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February
7

Moving to Albany - CB Prime Properties

Over the last couple of years, Albany has become a more popular place than ever for people searching for a beautiful, affordable home in a vibrant community with plenty to do both indoors and outside. In fact, Albany was recently ranked as one of the 10 trendiest cities with affordable homes by Realtor.com, and it's no surprise that New York's capital city ranks so well on the list. Our real estate agents have all of the details on why so many people are moving to Albany and why you'll love living there, too.

An Affordable Place to Own a Home

One of the first things you'll notice when you shop for Albany homes for sale is just how affordable properties are compared to so many other cities. The median listing price for Albany is $319,900, according to Realtor.com, which is less than half of what you might pay for a similar home in the NYC metro area. These are beautiful, modern homes—they're just a lot more affordable than similar properties that you'll find in other cities. While affordable real estate is a major attraction, people who move here quickly find many more reasons to love Albany.

Click Here to Read More...

August
24

You don't need a real estate license to find your dream home, but it does help to become familiar with the real estate jargon you might encounter during the process. When searching for a home or applying for a mortgage, you may hear your real estate agent or lender use any of the terms or acronyms below.

Keep this four-part guide handy — you'll be fluent in the language of home buying before you know it.

When you're searching for a home

  • Approved for short sale: A term that indicates that a homeowner's bank has approved a reduced listing price on a home, and the home is ready for resale.
  • Buyers market: Market conditions that exist when homes for sale outnumber buyers. Homes sit on the market a long time, and prices drop.
  • Comparative market analysis (CMA): An in-depth analysis, prepared by a real estate agent, that determines the estimated value of a home based on recently sold homes of similar condition, size, features and age that are located in the same area.
  • Comps: Or comparable sales, are homes in a given area that have sold within the past six months that a real estate agent uses to determine a home's value.
  • Days on market (DOM): The number of days a property listing is considered active.
  • Listing price: The price of a home, as set by the seller.
  • Multiple listing service (MLS): A database where real estate agents list properties for sale.
  • Sellers market: Market conditions that exist when buyers outnumber homes for sale. Bidding wars are common.
  • Short sale: The sale of a home by an owner who owes more on the home than it's worth. The owner's bank must approve a lower listing price before the home can be sold.

When you're applying for a mortgage

  • Back-end ratio: One of two debt-to-income ratios that a lender analyzes to determine a borrower's eligibility for a home loan. The ratio compares the borrower's monthly debt payments to gross income.
  • Depository institutions: Banks, savings and loans, and credit unions. These institutions underwrite as well as set home loan pricing in-house.
  • Debt-to-income ratio (DTI): A ratio that compares a home buyer's expenses to gross income.
  • Housing ratio: One of two debt-to-income ratios that a lender analyzes to determine a borrower's eligibility for a home loan. The ratio compares total housing cost (principal, homeowners insurance, taxes and private mortgage insurance) to gross income.
  • Loan estimate: A three-page document sent to an applicant three days after they apply for a home loan. The document includes loan terms, monthly payment and closing costs.
  • Loan-to-value ratio (LTV): The amount of the loan divided by the price of the house. Lenders reward lower LTV ratios.
  • Origination fee: A fee, charged by a broker or lender, to initiate and complete the home loan application process.
  • Pre-approval: A thorough assessment of a borrower's income, assets and other data to determine a loan amount they would qualify for. A real estate agent will request a pre-approval or pre-qualification letter before showing a buyer a home.
  • Pre-qualification: A basic assessment of income, assets and credit score to determine what, if any, loan programs a borrower might qualify for. A real estate agent will request a pre-approval or pre-qualification letter before showing a buyer a home.
  • Underwriting: A process a lender follows to assess a home loan applicant's income, assets and credit, and the risk involved in offering the applicant a mortgage.

