Sumathi Narayanan Realty - Shrewsbury MA Real Estate, Grafton MA Real Estate, Ashland MA Real Estate


We all know that buying a home is expensive. For first-time buyers who don’t have the luxury of equity for a down payment, it can be difficult to find a way to finance your home without taking on a huge interest rate and mortgage insurance.

Fortunately, loan programs like those offered by the U.S. Veterans Affairs can be a godsend. However, there is a great deal of confusion around who is eligible for VA loans and how to acquire them.

So, in today’s post, we’re going to cover some of the frequently asked questions of VA loans. That way, you can feel confident in knowing whether or not it’s a good financing option for you and your family.

VA Loans FAQ

Who is eligible for a VA Loan?

VA loans aren’t just for veterans. Most members of the military, including Reserve and National Guard members can apply. Additionally, spouses of service members who died from a service-related disability and those who died on active duty can apply as well.

How long do you have to service to be eligible?

The VA defines eligibility as having served no less than 90 days of service during wartime and 181 days of continuous service during peacetime.

Who are VA Loans offered by?

Like any other loan, VA loans are offered by private lenders. The difference is that VA loans are guaranteed by the government. That means that the federal government takes on some of the risk of lending to you, therefore making it possible to secure a loan with little or no down payment.

Should I make a down payment on a VA loan?

If you have the means, making a down payment will almost certainly save you money in the long run. If you can put down 10% of your total mortgage amount, you can also significantly reduce the VA Funding Fee.

Will I have to pay private mortgage insurance?

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) is something that borrowers pay on top of their mortgage payments and interest. This additional insurance helps borrowers buy a home with a small down payment. VA loans allow you to secure a mortgage without PMI.

Are VA loans different for active duty, National Guard, and Army Reserve members?

Each type of service member is eligible for a VA loan. However, there are some minor differences regarding the VA Funding Fee. With no down payment, an active duty member would pay 2.15% of the loan amount in fees. National Guard and Army Reserve members pay around 2.40% with no down payment.

What does my credit score need to be to get a VA loan?

The VA doesn’t have a set minimum credit score. However, the private lenders that offer the loan do. On average, the lowest credit score that you can secure a VA loan with is around 620. That being said, a higher score will secure you a lower interest rate, saving you money over the lifetime of your loan.


Establishing a competitive initial asking price for your house often can be difficult. Fortunately, we're here to help you determine the ideal asking price for your home, regardless of the current housing market's conditions.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you set the right initial asking price for your home.

1. Study the Housing Market

How does your residence stack up against the competition? Evaluate the prices of comparable houses in your city or town, and you can narrow your home price range.

Furthermore, it helps to examine the prices of recently sold residences in your area. With this housing market data, you can find out whether you're preparing to enter a buyer's or seller's market. Then, you can map out your home pricing strategy accordingly.

2. Conduct a Home Appraisal

A home appraisal offers a valuable learning tool for a home seller. It allows a seller to receive expert insights into the value of his or her residence. As a result, a seller can get a property valuation from a home appraiser and use this figure to establish a competitive home asking price.

In addition, it may be beneficial to conduct a home inspection prior to listing your house. An inspection enables you to learn about any problems that may affect your house's value. And if you choose, you can use a home inspection report to prioritize assorted home repairs that may help you boost the value of your house.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you're unsure about how to price your residence, there is no need to stress. In fact, you can hire a real estate agent to receive comprehensive support at each stage of the home selling journey.

A real estate agent is happy to help you assess your house and determine the right price for it. He or she is unafraid to be honest, and as such, will offer unbiased home pricing recommendations. That way, you can establish a competitive price from day one of the home selling journey and increase the likelihood of a quick home sale.

Also, a real estate agent goes above and beyond the call of duty to assist a home seller. This housing market professional will set up home showings and open house events to showcase your residence to prospective buyers. Plus, he or she will keep you up to date about offers on your residence. A real estate agent will even negotiate with a buyer's agent on your behalf to ensure you can maximize your home sale earnings.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will respond to your queries throughout the home selling journey. If you ever have home selling concerns or questions, you can simply talk to your real estate agent and receive expert support.

Take the guesswork out of pricing your residence – use the aforementioned tips, and you can set a competitive price for your home in any housing market, at any time.


Photo by Gino Crescoli via Pixabay

If a stranger were to knock on your door and ask to come in, you’d likely say no. Yet when you’re showing your house, this is exactly what you’re doing. You’ll let stranger after stranger come in to tour the home and see if it’s a good fit for their needs. So how can you ensure your home is safe? These home security steps will ensure you can safely show your home with minimal risk.

