Should You Buy or Rent When Entering Retirement?

Writting retired and enjoying life on an application form concept for a comfortable retirement

It’s the moment we all wait for, whether it comes after many years of dedication to our job, or recently winning the billion-dollar Powerball lottery, and that moment is your retirement. We’ve all had our own thoughts about what we would do when we eventually reached this stage of our life, whether it be traveling the world, spending more time with family, or anything else. However, once you retire, you may consider changing your living arrangements; maybe you choose to downsize to a smaller home that’s easier to maintain, or you may decide to rent a place. This is an important decision to make as a retiree, so here are some tips for deciding in which direction you should go.

The first thing you need to think about is how long you plan on staying in your new location. If you can envision a long-term residence in a certain house, it would be best to buy. If you think you’ll only be staying in your next location for only a few years, it may be worth it to rent. As a retiree, you may want to use your free time to experience the world and live in a few different places.

No matter how old we are, a pet is always a comforting presence. Obviously, if you decide to buy your own house, you can have a pet without any trouble. But, if you decide to rent, you must check the rental guidelines concerning pets because some rental properties may not allow you to have them. Although I don’t have any pets, I can still tell you that, if I had one, I wouldn’t want to be separated from them in my new living arrangement, so you have to look for a new residence that not only fits within your financial means, but will also allow your pet to live with you.

You also have to factor in the conveniency that each option offers. When you own a home, you have to take into consideration the amount of repairs you may need to face at certain points. When you enter retirement, if you feel like you’ll be able to keep up with the necessary work that’s needed to maintain a house, then, by all means, go for a new house; but, choose one that’s relatively easy to take care of, maybe even one in a 55+ community. However, if you rent a property, repairs won’t be your responsibility because you’ll have a landlord to handle all of that for you. Instead of having the upkeep of the house be your responsibility, you’ll be able to focus on other things that are less bothersome. But, you must remember, if you decide to rent, you may not be allowed to do too much personalization in your home because it’s still the landlord’s property, and they have final say about what you can do with your rental home.

“When a homeowner is downsizing or considering renting, they need to consider their lifestyle as well as finances,” said Teresa O’Shaughnessy, manager of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty’s office in Pearl River, NY.  “If a homeowner doesn’t want to or can no longer maintain a home, moving into a rental or condo may be a good alternative.”

Proximity to family may also be a significant factor as to whether or not you buy or rent. If you know you’ll be staying in once place for several years, you may want to live near your family in case you need them for anything. In the scenario you feel you won’t be staying in one place for a long period of time and don’t mind being away from your family after one of your moves, then go for a rental property.

Retirement is an enjoyable time in a person’s life, but there are still some important decisions to be made as you enter this stage, and you should take time to think about what will be best for you in the years to come. Remember, you have arrived at these relaxing years after a lot of hard work, so make sure you choose a living arrangement that will meet your needs. Whether you choose to buy or rent, make these years some of the best of your life. You deserve it!

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.



Posted on January 18, 2016 at 11:35 am
Rand Realty | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , , ,

How to Find the Neighborhood That’s Right for You

uptown sunset street blockWhen you’re looking for a new house, you can’t just focus on what kind of house you would like; you also have to think about what kind of neighborhood you want to live in. If the house of your dreams is in the neighborhood of your nightmares, what’s the point of buying that property? There are many factors to take into consideration when looking for your desired neighborhood, so here are a few you should remember.

If you have children, or are planning to have children, one of the most important aspects you need to think about is school districts. When looking at schools, make sure they will meet your children’s needs and will provide them with an environment in which they will be able to learn and grow. Moving to a new house can be difficult for children, so transitioning to a neighborhood with a school district that shows promise for your children will help them assimilate into the surroundings of their new school. Although the Fair Housing Act doesn’t allow realtors to provide information to buyers about specific schools, realtors can still share links to websites that offer ratings for schools and local schools systems.

You also have to make plans as to how you wish to commute to work. Do you plan on driving? Is it easier to take mass transit? No matter how you travel, the proximity to your workplace is an important factor when considering a move. After all, who wants to move to a new home and have to experience a long commute to work? I certainly don’t, and I’m sure you don’t want to either. Of course, if you plan on taking a train, you can afford going a bit of a distance. But, if you plan on driving, a short travel time between your house and work will be a major convenience.

Safety is usually a top concern for people who want to move to a new neighborhood. When bringing your family and yourself to a new neighborhood, you want to be certain you and they will be safe. When researching new neighborhoods, you can visit real estate sites for details pertaining to crime and safety, or you can call the local police department. Although houses are expensive, you can’t put a price on safety, so conduct as much research as you can into what the crime statistics are in a neighborhood you’re interested.

