Fitzgerald and Associates Real Estate



Posted by Fitzgerald and Associates Real Estate on 3/15/2019

Historic homes are coveted by many for their charm. Some want a home with history while others one with “good bones” of bygone construction methods. Whatever your motivations one thing is clear: owning a historic home is a rewarding experience.

This is usually due to the effort, time and investment put into maintaining the home’s old world charm. Those who take on a historic home should be ready for a project in some capacity either right after buying or down the line.

Maintaining, and sticking to, the classic style and shapes while working under stylistic limitations takes time and effort. Be sure that when purchasing a historic home it’s one of an era whose style you really like. This is because many historic homes have what is called an easement in place. What an easement does is dictate what owners of that particular estate can and can not do to the home to maintain its historical integrity. This can limit everything from additions to siding color.

Historic homeowners should also be ready to get creative during the renovation process. Old houses have their quirks, it’s best to embrace this when making changes and to work with them - not against them. Knocking out walls and shaving down flooring to be perfectly symmetrical compromises the entire structure’s historic roots. If you absolutely must have perfect walls and flooring a historic home is probably not for you.

With that said when viewing homes ensure that any crookedness is from settling over time and not from damage to the sill plate. The sill plate is the topmost part of the foundation and especially vulnerable due to this placement along ground level. If there is damage to the sill plate know that the entire structure of the home is also compromised and in need of serious, and expensive, attention. If this is the case, it’s best to walk for most homeowners.

A warped or compromised sill plate can also mean water damage. Another sign to look for water troubles is a sump pump in the basement. You want to keep an eye out for water damage, as this is a very serious threat to the structure and can also attract all kinds of bugs.

If you have your heart set on a historic home but find all of this overwhelming a historic home expert, either a contractor who specializes in historic homes and/or a local historian that restores homes, can help you significantly through the process. In fact, overwhelmed or not it’s best to bring an expert on board during your buying process. This person should be in addition to your home inspector - not in place of. You also want to be sure to find someone who understands that you want to preserve and restore a historical home and not just gut the building.

Plan your budget well. While restoring a home is usually a passion project for many you still don’t want to overinvest and end up taking a huge loss if you eventually resell. Know what restoration projects in your area typically go for and use these as a guideline for your own budget.

Don’t be afraid to start small if you are on a tight budget or this is your first restoration project. These projects can take years so when planning start here first: roof, windows, and masonry. Create a watertight home first to prevent any further potential damage.

The good news about historic homes is that there are plenty of grants and tax programs for homeowners planning on restoration. Not every loan option will be available to you if the home requires major work but there are loans available specifically for major repairs such as the 203k. Know your options before you start looking as this will a major determination factor of your budget and the degree of work you’ll be able to put into a home.





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Posted by Fitzgerald and Associates Real Estate on 2/23/2018

Stopping by local garage sales in search of bargains and treasures is a lot like panning for gold. Some days you'll be sifting through a lot of rubble before you discover the hidden gems. Other days, you'll hit the mother lode, right away! Whether you're looking for cheap books, antique furniture, unique jewelry, retro clothing, statues, gardening tools, or gently used toys, you can expect to stumble upon some very interesting and worthwhile items -- usually at extremely low prices. Keys to Bargain Hunting Success Many people who attend garage sales on a regular basis seem to have developed a system to ferret out what they're looking for, spot bargains, and negotiate the lowest possible prices. They often don't even get out of their cars if the items displayed fail to catch their interest. Yard sales attract a wide variety of people, but the ones who find the best stuff at the lowest prices know the value of persistence, getting an early start, and advance planning. Many are quite adept at surfing the Web, clippings ads, and using social media to find promising yard sales to check out. The Seasoned Garage Sale Hunter In addition to a natural curiosity about the unexpected treasures they might find in their travels, they recognize the following underlying truths about garage sales.

  • There are two main reasons that people hold garage sales: to make extra money and to get rid of things they no longer need or want. In most cases, they're highly motivated to make sales and do not expect to rake in boatloads of money. If they happen to be in the process of selling their house and getting ready to move, they should be especially motivated to clear out all their garage sale inventory. The last thing they want to see is an interested customer with a wad of cash in their hands walk away because the price wasn't right. If you make a reasonable offer, chances are they'll either accept it or make a counteroffer. By cultivating some basic negotiating skills and learning to have fun with it, you can pick up some amazing deals in your neighborhood.
  • At first, going to garage sales may seem like a hit-or-miss proposition. However, persistence pays off. Good timing, a little bit of luck, and being in the right place at the right time will eventually work in your favor. It's sort of a "numbers game," so if you plan to visit a few different yard sales in one morning, you're bound to find all kinds of worthwhile treasures and bargains.
  • If you know what you're looking for and have a pretty good idea of what its worth, you'll be in a good position to make reasonable offers and walk away with exceptional deals.
Whether you're looking for a used guitar, an inexpensive desk for a college student, or some hard-to-find first-edition books, you never know what you're going to discover when you dedicate a Saturday or Sunday morning to some serious garage sale shopping!





Posted by Fitzgerald and Associates Real Estate on 6/3/2016

For the generation that grew up at the height of the subprime mortgage crisis, buying a home is a scary concept. Many young people in the 18-34 age range are dealing with high rent, a poor job market, unpaid internships, and student loans the size of a home loan. Yet, others are finding their footing and realizing that owning a home is advantageous in the long run. If you're thinking of delving into the world of home ownership for the first time here's a crash course in Home Buying 101.

Figure out your finances

You should be an expert at you and your significant other's personal finances if you are thinking about buying a home. The first thing to look at is your income and expenditures. Put the following information in a spreadsheet:
  • Total monthly income
  • Total monthly expenditures (bills, gas, food, etc.)
  • Total monthly savings
  • Total savings and assets
  • Credit and FICO score (request both of these online)
When crunching these numbers you should (hopefully) find that your income is higher than your expenditures and your savings should account for most of the difference. If your savings is lower than it should be, you either missed something on the expenditures list or you are spending more than you should be if you want to buy a home. Down Payments Down payments on a home, post-financial crisis, range from anywhere between 0-25 percent of the price of the home, 20 being the median. A down payment ideally shouldn't break your savings in case you have any unforeseen expenses once you buy your home. Moving is time-consuming and can be pricey, so you'll need to account for this in your finances.

Lock Down Your Financing

There are several types of mortgages that you'll need to choose from, and you'll want to learn about fixed and adjustable mortgage rates. This information should be informed by your long-term plans. Are you looking for your first home or your forever home? If you don't plan on fully paying off the home you might look for a low, adjustable rate while you earn money. But if you want to stay in your home until it's paid off, a fixed rate might be better for you.

Finding and buying your home

Once you've determined your price range, start thinking about things like location and the kind of home you can afford. If you're handy with tools and have the time, it might be in your best interest to buy a home than needs some work at a lower cost. If you'd rather put in more hours at work, go with the home that needs less work and save money that way. Depending on whether or not you're in a buyer's market or a seller's market, the ball can be in your court or the seller's. In a seller's market, which is more likely today in many parts of the country, the seller will have more leverage in negotiations, including closing dates and move-out dates. Due to high competition, you should also be prepared to miss out on some offers. But be patient, and you should find the home you're looking for.  







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