The first step in the home buying process is to get a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender. He/she will collect financial documents, like bank statements, tax returns, paystubs, etc. to best decipher the price point of home you should be considering.
With a pre-approval letter in hand, you will want to search for that perfect agent! Everyone’s criteria will be different, so make sure that your personality matches that of your agent so you are on the same page.
Ask friends, family and neighbors for their suggestions of agents, and speak with a few before deciding anything. If you like constant communication, make sure he/she is willing to update you every x amount of days for example. If you prefer a certain form of communication-say email instead of phone calls-be sure he/she understands that.
Make sure that along the process, you and your agent are communicating effectively and often. You want to be kept in the loop of what is going on, and will need your agent to help with any confusing terminology or wording in contracts. Your Realtor will be able to clear up any confusion, and negotiate on your behalf.
Do not ever feel like you are asking a dumb question! If you are unsure about something, ask for clarification! It is better to make sure you understand what is going on, then to be confused at the closing table. Your agent should understand that you are not going to be as familiar with the process as he/she is, and take their time making sure you are comfortable each step of the way.
Lastly, make sure you are flexible! There will almost never be an exactly perfect home (unless you custom build it!), so be flexible about things like paint color or backsplash that can easily be changed in the future. If there are substantial modifications to make, be sure to factor that into the price you are paying for the home.
You’ve most likely heard the rule: Save for a 20-percent down payment before you buy a home. The logic behind saving 20 percent is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long-term goal. It also helps you get favorable rates from lenders.
But there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a small down payment—as low as three percent—rather than parting with so much cash up front, even if you have the money available.
The downsides of a small down payment are pretty well known. You’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance for years, and the lower your down payment, the more you’ll pay. You’ll also be offered a lesser loan amount than borrowers who have a 20-percent down payment, which will eliminate some homes from your search.
The national average for home appreciation is about five percent. The appreciation is independent from your home payment, so whether you put down 20 percent or three percent, the increase in equity is the same. If you’re looking at your home as an investment, putting down a smaller amount can lead to a higher return on investment, while also leaving more of your savings free for home repairs, upgrades, or other investment opportunities.
THE HAPPY MEDIUM
Of course, your home payment options aren’t binary. Most borrowers can find some common ground between the security of a traditional 20 percent and an investment-focused, small down payment. Your trusted real estate professional can provide some answers as you explore your financing options.
Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts their Survey of Consumer Finances. Data is collected across all economic and social groups. The latest survey data covers 2013-2016.
The study revealed that the median net worth of a homeowner is $231,400 – a 15% increase since 2013. At the same time, the median net worth of renters decreased by 5% ($5,200 today compared to $5,500 in 2013).
These numbers reveal that the net worth of a homeowner is over 44 times greater than that of a renter.
Owning a home is a great way to build family wealth.
As we’ve said before, simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth by increasing the equity in your home.
That is why Gallupreported that Americans picked real estate as the best long-term investment for the fifth year in a row. According to this year’s results, 34% of Americans chose real estate. Stocks followed at 26%, and then gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds.
If you want to find out how you can use your monthly housing cost to increase your family’s wealth, let’s get together to guide you through the process.
Ever wish you could become one of those rare morning people? The ones that wake with a start, feeling refreshed and energized. The ones that get in that morning workout or wrap up some work before many of us even hit the snooze button for the first time. Here are five tips to help you achieve that early bird status!
Create a morning schedule. Physically write down the things you’d like to complete in the morning and set a time for each. Then stick with it. Once you force yourself out of bed early one or two weeks consistently, you’ll find it gets easier and easier to do.
Let the light in. Whether natural or artificial, light tells your brain its time to get up and get going. If your room lacks large windows where you can open the blinds up, consider investing in a timed lamp or alarm clock with a light.
Prep and eat breakfast. Although there are many of us who chose the skip breakfast, it is key to perking up your energy in the morning. Try prepping protein-focused meals the night before or grab a yogurt or fruit and try to consume it right after you wake.
Get your body moving. Whether it’s a short walk around your neighborhood or a rigorous 5:30 am spin class, getting your blood pumping will help wake up your body and has a ton of other benefits, like stress and anxiety reduction.
Feed your mind. Stimulate your brain and do something you enjoy first thing in the morning. Try reading a favorite book, catching up on the news, doing daily meditation, or setting intentions.
When you’re getting ready to list your home, it’s of the upmost importance to ensure you are showing it in the best light. Taking time to highlight its strengths and fix up some of its possible weaknesses can make a big difference in how fast it sells. Here are our top five recommended repairs to make before selling your home.
