Kimberley Martin - Pelletier Realty Group



Posted by Kimberley Martin on 7/5/2020

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

In many communities, homeowner’s associations, or HOAs, provide services to residents of the neighborhood. In fact, as many as 26 million homes are under the guidance of an HOA across the country. These community organizations can help ensure the neighborhood’s homes stay in good repair, residents treat each other respectfully, and agreed-upon rules are followed by all community members. But HOAs are not free. To be a member of a community with an HOA, you will need to pay a monthly or annual fee. So is the HOA worth having? Here are the benefits and drawbacks to consider if you’re shopping for a home in a community with one.

Benefits of an HOA

An HOA will provide amenities for you as a resident of the community. Sometimes, those amenities may include things like community swimming pools or a fitness center. They may be something as simple as enforcing rules about the upkeep of homes so the neighborhood looks nice. This, in turn, can help preserve the value of your property.

HOAs can reduce some of your responsibilities. Depending on the terms, they may cover lawn mowing and snow removal, or they may give you someone to call if your neighbor is letting his dog bark at odd hours of the night.

Finally, an HOA gives you a voice. These associations are run by boards, which are typically community residents, and those board members are supposed to listen to the needs and desires of community members.

Drawbacks of an HOA

On the other hand, an HOA does have some drawbacks. Sometimes, the rules, like rules about fencing in your yard or the color you can paint your home, may be detrimental to your goals. The cost is another factor to consider, as it will increase your overall cost of homeownership.

Depending on the terms of your HOA contract, it may be possible for the association to foreclose on your home if you fail to pay your dues and follow the rules. They can also spring assessments on the homeowners within the association if they lack the money to cover an expense, such as if the community pool needs to be renovated.

Finally, an HOA will often limit the rental of homes within its governance. If you need to move and don’t want to sell, you may not have the freedom to turn your home into a rental. If rentals are allowed, the HOA will have regulations about the rental agreements that you have to follow.

So is an HOA right for your needs? The answer truly depends on your goals for your home and your overall budget. Weigh the pros and cons, and then make a decision that fits you.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Kimberley Martin on 6/28/2020

Photo by Nattanan Kanchanaprat via Pixabay

If you’re in the market to purchase a home, it can be a confusing process. Interest rates, types of loans and what may apply to you can all sound like a foreign language. It’s always best to have some background knowledge before going to see a mortgage broker to make sure you’re on the same page. Although there are many components to the process, one of the main elements that directly affects you is the type of loan you qualify for. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Land Purchase

You may want to build a home on a specific piece of land. Most banks offer up to 85% of the price of the land for residential and investment purposes.

  • Home Purchase

These loans finance the purchase of a new residential property or home from previous owners. There are many categories: fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA and bridge. Each one has elements that mortgage brokers use to determine whether you would be a good candidate for that type of loan.

  • Home Construction

If you’re looking to construct your home from the ground up, this is the type of loan you will be considered for. The loan and application process is a little different from a standard home purchase loan. If you want the loan to be included as a part of the total price of the house, the land should have been bought within a year.

  • Home Expansion/Extension

Even if you’re purchasing a home, you may decide you need to expand it. These types of loans work differently if you are purchasing the home, so working with a mortgage broker will provide more insight.

These four loan options may directly impact your decision and ability to purchase. When considering the type of loan you are seeking, you should also think about where you want to live and how long you plan to stay there. Each specific type of mortgage loan may require different amounts for a down payment, have different standards, require mortgage insurance and interest.

The type of mortgage loan and interest rate will also affect your monthly payment. A mortgage broker should be able to help choose wisely to save money in a number of areas. The most important thing to remember when searching for a home loan: they are not one size fits all. Every home loan is dependent on your current circumstances, credit rating and income level.

Everything may sound confusing right now, but you have a good foundation to work from. As your mortgage broker walks you through the process, you'll be able to identify those loans that may be mentioned without feeling like you're lost. Being educated on what's out there can also help ask the right questions. Although a mortgage broker is designed to help you get the loan you want, they also want to make money too. Working with one that appreciates your knowledge (even if limited) is key. Good luck!




Tags: Mortgage   loan   Homebuying  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Kimberley Martin on 6/21/2020

Photo by Athitat Shinagowin via Shutterstock

Youíll often hear it stated that paying rent is throwing money down the drain. As a motivation to buy a home, however, that might not be the best idea. A rule of thumb is that if you can purchase a home for fifteen times what you currently pay annually in rent, buying makes sense. In real numbers, if your rent is $1,500 a month, your annual rent is $18,000. Fifteen times that amount is $270,000. That means if you can buy a comparable home for around $270,000, it makes sense to buy rather than to rent because youíll break even in 15 years and will accrue equity beyond that.

But even if housing prices fit that scenario, what is your personal criteria?

Is renting throwing money away?

That depends. There are multiple rent vs. buy calculators online that allow you to plug in the variables that apply to your situation. The adage that itís always better to buy may not fit into your lifestyle, career goals or plans. Donít buy just because someone tells you that youíre tossing away your life savings. After all, if you have enough for a down payment, you can invest it in something more liquid than property.

But, buying is a fantastic idea if you love the community, see yourself living there for at least five years, and want to own your home.

There are some guidelines, however, to help you determine if you are ready. These require that you keep financial considerations separate.

