Robert S. Soltz CRS, GRI, CBR, RECS
Sagan REALTORS ® | 781-479-0852 | bob@ownproperty.com


Posted by Robert S. Soltz CRS, GRI, CBR, RECS on 1/22/2018

While they have become ubiquitous with the emergence of suburban neighborhoods and townhouses, homeowners associations (HOA, for short) are a relatively new phenomenon.

In modern America, there are many ways to live: apartments, condominiums, houses, townhouses, and now even “tiny houses” are gaining traction. But it wasn’t until the late 1900s that property owners began to experiment with alternative ways of living that revolved around share, “common spaces.”

What constitutes a common area?

Whether you live in an apartment, a house, or in your RV you likely experience common areas every day that are owned by the government. Roads, bridges, and parks are all common areas in that they are used by multiple people and their upkeep is paid for with taxes.

If you take that analogy and apply it to the greenways and lobbies of a condominium, or the streets and sidewalks of a gated community, there are few differences.

What is a homeowners association?

When a developer plans a new community they will often create a homeowners association that will be managed by the people who move into the houses or condominiums. Once a certain number of people have moved into the development and joined the HOA the developer will typically hand over ownership to the HOA and relinquish their legal rights and responsibilities of the land. From there, the HOA typically has complete control over management. Though it should be noted that states have their own HOA related laws with varying levels of oversight.

What does an HOA do?

The most common thing we associate with HOAs is fees and rules. People who move into a community governed by a homeowners association are typically required to join the HOA and are therefore obligated to pay fees and adhere to the guidelines set down by the HOA board.

The fees you pay will go towards maintenance and development of the common areas of your community. That usually amounts to landscaping, maintaining pools and fitness complexes. Fees can range from anywhere between $200 and $450 per month depending on where you live.

HOAs also enforce regulations that homeowners must follow. These vary depending on the community but often include building restrictions for things like fences and additions, as well as other ways that homeowners can customize their homes such as paint and vinyl color. Some homeowners associations go so far as to regulate whether or not a homeowner may fly the flag on their favorite sports team over their door.

Advantages and disadvantages

So what are the advantages and disadvantages you can expect when you belong to a homeowners association? Let’s start with the clear disadvantages. If you are a tinkerer or someone who relishes the freedom to do what they want with their property, living in an HOA-run community might not be right for you. If your salary isn’t quite what you’d like it to be, the cost of living in an HOA neighborhood, along with the monthly fees, might be a bit more than you’re comfortable with.

What about the advantages? First, you can expect that the neighborhood will be well-maintained. This brings about another advantage in that you can expect your property value to grow or at least remain stable thanks to the quality of the neighborhood being carefully managed.




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Posted by Robert S. Soltz CRS, GRI, CBR, RECS on 1/15/2018

Ready to transform your bathroom from drab to fab? With a bathroom cleaning checklist in hand, any home seller can improve the look and feel of any bathroom.

When it comes to putting together a bathroom cleaning checklist, here are three key areas to focus on:

1. Sink

Let's face it – no one wants a dirty bathroom sink. Whether it's toothpaste residue or a sticky foreign substance in a bathroom sink, even minor particles can negatively affect the sink's appearance.

Use an all-purpose cleaner to help your bathroom sink pop. Apply the cleaner and scrub the sink thoroughly to remove any unwanted residue.

In addition, remember to clean your bathroom sink at least once a week. This will ensure your sink will sparkle any time homebuyers check out your residence.

2. Shower

When was the last time that you cleaned your shower? If it's been a few weeks, there may be no time like the present to clean your shower from top to bottom.

To clean your shower, you'll want to wipe down the shower door, floor and wall. An eraser sponge usually offers a great option to clean a shower, as it enables you to eliminate shower stains and mildew without the use of harsh chemicals.

Furthermore, don't forget to clean grout. Although it may require hard work and patience to clean grout, those who allocate the necessary time and resources to complete grout cleaning can keep a shower looking great.

