Cynthia Owens - Five College REALTORS ®



Posted by Cynthia Owens on 3/7/2019

New to an area or just finding yourself lost more often than you would like. There is a remedy! All it takes is the courage to explore. For some, this will be more about the courage, and for others, you may look at this and say who has time for that, but it is much easier for you (with both arguments) to muster it up and go for it. Practicing your route can give you several benefits. 

Time saved

How many times have you lost yourself, gotten turned around, taken a wrong turn (because really who can keep it straight when your app is telling you to turn in 500 feet), or sat in a parking lot waiting for your maps app to find out how to get you where you want to go? Add all these together, and you may be surprised at what you find. The average driver can lose themselves and end up driving an extra over 250 miles per year. Still, think you don't have the time to spend just driving around your area to become familiar with the roads?

Courage found

Let's say that you get lost going from home to work. This event happens on a regular basis, and you have just come to figure that you will get lost anywhere no matter what. Being lost does not have to be the case, as given enough of an opportunity you too can develop a sense of direction. All it takes is a chance to focus on your surroundings instead of the traffic around you or what's happening that day.

Start driving

The suggestion would be to determine some areas that you travel to (or get lost in) more frequently. Pull up your GPS, find a couple of base points that you know and then start driving around. You can choose a particular pattern that you want to try to drive or just aimlessly turn at different roads; this part doesn't matter. What matters is that you are paying attention to landmarks, layouts, and some major road names and intersections as you drive. You may wonder if this will honestly do anything for you later, but you will reap the benefits next time you are driving in that area and remember that 7-eleven or funny shaped building that give you a point of reference and enable you to get back on track much faster than you would have otherwise.

Another drive, another chance 

Give yourself a few trips around and reap the rewards of your courage and the extra time that you will now have by not being lost as much. You will also get the chance to learn places that are around you and, if you choose, to give you a fun time with anybody that comes along for the ride.




Categories: real estate   Moving Tips   Relocating  


Posted by Cynthia Owens on 7/26/2018

There is a lot to think about when you know you’re ready to sell your home. The best approach is to take things step-by-step in order to get everything right. 


Make Necessary Repairs


Before you even decide to put a “for sale” sign out front, you’ll want to address the problems in your home that you know about. If the roof needs to be replaced, or you know you need a new refrigerator, you should tend to those things as soon as possible. While these items can be an expense for you, completing these things before the sale of the home will increase the value of the home and save you some aggravation when it comes time for the home inspection.


Don’t forget about the small details as you look at what needs to be done on your property. Does the doorbell ring? Are the lightbulbs all working? These small details are just as important as the big stuff.   


Find A Real Estate Agent


Finding a real estate agent isn’t a one-size-fits-all job. You want an agent who understands your needs and is an expert in your particular market. You can check with your family and friends to see if they have a particular agent who they recommend. Also, you might check out reviews online to help you discover an agent. Do you have a particular agency in mind? Give them a call and they can set you up with one of their agents. Many agents will be happy to provide a number of references of recent sales if you inquire. 


Find Out How Your Home Will Be Marketed


If your home won’t be on social media, there’s something wrong with the marketing plan. You’ll need lots of good photos and maybe even a video tour of your home. You should definitely be sure that your home is being marketed on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram to name a few social networks. These networks even offer paid ads to help you reach the right buyers. Talk with your realtor to see what the plan for marketing your home sale is.


Prepare For Home Showings


While you still might need to live in your home while you’re selling it, you want the property to be presentable. Start at the curb of your home and work your way to the inside. The property should look presentable from the moment buyers pull up to the house. The lawn should be mowed, the landscaping should be trimmed, and the inside of the home should be thoroughly cleaned. This will seal the deal on the sale of your property after all of the other hard work has been done.   





Posted by Cynthia Owens on 3/22/2018

If you’re buying or selling a home for the first time you’ll likely come across several terms and acronyms you’ve never heard before. When working with a real estate agent, he or she will likely do their best to put things in simplest terms for you to understand. But, it never hurts to do your research ahead of time so you’re prepared for the lengthy and complex process of buying or selling a home.

In this article, we’ll define some of the real estate terms you’re most likely to read or hear during your search for a new home, or when you put your current home on the market.

Common real estate definitions

  • Adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) - a home loan with a in interest rate which fluctuates throughout the payback term of the loan. The fluctuation typically aligns with changes in the housing market’s average interest rates.

  • Fixed rate mortgage (FRM) - Fixed rate mortgages have an interest rate that does not change for a predetermined period of time or for the entire length of the home loan repayment period.

  • Closing costs - Miscellaneous fees associated with buying a home. These include attorney fees, applications fees, taxes (property taxes, transfer taxes), underwriting costs, and more.

  • Transfer tax - A tax charged for when a property changes ownership. These vary by state. Some states do not have a transfer tax.

  • Appreciation and depreciation - Appreciation is an increase in a property value due to things like inflation. Depreciation is a decrease in property value due to market deflation, wear and tear on the property, etc.

  • Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) - A U.S. law that makes it illegal for a creditor to discriminate on the basis of the following: national origin, race, color, religion, sex, age, marital status, or to the applicant’s status as receiving public assistance from things like food stamps and social security.  

