Thursday, June 28, 2012

Real Estate Contingencies Explained

Contract contingencies are a common element in Real Estate. Contingencies are clauses in a contract that give either the buyer or seller a way to get out of the contract if certain conditions or timelines aren’t met.  One of the most common contingencies is that of a buyer making an offer on a new home before selling their existing home.  The buyer needs to sell their current home before they are able to get financing on the home they want to purchase. There will always be a time period associated with such a contingency.  If the buyer is able to get their current home sold within that time period then the deal can proceed.  But if they fail to sell their current home within the specified time period, the seller has the option of getting out of the deal. 
Every contract is unique.  The possibilities for contingencies are virtually endless.  Some of the more commonly used contingencies include but are not limited to:

Financing: Contingencies that depend on the buyer being able to obtain financing.

Home Inspections: 
Probably the most common type of contingency is the “contingent upon satisfactory completion of inspection”. Some of the more common may include; inspection by a qualified home inspector for hidden defects, pest inspections, water and sewage system inspections, inspections dealing with the presence of radon or mold, etc.

  Often times a buyer will want to have a contingency that allows for a formal appraised value at or above purchase price.  Since lenders will nearly always want an appraisal performed too, sellers usually don’t have a problem with this.

Like most parts of a real estate contract, contingencies are negotiable. Make sure your Real Estate Agent thoroughly explains all included contingencies and the ramifications of each before signing anything. You needed to be completely comfortable with all contingencies included in your contract.  On the flip side talk with your Agent about any contingencies you might like to add to the contract.

Please feel free to call me with questions about contingencies, contracts or any real estate issues in Lexington MA.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sarah McLachlan Coming to Boston!

With the success of Sarah McLachlan's special symphony orchestra performances last summer, Sarah has announced a new symphony orchestra tour, which will be making stops throughout the United States and Canada. 
She isn't coming to Lexington but she is coming to Boston on Friday, Jul 6, 2012 7:30p at the Bank of America Pavilion located at 290 Northern Ave., BostonMA02206. Tickets range from Price $36.00 - $81.00
To buy Tickets or for more information visit

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bad Credit? You Can Still Get a Home Loan

To easily snag a home loan, an applicant needs to be a "triple threat" -- have an excellent credit rating, a large down payment, and low debt-to-income ratio with steady significant income. But even if you have bad credit, you don't have to rule out future home ownership.

Homebuyers with bad credit due to a foreclosure or bankruptcy, or who have previously been turned down for a loan, can still get a home loan.

Melanye Miller, a 40-something Chicago schoolteacher, has been hankering for three years to move out of the single-family home she was renting, so that she could purchase a place big enough for her and her three children. But when her credit report revealed a poor score, she knew banks would not give her a home loan, especially not one with zero down payment.

To increase her chances of getting a home loan, Miller began a long road to recovery from her bad credit history, which included not using credit cards and setting aside money each month for her house fund. Finally, in November, after saving for almost two years, she purchased a four-bedroom condo. "I saved and saved, but I decided to purchase a foreclosure condo because it was less expensive and required fewer funds," she says. "Owning a home is not out of the question if you have bad credit. You just have to do your research, know what you can really afford, do even more research, and save your money."

There are hurdles, for sure. But for those with a less than stellar credit history, you need to highlight your "compensating factors" -- those mitigating factors not reflected in your bad credit score or on your credit report.

Even though there are few opportunities for personal appeals when applying for a home loan -- for instance, explaining why a bill was not paid on time -- you can still try to present yourself in the best possible light. It just may help tip the scales in your favor when you've got bad credit in your history.
Here are seven compensating factors to consider submitting with your home loan application to help improve your chances for obtaining a mortgage, even with bad credit:

1. Flaunt other assets. If you don't have a large cash reserve or a large down payment, show loan officers the financial assets you do have. For example, if you have whole life insurance, list the cash value on your home loan application. If you have a sizable 401(k) or other retirement accounts, be sure to list them all and their current values. This strategy lets lenders know that if you're ever in a bind paying your mortgage, you're able to pull from one of these other sources to make ends meet. And if you're seeking to refinance, showing a low loan-to-value rating is a huge plus.

