My Blog

6 Ways Home Buyers Mess Up Getting a Mortgage

1/24/2022







Getting a mortgage is, by general consensus, the most treacherous part of buying a home. Many homebuyers said they found the mortgage experience stressful and complicated. Even lenders agree that it’s often a struggle. If you’re out to buy a home, you have to be vigilant. To clue you into the pitfalls, here are six of the most common ways people mess up getting a mortgage.

Waiting until you can make a 20% down payment

A 20% down payment is the golden number when applying for a conventional home loan, since it enables you to avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI), an extra monthly fee of 0.3% to 1.15% of your total loan amount. But with mortgage rates where they are today—in a word, low—waiting for that magic 20% could be a huge mistake, since the more time passes, the higher mortgage rates and home prices may go!

All of which means it may be worth discussing your home-buying prospects with lenders right now. To get a ballpark figure of what you can afford and how your down payment affects your finances, punch your salary and other numbers into a home affordability calculator.

Meeting with only one mortgage lender

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, about half of U.S. home buyers only meet with one mortgage lender before signing up for a home loan. But these borrowers could be missing out in a big way. Why? Because lenders’ offers and interest rates vary, and even nabbing a slightly lower interest rate can save you big bucks over the long haul.

In fact, a borrower taking out a 30-year fixed rate conventional loan can get rates that vary by more than half a percent So, getting an interest rate of 4.0% instead of 4.5% on a $200,000, 30-year fixed mortgage translates into savings of approximately $60 per month, or $3,500 over the first five years.

So, to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible, meet with at least three mortgage lenders. You’ll want to start your search early (ideally, at least 60 days before you start seriously looking at homes). When you meet with each lender, get what’s called a good-faith estimate, which breaks down the terms of the mortgage, including the interest rate and fees, so that you can make an apples-to-apples comparison between offers.

Getting pre-qualified rather than pre-approved

Mortgage pre-qualification and mortgage pre-approval may sound alike, but they’re completely different. Pre-qualification entails a basic overview of a borrower’s ability to get a loan. You provide a mortgage lender with information—about your income, assets, debts, and credit—but you don’t need to produce any paperwork to back it up. In return, you’ll get a rough estimate of what size loan you can afford, but it’s by no means a guarantee that you’ll actually get approved for the loan when you go to buy a home.

Mortgage pre-approval, meanwhile, is an in-depth process that involves a lender running a credit check and verifying your income and assets. Then an underwriter does a preliminary review of your financial portfolio and, if all goes well, issues a letter of pre-approval—a written commitment for financing up to a certain loan amount.

Bottom line? If you’re serious about buying a house, you need to be pre-approved, since many sellers will accept offers only from pre-approved buyers.

Moving money around

To get pre-approved, you must show you have enough cash in reserves to afford the down payment. (Presenting your mortgage lender with bank statements is the easiest way to do this.) Nonetheless, your loan still needs to go through underwriting while you’re under contract for your loan to be approved. Because the underwriter will check to see that your finances have remained the same, the last thing you want to do is move money around while you’re in the process of buying a house. Shifting large amounts of money out or even into your accounts is a huge red flag. So if you’re in contract for a home, your money should stay put.

Applying for new lines of credit

If you apply for a new credit card or request a credit limit increase a few months before closing, watch out: Credit inquiries ding your credit score by up to five points. So, don’t let the credit inquiries add up.

Applying for multiple lines of credit while you’re buying a house can make your mortgage lender think that you’re desperate for money—a signal that could change your mortgage terms or even get you denied altogether, even if you’ve got a closing date on the books.

Changing jobs

Mortgage lenders like to see at least two years of consistent income history when pre-approving a loan. Consequently, changing jobs while you’re under contract on a property can create a big issue in the eyes of an underwriter.

Your best bet? Try to wait until after you’ve closed on your house to change jobs. If you’re forced to switch before closing, you should alert your loan officer immediately. Depending on the lender, you may simply need to provide a written verification of employment from your new employer that states your job status and income.




