Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith - Century 21 North Shore / Cape Cod

Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 10/19/2017

Is it better to rent or buy? There is no simple answer to the question, yet itís something we all ask ourselves at some point in our adult lives.

When you ask yourself this question, youíre not just determining whether itís more affordable to buy or rent. Rather, youíre answering questions about what your life will look like in the coming years--in terms of both lifestyle and location.

In this article, weíre going to talk about the issue of buying vs renting. Weíll talk about ways you can educate yourself to make the most informed decision possible. After all, whether youíre buying a home or signing a lease, this is a decision that will affect a large amount of your time and dictate at least the next year of your life.

Outside influences

Before you start thinking about mortgages and leases, itís a good idea to get an idea of the market. Specifically, youíll want to look at the cost of living for the area you plan on moving to. It may seem like common sense that the cost of apartments and houses will rise and fall at the same rate, but evidence points to the contrary.

Elements that are out of your control could be things like:

  • Property tax amounts

  • Inflation and cost of living changes (gas, utilities, etc.)

  • Stock market variations, which affect your investments

  • Real estate market changes

  • Income changes (job change or loss)

As you can see already, these outside influences have the potential to make a huge impact on whether it makes more sense to rent or buy.

Letís say you decided to rent a home and put the money you would have used for a down payment into an investment fund. You have a good year and earn 5% on your investments. At the same time, the price of homes as gone down significantly in the area you hope to move.

As you can see, in this scenario it would probably make sense to pay rent for a year before buying a home.

Out-of-pocket expenses and equity

One of the biggest advantages of owning a home is that by definition, if you are making sufficient and timely mortgage payments, you are earning equity. Equity can be used later to make a down payment on a larger home, or for selling to use toward retirement funds later in life.

On the other hand, renting is an out-of-pocket cost that comes at a loss. Once you pay rent, there is no getting it back to use later on.

It may seem like buying is the obvious solution, then. However, there are also many out-of-pocket costs for owning a home. Property taxes, insurance, and interest paid to your lender are all things that you canít recuperate.

Finding out whether itís cheaper to buy or rent will come down to balancing those factors, and weighing them against the odds of the real estate market.

Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 10/12/2017

When you stop and think about all the potential pitfalls, the prospect of buying a house and moving into a new neighborhood can be quite nerve wracking! (It doesn't have to be, though.)

Since there are so many crucial factors to consider, you want to be sure you're not overlooking anything important.

A Real Estate Agent Can Help

What makes the process a lot less daunting is the fact that experienced Realtors and real estate agents are available to provide you with guidance, advice, and help.

The ideal real estate agent will be familiar with areas you're interested in, and will be able to provide insights into everything from nearby conveniences and municipal services to the character of neighborhoods you're considering and the quality of the local school district. If you try to do it on your own and gather all the relevant information you need to make an informed home buying decision, it can be overwhelming! By working with a knowledgeable buyers' agent, you're a lot more likely to find a home that is a near-perfect match for your wants, needs, and budget.

In addition to getting prequalified for a mortgage, one of the first steps to beginning a house hunting campaign is clarifying exactly what you're looking for. Creating both a "wish list" and a "must have list" will enable your real estate agent to make the best use of your time and effectively match you with houses you'll like.

Although everyone has a different perspective when it comes to house hunting, most people start making decisions, early on, about things like the house style they'd prefer, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms they need, and the preferred size of the backyard. First-time home buyers may be unsure about their square-footage requirements, but after touring a few houses and spending time with their real estate agent, they usually gain a good grasp of how much space they would need to feel comfortable.

Other Factors To Weigh

If you have children now or are planning to start a family soon, then your priorities may include living in a good school district and being close to playgrounds and summer recreation programs. The ideal neighborhood would also include potential playmates for your children, low-to-moderate street traffic, and short commuting distances to work. A low crime rate, convenience to shopping areas, and off-street parking are other typical priorities.

While your agent will undoubtedly help you develop a list of requirements and preferences for your real estate search, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The layout and floor plan of your ideal home
  • The preferred size and style of the kitchen
  • The possible inclusion of a deck, patio, garage, and/or finished basement
  • The number and size of closets and storage space
  • Features like a fireplace, fences, and a backyard shed
Once you get to the stage of having a property inspector examine a house you're considering, you'll have the chance to be alerted about issues like wet basements, leaks, termite damage, radon hazards, insufficient insulation, and other potential red flags. Most problems are readily solved, though, and can sometimes result in seller concessions and a lower selling price. In all instances, an experienced real estate agent is a good person to have in your corner.


Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 10/5/2017

When you meet someone that you want to share the rest of your life with, you start thinking about ways to build a loving home with this person. What you don't think about are ways to create a home that adds to your romance, that motivates you to deepen the bond that you share with your spouse. It's time to change that.

Home designs that cause marital strife

Even if you only stay at your current house for three to five years, you're going to spend a lot of time in your home. It's no secret that cramped rooms, lack of closet space and a poorly designed house lead to frustration, arguments and territorial battles.

