Wolcott Realty | Westfield Real Estate, Russell Real Estate, West Springfield Real Estate


Ready to sell your house? Ultimately, you should conduct a home appraisal before you add your residence to the housing market, and for good reason.

A home appraisal enables you to better understand what your home is worth. Plus, an expert home appraiser will be able to offer comprehensive insights into your house's strengths and weaknesses so you can prioritize assorted home improvement projects accordingly.

Preparing your home for an appraisal may prove to be exceedingly valuable. If you allocate time and resources to get your house ready for an appraisal, you can increase your chances of getting favorable results during the appraisal itself.

What does it take to prep your house for an appraisal? Here are three tips to ensure you can do just that.

1. Consider a Home Appraiser's Perspective.

A home appraiser has an eye for detail, one that helps this professional understand whether a house is a viable long-term investment. Meanwhile, a home seller who steps into a property appraiser's shoes may be better equipped than others to enhance his or her residence.

For example, a home seller should evaluate a house's interior and exterior prior to an appraisal. And if you notice chipped paint on a home's walls, cracked shingles on a home's exterior or other cosmetic issues, you should address these problems immediately.

Even minor cosmetic issues can negatively affect a home's value. However, a home seller who goes above and beyond the call of duty to correct these problems may be able to improve his or her house's appearance before a home appraisal.

2. Conduct Plenty of Housing Market Research.

How does your residence stack up against the competition? Learn about the local housing market, and you can find out what you'll need to do to differentiate your residence from similar properties.

An home seller should learn about the prices of recently sold residences as well as homes that are currently available. That way, you can set realistic expectations for your home appraisal.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent.

A home appraisal can be a stressful experience, especially for a first-time home seller. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available to help you streamline the home appraisal process.

Typically, a real estate agent will guide you along the home selling process. He or she can connect you with qualified home appraisers in your area and ensure you can find a home appraiser who will provide honest, unbiased feedback about your residence.

A real estate agent also will help you maximize the value of your house. This housing market professional will ensure you can set a fair price for your residence and market your home to the right groups of homebuyers. He or she will even set up home showings and open houses and negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf to further simplify the home selling process.

When it comes to getting a home appraisal, there is no need to worry. Use the aforementioned tips, and you can plan ahead for a home appraisal.


Photo by Charles Thompson via Pixabay

A vast majority of homebuying  transactions rely on the buyer qualifying for a mortgage through a bank. After all, most people don't have enough cash lying around to buy a home outright. Nowadays, you have more options with different types of lenders and alternative financing companies where you can seek pre-approval online. But sometimes even these options don't work out, as pre-approval doesn't mean you're actually going to get the underwriter at the lender to approve you.

This could make you consider other alternative options like seller-financed mortgages.

What is a Seller-Financed Mortgage and How Does It Work?

As the name implies, you are financing your purchase with the person or company selling the home instead of taking out a mortgage with a lender. It's a private transaction where you, the buyer, make an arrangement with the seller to buy the property.

The seller draws up a promissory note that details the terms of the mortgage: interest rate, payment schedule, and the consequences if you default on the mortgage. In most cases, the seller then finances the sale for a short term, usually five years, with a balloon payment at the end of the period. However, the promissory note can be sold at any time to another financing company: sellers don't necessarily need to wait for the buyer to refinance with a more traditional lender.

Why Would I Consider a Seller-Financed Mortgage?

There are situations that make it difficult to work with a traditional lender, such as:

  • Self-employment / entrepreneurship
  • Foreign employment
  • Frequent job changes, or you haven't held the same job long enough
  • Poor or no credit
  • Tax-related issues
  • Debt-income ratio is too high

Sometimes, these situations can be incredibly frustrating when you know you'd be able to afford the mortgage payment or it's even far less than market rent where you want to buy! Alternative lenders may have options but sometimes even they don't want to lend to the self-employed or borrowers with high student loan or credit card debt.

This makes seller financing a more viable option when you can demonstrate your ability to make payments but are having trouble with the traditional channels.

What are the Key Pros and Cons of Seller-Financed Mortgages?

The down payment, interest rate, and other terms are more flexible although they may not necessarily be better than what you would get with a bank. There are also no points, PMI, or origination fees which can save money upfront and over the life of the loan.

