Ron Ouellette
RE/MAX Advantage I | 508-847-7111 | [email protected]


Posted by Ron Ouellette on 10/18/2018

Although some families are more organized than others, most homes are plagued by at least a moderate amount of clutter.

While it may seem like only a minor annoyance, household clutter can have a major "ripple effect" on several aspects of your life. Disorganization and clutter can be insidious problems for homeowners to deal with because its impact is not always obvious.

When you stop and think about it, having a cluttered home can take a heavy toll on everything from your finances to your family relationships. Here are a few reasons to set aside some time, this month, to begin decluttering your home.

Time and Money: One of the most frustrating experiences in life is to try to find a misplaced tool, an important document, or anything you might need to complete a task, solve a problem, or meet a deadline. When you add up the hours you and your family spend on searching for items that are stuffed in drawers or buried in closets, it becomes increasing clear why everyone's productivity is down and stress levels are up. You may have also noticed that you're spending money on personal and household supplies that you already have somewhere in the house.

If you've lived in your home for more than a few years, you've probably accumulated stacks of clutter in every imaginable storage space. Three ways to drastically reduce the amount of clutter in your home in a relatively short period of time is to either sell, donate, or throw away things you no longer need. The first step, of course, is to sort through your belongings to separate what's useful from what's just taking up valuable space.

Although organizing a garage sale can be a time-consuming activity, the benefits can far outweigh the time and effort involved. Preparing for a garage sale not only results in finding valuable things you forgot you even had, but your home will end up feeling cleaner, more spacious, and more welcoming. As long as you don't hold a garage sale every year, it can be a fun and profitable family activity.

Another alternative to storing things at home that you no longer need or want is to donate them to a charitable organization, such as The Salvation Army. Churches, veterans groups, and other community organizations often accept donations of clothing, furniture, electronics, appliances, and other household items. Making a few trips to nearby clothing collection bins is another way to unclutter your closets and pass along useful things you no longer need.

One type of clutter you can neither sell nor give away is "junk." If you have enough of it, you might consider renting a dumpster or calling a reputable, reasonably priced junk hauling service. Regardless of the method you use to get rid of things you no longer want, you'll be amazed at how energizing it can be to restore order, cleanliness, and a sense of pride to your living space!





Posted by Ron Ouellette on 10/11/2018

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 Ron Ouellette on 10/4/2018

Buying a house should be a fast, simple process. However, problems sometimes can arise that prevent a homebuyer from discovering his or her dream residence.

Ultimately, there are many factors to consider before you purchase a house to ensure you can avoid myriad homebuying hurdles, and these factors include:

1. Your Home Needs

No two houses are identical, and much in the same vein, no two homebuyers have the same definition of the perfect residence. As such, a homebuyer should consider his or her dream home demands prior to kicking off a home search.

Making a checklist of home "must-haves" and "wants" is paramount. With this checklist in hand, a homebuyer will be able to refine his or her home search and map out the property buying journey accordingly.

It may be helpful to consider your day-to-day activities as you evaluate where you want to live too.

For example, if you work in the city, you may want to find a house that is located near public transportation. Comparatively, if you have kids, you may want to consider houses that are located close to top schools.

2. Your Budget

You know that you want to buy a house. On the other hand, you still have no idea how much money is available to ensure you can make your homeownership dreams come true.

When it comes to buying a house, it pays to meet with banks and credit unions. With pre-approval for a mortgage, you'll know precisely how much you can spend on a house.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, set up consultations with several potential lenders. Then, you can learn about all of your mortgage options and select a mortgage lender that matches or surpasses your expectations.

3. Your Homebuying Timeline

Are you looking to buy a home as soon as possible? Or, can you afford to take a wait-and-see approach throughout the homebuying journey?

Examine your homebuying timeline and plan ahead as much as possible. By doing so, you can boost your chances of finding a terrific house and minimize stress as you browse the real estate market.

Regardless of your homebuying timeline, it always helps to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can take the guesswork out of searching for a residence and ensure you can discover a stellar house at a budget-friendly price.

Typically, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new residences as they become available. He or she also will provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations and respond to any homebuying concerns and questions.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent can provide during homebuying negotiations, either.

A real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a home seller on your behalf. That way, he or she can help you secure a great house without having to worry about paying too much.

Streamline the process of acquiring your ideal residence. Consider the aforementioned factors, and you can keep things simple as you proceed along the homebuying journey.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Ron Ouellette on 9/27/2018

Sooner or later, just about everyone invests in a major home remodeling project, like redoing a bathroom or updating a kitchen. Those kinds of changes almost always have a transformative effect on the appearance, value, and marketability of your house.