Moving Supplemental Photo

3 Major Steps To Prepare for a Move.

12/22/2021

While there is a lot of excitement that comes with moving into a new home, there can also be a great deal of stress. Packing up your entire life and moving it somewhere else can seem overwhelming, but if you have a plan, it can seem a great deal more manageable. Here are the 3 major steps to take to prepare for a move and reduce the stress that can come with it.

Inventory Your Items

While this can seem like a daunting task, taking an inventory of every item in your home will save you a great deal of stress in the future. Whether you do a move entirely on your own or you hire a moving company, it is very important to have all of your items documented. If you sort your items by room and then document them as such and pack accordingly, you will be able to unpack your items by room into your new home in an organized way, ensuring you aren’t missing any items.

Box It All Up

Once you have inventoried all of your items, you will then begin boxing up what you can. Many hardware and home improvement stores have affordable boxes but checking on local Facebook pages for someone trying to get rid of moving boxes could save you a few dollars. Once you have your boxes, it is key to pack by room. This will help if you follow your inventory list, ensuring every item gets packed. Label your boxes by room to make moving in to your new home a breeze.

Renting a Moving Truck

If you’ve never rented a moving truck before, it can be difficult to guess what size truck you will need to transport all your goods. Thankfully, many sites offer ‘calculators’ that are easy to find with a simple search and allow you to enter your box and furniture information and give you a recommendation on what size will best fit your needs. While packing your stuff up is often something movers want to do on their own to keep track of their items, sometimes hiring movers for the truck portion of the move can take a great deal of weight, both physical and metaphorical, off of your shoulders. By hiring movers to load up your truck, you will save the stress on your body and also gain the experience of movers who have packed trucks before. Many people who have moved recommend hiring movers for the loading and unloading portion of the move, even if you want to do everything else DIY.


Moving Supplemental Photo

How To Prepare For Professional Movers!

12/22/2021
Moving Supplemental Photo



Moving into a new home can be an exciting life change, but it comes with its own set of stresses. Whether it's cross-country or cross-town, a move requires a lot of work to pack up your belongings, transport them and lug them into your new place. Professional movers can be a big help because they do all of the heavy lifting for you. You can even pay them extra to pack and unpack your stuff!

However, preparation is the key to making sure your move won't take longer than it needs to and be even more stressful or expensive (most of these guys are paid by the hour, after all). Here are a few tips to get the best out of your experience with the pros.

1: Know What Can and Cannot Be Moved

For obvious reasons, most moving companies won't move cash and other valuables for you.

Professional movers won't just move anything. Many moving companies have lists of items they will not transport for safety reasons, such as household chemicals, paints and liquids. They may also have a list of things they won't move for liability reasons, like cash, important papers, photographs, pets, food and medicine. If you plan on bringing these items with you, you'll have to pack them up and transport them yourself.

2: Have a Packing Plan

Before your moving day, determine whether you or the movers will be responsible for packing and unpacking your belongings. If you're doing the packing, make sure you use plenty of newspaper, bubble wrap or blankets for padding. This is important because if what you pack breaks during transport, the movers may not be held liable for it. Be sure to have enough boxes on hand and label them with your name, room destination and contents so it's easier to keep track of where it all needs to go in your new space.

Once everything's packed, try to sort the boxes by weight to make loading easier for the movers. Keep piles of boxes away from the doorways so everyone can easily walk around. Avoid piling stuff on heavy furniture that will get loaded into the van first. There are several home moving checklist apps that can help you organize your move.

3: Have Insurance

Regardless whether or not you choose to use the moving company's insurance services, make sure your belongings are financially protected. Accidents can and do happen, so it's best to have a security blanket in case something breaks or gets lost along the way.

Moving companies offer different types of insurance coverage. Two popular options are by the pound and comprehensive. Insurance by the pound is cheaper, but it doesn't cover much. For example, if your antique dining table gets scratched during the move and needs to be repaired, this type of coverage will only pay a certain amount depending on how much the table weighs. It may not cover all -- or even most of -- the repair bill. Comprehensive coverage is more expensive, but it will cover all damages and losses.

