Gene Mullen - Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Commonwealth Real Estate



Posted by Gene Mullen on 11/13/2018

If budgeting isnít your thing, youíll be glad to discover that itís quite simple. Thereís a way to categorize your spending and save money easily. If you learn the rule, it will become so automatic that you wonít even think about it. If youíre saving money for a home, this practice will be essential. Break your budget down into three categories: 


  • Living expenses
  • Financial goals
  • Personal spending


Half of your budget should go towards living expenses. This number includes all of the essentials like rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries, commute costs, and insurances. 


20 percent of your income should go towards other financial goals like savings, investments, or paying down debt. Credit card bills, student loans, and other bills would fall under this category. This category is also where youíd save for your down payment, closing costs, and other expenses. This percentage can be adjustable depending on how much debt you have or how much you need to save for retirement. 


The remaining 30 percent of your income can go towards personal spending. This category includes everything that you use your money for but isnít a necessity. This percentage is also flexible. If your lifestyle doesnít require you to use all 30 percent each month, you can indeed save more money.


A Clear Plan 


These categories simplify your budget. Even if you make some adjustments to the numbers, the outline truly makes budgeting easy even for the most scatterbrained among us. It allows you to see where your money goes clearly. It also works no matter what kind of living situation you have.


The great thing about this budgeting plan is that you have some future needs built into it. Many times, when we budget, we think of our immediate needs and our shorter term goals. Saving for any occasion can never happen too early. You are able to not only focus on your current goals and the future.   



Steps


First, determine your monthly income. This number is how much money you take home after taxes. From here, youíll be able to split your money into categories by percentages. If your income fluctuates frequently, youíll need to take an average of your monthly income to determine your numbers. 


Next, you should take a look at your spending habits. These include everything from your morning latte to your monthly rent payment. From here you can make adjustments. Perhaps you need to look for a less expensive apartment. Maybe you need to cut down your weekly pizza to a bi-monthly purchase. Whatever you see in your finances, a simple percentage rule gives you the tools you need to become a saver and be well on your way to the purchase of your first home.     





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Posted by Gene Mullen on 11/6/2018

If you plan to sell your house, you likely will need to craft a home listing. As such, you may want to put together an outline of the information that you'd like to include in your home listing to optimize its effectiveness.

Now, let's take a look at three things that every seller should include in his or her home listing.

1. Home Price

The price of your home likely will play a major role in how quickly your residence stirs up interest from homebuyers, and for good reason.

If you offer a competitive price for your residence, you should have no trouble generating substantial interest in your house as soon as it becomes available. Comparatively, if your home is overpriced, your risk alienating potential buyers. Or, if your residence is underpriced, you may miss out on an opportunity to maximize the value of your house.

Performing a home appraisal often serves as a great way to get an accurate valuation of your house.

Also, look at the prices of comparable houses in your city or town. This will help you understand how your residence stacks up against the competition so that you can price your home accordingly.

2. A Detailed Home Description

What sets your house apart from other residences? Ultimately, if you create a detailed description of your home's features, you can increase the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.

When you put together a detailed description of your home, be honest. That way, you can empower homebuyers with the insights they need to determine whether your residence is right for them.

In addition, copy edit your home description before you publish your home listing. Because if your home description is littered with grammatical errors, these mistakes may drive potential buyers away from your residence.

3. Nearby Attractions and Landmarks

If your home is located near amusement parks, national monuments, schools or other popular attractions or landmarks, you should incorporate this information into your home listing. By doing so, you can further differentiate your residence from the competition.

Don't forget to provide details about how far away your home is located from nearby attractions and landmarks too. For instance, if your house is only a 5-minute drive from a top local park, you should include this information in your home listing.

If you want to get the most out of your home listing, it pays to hire a real estate agent as well. With a real estate agent at your side, you can create an in-depth home listing that will hit the mark with prospective buyers.

A real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to create an effective home listing. He or she will learn about your residence and your home selling goals and ensure that your home listing stands out from others.

Ready to craft an engaging home listing? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost your chances of creating a terrific home listing in no time at all.





Posted by Gene Mullen on 10/30/2018

If you're selling a home, hiring a real estate agent who acts as a comprehensive marketer is essential Ė and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

For home sellers, an ineffective marketer may struggle to promote your residence to the right groups of homebuyers. This may cause you to miss out on opportunities to highlight your house to potential property buyers, resulting in a prolonged home selling cycle.

Ultimately, there are many signs that a real estate agent understands what it takes to market your residence effectively, including:

1. A real estate agent is ready to host home showings and open houses.

Home showings and open houses enable property buyers to get an up-close look at your residence. That way, property buyers can envision what life would be like if they purchase your house.

Typically, a real estate agent will want to host as many home showings and open houses as possible This housing market professional will be available to set up home showings at property buyers' convenience. Meanwhile, he or she also will promote open houses via social media and other channels to stir up plenty of interest from potential property buyers.

2. A real estate agent knows how to showcase your residence online.

A real estate agent may insist on hiring a professional photographer to take pictures of your home's interior or exterior. This ensures you can provide homebuyers with crisp, clear images via myriad online channels to show the true beauty of your house.

