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By Pat Baker | Agent in Needham, MA
  • Avoid a Low Home Appraisal

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Needham, Home Selling in Needham, Financing in Needham  |  June 22, 2014 5:11 AM  |  95 views  |  No comments
    Avoid a Low Home Appraisal

    A house needs to be sold three times when it is on the market. First it needs to be sold to other agents so they will want to show and sell the home. Second it needs to be sold to buyers and lastly to the appraiser. Even if the buyer is willing to pay a certain price for a home they usually need a mortgage. That means it is actually the bank who is buying the home. The bank wants to protect their investment so they do an appraisal. When the appraisal comes back low or as an under-appraisal deals can fall apart.

    If you are a seller or a buyer you need to know how to protect yourself from short appraisals? Here are some suggestions from Bankrate.com for buyers and sellers.

    If you’re a buyer:

    – Tell your lender to find an appraiser who comes from your county, or perhaps a neighboring county.

    – Request that the appraiser have a residential appraiser certification and a professional designation. Examples include the Appraisal Institute’s senior residential appraiser, or SRA, or member of the Appraisal Institute, or MAI, designations.

    – Meet the appraiser when he or she inspects the home and share your knowledge of recent short sales and foreclosures that might skew the comps.

    “Many appraisers are just pulling up data out of MLS (Multiple Listing Service) or off the deed at the courthouse and not checking it out,” Sellers says. “Most good appraisers will appreciate the information.”

    And yes, you can speak with your appraiser; the prohibition only applies to your lender.

    If you’re a seller:

    –·Get an appraisal before you list a home. Search for a qualified appraiser in your area on the Appraisal Institute website.

    – Use the appraisal to set a realistic listing price for your home.

    – Give a copy of your pre-listing appraisal to the buyer’s appraiser. The more professional appraisers will understand that you’re just trying to add more data and another perspective.

    – Question a low appraisal. There’s always a chance the appraiser or a supervisor will take into account new or overlooked information.

    Pat Baker, Realtor, ABR

    Key Advantage Realty

    150 West St.

    Needham, MA 02494



  • Why is My Credit Score Constantly Changing?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Needham, Financing in Needham, Credit Score in Needham  |  December 5, 2013 5:30 AM  |  525 views  |  2 comments
    Why is My Credit Score Constantly Changing?

    by PATRICIA BAKER on DECEMBER 5, 2013 f







    Did you know your credit score is always changing? Your credit score could be one number on one day and a different figure the next and even vary from one credit reporting agency to the next.

    Your credit score also known as your FICO score is based on the information contained in your credit record. Since your credit file is always changing so is your score.

    Your credit record changes every time a company you have credit with reports an on-time payment — or more important, a missed payment that’s now more than 30 days late. Your score changes each time your credit card balance changes or you apply for new credit.

    There are three main credit reporting agencies; Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Another factor that could affect your score is that not all lenders report to all agencies.

    To know your credit score you can pull a free credit report from all three agencies once a year. Look for missing or incorrect information. It is important to get that resolved as soon a possible. Click here for more information on obtaining a free credit report.

     credit score • FICO score • free credit report • How to Repair Your Credit

    Pat Baker, Realtor, ABR

    Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

  • Tips On Becoming A Homeowner

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Needham, Financing in Needham, How To... in Needham  |  May 6, 2011 5:11 AM  |  938 views  |  No comments

    Tips on Becoming a Homeowner

     Are you interested in becoming a homeowner and want to know how? Here are few suggestions to simplify the process from start to finish:

    STEP #1: Ask about financing. There are state and government programs designed specifically for first-time homebuyers. Consult with a mortgage lender to determine which financial option is right for your specific needs. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is affiliated with NE Moves Mortgage, LLC.  Through this relationship, I have access to knowledgeable mortgage loan officers who can help you determine which program is right for you.

    STEP #2: Take the mystery out of mortgages. It's important to be aware of what mortgage lenders look for. Know your financial status as it affects the terms of a mortgage and the interest rates or types of mortgages you qualify for.

    STEP #3: Get pre-approved for a loan. It's critical to be pre-approved for a loan because it serves as a commitment to lend a specific amount based on the information you provide. A pre-approved loan gives you the confidence and buying power you need.

    STEP #4: Do your homework.  Get to know the market you are interested in. Spend time researching different neighborhoods, school districts, transportation, etc.  Go online to sites such as NewEnglandMoves.com to obtain information on buyers’ resources. Doing this type of homework gives you a better understanding of what is available and at what price.

    STEP #5: Simplify your search. Create a checklist of the important features you want in a home, such as location, or the number of bedrooms or bathrooms. Other questions to answer: What will the commute to work be like? Are there shopping centers, parks, and schools located near the home? 

