Thomas Murphy - Pine Shores Real Estate



Posted by Thomas Murphy on 7/25/2021

Photo by ESB Professional via Shutterstock

If the thought of getting a mortgage and being in that much debt is stopping you from buying a home, plan to pay it off. Here’s how you can do it in just five to 10 years.

  • Live well below your means. If you can keep your mortgage payment to below twenty percent of your take-home pay, you’re on your way. That means that instead of buying a larger house in an upscale community, buy the nicest one you can in the neighborhood you can afford. When you do this, you’ll not only save on the payment but your energy and maintenance costs will be lower, as well.
  • Take a 15-year mortgage. Instead of the typical 30-year loan, opt for the 15-year choice. Your payments will be slightly higher, but they won’t be double. Use an online mortgage calculator to see the difference in the payment. You’ll be surprised at how much more affordable cutting the loan length in half can be.
  • Use an early mortgage pay-off calculator. Try plugging in different payment amounts to see how quickly you can pay it off. Adding as little as $100 extra each month can massively reduce the years to completion.
  • This next idea is easy if you get paid weekly or bi-weekly. Instead of making your mortgage payment once a month, pay half of it every two weeks. Using this trick allows you to make an entire extra payment each year, cutting months and years off your mortgage. If you do it to match your bi-weekly payments, you won’t even notice the additional payment out of your household budget.

Your Agent Can Help

When you’re looking for just the right house to put your plan into action, your knowledgeable real estate agent can find you the perfect one. Let them know what you’re trying to accomplish so that they match you to the right house at the right time.




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Posted by Thomas Murphy on 7/18/2021

Receiving a low offer on a home can be frustrating for a seller. But, you’re likely to see at least one or two offers on your property that are lower than you would like.

Right now, the housing market is filled with young professionals burdened with student loans, rising costs of living, and stagnating wages. So, it’s no wonder that they’re trying to save money anywhere they can.

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about what to do when you get a low offer so you can set yourself up for a sale that you’re happy with.

Don’t refuse outright

The first thing to know about low offers is that they can sometimes turn into something that both you and the buyer are happy with. Many successful home sales started at a number that the seller considered too low, but--through negotiation--was brought to a higher price and better deal overall.

Many sellers are uncomfortable with the idea of negotiation. Most people seldom negotiate prices unless they are buying a car, and even then would prefer to avoid the hassle.

For others, negotiation is a normal part of everyday life. Flatout refusing an offer, especially if you aren’t receiving many other higher offers, could be a missed opportunity.

Compare your asking price with similar homes nearby

Odds are that you and your agent have already done your research and found an asking price that is comparable in your neighborhood. But home prices fluctuate. To reassure yourself that your asking price is fair, take another look at homes up for sale that are around the same age and size of your home.

Take time to craft a counteroffer

Once you’ve had time to talk the offer over with your family and real estate agent (and maybe vented a bit), it’s time to come up with a counteroffer.

There are a few options for making a counteroffer that don’t involve significantly lowering the amount you stand to gain from the home sale. First, you could offer to relieve the buyer of some of the closing costs, such as paying for the inspection. Or, if you planned on leaving new appliances in the home, you could lower your asking price but take the appliances when you move.

Weigh your options

If the buyer still won’t raise their offer close to your asking price, it’s probably a good time to move on and rethink your sale strategy.

Take some time to consider the sale as a whole. If you aren’t receiving many other offers, it might be time to consider lowering to price or rethinking your marketing plan. You might consider repainting and taking new photos, or changing up your listing to highlight some other features of the house.





Posted by Thomas Murphy on 7/11/2021

Lighting is one of the most important aspects of your home. Each room in a house requires its own tone and brightness.

In the bathroom, you’ll want bright vanity lights to see what you’re doing in the mirror. In the kitchen, you’ll want plenty of natural light to work by in the morning, and lights bright enough to see at night. The home office is a matter of personal preference--some people like bright lighting to keep them awake and alert, whereas others like to work in a calming environment that is more dimly lit.

In addition to adding character to your home, lightning is also a matter of conserving energy. Homes that are using energy efficient lighting can save $75 a year on their utility bill by replacing old incandescent bulbs. Furthermore, energy efficient bulbs have a longer life span, so you’ll have to change fewer of them over the years.

In today’s article, we’re going to talk about energy efficient lighting for your home and which options will best suit your needs.

Traditional incandescent bulbs

Many people have gotten used to the tone and warmth of traditional incandescent bulbs. However, with these bulbs 90% of their energy is given off as heat. In terms of lighting your home, that is 90% wasted energy.

Furthermore, due to upgrades in technology, incandescent bulbs are no longer manufactured and difficult to find.

Energy-efficient options

There are three main choices available for energy efficient bulbs. Halogen incandescent bulbs can be purchased in a range of shapes, colors, and sizes for your home. Although they meet energy ratings, the other two options are much more cost-efficient.

CFL or “compact fluorescent lamps,” are about 70% more efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs and they also come in a range of sizes and colors. However, if you’ve ever noticed some lights that take time to brighten or “warm up” you were probably looking at a CFL bulb. For this reason, they aren’t the best choice for extremely dark areas, such as a basement, where you need a lot of light immediately to find your way around.

