Maureen Harmonay - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Maureen Harmonay on 10/22/2019

If you've set a goal of buying your first home within the next year, there are several things you can begin doing now to set the stage for a positive experience.

While it pays to familiarize yourself with everything from your credit score to mortgage options, choosing a good real estate agent will prove to be an invaluable advantage when navigating through the process of buying a home. An experienced, knowledgeable agent will help keep you on track, prepare necessary documents for you, and answer the myriad of questions that will occur to you.

Should you choose the first real estate agent you talk to? People occasionally find a perfect fit right off the bat, but it's often a good idea to interview a couple agents before you make your final decision. Having one or two points of comparison can provide you with a wider perspective of available choices.

Not only would you want to work with a professional who has a successful track record in helping first-time home buyers, but you also want to make sure your personality is compatible with your agent's communication style and energy level. Unless you stumble on the home of your dreams on the first day, you're probably going to be spending a lot of time with them. Most real estate agents do tend to be knowledgeable, resourceful, and service oriented, but your journey will be a lot smoother and more satisfying if you sign on with an agent who's a good match for your individual needs and personality.

One of the most effective ways to prepare yourself for a real estate search is to create lists of things you need to do, have, and schedule. It's also helpful to prioritize what you want in your ideal house. By identifying and reminding yourself of the features that are most important to you, you'll have a greater tendency to recognize what you want when you see it. You'll also find yourself communicating your needs and wants more clearly to your real estate agent. As is the case with any professional or personal relationship, good quality communication usually yields the best possible results.

As a home buyer, there are many property features and priorities you'll want to ponder and discuss with your significant other. In addition to your future home's square footage, bedroom space, and number of bathrooms, you may also be interested in the reputation of school districts, the character of neighborhoods you're considering, and the amount of privacy each property affords.

Another list worth compiling before you get too far into the house hunting process is a personal budget. By seeing how your income stacks up against your monthly expenses, you'll be in a stronger position to determine a realistic price range for your next home.





Posted by Maureen Harmonay on 9/24/2019

Ready to buy a new home? Ultimately, there is no shortage of high-quality residences at your disposal.

For homebuyers, you'll likely need to conduct plenty of research to find your dream house. And as you begin your search for the ideal residence, you should consider a house's interior closely. By doing so, you'll be able to determine whether costly, time-intensive home interior repairs will be needed in the foreseeable future.

What does it take to assess a home's interior properly? Here are three questions that every homebuyer should ask when he or she evaluates a house's interior:

1. Does a home's interior match my personal style?

Do you prefer bold, vibrant home interior colors? Or, do you enjoy a subtle mix of light and dark colors? Consider your personal style as you study a house's interior, and you'll be able to decide whether a home's interior complements your individual preferences.

Remember, a home's interior might fail to meet your expectations. But keep in mind that there are plenty of fish in the sea. As such, you can explore a broad array of houses and should be able to find a residence with an interior that will make you smile.

2. Were recent home interior renovations completed?

Learn about any recent home interior renovations that were completed. That way, you can understand how much time a home seller has committed to improving a home's interior.

Also, if a home seller has performed myriad home interior improvements, try to find out when these renovations were finished.

As a homebuyer, information is key. With details about assorted home interior renovations, you may be better equipped than ever before as you decide whether a residence is right for you.

3. Am I comfortable with a home's interior?

A homebuyer should feel comfortable with a home's interior before he or she purchases a residence.

If you fall in love with a house's interior during a home showing, you may want to consider moving forward by submitting an offer on a house. On the other hand, if you find a home requires many home interior improvements, you may want to consider exploring other houses that are available.

For homebuyers who are on the fence about a home, a real estate may be able to help. This housing market professional can offer expert insights into a house that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere, ensuring you can make an informed decision about a residence.

Furthermore, a real estate agent can take the guesswork out of the homebuying journey. This real estate expert will keep you up to date about new homes as they become available, set up home showings for you and even negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. As a result, a real estate agent will make it easy to find a house that will serve you sell for years to come.

Work with a real estate agent, and you can move closer to finding a home that looks beautiful both inside and out.




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Posted by Maureen Harmonay on 9/3/2019

Ready to discover your dream home? With help from your loved ones, you may be able to accelerate your journey from homebuyer to homeowner.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to include family members and friends in your search for the perfect home, including:

1. Loved ones are happy to help you in any way they can.

Loved ones have your best interests in mind and will do whatever they can to assist you. That way, you can get extra help as you embark on the homebuying journey.

Before you begin your home search, it may prove to be helpful to meet with loved ones so that you can explain your homebuying goals to them. This will allow you to describe what you'd like to find in your dream home. Plus, meeting with loved ones gives family members and friends an opportunity to ask you questions about your home search.

If you and your loved ones are all on the same page, you'll be able to get ample support as you prepare to kick off your home search. Then, you and your loved ones can check out a broad array of houses and find one that matches or exceeds your expectations.

2. Loved ones can share their homebuying experiences with you.

For those who are entering the real estate market for the first time or have not purchased a house in several years, it may be beneficial to involve loved ones in the property buying process.