    STEP #6: Find an agent. A sales agent will help you identify homes for sale and in the right price range. The agent also can help with tasks such as writing contracts, negotiating the asking price, and closing the purchase.

    STEP #7: Make an offer. Once you find the right house, make an offer. Make sure it is contingent on two items: 1) You're able to obtain adequate financing (if you haven't already done so), and 2) you can pull out if the property doesn't pass the home inspection and the owner can't come to terms about how to fix the problem. Be prepared for counter-offers from other buyers and some negotiation with the seller. Make an earnest money deposit, which is a check you'll give your agent to indicate you are serious about buying the house. The check will apply toward the sales price if the deal goes through; if not, you get it back. You should also set a time limit with your agent that the offer you've made is good for three days. If an offer is accepted, it goes to the contract phase.

    STEP #8: Be safe, not sorry. You've found your dream home! Now you need to ensure it's worth every penny.  Making an offer contingent on an inspection by a registered home inspector can save thousands of dollars by avoiding unseen problems. Inspectors check the house for any structural damage. In the contract with the seller, it should state any necessary repairs to be made before the closing. Prior to closing, walk through the house and to see if the repairs have been made. 

    STEP #9: Protect your investment with homeowners’ insurance.
    Lenders require homeowners’ insurance to protect the new homebuyer's interests as well as their own. There are many providers so shop around for the best rates.

    STEP#10: Before, during and after the closing. This is where the seller and buyer sign settlement-closing papers to transfer the ownership of the home and all transactions are finalized.

     If you need any assistance or guidance throughout the home buying process, please feel free to contact me.


    Pat Baker, Realtor, ABR, Green

    Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

    One Chapel Street,

    Needham, MA 02492




  • Realtors are Like GPS'S

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Needham, Financing in Needham, Property Q&A in Needham  |  March 1, 2011 4:16 PM  |  950 views  |  No comments

    Realtors are Like GPS's

    The buying process is like a treasure map to the home you are going to find.  I think a visual really helps to refer to and that is a realtors job to be like a GPS throughout the process.  

    Until you find the home of your dreams and wnen to put an offer in on that home boy does it helps to have an advocate, consultant, negotiator, and a functioning GPS which is a lot different then when you are home searching online and visiting open houses.  

    You want someone who has experience and understands the process who is not only a GPS but a coach, sounding board and a consultant.  There are times during the process when you feel really scared and that is when you GPS, coach, sounding board, and consultant.  Your realtor is there for you by phone, text, or email.

    So What Does That Buyer Process Typically Looks Like

    Here is the graph or map:

    Pat Baker, Realtor, ABR, CHMS, Green

    Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Massachusetts



  • VA Loans - Guest Post by Lisa Kett Assarian, Needham, MA

    Posted Under: Financing in Needham  |  February 10, 2011 5:17 AM  |  1,780 views  |  No comments
    VA Loans - Guest Post By Lisa Kett Assarian  Needham, Massachusetts

    Lisa is someone I really trust and have worked with so much over my real estate career so I thought I would ask her to write a little blog and here it is for your reading pleasure.

    A VA loan is a mortgage loan in the United States guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). 
    The VA loan was designed to offer long-term financing to eligible American veterans or their surviving spouses (provided they do not remarry).  The basic intention of the VA direct home loan program is to supply home financing to eligible veterans and to help veterans purchase properties with no down payment.  To qualify for a VA loan, borrowers must present a certificate of eligibility, which establishes their record of military service. 
    The VA loan allows veterans 103.15 percent financing without private mortgage insurance (PMI).  A VA funding fee of 0 to 3.15% of the loan amount is paid to the VA; this fee may also be financed.  In a purchase, veterans may borrow up to 103.15% of the sales price or reasonable value of the home, whichever is less.  Since there is no monthly PMI, more of the mortgage payment goes directly towards qualifying for the loan amount, allowing for larger loans with the same payment. 
    VA loans can allow veterans to qualify for loan amounts larger than traditional Fannie Mae/conforming loans. 
    The maximum VA loan guarantee varies by county.  The maximum loan amount with no down payment is usually $417,000, although with a down payment this can go up to as much as $1,094,625 in certain counties.  VA also allows the seller to pay all of the veteran's closing costs as long as the costs do not exceed 6% of the sales price of the home.
    For more information on VA loans, or on loan qualification, please contact:
    Lisa Kett Assarian
    Senior Loan Officer
    NE Moves Mortgage
    617-610-1124 (phone)
    781-663-6621 (fax)
    Please visit my personal interactive web page at http://nemmortgage.com/lisakettassarian
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