The third option is LED lights or “light emitting diodes.” The most energy efficient of the three, LEDs are brighter and longer lasting than the other options.

While they were once the most expensive bulbs on the market, reserved for small electronics displays, LEDs have become much cheaper in recent years. They are available in various sizes, colors, and are able to be dimmed. They’ll also use the least amount of electricity over a twenty-year timespan in your home, up to ten dollars less than CFLs.

Choosing the right bulb

Now that you know about the three types of energy efficient bulbs, you’ll be able to consider their benefits and drawbacks for each room in your home. LEDs will last longer, they reach their maximum brightness immediately, and they’re able to be dimmed, making them an excellent option for most rooms in your home. However, they are more expensive on average than CFL or halogen bulbs.




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Posted by Thomas Murphy on 7/4/2021

Completing a successful homebuying journey may be difficult, especially for those who do not plan ahead. In fact, high-pressure situations may arise that lead you to make rash homebuying decisions. And if you make the wrong choices, you risk paying an exorbitant price to acquire your dream residence.

There is no reason to let high-pressure situations cause you to make poor decisions throughout the homebuying journey. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you map out your homebuying journey so you know exactly how to handle any high-pressure situations that come your way.

1. Maintain Flexibility

A high-pressure homebuying situation may make you feel like you are backed into a corner. However, it is important to remember that options are always available. And if you take a deep breath and step back and review a high-pressure homebuying situation closely, you can determine the best course of action.

Those who maintain flexibility as they try to acquire their dream home may be better equipped than others to handle high-pressure homebuying situations. Because if you maintain flexibility throughout the homebuying journey, you can take an objective view of the options at your disposal and proceed accordingly.

2. Establish a Budget

A budget generally is helpful, particularly for those who want to acquire a terrific home as quickly as possible. If you have a budget in hand, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a home. Then, if you face pressure to increase your offer to purchase your dream residence, you'll know whether you have the financing available to do so.

Keep in mind that the costs associated with purchasing a home extend beyond the price of a house itself, too. As you establish a budget, you'll need to account for closing, appraisal and inspection expenses and various other fees in addition to the cost of a house itself.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent can take the guesswork out of buying a house. He or she also will go above and beyond the call of duty to alleviate stress and ensure you can proceed with confidence as you pursue your ideal residence.

Let's not forget about the guidance that a real estate agent provides when you're ready to submit an offer to purchase your dream home, either. At this point, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase your ideal house. He or she next will submit this offer to a seller on your behalf and negotiate with the seller as needed. If you and a seller come to terms on a home purchase agreement, a real estate agent will help you close on your dream home as well.

For those who want to simplify the homebuying journey, it helps to prepare. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can get ready for high-pressure homebuying situations and speed up the process of acquiring your dream residence.




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Posted by Thomas Murphy on 6/27/2021

If you’re planning a bathroom renovation, you likely already have certain design elements in mind. Many bathroom renovations can solve a problem like lack of space, old fixtures or outdated decor. Some renovations can simply beautify the space to give it a fresh face and feel. No matter the reason or inspiration for your project, there are some very important pieces that are often forgotten. Here we’ll go over some commonly forgotten details in bathroom renovations to help you.

Storage

Storage may seem like less of a priority in a bathroom than in other rooms of the home. However, because bathrooms are such small spaces, planning storage solutions for your design is crucial from the start of the process. Keep storage space in mind when choosing pieces like your counters and sinks. If you absolutely love the aesthetic of a floating sink, make up for the lack of attached storage by installing some built-in cabinets or shelving. Think about the supplies you want to have easily accessible and make room for them in your design. If you prefer to keep personal items out of sight, consider adding cabinets or drawers. As long as you remember that practicality is just as important as style, you’ll come up with the best storage solutions for your bathroom project.

Lighting

Lighting is an obvious part of any renovation, but bathroom lighting is special because it requires careful planning. You want your bathroom to be well-lit for functionality but also for ambiance and a flattering reflection. A single bright light in the ceiling will cause unsightly shadows and make the room appear smaller by concealing corners. Instead, add several smaller light sources to boost the ambient light and a comfortable glow. Try task lighting in larger bathrooms to focus on specific areas like the vanity or shower. In smaller spaces, keep the lighting soft but bright enough to carry out personal tasks and find the supplies you need. Nobody wants a dark bathroom, but an uncomfortably bright bathroom can be just as off-putting.

Outlets

Electrical outlets are an incredibly important detail to include in your design plans from the very beginning. If you’re doing extensive renovation that requires electrical work, remember the small personal appliances and items and the room’s lighting scheme. Things like hair dryers, electric shavers and toothbrushes will need convenient outlet access. A great way to make sure your outlets are in the right place is to go through your various bathroom routines and make notes of any pain points. Pay attention to details like cord lengths and how many items you may need plugged in at the same time to charge overnight. If you like to listen to music while you shower or get ready in the morning, make sure there’s somewhere to plug in your portable speakers or smartphone.

No matter what your needs or visions are for your bathroom, always consult professionals when dealing with plumbing and electrical work. Outlet and light placement will need to adhere to the proper safety requirements and your personal needs. Keeping these tips in mind will help you avoid some common renovation mistakes and insure your complete satisfaction with your new bathroom.




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