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


Posted by Ari Koufos on 6/5/2018

The concept of a starter home is an American tradition that has existed for decades. Buying a starter home makes it possible to achieve homeownership, financial independence, and to build equity and credit while you transition to a larger home.

However, your first home doesn’t need to be a tiny, one-bedroom house with none of the amenities that you want.

In today’s post, we’re going to look at some of the things that are desirable in a first home or starter home, so that you can make the best financial decision now that will help you save more in the long run.

Top things to look for in your first home

1. Resale value

Perhaps the most important thing to think about when buying your first home is the day that you eventually decide to sell it and upgrade. There’s a lot that goes into the purchase value of a home. But, if you maintain the home or even make some upgrades, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to sell it for more than you paid.

Other factors that affect resale value are the location and real estate market trends. While you may not be able to change the economy, you can choose to buy a home that is in a location others will find desirable in the coming years.

2. Size

The cost of your first home will be determined by its location, as mentioned before, but another huge factor will be the size or square-footage of the home and yard.

If you don’t plan on having children in the next few years and don’t currently have kids at home, having several bedrooms and a large backyard probably aren’t huge priorities. This means you’ll be able to save by buying a small home on a small property.

Similarly, if it’s just you and a significant other living in the home, you may be comfortable with just one bathroom for the next few years. These omissions can save you a ton of money on your first starter home.

3. Transportation and proximity

Typically, when people buy their first home they are just getting settled into their career and may still change jobs a few times. Most workers in today’s economy change jobs between 10 and 15 times throughout their career and do so more often toward the beginning.

This means it will make sense for you to buy your first home within commuting distances to companies in your industry.

4. DIY and fixer-uppers

Homes that are in need of repairs or renovations can be a great way to save money and see a return on your investment when you decide to sell. Of course, there are limits to how many repairs are reasonable while still getting your money’s worth from a home.

You’ll know from your home inspection or by doing a walk-through with professional contractors how much work is required to bring the home up to standards. Use those resources to ensure that you’re making a sound financial decision for your first home.





Posted by Ari Koufos on 12/12/2017

Let's face it – paying monthly rent for your tiny apartment is no longer feasible. Instead, you need a bigger place to live, i.e. a house that you can enjoy for years to come. As a first-time homebuyer, exploring the real estate market may sound like a fun, exciting opportunity – and it is! However, you need to prepare for the housing market, and by doing so, you'll be able to improve your chances of finding your dream residence quickly and effortlessly. So what does it take to find the right home? Here are three ways to boost your chances of buying your ideal house: 1. Save Money Before You Buy a Home. You'll likely need to find a lender that can offer you a mortgage with an interest rate that fits your budget. And if you save money before you buy a house, you could improve your chances of getting a mortgage with a lower interest rate. Typically, having enough money to cover several months worth of a home's mortgage may make you a better candidate for a mortgage than other potential homebuyers. It also is important to keep in mind that saving money now may help you pay closing costs and other fees that frequently arise during the homebuying process. 2. Look at Both Your Income and Debt. Ideally, you'll want to establish a budget as you prepare to explore the real estate market, as this will allow you to determine which houses you can afford. When you create your budget, be sure to consider both your annual income and outstanding debt as well. Evaluating these factors will enable you to better understand your yearly expenses and ensure you're able to search for homes that fit your budget perfectly. Don't forget to consider your future earnings as you develop your budget, too. For instance, if you're a student who already has a job lined up after graduation, you may be able to handle a larger monthly mortgage payment. On the other hand, if you have a baby on the way, you may want to account for the expenses associated with a newborn as you pursue a residence. 3. Monitor Your Credit Score. For homebuyers, your credit score reigns supreme in the eyes of lenders. Thus, spending some time monitoring and improving your credit score may make it easier for you to move one step closer to landing your dream house. Remember, you're eligible to receive a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union) annually. And if you review a copy of this report, you can understand where your credit score currently stands. If your credit score is low, you can improve it by paying off any outstanding debt. Furthermore, if you find an error in your credit report, be sure to notify the agency that provided the report to you to ensure you can fix this mistake; otherwise, the error could impact your ability to buy a house. Being a first-time homebuyer sometimes can be challenging. But if you use the aforementioned tips, you may be able to bolster your chances of purchasing your dream residence.





Posted by Ari Koufos on 3/28/2017

If you're an apartment renter ready to take the plunge into home ownership, there are a lot of reasons to be excited! Owning your own home does bring with it additional work and responsibilities, but the feeling of pride that accompanies it makes it all worthwhile!

Once you get used to the idea that "the buck stops here" and that there's no landlord to handle repairs and maintenance any more, it won't take long to get into the rhythm of being an established property owner. Here are a few tips to help ensure that your first experience with home ownership is a satisfying one.

  • Get a good real estate agent. A real estate professional can provide you with valuable guidance, advice, and information about houses you're considering in your desired neighborhoods and price ranges. A buyers' agent can help you avoid many of the potential pitfalls of buying your first home and help you stay within budget. They'll assist you in clarifying your priorities and work on your behalf to find homes that meet your requirements. A service-oriented agent will not only point out the positive aspects of houses you're considering, but they'll also discuss ideas for adapting the home to your specific needs and lifestyle.
  • Hire an experienced property inspector. A seasoned home inspector can take a close look at the condition of the house and property you're considering and help make sure there are no major structural defects, safety issues, or operational problems with the home's systems and components. Although every property inspector approaches their job a little differently, their inspection service should include everything from the roof and foundation to the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems. They may also report to you on the condition of the home's insulation, its exterior, and any existing or potential drainage problems on the property. Certain aspects of the house may be excluded from the inspection if it's difficult or unsafe to gain access to them. A top-notch home inspector can also provide useful insights into repairs that need to be made on the house. As a side note, professional property inspectors are often members of The American Society of Home Inspectors and follow the organization's Standards of Practice.
  • Visit a lot of different houses for sale before making a final decision. It also pays to have a checklist with you to keep track of how each house stacks up to your requirements and expectations.
While your emotions will invariably play a role in your final choice, many other factors should also be taken into account, including the character of the neighborhood, proximity to conveniences and shopping, and the quality of the school district. Your real estate agent and/or the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development can provide you with a handy checklist for evaluating and comparing homes for sale.