Judy Rivard's Blog
You may have heard the term “escrow” in your experience with real estate. You might know it’s an account, but what exactly does it do for you as a buyer? An escrow account is what your lender uses to make payments on things like property taxes, insurance, and more. The lender collects your monthly mortgage payment, and part of that cash goes into an escrow account.
This type of account is an excellent option for homeowners because your bills relating to being a homeowner will all be paid without you having to do anything. It makes budgeting a breeze because there aren’t any complicated calculations involved. Every month, your lender collects 1/12 of the estimated tax bill and insurance cost for the home. The rest of your mortgage payment covers the principal and interest on the loan of the house.
Are Escrow Accounts Mandatory?
You’ll find that most lenders require you to have an escrow account. The purpose of the account is to keep the home safe as collateral for the loan. The bank has an interest in the proper insurance behind the property. The taxes also need to be paid on time in order to keep the property in good standing. If the taxes aren’t paid, a tax lien will be placed against the house.
Everything In One Place
You’ll receive an annual statement from your lender that will show you how much money was collected and placed in your escrow account. Escrow payments often change because insurance premiums and taxes tend to change quite frequently. The amount being put into escrow may change a few times throughout the year. The lender keeps track of all this for you, saving you some time.
Bills That Need To Be Paid
Whether you have an escrow account or not the bills that are included must be paid one way or another. It’s a good idea to speak with your lender before you buy a home to find out that bank’s procedures around these insurance and tax payments. Property tax and home insurance are items that you’ll need to budget for regardless of how your lender does things. An escrow account can be much more convenient for many buyers.
Escrow is just another one of the many essential terms that you’ll come across as a homebuyer. Knowing the advantages and purpose of the account helps you to be informed as you dive into the home buying process.
65 Old Poor Farm Rd, Ware, MA 01082
The decision to purchase a second home may be one of the biggest choices you will make in your lifetime. As such, it is important to consider all of the factors associated with a house purchase before you embark on a quest to acquire a second residence.
Now, let's take a look at three key factors to evaluate as you weigh the pros and cons of purchasing a second home.
1. Your Current House
Consider the state of your current house – you will be happy you did. If you assess your current residence, you may be better equipped than ever before to determine if now is a good time to start a search for a second house.
For instance, if your home needs a new roof or requires other repairs, you may want to complete these improvements first. After these house repairs are finished, you then can kick off a search for your second house. Perhaps most importantly, you can launch this home search with the reassurance that your current house is in good shape and likely won't require significant repairs in the near future.
2. Your Finances
If you still have a mortgage on your current house, you may want to focus on paying that off first. Once your mortgage is paid in full, you can conduct a search for a second house without having to worry about paying two mortgages at once.
Of course, if your current house's mortgage is paid in full, you should still evaluate your finances closely. Ensure you have sufficient finances to cover a mortgage for a second house, as well as your everyday expenses. By doing so, you can hone your search for a second house to residences that fall within your price range.
3. Your Immediate and Long-Term Plans
Think about why you want to buy a second home in the first place. Then, you can determine how this decision may impact your immediate and long-term term plans.
For example, if you want to return to college, buying a second home may affect how much money you have at your disposal that you can use to go back to school. On the other hand, if you hope to get a work promotion in the foreseeable future, you soon may have additional funds to help you make your dream of owning a second home come true.
As you decide whether to launch the search for a second house, take some time to consult with a real estate agent. A real estate agent is a homebuying expert, and he or she can provide housing market insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. Plus, a real estate agent will guide you along the homebuying journey and can help you acquire a top-notch house at a budget-friendly price.
Account for these factors before you start your search, that way you can make an informed decision about whether now is the ideal time to pursue a second residence.
The physical limitations that come with age or disability task existing property owners with making sometimes awkward modifications to existing homes. Although many of these changes are necessary for improved accessibility, bulky ramps in front yards tend to diminish curbside appeal. In terms of resale value, homeowners may be narrowing their buyer demographic or listing for less.
But new construction offers homeowners the design flexibility to incorporate guidelines posed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in a way that expands the field of potential buyers and can increase values. If you are among the approximate 1.5 million people planning to build, here are a few accessibility design factors worth considering.
What is ADA Compliance?