It also helps to determine the distance you’ll be from loved ones when you move. If you’re moving from a town that has many of your family and friends living there, you’ll probably want to move to a neighborhood that has a relatively close distance to them. You’ll especially want to think about this when taking the holidays into consideration. We all know traffic is a pain when traveling during these times of year, so take some time to think about this as you determine how far you would like to move.

You should also make sure your prospective neighborhood has a variety of activities, entertainment, and restaurants for your weekends. When visiting a neighborhood, dedicate some time to exploring its culture by visiting its downtown area, parks, libraries, and performance venues to see if the area offers enough options for things to do on a day off or night out. Do some research to find out what local and fun opportunities your new neighborhood can provide for you.

Proximity to banks, post offices, grocery stores, and other necessities is also something to research. Wherever you live, you want to have these places within reach. Think about if you want to drive 20 minutes somewhere whenever you have to deposit a check, mail a package, or purchase food. Before you visit a particular neighborhood, make a list of all of the places you would like to be close to your house, and when you get to that neighborhood, see if the area includes what you have on your list.

Just like looking for a house, you have to make sure a neighborhood fits your criteria of what you need. By taking a relaxing walk or drive through a neighborhood, you can explore the area and see if it’s the type of place you would want to live in. As I said before, even if you get your dream home, you won’t be able to enjoy it if it’s in a neighborhood that doesn’t meet your needs. It will take some time to look at the neighborhoods that interest you, but it’s a fun and necessary step in the home-searching process, one that will help you find the best town in which to make a new beginning.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.



Posted on December 14, 2015 at 9:32 am
Rand Realty | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , , ,

House-Hunting Lunch-Break “To-Dos”


Lunch Break.If you’re a home shopper, you’re probably overwhelmed by all of the tasks that go into such an undertaking. Buying a home is stressful, but once you finally sign the closing papers, all of that hard work feels very rewarding. As you’re looking for a home with your agent, there are a few tasks you can easily complete on your own during your lunch break. I know you already have a lot to think about when buying a home, but contributing some daily attention to these tasks will help you in the long run.

When you have an idea of where you want to look for a home, go through the housing inventory online and see what homes are in your desired area that you may be interested in visiting. If you conduct frequent checks of the inventory, you’ll stay up to date with what’s available, and you will be able to add any homes to your list that may be new on the market, while also taking homes off your list that may come off the market. When keeping in mind which homes you may want to consider, this will show your realtor that you are committed to your search.

You can drive through some of the streets and ride past the homes you’re interested in to see how they look in the beauty of autumn. Winter is creeping up on us, so before the snowy weather hits, take some time to look for homes in the crisp weather and colorful foliage. I’m not saying to stop your car right in front of a house and look like a weirdo, but simply cruise past it to get a glimpse of how it looks up close.

You should also check out some community hotspots, as this will help you get to know the kind of people that inhabit a certain town. If you go to a location such as a park or library, you won’t only see the types of people who live in the area, but will also get an idea of the kinds of programs and activities the community offers.

While seeing different houses and visiting their respective towns, it can also be fun to walk around and visit the local businesses, such as a bakery or coffee shop, to see what the small-town economy has to offer. Although you shouldn’t let the tempting aroma of a bakery persuade you into buying a home in a certain town, you can’t deny having a small, family-owned bakery nearby your house is a perk.

Of course, you can also use social media as a way to look for a house. If you go onto any of these types of pages for a real estate company, you might find that they are giving attention to a certain house that may be worth checking out. At Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, they do the weekly hashtag, #FreshListingFriday, where they pick a newly listed house in one of the counties they serve and give a shoutout to it on their Facebook and Twitter pages. You can also go on their Pinterest page, where you will find some eye-catching decorating ideas that you may want to consider for your new house.

I know you have a busy schedule and don’t need more on your plate, but if you’re in the middle of looking for a new house, these are a few practices to which you should dedicate some time. When involving yourself in a real estate transaction, you have to be proactive because this is going to be one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make. If you take these steps, your search for a new house will be less arduous and a lot more fun.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.



Posted on October 22, 2015 at 1:34 pm
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Best Mobile Apps for Buying a House

Home Set of apps icons. Vector illustration.

Home Set of apps icons. Vector illustration.

Let’s face it, our world has become, and continues to become, increasingly technological, and we must be thankful for the mobile tools that help make stressful and challenging tasks a little less so. There are so many tech-savvy methods you can use to help guide yourself through this process, that buying a house can become a fun challenge. With your mobile devices, there is a plethora of apps you can download that will help you when you’re buying a house.

