Sitting on the couch in her new living room at the Adams School Condominiums, Karen McWatters talks about the blue and green rug underfoot – her first purchase for her new home. She built the room around its ocean-like hues, adding green pillows and sea-glass colored vases and candle holders. The whale décor scattered around the condo is a coincidence, she says – her new husband, Kevin, is a fan of the Hartford Whalers ice hockey team, as evidenced by the two ball caps that have prominent (if begrudging, on her part) placement on the console table.
She explains that her recovery has hit a bump, and she needs another surgery to walk comfortably on her prosthetic leg. She faces weeks of post-surgery recovery in a wheelchair. She’s all the more thankful now for her new home, which is fully handicap-accessible.
No matter their provenance, the nautical touches seem right at home in the Munjoy Hill condo, where bay windows afford a glimpse of the ocean. Karen closed on the condo last August, and she’s looking forward to walking down to the ocean this summer. Even though…
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Spring seems to finally be upon us. This warmer weather may have you dreaming of relaxing outside with a glass of lemonade, but if you’re a homeowner, spring means it’s time for some home maintenance work. Maintenance performed regularly can help maximize the lifespan of your home and its systems and prevent expensive problems and repairs.
Here’s a checklist of tasks you should tackle to keep your home safe and efficient.
- Inspect your gutters. The April showers probably alerted you to any leaks or blockages. Make sure gutters are clear of leaves and debris, and that downspouts are also clear and drain away from your foundation.
- Check your roof. From the ground, inspect your roof for any missing, loose or curling shingles, or nails that have popped up. If you spot any problems, contact a professional roofer.
- Repair cracks in concrete or asphalt. Winter can be harsh on driveways and walkways, so repair any cracks you find before they get worse and become a hazard. Spring is also a good time to seal your driveway to help extend its life.
- If you have a deck, give it a once-over. Decks can also be damaged due to heavy snows like…
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“I didn’t realize all that was involved with the home buying process, but that has changed by taking this class.”
“More helpful than other homebuyer classes I’ve taken.”
“The best $15 I ever spent.”
We love getting this feedback on the evaluations of our Homebuyer Education Courses. It means we’re succeeding in making sure people enter into homeownership with all the knowledge they need to be successful and to sustain their investment for the long-term. (And yes, our classes are just $15.)
A recent study by NeighborWorks (of which Avesta Housing is a chartered member) found that buyers who go through a pre-purchase counseling program are one-third less likely to fall behind on their mortgage in the first two years of homeownership.
Bri and her fiancé, Chris, recently took the class and used what they learned to buy their first home in Gorham. Here’s what Bri had to say about her experience.
How did you hear about the Homebuyer Education Class?
We got a housing loan through USDA Rural Development and it was a requirement to take this class to get our home mortgage loan. We’re glad it was. 🙂
What did you learn at…
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Interest rates are at a record low, but many borrowers are still reluctant to shop for the best mortgage loan – a decision that could cost them money.
Looking at data from the November 2012 National Housing Survey, Fannie Mae researchers found that close to half of lower-income mortgage borrowers said they did not obtain more than one quote when signing up for their current mortgage.
Comparatively, three out of four higher-income respondents explored competitive offers and said better deals would definitely have an influence on their decisions.
“Although a home purchase is the largest financial obligation most people will ever make, many borrowers do not fully understand their mortgage products and costs,” said Fannie Mae chief economist Doug Duncan. “As a result, some homeowners in this position may find themselves with unsustainable payments down the road.”
Fannie Mae reported that failing to shop around for a mortgage can end up costing borrowers $1,000 or more in closing costs.
As a housing counselor, it’s my job to educate people on the importance of comparative shopping. I encourage clients to attend first-time homebuyers’ workshops as well as one-on-one pre-purchase and…
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A recent survey by TD Ameritrade finds nearly half of people expecting a tax refund said they plan to save the money, while 44% intend to pay debt. However, researchers found people tend to spend more of their refund than they anticipate, which means they don’t save as much as they want to, or don’t pay off as much debt as they need to.
Here are some smart ways to use your tax refund to boost your financial health.
Pay off high-interest rate debt, like credit cards
The average credit card interest rate is 15%, and for those with bad credit, it’s close to 24%. The average American household carries $15,000 in credit card debt. Pay down your credit card debt now to save yourself money in interest payments in the future.
Establish or rebuild your emergency fund
It is recommended that you have at least three to six months’ worth of living expenses in savings should you lose your job, get sick or face another challenge that makes it hard or impossible for you to work. Use your tax refund as a starter for this emergency…
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