However, if you own a recently built home or simply aren't ready to spend $15,000 (give or take) for a major remodeling project, then there are still plenty of less expensive ways to make big improvements.

A piecemeal, but cohesive approach to upgrading and redecorating your home can spread out the cost for you, without having to wait years to enjoy the results. The perfect example is replacing outdated kitchen counter tops, sinks, and/or cabinets. If your kitchen cabinets look like they've been around since the era of black-and-white TV, then it might be time to replace or reface them. Refacing cabinets is an option many people consider because it's typically less expensive and time consuming than a full replacement. The finished result, however, can be almost as impressive as getting new cabinets. With a little imagination, small touches like a new back splash, cabinet pulls, or even a fresh coat of paint can breath new life into the appearance of your kitchen area.

But Where to Begin?

If you're unsure what area of your home to prioritize for redecorating or remodeling, the kitchen is often a good place to start -- especially if it's a frequent gathering place for family and friends. Bathrooms are another area of the house that are typically in dire need of some TLC. If one or more of your bathrooms are looking outdated and worse for the wear, there are many ways to spruce it up without having to spend a bundle of money. Repainting the walls and ceiling, installing a new sink and vanity, or even putting in fancy new faucets can help invigorate a tired looking bathroom.

Here's a simple fix: Replacing faded old bath towels with fluffy, colorful new ones is another small, but effective way to upgrade the look and feel of your bathroom. Another inexpensive way to upgrade the appearance of your bathrooms is to clean the dirty, discolored grout between your tiles. You can either hire a professional service to get it done or tackle the job yourself.

From a curb appeal standpoint, some relatively inexpensive enhancements you can make include repainting your front steps, replacing an old front door with a snazzy new one, or simply washing the outside of your house and windows. It doesn't take more than a few seasons of weather changes and other conditions for environmental pollutants, pollen, dust, bird droppings, and splatters of mud to give your house a very unappealing grunge look!

If your home improvement budget is too tight, right now, to invest in new counter tops, bathroom vanities, new kitchen appliances, and cabinet work, remember that a series of small changes done over a period of time can significantly enhance the appearance and beauty of your home -- both inside and out!
 





Posted by Ron Ouellette on 9/20/2018

While buying a home is a huge decision that should entail a lot of planning and preparation, applying for a mortgage can be surprisingly easy. Just like with other lenders and creditors, a mortgage lender will want to know that letting you borrow money will be a safe investment. Applying for a mortgage is all about ensuring just that.

In today’s post, we’re going to breakdown the home loan application process to help you have the best chances at a smooth and successful mortgage approval. We’ll also define some of the common terms used in mortgages that might leave you scratching your head so you have a better idea of what your options are.

Prequalification and Preapproval

Getting prequalified and preapproved for a mortgaged can both be helpful steps toward securing your home loan. The two terms mean two entirely different things, however.

In order to be prequalified for a mortgage, you typically need to only fill out a simple form (sometimes directly through a lender’s website). On this form, you won’t need to provide specifics or official documents.

Why is this process so simple? Well, that’s because getting prequalified for a loan doesn’t ensure that you’ll actually receive one. Rather, it is simply the first step toward finding out what type of mortgage and interest rates you could receive.

The next step after prequalification is preapproval. To get preapproved, you’ll have to fill out an official mortgage application. Your lender of choice will request a few pieces of information from you, including tax returns, proof of employment for the last two years, and a list of your debts. The lender will also perform a credit check to determine your loan eligibility.

Credit report

At this phase, lenders will also run your credit report. This is a type of “hard credit inquiry” that details your payment history, the number of accounts you have open, and other factors that help make up your credit score.

To secure the lowest interest rate possible, it helps to have a high credit score. So, in the years and months leading up to your mortgage application, focusing on building credit will pay off.

To increase your credit score, you’ll need to focus on paying your bills on time each month. You should also avoid opening new accounts within a few months of applying for a mortgage because this will count as a new credit inquiry. New credit inquiries--including applying for a mortgage--lower your score temporarily, so it’s best to avoid them when possible.

Additional paperwork required for mortgage applications

Not every mortgage application will be the same. Depending on the type of income you receive, you may need to provide different forms of income verification.

Each person will also have to claim different debts and assets. When buying a home with a spouse or partner, it’s important to consider your debts, assets, and credit scores to determine if it’s better to apply jointly or separately.