Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate



Posted by Thomas Murphy on 3/3/2013

There comes a time when families start to think about senior members moving. Factors such as retirement, finances, lifestyle, health or the distance between family members are just a few of the reasons why seniors may decide to relocate. Moving is a big decision especially when a senior has lived in one place for a very long time. Many things must be considered, including access to health care, recreation, social activities and practical concerns, such as grocery stores, libraries, climate, etc. Access to Quality Care For many seniors access to health care or options for health care assistance is the primary reason for moving. When considering options it is important look at the short-term solutions, but also consider long term scenarios. Options may include drop-in help, moving closer to a family member that can assist when needed or retirement communities that offer fully independent living to supportive assistance as required. Community Services It is also important to research the area community services. You will want to make note of services such as homecare, cleaning services, snow removal, transportation and home repair. Some individuals may want access to volunteer organizations or senior centers where they can be involved in the community. Support As an older adult, moving is an especially difficult transition. Finding the support the senior needs in the new community is imperative. Groups that seniors can connect with will help the transition go smoother. Connect with church groups, home visit solutions or perhaps meetings that would be conducted in a home setting. Here are some websites that may help you in your transition: •Eldercare LocatorAARPElder Web: Online Eldercare SourcebookAmerican Society on Aging (ASA)Senior Resource Housing: Information on Housing Options





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 8/12/2012

Unfortunately, many homeowners have gone through a foreclosure in recent years but that doesn't mean that future homeownership is out of the question. Hard work and discipline and these tips should have you on the road to homeownership again soon. 1. Keep a steady job Potential lenders will need to see stable employment before they’ll approve a mortgage loan after a foreclosure. 2. Build your savings Rebuild your savings account. You will want to establish a minimum of six months of living expenses in a liquid account. Mortgage companies will want to see you have a cushion to pay your bills. 3. Work on your credit score After foreclosure, your credit score probably dropped by about 150 points. Rebuilding your score will take time, hard work and perseverance. Pay all of your bills on time and make sure to keep your credit card balances below maximum levels. It is best to have the balance less than half of the available balance. If you stay disciplined and positive, the American dream—obtaining a mortgage and owning a home of your own—can, indeed, be yours again. Even after foreclosure.    





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 5/13/2012

In this market, short sales can sometimes be a good deal for a buyer but they also come with some potential pitfalls. A short sale is when a seller needs to sell their home for less than they owe on their mortgage. In order to get a bargain and not a headache you will need to do your homework. Here are some tips for protecting yourself before buying a short sale.

1. Use experts

It is important that before you buy a short sale you assemble a team of experts. During the initial phase you will need help identifying which homes are being offered as short sales. The nature of short sales are different, you will also need help determining a purchase price and what to include in your offer. A real estate attorney who is knowledgeable in short sales is also key. Navigating the process of a short sale can be tricky so you will need an experienced short sale attorney to help deal with the potential of multiple liens, mechanic’s and condominium liens, or homeowners association liens. Often homes that are in short sale have these issues and without help will be harder to purchase.

2. Prepare emotionally

If you want a good deal on a short sale you will probably have to be in it for the long haul. It is important to stay patient, and remain unemotional during what can sometimes be a lengthy and emotionally difficult process. You may even want to consider a title search upfront. This could weed out properties with multiple liens if you are under a time crunch.

3. Know the market

In order to successfully purchase a short sale you need to know the marketplace. When a lender agrees to a short sale, they are agreeing to losing money on the loan they made to purchase the home. A short sale can be a good deal but it usually not a steal. The lender also knows the fair market value of the home and wants to minimize their losses. If your offer is too low, you chance it being rejected. During the process we will determine a price range that works with your budget and is hopefully one that the lender will accept.

4. Know the Process

The short sale process is different than that of a standard sale. The agreement to sell the home for less than is owed is actually made between the seller and the lender, not the seller and the buyer. The seller must first gain approval from the lender before the sale can be finalized. First, you would make an offer on a home and the sellers must consent to your offer to purchase. Then the sellers must submit the offer to their lender. The seller also sends along documentation to the bank as to why they need to sell the home for less than is owed. The seller should also have an attorney to help them with this process. Lenders typically do not move quickly on this process. It can often take weeks or months to get an answer. This is why is often best to put a competitive offer first. If several lien holders are involved; each can make a counteroffer or just reject your offer.

