Donna Coffin - ERA Key Realty Services - Distinctive Group



Posted by Donna Coffin on 1/12/2018

Selling your home can be an expensive process if you're not careful. Fortunately, we're here to help you maximize the value of your home and ensure that you're able to avoid costly mistakes throughout the home selling process. Here's a closer look at three costly mistakes that every home seller needs to know about, along with ways to avoid such issues altogether: 1. Selling Your Home Before You Are Qualified to Buy a New One Although you had no trouble buying your current home, the same won't necessarily hold true when you look to purchase a new residence. For example, your financial circumstances may have changed between the time that you purchased your current home and now. This means that you may struggle to qualify for a home loan in the current economic climate. As such, you'll want to get pre-approved by a lender before you sell your current house. You also should conduct plenty of research into areas where you may want to live in the future; that way, you'll be better equipped to buy another house and relocate quickly if a homebuyer wants to purchase your current residence. 2. Guessing the Sale Price of Your Home It is unlikely that what you initially paid for your residence is what it's worth now. As a result, you'll want to understand the true value of your home before you add it to the real estate market to optimize the value of your residence. Getting a fair market appraisal will ensure that you can better understand what your home currently is worth. Furthermore, you should consider the upgrades that you've made across your home, as these improvements likely will boost your residence's value. When it comes to the sale price of your home, why should you be forced to leave anything to chance? Instead, do your homework so you can determine the optimal sale price, i.e. a sale price that highlights your home's true worth and will make your residence an attractive option for homebuyers. 3. Understanding the Stress Associated with the Home Selling Process A calm, cool and collected approach to selling your home often is ideal, particularly as the stresses commonly associated with the home selling process start to add up. For instance, a homebuyer may submit an offer and follow it up with a home inspection. But during the inspection, this homebuyer could find issues with your home that lead him or her to reconsider the initial offer and could put a potential home sale in jeopardy. Conversely, with the right real estate agent at your disposal, you'll be able to minimize many of the stresses of the home selling process. This professional will possess the necessary skills and know-how to guide you during the home selling process, and ultimately, improve your chances of a fast, successful home sale. Costly home selling mistakes can put a dent in your wallet or pocketbook and cause your stress levels to rise. But home sellers who work with a dedicated real estate agent can benefit from the support of an experienced professional who can simplify the home selling process.




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Posted by Donna Coffin on 1/11/2018

Welcome Home to this country style three bedroom colonial with charming farmer's porch for hours of enjoyment. Oak cabinet packed kitchen with center island comes fully applianced. ( dishwasher and refrigerator less than 5 years old) Skylit family room with cathedral ceiling leads to large level backyard. Dining room with hardwood flooring opens to sunfilled spacious living room. Two full baths is a real plus in this price range. Second floor bath with shower and tiled flooring. Master bedroom with walk in closet and second bedroom with built in. Updates include exterior paint and new roof in 2014, interior paint, washing machine, five new windows, shed door, back door and new electrical panel in 2017. High efficiency furnace replaced in 2012. You can pack your bags and move right in! OPEN HOUSE SUNDAY 11:30-1 if still available!

More Info on this Property | New Listing Alerts





Posted by Donna Coffin on 1/5/2018

When pests come into your home, there’s no creepier feeling that you may have as a homeowner. You may turn to your house insurance for assistance if the problem gets really bad. Let’s say that termites have taken over your home and gotten into your walls or foundation. Maybe mice have gotten into the walls of your home, or a squirrel has caused some major issues in the attic. Whatever the problem is, you want to remedy it quickly. It might be an expensive fix no matter what, but it has to be remedied for you to continue to live comfortably in your home. 


The Truth About Homeowners Insurance


Unfortunately, homeowners insurance doesn't cover pest infestations. It doesn’t matter if the termites have literally eaten you out of house and home, the insurance companies consider pests to be an avoidable problem. Even though you may wonder how bugs can be considered “avoidable,” it’s simple. The insurance company believes that regular maintenance and checking of your property can help to prevent bug infestations. This is why it’s so important to take care of your property and not neglect it. 


Collateral Damage


There are a few exceptions to the rule. If your ceiling caves in and it was caused by some of the pest damage, your insurance may cover the cost of the repairs to the ceiling. They may not cover the materials that are needed to repair the ceiling itself. Insurance claims can be tricky, so you’ll need to ask a lot of questions if these problems do occur for you.


What Homeowners Insurance Covers


There’s nothing more frustrating than paying an insurance premium to find out that it doesn’t actually cover anything that you need at a certain point and time. As a general rule, homeowners insurance policies cover things that are considered accidental. This would include natural disasters like hurricanes, hailstorms, or high winds. If a tree falls on your home due to a windstorm, there was really no way of preventing that from happening. Your insurance would cover this. Damage that happens over an extended period, like that of a pest infestation or an aging home generally is not covered by house insurance. 


Separate Policies


Some insurance companies do offer separate policies to cover damage from certain types of pests like termites. There are several varieties of insects that cause damage to wood structures, so these policies may be more general stating that they provide “wood destroying insect” coverage. If you live in an area that’s prone to termites, there’s a few options available to you including something called “termite bonds.”