4: Have Drinks and Snacks

A few bottles of water can really help movers on a hot day. Professional movers often have packed schedules. This is especially true during the summer months, when more people tend to switch residences. Movers often don't have much time to take a lunch break or make a quick trip to a convenience store to grab a drink, so be sure to have refreshments on hand. Go with portable food options like energy bars, and have a variety of beverages to offer thirsty workers. If the weather's hot, make sure you give a few bottles of water or sports drinks to each worker because they'll definitely need the extra hydration.

5: Have Cash for Tips

The movers have been schlepping your stuff all day, and if you have a long-distance move, the process is just beginning. They may have a long drive ahead of them to your new house, or they might need to pack several households' belongings into a large semi trailer and make several stops on a cross-country trip. Any way you pack it, moving's a tough job, so have some cash on hand to show that you appreciate their hard work, especially if they do a quick, thorough job of taking care of your belongings.

Need a trust Moving Referral? Reach out & I would love to connect you ! 





Simple Sprucing Tips For Your Home.

11/16/2021

You don't need thousands of dollars to refurbish your home and make it feel like new again. Instead, you can DIY a lot of features in your house to help spruce it up for the upcoming season. Whether you plan to sell your home, have guests over, or are just tired of how drab it is been feeling lately, here are a few tips and tricks you can use to refresh your space:

CLEAN + DECLUTTER
Throw out all of the junk taking up space! You'd be surprised by how much more you'll fall back in love with your home when you take out the collection of accumulated stuff that has piled up over the years and finally get to see your home's features for what they are. Store what you don't need/use in either the attic, basement, or in a storage unit. After you've decluttered, be sure to finish it off by cleaning your home. Clean windows, walls, and the floors for the best results. 

BRING IN NATURAL LIGHT
Do you have heavy curtains covering your windows? Bring them down! Not only will this make your space feel bigger by removing stuff off the walls, it'll also feel alive again with all of the natural light that pours in. 

ADD FRESH PAINT
Nothing refreshes a home like a new coat of paint. If you have dark dull colors, opt for lighter tones. Covering up stains on the walls, or drab old paint, can help your house feel brand new all over again. 

ADD TILE
Consider adding a tile backsplash in your kitchen or bathroom. You don't have to spend a lot of money to get beautiful results. Be sure you get tiles that compliment the colors in the space, so it doesn't clash and look unappealing.

ADD COLOR
Although neutral colors are always recommended as the base of any home decor, don't be afraid to compliment your neutrals with a pop of color. You can add it throughout the home by using flowers, pillows, decor, or even light curtains that are staged on the sides of your windows. 

CHANGE OUT FIXTURES + HARDWARE
You'd be surprised by how much more a kitchen can look different just by replacing the hardware on the cabinets. A bathroom or living room can come alive again by installing a brand new light fixture. If you moved into a place that still has the same stock hardware or fixtures, replace them and add a little creativity with the new pieces you have installed. 

REARRANGE FURNITURE
Head to Pinterest and get inspired for new living room, bedroom, or dining room arrangements. Most homeowners decorate "incorrectly" when it comes to standard staging rules. View a variety of furniture set-ups on social media and let it motivate you to rearrange your space. You don't have to buy a bunch of new furniture to make a drastic change.

How Homeowners Are Ditching The Tub

10/22/2021

Homeowners are looking for large, high-tech bathrooms with sleek color palettes and finishes, according to the Houzz 2017 Bathroom Trends Report.

On average, homeowners spent $21,000 to remodel bathrooms exceeding 100 square feet. That cost drops to about $12,300 for homeowners with smaller bathrooms that are less than 100 square feet. When it comes to age demographics, those aged 55+ spent the most on remodeling their bathroom since the majority of them reported that they don’t plan to sell their home anytime soon.

