Mark Carmien - Maple and Main Realty, LLC



Posted by Mark Carmien on 1/30/2021

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

Anyone purchasing a home should buy not just for today, but for the future as well; this forward-thinking approach may be more important to seniors than to any other group. The home you buy today should delight you and suit your needs; it should also be adaptable and comfortable to live in as you age. From single-story living to choosing a home with few repair needs, here's what to consider to make sure your home serves you well for many years. 

Single Story Comfort

A single-story home is easy to navigate -- and easier to clean and care for, making this model the ideal version for homebuyers who are looking ahead.  A single-story home has all amenities on one floor, making the kitchen, laundry room and master bedroom accessible without navigating stairs or steps.

Go for an HOA

An HOA may not be right for everyone, but a community with an HOA has a lot of benefits for seniors. From guards at the gate and on the premises to built-in social opportunities, an HOA community is a great option. Most seniors love the easy care and comfortable living afforded by an HOA community; and homeowners of any age will enjoy using facilities like clubhouses and swimming pools -- but not having to maintain them. 

Consider a Townhouse

When you have kids at home, you probably need a big yard, but if you are downsizing or expect to have an empty nest soon, a townhouse may be your perfect match. Most include lawn care and exterior home care, so you won't have to worry about these tasks. Many townhome communities also have playgrounds, pools and other amenities -- so when the kids do visit, you have plenty of things to do. 

Buy a Turnkey Home

Unless you love working and improving your own residence, a home that needs a lot of renovation or that will eventually need some work may not be your best bet. Even if you don't DIY, having work done can be disruptive and expensive -- and there are too many turnkey homes on the market to deal with a fixer-upper. 

Invest in Upgrades

You may not need them now, but a home that has some adaptive or mobility upgrades in place, or that is well suited to having these modifications later will serve you well. Look for handrails in the bathroom, a built-in bench in the shower and other touches that will make the home easy and safe to navigate for all ages. 

Look ahead 5, 10 or 20 years in the future when you shop for your home and think about the tasks you want to tackle -- and the ones you want to leave to someone else -- when you decide which home is right. Shopping with these factors in mind will save you time and money later, and ensure the home you buy today still suits your needs a decade from now. 




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Posted by Mark Carmien on 10/31/2020

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

So, you're buying a home remotely. Because you probably don't want to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a house that smells like cats or that features weekly invasions by the SWAT team of the building next door, it's important to find a long-distance realtor you can trust. You need someone who excels at the remote-home-buying experience and who will represent you faithfully. Agents like these are out there, but it may take a bit of work to find them. Here's what we recommend.

Choose a Certified Residential Specialist

A certified residential specialist is a real estate agent who has undergone additional training and who has more experience than other agents. Only about 3 percent of all realtors in the United States have attained CRS status. You can find a CRS locally by using the online search function available at the Residential Real Estate Council.

To become a certified residential specialist, an agent must meet strict minimum requirements, including:

  • Completion of between 25 and 150 successful real estate transactions.
  • Completion of between 16 and 80 additional hours of training and education in realty.
  • Adherence to a higher code of ethics than the average realtor. 

While millions of hard-working real estate agents exist, only a small number have gone that extra mile to earn CRS certification. These are the agents you should trust to handle your transaction when you can't be there in person. 

Choose an Expert Communicator

Choose a realtor who's an expert in your desired area and with whom you feel comfortable from the first conversation. The relationship between you and your remote-home-buying partner should feature excellent communication. He or she needs to understand your needs precisely, including your must-haves, your budget, your time frame, and what you're hoping to find in a neighborhood. If you're bringing along three small dogs, your mother-in-law, or two moody teenagers, your long-distance realtor needs to make sure there's sufficient space for everyone included. 

Find a REALTOR® Who Cares

The REALTOR®you choose should be an expert on local schools. He should be able to get back to you with crime rates and economics. Additionally, he should be present at home inspections to ensure your future home doesn't have a termite infestation or a sketchy, outdated septic system. Everything from water pressure to the condition of outdoor fencing matters. These are all things you would investigate when viewing a home in person. If it's important to you, it should be important to the realtor you choose. 

Seventy-eight percent of all home buyers value the quality of a neighborhood over the size of a home, and 57 percent would rather have a shorter work commute than a sprawling yard. It's statistics like these that can make or break your remote-home-buying experience. It's vital to partner with the best agent for the job. 




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Posted by Mark Carmien on 10/17/2020

If you're ready to pursue your dream house, it generally is a good idea to enter the real estate sector with an open mind. In fact, there are many benefits to keeping your options open as you search for your ideal residence, and these benefits include:

1. You may be able to discover a bargain.

As you kick off your home search, it helps to pursue houses in a wide range of cities and towns. Doing so can help you separate your dream home must-haves from your wants. Also, this may enable you to find an affordable residence that matches or exceeds your expectations.

There is no telling whether a real estate market will favor buyers or sellers. The housing sector fluctuates constantly, and a buyer's market today may morph into a seller's market tomorrow.

Luckily, if you maintain an open approach to buying a house, you can remain patient as you search for your perfect residence. Perhaps most important, you can capitalize on homebuying opportunities as they become available and avoid the temptation to overspend on a house.

2. You can move quickly to acquire your dream residence.

With an open approach to the homebuying journey, you should have no trouble moving quickly to acquire your ideal residence. If the opportunity presents itself to buy a great house at a terrific price, you can submit an offer and proceed accordingly.

