Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA
Leading Edge Real Estate | 781-944-6060 | [email protected]


Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 10/11/2018

Buying a house can be a stressful process, especially when you’ve found your dream home and have put in your bid. While it’s easy to spend all of your spare time worrying endlessly if your bid will be accepted it won’t get you any closer to hearing that “yes”. Here are five things you can do instead of worrying and will help relieve stress instead. Read a book - Immerse yourself in another world by picking up a book. Spend some time browsing the shelves of your local library or bookstore for something that catches your eye. If you aren’t normally a reader choose a genre similar to your movie tastes or ask a librarian for a recommendation. Meditate - I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times before. Every time the topic of lowering stress come up you are sure to have meditation suggested as a combative tool. But it’s so widely recommended for good reason! Science has proven that meditation really does lower stress levels. With its popularity comes a plethora of options for you to experiment with. You can try in-person classes, apps, or CDs. There are even many different ways to meditate so find what works for you and keep practicing. Exercise - Exercise may not be everyone’s favorite past time but it is an excellent way to lower stress. Don’t worry this doesn’t mean you need a gym membership or to spend hours lugging weights around. Walking, dancing and even vigorously cleaning can all count as exercise if they raise your heart rate. You can even think of it as prep for move in day. Spend time with friends - Gather a group of friends together to catch up over brunch or go out on the town for the night. Either way, you will have a blast spending time with those you care about and lowering your stress levels. Social engagement is an important facet of human life and when you gather a group of friends there is almost a guarantee for some laughter. And yes, laughing really does help you reduce stress! Get outside - Spending time in nature is a guaranteed way to destress with endless possibilities. You can go for a hike, ride a bike, spend time on a boat, at the beach or in your own backyard. You also have the added benefit of the ability to combine this tip with any of those given above. Lay out a blanket to sit on to read or meditate, gather a group of friends for a game of kickball, or go for a run as a group or by yourself. Waiting to hear if your bid on your dream home has been accepted can be a stressful time, but it doesn’t have to be. By spending your time engaging in activities that help lower your stress levels you will not only keep yourself from worrying but also do yourself some good too. Whether you choose to snuggle up with a good book or go out on the town with some friends you’ll be glad you gave yourself some downtime before move in day!





Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 9/27/2018

Becoming a home owner for the first time is an exciting milestone for Millennials! Going from renting an apartment to owning your own property represents a big transition from dependency to independence.

For many people, it even symbolizes making the leap from childhood to adulthood. Once you're a homeowner and a property taxpayer, there's often a newfound feeling of being more established and successful.

While home ownership may bestow upon you a boost in status, the added responsibility of paying for your own repairs, maintenance, and upkeep can take an unexpected toll on your budget. With a little extra planning, however, you can avoid many of the pitfalls of home ownership.

Looking at the Big Picture

Here's a misconception that sometimes creates a financial strain for first-time homeowners: "If we can afford to pay $1800 in rent, every month, then we should be able to afford monthly mortgage payments in that same amount!" While that premise may sound logical, there are a few crucial "missing pieces" from that equation -- pieces which could throw your household budget out of kilter!

In addition to the costs associated with purchasing real estate, such as a down payment and closing costs, there's also the matter of home repairs and property maintenance. Depending on where you decide to live, there could be other fees to absorb, too, including garbage collection, yard waste removal, and water usage. Other expenses that first-time homeowners may overlook include the cost of buying a lawnmower, a snow blower, yard maintenance supplies, tools, and furniture. That's why creating a detailed estimated budget, based on your income, debts, and anticipated expenses can help you determine whether you're truly ready to take the plunge into homeownership.

Enlisting Professional Help

A mortgage broker or bank loan officer can provide you with assistance in calculating your financial readiness for purchasing a home. A good real estate agent can also offer insights and guidance into the process of finding, buying, and owning a house you can comfortably afford. They should be able to provide you with vital information about school taxes, property taxes, average utility bills, homeowner association fees (if any), and any issues revealed in the seller's disclosure form.

One way to avoid -- or at least be prepared for -- costs that often accompany home ownership is to have a qualified property inspector take a close look at the condition of everything in the house from the basement and attic to major appliances and structural features. They can generally tell you whether there are any concerns about mechanical systems, water in the basement, foundation damage, issues with property drainage, the electrical system, potential plumbing problems, and dozens of other vital checkpoints

Whether you're a first-time house hunter or a seasoned homeowner, it pays to understand, anticipate, and budget for the many costs of being a property owner. While owning your own home can be a rewarding and satisfying experience, a guiding principle to keep in mind as you consider available homes on the market is "caveat emptor" (Let the buyer beware)!




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 9/6/2018

Before you launch a home search, it helps to prepare for the property buying journey as much as possible. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to get ready to find your dream house.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prep for a home search.

1. Establish Homebuying Criteria

If you know you want to buy a home, it generally is a good idea to define your ideal residence as well. That way, you can streamline your house search.

Consider where you want to reside. For example, if you work in the city, you may want to focus on houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you plan to return to school, you may want to search for a home near top colleges and universities.

