Lynne Hagopian - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Lynne Hagopian on 3/9/2020

The rent vs buy dilemma is something that Americans have been facing for decades. Both options have their benefits, and itís really a matter of timing and preferences when it comes to choosing which is best for you.

However, there are a lot of things to consider before making this decision. So, in todayís post weíre going to break down some of the benefits of renting an apartment and of buying a home. That way you can make your decision with a clearer picture of what each situation looks like.

One thing to note first, however, is that it isnít always as simple as buy vs rent. Some living situations draw on the pros of each type of living. For example, living in a condo might be a good option for people who want the privacy and independence of owning their own home, but who also donít have the time or desire to keep up with maintenance.

So, as we compare buying and renting, keep in mind that the features of each are not mutually exclusive.

Renting an apartment

Most people who are living on their own for the first time start off renting. For younger people just out of school, renting offers the first taste of independence without the prerequisites of homeownership.

When you rent your first apartment, youíll learn the skills associated with budgeting for your monthly expenses, making your rent payments on time, and will start learning some of the skills that it takes to run a household.

In terms of monthly costs, apartments can vary greatly. Depending on where you live (and how luxurious the apartment is) you could end up having rent and utility payments that are much lower or much higher than mortgage payments for a house.

However, apartment leases often come with the benefit of utilities, trash removal, and other expenses built in. They also typically require the landlord to maintain the apartment and the land it sits on.

Live in the northern part of the country and hate shoveling snow? Make sure your lease specifies that your landlord will provide snow removal.

One technique that many renters take is to find an apartment that is small and affordable while they save up for a home. In this case, itís worth living with fewer amenities if your end goal is saving for a down payment.

But, what if you want to own a home someday but havenít quite decided where you want to settle down? Maybe your work keeps you moving from place to place or youíve always wanted to move away to somewhere new.

Renting is typically a better option for those who arenít quite sure what their plans are for the next coming years. They can have a stable place to live while they figure things out and plan their next move.

Buying a home

Once youíve rented a home for a while, you might become increasingly aware that you want more space and more control over your home.

Youíre also likely noticing how much money you spend on rent each month that is essentially a net loss.

When you buy a home, your mortgage payments might be going to the bank, but someday the money youíve paid toward that home will be yours in the form of equity. You can then use this as a down payment for another home.

This financial benefit cannot be understated. Since house values dependably increase over time, owning a home is a great investment toward your future.

So, those are the main pros and cons of renting vs buying a home. Think about your circumstances and determine which one makes the most sense for you right now. Then, start planning for the future.




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Posted by Lynne Hagopian on 3/2/2020

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 Photo by Erika Wittlieb via Pixabay

Have you ever made a move across the country? While this is a huge step, it can be extremely rewarding. Whether you’re moving for a job or you just want a fresh start, the whole process can be stressful and very expensive. However, there are some tips to consider that can help to ease the stress and simplify the process.

Timing is Key

While you may think that you can move at any time, you should be strategic on when you move—if you want to save the most money. Holidays, weekends and at the end of the month are the busiest — and most expensive — times to move, so choose wisely in this regard. To score the best savings, try to move during the week and before the month of May or after the month of September. These are the times when moving is extremely common, so the moving industry will ramp up costs during these times. You want to also ensure that you are 100% ready by the time of your move. Try to think about everything that needs to be done, then set a time for your departure.

Lighten Your Load

When preparing for your cross-country move, it’s also very beneficial to get rid of junk that you don’t need. Consider your necessities and throw away things that you never use. This step can be the deciding factor between renting a truck or taking your own car across the country. Renting a vehicle for a long-distance move can cost over $1,000, so it’s important to cut costs if possible. Be sure to go through boxes, throw away junk, and compact your belongings as much as possible.

Pack Your Own Food

Driving across the states for your move can take days. And if you’re driving a moving truck with all of your belongings, then this journey can take even longer. That being said, you’ll need to make eating and sleeping arrangements. Unfortunately, these expenses can really add up quickly, especially since you’ll need money for multiple meals and multiple nights on the road. Therefore, to save a little cash, be sure to pack food for the drive. Not only can this help you save as you’re adventuring from state to state, but it can also help you save on time. Rather than stopping every few hours to get a quick bite, you can conveniently eat while you drive or pull off the road for a few minutes.

Moving across the country can take a toll emotionally, mentally and physically. And if you’re doing it alone, this journey can be even more stressful. But by focusing on the three tips mentioned above, you can rest easy knowing that you’re well-prepared for this life-changing adventure.




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Posted by Lynne Hagopian on 2/24/2020

There is no feeling like the one associated with buying a house. If you know how to navigate the homebuying journey, you can boost the likelihood of enjoying an unforgettable property buying experience.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.

1. Create Homebuying Criteria

For those who want to enter the real estate market, it generally is a good idea to establish homebuying criteria. That way, you can focus on properties that match your expectations.

Think about the features you want to find in your dream residence. For instance, if you want to own a house that offers a spacious backyard, you can narrow your property search accordingly. Or, if you want to purchase a residence close to some of the nation's top schools, you can hone your property search to a select group of cities and towns.

You may want to conduct extensive housing market research too. Because the more you know about the local housing sector, the better equipped you will be to find a home that you can enjoy for years to come.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

If you want to buy a house, you likely will need a mortgage. Lucky for you, banks and credit unions are available nationwide, and these financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. By doing so, you can learn about all of your mortgage options and select a mortgage that corresponds to your finances.

Also, if you are uncertain about how a mortgage works or require other home financing insights, reach out to a bank or credit union for support. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who can teach you everything you need to know about home financing. As a result, you can work with these mortgage specialists to make an informed home financing decision.

