Jane Cheetham - RE/MAX Acclaim



Posted by Jane Cheetham on 5/2/2017

Once you move in with a partner, you know you have reached an important milestone in your relationship. For the first time, you could be talking about money with your partner. Whether you’re moving into an apartment or buying a home together, it’s important to break down how you’ll merge your finances together. 


While it’s one of the least romantic conversations that you’ll probably have as a couple, sharing your financial situation is one of the most vital. Below you’ll find some tips on starting that conversation and making it a smooth one.


Be Honest


In any relationship, honesty and communication are key. This is especially true when it comes to finances. There’s a lot that goes into your own financial picture, and it’s important that you share that with your partner. This is important for everything that will happen in the future including purchasing a home. Some things that your partner should know:


  • How much loan debt you have
  • A rough idea of your credit score and history
  • Your income
  • Your spending habits
  • Your saving habits

It’s important to know how another person’s habits will affect you as a whole when you’re thinking of making an investment together like a piece of property. Everyone handles money differently, and you should know how someone’s spending habits meshes with yours. Do they live paycheck to paycheck? Do they save money regularly? Are they financially strained? All of these questions help you to understand where you are similar and where you are different when it comes to money.



Have A Plan For How You’ll Divide Expenses


It may seem like a 50/50 split on expenses makes the most sense. For many couples it does. In other situations, if one person makes more money, they may need to pay a bit more of the costs. Some couples have one person pay the rent while the other takes the utilities on as an expense. Take amounts and percentages that you feel comfortable with and do what wrks best for the both of you. 


Remember that chores count too when it comes to dividing up the “expenses.” This is just an extra tip that will help you to build a stronger relationship in the long term and help to save arguments.


Use A Joint Account For Expenses


You should still keep your own bank accounts when you move in with a significant other.  All of your money shouldn’t be funneled into one singular account. Create a separate bank account for your expenses like rent or mortgage and utilities. All of your personal expenses should come out of your own respective accounts. 


Make Contracts


No matter how much you feel that you can trust a person, it’s always good to put everything in writing. This way, if there are any disputes in the future, you’ll always have a contract that you can refer back to. It’s also important to have these documents for things like security deposits or down payments. If the relationship ends at any point, it’s important for the person who paid for certain things to get their money back.     


Planning and tracking your finances when you move in with a significant other is important. It will certainly make your life easier if you have these conversations beforehand.





Posted by Jane Cheetham on 3/21/2017

When it comes to buying a home, there is no reason to let negotiations get the best of you. Fortunately, we're here to help you become an expert negotiator, i.e. someone who understands the ins and outs of obtaining a high-quality residence at a budget-friendly price.

What does it take to become an expert homebuying negotiator? Here are three negotiating tips that every homebuyer needs to know:

1. Act Quickly on a Home That You Like

If you fall in love with a home and are ready to make an offer on it, don't hesitate to put your best foot forward. Submit a competitive offer, and you may be able to avoid stressful negotiations with a home seller.

Understanding the true value of a residence is paramount for homebuyers. Conduct plenty of housing market research before you submit an offer, and you can better understand the prices of comparable houses in your area.

Also, if a home seller counters your initial offer, don't be afraid to negotiate. Be flexible, and you can boost your chances of securing your dream residence.

2. Do the Math

How much can you afford for a new home? You'll want to establish a homebuying budget before you enter negotiations with a home seller. Otherwise, you risk spending too much to acquire a residence.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage may make it easy for you to avoid the temptation to overspend. With a mortgage in hand, you can search for houses that fit your price range.

In addition, be sure to account for closing costs and other fees that you may encounter down the line. If you fail to do so, you may wind up overspending on a residence.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Homebuying negotiations can be time-consuming and expensive if you're not careful. Thankfully, real estate agents are available who can negotiate with a home seller on your behalf.

Hiring an experienced real estate agent usually is a good idea, particularly for first-time homebuyers. Stress and anxiety can be problematic during homebuying negotiations, but a real estate agent will ensure that you won't have to deal with these issues.

Your real estate agent has a simple goal: to ensure that you can purchase the best house at the best price. He or she will go above and beyond the call of duty to accomplish this goal. As such, employing a real estate agent to handle homebuying negotiations can make a world of difference for homebuyers nationwide.