Think about what features you want in your ideal home, too. If you have always wanted to own a home that boasts a luxurious outdoor swimming pool, for instance, you can map out your home search accordingly. Or, if you want to purchase a residence that features a state-of-the-art kitchen, you can search for a home that offers this amenity.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A mortgage typically is a must-have, regardless of where and when you search for a home. And if you enter the housing market with a mortgage at your disposal, you will know precisely how much you can spend on a residence.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be simple. If you meet with banks and credit unions in your area, you can review your options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.

If you have concerns about home financing, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, diligent mortgage specialists who can respond to your home financing queries. As such, you can work with these specialists to gain the home financing insights you need to make the best-possible mortgage decision.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

As you get set to conduct a home search, there is no need to work alone. If you hire a real estate agent, you can collaborate with a homebuying expert who can take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing a house.

A real estate agent is happy to provide guidance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she can offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can find a terrific home at a price that matches your budget. Plus, a real estate agent will simplify the process of setting up home showings. Perhaps best of all, if you are uncertain about whether to submit an offer to purchase a home, a real estate agent is ready to provide insights to help you analyze all of your options.

Dedicate time and resources to prepare for the homebuying journey. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with the insights you need to succeed.





Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 8/30/2018

If you’re looking for the perfect location to live but can’t quite afford the neighborhood that you’re vying for, a good option is to look for what’s deemed a "up and coming" neighborhood. These areas are where buyers can find the perfect house in a place where property values are only going to increase in the coming years. Buyers may feel that this is a gamble. How can you really tell if a neighborhood is one of these areas? There are a few vital signs that you can find below which show a city or town is on the up and up.


New Concept Businesses Are Moving In


If you hear a new grocery store is going in an area, co-working spaces, or vegan restaurants are coming to town; it’s a good sign that the neighborhood is going to be a happening place very soon. Think organic, Millennial minded ideas that are trendy. The key is to find the things and places that people want most. If you can move into one of these areas before it becomes popular, you have struck property gold. 


Public Transportation Is Nearby


In any urban area, being near public transportation is a huge plus. Being near any major transit is great for property values. Even homes near major routes are attractive. People will always want easier access to work and the things they need.


Think About How An Area Is Perceived


Cities across the country have flipped from having negative connotations to being an area of luxury. It happens slowly, but it starts with how desirable people believe the area to be. What’s considered “hip” can really affect the way an area is perceived.


Are The Homes In The Neighborhood The Same?


There’s often much potential in neighborhoods where all of the homes have the same design. If you see homes in a place where properties could use some TLC, it may be an opportunity for you. Other buyers or house flippers may have the same idea. It will be like a domino effect, and the neighborhood will turn around quickly.  


How Long Have Homes Been On The Market?


If houses in an area have been on the market for an extended period, it could be an opportunity for you to get a bargain. Buyers may shy away from a home just because the area is less than ideal. Your real estate agent can help you to determine places where homes have been on the market for awhile.           




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 8/9/2018

Closing costs are usually an unavoidable part of buying a home. While there are ways to reduce some closing costs and fees, they are an expense you will likely have to consider when it comes time to save for a home.

On average, buyers can expect to pay between 2 and 5 percent of the purchase price in closing costs and fees.

In this article, we’re going to break down those costs and talk about some ways to plan for, or limit, the fees associated with closing on a home.

A breakdown of closing costs

Most closing costs in a real estate transaction are paid for by the buyer. When getting approved for a mortgage, your lender is required to provide you with an estimate of the closing costs. This is called a “Closing Disclosure statement” which overviews the details of your loan.

Different lenders will charge varying amounts in fees. Some are even willing to waive certain fees. But, we’ll discuss that later.

For now, let’s focus on the closing costs buyers typically have to pay:

  • Attorney fees - a flat-fee or hourly rate depending on the attorney

  • Origination fees - an upfront fee charged by the lender for processing your mortgage application

  • Prepaid interest or discount points - a payment for the interest that will accrue on your mortgage from the time you close until your first mortgage payment is due

  • Home inspection fee - the fee that a professional home inspector charges to inspect a home

  • Escrow deposits - Usually split with the seller, this is the fee charged by an escrow agent

  • Recording fees - fees for legally recording the new deed and mortgage

  • Underwriting fees - fees paid to the lender for researching your mortgage case and determining whether or not to approve your application

These are just some of the many fees that can be due upon closing on a home. Depending on where you live, which lender you choose, and the type of mortgage you secure, your closing costs will vary, so it’s a good idea to shop around for a lender and mortgage type with reasonable closing costs.

Reducing closing costs

Some lenders offer no-cost, or low-cost mortgages. However, these savings often come with a higher interest rate which, over the lifespan of your loan, can cost you more in the long run.

You should also be aware of the different loan types that you may be eligible for. FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans are all designed for buyers hoping to make lower down payments on their home.

Each loan type provides different amounts due at closing. Fortunately, your mortgage lender will be able to give you an estimate of costs for each loan type.

Want to get an estimate of the closing costs you’ll have to pay when you buy a home? You can use this online calculator to see an average.




Categories: Uncategorized  




Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA