Ari Koufos
REALTY EXECUTIVES | 617-799-8948 | ari@arikoufos.com


Posted by Ari Koufos on 1/26/2021

Buying a new home is an exciting experience. Who doesn’t love new things—and a new home at that? But a new home is also challenging and intimidating. If you have left a home that you adored then this new home has high expectations. And if it’s your first home then such an investment is a big step and can be intimidating for that reason. But one thing that can be agreed upon is the need for this house to feel like your home. Let’s look at a few simple tips for making your new house truly feel like your home.

Family Heirlooms: Have a family heirloom that has been passed down from generation to generation? These types of keepsakes could range from an afghan that a great-grandparent or grandparent had knit, various antiques, clocks, diaries and recipes. You can display recipes on a kitchen counter or you can even get creative and design custom wallpaper from the recipe cards. Grandfather clocks fit the atmosphere of home offices and formal living rooms. There are tasteful ways to add each one of these into your home and preserve the memory of these keepsakes.

Photos & Artwork: What better way to bring personality and familiarity into a home than photos of family and friends or artwork from a favorite artist or of your favorite place. A popular approach is a grid-like arrangement created on large, open walls. This is one way to display many beloved photos without creating clutter on tables or other pieces of furniture. A long wall along a hallway would be a great place to display larger photos or artwork that would run horizontally. This is especially nice for sequenced pieces such as change of season photos.

DIY projects: Add your personality to your home with DIY projects. Mason jars, glass vases, and wine bottles can be turned into beautiful home décor with only a few materials and a couple hours. Items like rope, artificial flowers, ribbon, and glitter are just a couple examples of supplies that can be used to turn those simple items into a homemade masterpiece.

Memories: Last, but certainly not least, create memories.This is the easiest and quickest way to make a house feel like a home. Things as simple as cooking dinner with your loved ones and as extravagant as starting a family are amazing memories to make. And the first time you remember something special happening in your home will be an amazing feeling. You’ll truly feel like you’ve left your mark and turned four walls into something extraordinary.

It’s crucial that you add your personal touches to your home, especially if it’s going to be your forever home. It’s the place you will spend most of your time, besides work. The tips above are just a couple examples of ways to help add your personality in the home. Be creative and most of all be genuine and your home will feel like it’s been yours forever.  





Posted by Ari Koufos on 12/15/2020


 Photo by Tayeb Mezahdia via Pixabay

When you start looking for your dream home, you need to know how much mortgage you will qualify for. Your real estate agent might ask you to get a pre-qualification letter. However, just because you are pre-qualified doesn’t mean that you will get the loan. You need a pre-approval for that, and even then, the mortgage company might not approve your application.

Pre-Qualification

A pre-qualification letter just tells you how much loan you can afford. The lender does not check your credit, your debt-to-income ratio or other factors before issuing a pre-qualification letter. Additionally, a pre-qualification letter is dependent on the information you provide to the lender. The pre-qualification essentially gives you an estimate of how much home you are able to afford so that you do not look at homes that are not within your range.

To get a pre-qualification, you supply the lender with your assets, debt and income. Because the lender bases its decision on the information you provide, rather than information from outside sources, a pre-qualification is not a guarantee that you will get the loan.

Pre-Approval

Getting pre-approved for a loan usually takes longer than getting pre-qualified. The lender pulls your credit report and might ask for additional documents, including tax records and bank statements. To get pre-approved, you must complete a loan application and provide your social security number. The lender might charge an application fee for a pre-approval.

With a pre-approval, you will have a closer interest rate assessment, that is usually not finalized until the loan goes through underwriting. Once the lender pre-approves you, it will send you a conditional commitment for the loan amount. You can look for homes at or below that price.

In a market when buyers bid against each other – a seller’s market – having a pre-approval letter might give you a step up with the seller, who will more likely choose an offer by someone more likely to get the loan. Thus, if you and someone else submit a bid on your dream home, but the other person only has a pre-qualification letter, the seller might accept your offer, even if it is not as good as the other buyer’s offer, simply because you are more likely to get the mortgage.

For a pre-approval, you will need to:

  • Complete the lender’s mortgage application;

  • Possibly pay an application fee;

  • Supply your social security number and allow the lender to pull your credit;

  • Provide financial information to help the lender make a decision; and

  • Tell the lender how much you plan to put up as a down payment.

After you are pre-approved and the seller accepts your offer, you will then have to provide the rest of the documentation to the lender, including the accepted offer, bank statements, retirement account statements, taxes for up to two years, proof of income and other documents that will help the lender come to a concrete decision.





Posted by Ari Koufos on 11/10/2020

Purchasing a deluxe home at an affordable price may seem impossible, particularly for property buyers who are searching for a residence in a seller's market.

Lucky for you, we're here to help take the guesswork out of buying a terrific residence at a budget-friendly price, regardless of the current housing market conditions.

Now, let's take a look at three factors that homebuyers need to consider before they enter a seller's market.

1. Your Timeline

What is your homebuying timeline? Ultimately, you'll want to consider how quickly you need to relocate to a new residence. This will enable you to map out a homebuying journey that boosts your chances of getting the best results possible.

For example, if you have several months to plan ahead, you may be able to wait out a seller's market. You can pursue a wide range of residences over an extended period of time. And if you find a residence that you like, you can submit an offer on it.