When you're shopping for a mortgage

  • Conventional loan: A home loan not guaranteed by a government agency, such as the FHA or the VA.
  • Down payment: A certain portion of the home's purchase price that a buyer must pay. A minimum requirement is often dictated by the loan type.
  • Fannie Mae: A government-sponsored enterprise chartered in 1938 to help ensure a reliable and affordable supply of mortgage funds throughout the country.
  • Federal Housing Administration (FHA): A government agency created by the National Housing Act of 1934 that insures loans made by private lenders.
  • FHA 203(k): A rehabilitation loan backed by the federal government that permits homebuyers to finance money into a mortgage to repair, improve or upgrade a home.
  • Foreclosure: A property repossessed by a bank when the owner fails to make mortgage payments.
  • Freddie Mac: A government agency chartered by Congress in 1970 to provide a constant source of mortgage funding for the nation's housing markets.
  • Mortgage broker: A licensed professional who works on behalf of the buyer to secure financing through a bank or other lending institution.
  • Mortgage interest rate: The price of borrowing money. The base rate is set by the Federal Reserve and then customized per borrower, based on credit score, down payment, property type and points the buyer pays to lower the rate.
  • Piggyback loan: A combination of loans bundled to avoid private mortgage insurance. One loan covers 80% of the home's value, another loan covers 10% to 15% of the home's value, and the buyer contributes the remainder.
  • Principal, interest, property taxes and homeowners insurance (PITI): The components of a monthly mortgage payment.
  • Private mortgage insurance (PMI): A fee charged to borrowers who make a down payment that is less than 20% of the home's value. The fee, 0.3% to 1.5% of the yearly loan amount, can be canceled in certain circumstances when the borrower reaches 20% equity.
  • Points: Prepaid interest owed at closing, with one point representing 1% of the loan. Paying points, which are tax deductible, will lower the monthly mortgage payment.

When you've chosen a home

  • American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI): A not-for-profit professional association that sets and promotes standards for property inspections. Look for this accreditation or something similar when shopping for a home inspector.
  • Cash-value policy: A homeowners insurance policy that pays the replacement cost of a home, minus depreciation, should damage occur.
  • Closing costs: Fees associated with the purchase of a home that are due at the end of the sales transaction. Fees may include the appraisal, the home inspection, a title search, a pest inspection and more. Buyers should budget for an amount that is 1% to 3% of the home's purchase price.
  • Contingencies: Conditions written into a home purchase contract that protect the buyer should issue arise with financing, the home inspection, etc.
  • Earnest money: A security deposit made by the buyer to assure the seller of his or her intent to purchase.
  • Escrow account: An account required by a lender and funded by a buyer's mortgage payment to pay the buyer's homeowners insurance and property taxes.
  • Escrow state: A state in which an escrow agent is responsible for closing.
  • Home inspection: A non-destructive visual look at the systems in a building. Inspection occurs when the home is under contract or in escrow.
  • Homeowners insurance: A policy that protects the structure of the home, its contents, injury to others and living expenses should damage occur.
  • In escrow: A period of time (30 days or longer) after a buyer has made an offer on a home and a seller has accepted. During this time, the home is inspected and appraised, and the title searched for liens, etc.
  • Title insurance: Insurance that protects the buyer and lender should an individual or entity step forward with a claim that was attached to the property before the seller transferred legal ownership of the property or "title" to the buyer.
  • Transfer taxes: Fees imposed by the state, county or municipality on transfer of title.
  • Under contract: A period of time (30 days or longer) after a buyer has made an offer on a home and a seller has accepted. During this time, the home is inspected and appraised, and the title is searched for liens, etc.
  • Walkthrough: A buyer's final inspection of a home before closing.

When you own a home

  • Equity: A percentage of the home's value owned by the homeowner.
  • Homeowners Association (HOA): The governing body of a housing development, condo or townhome complex that sets rules and regulations. They charge dues used to maintain common areas.
  • Property tax exemption: A reduction in taxes based on specific criteria, such as installation of a renewable energy system or rehabilitation of a historic home.
  • Tax lien: The government's legal claim against property when the homeowner neglects or fails to pay a tax debt.

Find out what else you can do to prepare for buying a home here.


About the author

March
8

Central New York: Women In Business 

Real Estate and Women: A Perfect Pairing

Without a doubt, 2020 was a year that no one will ever forget – and for Coldwell Banker Prime Properties, that's not just because of the pandemic. Last year, we grew by double digits, expanded into new markets, and helped more than 6500 individuals find a place to call home. At the core of our surging success is our local leadership teams, which are made up of 22 individuals, 18 of whom are women.

As a top 2% Coldwell Banker affiliate, we are especially proud this year to celebrate Coldwell Banker's recent honor of the Women's Choice Award. The Women's Choice Award is the only award that recognizes and identifies brands that women recommend.

At Coldwell Banker, we value women in real estate. I am beyond proud to work for a brand that empowers women to take on leadership roles and strives to make the industry better. Through our work with our Inclusive Ownership program and What Moves Her initiative, we are continuously exploring new ways to support leadership development, promote shared values, and provide resources for enhancing leadership tools and capabilities for women in the industry." – Liz Gehringer, chief operating officer of Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

Not only is Coldwell Banker recommended as a brand to work with, but as real estate leaders in customer experience and quality, Coldwell Banker Prime Properties is an incredible place to work for.

