Sally Malsch, CRS, GRI, ABR, SRES, ePRO, SRS
Five College REALTORS ģ | 413-519-4465 | [email protected]


Posted by Sally Malsch on 3/11/2020

If youíre in the market to buy a home, you want to find the perfect place for you and your family. In a sellerís market, the competition can be fierce. As a buyer, you may be under the impression that you need to make the highest offer in order to secure the home of your dreams. The problem is, you may never know what price other people have offered for the same home.


Know Your Budget


First, you should know what kind of a budget you have to work with to buy a home. You probably have done an online search to see whatís out there and what price range the homes you like fall into. Youíll want to go beyond the online search and actually see some of your favorite houses in person because pictures can be deceiving. 


Next, youíll want to do is speak with a lender. This can help you before you even hit the ground running on your home search. A lender can pre-qualify you then work you through the process of pre-approval. This will give you a definitive number to work with when searching for a home. With this number, youíll know how much you can offer comfortably when you find that house you fall in love with.


Make A List Of Priorities


Finding the ďperfectĒ house usually requires that you make a few compromises along the way. Itís very unlikely that youíll find one house that gives you everything you want in one place without a bit of imagination. Jot down all of the things about a home that are the most important to you. These items could include:


  • The neighborhood
  • Big backyard
  • Open floor plan
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Hardwood floors
  • The size of the rooms
  • Style of the house
  • Granite countertops


Whatever is important to you should be on the list. Next, go through the list and see what can be compromised on. There are probably a few luxuries on the list that you could stand to give up in lieu of something else.  


The Offer


Once you find that home you know that you absolutely want to live in, youíre going to want to make an offer. Let your realtor know immediately that youíre interested in the home and they can get to work. Your realtor can help you to make an offer thatís reasonable based on the asking price and your budget. Your offer doesnít have to be thousands of dollars over the asking price for you to win the bid. There are a couple of strategies that can help you to land the right home even if youíre not stretching your budget to the max.


Showing Youíre Serious


Taking steps like being pre-approved and having all of your finances in order can help to give you the upper hand in the house hunt. Sellers donít want to deal with a buyer who is ultimately going to have issues where the deal will fall through.


The Offer Letter


Writing a letter along with your offer is a great personal touch to help you land the home of your dreams. If a seller knows that the home they have lived in and loved will go to another owner who is going to appreciate and take the same great care of the home, they will be more likely to go with you as a buyer. First, tell the seller a bit about yourself and why you love the home so much. Compliment the landscaping. Tell the seller just how much your kids are going to appreciate living in the home. Donít be afraid to get too personal when it comes to writing an offer letter to the sellers. They will appreciate honesty and a candid approach in the sometimes all too serious matter of buying a home.





Posted by Sally Malsch on 2/12/2020

Let's face it Ė purchasing your dream home may prove to be an uphill climb, particularly for a homebuyer who fails to prepare accordingly. Lucky for you, we're here to help you make your homeownership dream a reality and ensure you can discover your ideal residence in no time at all.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get ready to pursue your dream house.

1. Establish Homebuying Criteria

Finding your ideal house can be quick and easy if you establish homebuying criteria before you launch a home search. In fact, with homebuying criteria in hand, you can narrow your house search and speed up the homebuying journey.

To create homebuying criteria, you first should think about cities and towns where you want to live. Next, analyze houses in your preferred cities and towns and consider home must-haves and wants. Once you know exactly what you want to find in your dream house and where you want to reside, you can schedule home showings and move closer to finding your ideal house.

2. Get Pre-Approved for Home Financing

Homebuyers rarely have all the money they need to buy a home. Thankfully, banks and credit unions offer a wide range of mortgage options to make it simple for homebuyers to purchase residences. And if you meet with banks and credit unions, you can review your mortgage options and get pre-approved for home financing.

Obtaining a mortgage may help you streamline your house search because it enables you to establish a homebuying budget that you can use to hone your quest to find your dream home. Perhaps best of all, getting pre-approved for a mortgage may help you resist the temptation to spend beyond your means to purchase your ideal residence.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

Navigating the housing market on your own can be challenging for first-time and experienced homebuyers alike. Fortunately, real estate agents are available who can help you take the guesswork out of pursuing your dream house.

A real estate agent is a housing market expert who understands what it takes to complete a successful home search. He or she will meet with you, analyze your homebuying goals and map out a homebuying strategy. Then, a real estate agent will work with you to help make your homeownership dream come true.

As you conduct your home search, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new residences that become available in your preferred cities and towns. He or she also will set up house showings and offer insights into the local real estate market. Furthermore, if you find your dream house, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this residence. And if your homebuying proposal ultimately is accepted, a real estate agent will guide you through the final stages of the homebuying process.

Start your search for your dream house Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost the likelihood of a successful homebuying journey.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Sally Malsch on 1/15/2020

Photo by Daniel Tuttle on Unsplash

Buying a home, especially for the first time, might feel a little scary—notably if you've learned the home you’re considering for purchase is a zombie property. Even a pro at buying property may flinch when they initially hear this term.

No worries, a zombie property is not as frightening as it sounds. It’s a common term used in the housing industry, originating back to the 2007-08 housing crisis when tens of thousands of these homes were left behind because their owners couldn’t afford to make their mortgage payments.

What is a Zombie Property?

A zombie property creeps up when no one retains accountability for it. It usually occurs when homeowners leave their homes after receiving a foreclosure notice and incorrectly believe they must immediately vacate the property. They often don't realize there is an entire foreclosure process, one that doesn’t happen overnight. In most instances, they believe the lender that sent the notice will take over responsibility for the property, so they move out. In some cases, they do know they can stay but choose not to delay the inevitable and cut loose in search of greener pastures.