It’s essential to understand that the ADA does not necessarily apply to private residential construction. The federal regulations are in place, primarily, for public dwellings and facilities. That being said, new construction starts are welcome to include items that meet ADA guidelines. Although people sometimes brush this idea aside because of the bulky ramps that modify existing homes, many of the regulations mirror hot-trending home design ideas.
Desirable Home Design Elements
The underlying reasoning of ADA guidelines is that a space is open enough to move about using a wheelchair or walker. They must also provide relative ease when negotiating doorways and typically smaller spaces such as bathrooms. But those same guidelines are precisely what trendy new home magazines have been advocating for years. These are examples of how you can reimagine home designs to enhance your quality of life experience while also improving accessibility.
Design Spacious Bathrooms That Eliminate Barriers
An accessible bathroom can be luxurious and accommodating. To meet the standards, sinks are usually mounted at 34 inches or higher and provide knee-clearance of about 27 inches. The regulations also require them to be 11 to 25 inches deep and 30 inches wide. These specs may seem to run contrary to the traditional sinks with vanity setups. But by employing a wall-hung design, the bathroom meets ADA mandates and generally increases in value.
Real estate professionals generally agree that bathrooms drive resale values and garner quick offers. Other bathroom guidelines include open showers, accessible water closets and convenient handrails, among others. These can all be seamlessly integrated into new construction blueprints.
Trendy Accessible Doorways Add Value
Achieving proper doorway accessibility thresholds can be tricky if you want to also increase new construction value. Hinged doors require a 32-inch swing minimum at a 90-degree angle. There are also specs about doorknobs and maneuverability issues to consider. The solution that new construction builders can leverage is the hot-trending sliding doors that have become so desirable.
Sometimes called “barn doors,” this style has been all the rage in recent years. They require only an open archway and the aesthetically pleasing hardware is mounted directly to the wall. Sliding doors increase accessibility for people with physical limitations because they are easy to push to the side. Sliding doors do not swing back and do not necessarily require doorknobs; yet they are considered a home improvement.
When drawing up blueprints, building accessibility-minded designs makes the home more open, spacious and accessible. Those same concepts make rank among the most desirable among future homebuyers.
When it comes to finding the ideal neighborhood for your next home, there's no "one size fits all" formula.
While some people enjoy the hustle and bustle of an urban environment, others prefer a quiet family-oriented neighborhood in the suburbs.
Whatever your preferences, convenience is near the top of just about everyone's priority list. Here's why:
Closeness to Work: Long, daily commutes are not only stressful, but they can cause you to miss family dinners, school events, and relaxing evenings at home. There's also the added cost of gasoline, highway tolls, and wear-and-tear on your vehicle. If you happen to be leasing a vehicle, then long commutes could result in additional mileage charges at the end of your lease. Although car leases vary, exceeding the mileage allotment set by the leasing company can sometimes run you as much as 25 cents a mile. That can potentially add up to a hefty surcharge!
While there are a lot of reasons to look for a home that's relatively close to your job or business, quality of life issues are among the most important. As an example, if your daily commute is 45 minutes, each way, that adds up to an hour-and-a-half on the road. If you factor in occasional traffic jams, road repairs, and other inevitable delays, you're talking about more than eight hours a week just driving back and forth to work. It's equivalent to adding an additional work day to your week! Although it's not always feasible (especially in two-income households), there are major advantages to finding a house that's less than a half-hour commute to your job(s).
Proximity to Conveniences: Life will also be easier if you live close to a well-stocked supermarket. When you shop at a large, high-volume grocery store, prices are more economical and food tends to be fresher. Corner grocery stores and pharmacies are nice to have nearby when you just want to pick up a few quick essentials, but for selection, price, and freshness, supermarkets are usually your best bet!
Other desirable locations to keep in mind when house hunting include good-quality schools, reputable childcare centers, and proximity to family and friends. Depending on your lifestyle, you might want to be close to airports, major highways, recreational facilities, and entertainment. It can also be an advantage to choose a home near medical and dental offices, a veterinary clinic, and a preferred church, synagogue, or mosque.
When launching a search for your family's next home, the key to success is to stay focused, create detailed priority lists, and work with a seasoned real estate agent. Whether you decide to live in a rural area, suburbia, or downtown, a real estate agent has the knowledge, training, and negotiating skills to help you get a good deal and match your lifestyle goals with your budget and timeframe.