Mary Cusano
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Commonwealth Real Estate | 508.561.5411 | [email protected]


Posted by Mary Cusano on 1/13/2019

Itís a good financial practice to check your credit report and score periodically. You want to be sure that no one has stolen your identity and that all the information on the report is correct. It may sound simple to check your credit, but there are so many sources that you can get it from and so many options that it can be a dizzying process. Read on to learn more about the basics of checking your credit and credit score. 


Your Credit Score Comes From Different Sources


You can check your credit score from one source and find that the score varies from place to place. Why? There are a few different scoring models that are used to calculate scores. There could be as much as a 50 point difference between sites. There are also three credit reporting agencies. Each one uses a different method to calculate credit scores. Each method provides lenders with different information to allow them a picture of what type of borrower you will be. 


Checking Your Score


Many different apps allow you to check your credit score. These enable users not only to see their scores but to see what can be done to improve the userís credit report and score. You canít see your credit report on these apps, but you can always head to annualcreditreport.com to check the full scope of your report. This is the only official site to pull your credit report fro the credit bureaus.  Finding the right app to check your credit score is simple, it only takes a few minutes to sign up. 


How Are Credit Scores Calculated?


Your credit score is calculated using a few different factors. Each credit bureau uses the formula a bit differently. Scores range from 300- 850. Itís pretty rare to see perfect credit at 850. Anything over 700 is considered ďgoodĒ or excellentĒ credit. You need at least a score of 600 to obtain loans in most cases. The higher your score, the better the interest rate will be.     



When Is The Best Time To Check The Score?


Before you apply for any large loan, itís a good idea to check your credit rating. Taking a peek will allow you to see where you stand. You donít want  to apply for a loan and end up being surprised by problems with your credit. Many apps allow you to check your score on a monthly basis. Itís easy to stay on top of your credit score and especially important to know where you stand when you buy a home.   




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Posted by Mary Cusano on 1/6/2019

If a seller approves your offer to purchase his or her house, conducting a home inspection likely will be the next step of the property buying cycle. Although you may have the option to forgo a house inspection, you should not avoid this evaluation. Because if you forgo a home inspection, you may wind up purchasing a house that fails to meet your expectations.

Ultimately, there are many reasons to perform a house inspection before you finalize a home purchase, and these reasons include:

1. You can gain deep insights into a house's condition.

A home showing enables you to get an up-close look at a residence so you can determine if a residence is right for you. Meanwhile, an inspection goes one step beyond a showing, as it allows you to work with a property expert to analyze all aspects of a house.

During a home inspection, a property expert will walk through a house and analyze the residence's underlying condition. Then, this property expert will provide an inspection report that details his or her findings.

It is important to assess an inspection report closely. That way, you can learn about a home's condition and decide whether to continue with a house purchase.

2. You can review potential property repairs.

If you want to identify potential house repairs, a home inspection is key. If you conduct a home inspection, you can find out about possible property repairs, review the costs associated with them and plan accordingly.

Of course, if the costs of home repairs are significant, you may want to request a price reduction from a house seller. On the other hand, if various home repairs are simple to complete on your own, you may want to proceed with a home purchase.

3. You can make the best-possible homebuying decision.

Let's face it Ė buying a home may be one of the biggest decisions you will make in your lifetime. If you make a poor decision, you may suffer the consequences of your choice for an extended period of time.

Thanks to a home inspection, you can gain the insights you need to make a data-driven home purchase. Best of all, you can use a home inspection to perform a full analysis of a house and feel good about your decision to buy a residence.

As you get ready to pursue a house, you should hire a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can help you prepare for a house inspection and complete other homebuying tasks.

For example, a real estate agent will attend a home inspection with you. And after a home inspection is finished, you and your real estate agent can review the inspection results together. Finally, your real estate agent can offer an honest, unbiased recommendation about how to proceed following a house inspection.

Ready to find and acquire your dream home? Conduct an inspection as part of the homebuying process, and you can learn about a house and determine whether a residence matches your expectations.




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Posted by Mary Cusano on 12/30/2018

Tired of living in the big city? No worries, as there is plenty of demand for residences in cities across the United States.

As a home seller, it is important to learn about a city's housing market. By doing so, you can understand what to expect before you list your property.

Ultimately, selling a home in the city can be a quick and simple process. Here are three tips to ensure you can add your residence to a city's real estate market and maximize the value of your house.

1. Check Out Comparable Residences That Are Currently Available

How does your home stack up against other houses in a particular city? Review comparable homes that are currently available, and you may be able to find ways to differentiate your residence from the competition.

Remember, an informed home seller understands the ins and outs of the local housing market. This individual will learn about his or her property's strengths and weaknesses, and as a result, discover ways to transform assorted home weaknesses into strengths.

Emphasize your city home's interior and exterior as you search for ways to enhance your residence. A clean, uncluttered home interior will make it easy for homebuyers to envision what life would be like if they purchase your house. Meanwhile, a dazzling home exterior will ensure your residence can make an unforgettable first impression on homebuyers.

2. Establish a Competitive Price for Your House

A competitive price can make a world of difference for home sellers in a big city. In fact, a home seller who prices his or her city home aggressively from the get-go may be able to streamline the home selling process.

To determine a fair price for a city residence, assess the prices of recently sold houses in your city. This housing market data will help you determine whether the current real estate market favors homebuyers or home sellers.

Also, don't forget to complete a home appraisal. This home evaluation will enable you to receive expert insights into problem areas throughout your home that you can correct before you list your residence.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is happy to serve home sellers in any way possible. This real estate professional knows what it takes to sell a city home and will allocate the necessary time and resources to promote your residence to the right groups of homebuyers.

