Posted by Peggy Farber on 3/2/2016

The news has been bombarded with negative stories about the real estate market over the past few years, but the tides are turning and inventory is now lower than ever. There are still many opportunities for buyers as prices still remain low. For savvy homebuyers looking to buy in the high-end or luxury marketplace there is tremendous opportunity. If you’ve always dreamed about buying a luxury property but considered it just out of reach, today’s market may has put downward pressure on the prices of higher-end homes making them more affordable than ever. To buy your dream home you will want to have a strategy. 1. Choose your agent wisely. Your agent is your advocate. You will need an agent who is experienced and successful in the luxury home market. Agents who deal in luxury property have the right knowledge to help you locate and negotiate an offer on a high-end home. 2. Take the time necessary. The high-end home search may take more time and patience. The supply of luxury homes may be smaller, you may even need to expand your search or rely or your agent to find homes that may not be currently up for sale. The home will be bigger, have more features and thus there will be more to consider in the purchase decision. 3. Prepare the perfect offer. Cash is king in today’s market. According to the May 2011 REALTORS® Confidence Index from the National Association of REALTORS®, 30 percent of all purchases between mid-April and mid-May of last year were financed with cash. The number was even higher for luxury properties. Even though many luxury sellers may also be in a distressed property situation they are typically more particular about who was buying their property as well as the final selling price. Use your agent to carefully craft the perfect offer.





Posted by Peggy Farber on 9/16/2015

Could condo living be for you? For many condominium living can be an attractive alternative to a single family home. The price per square foot of a condo is often less than a single family home. Before you make the leap to condo living make sure to do your homework to see if it truly is the best choice for you. Here is a checklist of a few things you may want to consider before signing on the dotted line.

  • Condominiums have monthly maintenance fees.
  • Check with the condominium association to see what the annual increase in the monthly maintenance fee has been for the past few years.
  • What is the percentage of residents are current with their monthly association payments. Look for about ninety-seven percent of the development's residents to be current with their monthly payments.
  • What percentage of the association fees are dedicated to a reserve fund. A good number would be at least 10 percent of the association's annual budget.
  • What are the condition of the condo's roof and major mechanical systems? When were they last replaced or repaired. When the condo requires big upgrades, costly "special assessment" fees are passed on to the homeowners.
Most importantly try and talk to some of the residents. They can be your most valuable resource for learning about the development's pros and cons of the condominium development.





Posted by Peggy Farber on 7/8/2015

Buying your first home can be confusing. Securing a mortgage is one of the most important parts of the home buying process. Making sure that you have the right loan and have chosen the right loan officer are among the things a first time buyer has to do to start the process. Here are some more tips on how to ensure a successful purchase: 1. Make sure your deposit is in order. Talk to your loan officer about what amount of a deposit is required for the purchase and type of loan. You will also want to make sure the funds are accounted for and readily available. You can expect deposits to run anywhere between 3 and 20 percent of the purchase price. 2. Plan to have a cash reserve in addition to your deposit. You may want to have a reserve of at least two months mortgage payments. 3. Ask your lender to go over all the fees that apply to the purchase. It is better to be prepared and know how much the actual purchase will cost. These costs are typically added into your loan but there may be some out of pocket expenses too. 4. Consider how much you can comfortably afford not how much you have been approved for. These numbers may vary considerably. Your mortgage costs should not be more than 30% of your household income. 5. The lowest rate is not always the best deal. You will want to look at not only the rate but also the terms and fees associated with the loan.      





Posted by Peggy Farber on 6/10/2015

With the recent scrutiny being placed on food quality in America, many people are looking to starting their own gardens. While there's no denying that keeping a garden can be a lot of work, the benefits of growing your own produce are hard to ignore. If you are thinking about trying out your green thumb, there are a few things to consider. What would you like to grow? Would you prefer a garden that you can keep indoors, or do you want an outdoor garden? How much time are you willing to dedicate to your new project? Herb gardens are a good start for anyone interested in growing useful plants. You can grow any combination of herbs indoors. Many herb kits exist, and can be purchased from your local gardening store for relatively cheap. These kits take the guesswork out of picking a complementary combination of herbs, and come complete with full instructions on how to maximize your little garden's potential. If your ambitions are bigger, you can opt for an outdoor garden. Outdoor gardens give you much wider selection of plants to choose from. Living in New England, you can count on about 120 frost-free days, so pay attention to the plants that you choose for your garden. You'll want to choose fruits and vegetables that can survive the occasional frost, and are considered relatively hardy. Here's a few ideas to get you started. Plants that do well in the climate of New England include tomatoes, asparagus, snow peas, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers. Tomatoes in particular offer a lot of variety, from the smaller cherry tomato, to more robust varieties like beefsteak. A newer variety of tomato called Glacier does fairly well in colder climates, and packs the same zest as the more fickle, hot-climate tomatoes. If you want to add a more unique fruit to your garden, you might also want to consider one of the heirloom tomato varieties. I've heard of a tomato called "White Wonder", which is a nearly all-white tomato that packs a whallop of flavor. Many types of berries do extremely well in New England summers. Why not try your hand at strawberries? Cavendish are a large, sweet variety of strawberries that do extremely well here, despite the harsh, unpredictable nature of our climate. For more information on gardening in New England, please visit the following link. http://www.gardeninginnewengland.com/index.asp Good luck!





Posted by Peggy Farber on 5/13/2015

Sunscreen is essential but buying sunscreen can be very confusing. From water resistant sunscreens to SPF to broad spectrum protection, it is hard to know what you need to keep your skin safe this summer. Sunscreens protect you from the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching your skin. There are two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB. They both damage your skin and increase your risk of skin cancer. The difference between UVA and UVB Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is part of the electromagnetic (light) spectrum that reaches the earth from the sun. Ultraviolet A (UVA) is the longer wave UV ray that causes lasting skin damage, skin aging, and can cause skin cancer. Ultraviolet B (UVB) is the shorter wave UV ray that causes sunburns, skin damage, and can cause skin cancer. The definition of SPF SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. The SPF number on sunscreen is a measure of a sunscreen's ability to prevent UVB from damaging the skin. The number of the SPF is how long it will take the sun to redden the skin. For example, SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening 15 times longer than no sunscreen at all– about five hours. What is broad spectrum? Sunscreens that have broad-spectrum protect the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Beginning in December 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will implement new rules for "broad-spectrum" products. New sunscreen rules Here are some of the new rules The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued for labels on sunscreen. • Sunscreens may be labeled “broad- spectrum” if they provide protection against both UVA and UVB radiation according to FDA-sanctioned test methods. • Only broad-spectrum sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or higher may state that they protect against skin cancer if used as directed with other sun protection measures. • Broad-spectrum sunscreens with SPFs of 2-14 must display a warning that the product has not been shown to help prevent skin cancer or early skin aging. • The terms “sunblock,” “sweatproof” and “waterproof” are no longer allowed on sunscreen labels. • Sunscreens may claim to be “water-resistant,” but must specify whether they protect the skin for 40 or 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, based on standard testing. Sunscreens that are not water-resistant must instruct consumers to use a water-resistant sunscreen if swimming or sweating. • A company cannot claim that its sunscreen products provide sun protection for more than two hours without submitting test results to prove this.      




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