Top Real Estate Myths Debunked

Top Real Estate Myths Debunked

If you’re a first time home buyer, you may not have a lot of experience with real estate. Unfortunately there are so many real estate myths out there that may frighten people away from buying a home or cause buyers to make choices that are not in their best interest. Here are some of the most common real estate myths and the truth behind them.

You Need 20% Down Payment

While it may have been true at one time, and it’s a good idea to try to get 20% for your down payment, it is no longer required for home buyers. You do not need 20% of the total cost of the home you are purchasing to qualify for a mortgage to purchase your home. Real estate myths like this one cause many to shy away from purchasing a home because 20% is unattainable due to student loans and most people are just now bouncing back from the recession. Fortunately for those that can not come up with 20%, there are mortgage programs that require a fraction of that amount. For example, FHA loans only require a buyer to put down 3.5% of the purchase price. There are also many conventional mortgages that only require 5% down payment. Our blog, Hidden Costs Of Buying A Home discusses the upfront costs such as the down payment that are required when purchasing a home. Be prepared and check it out!

The Internet Replaces A Real Estate Agent

With real estate search engines, Google and banks all online at your fingertips, why do you need an agent? The phrase “you can’t believe everything you read on the internet” is the first thing that comes to mind. There is plenty of information on the internet that is incorrect, and when dealing with what could be the biggest purchase of your life, you want to make sure you know what you’re doing and getting the correct information. While it may be tempting to cut a real estate agent’s commission from your expenses, it is not in your best interest.

Let’s set the record straight, a real estate agent’s commission is not being paid by you, it is coming out of the purchase price of the home. Therefore, it is the seller that is giving up a portion of their profit to pay for your real estate agent. Hiring a real estate agent to represent you is getting free expert advice. When in life do you get that opportunity? A real estate agent has experience in negotiating to get the best price, let you know when a home is a good deal and when you should walk away.

Internet replaces a real estate agent

Real Estate Agents Are All The Same

Many people believe that a real estate agent is like any other real estate agent, and just choose one because there is no difference. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Your real estate agent is your expert in real estate that will guide you through this huge decision and often stressful process. So what do you do? This is where having the internet at your fingertips comes in handy. Research real estate agents that are in the area that you are looking to buy. It is easy to check out their history & client testimonials online (if you’re looking for an agent to help you with the purchase of an Ocean Edge condo in Brewster, take a look at Michael Leighton’s testimonials). Another great idea is to ask family and friends that have recently performed real estate transactions to see who they used and whether they would recommend them. Having a qualified and professional real estate agent makes all the difference in the world when buying real estate. Check out our blog 5 Reasons to be Thankful for a Great Real Estate Agent.

 Open Houses Are A Waste Of Time

With the internet, social media and real estate magazines everywhere, this is one of the real estate myths that could seem to be true. Real estate search engines offer plenty of pictures, virtual tours and YouTube videos so it seems as though making the time to stop at open houses would be a waste of time. However, if there is a house that could appeal to you, take the chance and visit the open house. Some homes do not photograph well, when they are really a good solid home. At the same time, others photograph really well and have all sorts of problems that the pictures try to disguise. Open houses usually take place over the weekend, so if there is a home you are interested in, see when their open house is scheduled and take a look!

Open Houses

Spring Is The Only Time To Buy A House

Since the beginning of time, it was believed that the spring time was the only time to sell a home. This was because it was mostly young families buying houses. Families with young children would buy houses in the spring so they could close on the house and relocate before their young children started school in the fall. However, times have changed in the last 10 years or so. There are different demographics buying homes now, and with internet search engines at our fingertips, it has dramatically changed the real estate market.

Millennials are buying year round because they are constantly on their phones looking for the best deal throughout the year. Since people are having children later in life, these young adults do not have a time frame that they need to stick to in order to buy their home. Empty nesters are adults who are looking to downsize from their large family houses once their children have left home. They are also a new demographic that are looking for homes without the spring time deadline because their kids are all grown up. More homeowners are aware of these new populations buying homes, so they are putting their homes on the market at different times of year. This is good news for buyers and sellers. You no longer have to wait for the spring to see the best home inventory. Ever consider purchasing a condominium? Check out our blog 5 Reasons to Buy a Condo At Ocean Edge

Real Estate Myths Debunked!

