Lynne Eliopoulos
ERA Key Realty Services | 508-832-1032 | lynne@erakey.com


Posted by Lynne Eliopoulos on 12/17/2017

If it always seems like your money disappears as fast as you earn it, you're not alone. All too many people live from paycheck to paycheck -- even when their income is well above average.

Why is this condition so widespread? Well, the reasons are as varied as people's spending habits, lifestyles, and financial obligations, but there is one factor that is often overlooked: self-defeating attitudes toward money. Here are a few examples you may be able to relate to:

  • "I don't have the time or patience to compare prices." The truth of the matter is that it doesn't really take that much time to do a few quick price comparisons when you're in the supermarket, department store, or on the Web. During the course of a typical week, you probably make dozens of spending decisions, many of them almost unconsciously. By simply increasing your awareness of how much you're spending and what the alternatives are (if any), you can often save hundreds of dollars a month.
  • "People who use coupons are penny pinchers." Although the term "penny pincher" is frequently used to describe someone who's stingy or overly careful with their spending habits, some people consider it a badge of pride to be frugal and careful with their money. It's all a matter of perspective. There are numerous blogs, small businesses, and newspapers that have no reluctance about including the words "penny pincher" in their name While few people want to be thought of as cheap or stingy, frugality has different connotations. It's associated with being economical and thrifty.
  • "I don't want people to think I'm cheap." This can be a tough self-defeating thought to overcome because it's often so deep rooted. However, if you're a compulsively high tipper or often feel obligated to pick up the check at restaurants (rather than splitting it with your fellow diners), this could be a contributing cause of your budgetary problems. Generosity is a wonderful thing, as long as it's not based on a desire to be liked, accepted, or approved of by other people. As a side note, concerns about being perceived as "cheap" is one reason some people don't take a closer look at their retail receipts, restaurant bills, and other invoices. Remember this: There's nothing cheap about being unwilling to pay extra for cashier or restaurant staff mistakes -- which are more common that you might think -- and unauthorized or redundant fees on bills.
Another factor which contributes to tight household budgets is not having a budget at all. If you don't take the time to identify your expenses and deduct them from your monthly income, then it's next-to-impossible to gain control of your finances. While there's no panacea for spending beyond your means -- and some people clearly need professional advice and help in dealing with financial management and debt problems -- sometimes a few simple attitude shifts can make the difference between scarcity and surplus in your life.




Categories: budgeting  


Posted by Lynne Eliopoulos on 12/10/2017

Many factors come into play when determining whether you can afford to buy a house. Since the monthly rent for an apartment is often close to what a mortgage payment would be, you can't help but wonder if your rent money would be better spent building equity in your own home.

While this is often the case, first-time home buyers often underestimate or overlook expenses that accompany home ownership. Although a mortgage broker or bank loan officer can help you calculate the maximum mortgage you can afford, here are a few tips to keep in mind as you weigh your options.

  • Create a detailed budget. By taking the time to figure out how your income stacks up to your monthly expenses, you can get a clearer picture of your financial situation. If you have a good credit score, a positive monthly cash flow, and enough funds to pay closing costs and a down payment, then home ownership may be a viable option. (Your credit score, which you can obtain once a year for free from the three main credit reporting companies, will have a major impact on both your interest rate and your monthly mortgage payments.)
  • Factor in other expenses: Figuring out your current budget is relatively easy, but predicting your future budget as a homeowner can be a lot more challenging. A big part of the equation will depend on the amount of property taxes and school taxes that will be tacked on to your mortgage costs. A real estate agent can provide you with those figures, as well as other information you need to calculate how affordable it would be to live in a particular house. They have access to a wide range of relevant information, such as utility expenses, water bills, and homeowner association fees (if there are any). Since property taxes sometimes cover the cost of services like garbage and yard waste collection, you may not have to factor in those items into your projected budget. Your real estate agent can help you come up with a rough estimate of home maintenance costs -- especially if they're familiar with the history of the home you're considering buying. As the process moves forward, a property inspector can provide you with more details about the condition of the home and whether any costly repairs are likely to be needed soon.
  • Home maintenance and furnishing costs: Other possible expenses to consider when estimating the cost of home ownership include yard maintenance, landscaping, HVAC service calls, electrician services, plumbing repairs, and homeowners' insurance. If you're a first-time home owner, there's also a good chance you'll need to buy some furniture to fill out those additional rooms!
  • Buying your first home definitely takes a lot of planning, budgeting, and research, but the rewards of owning your own home will more than justify the effort!





    Posted by Lynne Eliopoulos on 12/3/2017

    Planning to take your TV to your new home? For those who recently bought or sold a residence, you may have only a short period of time to pack your TV and other belongings and bring them to your new address. Fortunately, we're here to help you simplify the process of packing your TV for moving day.

    Now, let's take a look at three tips to properly pack your TV.

    1. Use the Right-Sized Box

    If you saved the original box for your TV, you should use the box for moving day. That way, you can store your TV in a strong, durable box that offers maximum protection.

    On the other hand, if you threw away the box for your TV, there's no need to worry. You should have no trouble finding a heavy-duty box that is big enough to hold your TV and will ensure your TV will be protected throughout your move.

    In most instances, a double-wall corrugated box is ideal for a TV. Double-wall corrugated boxes are available in multiple sizes and are unlikely to get damaged or punctured while in transit.

    2. Cover Your TV

    Wrapping your TV in a soft blanket usually is a good idea. With this blanket in place, you can protect your TV's screen against scratches.

