Maureen Giuliano - Classified Realty Group


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Posted by Maureen Giuliano on 12/6/2019

Itís a good financial practice to check your credit report and score periodically. You want to be sure that no one has stolen your identity and that all the information on the report is correct. It may sound simple to check your credit, but there are so many sources that you can get it from and so many options that it can be a dizzying process. Read on to learn more about the basics of checking your credit and credit score. 


Your Credit Score Comes From Different Sources


You can check your credit score from one source and find that the score varies from place to place. Why? There are a few different scoring models that are used to calculate scores. There could be as much as a 50 point difference between sites. There are also three credit reporting agencies. Each one uses a different method to calculate credit scores. Each method provides lenders with different information to allow them a picture of what type of borrower you will be. 


Checking Your Score


Many different apps allow you to check your credit score. These enable users not only to see their scores but to see what can be done to improve the userís credit report and score. You canít see your credit report on these apps, but you can always head to annualcreditreport.com to check the full scope of your report. This is the only official site to pull your credit report fro the credit bureaus.  Finding the right app to check your credit score is simple, it only takes a few minutes to sign up. 


How Are Credit Scores Calculated?


Your credit score is calculated using a few different factors. Each credit bureau uses the formula a bit differently. Scores range from 300- 850. Itís pretty rare to see perfect credit at 850. Anything over 700 is considered ďgoodĒ or excellentĒ credit. You need at least a score of 600 to obtain loans in most cases. The higher your score, the better the interest rate will be.     



When Is The Best Time To Check The Score?


Before you apply for any large loan, itís a good idea to check your credit rating. Taking a peek will allow you to see where you stand. You donít want  to apply for a loan and end up being surprised by problems with your credit. Many apps allow you to check your score on a monthly basis. Itís easy to stay on top of your credit score and especially important to know where you stand when you buy a home.   




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Posted by Maureen Giuliano on 11/29/2019

In real estate, cash is power. Itís not exactly the amount of money that you have been approved for by a lender. This type of ďcashĒ is what you can pull directly from your account to buy a property on demand. It can be difficult to compete with cash buyers especially in tight real estate markets. Below, youíll find some tips to help you match up against any cash offers that you may be competing with when you buy a home. 


Make Your Offer Look Attractive As Possible


First, you should always have a pre-approval letter from your lender. This lets sellers know that youíre a qualified buyer. You should also get your lender or realtor (or both) to provide some financial information about you along with your offer. This helps to add to the case that youíre a dependable buyer.


Let Things Move Quickly 



If you allow your lender to send an appraiser to the property as quickly as possible, this will give you an advantage in the home buying process. You want to reduce the amount of time that it will take to close on the house. That means you should consider cutting down on both the appraisal and contingency time. You could even consider waiving any contingencies if you feel comfortable. 


To speed up the process, even more, you should pre-order an appraisal in advance. You can do this before your offer has even been written. It can be difficult to arrange this, especially with larger scale lenders, but itís always worth a try. Once the offer is written, the lender can relay to the seller that an appraisal has already been scheduled.


Youíll also want to get the inspection done fairly quickly. You only have a short window of time to get the inspection done. The quicker you get this done, the more serious of a buyer you appear to be. You should have the inspector who youíll use ready before you even put an offer in on a home in order to expedite this part of the process. Usually, inspectors donít take terribly long to schedule appointments knowing that their clients have short windows to get inspections done.  


Make A Strong Offer


Making a good offer could mean paying extra for a home you love in order to compete with cash offers. Spending more money helps to win. Hereís why: Sellers almost always will give a cash buyer a bit more of a discount since theyíll be getting all of the funds up front. If you love the house and plan to live in it for years to come, the extra money you spend will be well worth it.         


Write An Offer Letter


An offer letter adds a bit of a personal touch to the number you put down as a buyer. Here, you can tell the seller who you are and why you love the home. It can be emotional to sell a property, but a seller will feel more comfortable knowing that the home is going to someone who will appreciate it.

  






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Posted by Maureen Giuliano on 11/22/2019

Photo by J. Lynne Hardesty via Pixabay

The little state of Maine draws thousands of travelers each year. If you’re among those who are making the trek to this popular travel destination, you may feel overwhelmed by the plethora of things to see and do. If your time is limited, here are a few things you simply must see during your time in Maine.

1. Acadia National Park

No trip to Maine is complete without a visit to Acadia National Park. This national treasure is beautiful year-round, but it’s breathtaking in the fall. In fact, it’s one of the most-visited national parks in the country, drawing 3.5 million people a year. It has something for everyone, too. Beaches, mountains, and forests all await exploration at this popular destination. If you are short on time, take the Park Loop Road to see most of the park. If you’re visiting in the late summer or early fall, head to Cherryfield’s Wild Blueberry Picking for a fun experience.

2.The Kennebunks

See the waters of the Atlantic crash up on rugged rocks with a visit to the Kennebunks. This coastal area not only has stunning views, but also a lovely collection of boutiques and bed-and-breakfast accommodations.

3. Augusta

The state’s capital is rich in history. Here you can explore the Maine State Museum or go back in time at Old Fort Western. Don’t forget to tour the state capitol building or visit University of Maine while you’re there.

4. Portland

The iconic lighthouse, also known as the Portland Observatory, is the first thing you’ll want to see when you visit Maine’s largest city, but it is just one of many things to do here. The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum delights guests with its pint-sized model trains, and the Children's Museum and Theatre of Maine is a great place to spend some time playing with your little ones. This location is also near the Harbor, so it’s full of fresh seafood that will delight even the pickiest “foodie” in your group. While in Portland, take time to tour the Victoria Mansion, a 19th-century period home.