3. Toilet

Most home sellers dread cleaning the toilet, but doing so can make a world of difference in the eyes of homebuyers. In fact, home sellers who spend even a few minutes daily cleaning the toilet can reap the benefits of their efforts immediately.

A combination of baking soda and vinegar makes it simple to remove dirt, debris and assorted residue from inside a toilet bowl. And if a toilet has an unsightly ring, it commonly pays to use a toilet pumice stone to eliminate this problem.

Also, swishing a toilet bowl with water and a toilet brush at least once a day is ideal. This practice will help you maintain a toilet's appearance both now and in the future.

If you need extra help improving your bathroom's appearance, don't hesitate to contact a home cleaning company as well. This business employs friendly, highly trained cleaning professionals who are happy to help you enhance your bathroom's look and feel.

Lastly, if you're entering the housing market and want to bolster your home both inside and out, you should hire a real estate agent. With a real estate agent at your disposal, you can receive expert home selling support.

A real estate agent will offer home improvement recommendations, help you negotiate with homebuyers and much more. Plus, if you have any home selling questions, your real estate agent can respond to your queries at any time.

Get started on the home selling journey – perform bathroom cleaning and other home improvements, and you can boost the likelihood of a fast, seamless and profitable home selling experience.





Posted by Robert S. Soltz CRS, GRI, CBR, RECS on 1/8/2018

Did you know that your front door says a lot about you and your family’s personality? It can also affect how you feel about your home. After a long day of work, school and/or shuffling the kids around to practice what type of home would you like to come home to? Keep reading to learn what your current door says about you and which colors would better suit your family.

Blue

A blue front door represents a traditional, family-centered home. Your abode is a peaceful, serene place to return to after a day of work and feels like a place of refuge to visitors.  

Best for: South East, North facing front doors

White/Gray

A white front door represents a tidy and classic atmosphere within. Those who choose this door color are neat, minimalist and strongly value knowledge.

Best for: North West and West facing front doors

Red

A red front door can be found on a house whose inhabitants lean towards the elegant and charming. This is the home of a family that loves to entertain. Visitors will expect a vibrant, energetic, and exciting reception.

Best for: South, North East and South West facing front doors

Green

Homey and welcoming a green front door practically invites guests in itself. And when they come they’ll be ready for a social, warm home where they can be at ease.

Best for: South, East South, and South East facing front doors

Brown

A brown front door represents stability and warmth. Guests will feel like they are in a refuge from the chaotic world.

Best for: East and South East facing front doors

Yellow

Those with a yellow front door like to stand out from the crowd, but still, like to be a part of it. Always cheerful and happy go lucky visitors will never leave your home without a smile on their face.  

Best for: North East, North West, South and South West facing front doors

Pink

A pink front door is for hopeless romantics. Sophisticated yet eccentric the family in this home has big hearts and is always there with a tissue for a friend who is feeling down.

Best for: South, North East and South West facing front doors

Black

If black is your color of choice for your front door you’re calendar is packed with people to see and places to be. Chic and world wise you are always the center of a riveting conversation.

Best for: South East and North facing front doors

Turquoise

Laid back and relaxed is the name of the game for a family with this color for their front door. When inside their home you never feel as if you need a vacation from life.

Best for: North facing front doors

Orange

An orange front door isn’t for just anyone. This home is modern, sleek, and curated. Guests love visiting because of this family’s spontaneous nature.

Best for: South, North East and South West facing front doors

Whether you opt for a more classic color and a more offbeat one, the front door to your home is the first impression friends, family and neighbors have of your new home. Choosing a color, whether classic or quirky, that best aligns with the message you want to give to new visitors and the overall ambiance you want to create will guarantee a unique reception to your home.




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Posted by Robert S. Soltz CRS, GRI, CBR, RECS on 1/1/2018

You may have heard of an FHA loan, and you probably weren’t sure if you were eligible for one. FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration which is a part of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.  

 If you have an FHA loan, it includes special mortgage insurance which helps to protect lenders from a loss should the loan be defaulted on.  

Why An FHA Loan?