Furthermore, your real estate agent will keep you informed throughout negotiations. This real estate professional will offer expert tips and recommendations and will never make a move without consulting with you. Perhaps best of all, your real estate agent will be happy to answer any of your homebuying concerns and queries, guaranteeing that you can make informed decisions throughout the homebuying process.

Work with a real estate agent as you prepare to enter negotiations to purchase a residence. By doing so, you can simplify the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.




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Posted by Jane Cheetham on 8/23/2016

When it comes to mortgages there is a lot to know and a lot of choices. One loan that was popular before the housing crisis was the interest-only loan. An interest-only loan is an adjustable-rate loan with an initial fixed period when only interest is due. They are typically available in 5-, 7- or 10-year terms. Economists blame interest-only loans for the foreclosure crisis citing they were issued too freely. Today, interest-only loans are more difficult to obtain. Borrowers were using interest-only loans to qualify for a more expensive home and when the interest-only term ended the payment went up leaving many homeowners unable to afford the mortgage payment. Interest-only loans are now being used by wealthy borrowers as a financial tool to help them manage irregular cash flow, reap a tax benefit, or free up cash for investment elsewhere. Lenders that offer interest-only loans have strict qualifying standards. They generally require 30 percent equity in a property, and a minimum FICO score of 720. Lenders also look at the ability to pay back the loan is based on the fully amortized payment, not the interest-only payment.    





Posted by Jane Cheetham on 8/9/2016

Every country and every region have specific styles of homes that are most common in that area. And every homebuyer has a style or styles of homes that peak their interest above all others. It’s important to know what types of homes dominate your region so you can expect what you’ll see as you begin your house hunt. Or you can skip the house hunt all together and search for land with the intention of building if that style of home is just about impossible to find in your area. Here are a few of the top styles of home in New England. Colonial: Colonial styles homes are one of the oldest known styles built in New England. This style mirrored homes in Europe. Colonial styles homes include Dutch and Georgian colonial. They are very simple and symmetrical style homes. Cape Cod: Cape Cod style homes originated in the colonial era. Today, their design still pulls from the original designs. This style home generally has steep, pitched roofs, a central staircase and chimney, and two bedrooms upstairs. While original capes still exist, variations on the original design are fairly common. Victorian: Victorian era homes include multiple architectural styles of homes that were prominent during this time period such as Italianate and Queen Anne styles. These home were typically constructed as three story homes in the eastern United States. Common among the design of these homes is that each type includes ornate and detailed design. Craftsman: Craftsman style homes are the most popular style around the United States. As the name suggests, the home style focuses on the craft of construction with exteriors featuring a combination of wood and stone. These homes are usually bungalows that can be of any shape but are generally unique. Traditional: Traditional homes are, as the name suggests, traditional. They are an ‘update’ to the colonial style home. This style typically is charming and detailed around historically accurate features. These are just a few of the most popular homes in the New England region. And it certainly doesn’t mean that other, less popular styles don’t exist in this region. If you’re on the market for one of these types of homes in New England, then you have a pretty good shot at finding what you’re looking for. Happy house hunting!





Posted by Jane Cheetham on 7/5/2016

When buying a home and shopping for a mortgage there are lots of new and unknown terms and one of those is often PMI. What is PMI? PMI stands for private mortgage insurance and chances are if you are first-time buyer you will have to pay it. First things first, PMI is for the lender, not for you. Typically, homebuyers who put down less than 20 percent on their homes are required to pay private mortgage insurance. PMI protects the lender in the event that you default on the loan. Mortgage insurance requirements vary by loan type and are not inevitable. Different loan types will have different mortgage insurance requirements. You will want to shop around because some loans have no PMI requirements at all. If your loan has PMI some lenders may offer something called “lender paid mortgage insurance” in exchange for a slightly higher interest rate. Here are some typical loans and the PMI requirements: FHA loans: Require mortgage insurance to be paid up front and monthly if equity in the home is less than 20 percent. VA loans: Do not require mortgage insurance. USDA loans: Do not require mortgage insurance. Conventional loans: Require mortgage insurance if equity is less than 20 percent. If you have to pay mortgage insurance you are not stuck with it forever. Once you reach an equity position of 20 percent or more you will be able to stop making mortgage insurance payments.  When you reach this position notify your lender, who will send you information on what is required for your specific loan program to get rid of mortgage insurance payments.