5. Bangor

Finally, make a stop in Bangor part of your travels. This is particularly popular with those who follow the supernatural, and there are plenty of ghost tours to take advantage of. After all, Stephen King made Bangor his home, and his home is available to see while you’re there. You can even take a walk on Central Street, the bloodiest street in Maine’s history, where Al Brady once ruled in terror. For something a little more family-friendly, the Maine Discovery Museum is ready to explore.

Maine has something to offer everyone. If you’re making a visit, pick one or two of these places, and dig in for a day or two of exploration.




Tags: Travel   Maine   Must-See   Attraction   Road Trip  
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Posted by Maureen Giuliano on 11/8/2019

Photo by Athitat Shinagowin via Shutterstock

Youíll often hear it stated that paying rent is throwing money down the drain. As a motivation to buy a home, however, that might not be the best idea. A rule of thumb is that if you can purchase a home for fifteen times what you currently pay annually in rent, buying makes sense. In real numbers, if your rent is $1,500 a month, your annual rent is $18,000. Fifteen times that amount is $270,000. That means if you can buy a comparable home for around $270,000, it makes sense to buy rather than to rent because youíll break even in 15 years and will accrue equity beyond that.

But even if housing prices fit that scenario, what is your personal criteria?

Is renting throwing money away?

That depends. There are multiple rent vs. buy calculators online that allow you to plug in the variables that apply to your situation. The adage that itís always better to buy may not fit into your lifestyle, career goals or plans. Donít buy just because someone tells you that youíre tossing away your life savings. After all, if you have enough for a down payment, you can invest it in something more liquid than property.

But, buying is a fantastic idea if you love the community, see yourself living there for at least five years, and want to own your home.

There are some guidelines, however, to help you determine if you are ready. These require that you keep financial considerations separate.

  • Do you still have student loans? If so, determine the impact that more debt places not just on your pocketbook, but on your psyche. If having education debt stresses you out, adding more debt to that is not a solution. Instead, before you buy a home, work with a student debt counselor to see if you can make some headway on your loans.
  • Do you have an emergency fund? For some people, if they get a flat tire or the fuel pump goes out in the car, the burden of taking care of that emergency can throw all caution to the wind. Having an emergency fund of a minimum of $1000 for short-term emergencies (car repair, flight to a family funeral, etc.) and three to six months for long-term emergencies (extended illness, job loss) protects you from disasters lurking around every corner.
  • Can you set aside money for home maintenance? If you replace your rent one-to-one with a mortgage (even including taxes, PMI, and homeownerís insurance), you still need funds for regular home maintenance. Generally, youíll want to set aside about one percent of the cost of the house minimum for annual maintenance. If you buy your home for $300,000, youíll need to set aside an extra $250 a month (3% or $750 a month is better) to cover repairs, maintenance, and upkeep of your home.

The other questions you want to answer are: How secure is your job? Could you be moving within five years? Do you qualify for a good interest rate? Buying just to escape renting is never a promising idea. But if the answer to these questions leads you to believe homeownership is right for you, in the right location, and itís the right time, find the right real estate professional to help you get there.




Tags: buyer tips   renting   New Buyers  
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Posted by Maureen Giuliano on 11/1/2019

If your house is already on the market, you're probably familiar with the hectic process of getting it in presentable condition for the next showing.

Since there are so many things to remember, it can be helpful to create a "pre-showing checklist" you can refer to whenever you need it. Your reliance on the list will probably diminish over time, but it can be a good way to become more organized, focused, and efficient.

Even the simple action of writing down your priorities will make an impression on your mind and help reinforce your memory of what needs to be done prior to a showing or open house. Here are a few tips for staying on track, simplifying the process, and remembering important tasks that are all-too-easy to forget.

Stay One Step Ahead of Dust

Ideally, every room in your house should be dusted at least once a week, but that chore often tends to get postponed, overlooked, or just plain avoided! The problem with not dusting on a regular basis is that it tends to accumulate and get worse. What often occurs to home sellers is the sudden realization -- typically, just before walking out the door prior to a scheduled house showing -- that there's a thick layer of dust on your window blinds, baseboards, or book shelves.

If you're literally minutes away from a real estate agent showing up at your front door with clients, it's generally too late to do anything about the dust accumulations. However, if you've tackled those issues a day or two before they're walking up your front pathway, you can put your mind at ease that you've conquered the "grunge factor"! If you happen to have a housekeeper handling those details, it might pay to casually remind them to do an extra-thorough job on those dusty, grungy areas.

If you have kids (and even if you don't), dirt, finger prints, and hand smudges can often be found around light switches, cabinets, and door areas. While that might be the last thing you think about when preparing your home for a showing, it could be one of the first things potential buyers notice. Although perfection is an unrealistic standard to aspire to, "the devil is in the details!" In other words, it can be the small, easily overlooked details that undermine your chances for making a great impression on prospective buyers.

A Word About Mouse Traps

Whether you live in a mansion or a bungalow, nearly all homeowners occasionally have problems with mice sneaking into their basement, garage, or attic. Sometimes the little critters even find their way into your main living area (eek!). That's why it makes sense to set up a few mouse traps in areas where mice are most likely to enter. Mouse traps come in a variety of designs, some of which are better for homes with pets, children, or squeamish adults!

When it comes to preparing for a house showing, it's always a good idea to check mousetraps for "victims" that may have sprung your devices. Ideally, mousetraps shouldn't be placed in conspicuous spots, but you definitely don't want buyers to see dead mice anywhere in your house. Granted, live ones are worse, but -- in either case -- any infestation (or the perception of one) could be a deal breaker!