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


Posted by Sally Malsch on 9/18/2019

Nothing can quite compare to the emotional cocktail of excitement, fear, and anxiety of being a first-time home buyer. Being a homeowner is made out to be a huge milestone in life, and rightly so. Have you ever signed your name 37 times in a row? It's enough to intimidate anyone. By the end of the entire homebuying ordeal, you will have signed your name so many times that you'll feel like you should have just made yourself a signature stamp. You're in for quite the bumpy road being a first-time home buyer, some highs, some lows and everything in between. 

The lows? 

Oh boy, where to start? Did you know your credit score before you started looking for a home? Sure, maybe you have a credit card you keep some line of credit in your name. However, a house? Itís a whole different ball game! What is a good credit score? They did not teach us this in high school, but thank goodness we all know the order of math operations as P.E.M.D.A.S. (parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction) right? Whatís an escrow? What if the inspector missed something? When is my first mortgage payment due? Youíll have so many questions about being a first-time homebuyer, so do yourself a favor and get a realtor who can adequately answer all those questions! A great realtor can make the entire process feel like a cool Island breeze.

The highs? 

House shopping honestly is so much fun! Getting to figure out your unique taste in the architecture of your home is a fantastic experience. Sure, there are things that you must specifically look for to fit your needs, after all, you'll be spending the next 20-30 years of your life in this house if you do it right. The day you close on your home is exciting as well, disregarding the whole signing your name a thousand times. The moment comes with a sense of pride and accomplishment that you'll feel on closing day. Looking for your first home can be a long process, and sometimes can take months to years depending on the market. So, when it finally happens, and all the stars line up you can't help but feel a great sense of accomplishment. High five yourself on that day, cause all the stress and worries that you had in buying your first home are finally coming to a close. Now you can focus attention on the fun part: home improvement! 

 Being a homeowner can be such a fun-filled adventure, but hold on, because it will be a bumpy ride. Let your professional realtor navigate those bumps for you.





Posted by Sally Malsch on 8/14/2019

Looking for the perfect place to call home? Is your vision of home that iconic white-picket fence ranch in the suburbs? Or, do you love the walkability of an urban neighborhood? Do you dream of a large backyard with room to host the neighborhood barbecue? How about being near to great schools? Extensive libraries or museums? Sports facilities? A neighborhood park? A nearby school?

Every year, various rankings for cities make it into the new: Best Cities to Live in America; Where to Life; Best Places to Live; Best Small Towns; Best Cities for Millennials; Top Ten Cities for [insert demographic here]. 

Investigate before you head across town Ö or across the country. 
The perfect location for someone else may not be the perfect home for you. Before chasing someone elseís dream, consider these factors that might better inform your home search:

Think about whatís important for you.
Do you value more space, better schools, a larger home? Or, does being near family and long-time friends give you a sense of ďhome,Ē of belonging? Do you want to be nearer work, so the commute is shorter, giving more time for ďlifeĒ? These are not new questions. Families have moved from cities to the suburbs and back again for decades.

Consider what you might be giving up.
Moving to the city might mean access to cultural events, restaurants, a short commute, while the suburbs might offer that large home with a yard, or the perfect school. In either event, a move might take you away from friends, or give you the opportunity to make new ones.

Is it Family Friendly?

The criteria researchers use to determining a location's "family friendliness" include:

- Job market
- Commuter times and delays
- Crime rates
- School rankings
- Median household income
- Cost of living index
- Home affordability
- The percentage of homeownership

Different cities rank differently in each category in different years, so donít just rely on the most recent reports to determine where you might want to live. Check back over the past few years and look for trends Ö Are the schools improving? Is there more dedicated greenspace? Has public transportation improved? Are the demographics change?

If you have school-age children, donít just look at the elementary schools. In no time at all, your starry-eyed first-grader will be approaching graduation. Itís not all about academics either. Children need exposure to other opportunities and extra-curricular activities as well.

On the other hand, if youíre thinking of starting a family, you also need to check out hospital maternity suites (or birthing alternatives), daycare facilities, toddler playgrounds and opportunities for young parents to gather.

Of course, none of the lists, rankings, and surveys matter if the commute from your job is so long that youíll miss out on all your kidsí ballgames and activities.

The perfect place for you to call home and to raise a family might be a new place where youíre sharing a new adventure together Ö but it might just be the neighborhood you know best and have already called ďhome.Ē

No matter what you determine, utilizing an expert real estate professional can match you up with the perfect place you, and your family will make into the home youíre looking for. 





Posted by Sally Malsch on 8/7/2019

After you accept a homebuyer's offer on your residence, he or she likely will complete a home inspection. Then, the homebuyer may choose to move forward with the home purchase, rescind or modify his or her offer or ask the home seller to complete home improvements.

Ultimately, a home seller is likely to have many questions following a home inspection, including:

1. What did the homebuyer discover during the home inspection?

As a home seller, it is important to do everything possible to enhance your residence before you add it to the real estate market. By doing so, you can boost your chances of generating substantial interest in your house. Plus, when a homebuyer performs a home inspection, he or she is unlikely to find any problems that may slow down the home selling process.

An informed home seller may conduct a home appraisal prior to listing his or her house on the real estate market. This appraisal enables a home seller to identify potential trouble areas within a residence and explore ways to address such problems.