3. Employ a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a must-have, particularly for an individual who wants to minimize stress during the homebuying journey. In fact, this housing market professional will do whatever it takes to help you find a terrific home at a budget-friendly price.

With a real estate agent at your side, you can streamline the homebuying journey. A real estate agent will help you establish realistic expectations for a home search, set up house showings and keep you up to date about new residences that become available in your preferred cities and towns. In addition, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase your ideal residence. And once you are ready to close on your dream house, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to do just that.

As you get ready to pursue your dream residence, it helps to prepare as much as you can. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you should have no trouble enjoying a fun, exciting homebuying experience.




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Posted by Lynne Hagopian on 1/27/2020

Image by rawmn from Shutterstock

People have different notions about living in an HOA community. As much as there is a bright side to living in such an environment, you also need to consider the potential disadvantages. Some HOAs have an organized and well-maintained neighborhood, while others may have lackluster management and community issues. Before you make your decision to move to an HOA community, understand the pros and cons of living in that environment. 

What is an HOA?

An HOA (homeowners association) is an organization that oversees maintenance and enforcing rules within a group of homes. HOAs are quite common in planned condominium complexes and townhouses, but they also are found in planned communities of single-family houses. The HOA is made up of the owners who reside within or own property in that community. 

Advantages of Living in an HOA Community

Typically, the association has jurisdiction over and maintains all common areas. These include pools, clubhouses, playgrounds, park areas, and all the adjoining landscaping. In many HOAs the association also maintains landscaping in the front of the home while the owner maintains their private backyard area. Some advantages

  • You Donít Have to Mow the Lawn: For people who do not enjoy the tedious job of maintaining their landscape Ė you are in luck. The HOA community takes full responsibility for maintaining the landscape within the shared areas. You might be allowed to personalize your backyard or patio Ė but typically, the HOA covers all other maintenance, including pest control and tree pruning. 

  • You Pay Monthly Fees That Include Utilities: In most HOA communities, homeowners are expected to make a monthly payment that covers all their expenses for that month. For some people having a defined estimate every month that covers utilities and other housing expenses makes it easy for them to have a financial plan. 

  • You Have Access to Amenities: Living in an HOA environment gives you access to various recreational amenities like golf, table tennis, swimming pool, a gym, and clubhouse. You do not have to worry about cleaning or management as your association does all of these from your monthly funds. 

Disadvantages of HOA Community Living

Just as there are advantages to living within an association, a homebuyer needs to be prepared for challenges that come with areas in common.

  • Fees: The fees charged by most HOA communities factor in expenses like maintenance of recreational facilities and cleaning of the shared spaces. Be sure you can make these monthly payments before moving to an HOA community. 

  • No Personal Touch to Your Home Exterior: Most HOA communities restrict homeowners from adding unique touches to the outside of their homes. If you like a brightly colored front door or interesting yard decorations, an HOA community may not be the right environment for you. 

  • Poorly Managed Community: Not all HOA communities operate smoothly. There can be various challenges within the system. When you find a community youíre interested in, speak to established owners. Ask how their particular HOA functions to get a better idea of what to expect as an incoming resident.

  • Less privacy: Most homeowners living in HOA homes share walls or buildings with other homeowners. If you love privacy, this might be challenging for you. 

  • You live by the rules: There are always rules to adhere to when living in an HOA community. Be sure this idea works for you as most regulations are non-negotiable.

Depending on your lifestyle and what you want in a home an HOA community might be perfect for you. Carefully consider the pros and cons of living in such a community before committing. Ask your realtor about the HOAs in your area to better target your property search.





Posted by Lynne Hagopian on 12/16/2019

If you discover a house that you want to buy, it generally is a good idea to submit a competitive offer. That way, you can move one step closer to acquiring your ideal residence.

However, the hours after you submit a home offer can be stressful, particularly for a buyer who fails to plan accordingly. Lucky for you, we're here to help you stay calm, cool and collected as you wait to receive a seller's response to your offer.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you get ready to handle a seller's response to your homebuying proposal.

1. Plan for the Worst-Case Scenario

Even the worst-case scenario is not the end of the world for a buyer who is awaiting a seller's response to a home offer. In fact, if a seller rejects your proposal, you can always reenter the housing market and continue your pursuit of your dream home.

As you await a seller's response to your home offer, you should not stop searching for available houses. Because if you continue your home search, you'll have no trouble moving forward in the homebuying journey if a seller rejects your home offer.

2. Consider All of Your Options

If you submit a home offer and a seller says "Yes," what should you do next? Consider how you'll proceed if a seller accepts your proposal, and you'll be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a seamless homebuying experience.

On the other hand, it helps to prepare for a potential counter-offer from a home seller as well. If you are open to negotiating with a seller, you may be able to find common ground with him or her and finalize a home purchase.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent knows all about the stress that is commonly associated with submitting a homebuying proposal. He or she can help you minimize this stress and ensure you can achieve the best-possible results throughout the homebuying journey.

Typically, a real estate agent will work with you to submit a homebuying proposal. This housing market professional then will keep you up to date as you await a seller's response to your offer. And if you have any concerns or questions during this time, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them.

A real estate agent will make it simple to streamline the homebuying journey too. For instance, if a home seller accepts your offer, a real estate agent will be ready to help you move forward with a property inspection and appraisal. Conversely, if a home seller rejects your proposal, a real estate agent will be prepared to work with you to help you discover another house that matches or exceeds your expectations.

The waiting period after you submit an offer on a house may prove to be a challenging time. Fortunately, if you plan ahead for this period, you can maintain your confidence and continue to move forward in the homebuying journey.




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