Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate



Posted by Thomas Murphy on 2/2/2014

If you are planning a home renovation you may be considering going green. By planning your design you can add sustainability features to your home, many at no extra cost. There are many benefits to a green renovation. A green renovation will make your home better for the environment, save on energy costs and boost the resale value. When planning a green renovation you will want to find a contractor experienced in green projects. To find a green contractor choose someone who has been designated a Master Builder by the Energy and Environmental Building Association, or has been certified by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry as a Certified Remodeler. Look for reclaimed materials like pine timbers and salvaged doors and cabinets. Reclaimed pieces are usually more affordable and they save on energy, materials, and resources. Make sure to avoid products that contain hazardous materials, such as formaldehyde or creosote from railroad ties and other wood-based goods. It is almost impossible to avoid using new materials in your renovation. When selecting new materials look for products that are durable, easy to maintain, and if possible contain a high percentage of recycled content. Try to avoid disposable products and products that contain VOCs (volatile organic compounds).  VOCs are commonly found in paints and finishes. Look for products that are green friendly. Watch for Grean Seal products on for paints coatings and doors. Check for Energy Star, for appliances, windows and heating and cooling products; Forest Stewardship Council, for wood-based products; and Cradle to Cradle, for carpet, sheet goods and other products. For more information read Green Building: A Primer for Builders, Consumers, and Realtors, and the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Green Home Guide.





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 11/24/2013

If foreclosure is looming you may feel helpless. It is possible to still sell your home and avoid foreclosure. You must sell it quickly and that is not always easy. Here are some tips to get aggressive, and get your home sold fast. Price it right! Don't try to squeak out the extra dollar price the home aggressively among the competition. This often means pricing the house low. You are trying to sell the home as fast as possible so every last dollar isn't worth it at this point. Make sure to get real about what your home is worth. A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) will outline properties similar to yours that have that recently sold, are pending and are currently on the market. Some experts suggest going 10% below that last sold price in your neighborhood. Communicate with your lender. You will need to get the go ahead from your lender on how low you can go. If you owe more than your home is worth complete a short sale application with your lender. Ask your lender to give you some indication of how low a sale price they will accept. Selling your home quickly and avoiding the black mark of foreclosure on your credit report is the goal. It may be hard to accept thousands less than what you paid for your home but you will be better off in the long run.





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 10/13/2013

It is a great time to be a real-estate investor. If you are looking to jump in the investor market low home prices and low interest rates make this a great time. According to Zillow.com. the real-estate market is starting to recover: U.S. houses lost $489 billion in value during the first 11 months of 2009, but that was significantly lower than the $3.6 trillion lost during 2008 and things only continue to look up. While the timing may be right, you will need to have all your ducks in a row. An investment purchase is different than your typical purchase. Consider your options. Have a strategy and know what kind of investor you would like to be. Ask yourself if you want to be a landlord, or are you planning on flipping or restoring and reselling properties. What types of properties are you interested in? There are many choices from land, to apartment buildings, residential housing and other commercial real estate. Partner with experience. Real estate agents experienced in investment property deals know what to look for in a deal. You may also want to consider asking a more experienced real-estate investor for advice. If you plan on becoming a landlord make sure to familiarize yourself with the local laws regarding being a landlord. Location, location, location. If you buy a property with hopes of renting it out, location is key. Homes in high-rent or highly populated areas are ideal; stay away from rural areas where there are fewer people and a small pool of potential renters. Also, look for homes with multiple bedrooms and bathrooms in neighborhoods that have a low crime rate. Also think about potential selling points for your property. If it's near public transportation, shopping malls or other amenities, it will attract renters, as well as potential buyers if you decide to sell later. The more you have to offer, the more likely you are to please potential renters. Have capital lined up. Speak to potential lenders or a financial planner about what you will need for assets and cash flow. You will need to have enough assets to handle the ups and downs that could come with investing. Most experts suggest a fallback of about six months of mortgage payments for landlords. You will need this in case or vacancy or repairs. If you're planning to fix up a home and sell it, you will need reserves to cover the costs to maintain the home while it is on the market. Becoming a real-estate investor is much different than being a residential homebuyer. A buying decision is a business decision not one based on emotions.





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 5/12/2013

When you are buying a home the costs really add up and you may start thinking about where you can save money. One question that many buyers ask is do I need a home inspection? Most often the answer to the question is yes! A home inspection is an objective examination of the home and its systems. The inspection covers the entire house from the roof to the foundation. A home inspection will cover the home's foundation, basement, structural components, roof, attic, insulation, walls, ceilings, floors windows and doors. It will also examine the heating system, air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical systems. Because a home is often the largest single investment you will ever make it is important to know as much as you can about the home before you buy it. A home inspection will help you identify any needed repairs as well as what is needed to regularly maintain the home. The home inspection will help you proceed with the purchase with confidence. When choosing a home inspector cost shouldn't be your first consideration. Look for the inspector's qualifications, experience, training and compliance with state regulations. Remember, that no house is perfect. There are bound to be issues with almost any home use the information to decide if the house is right for you.

 
 
   





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 5/5/2013

Many homes in our area have stories to tell. If you live in an older home, you may want to know its hidden secrets. You may have wondered who slept in your bedroom or when the home was actually built. Your home holds many clues to its history and its prior owners. With some detective work you will be well on your way to uncovering your home's hidden past. Here are some hints to get you started. Gather Information In order to get started you will need to uncover all of the information you have, you will want to gather your deed and title paperwork. Make note of the first owner, year built, and the year the original owner sold it. You will also want to know the names of all the owners, as well as the years they bought and sold the property. All of this information may not be available on your deed but you will be able to find it at town hall or the registry of deeds. You may find clues in the names of owners and years owned. Pay attention to details and look for clues. Some clues to the history of the home may be: a family that owned the home for a long time, multiple property turnovers and inconsistencies in property or land descriptions. Tackling the Records Wading through the mountains of information may be difficult but don't get discouraged. Information about your home’s owners will most likely be contradictory. Census records dating back to the year your house was built are likely available at your public library, a nearby university or your local historical society or museum. Review census rosters from the year closest to the one your house was built. Census records from the 1800s and early 1900s have lots of fun and interesting information and often include the names of all those living in a household at the time, their ages, occupations, places of birth, and sometimes more. You may also want to search for census data on the U.S. Census website. Getting Help Some of the language on deeds and title paperwork can be hard to understand put older language in the mix and it can be even more confusing. Ask friends who are lawyers, title-company employees or experts in historical documents for help. You can also turn to the internet for help. Use the internet to dig up any information you can find about the families who lived in your home, as well as the surrounding streets, neighborhoods, and landmarks. If prior owners of your home are relatives you can use genealogy web sites for research. Getting a Feel for the Times Read through newspapers from the year your house was built. You will start to get a sense of the historical times. Keep notes on everything you find that mentions your house and its occupants. In those times local papers covered social news of all kinds—dinner parties, haying trips, visits from out-of-town relatives—in addition to chronicling everything from world events to weather. They often covered construction of new homes, and may offer you information on where the builders got the materials used to build your house, why they made certain design decisions, and more. More Information For more information regarding researching homes you may want to try some of the books listed. American Shelter: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the American Home, by Lester Walker, Overlook Press, 1981 How Old is This House? by Hugh Howard, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1989 House Styles in America, by James C. Massey and Shirley Maxwell, Penguin Studio, 1996 Old American House, by Henry Lionel Williams and Ottalie K. Williams, Bonanza Books, 1957 A Field Guide to American Houses, by Virginia and Lee McAlester, Random House, 1984