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  • 04/25/2018 - Meighan Sweeney 1 Comment
    12 N Bradford, A Patterson Park Progress Report

    After a few short weeks the upgrades are well underway on12 N Bradford, tucked only one block away from Patterson Park in desirable 21224.  This once sad little home is undergoing a subtle face lift just in time to hit the market May 2018.  Rather than an expensive teardown and total renovation, this savvy seller is making minor upgrades to this home so that it will be turn key for the new owner.  Whether you are a first time home buyer looking for a prefect starter home, or an investor looking to add to your rental portfolio, for under 150K this home will check all the boxes without breaking the bank. 

    Little things can make a huge difference to the selling appeal of your property.   This owner started with just that, a new door to clean up the look of the front with new light fixtures to be installed as well.  In addition, if you know anything about city life in Baltimore, you know parking is worth its weight in gold (or by my estimate about 20-25K on your sales price) – the once unusable rear “patio” of 12 N Bradford has been leveled and is awaiting concrete for private parking, entertaining space, or a little of both.  These two small exterior changes make a world of difference to this cozy home.

    Inside, thekitchen and bathroom renovations are well underway.  Old, outdated, white appliances are a thing of the past along with brown cabinets and plastic counters which hailed from the late 80’s.  Inside now you’ll find new granite countertops, bright white cabinets, and stainless appliances are on the way to complete the kitchen.  Bathrooms have been re-tiled, re-floored, re-painted and upgraded from the counter tops to the commodes! 

    If you are interested in learning more about investing in Baltimore, in this property or others like it, please reach out to me at MeighanMoves@gmail.com.  I’m excited to share the finished project with you all soon.

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  • 03/13/2018 - Meighan Sweeney 1 Comment
    12 N. Bradford,a Patterson Park Project

    Baltimore city is booming, and it’s no secret that builders are making big money by flipping homes.   The fact is, the flipping game has become so strong in Baltimore city that many first time home buyers, or investors looking for low risk rent and hold options, are being priced out.  

    Let’s be honest, the beginner buyer isn’t able to afford the 400-600K it costs to buy a newly renovated rehab in the desirable areas of Baltimore.  Does this mean the home ownership has to be put off until a later date?  Is the American dream dead?  The short answer is no.  A smart first time home buyer can find newly updated homes for under 175K in many of the great Baltimore neighborhoods.

    Small starter homes also make for great future rental properties, and so, are a smart long term investment!   Smart sellers are making minor upgrades to their smaller homes to appeal to the first time home buyer looking for turn key properties without the hefty price tag.  It’s no secret that kitchen and bath renovations add the most value to your home, so savvy sellers are starting there to increase their return.

    Did you know that Patterson Park is rapidly becoming one of the more pricy and sought after neighborhoods in SE Baltimore…park front properties are selling for 700K! It’s hard to believe nestled only a block away is the perfect first home without the price tag.   12 N Bradford is working its way to the market at only 140K and will soon feature a new kitchen, bathroom, flooring, parking pad and more.  This would have been an 80K home that would need too much work for the average buyer, but with a small investment the value and the buyer pool grow exponentially.   Upgrades to this cozy home are in the works and you can follow the progress and listing updates here: https://meighanmoves.com/blog/

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  • 03/01/2018 - Meighan Sweeney 0 Comments
    THE HOLY TRINITY OF HOUSE BUYING: FINANCING, INSPECTIONS, & TITLE:

    The most common thing I hear from hopeful homebuyers is “I’ve been looking at houses online, and I found one I really like!”   House hunting should be fun, and buying your first home is an exciting time, but there is a very specific order of operations when it comes to home buying that most home buyers know little about.  While Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com have changed the way the everyday homebuyer shop, there are still important rules of the game to follow.  This three part blog will break down three key factors in home buying that play a major roll in getting to that settlement table!

    PART 1-FINDING FINANCING:

    Before you even think about looking at a home either online or in person, a smart realtor will insist you are pre-approved.  This probably sounds like a hassle, but if you don’t know where you stand prior to shopping, you risk falling in love with something that simply isn’t in the budget leading to tragic disappointments and wasted time.    The good news is that the pre-approval process is far less difficult than most people think.  Most loan officers can tell you where you are and issue a basic pre-approval in fifteen to twenty minutes. They will look at four main factors:

    1. Credit score and history
    2. Income/employment
    3. Assets (cash available to close)
    4. Your monthly obligations (for example, car payment, student loan debt)

    With just this small amount of information and a few minutes of your time you can get out and shop with confidence, so that when you find “the one” you are ready to do proceed without delay.

