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Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri & Al Mussi on 6/28/2016

apartment buildingIs a condominium right for you? The market has been steadily rising for the past few years but condo living may not be for everyone. Condo buyers typically fall into three categories: -First-time buyers -Second home or vacation home owners -Retirees looking for a low-maintenance alternative Under the right set of circumstances a condominium can be a great purchase. Before you run out and shop for condos you have to be comfortable living with rules and restrictions, and in close proximity to others. There are different types of condominiums. They can take the form of apartment-style complexes, townhouses or converted multi-family dwellings. Most condominiums have common areas, such as stairwells, dividing and outer walls, fitness centers, pools, walking paths and gardens. These common areas are under shared ownership. Each unit owner holds an interest in these spaces. Because space is shared there needs to a way to manage the maintenance, repair and costs of these common areas. To deal with that and other issues that involve space sharing every condo development has a condominium association. The association is typically elected by condo owners and makes communal decisions in the interest of the community. When you find a condominium you are interested in you will want to inquire about the association: Some questions you may want to ask are:

  • Does the association maintain reserve of funds to pay for unexpected and potentially expensive repairs? If so, how much is in reserve and how is it managed?
  • Has the association maintained the building in good repair? Are there currently or any planned special assessments?
  • Does the association have plans to add any facilities, such as a swimming pool or gym, in the near future?
  • Does the development have any pending legal actions? Are there any disputes between owners, with developers or with the association that you should know about?
  • Buying a condo also comes with costs some are similar to a single family home purchase while others are condo specific. These costs include:
    • Down payment, mortgage and property tax
    • Condo fees, otherwise known as maintenance fees. Condo fees are paid by every resident to help with the maintenance of the building, pay the salaries of groundskeepers, concierges or handymen, and provide luxury facilities such as a pool, gym or rooftop garden. Condo fees are paid monthly and are subject to change. The condominium association budgets and determines the condo fees for all units. Condo fees are typically determined by the size of your unit, how many units are currently occupied, and the projected expenses for building maintenance and repair.
    • Special assessment fees. These fees may be requested when an unexpected repair or planned modification exceeds the cost of the condo fees collected
    • One of the most important considerations is to determine if you can live with the condominium rules or covenants. The rules vary from one condo development to another. Some condominiums may impose restrictions on pet ownership, noise levels, remodeling projects, and renting. Always read the condo rules and regulations to make sure that you are comfortable with them before you make a commitment to purchase.





Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri & Al Mussi on 3/1/2016

When you are looking to buy a home or refinance it is important that your credit is in tip-top shape. It is often a credit score that gets in the way of a home buyer and their dream home. Credit today means everything as far as your purchasing power. So if you want to be ready when opportunity knocks read on for some for smart ideas on how to keep your credit score going up.

1. Use your credit cards.

This may sound funny but it is important to have credit over having no credit. Paying in cash and over using credit cards isnít always a good move for your credit score. Cards that are seldom used are often shut down or closed by the credit card companies. Because 30 percent of your credit score is based on your debt-to-credit-limit ratio you will want to have a high your total available credit. Having one account closed increases that ratio of available credit to debt and thus lowers your credit score.

2. Pay off your credit cards.

It may seem to make sense to pay off the highest-interest card first and save the most money in the end. But your credit score will get a bigger boost from knocking off the lowest-balance card. Instead of spreading your monthly payments equally among credit cards, pay down the lowest-balance card first and pay minimum balances on the rest. As you pay off each card, apply the money you would have paid on it to the next-lowest-balance card.

3. Donít close cards once they are paid off.

The length of time youíve had credit determines fifteen percent of your score. By closing your oldest account, you can shorten the length of your credit history causing a big hit to your score.

4. Keep the balance low

Much of your credit score is determined by your debt-to-credit-limit ratio on individual accounts. Maxing out one card raises your debt-to-credit-limit ratio and your credit score. So be sure to keep balances as low as possible. Try to target no more than 30 percent of your credit limit.

5. Stay away from retail-card accounts.

These are a big no-no. Retail store cards often have lower limits and higher interest rates. So running up balances on low-limit store cards affects your credit score more negatively than does using one or two bank cards. So in the long run the fifteen percent you were going to save on the one purchase will probably cost you more in the end.  





Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri & Al Mussi on 6/30/2015

There are many ways that you can invest in real estate. One way is by purchasing land. This option can be a very lucrative choice, as long as you keep the few important points in mind. The reason why purchasing land could be a viable option is because you get to pick your location, and build a home to your specs. This will allow you to find your own contractors to construct your building for you. By having full control over who you choose and what you pay, it becomes easier for you to save on costs. Keep in mind that while you do have full control over who you choose to build on your property, it also means that there will be more responsibility hanging over your shoulders. For example, you would need to make sure that you have all the right permits to construct your building, and you also have to make sure that you choose the right contractors; otherwise the whole project can turn into a big catastrophe. Therefore, before deciding to purchase a piece of property that is completely void of any buildings, take some time to do some research, as this will save you a lot of headache in the long run. Buying land in a down market can also be a great investment. Land is becoming harder to come by, which is creating a higher demand for land and in turn bringing the price up. Buying land now and holding onto to it could bring some great return. Think about it in 10 years from now there will be a lot less land and your lot could be worth a pot of gold. Invest now and reap the rewards down the road. Think of it like a savings account, you deposit money into a piece of land and watch your money grow!





Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri & Al Mussi on 4/7/2015

Buying your first home can be confusing. Securing a mortgage is one of the most important parts of the home buying process. Making sure that you have the right loan and have chosen the right loan officer are among†the things a first time buyer has to do to start the process. Here are some more tips on how to ensure a successful purchase: 1. Make sure your deposit is in order. Talk to your loan officer about what amount of a deposit is required for the purchase and type of loan. You will also want to make sure the funds are accounted for and readily available. You can expect deposits to run anywhere between 3 and 20 percent of the purchase price. 2. Plan to have a cash reserve in addition to your deposit. You may want to have a reserve of at least two months mortgage payments. 3. Ask your lender to go over all the fees that apply to the purchase. It is better to be prepared and know how much the actual purchase will cost. These costs are typically added into your loan but there may be some out of pocket expenses too. 4. Consider how much you can comfortably afford not how much you have been approved for. These numbers may vary considerably. Your mortgage costs should not be more than†30% of your household income. 5. The lowest rate is not always the best deal. You will want to look at not only the rate but also the terms and fees associated with the loan.      





Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri & Al Mussi on 2/3/2015

If you are thinking of adding an addition to your home there are some things you will wants to be aware of. If you decide to add a new space, ask yourself the following questions: * Can I finance the home improvement with my own cash or will I need a loan? * How much equity is in the property? A fair amount will make it that much easier to get a loan for home improvements. * Is it feasible to expand the current space for an addition? * What is permissible under local zoning and building laws? Despite your deep yearning for a new sunroom or garage, you will need to know if your town or city will allow such improvements. * Should I make the improvement myself or hire a contractor? Many homeowners consider going to job alone to save money. Consider how much time you have, your level of expertise or willingness to handle the job, amount of help from friends or relatives, and how much you want, or need, to save by doing the job yourself. You could save up to 20 percent of the project cost through your own hard work. Be aware, however, that you may need to call in the pros. Going it alone can sometimes lead to spending more time and money. if problems arise. Most home improvement experts suggest that homeowners who do not have a lot of experience should stick to painting, minor landscaping, building interior shelving, and other minor improvements.