Tip Tuesday: Finding a Neighborhood You Love

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If you’re looking to branch out and buy outside of a town you’re not familiar with or moving to CT and don’t know the towns yet, it can be difficult to determine which neighborhood is right for you.  But, it is possible and we’re here to help.
Photo credit: Mycom.net

We have 5 easy steps to choose the right neighborhood for you.

1) Talk to us:  If you let us know what kind of neighborhood qualities you’re looking for, we’d be happy to make recommendations and give you our insights.  Use the contact agent form on our website and we’ll contact you within 24 hours!
2) Website: You can also use our website or mobile web to get a sense of the area fairly quickly. By switching your search results to the interactive map view, can opt to see restaurants, shops, schools, public transportation lines, as well as neighborhood and school district boundaries; and of course, you’ll always see every available home for sale.
Once you click on a home, you’ll see information regarding how each school in that district ranks.
3) Drive and Walk: One of the greatest pieces of advice we can give clients is to drive around potential neighborhoods and do it at different times.  For example, drive to the neighborhood after getting out of work at rush hour and see how your commute would be.  Then drive by the area on a Saturday at 3pm to see how active it is or if its quiet.
4) Talk to the Neighbors: There have been times clients have seen homes they love but are uncertain because there’s a home on the street that’s run down.  We always recommend knocking on neighbors doors and asking them how they like the neighborhood.  What are their pros and cons are and if anyone is troubling on the street? It will also let you know how much people love their neighborhood. Do they stay there for years or are there high turn-overs?
5) Call the Police:  The police station will provide you with public crime records for certain neighborhoods if this is an aspect you’re concerned about.  We once had a client fall in love with a property but had concerns because they simply didn’t know the area at all.  They called the Police Station to find out how many or if any crimes had been reported in the past year in that area.  The Police were able to calm their nerves and give them honest information about the neighborhood.
A new area can be nerve-wrenching for so many reasons, but there’s no reason to go into a decision blindly.  There are many resources to help ensure that you’re finding the home of your dreams in the neighborhood of your dreams.

Hump Day Love: Muse Paintbar & Eatery

muse1The odds are that you’ve already done a paint night or gone to a paintbar because it really is the newest craze.  However, if you haven’t tried Muse Paintbar & Eatery in West Hartford then you must!  First of all, they have at the least one “paint party” a day so the variety of days/times to choose from is plentiful.  Also, the variety of paintings really does suit everyone.  Whether its a couples painting, paintings about animals, nature paintings….there really is something for everyone.  If you follow their Facebook page, they even offer opportunities to vote on which paintings they should include each month.   They’ve also started to include wine glass paintings!  It’s located conveniently in the middle of Blue Back Square, West Hartford so whether you want to get dinner before or after, its in the perfect location to accompany dinner with some painting.  They do offer some light appetizers and a bar though to help you work your way through your painting.

One of the things I like most about them is their ability to do a private party.  You can rent it out

One of my Muse Masterpieces

for a party.  They have 2 separate rooms so even if there is a paint party going on, you can throw your party in the other room and it’ll be just you and your friends for a party.  Managers take note….this is a great place to do team building and have a little office party as you can host a private party for just your office!  Parents take note….they have family day sessions so you and you can even book your child’s next birthday party here!  If you haven’t been to muse yet, then take a look at their website and Facebook page to find out about their upcoming events and book a spot today!

Interested in what properties are currently available in the West Hartford area?  We have the best resource for you here!

Which Weekend Project Boosts Your Investment?

Photo Credit: http://www.blog.coldwellbanker.com

Weather is warming up!  It may inspire you to get your tool belt on and do some home improvements.  Coldwell Banker is here to help make sure that the projects you’re doing are making a solid return on your investment.  You’d be surprised at how much your home value can increase with the right projects.  Learn about which 5 projects you should get started on today.  Interested in finding out what your home could currently be worth in the condition it is in today’s market?   Use our valuable interactive pricing tool!

Hump Day Love: Mandell JCC Valley Sports Arena and Community Center

Winter for parents can just be described as a season of patience because your kids’ energy will be completely bottled up so your patience is tested.  It’s no surprise that I went looking for any outlet I could do get my son’s energy out. Thankfully, I found Mandell JCC Valley Sports Arena and Community Center in Canton that had a great indoor preschool soccer program on Saturday mornings.  

Per their website:

As a trusted, local name in sports, fitness, and building community, the Mandell JCC of Greater Hartford is proud to expand its reach into the Farmington Valley. Formerly the Valley Sports Center, the Mandell JCC Valley Sports & Community Center branch offers a variety of youth and adult sports programs, leagues, children and preschool enrichment classes, along with Jewish holiday and cultural events. No membership is required. Team rentals, drop-in play and pre-registration for classes and leagues are available.

They offer preschool, youth, teen and adult programs and leagues.  There are parent and child programs for 2-Year olds. Then in the next hour you can go to a small group personal training session for yourself.  Or maybe you’re looking to join an adult basketball league or your teen is looking or some indoor hitting practice?  Need a place for a birthday party?  This complex has everything and its all indoors so your fun can extend across any season! 

Are you interested in the town of Canton or learning more about what it offers?  Visit properties here!

Tip Tuesday: Getting Your Credit Ready!

Remember our blog post about the first thing you should if you’re thinking about purchasing a home?  If not, you can review it here.  The sum of the article is the first thing you should do is talk to a Mortgage Lender.

There are 3 main reasons for this:

  1. Competitive offer.  Home inventory is low right now so to craft an attractive offer you need to make sure that the seller knows that you’re serious.  A good way to do this is to get pre-approved in order for the seller to know that you can afford the home and are ready to begin the mortgage process as soon as an offer is accepted.
  2. It keeps you in perspective.  Why look at and fall in love with a home that’s $300,000 only to find out that you can’t afford it and can only afford $225,000.  No other home will compare and you’ll be heartbroken.  On the other hand, you may be surprised at what you can get approved for and can afford higher than you thought.
  3. It will set you up for the future.  The lender may tell you that you can’t get qualified right now, but they’ll also tell you why not and what you can do about it.

This brings me to today’s Tip Tuesday….Get Your Credit Ready!

Credit: LA Times

The Spring and Summer real estate market is on its way and you’re excited about potentially buying a home!  But, can you?

  •  You might be worried that your credit isn’t in the shape it needs to be to get pre-approved for a mortgage.  
  • Or you may not know if your credit is in the shape it needs to be.  
  • Or you may have good credit but want to improve it to get a better interest rate.  

So what can you do today about it?  

The Simple Dollar recommends 3 main items:

1) Find out what’s currently appearing on your credit score.

2) Talk to a Mortgage Lender about which balances would help your credit score by paying them down and which ones are fine to keep in installment payments.

3) After you get approved for a mortgage or even after you get an accepted offer on a home, don’t open new credit accounts!  It will decrease your credit score and thus affect your mortgage application.

A preferred Lender that many of our clients work with, Ed Angiollo of Trademark Financial Group recommends:

“Make sure you’re not late on your payments, which seems obvious but many people assume that being late on one month isn’t a big deal and it is.  Also, keep your credit card balances below 50% balance to available credit.”

Finally, don’t hold off on buying a home just because you think it requires a significant down payment.  The National Association of Realtors found that the average home buyer in the past few years paid a 6% down payment, but there are mortgage programs that require as low as 3.5%, 1% and even 0% down payment.  

  • How can you find out about these mortgage programs?
  • How can you get referred to a Lender to find out what shape your credit is in?

Contact us at harrisonrealtyteam@gmail.com or 860-539-9076 and we’ll make the appropriate referral based upon your needs!