Charlotte and all surrounding areas

Benefits of being a First Time Home Buyer 

First Time Home Buyer Benefits. 

 Are you a first time home buyer? Have you considered jumping onto the property ladder? Have you thought about giving up paying rent and owning your home instead? 

There are so many reasons why many people are buying a home for the first time. Many buyers appreciate the advantages of home ownership but what are the some of these benefits of being a first time home buyer. It’s a great time to buy your first home. The markets are strong, interest rates are still low and the government has introduced significant programs that are geared to helping you take that big step.

 What are the top 5 benefits to being a First Time Home Buyer? 

 1. Better Mortgage Choices 

As a First Time Buyer, you are at an advantage because there are now so many programs available for your assistance. Some buyers are able to buy a first home with very little Down Payment, thanks to special programs such as the Government Insured FHA mortgages. When you are ready to buy a First home, sit down with a Loan Officer (your Realtor will be able to help you find one). A Mortgage Broker will walk you through all your financial information and arm you with the confidence you need when making an offer on a house you have found. 

 2. Down Payment Assistance 

Yes, you read that right. There are First Time buyer Programs that will help you with your Down Payment and this can be used towards all those dreaded closing costs that can sometimes add up. Most States have these programs and your Mortgage Broker and Realtor will be able to get you most of the information you need. If you are tech savvy, do a simple search on the internet for Local Down Payment Programs, make a list of these, read up on them and sit with your Broker to go through anything that you dont understand. You will be surprised at how easy it is to buy a home.

 3.Home Equity 

For every payment made towards your mortgage, a fraction is paid towards the principal Loan and the rest towards the interest. Anything paid to the Principal means you are reducing the Loan amount. Therefore, you are gaining equity in your home (it’s a great way to save). Your mortgage payment may also be less than your current rental payment, another plus and another way to add to those savings.


 4.Tax Benefits: Mortgage Interest Credit and Home Mortgage Interest deduction 

Your Mortgage interest is considered a deductible when it’s time to file taxes. Make sure to discuss with a CPA on the Tax Benefits that are available to you. Mortgage interest Charges tend to be higher in the early years of a mortgage term, so this is a sure way of easing the burden.

 5. Home owner

 As a home owner, you tend to develop a sense of responsibility and belonging to your community / subdivision/neighborhood. Most neighborhoods have Homeowner associations and a lot of activities are planned by residents. You become a part of the community and take pride in home ownership. 


Read more

Boss Moms in Real Estate 

Five ways to maintain a healthy work/life balance if you are a Mom in Real Estate. 

Sharah Amani 

Realtor/Broker

Mathers Realty, NC 

 


When people asked me why I went into Real Estate, I often gave them the same generic answers, because I want to work on my own schedule, I want to manage my own time, I want to be able to be there for my family and also have a career. In other words, I wanted it all. It did not take long for me to realize that it was a lot easier said than done. So, after a chaotic start and finding myself overwhelmed, I have created a schedule that works and have also been able to make some time for me. 

Being a mother to three young children did not make my work transition easy. As a Realtor, I have to be present for my clients. It always seems like my time is being spent on everyone else but me. On top of all that, I found myself writing contracts in the evenings, scheduling showings, training classes and everything was about work. I wanted to be successful and thought this was the only way. I learnt very quickly that was not the case. A happy and rested me was more useful to my valuable clients and being able to sit and play with my children in the evening gave me some relief from the guilt that often grips working moms. Here are five things that contribute to a healthy work/ life balance, this is in particular to the Ladies working in Real Estate.


1. Schedule your routine by time blocking 

This is a great way to ensure that you can get all your tasks completed and in a timely fashion. Plan your weekly schedule and include activities with your family, partner, friends. Also block off the times for kids’ activities and if you volunteer at school, include that in as well. When the week is up, go through your previous week’s schedule and check off all the activities that you completed. You will be amazed at how much you have accomplished and it feels effortless. Eliminate the stress of last minute planning. Set some time each day for unplanned events. I usually have 12-2pm open. This is the time I will use if I have a client call me to schedule a last minute showing. I also use this to run the forgotten errands, usually to get milk and bread in the middle of the week. On a few occasions, I have had a nap (felt great afterwards- though I would then fail to sleep till 1am on those nights ) 


 2. Exercise/ Remain Active 

This is a big one and perhaps the most important one for me. My local neighborhood now offers me so much choice on where to work out. I attend a boot camp for moms. I go to an early class and I am home and showered by 7am. The workout is 45 minutes including warm up and cool down but its intense and I love that it energizes me for the day ahead. The endorphins keep me smiling and happy, the energy means I can enjoy some games outside with my kids and keep up with them. Start with a local walk, a jog, yoga class. The choices are endless. Do some research on what is available local to you and get physically active.