    I always suggest that my new buyers ask their lender of choice to work their numbers in reverse…what does this mean?  Ask them to take your monthly payment and base your price point off a comfortable payment for you. 

     In many cases homebuyers can be approved for more house than they really want to pay for monthly and this can land you eating ramen noodles in the dark after you buy, aka being “house poor.”  In other words, you better love your new home because you can’t afford to leave it and live your life!  

    A good lender will base your pre-approval off your comfortable monthly budget and not push you into more than you can comfortably afford.  It is important to mention here that your monthly payment isn’t just your mortgage (the ever popular zestamite is an example of this) but should also include your estimated home owners’ insurance and your property taxes.  

    While there is a great myth that you have to have 20% to put down when you buy a home a lender will want to talk to you about what your out of pocket comfort is for down payment and closing costs.   You might be pleasantly surprised with how little cash you have to cough up at close!

    Finally, a good lender will help you with these steps, give you a competitive interest rate, and good loan terms.  A great lender will help you with both state and city incentives and grant programs you may qualify for that can help keep the out of pocket costs more manageable.   If you are interested in exploring financing or learning what if any first time home buyer incentives you may qualify for please reach out to me at MeighanMoves@gmail.com

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  • Discover It Home Inspections team
    03/01/2018 - Meighan Sweeney 1 Comment
    The Holy Trinity of House Buying Part 2-What to Expect on Inspections

    You’ve done it.  You’ve found your dream home, you’ve put in an offer, handled the negotiations, and now have an executed contract!  Congrats!  It’s hard not to get excited when you clear that first real estate hurdle, but any seasoned professional will tell you “it’s all fun and games until you get to inspections.”  

    While not all loan types require a home inspection, it’s a good precaution to take prior to signing on the many dotted lines.  Also it’s important to know that some grant/incentive programs require an additional inspection known as an HQS.   And, if you’re doing a 203K loan you will also be required to have a HUD inspection. 

    A proper home inspection should take at least three hours.  If your inspector is in and out in under an hour, you may have hired the wrong person for the job.  Most standard inspection prices are based on square footage, ie., a town home in the city will run about $350.00 to $450.00 depending on size, single family will generally cost a little more.   You also have the option to request a termite treatment $65.00-$85.00, and radon test $100.00-150.00.   I recommend that most of my buyers start with the basic test and termite treatment then see what the inspector recommends as far as mold, water, chimney, etc.  It is worth noting that the seller is contractually obligated to make repairs to any termite damage and treat any active infestation that is found during the inspection, unless the property is being sold “as is.”

    Your inspection will generally start with a look at the exterior and roof and then will move inside to test all major systems, electric, plumbing, and appliances.  When the inspection is complete your inspector will review his or her findings with you, and you will also get a full report in writing to review.  Generally from time of contract you have 14 days to have an inspection and request repairs or terminate your offer due to the findings of the report.  We will comb though the report and make a strategic list of what we will have the seller repair prior to settlement.  Some common things that come up on a home inspection include:

    1. Roof damage                                   
    2. Water management at exterior
    3. HVAC service needed 
    4. “Double Tapping” of breakers
    5. Failing caulk in bathrooms

    These are common examples of things found that you can request that the seller have the appropriate licensed contractors repair and certify for you.  I also generally have a seller pay for a one year home warranty to cover things that homeowners insurance doesn’t – this includes your indoor plumbing, appliances, electrical and more.

    Inspections can be intimidating.  Try to remember that there is no perfect home, even brand new construction homes are going to have a few things on the repair list.  There is also no fool proof inspection, and buying a home is always a risk, but with risk often comes reward and a proper home inspection can help you prepare for the road ahead.  If you have any questions about the home inspection process please contact me at MeighanMoves@gmail.com

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  • 03/01/2018 - Meighan Sweeney 1 Comment
    The Holy Trinity of Home Buying Part 3-Time to Talk Title

     

    ​​Unless you are a seasoned home buyer or real estate professional, chances are good you haven’t given much thought to title.  While you may not know, or hear much about it, a clear title is as important to getting to the settlement table as securing a loan.   When buying a home -whether it be an investment property, primary residence, or falls in the “other category” – you absolutely need to purchase a title insurance policy to ensure that your investment is free and clear of all defects, and to be certain the seller has the right to sell!