2. Stress job stability. If you have been working in the same industry for several years, and even with the same company for, say, five years or longer, be sure to highlight that to offset a bad credit history. And don't forget to mention any regular pay raises that you've received. If you have a cost-of-living increase every two years, or an annual merit-pay increase, be sure to mention in your home loan application how your income has risen over the years. The same goes for regular bonuses. Proof of rising pay or additional money will help lenders know that you will have funds to offset any possible rise in expenditures, such as property taxes or utilities.

3. Show discipline. Prove to lenders that your bad credit is a thing of the past and that you know how to save. If you've been socking away $600 a month to a savings account or have been contributing yearly to a retirement account, this will help you obtain a home loan. You are trying to show discipline, consistency and stability.

4. Willingness to stay put. Prove to lenders that you're not a flight risk. Home loan lenders like to believe that you're going to stay put in that home for some time (though you can always upgrade or downsize). Show that you're committed to the home, neighborhood or greater community by listing how long you lived at your last residence, if the length of time was significant -- three years or more. If that time was spent living in your mother's basement, that might not fly, unless you show that the home you're interested in is down the street from Mom. Strong ties to the community can help.

5. Increase your down payment. The days of zero down payments are pretty much gone. Yes, you can get a house with a 10 percent down payment, or 3.5 percent under FHA. But in general, the larger the down payment, the quicker the home loan approval. Historically, the single largest obstacle to purchasing a home has been amassing enough money for the down payment and closing costs. If you can't come up with that money on your own, there are a few down-payment assistance programs as well as state and local municipality programs to help. Check with your city for possible homebuyer assistance; show your banker that you're not afraid to ask for help and that you have the tenacity to solve any of your own financial problems.

6. Don't bite off more than you can chew. Be reasonable about the amount of house and home loan you can afford, even if some real estate agents or brokers are telling you that you can afford more. The best advice is to start out smaller than you want. Spend some time getting to know home prices in the area where you want to buy, and know that you always can move up later. It's far better to own a home you can afford than to move into something outside your payment comfort level -- only to lose it and amass more bad credit down the road.

7. Have proof. It's one thing to tell potential home loan lenders that you never were late on your rent, or that you always pay your child support obligations. It's another thing to be able to show them. Be prepared to give documentation to back up all of the items on your compensating factors list. For example, show canceled checks for payments you've made to any entity, show bank statements to prove regular deposits of income or contributions to retirement. A letter from a landlord saying that you paid rent on time is not enough. If you cannot produce these documents, you will raise doubts about the veracity of your credit history.

The bottom line is there are certain red flags that give home loan lenders pause. When your credit history is less than perfect, get past the warning signs by highlighting other, positive aspects of your financial profile.

Article by: Sheree R. Curry, an award-winning journalist, writes about personal finance and real estate. Her work has appeared in Fortune, the Wall Street Journal,, Entrepreneur, People and, among others.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lexington MA Rich in History

Welcome to Lexington, the birthplace of American Liberty. Our town has a proud tradition of hosting visitors from throughout the nation and around the world who come here to walk in the footsteps of our nation’s first patriots. There are many different cultural and educational offerings to experience the Revolutionary Past when visiting historic Lexington MA and the surrounding area.
Below is a quick list of key organizations and attractions that will help plan:

Lexington Chamber of Commerce - good source for the history of Lexington

Liberty Ride- unique trolley tour of Lexington and Concord.

Lexington Historical Society-combination of house tours, events, lectures, and more

Historical Battle Road - location for re-enactment groups, events going on all summer.

Town of Lexington Tourism - great source for upcoming events, parades, lodging and more

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Listing Agent for Your Lexington Home!