3. Hang out with your cool friends!

 We all have them, those cool friends that we can call on just for a laugh. And it’s an added bonus if they are also in Real Estate. I have a colleague who never fails to make me laugh. An evening out with friends is so refreshing and recharges me. Get the babysitter or have the husband look after the kids for the evening while you go out and just have fun with some friends. 





4. Make sure your Work tasks have some accountability

 How many of us plan on doing some door knocking, or sending out letters or calling a list of Expired listings? Most of us do, do you have an accountability partner? How do you motivate yourself to get it done? When you block off one hour for a task, if you work as part of a team then make it a team effort. This helps to keep you accountable and get your work done. Ensuring that works tasks are completed in a timely fashion means you do not have to stay up late playing catch up. If you are not part of a team, use a good friend or a colleague, you can even use your partner if that works for you. Set up a time each day to go through you work tasks with your accountability partner, this is very important as it will allow you to seehow your work is going. Success comes with real results. You can discuss any failed tasks and find resolutions for the next time. 


 5. Adult only time with the other half 

If like me you have a family and a career, I often forgot to make some time for my partner and I (remember him? That other adult that lives in the house with me and the kids). Make it a regular activity where you call the babysitter and enjoy a nice meal at your favorite restaurant. We love the uninterrupted conversation, talk about everything and anything. I was a stay at home mum for a few years and I found that as I was getting back into the workforce, we used this time to plan how we could make it work as a family. My husband was supportive and offered to pitch in around the house a lot more. I found that we got back on the same page and naturally started talking about our long term plans and the necessary steps to take. When the last born was old enough, we started to go out of town for a weekend sans kids. I can enjoy some alone time with my husband and also have fun doing activities with the children.   



Sharah Amani, Realtor / Broker 

 Sharah is a Realtor Licenced to practice Real Estate in North Carolina. She works at Mathers Realty in the Matthews area just south of Charlotte. Sharah has a passion for Real Estate and has helped both buyers and sellers with all processes of acquiring or selling a home in the State of NC. She admits that nothing is more rewarding than watching a buyer move into their dream home, "it is always such a happy time for a family!" She enjoys spending time with her family, exercising, cooking and reading books. 

 Email: sarahca@me.com 

 Contact: 1-704-458-5162 

Read more

Five ways that a Lady Real Estate Agent can do Suits Right 

Sharah Amani, Mathers Realty 


First impression counts! Yes, it does. Don’t get me wrong, building an open, honest and trusting relationship in the long run is our biggest branding investment, but that initial first impression will get us through the door. As Lady Real Estate Agents, we often ask each other what fashion works and when is it appropriate to dress a certain way. In my experience, I am usually told that I am overdressed when I wear a suit to an appointment. Do I think so, YES absolutely but I feel confident, professional and I have a ready-made spot for my name badge to sit and be noticed. How do you make a Suit work? What is the right way to make a Suit work for you? Pant suits, Skirt Suit, Dress Suit? The choices are endless. But how do you know what’s right for you? How do you dress it up or down to complete your professional look?


 Five ways to do Suits the right way.


 

 1.TRY before you buy

 Suits are not cheap, therefore you do not want to spend a lot of money on one and then have to return it or keep it in your closet. Make a shopping trip of it. If you can recruit some friends to come along, then invite them. It’s pretty hard to try on a suit and observe what it looks like from all angles. Have them tell you exactly what they think? Does it fit? Does it flatter your shape? Does it make you look too stuffy? Be sure to try on a few different sizes as shops will usually have different cuts. I consider myself a Size 4 but in Ann Taylor, I wear size 0 pants. So shop around and find your perfect size in each shop you visit.




2.If you can, avoid ordering suits online 

Yes, I can say been there and done that. I have spent so much time sending stuff back because they did not look like the picture, plus they did not fit me the same way it did the model on the website (I wonder why? Ha). So, no do not go online and order a suit before trying it. There are exceptions, buying the same style from a shop that you have bought from before, when you know your size and you know the style that you want. So go ahead ladies, schedule some time on your calendar to go Suit shopping from some local shops.