1. Always Use an Agent

Always use an agent to help sell the home. This will ensure someone is in the home when it is being shown. While some buyers try to sell on their own, this opens you up to showing the home without anyone else around, which is potentially dangerous. Using an agent ensures someone is always with the buyer when they tour the home.

2. Keep It About Business

If you are in the home when potential buyers come through, don’t fear small talk, but be careful. Keep the talk simple and related to the home and its features. Do not divulge too much personal information about yourself or your family. Remember, this person is a stranger.

3. Confirm the Identity of Buyer’s Agents

If someone calls you or your agent claiming to be a real estate agent who wants to see the house, do some research. Your agent would be able to verify that the person is, in fact, an agent. If you cannot find a record of them, do not open your home to them.

4. Hide Your Valuables

Hide your valuables before any showings or open houses. You don’t want potential buyers to grab your favorite pearl earrings as they go through your bedroom to tour the home. As you’re hiding valuables, consider hiding your prescription medications. Unfortunately, some prescriptions are high theft items, and you need your medications for your own health. Consider investing in a small safe to stash these items before you start showing your house.

5. Stash Your Remotes

Do you have a garage door remote? Don’t leave it out! A potential buyer could pocket it and return later to rob your home or your garage. Keep all keys, remotes, and fobs with you when you leave for the showing, or store them out of sight if you are staying in the home for the showing.

Opening your door to strangers is part of the process when you’re showing your home, but you do have to be smart about it. Take these ideas into consideration, and do what you can to protect your home and your family while you’re in the selling process.


Image by Rvector from Shutterstock

What is natural ventilation? It's utilizing wind with the "chimney effect" to draw warm air out of the home and replacing it with cooler air from outside. As the wind blows against your home, it forces air into open windows on one side of the house while a vacuum effect draws the air out of the windows on the other side. The vacuum effect relies on convection. As cool fresh air is pulled into the home it absorbs heat from the room, the warm air rises and exits through rooftop vents or skylights on the upper floors. As the warm air moves out of the space, cooler fresh air is pulled in behind it. When mechanized to operate by a thermostat, natural ventilation systems modulate the temperature in your home efficiently. Countless benefits come with natural ventilation. Here are a few:

Low utility bills

One of the primary advantages of using a natural ventilation system is the decrease in your energy bills. Natural ventilation and hybrid ventilation consume much less energy (or no energy at all) compare to these mechanical systems. To save more on energy consumption, perhaps going for a natural hybrid ventilation system that cuts down on your energy use would be best.

Efficiency 

Natural ventilation systems have a low energy consumption level. This makes them the best choice when looking to increase efficiency in a building or home. You can save up to 70 percent of your emissions, much more than the traditional mechanical ventilation.

Maintenance

The overall cost of maintaining HVAC ventilation is high, compared to natural ventilation systems. Natural systems generally come with fewer, more affordable parts.

Space saving

A natural ventilation system takes very little space, especially as compared to an automated system. If you don’t want bulky components, a natural system is the better option.

Natural ventilation systems work best in areas where the days are warm and the nights are cool. If you live in an area that is very humid or where day and night temperatures are similar, natural ventilation systems are less effective.


Photo by WikiImages via Pixabay

Hurricanes can cause damage that ranges from minor to catastrophic, but there are ways to protect your home. If you have a hurricane headed to your area, start preparing your house for it ahead of time. Use the following hurricane preparation tips to make sure your home is well-protected from these storms. 

 

Clean Gutters & Downspouts

Making sure your gutters and downspouts are free of debris, such as leaves, helps minimize the risk of water damage to your roof and home interior. Clear away any debris that has built up inside gutters and downspouts, and fasten any components that are loose. 

 

Protect Doors & Windows 

The winds from hurricanes can damage or tear off doors and break windows. If your home has storm shutters, secure them in place before the storm arrives. Put plywood over doors to protect them from damage. Keep in mind that when winds get inside homes, they can result in a severe loss of pressure that can lead to structural collapses. Covering doors and windows helps prevent this from happening. 

 

Secure or Put Away Yard Items

Loose items in your yard, such as patio furniture or garbage cans, can damage your home if they’re blown around during a hurricane. Put these items away in a garage or shed to keep them from getting picked up by high winds. Secure larger items that can’t be stored away in order to hold them in place. 

 

Shut Off Utilities

Before leaving your home, turn off your home’s utilities to lower the risk of flooding, fires and gas leaks due to storm damage. Turn off your main water valve, shut off the circuit breaker and turn the gas off on appliances that use them. Your local gas company can shut off the main gas line.




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