If you’re planning on selling your Lexington MA home this summer, you may be overwhelmed by the amount of details involved in the home selling process.  That’s why one of the key things you can do in selling your home is to choose a listing agent that you can trust to understand your needs, knows the ins and outs of the Lexington Real Estate market, as well as what needs to be done to get your home sold in a timely and efficient manner.
So, how do you know if you’re picking the right Lexington Real Estate agent?  Interview them!  This may seem like a waste of time as you may have received a recommendation from a friend or you’ve found an agent that seems nice and has an eye catching website, however asking the listing agent a few questions can guide you in choosing the one that fits you best.  Here are a few questions you’ll want to ask!
1. How Much?  The question the price the listing agent will want to sell your home at can be very telling.  If you’ve been told $300,00 by other agents and the agent you’re talking with says $400,000; you’ll want to be careful.  Sometimes agents will make promises of a big sale on your home in order to “win” the listing.  You’ll find that if your home is priced too high in the beginning, you’ll end up having to lower the price and your home will sit on the market longer than necessary.  An agent who wants to price your Lexington home correctly from the beginning is one worth hiring!
2. What’s Your Specialty?  Most Lexington Real Estate agents will have a niche market.  If you’re attempting to sell your high end home, an agent who deals mostly with first time sellers won’t be your best choice.  You’ll want to make sure your agent is a match for selling your Lexington home
3. How Will You Market My Home?  Marketing is one of the key aspects in getting your home sold! The more visibility your home receives, the better the opportunity for potential buyers to see it!  Your Lexington Real Estate agent should be listing your home on multiple real estate websites, offer a visual tour of your home, and produce other online and offline marketing materials for your home.
4. What Do You Expect of Me?  A good listing agent will be able to give you advice on what you can do to help your home sell.  Unless your home is in perfect condition for current buyers; you’ll want to get feedback on paint color, appliances, curb appeal, etc... 
5. How Many Homes Are You Currently Selling?  An agent with a full marketing team may still be able to give you very personalized attention if they’re working on selling 15 homes, so you’ll want to know who they have working with them.  If they’re on their own, chances are they’ll only be able to successfully handle a few homes at a time.  On the other hand, if you’re they’re only selling client at the moment; you may want to consider their lack of connections and experience. 
I hope these questions help you narrow down the selection in order for you to find the Lexington Real Estate agent that will be a great fit for you!  Of course, I would love the opportunity to sit down and talk with you about your real estate needs and getting your home sold.  Feel free to contact me today!

Theresa D'Antuono

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Lexington Farmers Market in Full Swing

The Lexington Farmers Market is now open every Tuesday from 2:00-6:30 through October located at the corner of Woburn St and Mass Ave in Lexington Ma.

Upcoming Events

Garden Tour with local landscape designer Seija Halva
Date: Saturday, June 9th
Time: 9:00 - 11:00, meeting near the center of Lexington
We will be visiting three very different and inspiring gardens right around Lexington center. All three are hidden gems, and these gardeners are excited to share their expertise and knowledge.

Join the tour to be eligible to receive one hour of free garden consulting with Seija (valued at $150)

Suggested donation for the tour is $10, and all proceeds directly benefit the Lexington Farmers' Market. Sign up at the Farmer's Market or via email ( Space is limited, so please reserve your spot now.

Bike to the Market
Date: Tuesday June 12
Friends of Lexington Bikeways and Ride Studio Cafe (Lexington's own bike store) will host monthly bike corrals during the entire Farmers' Market season.  The first 40 cyclists to check in with our bike valets (on 6/12) will receive a $2 gift coupon to the Lexington Farmers' Market to be used as cash.  We encourage you to talk with FoLB members about getting involved in their education and stewardship programs.  Look for the FoLB banner, park your bike and get your coupon!

Dream Big-Read!
Date: Tuesday, June 26

Cary Memorial Library and The Lexington Farmers' Market celebrate the 2012 summer reading theme of Dream BIG, Read! with a workshop at the Lexington Farmers' market from 4:00-5:00.  Kids entering grades 3-5 (and their parents) are invited to Dream Big about what they could grow in their gardens and are asked to think about how the wildlife around them is beneficial to their gardens.

Come meet local wildlife from Drumlin Farm Wildlife Sanctuary and learn the wonderful habits and needs of our wild neighbors. Why are they important to our gardens?  Then let's walk the market and meet the farmers that grow our food.  Each child will be given a $2 coupon to be spent at the market as cash to help buy a plant to put in their own garden at home!

This event is free, funded by the friends of Cary Library.  Online registration will begin on Monday June 18, at 7:00 p.m., or by telephone registration to begin at 7:30 p.m. (781-862-6288, ext. 170)

The Best of Boston!

The Lexington Farmers' Market is thrilled to be named the Best of Boston farmers' markets for 2010!  Please read about us in Boston Magazine