Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Decline in Foreclosures Reaches 'Important Milestone'

Foreclosure activity in June was down 16 percent from a year prior, marking the lowest level since July 2006 — before the housing bubble burst — according to RealtyTrac's Midyear 2014 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report. The report showed a much-improved picture: Foreclosure filings, which include default notices, scheduled auctions, and bank repossessions, were down 19 percent in the first half of 2014 compared to the previous six months and 23 percent from year-ago levels.

Ten states in June reached their lowest level of foreclosures since 2006, including Texas, Georgia, Colorado, Tennessee, Arizona, and Nevada.

"Nationwide foreclosure activity in June reached an important milestone, dropping to levels not seen since before the housing-price bubble burst in August 2006," says Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. "Over the next six to nine months, nationwide foreclosure numbers should start to flatline at consistent historically normal levels."

Not all states are out of the woods yet. For example, nine states saw foreclosure activity rise during the first half of 2014 compared to a year ago, such as New Jersey (up 54%); Maryland (up 18%); Iowa (up 10%); Massachusetts (up 4%); and Connecticut (up 4%). The states with the highest foreclosure rates in the first half of 2014 remained Florida, Maryland, Illinois, New Jersey, and Nevada, according to the report.
"While it's important that any remaining foreclosure infection is addressed promptly to keep it from festering, foreclosures are no longer a widespread contagion threatening to derail the housing market's return to full health," Blomquist says.


The metros with some of the largest decreases in foreclosure activity in the first half of 2014 compared to a year ago included Chicago (down 30%); Miami (down 30%); Houston (down 29%); Dallas (down 28%); and Los Angeles (down 20%).
Report featured in Realtor Magazine

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bring the Lexington Outdoors In

"Bringing the outdoors in" is now all about enhancing your best views. All you have to do is imagine that your garden, back yard, and the views beyond are part of your home, minus the walls and doors, of course.

Bigger, better windows
Improving your windows make your views clearer. Low-e coatings on window glass prevent heat and ultra-violet rays from passing through glass. According to www.bobvila.com, low-e coatings mean your rooms will stay warmer in winter and cooler in summer, plus your window treatments, upholstery fabrics and carpets won't fade and degrade nearly as much.

Using Energy Star windows means that you can open the windows with lighter curtains and sheers, plus you can now expand the size of your windows without compromising on energy bills. There are even tax incentives to using Energy Star rated windows.

Outdoor colors for indoor ambiance
Your garden and lawn have wonderful palettes of greens, blue, and other colors to choose from. By bringing these colors indoors, the outdoors becomes a natural extension of your home's d├ęcor.
Paint your walls one of the dominant neutral shades of your region, such as deep green with white trim for a forested area, or a warm gold or sandstone to complement a sunny southwest location. If you have a rose garden, repeating the reds, yellows, pinks and fuschias in a fabric or decorative accent can bring your favorite flower indoors.

"Going green" is a very big theme in decorating and the colors of grass, tree trunks, flowers, bushes and foliage are usually soothing colors to live with. Natural materials balance our electronic lifestyle, warming rooms with entertainment centers and other electronics.

Bring plants indoors
The lush accent of green plants is beneficial to your health, as plants clean and humidify the air you breathe. Lighting is important if your houseplants don't have access to the sun. Choose plants that require low lighting such as palm tree, Chinese evergreens, rubber trees, ferns and ivy.

Repeat your outdoor plantings of geraniums, impatiens, or hydrangeas with beautiful arrangements of these flowers in your favorite vases and bowls. Double check that any plants you bring in are non-toxic to children and pets.

Use natural scents
Many outdoor plants will waft their fragrance into the house. Chinese cherry trees, peonies, verbena, lavender, roses and honeysuckle are strongly scented plants. Instead of using fragrance sprays with artificial ingredients, scent your home with boiled cinnamon and cloves.

Bring the casual look of outdoor furniture indoors
Patio furniture has come a long way, and rivals breakfast room and den furniture for charm and practicality. The light, open weaves and leaf patterns of wrought iron patio furniture look great in a kitchen or breakfast room, and you can embellish the seating with custom cushions. New rattans and natural fabrics lend an outdoor feel to furniture to and remind you of sunny days at the beach or lake.

For continuity, tile your breakfast room with the same outdoor tile as the patio. Soften the room with a natural fiber rug such as bamboo, jute, sisal, sea-grass, and mountain grass.

It's easy to bring the outdoors in - just think natural and think green.
Brought to you by Realty Times

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

4 Tips to Help You Pre-Qualify For a Loan

Before you start looking for a Lexington home, you need to pre-qualify for a loan. This process involves a quick analysis by a mortgage officer to see if you have all the necessary financial qualifications to buy a home.
If your application isn’t accepted, you won’t be able to pre-qualify for a loan to buy your home right now, but there are things you can do to turn your situation around. Of course, managing these areas long before you meet with a mortgage officer is the smart way to go.

Here are some tips to help you handle key issues in the loan-approval process:

1. Improve your credit score
While different lenders have different credit score requirements, you’ll likely need a good credit score – 680 or higher – to pre-qualify for a loan. If your scores aren’t high enough, there are a few steps you can take to improve your ranking:

  1. Order your credit reports: Order a copy of your credit history from Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. Comb through your reports and dispute any errors you find. Errors are removed or corrected on your report within 30 days.
  2. Pay down debt: Debt accounts for 30% of your FICO credit score. Paying down debts will raise your score.
  3. Pay your bills on time: It may take several months, but paying your bills on time will improve your credit scores.
  4. Consider a rapid re-score: If your score is close to 680, you can work with your loan officer to do a rapid re-score, where you can quickly make repairs.


