Alan Shafran Real Estate Blog

Selling your home on your own can be very stressful and confusing. Working with a real estate agent will help to make the process much smoother. Make sure to ask any agent these questions before deciding on which agent is right for you.

What is your experience? Look for agents that have closed plenty of deals and have been selling in the local area for some time. You want to find an agent who is familiar with your neighborhood and has an understanding of the market in your area.

How will we communicate? Staying in constant communication with your agent is an important part of the process. However, you do not want a cell phone that is constantly ringing. Make a communication plan that will work for you, such as only communicating through emails

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The front yard of your home is the first thing that potential home buyers see when they look at your home, which is why it is important to make sure that it looks its best. Keep these curb appeal tips in mind to help sell your home faster.

Add bold numbers – swap out your old, outdated house number with big and bold numbers to add a focal point to your front wall and to help buyers find your house.

Paint the front door – painting your front door a color that pops against the color of your house can make your home seem more cheery and welcoming.

Paint the garage door – while you have the paint out for your front door, do not forget the garage door. Garage doors take up a lot of space and should always look their best.

Add a fence – installing a

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After you have owned your house for a number of years, you may think that you are stuck paying the same mortgage payment each month through the life of your loan. However, there are many refinance plans that banks try to keep hidden that can help you save thousands of dollars on your mortgage each month.

One of the most common refinancing programs that can help you save money is the Home Affordable Refinance Plan, or HARP. The HARP program was meant to benefit middle-class Americans by cutting their mortgage payments by more than $4,000 a year for those who qualify. It was started to help boost the economy by allowing more people to pay off their mortgage and own their homes outright. Many banks are not very forthcoming with the program since it means

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Knowing how much your home is worth will help to ensure that you list your home for the right price when you are looking to sell. While there are many different ways that you can estimate the value of your home, your real estate agent and a comparative market analysis are the best tools and will give you the best analysis.

A comparative market analysis, or CMA, is based on various data about both your home and the surrounding neighborhood. Your agent will use their knowledge about the local market and compare the recent sale prices of homes that are similar to your home to help decide on the value. When deciding on the value of your home, your agent will also take into consideration the condition of your home, the number of bathrooms and bedrooms, as

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There are many different costs that are associated with owning a home that go beyond your monthly mortgage payment, including the property tax on your home. Most property taxes are used as a source of revenue for the local government, which is one of the main reasons they seem to be always increasing.

Luckily, there are many ways that you can avoid paying or save on your property tax. By taking advantage of different exemptions and incentives, homeowners can save significantly on your taxes. Some of the most common exemptions are given to veterans to help them better afford a home. Talking with your local government is the best and easiest way to find out if there are any exemptions that you may qualify for to help you save money.

For all of your

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Buying your first home is very exciting but can also be very stressful, especially when deciding how much you can actually afford. Keep these tips in mind to make sure that your budget is ready for a new home.

  • Solidify your credit – the better your credit, the better loan you will be able to qualify for. Look over your credit score to ensure that it is as clean as possible and that there are no discrepancies.
  • Look at the right homes – make sure you are realistic with the houses you look at to buy. Be sure to invest in a house that you can actually afford. Homes cost much more than just the mortgage payment. You will need to budget for insurance, utilities, and even the cost of commuting to and from work.
  • Get professional help – while you can
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Chances are, your mortgage payment is your most expensive monthly bill, which is why it is important to make sure that you take the time to look over it each month. Keep these tips in mind to ensure that you are not overpaying for your mortgage.

  • Get rid of PMI – PMI, or private mortgage insurance, is only necessary if your mortgage balance is over 80 percent of your home’s value. If you can prove that your balance is less than 80 percent of your home’s value, you can get rid of PMI and save hundreds of dollars each month.
  • Consider refinancing – if refinancing your home will help to lower the interest rate of your loan, you should seriously consider it. A lower interest rate will help to save thousands of dollars over the life of your mortgage.
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Buying a home is a huge financial decision. While most of what you pay for a house is not in cash, in some cases you may have to open your wallet. The most common out of pocket expenses when buying a home include:

  • Earnest money – also known as a good faith deposit, earnest money is typically around 1 percent of the purchase price of a home. Earnest money is used to let the seller know that you are serious about buying the home.
  • Home inspection – typically around $450, the home inspection will let you know if there are any problems with the property that will need to be fixed. Once all inspections are complete you will need to negotiate what if any repairs the sellers will be responsible for.
  • Closing costs – many costs are part of the closing
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Trying to buy a home in a seller’s market can be both difficult and stressful. With more competition and less houses available, it can be very challenging to get your offer accepted. Keep these tips in mind when submitting an offer in a seller’s market.

  • Do not ask for anything extra in your offer, such as asking them to pay for the homeowner’s association documentation fees or the home warranty coverage. The “cleaner” your offer is, the better.
  • Be sure to read through the exclusions on the listing. Do not ask the seller for any of their personal property, such as their washer and dryer or the refrigerator.
  • While the typical earnest deposit on a house is around 1 percent or the purchase price, provide the largest deposit that you can to help show
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As the New Year is kicking off, there is no better time to invest in a new home. While the past few years have seen serious issues within the real estate market, 2015 is expected to be a time of change.

According to experts, 2015 is going to bring balance and normalcy back to the real estate market. As the home value growth slows down, investors are less interested in buying up all the available real estate, which will make it much easier to find the right home in 2015. As the real estate market shifts to better benefit buyers, those who are looking to move into a new home will see less competition and more negotiating power. Buyers will be able to insist on more contingencies in the home contracts to ensure that they invest in the right house for their

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