Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 5/22/2016

Are you thinking of buying a home with a septic system? Septic systems are common in the suburbs and more rural areas where municipal sewers are not available. So what is a septic system? It is a self-contained, underground waste water treatment system. It consists of a septic tank and a drainage system. The septic tank is a large, watertight container. It can be made of concrete, steel, fiberglass, or polyethylene. The septic tank is connected to your home's sewer line and collects all water and the waste in it. The drainage system has several parts; an outflow pipe, a distribution box, a network of perforated pipes, and a leach field. When liquids inside the septic tank get high enough, they flow out of the tank into the outflow pipe. The outflow pipe leads to the distribution box which then channels waste water into the perforated pipes. The waste water is then distributed into the leach field. There is usually no cause to worry when buying a home with a septic system. It is prudent to have the septic system inspected or ask for proof of inspection during the purchase process.  If maintained properly, a septic system can last between 25 to 35 years.

Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 5/15/2016

When you are looking to buy a home or refinance it is important that your credit is in tip-top shape. It is often a credit score that gets in the way of a home buyer and their dream home. Credit today means everything as far as your purchasing power. So if you want to be ready when opportunity knocks read on for some for smart ideas on how to keep your credit score going up.

1. Use your credit cards.

This may sound funny but it is important to have credit over having no credit. Paying in cash and over using credit cards isn’t always a good move for your credit score. Cards that are seldom used are often shut down or closed by the credit card companies. Because 30 percent of your credit score is based on your debt-to-credit-limit ratio you will want to have a high your total available credit. Having one account closed increases that ratio of available credit to debt and thus lowers your credit score.

2. Pay off your credit cards.

It may seem to make sense to pay off the highest-interest card first and save the most money in the end. But your credit score will get a bigger boost from knocking off the lowest-balance card. Instead of spreading your monthly payments equally among credit cards, pay down the lowest-balance card first and pay minimum balances on the rest. As you pay off each card, apply the money you would have paid on it to the next-lowest-balance card.

3. Don’t close cards once they are paid off.

The length of time you’ve had credit determines fifteen percent of your score. By closing your oldest account, you can shorten the length of your credit history causing a big hit to your score.

4. Keep the balance low

Much of your credit score is determined by your debt-to-credit-limit ratio on individual accounts. Maxing out one card raises your debt-to-credit-limit ratio and your credit score. So be sure to keep balances as low as possible. Try to target no more than 30 percent of your credit limit.

5. Stay away from retail-card accounts.

These are a big no-no. Retail store cards often have lower limits and higher interest rates. So running up balances on low-limit store cards affects your credit score more negatively than does using one or two bank cards. So in the long run the fifteen percent you were going to save on the one purchase will probably cost you more in the end.  

Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 8/16/2015

Buying a home is a very important decision. Before you rush into a home you should consider all the factors. Making sure you end up with the right home involves figuring out exactly what features you need, want and don't want in a home. Before starting your search, you should make a "wish list" to decide which features are absolutely essential, which nice “extras” are if you happen to find them, and which are completely undesirable. The more specific you can be about what you're looking for from the outset, the more effective your home search will be. Also keep in mind, that in the end, every home purchase is a compromise. Create your own personalized "wish list" and when you're finished filling it out; share it with your real estate agent. Become an educated buyer •The web is one of the best ways to search for homes today. With this website, you can receive daily emails with new and updated listings from the towns and price range of your choice. •Search the entire MLS for all homes, condos, land, multi family, commercial properties, and past sold properties at your convenience. •View full listing sheets showing amenities, taxes, lot sizes, beds, baths, rooms, siding, fireplaces, garages, room sizes and much more. •Get property addresses and see where the properties are located on MapQuest. •Check schools and community profiles of your preferred towns. •Save preferred listings in your own file to view anytime. •Calculate approximate mortgage payments for specific properties. Home Inspection Once you have made an offer on a home, you will need to schedule a home inspection, conducted by an independent authorized inspector. It is extremely important to hire a reputable inspector so that you know exactly what you are buying. Do not hesitate to ask friends, family, and co-workers for advice. If you are satisfied with the results of the inspection, then you can proceed with the sale. If the inspector finds problems with the property, you may want to negotiate with the seller to lower the price, or to pay for certain repairs. Appraisal Your lender may require you to get an appraisal of the house you want to buy, to make sure it is worth the money that you are borrowing. You may select your own appraiser, or you may ask your real estate broker to help you with this task. Homeowner's Insurance Lenders require that you have homeowners insurance, to protect both your interests and theirs. Like everything else, be sure to shop around for insurance that fits your needs. Settlement or Closing Finally Make Sure Before you Buy Finally, you are ready for the closing. Be sure to read everything before you sign! You should have both your real estate broker and an attorney present at the closing to ensure that all is in order.

Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 8/2/2015

There is a saying often used in the real estate industry to refer to buyers, it says buyers are liars. That is in fact not case. The perception comes from the fact that buyers often buy on emotion rather than their needs. Buying on emotions often leaves buyers passing over a potential good deal or fit and instead overpaying for their dream home. Here are some common buyer errors and how to avoid making them. 1: Not using the right agent Choose an agent that works in the local market and never go it alone. An agent has the skills to negotiate the best deal for one of the biggest purchases of your life. A local agent has the lay of land and knows the area well and will be able to find you the right fit. 2: There usually isn’t a better deal When buyers keep waiting for a better deal they often miss out. When you find a house that fits your needs go for it. Don’t wait because there is no guarantee that a better deal will come on the market. 3: Overpaying for cosmetics Look at the structure and the function of the home. Paint colors or décor don’t matter in how much the house is ultimately worth. Often buyers will pay for cosmetics and staging in a home and ignore a better deal that isn’t perfectly decorated or match their taste. 4: Not negotiating realistically Who doesn’t want to get the lowest possible price when buying a home? Buyers need to understand there is a big difference between negotiating and lowballing. If a buyer truly wants a chance at a sale it is best to make a fair offer. Lowball offers often immediately get rejected or cause the seller to become agitated which often ends negotiations. Buyers must understand a lowball offer comes with a risk of losing the property.

Posted by Jennifer Santosuosso on 6/21/2015

When you are buying a home the costs really add up and you may start thinking about where you can save money. One question that many buyers ask is do I need a home inspection? Most often the answer to the question is yes! A home inspection is an objective examination of the home and its systems. The inspection covers the entire house from the roof to the foundation. A home inspection will cover the home's foundation, basement, structural components, roof, attic, insulation, walls, ceilings, floors windows and doors. It will also examine the heating system, air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical systems. Because a home is often the largest single investment you will ever make it is important to know as much as you can about the home before you buy it. A home inspection will help you identify any needed repairs as well as what is needed to regularly maintain the home. The home inspection will help you proceed with the purchase with confidence. When choosing a home inspector cost shouldn't be your first consideration. Look for the inspector's qualifications, experience, training and compliance with state regulations. Remember, that no house is perfect. There are bound to be issues with almost any home use the information to decide if the house is right for you.