Elena Langlois - Compass Massachusetts, LLC



Posted by Elena Langlois on 1/17/2019

Hosting an evening of activities is a great way to spend time with and engage your friends, family, and community. A fun game-night can quickly become a new ritual for your neighborhood family and help you develop and maintain friendships. Whether it’s your first time hosting a game night or your 50th, here are some key steps to making it a success.

Have plenty of options.

The one tricky part about game nights is picking a game that everyone likes. Especially if you don't know everyone you've invited well, it's hard to select a game ahead of time. Everyone loves something different, some people prefer trivia-based games, while others like role-playing games, still others want to stick to the classics or strategy games. While some board games and electronic games are expensive, there are plenty of ways to collect enough games to have a good variety, without breaking the bank.

  • Always have a deck of cards, or two, or three. So many games can be plaid with a simple and inexpensive deck of cards. Having a few decks on-hand immediately opens up your options. Consider looking up a few classics like Gin Rummy, Bridge, Spades, poker (Texas Hold’Em or Five Card Draw) or Cribbage and having the directions on hand.
  • Invest in the classics (or the modern version). Scrabble, Dominos, Pictionary or a combination game like Cranium are great games that most people already know how to play, and easy to learn for any inexperienced players.
  • Find games you can explain easily. You might love RPG and strategy games, but these might not be the best option for new neighbors you’re just getting to know. Save these for when your game night has become established, and you've learned what level of games your group can best play. Start with simple and easy to learn games playable while socializing. Remember, the games are fun, but their value is as a tool to help you engage with your community.
  • Invite participation. Invite your guests to bring their own games. Don't insist on playing something you own, or on selecting a specific game for each night. Invite all your neighbors and friends to bring their favorite games and decide as a group what to play.
  • Own some kid-friendly games. Even if you plan to only play games with adults, have options for kids to play as well. Maybe your kids are home, or your neighbor couldn’t get a sitter but would still love to come to game night. Prevent exclusion by providing fun ways to keep the kids and parents entertained. Simple toys for young ones and a selection of appropriate interactive video games can go a long way to making your night.

Plan for flexibility.

A significant reason for having different games on hand is to allow for flexibility in numbers and ability. Not everyone you invite to your game night is going to attend. Don't ask a specific number of people with a particular game in mind. Invite everyone who you think you'd enjoy playing with or who you want to get to know. Perhaps have an idea in mind of different games you can play with varying numbers of people. Also consider making a backup plan for having multiple game boards going if everyone you invite shows up, or for keeping the game night fun and entertaining if you have a less than stellar turn out the first time.

No last minute invites.

Don't wait up until the last minute to invite your friends and neighbors. People have their own lives. Between work, kids and activities it's hard to commit to a last-minute invitation. Give folks a couple of weeks-notice that you'd like to have a game night and give them time to make any necessary arrangements. Once you have a couple of successful nights, you can establish a monthly or biweekly night that people can incorporate into their ongoing planning.

Supply refreshments but ask for help.

You should always provide refreshments and snacks, but a great way to engage your neighbors is to ask for help. Make sure you have enough food to offer, just in case, but invite people to bring a dish or beverage or anything they’d like to share. As much as you enjoy hosting, your neighbors like contributing and showing off their best recipe or introducing you to their favorite new coffee or beer. Invite them to find their own way to engage while using your get together as a platform.

Be a good host.

The group you invite to your game night will be composed of outgoing people, shy people, people who already know each other and total strangers. Be a good host by acting and engaging first. If no one wants to go first at charades, get up there and show them that it's okay (and even fun!) to succeed or fail, to make a fool of yourself and laugh it off or act out the perfect clues. To start the ball rolling, you want to make the first move. Just getting people over to your house and supplying games isn't enough, take the stage and open the floor to engagement.




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Posted by Elena Langlois on 1/10/2019

There’s a lot of things to think about before buying a home--some financial, others personal. Most people tend to focus on one or the other. However, both are instrumental in choosing the right house and buying at the right time.

In this article, we’re going to talk about some of the ways you can determine if you’re ready for homeownership. We’ll discuss things like credit scores and down payments, but also important life factors like your career and future plans.