  • Do you still have student loans? If so, determine the impact that more debt places not just on your pocketbook, but on your psyche. If having education debt stresses you out, adding more debt to that is not a solution. Instead, before you buy a home, work with a student debt counselor to see if you can make some headway on your loans.
  • Do you have an emergency fund? For some people, if they get a flat tire or the fuel pump goes out in the car, the burden of taking care of that emergency can throw all caution to the wind. Having an emergency fund of a minimum of $1000 for short-term emergencies (car repair, flight to a family funeral, etc.) and three to six months for long-term emergencies (extended illness, job loss) protects you from disasters lurking around every corner.
  • Can you set aside money for home maintenance? If you replace your rent one-to-one with a mortgage (even including taxes, PMI, and homeownerís insurance), you still need funds for regular home maintenance. Generally, youíll want to set aside about one percent of the cost of the house minimum for annual maintenance. If you buy your home for $300,000, youíll need to set aside an extra $250 a month (3% or $750 a month is better) to cover repairs, maintenance, and upkeep of your home.

The other questions you want to answer are: How secure is your job? Could you be moving within five years? Do you qualify for a good interest rate? Buying just to escape renting is never a promising idea. But if the answer to these questions leads you to believe homeownership is right for you, in the right location, and itís the right time, find the right real estate professional to help you get there.




Tags: buyer tips   renting   New Buyers  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Kimberley Martin on 6/14/2020

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases that youíll ever make in your lifetime. Youíll spend decades of your life making mortgage payments to pay off your home loan. Buying a home is more than just simply finding a place to live. Itís also a financial decision. Your home helps you to build equity, gives you tax deductions, and helps you to have some security in your financial future. 


One of the biggest questions that youíll have when you buy a home is ďHow much can I spend?Ē To answer this question, youíll need to dig a little deeper. 


Do You Have Money For A Down Payment?


The standard amount of money that youíll need for a down payment is 20 percent of the purchase price of a home. If you donít have the money for a full down payment, youíll need to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). This could add up to be an extra cost of hundreds of dollars per month in additional insurance payments on top of your mortgage and every other kind of expense that goes along with buying a home. Youíll need to take the time to save up for a down payment if youíre a first time homebuyer. If you already own a home, the equity that you have in that home can help you with the down payment.


What Are Your Other Financial Responsibilities?


Thereís more to buying a home than just the monthly mortgage payment. Youíll need to get insurance, pay taxes, and have some money set aside for repair and decorating costs. Youíll need to look at your monthly income to find out just how much you can afford on a home. You should take an honest look at your lifestyle and existing expenses in order to determine a comfortable monthly mortgage payment for you.    


Know Your Credit Score


Your credit score will be a major factor in how much house youíll be able to afford. Your lender will use your credit score and credit history to help determine what type of interest rate youíll get and how much theyíre willing to lend you in order to buy a home.


Understanding what you can afford for a home purchase is crucial before you even start shopping. Itís a good idea to meet with a lender to get pre-qualified. This is different than getting pre-approved. Your lender will give you a general idea of how much you can spend on a home without digging too deep into your finances. Getting pre-qualified is a great place to start when youíre looking at the numbers of being a homeowner.




Tags: Buying a home   finances  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Kimberley Martin on 6/7/2020

Photo by Huy Phan from Pexels

Plants and flower pots can be heavy items to move around. The good news is you can eliminate the trouble with a rolling plant caddy. You can build one yourself using rustic wood or precut pieces from your local home store.

Stability is the key here.  Plan to build the caddy large enough so that your largest potted plant will fit on top.  When you choose the wheels, be sure they are big enough to manage any terrain in your yard or patio.  Larger wheels tend to be more stable. Consider wheels with a locking option for added safety.  

Shapes and Styles

As many planters are round, a round platform works nicely but as long as the flat surface you work with fits the pot you're using with it, any shape can work.  Most hardware stores sell pre-cut wood circles ranging in sizes. These often come with smoothly finished sides that look nice with or without additional paint or stain. 

Craft stores and superstores sell standard-sized wooden crates, which might work as the top of your caddy if all your planters will fit inside.  You may want to use the whole crate or trim the sides down so you won’t have to lift planters as high.

If either of the above options is appealing to you, you'll just need 4 casters and Step 5 of the following project. If you'd prefer to tailor your caddy to a specific size you can build a simple rustic wood square or rectangle with just a few materials.  Here's an example that results in a 10-inch rolling caddy

2 10-inch lengths of 1X4 

5 10-inch lengths of 1X2

4 casters or wheels of your choice

  1. Lay the 2 1X4 pieces next to each other on a flat surface. They should be parallel to each other with about 2 inches of space between them.
  2. Next, evenly place the 1X2 pieces on top of the 1X4s, they should be perpendicular to the Pieces from Step 1.
  3. Secure the pieces with wood screws and wood glue for extra strength. Allow the glue to dry completely.
  4. If you want to add some color to your project, paint or stain the caddy and allow the finish to dry completely.
  5. Flip the project over so that the 1X2 section is touching the table. Place a wheel in each corner and secure to the 1X4 sections with screws.

That's it! This plant caddy will surely come in handy. Apply lubricant to the wheels every so often and it should last a long time!







Kimberley Martin
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