Want to BE PART OF THE COLDWELL BANKER BRAND? Contact one of our local branch offices today!

March
8

Capital Region Women In Business 

Real Estate and Women: A Perfect Pairing

Without a doubt, 2020 was a year that no one will ever forget – and for Coldwell Banker Prime Properties, that's not just because of the pandemic. Last year, we grew by double digits, expanded into new markets, and helped more than 6500 individuals find a place to call home. At the core of our surging success is our local leadership teams, which are made up of 22 individuals, 18 of whom are women.

As a top 2% Coldwell Banker affiliate, we are especially proud this year to celebrate Coldwell Banker's recent honor of the Women's Choice Award. The Women's Choice Award is the only award that recognizes and identifies brands that women recommend.

At Coldwell Banker, we value women in real estate. I am beyond proud to work for a brand that empowers women to take on leadership roles and strives to make the industry better. Through our work with our Inclusive Ownership program and What Moves Her initiative, we are continuously exploring new ways to support leadership development, promote shared values, and provide resources for enhancing leadership tools and capabilities for women in the industry." – Liz Gehringer, chief operating officer of Coldwell Banker Real Estate.

Not only is Coldwell Banker recommended as a brand to work with, but as real estate leaders in customer experience and quality, Coldwell Banker Prime Properties is an incredible place to work for.

Want to BE PART OF THE COLDWELL BANKER BRAND? Contact one of our local branch offices today!

September
14

Rural Living - CB Prime Properties

Are you torn between the big-city life and a quiet home out in the country? You're not alone. Our real estate agents have had plenty of conversations with home owners who aren't sure if they would prefer the hustle and bustle of the city or the simplicity of rural life. If you're stuck debating city life versus country life, here are five ways you can tell if rural living is really right for you.

  1. Scenery vs. Nature
    Who doesn't love looking at wide open spaces, serene streams, and marvelous mountain views? Most can agree that nature is stunning to gaze at, but you must also keep in mind what else nature entails. Living in the country means having wildlife as neighbors. Critters small and large like rodents, insects, and mammals, may be in or around your home frequently. If you're not a fan of the occasional foxes in your garden or mouse in your house, you may not enjoy rural living.

    Click Here to Read More...

July
27

Moving Day Countdown - CB Prime Properties

Congratulations! After weeks of open houses and private showings, you've finally found your dream home! Our real estate agents love handing the keys over to new homeowners who will fill the space with a lifetime of memories. Although the excitement and anticipation of moving into your new house can fill you with glee, we want to make sure that you don't forget a few important tasks on your moving checklist. Along with your packing, complete these essential to-dos 30 days before you move.

Click Here to Read More...

November
18

Commute Time - Coldwell Banker Prime Properties

When you factor in everything that affects a home purchase, commute time may not be top of mind. However, it has a huge bearing not only on the price you pay for your home but the dollars you spend getting to and from work. Homebuyers should look at all of the factors that affect their lifestyle, including commute time.

Our real estate agents have helped a number of homebuyers determine how important their daily drive to and from their job really is, and we can help you, too. Consider the following tips as you begin your home search.

Commute Time

Naturally, the first thing you'll want to consider about your commute is the time you spend getting to and from work. The United States Census Bureau estimates that the average American commute is 25.4 minutes. Double that figure to account for your round trip, and you're spending an hour getting to and from work every day.

Click Here to Read More...

October
21

Moving to New Town in New York - CB Prime Properties

Our real estate agents love helping homebuyers find the perfect property. When you find your dream home, it can feel like the best day of your life, but there's still work to be done. 

Whether your new home is across town or across the country, leaving your old neighborhood and getting comfortable in a new one can present a challenge. You'll need to find your new favorite grocery store, the best nearby restaurants, and other cool places to spend your time. Not only that, but there are a lot of advantages to getting to know your neighbors. However, if you're shy or even just busy, you might not know the best way to go about this.

The following five tips will help you settle in and make your new town feel like home in no time. 

  1. Settle In First
    Before you start exploring your new neighborhood, you'll want to get settled in your home. Finish unpacking and take some steps to start making the house feel warm and welcoming. Paint the walls, hang some photos, and make sure you're comfortable. Depending on how much stuff you have and how motivated you are, this can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Don't push yourself too hard and give yourself a break if you start feeling overwhelmed. You don't have to be completely unpacked to start exploring the city, but once the boxes are gone and the house feels cozy, you'll feel more confident heading out to get to know your neighborhood.

    Click Here to Read More...

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