Whether it be from friends, television, the movies or misinformation, we are all exposed to real estate myths. It’s important that as real estate buyers, you do your homework to sort out what is true and what is a real estate myth. The best way to navigate purchasing a home is by enlisting the help of a reputable and knowledgeable real estate agent. Michael Leighton has been the #1 Sales Agent for Ocean Edge since 2004 and the #1 Brewster Agent since 2007.

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5 Reasons to be Thankful for a Great Real Estate Agent

5 Reasons to be Thankful for a Great Real Estate Agent

Every real estate agent is different. They all have their own styles. There are many benefits to working with a real estate agent during your real estate transaction. If you’re on the verge of buying a home or selling your home, one of your first decisions is whether or not you are going to use a real estate agent. The idea of saving yourself a couple bucks by cutting out the middle man might be appealing, but the rewards of using a great real estate agent outweigh the money you would save by working on your own. If you’ve had a qualified and experienced real estate agent, you could not imagine going through any real estate transaction without their guidance and support. Here are the 5 Reasons to be Thankful for a Great Real Estate Agent once you’ve found one.

Your Best Interest In Mind

The right real estate agent is interested in cultivating a long term relationship with you, and not just making a buck. This means that the agent will answer your calls, or return messages quickly if they are unable to speak. Your agent should be able to uncover any potential problems and advise you accordingly, whether it be to back out early or pursue additional inspections. Buying and /or selling a home is a huge financial, emotional, and practical decision that is not to be taken lightly. A great real estate agent will take this to heart and protect you from making the wrong decision. The reason your agent is focused on developing a long term relationship with you is so that any time you need a real estate agent or your friends or family need a real estate agent, their name is the first that comes to mind. A great real estate agent knows that investing all of their time and attention on you now will benefit them through referrals, so they want you to be completely satisfied with their performance.

Needed Advice

Listing your home for sale is a stressful time. What should you do to make it appealing to potential buyers? Having someone on your side to advise you on your decision making will help put your mind at ease because you will feel confident in your decision to sell your property and any improvements you do to make it more appealing. A seller’s real estate agent acts essentially as a project manager for their client. If a seller gives their real estate agent the permission to do so, the real estate agent can find decorators, stagers, contractors and painters if need be to prepare the home for sale.

Buying a home is equally stressful. What should you be looking for in a home? How can you tell if a home has good “bones” as they say in home buying shows? A great real estate agent who is experienced and knowledgeable in their field will have these answers for you. Your real estate agent will provide you with the needed advice to find a home within budget. A real estate agent advises where the buyer should focus their attention when inspecting a home and what types of professionals should be hired to make sure the property is sound once you’re ready to buy.

Real Estate Advice

Accommodate Your Busy Life

A great real estate agent is available to you at all times. They work for you and their priority is to make your real estate transaction go as smoothly as possible. If that means meeting you at your son’s soccer game to get a signature, they will do so to move the transaction along. Your real estate agent is there to reduce your load when it comes to procedures associated with your transaction. Buying and selling real estate is stressful. It is your agent’s job to make this process as easy and stress free as possible.

Life After Closing

For many real estate agents, once a property has gone through the closing procedure, that agent moves on to another client. However, once you have closed on your property, a great real estate agent would not just disappear from your life. Some real estate agents who maintain a relationship with their clients will keep up with comparable properties to yours to see what is happening with the market. This information is beneficial to you as the home owner, so they will pass it along every once in awhile, especially if it looks as if you could make a profit by selling your property before you may have otherwise.

Professional Network

A great real estate agent has a network of other professionals within reach to help you make your real estate dreams come true. Whether it’s a relationship with other agents who have access to properties you would be interested in, builders, or even bankers. These well connected real estate agents make your transaction process go smoothly because they know who to go to in order to make that happen. If you’re selling your home, your real estate agent would have the name of a great cleaner to get your home spotless for an open house and a landscaper to boost your curb appeal. A buyer’s agent would have the name of a great pest control company to check out a part of the property that looks like it has carpenter ant damage. Any professional that your real estate agent recommends should be as trust worthy as your agent themselves.

Professional Network

Do You Have A Great Real Estate Agent?

If you’re not working with an agent or if you’re not working with the right agent, it’s important you start looking now for a great real estate agent! When you find the right one, you will know it. A great real estate agent will make your life a lot easier. Michael Leighton has been named the #1 Sales Agent for Ocean Edge since 2004 and the #1 Agent for the town of Brewster since 2007. Michael and his team have proven results to get your Ocean Edge condo sold quickly and keep the experience as stress free as possible. Check our testimonials page for more insight from previous clients that have worked with Michael and his stellar team.

Top 4 First Time Home Buyer Mistakes to Avoid

Top 4 First Time Home Buyer Mistakes to Avoid

If you keep these top 4 first time home buyer mistakes to avoid in mind when you search for your first home, you are off to a good start. Buying your first home is a unique time in your life. It’s thrilling because it’s a huge step but it’s also terrifying because it’s such a big step with huge financial responsibilities! It’s stressful whether this is your first time buying a house or third time buying a home, but first time home buyers need to separate emotion from their purchasing decision which is tricky sometimes. In addition to that challenge, access to real estate search engines at your fingertips, it’s easy for a first time home buyer to get overwhelmed by all of the options out there. It is difficult to keep your emotions in check and make sure that you’re buying a condo that suits your needs now and in the future.

Think big picture

If you recently got married, or are single buying your first home it might be tempting to check out a cute little one bedroom home. It’s only one or two of you, why buy a large two to three bedroom condo unit? It might be wise to check out a bigger home because it might not always be just you, or the two of you living in that home. If you don’t consider the big picture, you might find yourself as a home buyer again a few years down the road if you decide to expand your family. Having children or plans for parents moving in at a certain age are things that need to be taken into consideration when buying a home. A two or three bedroom home is a reasonable sized place to look if you are considering any of these family changes in the next couple years. Thinking about the big picture will save you the hassle of trying to sell your home at the same time as look for a new home because you outgrew the home you had just bought not too long ago.

Think big picture

Too Much Space

A newlywed who has their whole future with their spouse ahead of them might get caught up in future planning and buy a home that would accommodate them and their five future children they are planning on having. While it is great to plan ahead, as we discussed in the previous section, you do not want to get yourself into too big of a home for your current needs. Typically a really big home comes with a really big mortgage payment. Life happens, so if you don’t have the five children you were planning on or there is a cut-back at work, you don’t want to find yourself in a monster house you don’t need. If you plan on having a big family, buy a larger home but be realistic. You don’t want to carry a large mortgage for years when you don’t need to, and deal with the enormous amount of maintenance involved in a house that size. This is one of the first time buyer mistakes where the buyer wants to be prepared, but may be a little too eager.

Location, Location, Location…..

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, it’s all about location location location. However, when you fall in love with a home, it’s one of the easiest first time buyer mistakes to make because emotion can over rule logic. You want to make sure you are investing your money wisely in a property that you will be able to sell in the future if you choose to do so. Take a look at the village you are buying and the surroundings. Maybe the price of the unit you’re looking at buying is so low because it is sandwiched between the main road and the parking lot for the village so it’s noisy. It is best to keep the location in mind when buying a home because you never know what the future might bring and you want to make sure your property is desirable for potential buyers.

Location, Location, Location

Thinking of Your Home as a Business

There are plenty of shows on television that talk about home flipping. If you go into buying a property with that idea in mind, do yourself a favor and make sure that you have done your research on the home and the current market. So many times first time home buyers purchase a home, make renovations that they feel would increase the home’s value to get a profit, and find out that they lost money. This could be due to a number of reasons. One possibility is the renovations being done on the property are to the owner’s taste and preference instead of neutral for the buyer’s taste. Investing in the wrong places and unnecessary renovations are also common first time buyer mistakes when trying to flip a house. If you plan on purchasing to flip, take your time, consult professionals and really think through your decision. Flipping a home for profit is not as easy as it looks on television. Another option is turning your home into a rental property. It is important to know what to expect from the unit you purchase before you buy. Leighton Realty has an investment page where you can see how much different types of units charge as yearly or seasonal rentals at Ocean Edge in Brewster.

How do I avoid making these first time buyer mistakes?

Buying your first home is exciting and stressful. It is important that you are prepared and feel completely confident in your purchase. If you are interested in buying your first home, contact Michael Leighton and his team at Leighton Realty. Their testimonials from past and current clients support their position as the #1 Sales Agent for Ocean Edge (since 2004) and the #1 Agent for the town of Brewster (since 2007). Michael and his team will guide you through the home buying process so you do not leave wondering whether you made one of these 4 first time home buyer mistakes.

Clean Up Your Credit Score Before You Buy

Clean Up Your Credit Score Before You Buy

The real estate market is heating up, and if you’re like many people today, you’re probably thinking of buying. With interests rates currently at a reasonable level, buying could be more affordable than renting a home. The first step to buying a home that you should take is determining what you could afford. Speak to a mortgage broker at your bank to determine what you could afford and what type of financial assistance they could offer you. In addition to looking at your income and savings, the bank also looks at your credit score. It is important to clean up your credit before you buy so that you are approved to buy once you find the home of your dreams.

Check your Credit Score

A person’s credit score tells the bank whether they are able to pay back the money that is being lent to them on time. The score is based on your credit history, the balance on accounts you currently have (versus your credit limit), whether your payments were late, the age of your credit and the number of accounts you have open. Be proactive and before walking into the bank, check your credit score so you know if you need to clean up your credit or if it is currently high enough to be approved for a mortgage. There are plenty of free apps and websites that can give you an idea of your credit score such as Credit Karma. Use these free credit score services as a guide not a definite, because usually it is only free because it is not the total credit picture. For example, Credit Karma only supplies you with your score for two out of the three U.S. credit bureaus. You may find that your score is actually higher or lower because of that third credit bureau. For a small fee you can purchase your complete credit report, which will give you your total credit score.

Check your credit score

Identify Weak Credit Spots

Experian, Equifax and TransUnion are the three main credit bureaus in the United States. Your full credit report (that you purchased for a small fee) will give you the scores for each credit bureau. The age of your credit, outstanding balance vs credit limit, and late payments will all be listed on this report. Carefully review your credit report, paying close attention to the section “adverse accounts” section. This section of your credit report will tell you where you have defaulted or missed payments. Late, missed or defaulted payments are a huge blow to your credit score.

Another weak spot is utilizing more than 40% of your credit limit. If you’re maxing out your cards, that is a bad sign for lenders. A low balance vs credit limit shows that you use discretion and are responsible with your spending. A high balance might hint that you spend too much for what you make. The age of your credit is a consideration for lenders looking to finance a mortgage. Credit age is determined by the age of your open accounts. The idea behind looking at your credit age is for lenders to get an idea of how long you have been responsible in using the credit system.

Clean Up Your Credit

Once you identify your weak spots, it’s important to pay close attention and make a point of paying those accounts on time to clean up your credit. Once you have started making payments on time, you should see an improvement in your score in just a couple of months. If you only missed one or two payments, you could contact the company and see if they would remove it from your report. Some companies will do this for you since it was only once or twice and you had a good history of paying them on time.

Create reminders in your calendar to notify you when payments are due. Automatic withdrawal is a good way to ensure your accounts are paid on time. Car loans can be automatically withdrawn from your account, as well as other bills and credit cards. If you are worried about having the total balance from a bill such as your credit card withdrawn from your account monthly, you might be able to have the minimum due withdrawn from your account. You could always go into your account to pay the balance after the fact, but at least you will have a payment on record on the date your balance was due. This small step will make a big impact on your score.

Clean up your credit

Credit Limit Increase

A sign of good credit is a low outstanding balance to credit limit ratio. If your outstanding balance to credit limit ratio is high, your credit score is lowered. The easy fix to this credit problem is to request a credit limit increase. This will lower your outstanding balance to credit limit ratio. Most creditors will allow an increase as long as you have been current on your payments. This is a way to clean up your credit that takes very little effort. One call could fix this one area of your credit that will give it a decent boost.

Raise Disputes

While reviewing your full credit report, keep an eye out for mistakes. Every once in awhile the credit bureau will receive incorrect information, which will impact your score. If you spot a mistake, do your research and write a letter to the credit bureau with all supporting documentation. Correcting a mistake on your credit report may take some time, but it is worth it because it will increase your score.

In Conclusion

Your credit score is your first impression to lenders. Your score determines whether or not banks and creditors will lend to you. It is vital that you stay on top of your credit report, and clean up your credit when problems arise. Once you clean up your credit, you can go to the bank confident that they will help you finance the house of your dreams. If you need help finding your dream home, contact our sales team at Leighton Realty.

5 Reasons to Buy a Condo at Ocean Edge

 

5 Reasons to Buy a Condo at Ocean Edge

The town of Brewster is truly one of a kind. The town is able to maintain its rural charm due to the fact that over one third has been made into watershed protection areas, conservation land and recreational space. Brewster is also home to the largest resort condominium complex on the Lower Cape, Ocean Edge. This condominium complex offers an array of options for buyers, from one bedroom apartments to luxury townhouses and free standing patio homes. The amenities available to those who decide to join the Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club include access to a Nicklaus designed 18-hole golf course, indoor & outdoor pools, tennis courts, private beach and fitness center. You’ll also find on site restaurants and bars as well as the Cape Cod Rail Trail abutting the golf course side of the complex. For these reasons, many people decide to buy a condo at Ocean Edge.

What Types Of Properties Does Ocean Edge Offer?

The Bayside area of Ocean Edge offers the most luxurious condos which are located within a short distance to a private beach.

The Village/Golf Course area of Ocean Edge is scattered between ponds and the golf course around the property. Free standing patio homes in the villages of Middlecott, Allerton and Susanna are close to the Rt 6A entrance of the property. The villages of Chilton and Eaton offer 2 bedroom, garden style condos centrally located on the property. Fletcher Village offers 1 bedroom apartment units that are close to pools and tennis courts. Trevor, Howland and Billington offer 2-2.5 bedroom townhouse style units.

Still not convinced?

Here are 5 reasons to buy a condo at Ocean Edge:

Buy a Condo at Ocean Edge

1. A Condo is Cheaper than a House

The town of Brewster offers a landscape that appears nearly untouched. It offers a small downtown area on Route 6A, amazing trails and beautiful beaches. The amount of conservation land and natural vegetation in this town is rare, even for Cape Cod. This makes Brewster a highly desired town to live in year round as well as own a second vacation home. It gives you the feeling of old Cape Cod when you explore the trails and visit the beaches. Properties in the town of Brewster are competitively priced due to its natural charm. Ocean Edge offers reasonably priced condominiums varying in size and layouts suitable for almost any budget and taste. When you buy a condo at Ocean Edge, there is more inventory at a reasonable price offering the same square footage as a home in the area. In addition to the ability to live in highly desirable Brewster, you’re within walking distance of some amazing amenities.

 

2. Spend More Time at the Beach

If you own a home on the Cape, the last thing you want to do is spend your weekend weed whacking and mowing your lawn. What you really want to be doing is exploring the area, go to the beach and enjoy this piece of paradise you are fortunate enough to call home. A condominium offers homeowners that freedom by completing all of your grounds maintenance for you. There is a landscaping crew that trims your bushes, whacks your weeds, and mows your lawn. You could spend the day at the beach, go to lunch at one of Ocean Edge’ restaurants, and get home in time to have guests over for dinner without worrying about the condition of your front yard. The day was yours to enjoy, but your yard is ready for you to enjoy by yourself, with your family or to have guests over. Make sure to also take a look at Brewster Waterfront Homes and Brewster Beach Homes for sale.