Getting your finances in order

There are a few simple things you can do right now that will help you understand if you’re financially secure enough to start looking at houses. First, you’ll want to look up your credit score.

Lenders strongly consider your credit when determining how much risk is involved in lending to you. A higher credit score can not only get you approved for a mortgage, it can lower your interest rate and make you eligible to borrow without having to pay private mortgage insurance.

The amount of money this saves seems trivial in the short term, but over the lifespan of your loan it can save you tens of thousands of dollars. So, read a free credit report and if your credit is lower than 700 start finding ways to improve your credit.

In the meantime, you’ll want to save for a down payment. While it’s possible to buy a home with a small or no down payment, it can come back to haunt you in the form of interest as you pay off your loan. Furthermore, many lenders won’t pre-approve you unless you make a down payment of a minimum amount (often 20% of the loan).

If you have a high credit score and you’ve saved for a down payment, another thing to check off your list would be proving your stable income. This can be difficult for the self-employed, contract workers, or people who have recently changed jobs.

Lenders want to see that you have a stable income history to ensure that you’ll be able to pay your mortgage each month. If you recently changed jobs or are in between jobs, it could be to your benefit to wait 3-6 months before getting pre-approved. In that time, you can continue to raise your credit and save for a down payment, further increasing your chances of getting a low-interest loan.

Preparing for homeownership

While the financial aspects of homeownership are important, so are the personal aspects. You’ll want to consider several life factors before buying a home.

First, think about your longterm goals. Do you want to live in the same area for the next 10 to 30 years? Will your career bring you to different regions or will you attend school somewhere else? These questions will help you decide if it’s a good time to buy or a better investment to save money while renting.

If you have a family (or plan on having one soon), you’ll also have to find a way to balance all of your living needs.

Finally, ask yourself if you have time for homeownership. Many people who are used to renting aren’t aware of the amount of time and money it takes to maintain a home. You’ll have more bills, you’ll have to mow your own lawn, and you’ll be responsible for maintenance of your home.





Posted by Elena Langlois on 1/3/2019

If you own lots of items and plan to buy a house in the foreseeable future, now may be a good time to list any unwanted items online. That way, you can simultaneously eliminate clutter and earn extra cash for your excess items.

Ultimately, selling items online before you pursue a home can be simple – here are three tips to help you showcase your unwanted items online to dozens of potential buyers.

1. Provide Relevant Information in Your Item Listings

Find out as much as you can about any items you decide to list online. Because the more information you can provide to prospective buyers, the easier it becomes for a buyer to determine whether a particular item is the right choice.

There is no need to stretch the truth in your online item listings, either. If you provide accurate, relevant information, you can help a buyer make an informed decision.

2. Add High-Quality Photos

A picture is worth a thousand words, particularly for those who list items online. Thus, if you add high-quality photos to complement your online listings, you can instantly show off your items to large groups of prospective buyers.

You don't need to be an expert photographer to take high-quality photographs of your items. If you use a smartphone, tablet or digital camera, you should have no trouble capturing top-notch images that you can upload onto a computer without delay. Then, you can add these photos to your item listings and help buyers see exactly what you have to offer.

3. Be Ready to Respond to Concerns and Questions

If a buyer has a concern or question about an online item listing, you should be ready to quickly connect with this individual and provide him or her with the requested information. By doing so, you may be able to speed up the process of getting rid of unwanted items.

As you start selling items online and get ready to search for a house, you may want to find a real estate agent as well. If you hire a real estate agent, you can receive expert housing market assistance as you prepare to pursue your dream residence.

A real estate agent is happy to guide you along each stage of the homebuying journey. First, he or she will help you craft an effective homebuying strategy. A real estate agent next will keep you up to date about houses that fall within your price range and meet your desired criteria. Furthermore, if you find a home you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase. And if your offer is approved, a real estate agent will do everything possible to ensure you can finalize your home purchase as soon as possible.

Don't wait to get started on the homebuying journey – reach out to a real estate agent today, and you can begin your quest for your dream house.




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Posted by Elena Langlois on 12/27/2018

As a home seller, it is important to establish a competitive initial asking price for your residence. Yet determining the right price for a house sometimes is difficult.