Due to the extra insurance lenders can offer these loans at an lower interest rates. These loans are also easier to qualify for. This makes affordable housing more accessible. 


Things To Know About FHA Loans


The minimum credit score depends upon the type of loan that you need.

If you have a credit score of 580 or higher, you can provide a down payment as little as 3.5% with an FHA loan. 

If your credit score is lower than 580, you are required to make a down payment of at least 10%. 

If your score is lower than 500, you may be ineligible for an FHA loan all together. 


FHA loans require a low down payment, which is why it is so enticing to buyers. While these types of loans may have limited availability, it’s good to do your research and see if you’re eligible. 


Securing The Down Payment


Generally, buyers use their own savings to make a down payment on a home. Some states have government assistance programs that provide grants to be used for a down payment on a home.  


Incentives With FHA Loans


The Federal Housing Administration has special provisions to allow sellers, builders and lenders to pay for some of the other costs incurred while buying a home including the closing costs, appraisal, credit report, or title expenses. This allows builders and sellers to provide incentives to entice buyers. This could have an effect on the interest rates associated with the loan if the lender agrees to pay these costs. Buyers can compare rates with different lenders for these purposes.            


Mortgage Insurance And FHA Approved Lenders


The Federal Housing Administration is a provider of insurance and not a lender. You must be sure that you go with an FHA approved lender in order to get your loan in check. This is where it’s important to shop around for benefits, loan standards and rates.  


The re are 2 required insurance premiums for FHA loans. The upfront premium is about 1.75% of the loan amount. This is paid at the time the loan is secured and can be financed as part of the loan amount. The second premium is the annual premium which is paid monthly and varies based on factors such as the length of the loan.  


As you can see there’s many benefits for home buyers who need additional mortgage insurance and assistance in buying a home. Talk to your lender about how you can secure an FHA loan today and make buying a home a reality. 









Tags: Financing   home loans   FHA loans  
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Posted by Robert S. Soltz CRS, GRI, CBR, RECS on 12/25/2017

Selling a house should be a fast, simple process. Unfortunately, potential pitfalls may arise that make it tough to achieve the best-possible home selling results.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you prepare for the home selling journey.

Now, let's look at three steps that every home seller should take before listing a house.

1. Evaluate the Real Estate Market

The housing market fluctuates week to week. Thus, a real estate market that favors sellers one week may favor buyers the following week, or vice-versa.

A home seller should examine real estate market data closely. By doing so, this seller can analyze housing market patterns and trends and plan accordingly.

Take a look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. This housing market information will allow you to see how long homes were listed before they sold and help you set realistic expectations for the home selling journey.

Also, examine the prices of local residences that are comparable to your own. With this housing market data, you may be better equipped than ever before to establish a competitive price for your house.

2. Conduct a Home Inspection and Appraisal

Don't wait to conduct a home inspection and appraisal. If you perform these assessments before you list your house, you can gain valuable home insights that you might struggle to obtain elsewhere.

During a home inspection, a property expert will assess your house both inside and out. Then, this property expert will provide an inspection report that you can use to prioritize assorted home repairs and upgrades.

Meanwhile, a home appraisal can help you determine the present value of your house. The appraisal will be conducted by a property expert who will examine your house, as well as review myriad data about homes in your neighborhood and the local real estate market. Next, this property expert will provide a property valuation that can help you determine how to price your residence.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent understands the challenges commonly associated with selling a house. Fortunately, this housing market professional also knows how to identify and address these challenges early in the home selling process, increasing the likelihood of a quick, profitable home sale.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your home selling goals. He or she then will help you put together a strategy to sell your home quickly and maximize your earnings.

When it comes to promoting a residence to potential buyers, a real estate agent knows exactly what to do too. He or she will help you craft an engaging and informative home listing that hits the mark with the right buyers. Plus, a real estate agent will host open house events and home showings to provide buyers with plenty of opportunities to view your house.

Want to list your house? Follow the aforementioned steps, and you can boost your chances of a terrific home selling experience.




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Robert S. Soltz CRS, GRI, CBR, RECS