Elena Langlois - Compass Massachusetts, LLC



Posted by Elena Langlois on 2/7/2019

Okay, so you’ve been watching all those home shows and think you want to invest in a second property, but that whole flipping business seems like more trouble than you want to handle. First, you have to budget correctly for the remodel, then it absolutely has to sell, and quickly, otherwise, it stops being a good investment. There is an alternative: keep it as a second property and lease it out for additional income. 

Depending on what kind of rental you want to own, you will want to look at different properties and price ranges. Your real estate agent can help you choose what’s best in your neighborhood.

Standard or Long-Term Rental

For best results, you want your rental home to land smack in the middle of the neighborhood's price bracket. That means calculating your mortgage, taxes and all other included expenses and making sure you can make an income while keeping the rent reasonable. Middle-of-the-road rental prices will get you the best tenants. They will fit into the neighborhood and are more likely to be comfortable there, which means you can probably keep them longer. Each time you turn over the property between tenants, you not only lose the income for that time but incur the extra costs of preparing the property for the new renter. The longer you keep individual tenants, the more profit you make.

Vacation or Short-Term Rentals

Vacation rentals differ from standard rental properties in several ways, but the most common differences are (a) the nightly rate, (b) how often you have tenants, and (c) the range of turnover requirements and costs. Vacation rentals—growing in popularity for a while now—might be your chance to cash in on the craze. Guests prefer them because they can usually get more space for a lower cost than a hotel, fit more people together in a single area and prep their own meals. This makes them particularly popular with families and groups with children.

You'll need to keep your vacation rental furnished and cleaned which increases the costs initially, but if you can keep guests scheduled regularly, the profit margin can be substantial. You can vary your rates depending on the length of stay, catering to stays a short few days or up to three to four months and anything in between. Make sure to check with your local municipality for regulations on short-term rentals in your area.

Don't forget that you can use it yourselves as well, just be careful not to leave too many personal effects there, it can break the ambiance for your guests.

New Property, New Job

The most significant difference between keeping your investment property and flipping it is that you get a second job: Landlord. This is not a position for everyone. First, if you've ever been a renter, you know how difficult it can be if your landlord is in a different city or even a different state. If your property is out of town, investigate getting a property manager. If your property is local, you may want to handle it yourself, but if it takes too much time or causes more stress than it alleviates, you may wish to hire a property manager as well. A good manager will handle interviewing and advising renters, running credit approvals, collecting payments, some landscaping and maintenance, and turning over the home between tenants. Make sure you include this cost when you calculate your necessary rental expenses.

So, ready to invest? Your real estate professional should be your first call! Put their local knowledge to use in finding the best properties for rental investments.





Posted by Elena Langlois on 1/31/2019

Sometimes our dream home comes with not-so-dreamy features. One of those can be well water with a higher than desired rust content.

Of course, this isn’t necessarily a reason to pass up a home you are otherwise in love with. There are several solutions to keep in mind when making your decision.

The first thing you will want to do is have a water test done to test the levels and type of iron in the home's water. Knowing just how high the concentration of iron content is and the type will be a determining factor into which solution will be the best for your lifestyle and new home.  

While you are having tests done you will also want to confirm that rust levels are indeed from the well and not the pipes themselves. Rusty pipes are a different topic altogether and require a different protocol and budget if taken on.

If rust concentrations are fairly low concentration you will just need a water softener installed. This will help to protect plumbing and appliances from effects of rust. It will also mean cleaner, and softer, clothes, less soap usage, and less scrubbing when it comes to cleaning surfaces like the bathroom tub. It’s important to note that you will need to use less soap with softened water since it creates more lather. Too much lather can damage your appliances and even lead to water leakage.  

If iron levels are falling in the medium range you will want to opt for a filter specifically for iron. Greensand and oxidizing filters are the two most common. Be sure to have your filters custom sized to fit your homes water usage and the requirements it will call for to have the system function properly.

When iron levels are high a chlorination filtration system is the way to go. This system treats water before entering your lines, which saves your plumbing from potential damage over the years. You may also want to investigate what damage, if any, has been done to plumbing and if you will need to replace to ensure safe drinking water and a clean home.

What you need to know about high rust content if left untreated:

If you use bleach on laundry your whites will yellow due to a reaction with the rust.

  • You will need to regularly use a specialty cleaning product to remove rust stains from places like sinks, toilets and showers.

  • Build up of rust over time will not only damage plumbing and appliances but also affect your water pressure as a result.

  • You will need to invest in Iron-Out and use it regularly to flush your plumbing

  • You will want to do “backflushes” to clean out rust accumulation




Tags: iron   well water   water softener  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Elena Langlois on 1/24/2019

Anyone can buy a home – all it takes is hard work and diligence to evaluate your home financing options. Fortunately, we're here to help you streamline the process of finding the financing that you'll need to pay for a residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you determine how you will afford a house.

1. Take a Look at Your Current Financial Situation

Put together a monthly budget that outlines your current spending patterns. This will enable you to review how much you earn, what you're paying for housing and other pertinent financial information.

After an in-depth review of your current financial situation, you'll be better equipped than ever before to determine how much you can pay for a house. Then, you can create a homebuying budget to help you move closer to acquiring your dream residence.

2. Get a Copy of Your Credit Report

In all likelihood, a lender will receive your credit score to determine whether you are a viable candidate for a mortgage. If you request a copy of your credit report today, you can learn about your credit score and take steps to improve it before you apply for a mortgage.

The three major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) provide one free copy of a credit report annually. If you submit a request for your credit report, you can gain unprecedented credit insights in no time at all.

Furthermore, if you find errors on a credit report, don't hesitate to contact the reporting bureau. This will enable you to fix any credit report mistakes prior to applying for a mortgage.

3. Reach Out to Local Lenders

Banks and credit unions are happy to meet with you and discuss a variety of mortgage options. These lenders are available in cities and towns nationwide and can teach you everything you need to know about home financing.

Ultimately, lenders can explain the home financing process and ensure you can avoid any potential pitfalls along the way. And if you ever have mortgage concerns or questions, lenders are available to respond to them at any time.

If you need extra help prior to kicking off a home search, you may want to contact a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional understands the ins and outs of purchasing a house and can help you plan accordingly.

Oftentimes, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying goals. This housing market professional then can ensure you won't have to break your budget to afford a terrific residence.

If you want to buy a home but have limited finances at your disposal, a real estate agent is happy to assist you. Or, if you are searching for a mortgage but don't know where to begin, a real estate agent can put you in touch with top lenders.

Work with a real estate agent, and you can improve your chances of acquiring a first-rate house at an affordable price.





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.




Categories: Uncategorized  


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.