If you failed to perform a home appraisal, there is no need to worry. For home sellers, it is important to see a home inspection as a learning opportunity. And if a homebuyer identifies problems with your residence during a home inspection, you should try to work with him or her to resolve these issues.

2. Should I stand my ground after a home inspection?

Be realistic after a home inspection, and you'll be able to make the best decision about how to proceed.

For example, a home seller who goes above and beyond the call of duty may address major home problems prior to listing his or her house on the real estate market. This home seller will dedicate the necessary time and resources to correct home problems and ensure a homebuyer is able to purchase a top-notch residence.

But what happens if a homebuyer identifies problems during a home inspection, despite the fact that a home seller already tried to correct various home issues?

A home seller should consider the homebuyer's inspection report findings closely. If minor home repairs are needed, he or she may be able to fix these problems to move forward with a home sale. Or, if a homebuyer is making exorbitant demands, a home seller may feel comfortable allowing the homebuyer to walk away from a home sale.

3. How should I proceed after a home inspection?

A home inspection can be stressful for both a home seller and a homebuyer. After the home inspection is completed, both parties will be better equipped than ever before to make informed decisions.

If a homebuyer encounters many problems with a residence, he or she will let the home seller know about these issues. Then, a home seller can complete assorted home repairs, offer a discounted price on a home or refuse to perform the requested home maintenance.

Working with a real estate agent is ideal for a home seller, particularly when it comes to home inspections. A real estate agent will negotiate with a homebuyer on your behalf and ensure you streamline the home selling process.





Posted by Sally Malsch on 7/24/2019

Want to own a house? Enter the real estate market today, and you can take the first step to make your homeownership dream come true.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to launch a home search sooner rather than later, and these include:

1. You can search for houses in cities and towns across the United States.

There is no shortage of top-notch homes available in cities and towns nationwide. Regardless of whether you want to live in a small town or a big city, you should have no trouble discovering a great residence at a price that you can afford.

Of course, it often helps to establish homebuying criteria prior to starting a home search. With homebuying criteria in hand, you can accelerate the homebuying journey and find your ideal residence faster than ever before.

2. Many home financing options are available.

Although you've always dreamed of owning a home, money might have been a problem. Lucky for you, banks and credit unions offer many home financing options to make it easy for anyone to purchase a residence.

Lenders are happy to meet with you, explain different mortgage options and respond to your mortgage concerns and questions. Then, once you review all of your mortgage options, you can make an informed home financing decision.

Also, it may be beneficial to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you receive pre-approval for a mortgage, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a house before you start a home search. Plus, you can tailor your home search based on your budget and speed up your quest to acquire your ideal home.

3. You can receive expert help throughout the homebuying journey.

One of the biggest challenges for a homebuyer is figuring out exactly what to do at each stage of the property buying journey. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive assistance as you go from homebuyer to homeowner.

A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with buying a house. As such, he or she will do everything possible to identify and address these challenges before they escalate.

Typically, a real estate agent will learn about you and your homebuying goals. He or she next will teach you about the local housing market and help you craft a homebuying strategy. And when you're ready, you and your real estate agent can work together to find your dream house.

After you discover your dream residence, your real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase this house. If the offer is accepted, your real estate agent will help you navigate the final steps of the homebuying journey. Best of all, if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, your real estate agent will respond to them immediately.

Take the guesswork out of finding and buying your ideal residence Ė reach out to a real estate agent today, and you can begin your quest to find your dream house.




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Posted by Sally Malsch on 6/26/2019

Whether youíre a first-time homebuyer or youíre upgrading to a larger house to fit your familyís needs, itís vital to understand just how much house you can afford before you start shopping for homes.

When planning for your future home, there are two main things you need to figure out.

  • What is a smart amount to spend on a home for your budget

  • What are the key features in a home that will give you the most benefits for the cost

These two questions may seem simple, but there are quite a few factors that should go into determining each one.

So, in todayís post, Iím going to walk you through the process of determining what kind of house you can afford so you can make the best home buying decision for you and your family.

A smart home buying budget

To create an effective budget, youíll need to gather some information and possibly create a spreadsheet with Excel (or a free alternative like Google Sheets).

On your spreadsheet, youíll first want to add up all sources of income that your family has. This is the easy part for most people who only have one or two sources of income based on a salaried job.

Next, is the hard part--expenses. We canít just use your current expenses to determine the new budget because we have to account for changes in several areas.

If you arenít sure of the cost of living for the area you hope to move to, try plugging it into this cost of living comparison tool to see get a better idea of the cost of things like transportation, childcare, groceries, and more.

Likewise, itís also a good idea to assume youíll be paying more in utilities if youíre hoping to move into a home that is larger than your current home. Keep in mind, however, that different houses have different levels of energy-efficiency, so itís a good idea to also ask the seller of the homes youíre interested in to determine what your costs might be.

Now, subtract your expenses from your income. The amount remaining should easily cover whatever mortgage payment you receive along with, ideally, 20% of your income going toward savings.

Deciding what you need in a home

The second part of determining how much house you can afford is to find out exactly what youíre looking for in a home. The number of bedrooms, bathrooms, location, the size of the backyard; all of these are questions that have a monetary value.

So, to really answer this question youíll need a strong understanding of what you and your familyís goals are for at least the next 5-7 years, if not longer.

Once you have your long-term goals and a good understanding of your budget, you can start safely shopping for homes with a clearer idea of the type of home youíre looking for and just how much home you can afford.




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