    Also, don't forget to secure the blanket to your TV with rope or moving-grade shrink wrap. This will ensure the blanket will stay in place for the duration of your move.

    If you can't find a suitable blanket to cover your TV, you can always substitute a blanket with bubble wrap. Cover your TV in bubble wrap and seal the ends with tape, and you're good to go.

    3. Label and Secure the TV Box

    Slide your TV into your moving box and keep it in an upright position. By doing so, you can avoid putting pressure on the TV screen Ė something that otherwise may cause permanent damage to your TV.

    Before you seal the box that contains your TV, you'll want to add plenty of packing material. This will ensure your TV is firmly padded and won't tip or shift while you're on the go.

    Finally, seal the box with packing tape and label it accordingly. Since your TV is sensitive, you'll want to label the box as "Fragile" as well.

    If you need help packing your TV or other belongings, it often pays to hire a moving company. With a team of professional movers at your side, you can quickly and safely get all of your belongings from Point A to Point B.

    Lastly, if you require extra assistance getting ready for moving day, don't hesitate to contact a real estate agent. In addition to helping you buy or sell a house, a real estate agent can put you in touch with the best moving companies in your area and guarantee that you can enjoy a fast, seamless transition to a new home.




    Tags: TV   packing   packing to move  
    Categories: tv   packing   packing to move  


    Posted by Lynne Eliopoulos on 11/26/2017

    Contingencies on a contract to buy a home are there to protect both the buyer and the seller. The contingencies give the buyer the right to back out of the contract if any of these contingencies arenít met. There are many reasons that buyers back out of deals including financial issues and problems with the home. Below, youíll find a break down of some of the most common contingencies and what they mean for you as a buyer or a seller.   


    Financing Contingency


    Most home contracts come with whatís called a financing contingency. This gives you the ability to walk away from a deal if the financing falls through when trying to buy a home. Usually this is due to a credit reason or some other financial reason. You canít rely on financial cracks to help you to back out of a deal on a home. Lenders will only deny a loan for real financial reasons. Thereís no way to ask a lender to lie for you so you can get out of buying a home! This is why you need to make your decision about a home purchase wisely.   



    Inspection Contingency


    This gives the buyer the right to have an inspection on the home within a certain time frame which is usually 5-7 days. If something is really off with the inspection that you as a buyer donít feel comfortable with, you have the right to back out of a deal without repercussions. While seller disclosures are important, the seller canít disclose what they donít know about. Thatís why the home inspection is so important. The sellerís disclosure cannot protect you from hidden damages that may cost half of a homeís worth to repair.   


    Appraisal Contingency


    If homes are selling fast and you want some secure way to back out of a deal you should consider an appraisal contingency. If the home you want to purchase doesnít appraise at a price high enough to meet your mortgage requirements, you have a legal way to back out of the deal. For example, if you put down 20 percent of the purchase price of a home and the home doesn't appraise for the value of that purchase price, youíd need to come up with the remainder of the money in cash. An appraisal contingency protects you from having to face this. Youíll still need to have a home inspection done on the home to search for any problems, but an appraisal contingency protects you from any problems with financing and your own disposable amount of cash that could arise due to a home appraising low. 


    While contingencies arenít necessary as a homebuyer, theyíre highly recommended. Without contingencies, you could be left with a number of expenses such as damages that are extremely costly to fix.




    Categories: offer   offer to purchase  


    Posted by Lynne Eliopoulos on 11/19/2017

    A home showing can make or break your chances of selling your house. Therefore, you'll want to do everything possible to ensure that each home showing is a success.

    Ultimately, there are several best practices for home showings that every home seller needs to know, and these practices include:

    1. Clean and Declutter Your House

    A tidy home is sure to garner homebuyers' attention. Comparatively, a messy house is unlikely to do you any favors in a competitive real estate market.

    Allocate the necessary time and resources to clean your house. Mop the floors, wipe down the walls and perform assorted home interior cleaning. Also, don't forget to mow the front lawn, trim the hedges and ensure your house's exterior looks great.

    In addition, eliminate clutter from your home as soon as possible. By doing so, you can show off the true size of your living space to potential buyers.

    2. Remove Personal Belongings from Your Home

    Although you may have many personal photographs and other treasured mementos scattered throughout your house, you should put these items away before a home showing. That way, you can make it easy for homebuyers to envision what life might be like if they purchase your house.

    When it comes to personal belongings, it sometimes can be tough to hide these items. However, if you store your personal belongings properly, you can guarantee these items will maintain their quality and appearance until you sell your house.

    Pack up any treasured belongings carefully. Then, you can put these items in a storage unit for safe keeping. Or, if a family member or friend has storage space to spare, you can always ask a loved one to store your personal belongings temporarily.

    3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

    If you're unsure about how to host a successful home showing, you're not alone. Thankfully, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals know what it takes to transform an ordinary home showing into an unforgettable experience.

    A real estate agent can offer expert recommendations to help you get your house show-ready. In fact, a real estate agent can put you in touch with the best home cleaning companies in your area. He or she also is unafraid to be honest and will share any home interior or exterior concerns with you.

    Furthermore, a real estate agent will teach you about the real estate market. He or she can educate you about the differences between a buyer's and seller's market, respond to your home selling concerns and questions and much more. Thus, if you work with a real estate agent, you should have no trouble making informed decisions throughout the home selling journey.

    Take the guesswork out of prepping your house for a showing Ė use the aforementioned best practices, and you can improve the look and feel of your house in no time at all.




    Categories: Selling Your Home   showing