find out about any neighborhood news and safety concerns you should be aware of, which brings us to our next reason to get to know your neighbor.
Learning about the neighborhood
When you move into a new community, there often aren’t many ways to learn about the local events and places of interest. Introducing yourself to your new neighbors is a good way to learn about the place you moved to. It’s also a way to ask about any concerns you may have, such as traffic, noise level, or road safety if you have children who will be playing outside.
A helping hand
Like we mentioned before, it’s good to have trustworthy neighbors while you’re on vacation for home security reasons. However, it’s also a good opportunity to have neighborhood kids lend a hand while you’re away. You can pay them to mow your lawn, water the grass or flowers, and feed your pets. This makes your life easier and teaches them a lesson in work and reward.
Lending tools and services
It’s good to know a few neighbors with tools that you don’t have so that you can let one another borrow seldom-used tools rather than buying or renting them just for the occasional use.
Similarly, if you have an elderly neighbor, it’s a rewarding gesture to help them out when you see they need help with groceries, shoveling, or other physically demanding tasks. Those small gestures can also go a long way when it comes to gaining a friend in the neighborhood who you can count on for the local news.
No ill-will between good neighbors
Let’s face it, neighbors can be a source of annoyance at times. If it’s late on a school night and your neighbors are being noisy while you and your children are trying to sleep, you’ll have a lot better chance of getting them to quiet down if you have an established, friendly relationship.
Similarly, if you have a family cookout and need to park cars in front of their lawn, they’re more likely to not mind if you’ve helped them out in the past.
So, for these five reasons, and for many others, it pays to get to know your neighbors.
When you begin to revamp your yard or garden, there comes a time to decide what exactly you’ll be growing. You’ll want plants that are hearty, beautiful and fragrant to grace your yard.
First, you can begin by planting ground-cover roses. These bountiful, low-growing rose varieties can provide plenty of flowers throughout the year. They tend to be very low maintenance and are drought-tolerant as well. They are great for any garden bed or container garden.
Another hearty favorite is red yucca. This plant can survive in high heat and is incredibly strong-willed. It has a bluish-gray, succulent base with long stalks that shoot up near six fee that bear red-ish, tube-shaped flowers. They are virtually guaranteed to catch the eye of any passerby.
Next, you may want to throw in some vining plants. The classic trumpet vine is as tough as nails and fast-growing. Plant this vine near a trellis, fence or any vertical surface, and let it do its thing. Make sure to prune and maintain regularly; otherwise this beauty can be a bit invasive.
Choose Fragrance & Color
For a fragrant eye-catcher, you may want to turn to a classic English lavender. This plant is good for anything from a walkway border to a rock garden. It flowers throughout the end of spring and into summer and has an enchanting fragrance. There are smaller varieties that are good for container planting, as well as larger varieties that can be a beautiful hedge. When you want to add some great evergreen flavor to your garden, you’ll find purple pixie to be an appropriate addition. Purple pixie is great as a dominant ground cover or as an accent in a tall planter. It has spectacular color year-round.
Blanket flowers are a great choice for perennial color, and they attract butterflies to your garden. They also happen to be an incredibly hearty grower and resist rabbits and deer. They also come in a number of different colors, from bright yellow, gold and red hues. A classic friend to any garden.
With this list of hearty, brilliant and fragrant plants, your garden will be the talk of the town. You’ll have beautiful flowers, enchanting smells and spectacular evergreens all around.