Monthly Archives: November 2014

THE $1M AVERAGE HOUSE

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According to the Boston Globe, the average four-bedroom, two bathroom house in Wellesley is listed at $1.09 million, making it the most expensive community in Massachusetts and the 10th most expensive in the nation — about 17 times more expensive than Cleveland, the most affordable community in a Coldwell Banker survey. On the shores of Lake Erie, a home that size goes for $64,993.

Massachusetts placed six communities in the top 25, including Cohasset ($923,889), Lexington ($918,600), Hingham ($891,342), Newton ($884,767), and Marblehead ($875,347).

The only buyers who might consider Wellesley affordable are those from California. Every market more expensive than Wellesley was located there. Los Altos, in the heart of Silicon Valley, topped the list at $1.96 million, followed closely by its Southern California cousin, Newport Beach ($1.90 million).

If you are considering buying or selling in Massachusetts, please call Fitzgerald Law Offices, your home for experienced real estate counsel. 781-924-5326 or scott@fitzgeraldlawoffices.com.

What is a “Reverse Mortgage?”

If you’ve recently considered your options for taking some of the equity out of your home you may have heard about reverse mortgage loans. If you meet the requirements for a reverse mortgage it can be an excellent way to tap into the value of your home, freeing up that cash to be reinvested or used for other purposes.
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In today’s blog post we’ll explore reverse mortgage loans, explaining how they work and whether or not you’re qualified to receive one.

How Does a Reverse Mortgage Work?
As the name implies, a reverse mortgage is the opposite of a traditional or “forward” mortgage in which you borrow a lump sum of money from a lender to buy a home, paying it back to them over time. With a “reverse” mortgage, instead of paying the lender you will receive money from them which does not have to be repaid until you are either no longer using that house or condo as your primary home or until you fail to meet the obligations of the mortgage contract.

Note that a reverse mortgage is still a loan, which means you will still be required to pay interest on it. As your loan balance increases with principal and interest each month the amount of equity you have in your home will decrease accordingly.

Do I Qualify for a Reverse Mortgage?
According to the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, there are a number of requirements that you must meet in order to qualify for a reverse mortgage. You must be at least 62 years of age when you apply, the home you’re applying with must be your primary residence, and most or all of your outstanding mortgage debt on the home must be paid off.

If you still owe money on your original or second mortgage against the home note that part of the money from the reverse mortgage must be used to pay this debt off.

How Much Can I Borrow in a Reverse Mortgage?
Like any type of loan, the amount of money that you can receive with a reverse mortgage depends on a variety of factors. Your age, the value of your home, any outstanding mortgage debt, current interest rates and Federal Housing Administration requirements will all be taken into consideration when determining how much you will qualify for.

While a reverse mortgage isn’t terribly complex, there is certainly more to the process that can be covered in a single blog post. For more information, contact Fitzgerald Law Offices at 781-924-5326 and we can get you assistance on the specifics of how you might qualify for a reverse mortgage and whether or not it’s your best option for making use of some of your home equity.

Tips to Saving For a Down Payment

Most first-time buyers say their biggest challenge is saving the money for a down payment, especially if they’re paying the high rents common in big cities. Here are a few options to consider:
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1. Search for home buyer programs at www.downpaymentresource.com to find out if you qualify for down payment assistance based on your income, your profession or your status as a first-time buyer.

2. Ask your relatives for gift funds. Your parents, grandparents, siblings, or aunts and uncles may be able to help you with a contribution toward your home purchase.

3. Earn extra income. If you take on a part-time or temporary job or freelance as a pet sitter or baby sitter, you can stash the earnings in a savings account.

4. Borrow from your 401(k). You can borrow from your retirement savings, but make sure you follow the rules so you don’t pay a tax penalty. You’ll need to repay the amount you borrow, but at least you’re paying yourself. Just be sure you can make the payment in full before switching jobs.

5. Use your tax refund. Whether your refund is large or small, you can use it to increase the size of your down payment fund.

6. Sell some possessions. Organize a yard sale or sell items on eBay or Craigslist.

7. Slash your budget. Some prospective home buyers cut dining out and taking fewer vacations. You can also cut back on cable TV and takeout coffee.

8. Change your living arrangements. You can move back home with your parents, move to a cheaper short-term rental, or bring in additional roommates to reduce your housing expenses.

Don’t forget, there are programs available where you can qualify with as little as 3.5% down so start saving!

And once you are ready to buy give me a call 781-924-5326 or scott@fitzgeraldlawoffices.com.

Are You A Boston Renter?

Are you currently renting in Boston? Are you thinking about moving to the South Shore?

rentVbuyIf you rent in Southie you are paying an average of $1,778 per month for a 1 bedroom apartment.

Did you know you could purchase a single family home in Hanover, MA (with a yard and grass to cut) for $400,000 with only 10% down and have estimated monthly mortgage payment that includes property taxes and insurance of $1,936.

Sure, you are paying an additional $158 per month BUT, each payment is building an additional $644 of equity in your new home. So instead of thinking of it as an “additional $158 per month”, think of it as an “investment of $486 per month.”

If you’d like to learn more about purchasing your first home give me a call for a free consultation. I am happy to answer all of your questions about financing strategies and where to look for great deals on the South Shore. 781-924-5326 or scott@fitzgeraldlawoffices.com. #irishriviera

FITZGERALD LAW OFFICES, PC … Your home for Experienced Real Estate Counsel.