Bob Barcelos' Blog
Buying your first home is exciting! And scary! But you don’t have to fear the process if you take the time to become fully prepared for homeownership. Below are the seven primary keys to preparing yourself and smoothing the process.
How to Know You’re Ready
- Determine how much you can afford. The first step to homeownership is figuring out what fits your current budget. Note that although your income may go up over time, buying a home, speculating that you’ll make more money and can afford a bigger payment is a recipe for disaster. In general, you don’t want your housing costs (mortgage payment, insurance, property taxes, HOA) to be more than 25% of your take-home pay.
- Research which mortgages can save you the most money. A conventional loan, with at least 20% for a down payment, lets you avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI). That’s an extra reduction in monthly outgo, so strive to hit that mark. If you can’t afford twenty percent, put at least ten percent down. Less than that means your monthly outflow is higher in both the mortgage payment and the PMI. You’ll also pay more interest over time. You’ll save the most by putting more down and reducing the life of the loan to 15 years or fewer even though your monthly payment is higher. Remember that closing costs and moving take a chunk out of your saved-up cash, too.
- Get pre-approved. Any lender can “pre-qualify” you for a loan, but those aren’t guaranteed. They’re just an estimate based on your self-reported income and assets. Pre-approval takes more effort, but the numbers accurately reflect the size of the mortgage you qualify for and what you can pay for a house. Find a great real estate agent. Once you’ve set your maximum budget and have a pre-qualification letter, your real estate agent can work with those numbers to find you the perfect home. Make sure you choose a qualified buyer’s agent that represents you, not the seller. You also want someone experienced in helping first-time buyers. Typically, the seller covers all the agent’s commissions, so you’re getting their expertise for free!
- Discover the right neighborhood for you. Buying the right house in the wrong neighborhood leads to buyer’s remorse and dissatisfaction. You need to decide what you want in the neighborhood, not just the house. Do you need playgrounds? A school your child can walk to? Other families nearby? Culs-de-sac instead of through-streets? All of these are important to consider before making a decision.
- Lock down the house. When you know where you want to live and find a house there, don’t fudge when making an offer. With the guidance of your agent, submit a solid offer that the seller respects and will consider, but leave room to negotiate. When you receive a counteroffer, consider it carefully and request concessions such as asking the seller to leave the appliances or furnishings. Your offer is legally binding, so you want to take care with what you include.
- Know what to expect once you get the keys. In addition to your monthly payments of principal and interest, property taxes, insurance, and HOA dues, owning a home brings other costs. These include ongoing maintenance, repairs, lawn care and landscaping. If your new home is considerably larger than where you currently live, you’ll also have increased utility costs to factor into the mix.
If you’ve worked your way through the first items on the list and you’re ready to find the right real estate agent, reach out today.
More Info on this Property | New Listing Alerts
24 Queen Ave, Methuen, MA 01844
11 Fleetwood Drive, Chelmsford, MA 01824
This delious spring recipe is perfect for anyone who enjoys grilling. This recipe is tasty, nutritious and if you grill a lot anyway, you'll have the perfect opportunity to prepare vegetables in advance. Charcoal grills produce the best smoke and flavor, but you can grill your vegetables over a gas grill with good results.
Grilling the Vegetables
Next time you have a cook out or a barbecue, grill some extra vegetables and set them to the side. They'll make the perfect ingredients for this smoky, delicious recipe.
To prepare your vegetables, clean them thoroughly. Cut down vegetables to bite-sized pieces, then cook the vegetables over a hot, searing grill fire. You can do this either by placing the vegetables in a grilling basket, or by grilling them on a skewer. Grill the vegetables until they've got some soft places, and some blackened parts, but don't over cook. Remember, the vegetables will be finished in the soup. They don't need to be cooked all the way during the grilling step.
Which vegetables should you use?
Grill whichever vegetables you like. Mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, asparagus and corn on the cob are all excellent choices. If you choose to grill your corn, set the corn cob straight onto the grill and turn the cob occasionally when kernals start to pop. Cut the kernals off the cob later.
- Combine vegetables, broth, sauce, salt, pepper and Italian spices all in one pot. Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes.
- Cook pasta separately according to instructions on the package.
- Combine pasta and soup into a bowl and serve.
Pasta gets mushy when it sits in liquid for too long. Keep the pasta separate from the soup until it's time to serve. If you've got leftovers after the meal, store the pasta and soup separate in the refrigerator.
What Should You Serve With Grilled Vegetable Soup?
Grilled vegetable soup is delicious with garlic bread prepared in the oven. Cut up bread in 1 inch slices. Brush each slice with olive oil, then sprinkle with garlic salt. Bake in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit until the edges of the bread turn slightly brown and crispy. Alternatively, you can also bake the bread slices sprinkled with cheese and garlic.
Want to Make Grilled Vegetable Soup Meatier? Here's How
You can grill any meat at the same time that you're grilling the vegetables, and add that to your soup. Want some suggestions?
- Beef tips. Grill beef tips, then cut them up into small bits when it's time to add them to soup.
- Bratwursts. Grill several brats and cut them into 1/2 inch cubes; add them to your soup for a spicy meat option.
- Chicken. Grill several chicken cutlets, then shred the cutlets into small pieces and add them to your soup.