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 1/2/2021

Image by June Hanabi from Pixabay

Buying a home is never easy, but it can be especially challenging if you're making your purchase from a remote location, like when you're buying a vacation home. If you're purchasing a second home or a vacation property in the next few months, these tips can help you through the process. By doing your homework, working with the right real estate professional, and by making decisions in advance, you can make the purchasing process easier on yourself. Here's what you need to know.  

Understand the Tax & Loan Implications

Mortgages for vacation homes often require a larger down payment than primary residences. In addition, some loans that can be used to purchase primary residences cannot be used to buy vacation homes. For example, you can't pay for a vacation home with an FHA loan. 

You may be able to deduct the mortgage interest from your taxes, but only up to a certain amount. Your accountant can help you understand how the mortgage deduction will work before you buy the house. Call your accountant before getting into the home purchase process, so you can be fully aware of the tax implications before finalizing the purchase.

Know What You Want

Sit down with your family before you start shopping for a home. Have discussions that will focus your search. Ask questions like: Where do we want to buy? How big will the house be? How large should the lot be? Answering these questions in advance will help you narrow your search and keep it focused on houses that are likely to make you happy.  

Research the Real Estate Market

Are homes competitive in the area where you'd like to buy? Do they go fast? Must you act quickly? What's the price range of homes you'd like to buy? What's the forecast for real estate in the area? Having answers to these questions will help you make decisions that will inform your home buying process. Some of this information can be found online, but the best and most accurate way to get a lot of this information is to work with a reputable real estate professional.  

Plan at Least One or Two Trips

Much of the home buying process can be done remotely. PDF document signing technology has made it easy to make offers and send documents to home buyers from out of state or even out of the country. However, it's still advisable to make at least one trip to the area and see the house you'd like to buy in-person before making an offer. 

Very likely, you won't find the house you want to buy in the first trip. Plan to make at least one (and possibly two or more) trips to the area where you'd like to purchase. Plan your trips carefully to ensure each trip is productive. Make a list of properties to see before leaving. Communicate your list of properties with your real estate agent in advance, so your real estate professional can make appointments to see homes before you arrive.  

Find the Right Real Estate Professional

Work with a real estate agent who has facilitated long distance purchases in the past, and who has strategies for helping out of town buyers. To find a real estate agent, interview reputable candidates before settling on the right one for you. The real estate professional you choose should be friendly, communicative and confident in their ability to help. Working with the right real estate agent, you'll be able to get the job done, even when you're not in town.  




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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 10/24/2020

If you recently bought a house, congratulations! Now, you just need to pack up your belongings, finalize your home purchase and relocate to your new address. You also may want to set up the following services prior to completing your move:

1. Electric

What good is a new house that lacks electricity? Fortunately, if you contact the electric company in your new home's city or town, you should have no trouble establishing electric services.

Typically, an electric company employs friendly, knowledgeable customer service representatives who will assist clients in any way they can. This means you can call the electric company in your new city or town, speak to a customer service representative and get the help you need to quickly set up electric services.

2. Cable and Internet

In many cities and towns, multiple cable and internet services providers are available. And if you allocate time and resources to review all of the options at your disposal, you may find a quality, affordable company for cable and internet services.

As you evaluate cable and internet services providers in your new city or town, don't forget to ask lots of questions. By doing so, you can find out what types of services are available, as well as the prices associated with these services.

Try to get several quotes too. If you receive multiple quotes, you can decide which cable and internet services provider offers the best value.

3. Water

Learn about how you pay for water in your new city or town prior to moving day – you'll be glad you did. That way, you can contact your new water provider in advance and ensure that you will have water available as soon as you arrive at your new house.

When it comes to completing a home purchase, many challenges can make it tough to achieve the best-possible results. But if you employ a real estate agent, you can receive extensive support at each stage of the property buying journey.

A real estate agent can offer recommendations to help you establish essential services at your new home. He or she may even be able to put you in touch with the best services providers in different cities and towns and help you find the best deals on various services.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is happy to help a homebuyer discover the perfect residence, at the right price. Before you kick off a home search, a real estate agent will learn about you and your homebuying goals. He or she next will help you establish homebuying criteria and hone your house search. Best of all, a real estate agent will set up home showings and keep you up to date about open house events, enabling you to find your ideal residence in no time at all.

Want to remove the guesswork commonly associated with finishing the homebuying journey? Hire a real estate agent, and you can get the support you need to enjoy a fast, seamless and stress-free property buying experience.




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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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