Ocean Edge Beach

3. Make New Friends

At Ocean Edge, there is a strong sense of community. Some owners live in their condos year round, some rent their property to summer guests. One of the many benefits of living on the Cape is the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life from around the world. Living at Ocean Edge or even staying there a couple weeks and renting it out the rest of the time gives you the opportunity to meet people you wouldn’t have been able to met otherwise. The different property types allow you to control how private you want your living situation to be, whether it be in an apartment unit surrounded by potential friends or a free standing patio unit in a quiet nook of the condo complex. There is something for everyone when you buy a condo at Ocean Edge. The property also offers you the opportunity to meet people in one of their many restaurants, pools and sports facilities.

 

4. Income Opportunities

When you buy a condo at Ocean Edge, it gives you the freedom to live in your home year round, part of the year or rent it out. Many owners choose to rent their properties by the week during the summer months. Potentially, you could rent between 8 and 12 weeks during the summer, in addition to the shoulder months which are gaining popularity due to the Cape’s mild spring and autumn. One bedroom Fletcher units can rent for up to $950/week in prime summer and luxury Bayside townhomes can rent for up to $4,800/week. If year round renting is of interest to you, prices range from $800/month for the one bedrooms to as much as $4,000 for the Luxury Bayside condos. Due to the housing shortage on the Cape, renting your property year round is fairly easy. For an idea of what you could earn for a particular unit, check out our Investment page.

 

5. The Amenities

The amenities offered at Ocean Edge are like no other on the Cape. Here are just a few of the perks when join the club.

Golf Course

The gem of Ocean Edge is its Nicklaus Design golf course. This 8.5 million dollar addition to the resort is challenging, yet suitable for all level golf enthusiasts. Featured in Golf Magazine, this course is available exclusively to members of the Ocean Edge Edge Resort and Golf Club and their guests.

Pool Access

Ocean Edge offers a number of pools on property for members to use at their convenience on the Bayside and Village/Golf Course side. The Village/Golf Course side has the Fletcher Pools and Arbor Pools. Fletcher has an indoor and outdoor pool as well as a child wading pool. The Arbor pool is the largest pool which sometimes features music and movie nights. The Bayside has two outdoor pools and one indoor pool.

Ocean Edge Swimming Pools

Restaurants

Ocean Edge offers a dining experience for any occasion. For an elegant date night, The Ocean Terrace Indoors offers a full steak and seafood menu with a wine list to match. The Ocean Terrace Outdoors has a smaller menu, but the view is immense. For an English Tavern experience, complete with billards, wide screen TV and live music, Bayzo’s Pub is the place to be. Situated in the golf clubhouse, the Linx Tavern offers golf course views and a casual dining experience.

Fitness Centers

The Bayside and the Village/Golf Course areas each offer their own fitness centers. Both centers offer cardiovascular machines such as treadmills, elliptical, recumbent and stationary bikes and more. These locations offer a convenient way to get in a quick workout

Tennis Courts

There are several hard court tennis courts available for use around the property.

Playground/Basketball Courts

There is a playground and picnic area near the Sports Club. You’ll also find a basketball & volleyball court near Fletcher Village. Perfect for kids of all ages.

Bike Trail

The Cape Cod Rail Trail is right next to the Village/Golf Course side of Ocean Edge. From here you connect to the bike trails at the National Seashore and Nickerson State Park.

Private Beach

The Bayside of Ocean Edge offers two private beaches.

 

Take a look at the site plan to see where everything is located.

Ocean Edge Brewster Site Plan

So why should you buy a condo at Ocean Edge?

Ocean Edge gives homebuyers the opportunity to own a piece of picturesque Cape Cod at an affordable price. The town of Brewster is unique because of its natural landscape, which offers the quintessential Cape Cod summer experience. Buying a condo at Ocean Edge means owning a home to call your own in addition to living right next to one of a kind amenities. If you’re ready to make the leap to home ownership, make sure you’re prepared for your closing expenses by visiting our Hidden Costs of Buying a Home blog.

Whether you decide to live in your condo year round or use it as a source of income by renting it for part of the year or year round, you will not be disappointed. Michael Leighton has been named the #1 Sales Agent at Ocean Edge since 2004, and the #1 Brewster Sales Agent since 2007. Check out Michael’s 2015 Ocean Edge sales recap.