Meanwhile, millennials, who see their home as a short- to medium-term residence, are choosing to invest less in bathroom renovations. Out of the 4 percent of millennials who renovated their bathrooms this year, most spent $9,200 to 12,500.

Homeowners of all ages were willing to shell out the extra dough for showers (42 percent), cabinets and vanities (40 percent), faucets (35 percent) and countertops (35 percent). On the other hand, it seems that homeowners weren’t so willing to spend extra money on an upgraded toilet.

Beyond updating showers, toilets and faucets, 90 percent of homeowners decided to change the entire style and color scheme of their bathroom during renovations. Contemporary is the most popular style at 25%, followed by transitional and modern. Contemporary is most popular among baby boomers, while Gen-Xers and millennials favor modern styles with clean finishes.

When it comes to wall colors and cabinet, countertop and floor finishes, homeowners of all ages favor a white and gray palette over neutral or more colorful options. Although baby boomers and Gen-Xers are more partial to using wood grain and darker tones, Houzz says paying attention to millennial design preferences is important, especially since they’ll be leading the housing market for the foreseeable future.

Beyond design and decor, homeowners (27 percent) swapped out bathtubs for large showers, and 73 percent of homeowners chose to add high-end features such as rainfall shower heads (55 percent), dual showers (24 percent), curbless showers (21 percent) and body sprays (18 percent). Also, 29 percent of homeowners purchased a high-tech toilet — a 19 percent year-over-year increase.

The most coveted features among toilet techies were self-cleaning (12 percent), optional bidet (8 percent), overflow protection (8 percent) and motion activation (6 percent). The least important features were a self-deodorizer (4 percent) and hands-free flushing (3 percent). Baby boomers also looked for increased accessibility with comfort-height toilets (68 percent).

Previous studies have shown that bathroom renovations yield some of the highest ROIs. It showed that blue and periwinkle bathrooms sell for an average of $5,400 more and that buyers tend to favor homes with clean, neutral colors.

“Color can be a powerful tool for attracting buyers to a home, especially in listing photos and videos,” said Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell. “Painting walls in fresh, natural-looking colors, particularly in shades of blue and pale gray not only make a home feel larger, but also are neutral enough to help future buyers envision themselves living in the space.”


Home Interior Supplemental Photo

What To Prioritize When Selling Your House

10/7/2021

Today’s housing market is full of unprecedented opportunities. High buyer demand paired with record-low housing inventory is creating the ultimate sellers’ market, which means it’s a fantastic time to sell your house. However, that doesn’t mean sellers are guaranteed success no matter what. There are still some key things to know so you can avoid costly mistakes and win big when you make a move.

1. PRICE YOUR HOUSE RIGHT

When inventory is low, like it is in the current market, it’s common to think buyers will pay whatever we ask when setting a listing price. Believe it or not, that’s not always true. Even in a sellers’ market, listing your house for the right price will maximize the number of buyers that see your house. This creates the best environment for bidding wars, which in turn are more likely to increase the final sale price. A real estate professional is the best person to help you set the best price for your house so you can achieve your financial goals.

2. KEEP YOUR EMOTIONS IN CHECK

Today, homeowners are living in their houses for a longer period of time. Since 1985, the average time a homeowner owned their home, or their tenure, has increased from 5 to 10 years (See graph below):This is several years longer than what used to be the historical norm. The side effect, however, is when you stay in one place for so long, you may get even more emotionally attached to your space. If it’s the first home you purchased or the house where your children grew up, it very likely means something extra special to you. Every room has memories, and it’s hard to detach from that sentimental value.

For some homeowners, that connection makes it even harder to separate the emotional value of the house from the fair market price. That’s why you need a real estate professional to help you with the negotiations along the way.

3. STAGE YOUR HOUSE PROPERLY

We’re generally quite proud of our décor and how we’ve customized our houses to make them our own unique homes. However, not all buyers will feel the same way about your design and personal touches. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you stage your house with the buyer in mind.