5. Firm up your financing

Lenders don't just look at the amount you are willing to pay for the home; they will also weigh your ability to close the transaction. If have a strong offer lenders will look more closely at your offer. You will want to make sure you are pre-approved for a mortgage for any consideration. Other factors that could influence the decision in a positive way are: having a large down payment, ability to close at any time, and flexibility. They will often not consider your offer if you have a contingency.





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 5/6/2012

If you have been dreaming of owning a vacation home now may be the time to buy. Home prices and mortgage rates continue to fall and there are some great deals for buyers looking for a second home. Here are five things you need to know before taking the leap. 1. Prices are at all-time lows In many second-home hot spots, prices are still close to their five-year lows. When the real-estate bubble burst, some of the hardest-hit markets were vacation destinations. Many vacation home areas experienced overgrowth and may now be suffering from foreclosures. 2. Think ROI Consider the possible return on your investment. Whether or not you decide to rent the home out, you will want to consider buying a place that has good rent potential. That's because a home's rent ability can affect its resale value. Before you bid on a house, make sure the homeowners association or township allows short-term rentals. 3. Don't count on rental income If you are planning on counting on rental income to cover the costs beware. According to HomeAway.com, a typical second home property rents out just 17 weeks a year. Make sure to account for the weeks the home won't rent. Plus, you'll need to pay for cleaning, maintenance, insurance, and maybe management fees. Make sure to plan on the maintenance costs of the property being at least 15% of the income. 4. Your mortgage rate depends on how you use the home How you use the home depends on the mortgage rate you will receive. If you plan to use the property primarily as a second home and you'll pay about the same mortgage rate as you would on a primary residence. If your plans are to use the home for rental income and need that income to qualify for the loan, you'll need to have as much as 25% for the down payment and pay up to one percentage point more in interest. 5. Take advantage of tax benefits Talk to your tax guy before you buy. If you rent the home out for two weeks or less you won't have to report a cent of income to the IRS. The good news here, you can still deduct property taxes and mortgage interest. On the flipside, if you stay there for less than two weeks or 10% of rental days, you can deduct operating costs in addition to interest and property tax. But where should you buy? According to CNBC here are the top places to buy a second home. If you are thinking about buying a second home I can help you find a professional agent in that area.





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 3/18/2012

The recent drop in homes prices, affordable mortgage rates and the popularity of television shows showing investors turning over homes has many people wondering if they can make money flipping homes. Flipping a house simply means buying and then selling a home quickly for profit. There are different ways to do this, but if you are interested in buying and selling houses, or just want to find a good deal to invest your money in. You will want to follow some tips on how to make sure you make money and not end up busting the budget. 1. KNOW THE AREA It is not just about the house you want to buy but also the area. Focus on buying homes in an area that holds value and where homes sell quickly. The golden rule of a home, location, location, location, applies here as you will want the home to be able to be sold quickly. Get to know the average costs and days on market for homes in that area. The more information you have about the market you have chosen, the better decisions you can usually make when it comes time to buy. 2. DO NOT GET EMOTIONAL This is a business venture; your goal is to make money. Emotions and money rarely mix well. Do not get emotional about house flipping. When choosing colors, fixtures and carpets go neutral, you will not be living in the home. Be careful of becoming too attached to the flip. Choose a price to sell the home, do not overprice the home. Overpricing typically leads to you holding the flip longer thus reducing your profit. 3. KNOW YOUR LIMITS If you are new to flipping homes, it is important to know your financial and work limits. The budget will always be more than you anticipate, plan for unexpected problems. Start with homes that mainly have cosmetic problems. Look for houses that need new, modern paint or updated fixtures. Homes where the outside yard and landscaping are unappealing are usually a great buy and can yield more profit. Curb appeal is usually a problem that can be fixed very easily and relatively inexpensively while greatly increasing the value of the home. 4. HAVE AN EXIT STRATEGY The point of flipping is to get in and out as quick as possible. Every day that you own the homes costs you money. Have a plan and know exactly what you're going to do with the home before you buy. Make a schedule of when work will get done and drop dead date of the house going back on the market. If you don't know if you can sell it quickly, don't buy it.