 3.Remember, not every suit is made with everyone in mind 

Every lady has a different shape, look, height, proportions. Let’s face it, the list is endless. I have a great friend who wears lots of pant suits. They look perfect on her, it looks effortless. I went ahead and bought a pant suit, but I could not find one that fit right. I needed a bigger jacket size and smaller pants’ size. So each pant suit would either be too baggy around the hips or the jacket would not button up. Then I tried a dress suit! I have never looked back. It’s perfect for me. So play around with the different styles. Try on a few different cuts and be sure to take a good look at what you look like in the mirror, how do you feel? Does it feel comfortable or somewhat too restrictive? Skirt suits are great and I truly believe that any lady can make it work. 







4.Dress it up / Accessorize 

When the Suit fits well, you can add anything to it, a button down shirt is always a winner. It adds a little contrast and a feminine touch. Accessorize with a simple necklace. I have a little white gold chain with a small cross that I have had for years. It works for me. I like simple jewelry, so I add earrings to the mix. 







5.Experiment with Color

 I have to agree; a dark suit is very easy to pull off. I like to go with how I feel. I have a Cream skirt suit which I will wear with a brightly colored shirt (pink or purple are my favorites). My shoes always get noticed when I wear a skirt. In the summer I will wear some cute pumps (always an ice breaker with ladies I meet – some have become clients). A black skirt and colored jacket combo always works, it’s fashionable and professional. And if prefer the dark colors, wear it with a colorful shirt, shoes or even a scarf. 






Sharah Amani, Realtor / Broker 

Sharah is a Realtor Licenced to practice Real Estate in North Carolina. This works at Mathers Realty in the Matthews area just south of Charlotte. Sharah has a passion for Real Estate and has helped both buyers and sellers with all processes of acquiring or selling a home in the State of NC. She admits that nothing is more rewarding than watching a buyer move into their dream home, "it is always such a happy time for a family!" 

She enjoys spending time with her family, exercising, cooking and reading books. 

Email: sarahca@me.com

Contact: 1-704-458-5162


Read more

Use your 2016 Tax Refund to buy a house. 


January 2017
Are you expecting a Tax refund this year? 

It sounds unrealistic but yes, you can use your refund towards buying your house this year. Many of us do not believe that a tax refund is enough to help buy a house and as a result we end up spending it on other things such as a car, clothes, shoes or a nice vacation. All these are good to have but imagine investing it in a building. An investment that will gain value, one that will still be standing in many years to come. The reality is that your tax refund is the first step towards home ownership. 

Government programs such as the FHA Loans for first time buyers will allow individuals to buy a house with as little as 3-5 percent down payment. That is not all, in North Carolina for example there are programs that will help with down payments for a house, organizations such as ncbond.org, nhfloan.org, nchfa.com are just some. For most people, the biggest hurdle for buying a house is saving up for a down payment.

 If this has been your issue, the answer is as simple as these 5 steps. Once you have filed your 2016 taxes 

 1.Check your credit report. Sign up with one of the free services offered by companies like Credit Sesame Inc. or Credit Karma. If you use online banking, you should be able to get access to your free FICO score. This will give you good insight into any problems you might need to fix on your credit. It’s always good to know this information in case you want to make a big purchase. 


2. Research all possible Down Payment Assistance programs in your state. Eligible borrowers can get Down Payment assistance from organizations such as nchfa.com, nhfloan.org, ncbond.org, if you need organizations close to you, simply do a search for “Down Payment assistance". These are a great resource to start with. The majority of people with low-moderate income are eligible for assistance. 

 3.Inquire about a mortgage from a Loan officer. I suggest speaking to a few lenders and shop around for some good rates. A good loan officer will assist you with enquiries and application for Down payment assistance programs (for example applications for assistance to nchfa.com can only be made by a loan officer and not by individuals directly.) So make sure to mention it to your loan officer. You will also be able to get an idea of how much you can get in assistance if you qualify. Get pre-qualified for a loan.

4.Estimate your Budget. You can estimate how much your housing expenses will be depending on how much you can afford to borrow. This is a good exercise, if you are currently renting, use that as a rough guide. Remember that your mortgage payment does not include other costs such as property taxes and HOA fees, but you can work out an estimate, just ask your loan officer or your Realtor. Assess whather you need to save more funds before you can buy. 

5. Start House hunting. This is when all the fun starts. Once you have an idea of your budget, you can start looking at houses. This can be a lengthy process. If you are still saving, use this as an exercise to get a feel of what sort of home your budget will get you. When you are ready to buy, you will be able to act quickly. 


 If you are paying monthly rent towards your accommodation in 2017, you should consider buying a house. Paying towards your mortgage each month means you are building equity in your home. This is an investment that does not cost you any more each month.

Start your House search

Sharah Amani, 2017

Read more