Lea Cohen | Brookline Real Estate, Newton Real Estate, West Roxbury Real Estate


If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future there are several financial prerequisites that you should aim to meet. Ideally, you’ll want a sizable down payment, a verifiable income history, and a good credit score.

It takes time to build credit. For most people, it can be several months or even years before they see a double-digit change in their credit score. However, if you have a low credit score and want to give it a quick boost, there are ways you can make a big difference.

But first, why should you focus on your credit score?

Credit scores and mortgages

When you apply for a mortgage there are several factors that your lender will take into consideration. One of their top concerns will be your credit score. This score is like a snapshot of your financial reliability. It tells lenders how much risk is involved in lending to you.

As a result, lenders will increase your interest rate if you are high risk and lower it if you are lower risk. To be a low risk homeowner, you’ll want your score to be in the high range, (usually 700 or above).

Credit change potential

Depending on your financial history, it can be more difficult to raise your score in a shorter period of time. If you are young, don’t have a long credit history, or haven’t had many bills to pay in your lifetime, your score will be more malleable than someone who has had low credit for years due to late payments.

In the United States, you have to be eighteen to open up a credit card or take out a loan by yourself (this is different from getting a loan co-signed by a parent or guardian).  You can also ask your parents or guardians to add you as an authorized user of their credit cards. This will let you build credit without having to settle for the high interest rate credit cards you would be eligible for.

If you happen to have a low score (anywhere between 300 - 600), the good news is you can achieve a larger change over a shorter amount of time than someone who already has a high score.

So, how do you achieve that change?

Credit errors

One of the easiest ways to quickly improve your score is to check for errors in your credit report. You can get a free report each year from the three main credit bureaus--Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

Look out for bills that have been mistakenly put under your name and for collections that shouldn’t be on your account.

Avoid new credit

One thing that can do short-term harm to your credit score is opening or attempting to open new lines of credit. That can be a store card, a loan, or getting your credit checked by a lender.

If you want to build credit quickly, making several inquiries could land you with a lower score than where you started.

Pay your regular expenses with credit

A good way to gain credit points in a few months is to pick a monthly expense to use your credit card for. Pay off your full balance at the end of each billing cycle to earn the most points while avoiding building up too much interest.



Water features aren’t just limited to the outdoors, anymore. You can bring the calming serenity of a soft stream into your home to give a more relaxing atmosphere. They can also be used as room dividers, conversation pieces, or as a simple decoration.

Wall Fountains

One of the most common ideas for indoor water features is the wall fountain. They add a soothing, bubbling sound and make the room appealing without consuming too much floor space. Most times, wall fountains work well in homes with rich, natural textures like natural stone walls and native, wood flooring and evoke a luxurious style without breaking the bank.

Indoor Water Streams

A water stream running through the floor can give your home a sophisticated edge. Moving water also comes with a calming effect. This type of water feature requires a vast amount of surface area so movement isn’t obstructed. One option to preserve your floor space is to cover the stream with glass.

Indoor Waterfalls

Another good indoor water feature idea is an indoor waterfall. With an indoor waterfall, you can transform an ordinary room into a beautiful and classy setting. It is best to place indoor waterfalls close to accent walls and close to natural lighting to ensure that you get all the beautiful, glistening effects from the water.

Indoor Ponds

With an indoor pond, you can make a perfect spot to relax and unwind. You can place indoor ponds in your entry, your sunroom, or any other central area in the home as long as it doesn’t obstruct the walkway.

Free-Standing Water Features

You can add a beautiful water feature, even in the smallest of rooms, in the form of a table-top or wall mounted fixture. A free-standing water feature is available in a variety of styles and sizes, and it can be set up without the hassle of remodeling.

Best Places to Install an Indoor Water Feature

Indoor water features bring elegance to your bedroom, living room, hallway, bathroom, or kitchen. Ponds, streams, and waterfalls are great for the living room where many people can admire them. Under the staircase is another ideal place to install a waterfall in your home if it happens to be open. If you are buying a free-standing water feature, make it a focal point so that it occupies center stage.

Water features can be a significant improvement to your home, increasing its buyer appeal and sale value. Need a little assistance in finding the right feature for your home? Contact me, and I’ll point you in the right direction.


This Condo in Boston, MA recently sold for $735,000. This Rowhouse style home was sold by Lea Cohen - William Raveis R.E. & Home Services.