Loved ones who have recently purchased homes can provide real estate insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. They can respond to your homebuying concerns and queries and help you prepare to enter the housing market.

Also, loved ones may be able to help you avoid potential pitfalls as you search for the ideal residence. Although some family members and friends may have made mistakes when they bought homes in the past, your loved ones can help you learn from their errors and ensure you can avoid various homebuying pitfalls.

3. Loved ones can help you make tough homebuying decisions.

Let's face it the decision to buy a home is one of the biggest that an individual may make in his or her lifetime. As such, the decision to purchase a home is not one that should be taken lightly.

Loved ones are happy to listen to your homebuying concerns time and time again. They can offer suggestions and recommendations as you explore homes and help you remain calm, cool and collected at each stage of the homebuying journey.

Of course, if you want additional assistance during the homebuying journey, it never hurts to hire an expert real estate agent. This housing market professional can set up home showings, negotiate with home sellers on your behalf and provide comprehensive homebuying support at any time.

Reach out to loved ones for support as you get ready to search for your dream home. By doing so, you may be able to speed up the homebuying process.




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Posted by Maureen Harmonay on 8/13/2019

Planning significant purchases like your first new car or home are big steps in life. While the purchase itself is a thrill ride, lack of planning may end up in buyer's remorse. To avoid such a pitfall, you need to impart a few guidelines around those larger purchases to protect yourself from disappointment or frustration later. Taking stock of your financial goals and your current situation can clear the way to confidence when shopping for your dream car, home, or other major purchases.

Plan, plan, plan

Having a written spending plan you can use to guide your decisions gives you a snapshot of where you are. Laying out a six to 12-month program for your income and expenses will allow you to determine when you shop, or even make an offer on something. Remember that a plan is only as good as the information you have, so make sure you keep all aspects of your financial life up to date. This upkeep includes retirement accounts, debts, interest rates on those debts, any fluctuation in income, and any changes in your cost-of-living expenses (rent, insurance rates or gas prices). Any of these things have the potential to delay or accelerate your purchase. When you are elevating larger purchases, remember the monthly payment is not the only expense associated with the purchase.

The big picture for housing expenses

When purchasing a home, that may be a bit more complicated. You will need to ask for information from those in the real estate and mortgage industry to get the information you need to see the big picture. Again, the monthly payment is not the only thing you will pay each monthly, especially if you are a renter. Knowing what expenses you will be taking on is essential. Besides the money you will need to purchase a home initially, there are other increases to your monthly expenses as a homeowner. Homeowner's insurance is more expensive than renter's insurance, so make sure your spending plan adjusts accordingly. You will want to think about your commute to work if you have one and budget more for gas if your trip to work will be longer from your new address. Sometimes the utility costs will be lower especially if you are buying an energy efficient or more modern home.

Home buying, when you have processed all the information and are confident financially, is an exciting adventure.




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Posted by Maureen Harmonay on 8/6/2019

Everyone defines the term "quality of life" differently, but if you asked 100 people, you'd probably hear a lot of similar answers.

According to a Gallup study entitled "The State of American Well-Being," the  basis for a good quality of life includes having a sense of purpose, feeling good about what you do every day, having supportive relationships, being motivated to achieve your goals, being able to effectively manage your finances, having the energy and health to pursue your interests, and sharing a sense of community pride. Feeling safe and liking where you live were also key ingredients in the formula for a high quality of life .

The Gallup/Sharecare report focuses on several aspects of community life, such as the role local governments play in offering amenities and resources to citizens. The study concluded that "communities that invest in active living, including bike paths, parks, walkability and public transit, have residents with better health and well-being outcomes."

While factors such as the quality of school districts and low crime rates are often foremost in the minds of house hunters, there's also a lot to be said for communities that offer public recreational facilities, educational programs, cultural events, and services that promote health, safety, and a clean environment.

Advantages that can help make one community more desirable and family friendly than another can range from free outdoor concerts and public tennis courts to the availability of farmers' markets and clean, updated playgrounds. Other features which can positively impact the quality of life in a community include well-maintained roads and bridges, the availability of dog parks, community parades, and programs to encourage the proper disposal of drugs, electronics, household chemicals, and recyclable products.

At the neighborhood level, quality of life is often measured by factors like noise, the condition of nearby properties, the overall safety and security of the area, and the amount of street traffic. Clean air, mature trees, and friendly neighbors can also contribute to a wholesome living environment that can be enjoyed for generations.

While there are many advantages to designing your own home or buying new construction, one might need to make short-term sacrifices when it comes to things like noise, neighborhood aesthetics, and other temporary inconveniences. Your real estate agent or home builder can probably fill you in on things like construction timetables and project completion dates.

If you're in the market for a new home, it's always a good idea to clarify in your own mind what you and your family needs to feel comfortable, happy, and secure. Creating a priority list of needs, desires, and preferences not only helps you stay focused in your real estate search, but also increases the probability that you'll be satisfied with your new home on a long-term basis.







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