2. Stay in one job
Lenders want to see that you’ve been working steadily in the same line of work for two or more years at the same location before you can pre-qualify for a loan. This shows stability and reassures them you will continue to repay your mortgage.

If you haven’t been working that long, aim to stay with your current employer (or in your career field) until you reach the two-year mark. Changing career paths will hurt your chances to pre-qualify for a loan.

3. Maximize income
If you aren’t making as much money as you need to pre-qualify for a loan, you have a few options:
  • Get a pay raise.
  • Find a co-borrower with good credit. Their income added to yours might make the loan possible.
  • Look for a lower-priced home that you can better afford.


4. Build financial assets
Lenders like to see that you have contingency money in your bank account — about two to three months of mortgage payments. Many lenders also require proof that your contingency funds have been in your account for at least 60 days before you can pre-qualify for a loan.

If you don’t have enough in your account, you can either borrow the needed funds from family members or start saving your own cash. However, keep in mind you’ll need two months’ worth of bank statements to prove you’ve had your contingency funds for the required time.

These four tips can assist you in reaching your goals when it comes to securing the mortgage necessary to buy a home, and even if you haven’t been pre-qualified previously, following these steps can to you to a place where you can pre-qualify for a loan.



Wednesday, July 9, 2014

MWS Concerts in the Park


The Metropolitan Wind Symphony will continue their 43rd season with 4 Free traditional outdoor Band Concerts on Thursday July 10, 17, 24, and 31, from 7:30 to 8:30 pm, at Hastings Park, Levi Burnell Bandstand, Mass. Ave. and Worthen Road, Lexington, MA. MWS Music director Lewis J. Buckley will conduct the varied music programs, which will have something for all tastes.

Selections will include Stars and Stripes Forever and King Cotton by John Philip Sousa, Dixieland Live! by Lewis Buckley, Light Cavalry Overture and Poet and Peasant Overture by Franz von Suppe, Victory at Sea by Robert Russell Bennett, American Salute by Morton Gould, Rolling Thunder by Henry Fillmore, and The Cowboys Overture by John Williams.

Patrons are encouraged to bring a blanket or chair and to picnic while enjoying the concerts. The concerts will be held, weather permitting.  Admission and Parking are FREE! 

Visit the MWS web page at http://www.mws-boston.org for information and directions. 
Email mws@mws-boston.org 
Call the MWS Concert Line at (617) 983-1370 with any questions.
Contact: Bob Piankian   617 983-1370   mws@mws-boston.org

Monday, July 7, 2014

Lexington, MA: 7 Interesting Facts

Lexington MA Real Estate Information
Minuteman Statue, Lexington, MA

7 Interesting Historical Facts about Lexington, MA

With our nation just celebrating its 238th birthday this week, I thought it might be interesting to discuss 7 interesting historical facts about Lexington, MA. While modern-day Lexington has much to offer its residents, there is a deep history dating back to the days of early colonization that is quite fascinating.
  1. Lexington was first settled in 1642 as a part of Cambridge MA. Lexington, MA was incorporated as its own town in 1713. 
  2. The Battle of Lexington took place on April 19, 1775 and was the very first battle in the American Revolutionary War.
  3. The Battle of Lexington took place on Battle Green. When the battle was over, Samuel Adams proclaimed to John Hancock, “What a glorious morning for America!” 
  4. The Buckman Tavern is where the 77 Minutemen gathered the night before the battle.The Buckman Tavern was the first Public House ever in Lexington, licensed in 1693. 
  5. The Hancock-Clarke house was the destination of Paul Revere and William Dawes the evening of April 18, 1775 with the purpose of warning Adams and Hancock of the impending British invasion. The house is still standing, as it was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971. 
  6. There is still debate over whether the "Shot heard 'round the world", the first shot fired in the American Revolutionary War, was in reference to the Battle of Lexington or the Battle of Concord.  While Ralph Waldo Emerson refers to the “Shot heard ‘round the world” in his Concord Hymn, historians stand by the fact the the first shot officially took place earlier in the day at the Battle of Lexington.
  7. There are two Minuteman statues, one in Lexington at Battle Green and one at the North Bridge, the starting point of the Battle of Concord.  
This is definitely just a short list of the many interesting facts about Lexington, MA.   Deep historical roots are only a small part of what makes Lexington, MA such an interesting place to visit or reside. If you’re interested in relocating to the Lexington area, please contact me. I would love to assist you in finding the right Lexington home for you!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Lexington 4th of July Carnival

ANNUAL LIONS CLUB 4th OF JULY CARNIVAL


LOCATION: Hastings Park,Lexington, Massachusetts


 2 0 1 4 Carnival Dates :
The Carnival will be open the following days and times
TUESDAY, JULY 1           6:00 PM to 11:00 PM
WEDNESDAY, JULY 2    6:00 PM to 11:00 PM    
THURSDAY, JULY 3        6:00 PM to 11:00 PM 
FRIDAY, JULY 4               1:00 PM to 11:00 PM
SATURDAY, JULY 5        1:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Fireworks Wednesday July 2nd, after dusk     
Youth Games: July 4th at 10:00 AM
              
Money Saving Ride Discounts - "Pay one price wrist band"  select days and times to be announced :
Tuesday, 7/1 (6pm-Close)
Friday 7/4 (1pm-5pm)
Friday 7/4 (5pm-Close)
Saturday 7/5 (1pm-5pm)

Money Saving Discount Coupon  (Coupons are also be available in our local newspaper and The Colonial Times)



FUN-FILLED RIDES ~ GAMES ~ ATTRACTIONS
  
FOOD ~ FUN ~ GAMESRIDES ~ PRIZES


As usual,the Lions will have a Food Trailer and Hospitality Tent. In addition, our Information and Safety Trailer will be manned with Lions members and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) at all times.