24 Forbes, Boston, MA 02130

Jamaica Plain

Condo

$749,000
Price
$735,000
Sale Price

4
Rooms
2
Beds
2
Baths
In bustling Hyde Square this open and sunny, 14 yr young two bed, two bath home sets itself apart from all the others with a brand new, 400 sq ft expansive private roof deck with views of the city skyline, an open floor plan, abundant closet space and another private balcony off the kitchen.The spacious master bedroom offers a closet with built-ins and a 4 piece spa size master bath. Just as you’d expect there is central air conditioning and in-unit laundry.The condo also offers a massive, private storage room in the basement and deeded off-street parking for 2 full size vehicles. The living room overlooks the lovely Forbes St. Community Garden.Jamaica Plain’s Hyde Square is filled with restaurants, pubs and a Whole Foods market. Bucolic Jamaica Pond is a very short walk or bike ride away.Conveniently close to the Longwood Medical Area, universities & museums. Nearby public transportation options are the Orange Line or #39 bus route. Be part of the vibrant Jamaica Plain neighborhood.

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If you're getting ready to put your house on the market, your mind is probably flooded with dozens of unanswerable questions. Much of your uncertainty may revolve around the marketability of your home and how quickly a qualified buyer will come along.

Although there are factors over which you have little control, there are several things you can do to tip the scales in your direction.

Other than sprucing up your home and yard to maximize their visual appeal, choosing a top-notch real estate agent is the single most important step you can take. It's not only crucial to select an agent who is both experienced and proactive, but you'll also want to find a professional with whom you have a good rapport. You can usually get a pretty good idea of their experience and sales history from online profiles, but the only way to know whether they're a good fit for your needs and personality is by meeting with them face to face.

If you have the time and inclination, it can also be to your advantage to interview more than one candidate. The agent you ultimately choose will have a direct bearing on virtually all aspects of the sales process. By choosing a professional who is dedicated, knowledgeable, and easy to work with, you'll be taking a big step toward getting your house sold within the shortest period of time. A good agent will keep you motivated, informed, and focused on keeping your home in marketable condition. They'll also help you with everything from pricing and negotiating to problem solving and setting up appointments.

There are several other things you can do to increase the chances of attracting potential buyers and offers. Creating as much curb appeal as possible can go a long way toward making a great first impression. The concept of curb appeal can encompass many different elements, but the battle is half won when your lawn, bushes, and trees are kept neatly trimmed at all times. Weather permitting, displaying colorful potted flowers and hanging baskets is another way to add a lot of eye appeal to your home. Simple improvements like painting your front steps, sealcoating your driveway, or touching up the paint on window shutters or porch railings can also help enhance your home's curb appeal.

Although interior painting can be time-consuming and a bit messy, it's often one of the most cost-effective ways to make a positive impression on potential buyers. If your walls are looking scuffed, faded, or otherwise neglected, a fresh coat of neutral, beige, or grey paint can often make a huge difference in the eye-appeal of your home. Making sure your carpets are clean, counter tops are immaculate, and your windows are crystal clear are other ways to put your best foot forward when house hunters are scheduled to visit your home.


If you're planning to purchase a home in the near future, one thing's for sure: You've got your work cut out for you! However, when you finally find the house of your dreams, the time and effort will be more than worth it!

Your to-do list will include calculating how much you can afford to spend on a house, obtaining a pre-qualification letter from a mortgage lender, and eventually comparing loan estimates.

One of the first things home buyers usually need to do before getting too caught up in their real estate search is to check their credit score. Your credit report, which is basically a detailed profile of your credit history, plays a major role in your ability to get approved for a mortgage and obtain favorable interest rates. Consumers are entitled to get a free copy of their credit report once a year from the three major credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Before applying for a mortgage, it's highly recommended that you check the accuracy of your credit report. If it contains mistakes, inaccuracies, or obsolete information, that could affect your ability to get a mortgage -- or obtain favorable interest rates and terms. Fortunately, errors can be disputed and corrected by the appropriate credit reporting company.

The Impact of Your Credit Score

The most widely used scoring system to determine a borrower's ability (and willingness) to stay current on loan payments is called a "FICO score." Depending on your credit history and bill paying habits, your FICO score can range from a low of 300 to a high of 850. If you're wondering how your FICO score stacks up against other homebuyers and consumers in the U.S., the median FICO score was recently in the neighborhood of 721 (although that number fluctuates). That means 50% of borrowers are above that score and 50% fall below that mark.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the best mortgage interest rates are generally offered to borrowers who have earned FICO scores in the mid- to high 700s. If your credit score falls between the high 600s and the low 700s, the interest rates available to you may be somewhat higher.

Those who are saddled with a credit rating below the mid 600s may have difficulty getting approved for a mortgage. If you're in that situation, your real estate agent or loan officer may suggest applying for an FHA loan rather that a conventional loan. Although FHA loans can be more expensive, the standards for getting approved are more lenient. These government regulated and insured loans also allow for a more affordable down payment of as little as 3.5 percent, as oppose to the "typical" down payment of between 10 and 15 percent.




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