Moreover, a real estate agent may use Facebook, Twitter and other social networks to promote your residence. Social media enables this housing market professional to reach thousands of potential property buyers and may help you generate significant interest in your home quickly.

3. A real estate agent allocates the necessary time and resources to track his or her marketing efforts.

What good is a marketing campaign if a marketer is unable to define its success? A real estate agent who is a great marketer understands the importance of metrics and will measure his or her marketing successes and failures.

A real estate agent should be able to keep you informed at each stage of the home selling cycle. He or she can provide updates about whether homebuyers are interested in checking out your home and any feedback from homebuyers as well.

In addition, a real estate agent is unafraid to adjust the way that he or she promotes your home. With the right metrics in place, this housing market professional will be able to find out whether homebuyers are interested in your property and modify his or her marketing efforts accordingly.

When it comes to selling your home, working with a real estate agent who knows the importance of effective marketing can make a world of difference. With a successful marketer at your disposal, you can boost your chances of speeding up the home selling process and getting the best price for your house.





Posted by Gene Mullen on 10/23/2018

Is now the right time to lower the asking price for your residence? If you've studied the housing market closely, set an aggressive price for your home and are still struggling to generate interest in your residence, the answer to this question may be a resounding "Yes."

Ultimately, there are many reasons why you may want to consider lowering the asking price for your house, including:

1. It has been many weeks or months since the last home showing.

Although your home listing initially may have stirred up plenty of interest, homebuyers have shied away from your residence over the past few weeks or months. Thus, there may be no time like the present to lower your house's asking price to widen your net of prospective homebuyers.

Reducing your house's asking price by even a few thousand dollars may help you generate interest in your residence. And in the days following a price drop, you may notice a significant increase in the number of requests for home showings as well.

2. Your home asking price no longer corresponds to the current real estate market's conditions.

A seller's market can quickly morph into a buyer's market. As such, you should evaluate the real estate sector regularly to ensure your home asking price corresponds to the current housing market's conditions.

Take a look at available houses that are similar to your own Ė you'll be happy you did. This housing market data can help you determine if your house is priced appropriately based on the competition.

Also, examine the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. That way, you can see how long these residences were available before they sold, find out whether you're operating in a buyer's or seller's market and plan accordingly.

3. You need to sell your house as soon as possible.

If you face a time crunch to sell your home, you should establish an aggressive price for your residence from the get-go. However, if you fail to generate substantial interest in your residence, you may need to act fast to lower your home asking price to meet your deadline.

For those who want to avoid the possibility of lowering a house's asking price, it often pays to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you establish a fair, competitive price for your residence, one that should help you stir up significant interest in your home.

In addition, a real estate agent will work with you throughout the home selling process. He or she will set up home showings, host open houses and negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to respond to your home selling questions and ensure you can make informed home selling decisions.

Before you lower your home asking price, consult with a real estate agent. By doing so, you can get the expert home selling advice that you need to determine whether to wait out the current housing market or reduce the price of your residence.





Posted by Gene Mullen on 10/16/2018

Depending on its condition, a basement can be a mixed blessing. On one hand, basements can provide an abundance of storage space to help keep your home organized. On the other hand, basements can be plagued with water leaks, excess moisture, and mold growth.

Some solutions to wet basement problems can be expensive, such as installing French drains, perimeter trenches, or exterior waterproof membranes. If you're considering buying a house that may have basement moisture problems or water damage, a good home inspector can identify these issues beforehand and let you know how serious they are.

Moisture Control Tips

Relatively simple solutions to wet basement problems include buying a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier extracts excess water from the air and can help prevent mold growth and moisture damage to your belongings. Ideally, a home basement should be a place where you can safely store everything from clothing and holiday supplies to tools and family heirlooms. A humidity meter, also called a hygrometer, can be a good way to keep track of relative humidity (RH) in your basement. Whether you'd want to buy a cheap one or a more costly model depends on the value of the items you want to protect.

The EPA's Energy Star program recommends maintaining a humidity range in your home of between 30% and 50% to prevent bacterial and mold growth. (For homeowners living in colder climates, it may be necessary to keep the RH level below 40% to prevent window condensation.) Note: If you're storing moisture-sensitive items like wooden musical instruments, important documents, or cigars, it's vital to carefully monitor humidity levels and follow all recommendations for optimal care and preservation. (Depending on the situation, it may also be necessary to keep track of other climate control factors, such as room temperature, dust, and air quality.)

What to Do About Clutter

Another common basement problem that often develops after homeowners have lived in the house for several years is clutter and disorganization. The ideal scenario is to set up an organization system in the basement immediately after moving into a house. In the real world, however, many people tend to postpone unpacking moving boxes and allow clutter to accumulate over a period of years.

The solution may consist of buying shelving units for the basement, setting aside and organizing things you want to keep, and dispensing with items that no longer serve your needs. Options for getting rid of unwanted stuff may include holding a garage sale, donating old belongings to charitable organizations, giving them away to friends and relatives, or paying a junk removal service to haul them away.

Although keeping your basement dry, organized, and clutter free is an ongoing task, the benefits almost always outweigh the short-term inconvenience.







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