If you’re curious about the local real estate market, one app that you might want to consider using is Doorsteps Swipe. Basically, you receive a photo and address of the property, and then you swipe left or right to indicate whether or not you liked the house. Sounds fun, right? After you have saved five listings, you will receive a summary of information pertaining to what you liked. I like this app because it educates you about houses and helps build you into a buyer who feels comfortable navigating the market.

As you begin your venture in the housing market, you should do your best to familiarize yourself with real estate terms, and you can achieve this with the Barron’s Dictionary of Real Estate Terms app. This app offers the user about 3,000 real estate terms that will assist in keeping you up to speed with the workings of the real estate industry. Brushing up on these terms will help you become more knowledgeable of how real estate works.

Homesnap is another great app that allows for the user to take a photo of any house with their smartphone and instantly receive details of the property, such as its value, number of bathrooms and bedrooms, local school ratings, and much more. If the house is on the market, you may also be able to view interior photos. What’s great about this app is how accurate and timely it is, which it achieves by employing the same listing information realtors use. When looking at a particular house, you want to make sure you have as much information as possible about the property, so having this app will certainly provide you with the details you need to consider whether or not a certain house will be a possibility.

Although buying a house takes a lot of work, the fact that we have information at our fingertips to help us with the process is a comforting thought. You should brush up on a few of these apps and decide which ones will work best for you. You might even want to ask your agent if they have any favorite apps to recommend. There is so much help via technology available to us, so using it during one of the biggest purchases of your life is a must.

To learn more about Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.



Posted on October 16, 2015 at 1:56 pm
Rand Realty | Category: Rand Country Blog | Tagged , , , , ,

Home Buying During the Back-to-School Season

Child_Home_From_School_0011We’re already at the end of the second week of September, and the new academic year is in full swing. Parents are adjusting their schedules to fit with their children’s extracurriculars, getting used to an empty nest if their children are starting college, finishing up putting away all of the summer paraphernalia, or if you have recently moved into a new home, you’re probably getting ready for your child to venture into a new school district. If none of these apply to you, and you’re looking to purchase a new home, this is a great time of year to do so.

For families who are moving with young children, switching your child to a new school district is one of the more significant changes you will make upon moving. It also makes your move more of a time-sensitive matter because you want to move to your new home before the academic year begins. When moving before the start of a school year, your child will have a fresh start at a new school, instead of being transitioned into a school that already has its academic year in progress.

For other homebuyers, this is a great time of year to look for a new home because there will be a smaller buyer pool as a result of decreased competition, seeing as families who wanted to move before the school year began have already done so. According to an article from, new contract signings were down 12 percent this July from June, which is not out of the ordinary for this time of year, seeing as most contracts that are signed in July won’t close until after the school year begins. As inventory stays on the market longer, pricing will go down, and if you sign a contract in September, you should be able to close before Thanksgiving, which means you can avoid the possibility of hitting a snowstorm in December at the beginning of winter.

“My buyers love looking in the early fall,” said Adam DiFrancesco, manager of business development for Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty. “Besides homes looking their prettiest, there is less competition between buyers. In the spring, all of my buyers are very go-go-go, and many are that way due to wanting to be closed before the start of the school year. In the fall, the process is more relaxed, giving my buyers more leisure in finding their home.”

If you have been waiting for an advantageous time to buy a home, now would be one of those ideal times. You won’t have to contend with the potential buyers who come out in droves during the warmer months of spring and summer, and you won’t have to worry about the snowy and icy traveling conditions of winter. So, if you’re looking to purchase a home, look into doing so during the early fall when you have a better chance at closing on the home you have your eyes on.

To learn more about Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.



Posted on September 11, 2015 at 8:49 pm
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Are We In a Buyer’s or Seller’s Housing Market?

3d render image of houses with graph growingThe real estate industry is constantly going through changes, and that includes the climate of the market. If there is high inventory and low prices, you can bet that you are in a buyer’s market, and if there’s low inventory and high prices, you can be sure that you’re in a seller’s market. In the U.S., however, the type of market varies by location. Because of the size of the U.S., some areas might be displaying traits of a buyer’s market, and other places might be showing signs of a seller’s market. It all depends on where you live.

According to RealtyTrac, homes are selling for 108 percent of asking price on average in the Bay Area of California, as well as in Washington, D.C.; Cass County, North Dakota; and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In these locations, sellers are receiving more than they originally asked for, which shows that there is a high demand for housing.

Then, there are areas, such as Atlanta, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis, where buyers have the most influence and sellers are receiving less than the asking price, and this is happening even though the number of homes on the market are limited.

According to RealtyTrac, less than a third of housing markets in the U.S. have homes that sell for above the asking price, 60 percent have homes selling for below the asking price, and only 14 percent of homes sell at their market value.