Closing is also much faster, easier, and cheaper because there's no loan officer or underwriter involved. 

However, the seller may not always confirm they're able to finance the sale. If the seller has a mortgage, most of them have a due on sale clause that forbids them from selling the home without paying off their mortgage balance first. If the seller still does this without paying off the mortgage first, your new home could get foreclosed on.

The homebuying process can be a difficult undertaking, but we're here to help you find the best options so you can buy your dream home as quickly as possible. Reach out today to learn more!


Photo by RawPixel.com via Shutterstock

When it comes to homeowner’s associations, you need to know what type yours is before you determine whether to “join” it. There are two types of associations, covenant-based and voluntary. When homeowners ask about requirements to join a homeowner’s association, they may believe it is optional, but if our association is covenant-based, you have automatic membership by virtue of being a property owner.

Here’s How They Work

A voluntary association is a group of property owners that collectively decide how to improve their neighborhood. By the time you move into the neighborhood, the HOA may be well-established, so you’re not aware of how it started. Such HOAs are more similar to neighborhood improvement clubs, local sports team sponsors and other folks that join in order to develop a sense of community.

A covenant-based HOA is a contract that is part of the land purchase agreement within a development. That means that all property owners automatically must retain membership and that agreement is binding on all future owners within the specified development.

Future Owners

You might question how a contract is binding on future owners, but in the case of a covenant-based homeowner’s association, the covenant “runs with” the property as recorded in the county land records office. The document that spells out the covenants attaches to the property deed. When you buy a lot or home in the development, the original deed and any liens or covenants that attach to it become your responsibility.

Often, the original developer set up and controlled the association until the last piece of land sold or a sufficient number of homes sold so that the running of the association could transfer to the owners. Typically, these determinations are part of the original covenant documents filed with the county records. HOAs run by a board of elected owners from within the development. Unlike a voluntary association, renters or leaseholders cannot become members even though they are bound by the rules and conditions of the association.

Know Which Type It Is

Before you choose to purchase a home in a neighborhood with an association, learn whether it is voluntary or covenant-based. Ask to see copies of the covenants, conditions and rules (CC&Rs) before you commit to purchasing in that development. Your real estate agent can write a contingency into your purchase contract to require approval of the CC&Rs if you’re concerned about living within the HOA.


This Single-Family in Longmeadow, MA recently sold for $340,000. This Cape style home was sold by Office Russell - Wolcott Realty.


733 Laurel St, Longmeadow, MA 01106

Single-Family

$345,000
Price
$340,000
Sale Price

8
Rooms
4
Beds
3
Baths
Character, charm and quality shine throughout this impressive Laurel Street home-Feel the Warmth and Welcome as you enter the property-into the updated kitchen with breakfast bar seating, large living room featuring a fireplace with vent free gas log insert and wood floors (under carpet) connecting to the dining room with built in hutch. First floor features include Master bedroom, and second bedroom/office, along with stacked laundry (additional hookups in basement). Lovely sun porch offers entry into the yard from this home. The second floor offers two extra large bedrooms as well as a full bath and an oversized cedar closet. Electric roof coils, attached shed, and stand up storage above garage add more value. This home is all accessible(to the first floor) via an electric lift in the two car attached garage . The basement is partially finished and contains a full bath, wet bar and washer/dryer hookups. This property, owned by one family is a true gem.

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1090 Worthington St, Springfield, MA 01109

Hill McKnight

Single-Family

$385,000
Price

13
Rooms
9
Beds
3/1
Full/Half Baths
Spectacular 15 room Tudor Mansion in Springfield's historic McKnight neighborhood. This grand and spacious home has been lovingly restored, maintained, and modernized while preserving its elegance and old world charm. Over 6000 sq. ft. featuring oak floors throughout, beamed ceilings, wainscoting, and plaster strapping for the living room ceiling. Stained glass windows on the grand stairway are just some of the fabulous design features in this artisan home, as are the large fireplaces. Fully updated kitchen with granite ...gardens enhance the beauty of the 1/2 acre grounds of this stunning and historically accurate home. Additional upgrades include in ground sprinklers and remote control gate. Absolutely a one-of-a-kind gem!
Open House
No scheduled Open Houses

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