Meanwhile, the lender, for whatever reason, doesn’t complete the foreclosure process they initiated and the property stands abandoned. Since the homeowner has already walked away not realizing they still technically own the property, and the lender also doesn’t assume ownership, no one takes responsibility for the home. It essentially sits in a state of limbo—hence it being referred to as a “zombie.” Its ownership is not quite alive (abandoned), but not yet dead (foreclosed upon) either.

Pros of Purchasing a Zombie Property

The primary benefit of purchasing a zombie property is the price. Most of these properties are typically sold below market value, sometimes at rock bottom prices. Because some of them are eyesores, or have the potential to become attractive to squatters, municipalities and towns are eager to get these homes rehabbed and inhabited. This means buyers who are handy with repairs or who have the investment money available to fix up and flip the home for a profit can make out handsomely with this type of sale.

Cons of Purchasing a Zombie Property

While the financial benefits associated with zombie homes are lucrative, there are some potential pitfalls to be careful of when considering a purchase. In most instances, the original owner still retains the title to the home, so this legal detail will need to be addressed. Buyers also have to consider these homes may have deterioration, unsafe conditions or be unsanitary. This is especially a concern for properties that have been abandoned for a long period of time. Additionally, it takes more effort to navigate a zombie property purchase than a traditional foreclosure since no one is actively involved with the property.

Many potential buyers intentionally or inadvertently overlook zombie properties, but if you’re in the market, it’s not an option you should automatically discount. Don't let the zombie moniker fool you.  If you perform your due diligence and find ways to mitigate any drawbacks, you could potentially land yourself a great home, rental investment, or profitable house-flip.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Sally Malsch on 1/8/2020

Your credit score is one of the most important numbers to your financial picture. You know how important it is to have a high credit score. If you pay your bills on time and keep your debt down, you think that your score will be just fine, but this isnít always the case. There are a few hidden mistakes that you could be making that are bringing your credit score down. Read on to find out what to avoid when trying to keep your credit score up and maintain it. 


Too Many Credit Inquiries


Beware that every time you apply for a new loan or even just check on what type of interest rate you can get, your credit will be reviewed. You want to avoid too many credit inquiries because a high number will bring your credit score down. Always ask if a lender is pulling a hard inquiry to check your score, donít allow too many of these credit checks. 


Anything Small Can Make A Big Impact


Was there a mistake on a medical bill that you paid but it says it was unpaid? If you let this go, your credit score could be impacted. Even unreturned library books that have been turned over to collections can negatively affect your score. Stay on top of things because you never know how a small mishap can affect you.


Your Information Is Wrong


You should look at your credit report so that you can see more than just your history. You can see the information that is being reported to check for mistakes. Incorrect information can bring your credit score down. You can call the credit bureau thatís associated with any errors that you see on your credit report. It can be a little bit of a process to correct the mistakes on your credit report, but the time and effort is definitely worth it for your credit score.                       



Not Using your Credit


While using your credit too much is a problem, not making use of your credit at all can be a problem. Responsibly use your credit. Open a credit card and use it to make small purchases. Charge only things that you can afford and pay the balance off each month. This simple use of a card is one of the easiest ways to establish credit.      


Itís important to do what you can to develop and maintain a healthy credit score. Keep all of your avenues covered to be sure that nothing hidden can negatively affect your credit score. 





Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Sally Malsch on 12/25/2019

If a seller rejects your offer to purchase his or her house, there is no need to panic. At this point, there are many things you can do, including:

1. Craft a New Offer to Purchase

If at first you don't succeed, try again. Remember, if you find your dream house but your initial offer to purchase is rejected, you can always create a new homebuying proposal. And if you submit a new offer to purchase that falls in line with a seller's expectations, you may receive an instant "Yes."

For those who decide to submit a new offer to purchase a residence, it is important to avoid making the same mistake twice. Thus, you should analyze the home you want to purchase, along with the current housing sector. Because if you use a variety of real estate market data, you could submit a competitive offer to purchase your dream house.

2. Reenter the Housing Market

A seller may reject your offer to purchase his or her house, and as such, you may need to continue your home search. Fortunately, quality residences are available in cities and towns nationwide, which means there are lots of great houses at your disposal.

Of course, you may want to put together a homebuying budget, too. If you have a homebuying budget in hand, you can search for houses that match your price range.

To craft a homebuying budget, you should meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can offer home financing insights and help you get pre-approved for a mortgage. And once you have a mortgage, you will know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your ideal house.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is happy to help you determine the best course of action after a seller rejects your offer to purchase. In fact, he or she will do everything possible to help you streamline the homebuying journey.

Typically, a real estate agent will learn about you and your homebuying goals. He or she then will create a homebuying plan designed to help you achieve your desired results. Next, you and a real estate agent will work together to transform your homebuying vision into a reality. And as you navigate the homebuying journey, a real estate agent will provide comprehensive housing market insights you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

Let's not forget about the assistance a real estate agent will provide as you get ready to submit an offer to purchase a house, either. A real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase any home, at any time. Best of all, if your homebuying proposal is accepted, a real estate agent will help you finalize your house purchase as quickly as possible.

Clearly, there are many things you can do if your offer to purchase your ideal house is rejected. If you start planning ahead for the homebuying journey, you could boost the likelihood of enjoying a seamless property buying experience.