Donna Coffin - ERA Key Realty Services - Distinctive Group



Posted by Donna Coffin on 12/25/2015

Sometimes reading the description of a home for sale can be like trying to interpret a foreign language. Some of the information is pretty straightforward but often agents use acronyms or other abbreviations to describe a home and that can leave a potential buyer confused. Here are a few of some more common acronyms or abbreviations that you may see: A/C: Air conditioned                             ATT: Attached                                                                                                                                 BSMT: Basement                                                                                                                     C/Air: Central Air                                                                                                                     C/Vac: Central Vac                                                                                                                   CRNR: Corner                                                                                                                                       EIK: eat-in kitchen                                                                                                                             FROG: family room over the garage—extra space!                                                               HWF or HW: hardwood floors                                                                                                           LA: Living Area                                                                                                                                   MBR: Master Bedroom                                                                                                                     REF: Refrigerator                                                                                                                             SF or s/f: square feet or foot                                                                                                         SS: stainless steel (as in any kitchen appliance)                                                                       Vu: view(s)                                                                                                                                 WBFP: wood-burning fireplace                                                                                                 W/D: washer/dryer                                                                                                                     WIC: walk-in closet Can you think of any more acronyms?





Posted by Donna Coffin on 12/11/2015

You have earned it, you have saved your money and now is the time to buy that vacation home you have been wishing for. Buying a second home can be a very different experience than purchasing a primary residence. So, if you are in the market for a vacation home, there are some things you will need to consider first: ?What is the purpose of the home? Are you buying the second home for vacation or investment? Knowing what you intend to do with the property primarily will help you identify the features that matter most in the home. ?If the second home is for investment and you plan to rent it you will need to research how the property’s use will affect your financing options, taxes and insurance. Before you buy consult an accountant or financial planner to determine which of these factors could impact your financial situation. ?How far are you willing to travel? If you are using the home as a vacation spot, think realistically about how far you are willing to travel. According to the National Association of Realtors, 31 percent of vacation homes are typically within 100 miles of the owner's primary residence. ?See what the area is like off-season. Many times vacation homes are in seasonal destinations and the surroundings can change significantly throughout the year. Find out what challenges you may encounter in the off-season with the home. If you are thinking of buying a second home it is important to use a real estate professional with knowledge of the specific marketplace.





Posted by Donna Coffin on 12/4/2015

Have you been thinking of buying a fixer upper but you don't have the money to do the repairs? If you are thinking of buying a property that needs extensive repairs there is a federally backed lending program that enables buyers to roll the cost of necessary fixes into their mortgage. The Federal Housing Administration’s 203(k) program provides funding for loans that cover purchase and renovation costs for single-family homes and multifamilies with up to four units. Here are some things you need to know about a 203(k) loan: The loan total amount is based on the property’s appraised value once the repairs are completed. The required down-payment for a 203(k) loan is 3.5 percent. 203(k) loans are not available to investors . Borrowers must live in the properties. 203(k) loans are more expensive than conventional financing. The interest rates are slightly higher and private mortgage insurance (PMI) is required for a 203(k) loan. Borrowers must hire a building consultant to write an initial estimate of the cost of planned repairs. The cost of the consultant could range from $400 to $1,000. Renovations must be completed within six months after closing. Loan limits depend on where the property is. For a single-family property, the limit ranges from $271,050 to $729,750. For more information on a 203 (k) loan you can visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website.  




Categories: Buying a Home  


Posted by Donna Coffin on 10/23/2015

When searching for a home you may want to first consider if you are looking to purchase a new or an existing home. This is a common questions that many home buyers  consider during the early stages of their home search. Some of the advantages home buyers cite as reasons to buy a brand-new house or condominium are: energy-efficiency, open layout, a warranty, the selection of appliances, flooring, paint colors and other design elements. There are advantages to purchasing both new and existing homes. The National Association of Home Builders(NAHB) has created a list of the advantages of buying a newly built home. New homes are often built in communities of new homes. When this happens all the neighbors are new to the neighborhood. This can help families form bonds of friendship that can last a lifetime. Newer homes offer more open floor plans making entertaining easier. New-home layouts often feature great rooms, higher ceilings and additional windows that bringing in more light than you would find in an older home. The appeal of owning something new can be a strong draw. Some buyers like the thought of being the first to cook a dinner in a brand-new kitchen. While others don't like the idea of having to repaint or update an older home. A new home allows a buyer to create their own home décor from the beginning. Newer homes are built for today's high-definition televisions, DVRs, computers and other electronic needs. New homes can be tailored to meet an individual home owner’s needs. There is little to no cost associated with home repair on a new home. Buyers pick the features, appliances and modern features to suit your needs.  When purchasing a new home it is truly built to the buyer's liking. Newly constructed homes are more energy efficient. They often include energy saving features such as double-pane windows, insulation and appliances which can reduce energy costs. Have you ever considered buying a newly constructed home, if so, why?





Posted by Donna Coffin on 8/21/2015

Buying a home can be an exciting time and there is no better time to buy and take advantage of low mortgage rates and prices. Buyer beware, just because it is a good deal you still need to do your due diligence before signing on the dotted line. Here are some potential purchase pitfalls to look for: Do-it-yourself anything Does the home you are purchasing have a great finished basement, new deck or three season addition? Check with city or town hall to make sure the work was done to code and the proper permits were pulled. Things not done to code can be expensive to fix and can ultimately lower the home's value. Structural problems Structural problems are a big red flag. Have a professional home inspection and if need be have a structural inspection on the home. Things to look for include doors and windows that don’t open and close properly and cracks along the foundation. Some cracks may be harmless and normal settling but typically the bigger the crack, the bigger the problem. Structural problems are usually a deal killer as they can be very costly to fix. Insect damage can be part of a much bigger problem. Signs of excessive termite or pest damage does not tell the whole story and often there is unseen damage inside the walls. This may require a special pest inspection to determine if the home's studs have been compromised thus affecting the home's structure. Water damage Another potential problem is water damage. Water damage can cause the failure of the foundation. Water needs to be always draining away from the house. Look for moisture or water stains in the basement. This may indicate a drainage issue. Also be sure to check if the home is in a flood zone. Water in the home can also cause mold. Mold can lead to many serious health issues and is expensive and time consuming to remove. Mold should always be removed by a professional specializing in mold mitigation. Electrical work Do-it-yourself electrical work or antiquated electrical can be a recipe for disaster. When looking at homes be wary of electrical work that has been added on over the years. If the home has an addition make sure to ask if the current electrical system is enough to handle the additional square footage. Be wary of older knob and tube wiring or aluminum wiring this can be very expensive to replace. A professional home inspector should always be able to help point out potential pitfalls in a home before you purchase it. Never skimp on peace of mind. To find a qualified home inspector you can check with the National Association of Home Inspectors.