Your best course of action as a homeowner is prevention. Keep up with regular maintenance around your home and inspect your home regularly for any problems that you may find.




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Posted by Donna Coffin on 12/29/2017

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial milestones you’ll reach in your life. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, it can be scary to take the plunge and make a down payment on your first home.

Down payments are one element that makes up the factors which determine your monthly mortgage payments, and in turn, how much you’ll be paying toward your home in total. So, it’s important to understand just how much to save for a down payment.

In this article, we’ll talk about down payments, why they matter, and your options for saving up for a down payment.

Why down payments matter

A down payment is simply the amount of money a buyer pays at the time of closing on the house. Down payments help assure lenders that you will make your monthly mortgage payments because you have invested a substantial amount of money into the house and therefore risk losing your down payment if you fail to pay the mortgage and your house is foreclosed on.

If you’re eager to buy your first home, you may want to make the smallest down payment possible so you can move in sooner. However, a smaller down payment typically means a larger monthly mortgage payment. That’s because your mortgage payment depends on several factors.

When a lender determines how much they will lend you towards your home and how much your monthly mortgage payments will be, their formula takes into account your down payment, your credit score, and the value of the property. The higher your credit score and the higher your down payment is, the less your monthly payments will be.

Mortgage types and down payments

Many first time home buyers cannot afford large down payments on their first home (20% or more). As a result, there are loan types insured by the Federal Housing Administration that are offered for as low as 3.5% of the mortgage amount.

If you aren’t approved for an FHA loan but plan on making a down payment of less than 20%, you can still buy a home with private mortgage insurance (PMI). With PMI you pay a monthly premium for your insurance in addition to your monthly mortgage payments.

How long and how much to save

So, how much should you save? The short answer is as much as possible. However, if you need to move soon because of life circumstances, it isn’t always an option to hold off on moving for long periods of time.

If you’re currently renting each month at high prices, it might make more sense to put that money towards your first home, an asset which will likely increase in value, rather than spend it on rent which you get no return on.  

One of the best ways to save for a down payment is to set up a new cash savings account that will automatically deposit a portion of your paycheck each week. Having an off-limits account is a great way to save without the temptation of spending it on luxuries if the money would normally be sitting in your checking account.

Another option is to start investing. If you’re in no rush to buy a home and have the financial resources, investing pays off much more than a savings account does when it comes to increasing assets.

Regardless of how you choose to save, the most important takeaway is that you take action now to start saving and you don’t deviate from your savings plan for any reason.




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Posted by Donna Coffin on 12/22/2017

Thanks to federal tax incentives and a growing concern for the environment, many Americans are installing rooftop solar panels to cover or offset the cost of their utilities. In the last ten years the solar industry has grown by an unprecedented 1,600 percent and it shows not signs of slowing. As solar becomes more affordable, however, debates have opened up around the use of solar power and its effect on older ways of producing electricity (like coal-fired and nuclear power plants). Solar power is a complicated process that is part of an even more complicated industry. If you're thinking about making the switch, consider this your crash course in rooftop solar power.

I'm interested in solar. Where do I start?

Before you call a local solar provider and start getting sales pitches it's useful to know some background information on solar in your area. Do some research on your home state to see if your local government has incentivized solar in any way. Some states have provided funding to banks to offer loans for home solar systems. You should also consider some details about your home, your current energy provider, and the amount of time you're going to spend in your home. If you plan on moving anytime soon, leased panels may not be something you want to put up on the roof. Some buyers will happily take over the lease; others won't be so sure or may see it as a headache. You'll also want to learn about net metering from your current electricity provider. The electricity market is now in flux due to the increase of solar. As solar makes electricity more accessible, it could make electricity costs go up from your local utilities company. Net metering is the way that power companies measure how much electricity your panels put into the grid during the daytime which will be discounted from your monthly utility bill. Finally, you'll want to consider how beneficial the panels would be to your bill. If your home doesn't receive a lot of sun or have enough viable roof space, solar panels might not be worth it. If you can buy the panels flat out, however, they'll likely save you a lot of money in the long run.

Buying, leasing, and financing your panels

Buying, leasing, and financing all have their advantages and disadvantages which you'll want to weigh before committing to one option. For example, even if you have the funds to buy outright you might prefer the leasing option for the maintenance and repairs guarantee. Maybe you want to buy or finance to take advantage of local and federal tax incentives. Another thing to consider is the changing technology itself. As solar power improves, so does the technology that makes it possible. If you're thinking of moving within the next few years it might be in your best interest to wait for the next generation of panels for your new home instead of buying panels that will be outdated in the home you're in.

Making the calls

Once you've decided you want to go ahead with solar panels on your home you have another round of research to do. Compare providers in your area. Get quotes and setup options to find one that you're happy with. Get a sample contract and read all of the fine print. Finally, check out the customer reviews to make sure you'll be happy with this provider--especially if you're leasing and will be dealing with them for the next 15-20 years.