Of course, you should always think ahead before you submit an offer on any house, at any time. If you put together a competitive offer on a residence, you may receive an instant "Yes" from a home seller. Then, you can seamlessly finalize your home purchase and move into your dream residence.

3. You can minimize stress throughout the homebuying journey.

Buying a home is a major decision, and as such, stress can be problematic throughout the homebuying journey. If you are open to new ideas as you pursue a home, however, you may be better equipped than ever before to purchase your perfect residence.

Remember, stress may force a homebuyer to make rash decisions – something that a homebuyer probably wants to avoid at all costs. But if you're willing to take a deep breath and step back from the homebuying cycle at times, you can look at the big picture. And as a result, you can remain calm, cool and collected as you consider all of your homebuying options.

For those who are looking for extra help in their pursuit of the perfect home, it may be beneficial to hire a real estate agent too. This housing market professional can share details about a broad array of houses in cities and towns where you want to live. Plus, a real estate agent can keep you informed about new residences as they become available, help you submit offers on houses and much more.

Make your homeownership dream come true – take an open approach to the homebuying journey, and you may be able to accomplish your homebuying goal faster than ever before.




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Posted by Mark Carmien on 9/26/2020

Shopping for a new home is difficult and time-consuming. With all of the homes listed for sale, it’s tempting to want to visit all of them. However, if you’re juggling house-hunting with your work and personal life, then you likely won’t have time to set aside many hours to visit several homes.

 This is where you can use technology to your advantage. With free, modern tools online you can find out plenty about a house and the neighborhood it’s in without ever having to go and visit it. Better yet, you can do so in just a few minutes right from home.

 In this article, we’re going to teach you how to become a real estate investigator from the comfort of your own couch, helping you save time while hunting for the perfect home for you. 

 Know what you’re looking for

While it’s okay to browse homes for pleasure, when it comes to getting serious about buying a home you’ll want to keep your search as specific as possible. Think about what you or your family need in a house and neighborhood, rather than focusing on idealized versions of those things.

A good way to do this is to sit down and make a list of your budget and the five most important things you’re looking for in a home. These could be things like distance to work, being in a certain school district, or having a certain number of bedrooms. Once you have these details in mind you can begin your search.

Search tools

There are a number of search tools for locating homes near you. The key to searching, however, isn’t the tool you use but how you search. Refer to your list for things like room numbers, square footage, and location.

If you don’t come up with as many hits as you’d like, try setting up email or text alerts so you can be made aware of the new results for your area.

Once you have a list of about ten properties, you’re ready to start researching them further to see which sellers you want to contact to view the home.

Researching a potential home

Many people are surprised at the number of things you can learn about a home just from a Google search. However, Google will be an indispensable tool in your search for the perfect home.

Let’s start our search on Google Maps. Type in the address for the house you’re researching and see if there are any photos of the home that aren’t on the listing page. Next, enter the satellite view of the home to get an idea of the layout of the home and property.

While you’re in Google Maps, it’s a good idea to browse the local area for businesses, hospitals, schools, parks, and other services that might affect your decision. Then, set a driving route between the house and your place of work to find out how long it would take you to get to work if you moved there.

Once you’re done in Google Maps, head back to the Google search page and browse the results for the address. This could show you information on previous owners, prices, and crime statistics. All of this will be useful information in your search.

Repeat this search method for the rest of your homes on your list and you’ll be narrowing down potential homes to visit in no time.





Posted by Mark Carmien on 9/19/2020

Obtaining a home loan is a must for most homebuyers. However, assessing a wide range of home loan options and making the best-possible decision can be difficult, particularly for a buyer who is evaluating these options for the first time.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you perform a deep analysis of home loan options and make an informed decision.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you evaluate different home loan options.

1. Find Out How a Home Loan Works

The home loans that one lender offers may differ from the options provided by another lender. As such, you'll want to learn the ins and outs of each available home loan to guide your decision-making process.

Understanding how a home loan works may make it easy for you to discover your dream house too.

For example, if you get pre-approved for a home loan, you can enter the real estate market with a budget in hand. You then can use this amount to narrow your house search, which may lead to a fast, seamless homebuying experience.

2. Understand All of the Costs

The total amount that you pay each month under the terms of a home loan agreement may vary based on a variety of factors. Fortunately, if you understand all of the costs associated with a home loan, you may be able to find a loan that matches your finances.

Review all of the paperwork associated with a home loan as well. That way, you can find out the length of a home loan agreement and other relevant home loan information and proceed accordingly.

3. Get Expert Home Loan Insights

There is no such thing as "bad" questions about home loans. And if you're uncertain about how to proceed with a home loan, you can always receive expert guidance from a lender.

Oftentimes, lenders employ friendly, knowledgeable home loan specialists who can respond to your concerns and questions. If you meet with these specialists, you can get comprehensive home loan insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.

As you get ready to pursue a home loan, you also may want to consult with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you get in touch with the best lenders in your area and secure a home loan in no time at all.

Of course, let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide throughout the homebuying journey, either.

A real estate agent will serve as your guide to buying a house. He or she will help you hone your home search, explore top-notch residences in your city or town and find a residence that matches your expectations. Plus, a real estate agent will even negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf to help you get the best price on your dream house.

Ready to make your homeownership dream come true? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can secure a home loan and take the next step toward purchasing your ideal residence.




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