If you want further proof that the U.S. real estate industry can’t be pinned down to one kind of market over the other, there are also areas that have markets where the situation is on even ground between buyers and sellers. These places include the D.C. suburbs of Montgomery County, Maryland; Raleigh, North Carolina; the Phoenix metropolitan area; and Riverside County, California.

To give you an example of the areas around near where I live (the lower Hudson Valley and northern New Jersey), there is definitely a situation where there are certain counties that have markets that are more suitable for buyers, some that are better for sellers, and others that are great for both. Orange County is certainly a buyer’s market with its 30-percent sales increase of single-family homes from last year and a median sales price of $220,000. Dutchess County also has a relatively low median sales price, coming in at $249,600.00, but faired even better than Orange County in terms of sales for single-family homes, topping that region with a 21.4 percent increase. Putnam County experienced changes that have made it a decent market for both buyers and sellers, with sales having shown a considerable increase of 18.2 percent and prices displaying more consistency and a promise of growth.

The northern New Jersey counties near the lower Hudson Valley (Bergen, Morris, and Passaic), have been displaying wonderful activity within their markets. All three counties have enjoyed increases in sales and prices, and they also have the lowest amount of average days on market for their homes (ranging from 76-155 days), whereas Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, and Dutchess Counties in New York have homes that spend a higher average of days on the market (ranging from 170-218 days).

When you’re looking to buy a home, it’s always important to study the current housing market and see where you can get the best deal for a home. Each area has its own market that favors either the buyer, the seller, or both, so you should have an idea about what a certain market is going to offer you before you actually visit that area. As long as you stay on top of the market and use it as a valuable real estate tool, you will surely know where it is best to search for a home.

If you’re interested in Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty’s full market report for the second quarter of 2015, you can find it here on our blog. The QMR includes a market overview and in-depth analyses pertaining to each county that Rand Realty covers.

To learn more about Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.



Posted on July 5, 2015 at 11:51 am
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How to Help Your Children Adjust After a Move

new homeAfter moving from a home in which you’ve spent several years, to a home in a completely different location, it will take some time to get used to the new surroundings. Although it might be a little easier for adults to get accustomed to the move, it could be a little more difficult for children to come to terms with it because they are used to the routines and familiarity of their previous home life. It could take some time for them to get used to their new settings, but there are ways how you can assist them with this major transition.

One of the main challenges your children will go through is adapting to a new school with having new teachers and making new friends. It can be hard for children to assimilate into a new school, but you should encourage them to have fun with it. A really easy way for them to make new friends is to join any clubs or athletic teams that will give them the opportunity to meet people who share similar interests. Although they might be hesitant at first, this is a time to be supportive of your children and encourage them to come out of their shells. Also, despite being in a new environment, if your children continue to be a part of the same extracurricular activities that they were involved in at their previous school, it will add some comfort to the process of meeting new friends as they will be a part of something that they enjoy and are familiar with.

When you move a significant distance away from your previous home, it will be difficult for your children to visit their friends. When this is the case, have them take advantage of Skype or FaceTime to keep in touch with their friends. Instead of just calling on the phone or texting, your children can use these applications to enjoy a face-to-face conversation with a friend. This will help your children feel better connected to their old friends and will make their conversations a little more special than if it was just a conversation with voices on the phone or words in a text message.

If you have children who are in pre-K or kindergarten, set up playdates between your child and a friend in their class. Younger children may not have as many extracurriculars outside of the classroom, so this will give them a chance to socialize with a friend when not in school and help build stronger friendships.

You should also help your children find fun things to do around the neighborhood. No matter where your family lives, your community is bound to have different events going on that could attract any age. As a family, encourage your children to discover what the town has to offer, helping them get to know many other families within the town.

Most importantly, you should sit your children down and talk with them about why you had to move and why it was good for the family. Depending on how old your children are, it might take a bit of time for them to understand the necessity behind the move. If they don’t seem receptive to the reasoning behind the move at first, they will eventually warm up to it as they start to make memories of their new lives. If need be, provide your children with some space so they can be alone with their thoughts and process the change that is occurring.

Emotionally, moving to a new home can be one of the most difficult things a person can do, especially for children. It’s a period of leaving behind what you have all come to know and starting a new chapter in your lives. This can be a challenge for children, but not one without its silver linings, so remind your children to always try and find the positives in a big life change. If they do that, then they will surely come to love their new home.

To learn more about Rand Realty, visit their website and Facebook page, and make sure to “Like” their page. You can also follow them on Twitter.

Posted on July 2, 2015 at 10:51 am
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