    Buying a house is similar to marriage.  Whether you are aware of it or n​​e you buy that home you take on all its old baggage.   While you may not be able to completely vet and clear your spouse of every past discrepancy, your title company can make sure you home is exactly what you are expecting.   Some things you may want to know about title insurance are:

    1. Unlike most insurance, title insurance is paid up front at the time of settlement and will be factored into your closing costs.
    2. Title insurance is paid only one time and is good for the entire time you own the home.
    3. There are different levels of title insurance. Be mindful that you are purchasing the full coverage policy.  Many title companies will quote you a low estimate to win your business, but give subpar protection. ​​

    There is a good chance that if there are issues with the title you may be blissfully unaware.  That said, most title issues can be cleared up with cooperation of the seller, and are taken care of behind the scenes.  Some of the most common issues that arise during a title search include:

    1. Mechanic’s lien – this is a lien on a property placed by someone like a general contractor to ensure payment for work completed. This should be lifted upon payment in full, but can lead to delays if it wasn’t and the contractor is unreachable.
    2. Child support liens – also common and usually an easily remedied issue. A child support lien could have been placed years ago and paid, but not cleared or forgotten by a spouse.
    3. Missing heirs – It is common when a person dies that the estate is left to his or her heirs according to the will and/or deed of trust. Sometimes though, the whereabouts of these heirs can be unknown, or worse, there is a sibling battle to the right of the property.
    4. Unknown liens/bankruptcies – as I mentioned before, once you buy a home you are married to it. You take on the previous sellers discrepancies.   Banks can place liens on your property for the sellers unpaid debts after you have closed.  ​​

    T​​his can all sound overwhelming, which is why you leave it to your trusted experts – so when you sign on the many many dotted lines you can breathe easy.   If you have questions or would like to learn more about title please contact me Meighan Sweeney at MeighanMoves@gmail.com

     

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  • 10/13/2017 - Meighan Sweeney 0 Comments
    Baltimore City First Time Home Buyers Incentives

    March 6, 2017 by Meighan Sweeney

     If you are like most first time home buyers you might be overwhelmed by down payment and closing costs that come with buying a home.  While a good agent will help you to negotiate seller help they should also be knowledgeable about the resources available to you through Live Baltimore. Savvy buyers can use these incentives combined with state programs leaving their out of pocket expenses next to nothing.   As with the MMP  there are certain prerequisites, but most first time home buyers are eligible for one if not more of these programs.  Also, as with the MMP, you must attend the FTHB class, complete your one on one counseling, and receive your certificate to be eligible prior to entering a contract.

    Home Ownership Assistance Program:  
    The community block grant (CDBG) you can qualify for $5000.00 toward your fist home.  
    You should know:

    1. Your household income should be less than 80% of the area median income
    2. This is a five year forgivable loan which means your balance is forgiven by 20% every year until you no longer owe, not a bad deal!
    3. You must receive a HQS (housing quality home inspection) on the property.  This means you must use a home inspector with this certification.

    Baltimore Employer-Based incentives:  are among the easiest to understand, receive, and qualify for.
    There are several, here are just a few of the most popular:

    1. Live Near Your Work: provides between $2,000-$17,000 to homebuyers.   The amount you are eligible for depends on where you work and where you buy in proximity to your work. You can ask your employer if they participate in this program.

    2. Good Neighbor Next Door: This incentive is for Baltimore city teacher’s grade K-12, fire fighters/EMTs, and police officers.  You must commit to living in the home for at least 3 years and must choose a home from city specific/HUD homes.
    3. Baltimore city Employee Homeownership Incentive:is a deferred forgivable loan up to $5,000 that depreciates by 20% every year you live in the home.  Employee for city agencies who are employed by the mayor and city council qualify.  Also your mortgage can not exceed $417,000.00, you must put $1000.00 of your own money toward the purchase, and one person per household may apply. 

    MMP “You’ve Earned It” : is a special interest rate and down payment assistance program for those with high student loan dept. 

    1. This is a deferred loan and will have to be paid back at time of sale of property without interest
    2. Buyer must have at least $25,000.00 in student debt
    3. Interest rate is a .25 percentage point under
    4. Mortgage loan cannot exceed  $525,901.00
    5. Homebuyer must invest at least $1000.00 of personal funds

    Buying into Baltimore is a $5000.00 incentive that can be used to buy a home anywhere in Baltimore City.  There are two events: a spring/summer and fall/winter.  20 individuals will be selected by a lottery to receive awards.  You need to know:

    1. Mortgage amount cannot exceed $517,000.00.
    2. Applicants have ten business days after attending to enter into a contract on a home and submit the application to be eligible for the lottery.
    3. Winners must close within 60 days for being selected.
    4. Co-signers, cash sales, or owner financing are not permitted.
    5. No short sales, no foreclosures, and no new construction will be considered.
    6. Home buyer must invest at least $1000.00 from personal resources

     

    If you have questions about any of these programs, or think you may qualify, please contact me at MeighanMoves@gmail.com.  

