Bob Barcelos | Methuen Real Estate, Lawrence Real Estate, Andover Real Estate, Salem Real Estate


No homeowner wants to borrow more money. However, if you’re experiencing hard financial times or looking for a way to fund a home improvement project, there are ways to borrow money with your home as collateral.

In this article, we’re going to talk about home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOC). We’ll explain how they differ and break down their benefits and risks.

Before the bubble

Before the financial crisis of 2007-2008, many homeowners were borrowing readily based on the equity of their home. Interest rates were low on home equity loans, encouraging homeowners to leverage their portion of homeownership.

During the recession, however, all of that changed. People owed more money on their mortgages than their homes were worth, and banks became reluctant to lend.

In recent, years, however, house prices have been creeping back up, and banks and homeowners alike have gained confidence in the equity of their home.

As a result, a growing number of homeowners are turning back to home equity loans and lines of credit as a source of low-interest financing.

So, what exactly are these loans and credit lines?

The difference between a home equity loan and a line of credit

A home equity loan is a lump sum of money that you borrow which is secured by the value of your home. Typically, home equity loans are borrowed at a fixed rate. Lenders take into consideration the amount of equity you have in your home, your credit history, and your verifiable income.

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a bit different. Like a credit card, you are able to borrow money as you need it via a credit card or checks. HELOCs often have variable interest rates, which means even if you’re approved for an initial low rate it could be increased. As a result, HELOCs are better suited for borrowers who can withstand a higher leverage of risk and variation each month.

Is now a good time to borrow?

If you’re a homeowner, there’s an understandable temptation to use the equity you’ve built over the years to your advantage. In some cases, home equity loans and HELOCs can earn you better interest rates than other forms of borrowing.

However, as with other loan types, it’s important for homeowners to realize that HELOCs and home equity loans are not the same as having cash in your savings account.

Another danger that borrowers face is the potential for foreclosure if things go badly. While most lenders won’t seek foreclosure after a few missed payments, your home has been put up as collateral for repaying the loan. Most lenders will choose to sell a defaulted loan to a collections company rather than seek foreclosure.

Ultimately, the best course of action is to avoid borrowing unless it will help you out financially in the long term. However, for those with high home equity who may, for one reason or another, need to borrow, a home equity loan or line of credit might be the best choice.


Photo by Moose Photos from Pexels

Rental properties are becoming extremely common in the world we live in today. Many people are realizing the huge profits they can make from rental properties, and the need for these rentals isn’t going away any time soon. If you’ve ever wanted to be a landlord and rake in some cash on the side, you’re not alone. However, buying rental property isn’t always easy and there are some things you should understand before getting the keys to your new home.

Make Sure You’re Ready

The fact of the matter is, owning rental property is harder than it looks. From insurance and laws to home repairs and dealing with tenants, it can all be a very time-consuming and stressful job owning a rental property. And if owning property isn’t your full-time gig, the process can be even more difficult. Make sure that you do your homework and that you’re prepared for anything that can happen regarding your new property. Research everything that needs to be done for a rental owner, then also look up how to manage tenants properly. Also, managing a property takes a lot of time and energy, especially if it’s your first time. It's also important to have the right schedule while managing a property. While you can still have a full-time job, you should have the flexibility to meet with the tenants and take care of repairs or issues when needed.

Keep a Proper Budget

When owning rental property, you’re owning a home that can see damage, which can be very costly. And if you don’t have the money to handle repairs and disasters when they strike, then you could have a home just sitting there with no tenants interested. This is why you should always budget for the unexpected. Some examples of what can go wrong include:

  • Broken dishwasher
  • Damaged pipes
  • Irrigation issues
  • Carpet damage
  • Damage to walls
  • Window damage
  • Be Cautious of a Fixer-Upper

    While you’ve always had a dream about buying a fixer-upper and creating something incredible, this dream doesn’t pan out for many. That’s because many of these people bite off a little more than they can chew, and they don’t have the time, energy or resources to really build something profitable. Therefore, you should be very cautious before trying this method for yourself. It is possible to make money from a fixer-upper, but it takes tons of work and can be very difficult, especially if you’re buying your very first rental property. Dealing with one of these properties might require spending thousands on materials, hiring professionals, dealing with plumbing issues and possibly dealing with structural damage.  While you may be very tempted, try looking for a property that needs a few simple renovations and one that is priced below market value.

    Preparation is Key

    Before you jump into buying a rental property, consider the three tips outlined above to have confidence throughout the process. This will ensure that you're well-prepared for what's to come. Fixing a home, dealing with tenants and paying for insurance can all be stressful, so it's best to understand these responsibilities before purchasing a rental property.


    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.


    This Condo in Andover, MA recently sold for $215,000. This Garden style home was sold by Bob Barcelos - CENTURY 21 McLennan & Company.


    20 Washington Park, Andover, MA 01810

    Condo

    $224,900
    Price
    $215,000
    Sale Price

    4
    Rooms
    2
    Beds
    1
    Baths
    Spacious 2 bedroom located in desirable Washington Park Drive Complex. This unit features wood floors in living room and bedrooms, eat in kitchen, and wall a/c and plenty of closets for storage. Enjoy the sliders that lead to a deck overlooking a large open common area space. This complex is conveniently located close to shopping, restaurants, Andover's Downtown and all major highways.

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    Do the walls of your home ever feel bland and uninviting? What you need for your home is to add depth to the walls. Everything from the colors of the walls to what you place on them helps to give your rooms a feeling of sophisticated complexity. 


    Try Using Contrast On Your Walls


    If you choose a dark color for your walls, you can use bright colors as a contrast to bring out the prominent features of the room. 


    Use Texture On Your Walls


    You don’t have to rely on paint to color your walls. It’s a good idea for you to use some tapestry or cloth and hang it on the walls to help add texture and depth to a room.


    Reflect On The Room


    Using mirrors can help to make any room appear bigger. Mirrors are deceiving in a way, but when placed strategically, they can really add a lot to a room. Allowing for reflections in the room also adds depth and a larger feeling to the space, 


    Don‘t Make A Space Too Busy


    Avoid using a lot of colors in a room. While contrasting colors add something special to a space, bright, mismatched colors will only make you dizzy. 


    Make Use Of Tile


    Particularly in kitchens and bathrooms, tile can help to add some depth to the space. Your kitchen can be painted a lovely color and finding tiles to match for a backsplash can really help the room to stand out. Even the color grout that you use can help add complexity to a room. If you have brick, wood, or any kind of stone present in a room, be sure to help those features stand out. The best way to approach design sometimes is to take what you see in nature and bring it into your space. From earth tones to highlighting the natural features in your home, you can really make your home feel well-rounded from the inside out. 


    Try Painting The Walls Different Colors


    There’s no rule that says you need to paint a room all one color. Often, you can add a lot to a room just by having that one accent wall. Putting the piece of furniture that will be the focal point of the room on the accent wall can really bring out the features of the room. If your color scheme is leaning towards blues and whites, for example, paint each wall white except for one. Choose an alluring shade of blue for the accent wall. Be sure that your furniture matches with whatever wall color scheme that you choose as well.                 

    Whether you’re recreating a room completely, or simply re-purposing what you have, it’s easy to make your design work for you and provide complexity and depth.




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