  • Mortgage escrow - an escrow is a neutral, third party agent or company which holds documents or funds until certain terms and conditions are met and a contract is fulfilled or terminated. For mortgages, lenders will often set up an escrow to pay insurance premiums and property taxes. These are typically added to your monthly mortgage bill.

  • Homeowners association (HOA) - a group of homeowners who regulate, maintain, and manage common spaces in subdivisions and condominiums. Monthly dues are typically required to upkeep common spaces. An HOA board made up of homeowners meets to vote on rules and regulations that members of the HOA must abide by.

  • Private mortgage insurance - a type of insurance that protects a lender if a borrower defaults on their home loan.

  • Exclusive agency listing - an agreement between a homeowner and a real estate broker giving the broker exclusive rights to list the home.

  • Assumable mortgage - a home loan that enables a buyer to take over the seller’s mortgage payments and loan terms.

  • Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) - A U.S. law which promotes privacy, fairness, and accuracy in reporting your credit score to lenders. This lets you correct inaccuracies and prevent certain information from being used against you when applying for a loan.





Posted by Cynthia Owens on 2/22/2018

Let's face it – selling your home is no simple task. As such, you'll want to find a real estate agent who can guide you through the home selling process and ensure that you're able to maximize the value of your residence. Ultimately, there are many reasons to find a real estate agent to help you sell your residence, including: 1. Industry Experience A real estate agent will possess comprehensive industry experience that makes him or her exceedingly valuable. This professional understands the ins and outs of the real estate sector and will be able to assist you in several areas. From determining the best price for your home to offering home improvement tips, a real estate agent knows what it takes to sell a residence in any real estate market, at any time. 2. Local Knowledge Selling a home in a big city can be very different from selling one in a small town. Fortunately, a real estate often recognizes the key attributes of selling a home in a specific area and will work with you to find interested homebuyers consistently. The local knowledge that a real estate agent possesses can make him or her a great resource, particularly for home sellers who are hoping for a fast sale. This professional will work with you throughout the home selling process, and ultimately, ensure that you are fully satisfied with the end results. 3. Expert Negotiation Skills A real estate agent represents you throughout the home selling process and will operate as a liaison between you and a homebuyer. That way, if a homebuyer wants to negotiate for a better price for your residence, your real estate agent can serve as a facilitator who can help you get the best price for your home. Negotiating can be a stressful, exhausting experience, particularly for home sellers who are offering their residences to homebuyers for the first time. Thankfully, your real estate agent will help you streamline any negotiations with a homebuyer. 4. Friendly, Professional Approach A real estate agent understands that the process of selling a home is rarely simple and is happy to respond to your concerns and questions at any time. Typically, a real estate agent will keep you up to date as he or she tries to find homebuyers. This professional will take a friendly, professional approach to promoting your home to a wide range of prospective homebuyers, hosting open houses and home showings and ensuring that you get the attention you deserve while you try to sell your home. With the right real estate agent to help you sell your residence, you can enjoy a stress-free journey through the home selling process – one that is likely to conclude with a home sale that satisfies your needs. Choose the right real estate agent as you prepare to add your home to the real estate market. By doing so, you can take the guesswork out of promoting your home to the right homebuyers and increase your chances of a quick sale.





Posted by Cynthia Owens on 11/2/2017

Don't make a mistake that some first time home buyers make. Don't fall in love with a house a few days or weeks after you start shopping for a house. Even if the house is large enough to comfortably fit all of your furniture, you could regret deciding on a house to buy so early.

You could regret buying a house less than a year after you move in

If it helps, think of shopping for a house similar to dating. You won't see everything about a house during the first visit. Enter into a closing deal too soon and you could miss seeing several other houses that would in the long term cost you less money to maintain.

Buy a house too soon and you could over look structural damages at the house. For example, you might miss or overlook water stains on walls, ceilings or floors because you can't stop thinking about how spacious and modern the kitchen is. You also might:

  • Get upset when your spouse or friends point out shortcomings with the house that you've gotten too attached to. Rather than to face the fact that even the house you love has drawbacks, you force yourself and everyone else to perceive of the house as perfect.
  • Pay thousands more for a house than you should have. You want the house so badly, that you're willing to pay nearly anything to own it.
  • Focus on one to three features of the house but ignore the fact that the house is located in an area that adds 30 or more minutes to your work commute.
  • End up buying a house that you love and your spouse or children hate.
  • Take on the need to pay for ongoing upgrades and renovations.
  • Become sad or angry when you realize that you don't like the community that the house is located in. For example, if you love the fast pace of a big city and the house you fell in love with is in the suburbs, you might feel too far away from the center of town. You might feel bored.
  • Lack nearby places to take your children for fun and entertainment.
  • Increase the distance between you and your parents, siblings or friends.

Consider as many factors about your next house move as you can

Getting too attached to a house could cost you months of peace and quiet. Fall in love with a house that needs a lot of love and care and you could convince yourself that,with just a few renovations, you can turn the house into the perfect place to live. Three to four years later, construction might still be going on at the house, annoying you and your family.

It's this type of drawback that can put strain on your relationships. You and your spouse might end up arguing about the house more than you end up bumping heads about anything else. If your children hate the schools that are located in the jurisdiction where the house you fell in love with is, their mood and disposition might take a dip as well. Avoid these headaches by taking an objective approach to house shopping. Consider as many factors about each house you love before you decide to buy.




Categories: real estate  




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