With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble stirring up plenty of interest in your city home. A real estate agent will set up home showings and open houses, promote your residence on social media and much more. Perhaps best of all, this real estate professional will respond to your home selling queries at any time.

Don't leave anything to chance as you prepare to sell your city home. Use these home selling tips, and you can increase the likelihood that you'll be able to maximize the value of your residence.




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Posted by Mary Cusano on 12/23/2018

Going through the process of applying for a mortgage only for your application to get denied can be a frustrating and confusing time. If youíre hoping to buy your own home in the near future, itís vital to secure financing or you risk missing out on a home that you may have been depending on getting.

In todayís post, weíre going to talk about what happens when your mortgage application is denied and what you can do to fix the problem as quickly as possible.

Determine the Cause of Denial

If your application is denied, priority number one needs to be to understand what happened. Since lenders are required to provide denied applicants with a letter explaining why they were denied, this just means reading the letter and making sure you understand all of the reasons listed.

There are a few common reasons that an application may be denied. Some of them are simple fixes, while others might require time and effort on your part that may delay your house hunt for a while.

One issue that many mortgage applicants have to handle is when their employer wonít provide proof of income to a mortgage lender. Since income verification is vital to the mortgage application process, itís important to make sure you can provide all of your income details from the last 2 years to the lender.

Sometimes there are issues with contacting employers, such as when your former place of employment goes out of business. Or, you may be a freelance or contract worker with atypical forms of income verification. Regardless, make sure you are clear with your loan officer regarding your employment history.

Other common causes for denial of an application include problems with your down payment (such as not meeting the required down payment amount) and credit history issues, such as having a lower score than you thought.

Credit score lower than expected

Itís not uncommon for a lender to run a credit check and come up with a score that is lower than you anticipated. Since scores change on a monthly basis, and since there are differences between the scores provided by the three major credit bureaus, you might find that your lender found a score slightly lower than what thought.

If the score is drastically different, however, this could be a sign of two things. First, make sure that you havenít recently made multiple credit inquiries (such as applying to several lenders who perform credit checks) or by opening new credit cards or loans. These inquiries temporarily lower your credit score.

If you havenít recently made any inquiries (other than applying for a mortgage with your lender of choice), then itís a good idea to get a detailed credit report and scrutinize it for errors. Inaccuracies on your credit report can be disputed and resolved and can give your score the boost you need to be competitive on your mortgage application.  

Choosing a different lender

While most lenders use similar criteria in determining your borrowing eligibility, there are some differences between lenders.

For example, some lenders might take on more risk by lending to someone with a lower credit score. However, they will also likely require a higher interest rate in exchange for the added risk theyíve acquired.


Now that you know your options for what to do when an application is denied, youíre well-equipped to start tackling the issue and getting back on track to becoming a homeowner.





Posted by Mary Cusano on 12/16/2018

No doubt about it, one of the joys of home-ownership is making your abode reflect your personality. Youíve added an accent feature here and faux finishes there, trendy geometric shutters and some personal landscaping art reflect your funky nature.

You thought this was your forever home and didnít worry about what anyone else might think about it Ö but now, youíre moving on and youíre worried your expressive nature might derail your home sale. Take a moment to assess which of your personal touches should stay with the house and which ones might detract from a potential buyer.

Exterior colors: Many newer communities have color requirements for a homeís exterior, so as long as your home falls in line with the requirements, you wonít need to make any changes. In older neighborhoods, however, there may be no such restrictions. If yours is a particularly bright or stand-out color, you may want to tone it down to blend in more with your neighbors. A better option for attracting buyers includes an exterior free of mold and stains and freshly painted trim. While painted brick is all the rage on home renovation shows, if your brick is not painted, just make sure it is clean. If it is painted, but the paint is tired, chipped or faded, consider giving it a new coat.

Exterior dťcor: Trendy patio hangings, gazing balls, gnomes and birdbaths added to the pleasure you took in enjoying your outdoor space. A buyer with a simpler aesthetic might find these additions distracting. A better option for attracting buyers is curb appeal based on clean landscaping, perennial plants, and flora that doesnít require a lot of maintenance. This provides a cleaner canvas for the new buyerís personal creativity. You can express your personality with a brightly painted front door, an easy fix for a homebuyer to change.

Overgrown landscaping: Depending on the age of your home, and the length of time youíve lived there, the landscaping may need to be scaled back. Larger trees that have grown up near the foundation may cause potential buyer concerns about the costly foundation and structural repairs. Brick walls covered in ivy are beautiful but may make a buyer wonder about whatís hidden under all those leaves. Consult with an arborist about trimming back trees and if you have concerns about the foundation, get it inspected to avoid any nasty contingencies at closing time.

Water features: Of course, some locations demand a pool for summer entertaining, while in other areas a pool or hot tub is entirely optional. It doesnít make any sense to fill in an in-ground pool unless it no longer functions, but above-ground pools can detract from a sale. Hot tubs in less-than-pristine condition can give some buyers pause, while Koi ponds, fountain and other water features may either enhance or detract from your buying demographic. Check with your real estate professional to see what is true in your area.

Try to walk around the exterior of your home with a critical eye:

  • Do some fencing panels need replacing? Gate hinges?
  • Check the exterior knobs. Do they all match? Are they keyed the same?
  • Are windows cracked or do any have broken sealsódo they have condensation inside when the temperatures outside and inside differ?
  • Carriage and porch lights often get neglected. While you may not need to replace them, make certain they are clean and functional.

Ask a professional for guidance with questions about the exterior appeal of your home and the best practices for your home's future sale.