Buyers want to envision themselves in the space so it truly feels like it could be their own. They need to see themselves inside with their furniture and keepsakes – not your pictures and decorations. Stage, clean, and declutter so they can visualize their own dreams as they walk through each room. A real estate professional can help you with tips to get your home ready to stage and sell.

WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER YOU LIST YOUR HOME

9/22/2021
Moving Supplemental Photo


After all of the preparation required to list your home, you are probably ready to relax and wait for offers. While most of the hard work is done, it is important to keep in mind things that you may run into during the sale process. As you begin to welcome potential buyers into your home, here are a few things to expect now that your home is listed!

1. You might feel like you live in a museum.

You may have spent a great deal of time cleaning and decluttering, but now you are going to need to maintain that cleanliness. Potential buyers are going to expect a home that was as neat as the listing photos they saw, so it is important to meet their expectations. Now that you have officially listed your home, maintenance is necessary. There may be showings where you don't have time to do a full deep-clean, so choosing to keep your home 'show-ready' will help reduce any stress about the appearance of your home for a showing.

2. There will be some inconveniences. 

Now that you've realized your home needs to be 'show-ready' at all times, you might be starting to think that there could be an inconvenience or two during this part of home-selling. While your real estate agent will be helpful in this process, you may need to switch around plans during the evenings or weekends when you are typically home so that your home can be shown.

3.  Expect to hear critiques and criticism.

This is often the main thing that first-time home sellers struggle with. It is not always easy to hear the issues a potential buyer may have with the home you have created. While some criticism can feel insulting, it is important to remember that it is not personal. Potential buyers are not trying to hurt your feelings, they just want to picture your home as their own. Your agent can be a key part in buffering criticism. They will be able to take suggestions from potential buyers and relay it to you in a way that is helpful and constructive.

4. Home maintenance will be crucial.

While maintaining home cleanliness is important, you will also need to keep up with maintenance tasks. Your lawn will need to be mowed, your heating and cooling systems need to be operating properly, as well as any appliances that will be staying when your home sells. 

5. There can be some additional expenses.

After you've accepted an offer, the closing process will begin. There will be inspections and final walk-throughs, and this can bring about issues that may need resolved before the sale is closed. Depending on the issue, you may need to pay out-of-pocket for repairs so that you don't need to negotiate your sale price. 

If you're ready to sell your home and need someone by your side to guide you as you prepare to list, give me a call tod





What To Prioritize When Selling Your House

9/22/2021

Today’s housing market is full of unprecedented opportunities. High buyer demand paired with record-low housing inventory is creating the ultimate sellers’ market, which means it’s a fantastic time to sell your house. However, that doesn’t mean sellers are guaranteed success no matter what. There are still some key things to know so you can avoid costly mistakes and win big when you make a move.

1. PRICE YOUR HOUSE RIGHT

When inventory is low, like it is in the current market, it’s common to think buyers will pay whatever we ask when setting a listing price. Believe it or not, that’s not always true. Even in a sellers’ market, listing your house for the right price will maximize the number of buyers that see your house. This creates the best environment for bidding wars, which in turn are more likely to increase the final sale price. A real estate professional is the best person to help you set the best price for your house so you can achieve your financial goals.

2. KEEP YOUR EMOTIONS IN CHECK

Today, homeowners are living in their houses for a longer period of time. Since 1985, the average time a homeowner owned their home, or their tenure, has increased from 5 to 10 years (See graph below):This is several years longer than what used to be the historical norm. The side effect, however, is when you stay in one place for so long, you may get even more emotionally attached to your space. If it’s the first home you purchased or the house where your children grew up, it very likely means something extra special to you. Every room has memories, and it’s hard to detach from that sentimental value.

For some homeowners, that connection makes it even harder to separate the emotional value of the house from the fair market price. That’s why you need a real estate professional to help you with the negotiations along the way.