On the other hand, if you need to move right away, you'll likely need to speed up the homebuying journey. In this scenario, you'll want to make the most of the time and resources at your disposal. If you can optimize the time and resources that are available, you may be better equipped than other homebuyers to discover a great home in a seller's market.

2. Your Budget

How much can you afford to spend on a home? A seller's market favors property sellers, so you'll want to do everything possible to budget appropriately and avoid the temptation to overspend to acquire a residence.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage usually is an excellent idea. If you meet with banks and credit unions, you can learn about your mortgage options and choose a mortgage that matches your finances perfectly.

With a mortgage in hand, you can enter the housing market with realistic property buying expectations. You also may be able to narrow your home search, and as such, speed up the process of purchasing your ideal house.

3. Your Homebuying Expertise

What do you know about the housing market? In most cases, homebuyers lack real estate expertise. However, working with a real estate agent ensures you can receive comprehensive support as you navigate a seller's market.

A real estate agent is a friendly, knowledgeable housing market professional, one who will go above and beyond the call of duty to assist you during the homebuying journey.

Typically, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you informed about new properties as they become available and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf. He or she will even provide honest, unbiased recommendations, guaranteeing you can get the expert insights you need to make informed homebuying decisions.

When it comes to exploring houses in a seller's market, why should you be forced to leave anything to chance? Consider the aforementioned factors closely, and you can improve your chances of acquiring a stellar home without having to break your budget.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Ari Koufos on 10/27/2020

The homebuying journey may be complicated, particularly for those who fail to plan for it. Fortunately, there are lots of things that you can do to boost your chances of enjoying a successful property buying experience.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you start a successful homebuying journey.

1. Establish Criteria for Your Home Search

Create homebuying criteria – you'll be glad you did. With homebuying criteria in hand, you can speed up the process of finding your dream residence.

Think about the features you want to find in your ideal house. For example, if you want to own a residence that boasts a luxurious in-ground swimming pool, you can search for houses that offer this feature. Or, if you want to purchase a home that includes a central air conditioning system, you can hone your house search accordingly.

Don't forget to consider where you want to reside too. If you prefer big city life over small town living – or vice-versa – you should account for this factor as you kick off your house search.

2. Get Your Finances in Order

Obtaining a home mortgage is key, especially for individuals who want to streamline the homebuying process. Luckily, banks and credit unions are happy to help you select the right mortgage based on your individual needs.

Banks and credit unions employ friendly mortgage specialists who can take the guesswork out of home financing. If you meet with these professionals, you can learn about all of your mortgage options. Then, you can select a mortgage and enter the housing market with a budget.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

Navigating the homebuying journey on your own may prove to be exceedingly difficult, regardless of whether you are operating in a buyer's or seller's market. However, if you hire a real estate agent, you can simplify your house search and discover your dream residence without delay.

A real estate agent knows the ins and outs of the housing market and will share his or her expertise with you. That way, you can work with a real estate agent to become a housing market expert.

In addition, a real estate agent offers comprehensive support throughout the homebuying journey. He or she first will craft a custom homebuying strategy for you based on your property buying goals. Next, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about available houses in your preferred cities and towns. Once you find a home you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase it. Finally, a real estate agent will guide you through the home closing process.

For those who want to enjoy a quick, easy homebuying experience, it usually is a good idea to plan ahead as much as you can. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can launch a successful homebuying journey and take the necessary steps to acquire your dream residence any time you choose.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Ari Koufos on 9/29/2020

Applying for a mortgage may seem like a long, stressful process at first. Fortunately, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of submitting a mortgage application.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you streamline the mortgage application process.

1. Ask Questions

A bank or credit union likely will ask you to provide a wide range of information as part of the mortgage application cycle. And as you complete a mortgage application, you may have questions along the way too.

Remember, a lender is happy to help you in any way possible. If you ever have concerns or questions as you complete a mortgage application, you should reach out to a lender for expert support. That way, you can reduce the risk of potential problems down the line that otherwise could slow down the mortgage application process.

Even a single mistake on a mortgage application may prevent you from getting a mortgage. Perhaps even worse, a delayed mortgage application may force you to miss out on an opportunity to acquire your dream house. But if you reach out to a lender as you complete your mortgage application, you can gain the insights you need to quickly and effortlessly finalize the necessary documentation to obtain a mortgage.

2. Be Thorough

A mortgage application may require you to look back at your financial and employment histories and provide information that a lender will use to determine whether to approve or deny your submission. Meanwhile, you should be ready to provide a lender with any requested information to ensure a seamless application process.

As a homebuyer, it is your responsibility to include accurate information on your mortgage application. In fact, failure to do so may cause a lender to reject your mortgage application. If you allocate the necessary time and resources to dot every I and cross every T on your mortgage application, you can boost the likelihood of a fast approval.

3. Shop Around

For homebuyers, it is crucial to check out all of the mortgage options that are available. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can review myriad mortgage options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.

Banks and credit unions generally provide a broad array of fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages. If you learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal, you can find one that enables you to purchase your dream house without breaking your budget.

Of course, once you are approved for a mortgage and are ready to launch your house search, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. A real estate agent will offer plenty of guidance at each stage of the homebuying journey. In addition, a real estate agent can make it easy for you to find a top-notch residence at a budget-friendly price in any housing market, at any time.

Start the mortgage application process today, and you can move one step closer to acquiring your dream residence.




Tags: Buying a home   Mortgage  
Categories: Buying a Home   Mortgage