     

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  • 10/13/2017 - Meighan Sweeney 0 Comments
    The Maryland Mortgage Program: A buyer’s incentive

    March 6, 2017 by Meighan Sweeney 

     Most new Maryland buyers ask for the seller(s) for contribution towards the down payment and other upfront closing costs they need to buy their first home.  While a good agent can help you negotiate seller concession, also known as seller help or seller contribution, toward closing there are other resources available to you.  The Maryland Mortgage Program (MMP) is a down payment assistance program offered to first time home buyers looking to purchase in the state of Maryland.  While it is not “free money” it is a 0% interest deferred loan.  This loan will give you up to $5,000.00 toward your down payment and is paid off only when you sell without interest.

    **To be eligible for this program applicants must be:

    1. First time home buyers, who have never owned (or held title for) a principal residence anywhere in the last three years. 
    2. Purchasing the home to use as their primary residence.  Home may NOT be used as an investment property or rental.
    3. Able to complete a Homebuyer Education course. *This course needs to be finished, your one on one counseling session completed, and you should have your certificate in hand prior to making an offer or gong under contract on a home.
    4. Making a MAXIMUM income of $108,600.00 (for 1-2 people) or $126,700.00 (for a household of 3).

    **Other important factors that apply outside of being approved include:

    1.       Your current debt, employment status, and credit history.
    2.       Loan type:
               FHA loans require a minimum credit score of 660.
      ·         Conventional loans require a minim credit score of 640.
    3.      Your debt-to-income ratio must also meet the loan requirements for your loan type.

    **Important details you’ll need to know:      

    1.       Your new mortgage loan cannot exceed $525,901.00.
    2.       You CAN use this program with other grant incentives.
    3.        Home buyer must use an approved lender.

    Programs like this have helped the majority of my first time home buyers afford their new home.  If you are interested in learning more about the MMP please contact Meighan at MeighanMoves@gmail.com

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  • 10/13/2017 - Meighan Sweeney 3 Comments
    Investing in Baltimore’s Highlantown

    October 6, 2016 by Meighan Sweeney 

    The housing market can be a fickle thing, and while many people look to roll the dice and get lucky in the house flipping game few are able to turn a profit.  When working with Baltimore investors, or new home buyers looking to cash in on resale down the road, I always say Baltimore’s Highlandtown neighborhood is the place to buy now. Highlandtown, zip code 21224, boarders the booming neighborhood of Canton. Canton has it all: nightlife, shopping, restaurants, water views, and the price tag shows it. Curious how far your dollar goes in the Canton area?   You might be surpized how little you get!

    Lately I’ve been working with some smart millennials, on a first time home buyers budget. Many have decided to look slightly south to Highlandtown area. Highlandtown has long been home to Baltimore staples like Di Pasquales, The Creative Alliance Theater, and the always charming Laughing Pint. Highlandtown Main Street has a strong community force aiding in the area’s popularity.

    Additionally, in the last year we have seen the sale and demolition of the iconic Haussners building on Eastern Avenue which is to be rebuilt into luxury apartments, a Mount Pleasant church is set to become a seventy unit condominium building, and smart contractors are buying homes in need of rehab.  Hip new restaurants like “Snake Hill Tavern” and “Gnocco” are popping up on Highlandtown corners.

    The numbers don’t lie.  New rehabs are listing in the low 200’s and closing at or slightly under ask.  3 bedroom 1 baths in need of renovations are moving much higher than they were only five years ago but a savvy Baltimore investors  can buy in the 50-70K range and turn a heathy profit quickly. Curious what’s out there? Email me, Meighan Sweeney, for a list of the great Highlandtown investments

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  • 07/25/2017 - meighanrealestate 0 Comments
    Site Launch

    Our new website is finally up. We’ve worked hard to get a beautiful new site ready and we’re proud to show it off. Thanks for reading our blog. We have lots of great blog posts in the works. Please check back or contact us now to find out how we can help you.

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Meighan Sweeney - Realtor · 2314 Boston St
Baltimore · MD 21224

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