3. STAGE YOUR HOUSE PROPERLY

We’re generally quite proud of our décor and how we’ve customized our houses to make them our own unique homes. However, not all buyers will feel the same way about your design and personal touches. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you stage your house with the buyer in mind.

Buyers want to envision themselves in the space so it truly feels like it could be their own. They need to see themselves inside with their furniture and keepsakes – not your pictures and decorations. Stage, clean, and declutter so they can visualize their own dreams as they walk through each room. A real estate professional can help you with tips to get your home ready to stage and sell.

5 Must-Do's Before Buying a House

9/15/2021

If you’re ready to begin the journey of homeownership, it is important to cross a few items off of your to-do list before hunting for the perfect house. Buying a home is a process, and you want to be as prepared as possible. Here are a few steps to take that will get you ready to buy a home.

1. Get your money straight.

A year to six months before you begin the buying process, find a lender and have them pull your credit. This will give you insight into what you expect and what you may need to mend before you can make the purchase that you want to. Your lender will be able to let you know what you qualify for based on your income at the time so that you can look for homes within your price range when the time comes.

2. Decide where you are willing to stay a while.

A home is a commitment. You can always resell, but with the transaction fees that come along with buying a home, you may end up losing equity if you try to sell your home quickly after buying it. If you don’t think the home is somewhere you can see yourself for several years, keep looking.

3. Don’t hesitate to take your time.

There is a lot more to the purchasing process than just buying a home. It is important to weigh the pros and cons of a home that you are considering buying. How is the neighborhood? Will the long commute be overwhelming in 6 months? Make sure you’ve considered the aspects of what makes up your day-to-day life and how your new home will help or hurt that process.

4. Know the difference between your dream home and a fantasy home.

Being realistic is a key part of making the home buying process easier on you. Your agent will work hard to make your deal the best it can be, but when it comes down to it, you will usually get what you pay for. Major discounts typically mean you will have work to do, and that doesn’t necessarily mean a steal for you. Be realistic during your search and keep in mind that the perfect home might not be out there, but that doesn’t mean that your dream home isn’t.

5. Find an agent for you.

Finding an agent that works for you take a major weight off of your shoulders in the home buying process. Ask your friends and family, and look into local agents that come highly recommended. When you find a trusted agent, they will be able to show you houses that you can’t find from a simple internet search and be able to negotiate for you along the way. It is their specialty - don’t waste the time or energy trying to do the job of a realtor on top of everything else you have on your plate!


Home Interior Supplemental Photo

Tricks For Hard-To-Paint Areas

9/1/2021

While some DIY projects seem like they should be left for the pros, painting doesn’t have to be one of them. Basic painting seems easy enough, but sometimes we run into those hard-to-paint areas and regret not hiring a professional. Instead of hanging up the towel, try out these tricks for those spots and see if you can finish your project all on your own (and save some money in the process!)

Painting Window Trim

Painting the wood diving panes and sashes on windows can seem daunting at first. Most people think that lining your windows with painters tape will help, but that is usually just a waste of time. Instead, just paint away! This is the one time it is okay to get a little paint outside of your target area. When paint gets on the glass, just allow it to dry and as soon as it does, scrape it off with a razor blade. Try not to let the paint set for longer than a day.

Painting Behind Toilets

Sometimes, the hardest places to paint are the tight spaces where we can’t really do much to make that space bigger. This is where you will need a “hot dog” roller. They’re smaller than regular rollers and when attached to a longer handle, can make painting in tight spaces a breeze. You can use this roller for other small spaces, like behind radiators or other fixtures.

Painting High Ceilings

If you’ve got a high ceiling or a tall wall where a ladder can’t safely reach, like above a staircase, you’ve usually got a challenge on your hands. This is where a paintbrush extension tool comes in. Rather than attaching a roller to a pole and losing stability, an extension tool is more like an extension of your arm. Make sure to avoid dripping paint by loading less paint on the brush that you typically would for a wall right in front of you.



New Home Construction Supplemental Photo

Page:  of 000  |