Giving your home a fresh coat of paint is one of the most cost-effective ways to spruce it up, and generally, it can be a do-it-yourself project. Make sure cover any walls with scratches and chips and consider updating any accent walls with a more neutral coat.
Hardwood floors are a very desirable feature in a home, so you want to ensure they look their best by fixing scratches or dull areas. If your carpet is worn or stained, consider replacing them. And don’t forget the tile in your kitchen or bathrooms. Re-grouting can go a long way in making dingy tile work look brand new!
Refresh the landscaping.
Show buyers your home is the full package by dressing up the outside as well as the in. Clean walkways and driveways, plant seasonal flowers and plants, trim hedges and trees, install outdoor décor pieces and fill in mulch and gravel.
Fix your fixtures.
Leaky faucet? Rusted drains? Loose drawer handle? Making these small fixes can make a big difference to potential buyers with detailed-orientated minds. Improve your kitchen. An outdated kitchen can be a real eyesore in a home. Updating cabinetry, repairing or replacing countertops, and installing new faucets and sinks may be worth the investment!
Ever get the itch to do a DIY project? Whenever we do, our favorites involve getting outdoors and mixing up our landscaping features.
Whether it’s as simple as installing some lighting or a little more time-consuming like re-plotting plants, a fresh look for the lawn always gives your home a fresh look as well. Here are our top five easy landscaping projects!
Create a pathway.
To guide you and visitors throughout your yard and link different areas together, install a pathway. You can use materials from a variety of materials, including reclaimed pallet wood, flagstones, gravel, and more to add texture and color.
Add a wall or border.
Installing a flagstone, rock, or brick wall around flower beds or trees adds a sleek, clean look to your landscaping and helps separate different sections of your yard.
Install a water feature.
Nothing says zen quite like the sound of trickling water as you relax in your backyard. You can start simple with by purchasing and installing a small feature powered by a solar panel or create a larger focal point in your yard by installing a waterfall wall or small pond.
Light your way.
An easy way to transform your yard is to strategically use lighting. Place cool-colored lights high in trees to recreate a moonlight feel, use pathway lights to naturally guide the eye, or highlight objects or plants.
Expand your yard space by drawing the eye to the sky with a trellis fence or screen made of wood or metal. Once you install your trellis, select your climbing plants and vines and get to planting!
For all your landscaping needs or more fresh ideas to add curb appeal to your home, give our friends at Samson Grounds Management a call today at 980.245.2353!
As unfortunate as it can be when homeowners fall behind on mortgage payments and must face the possibility of losing their homes, short sales and foreclosures provide them options for moving on financially. The terms are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually quite different, with varying timelines and financial impact on the homeowner. Here’s a brief overview.
A short sale comes into play when a homeowner needs to sell their home but the home is worth less than the remaining balance that they owe. The lender can allow the homeowner to sell the home for less than the amount owed, freeing the homeowner from the financial predicament.
On the buyer side, short sales typically take three to four months to complete and many of the closing and repair costs are shifted from the seller to the lender.
On the other hand, a foreclosure occurs when a homeowner can no longer make payments on their home so the bank begins the process of repossessing it. A foreclosure usually moves much faster than a short sale and is more financially damaging to the homeowner.
After foreclosure the bank can sell the home in a foreclosure auction. For buyers, foreclosures are riskier than short sales, because homes are often bought sight unseen, with no inspection or warranty.
For most of us, our bedroom is little more than a place to sleep and relax. However, just because it’s always been that way doesn’t mean that we have to settle for drab and dreary.
One trend that’s gaining steam these days is converting your current bedroom into a luxury suite (or something comparable). If you want to live like you’re renting a room at the Ritz, then you want to follow these tips.
Compartmentalize Your Activities
Making your bedroom more functional is going to make it more luxurious. Add a gorgeous desk for working and a TV area for entertainment, and you’ll be living it up in no time.
Make it Chic
Choose a color palette that is both luxurious and classy. Silver and gold can seem tacky, so choose muted shades that compliment each other.
Also, a brilliant and commanding headboard can instantly upgrade the look of your room without any other changes.
Light it Properly
Finally, make sure that you have the right light to show off your designs. If it’s too washed out or yellow, then it will look drab and run down. Switch to brilliant LEDs and see the difference.
Choose Your Accents Wisely
We already mentioned a headboard, but some elegant drapes can also make your room feel more royal. Being strategic with your furniture accessories is going to both keep you under budget and avoid doing too much with the space.
Are you ready to lux your bedroom? You’ll be impressed by the results, and the feeling of decadence will make you more confident in your surroundings.