If you've ever argued with your partner about how she reaches in front of you while you're shaving or stays in the one bathroom in the house too long, seemingly making you late for work, you know firsthand how your house impacts your marriage. Or maybe your marital arguments center around your husband keeps the living room television turned to a cooking channel.

10 home style changes that encourage romance

Try these 10 home redesigns if you're looking for ways to enjoy more romance in your marriage. See how many of them encourage better open dialogue and nonverbal communication between you and your spouse.

  1. Shop for a house that offers the space that encourages togetherness and independence. This means choosing a house that makes it hard for you and your partner to step over each other while washing up in the morning, passing through hallways and cooking.
  2. Paint walls in gentle, neutral colors.
  3. Hang framed and unframed pictures of you and your partner holding hands, gazing into each other's eyes and spoon feeding one another.
  4. Decorate coffee and end tables with scented candles, scents that are absolute favorites of you and your partner.
  5. Place a two-seater table in the kitchen. Dine here as a couple at least once a day.
  6. Design your walls with romantic quotes. You could use quotes that are carved into wood, marble or stone.
  7. Install a supportive but comfortable mattress in your bedroom. Beautiful bed covers also encourage tranquility and togetherness.
  8. Keep the temperature in your home at degrees that both your partner and you appreciate.
  9. Place a porch swing on your front or back porch.Sit on the swing once a week, especially on warm, balmy evenings, sitting quietly together while you hold hands or discuss recent events in your lives.
  10. Lower kitchen cabinets to keep the shorter partner from having to climb on a step stool to reach dishware and food stored on top shelves.

It's been said that home is where the heart is. The wrong home design, layout or space could actually take the heart out of your house. The wrong house could also turn the heat down on your marital romance. With a little preparation and decor, you could live in a house that supports the romance that inspired you to marry and build a home.

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Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 9/29/2017

SMELL THE SALT AIR! Step inside this unique Contemporary Cape with DEEDED BEACH Rights, a minute away from beautiful Sandy Neck Beach. Custom built in 1981, some updates have been done & some are left for you! New windows & new Heat/AC splits. First floor offers, 2 bedrooms, full bath, den and laundry storage area with built-ins. Upstairs you will find the dramatic living room with large windows, vaulted ceiling, flr to ceiling fireplace, hardwood floors & wonderful winter water views! Eat in kitchen with slider to wrap around deck for entertaining. Private master on 2nd floor w/high ceilings, full bath & red claw foot tub. Bonus room off bath could be used as walk-in closet or office. Oversized 2 car garage, generator, beautiful level lot & mature plantings. GREAT Rental Potential!!

More Info on this Property | New Listing Alerts

Posted by Susan Brown & Stephanie Smith on 9/28/2017

One question you may often have in your home is when will be the right time to renovate things? The kitchen is one of the most important rooms of the house. You may wonder how often you need to make updates to your kitchen. If your kitchen is 30 years old or more, itís almost a sure bet that youíll need to renovate. Thereís some other sure signs that a kitchen needs some updating. Whether youíre getting ready to sell your home in the future, or you just want your home to be in the present, thereís a few signs it needs updating: 

The Kitchen Was Designed For One Cook

If your kitchen was built before a certain year, itís a good bet that it was designed for only one chef. The kitchen is probably separate from the dining quarters as well. In the present day, couples often cook together. The dining and kitchen areas are also often one in the same.

Your Appliances Are Old

Newer kitchen appliances are much more energy efficient and can do a lot more than their older counterparts. Anyone who is searching for a home would relish the idea of saving money on utility bills and knowing that reliable appliances are already present in the home. Thereís no need to spend money in the immediate future on replacing appliances for anyone who buys the home. New kitchen appliances that are a must:

  • Microwaves that serve as a vent hood or second oven
  • Energy Star refrigerators that dispense water and ice
  • Dishwashers
  • Under-cabinet units
  • Flat screen TV mounts

The Kitchen Isnít Very Functional

Of course you use your kitchen to cook in, but itís important that a kitchen functions well. The better designed a kitchen, the easier it is to clean and cook. Newer kitchen are also more likely to be environmentally friendly which is good for everyone. This functionality also goes along with the countertop material. Today, people look for easy to clean counter surfaces including stones like granite and quartz. The storage in the kitchen also should be more functional with easy access and streamlined, pull-out drawers.   

Your Kitchen Looks Like Something Out Of History Books

If your kitchen is looking similar to that of what youíd see in a classic home design book, you might want to get on the task of updating it as soon as possible. Even if you canít overhaul the layout of the room, youíll want to make updates that bring the kitchen into the 21st century. These include countertops, floors, the sink, and the cabinets. Anything major in the room should be updated to keep it from looking dated. 

Whether you have set some money aside for renovations, or plan on refinancing your home, itís a good investment to update the kitchen because the return is certain.

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