If the price of your home is too high, for example, your residence may linger on the real estate market for an extended period of time. On the other hand, if the price of your house is too low, you won't be able to maximize your home sale earnings.

Ultimately, there are several things that you can do to determine the optimal listing price for your home, including:

1. Conduct a Home Appraisal

A home appraisal provides valuable insights that you can use to price your house competitively. If you conduct an appraisal prior to listing your residence, you can obtain a property valuation. Then, you can use this valuation to establish the ideal listing price for your home.

As you search for a home appraiser, be diligent, too. Employ a home appraiser who possesses comprehensive industry expertise and can perform a house evaluation at your convenience. By doing so, you may be better equipped than ever before to receive a data-driven house appraisal without delay.

2. Evaluate the Local Housing Sector

Take a look at the local housing sector – you will be happy you did. If you assess the prices of available houses in your city or town that are comparable to your own, you can use this information to see how your residence stacks up against the competition. Plus, this information could help you determine the optimal initial asking price for your residence – something that may lead to a successful house selling experience.

Don't forget to evaluate recent home sales in your city or town as well. This information can help you determine whether a buyer's or seller's market is currently in place.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

If you are unsure about how to price your residence, there is no need to stress. In fact, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can make it easy to determine the optimal listing price for your residence.

A real estate agent typically will meet with you and learn about your house selling goals. Also, he or she can provide tips to help you upgrade your residence before you list it. A real estate agent can even offer a listing price suggestion.

Furthermore, as you navigate the home selling journey, a real estate agent is ready to assist you in any way possible. If you are uncertain about whether to accept a buyer's offer to purchase your residence, for instance, a real estate agent can provide an expert recommendation. Or, if you have questions about the home closing process, a real estate agent can answer them.

Want to optimize your home sale earnings? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can establish a competitive price for your house and increase the likelihood of enjoying a profitable home selling experience.





Posted by Elena Langlois on 12/20/2018

Paying off a mortgage early is a dream of many homeowners. By making larger payments on your home loan, you can cut years off of your loan term and save thousands of dollars in interest payments that you can use toward savings or investments. But in an economy that has seen decades of wage stagnation and increasing costs of living, it can often seem like an unattainable goal.

With some planning and initiative, however, there are ways to pay off your home loan before your term limit.

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about three of the ways you can start paying off your mortgage early to avoid high interest payments and save yourself money along the way.

1. Refinance your mortgage


If you’re considering making larger payments on your mortgage, it might make sense to look at refinancing options. Most Americans take out 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages.

If you can afford to significantly increase your mortgage payments each month, you could refinance to a 15-year mortgage. This will save you on the number of interest payments you’ll have to make over the years. But, it will also help you secure a lower interest rate since shorter term mortgages typically come with lower interest rates.

This option isn’t for everyone. First, refinancing comes with fees you’ll have to pay for upfront. You’ll have to apply for refinancing, get an appraisal of your home, and wait for the decision to be made.

But, you’ll also have to ensure that you can keep up with your higher monthly payments. If your income is variable or undependable, it might not be the safest option to refinance to a shorter term mortgage.

2. Make extra payments

An option that entails less risk than refinancing is to simply increase your monthly payments. If you recently got a raise or are just reallocating funds to try and tackle your mortgage, this is an excellent option.

Depending on your mortgage lender, you may be able to simple increase your auto-pay amounts each month, streamlining the process. Otherwise, it’s possible to set up bill-pay with most banks to automatically transfer funds to your lender.

3. Bi-weekly payments or one extra payment per year

Making bi-weekly instead of monthly payments is an option that many homeowners use to pay off their mortgages early. Bi-weekly payments work by paying half of your monthly payment once every two weeks.

The vast majority of homeowners make 12 monthly payments per year. But by switching to 26 bi-weekly payments, you can effectively make 13 full monthly payments in a year without seeing too much of a difference in your daily budget.

This doesn’t seem like much savings in the short term, but let’s take a look at how much you could save over the term of a 30-year mortgage.

On a 30-year fixed mortgage of $200,000 with a 4.03 annual interest rate, you would make a monthly payment of $958.00 and a bi-weekly payment of $479.

Over 30 years of an extra monthly payment, you could save nearly $20,000 on the total interest amount and pay off your mortgage almost 5 years early.




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