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Last-minute Home Showing? Here’s How to Stage Your Home in Just a Few Minutes

September 2nd, 2015

Home_ImprovementsIn an ideal situation, a seller will have ample time to prepare a home to list for sale. This may include time to make necessary repairs, to thoroughly clean the home from top to bottom and to properly stage it. However, in those cases when time is not available to complete all of these steps, there are a few necessary steps that should be followed to get the home in show-ready condition in a very short period of time.

De-Clutter As Much As Possible
De-cluttering the home is an important step in staging, and this is because it can make the home look cleaner and can show off the square footage in the home. When time for staging is limited, it may be necessary to simply hide items away in closets, cabinets and drawers. Ideally, however, these items will be boxed up, and this is because some home buyers will open closet doors and cabinets to view these areas, and it is not ideal to have them appear to be cluttered and chaotic.

Remove All Personal Effects From The Property
A key step in staging a home relates to removing all of the family’s personal items and making the home seem neutral, and the purpose for this is so that a buyer can see himself or herself living in the home. Ideally, all personal effects will be removed from the property, but when this is not possible, they should be boxed up or stored in an out-of-sight location in the home.

Focus On The Kitchen And Bathrooms
When time is truly limited, it may not be possible to thoroughly clean the home as well as de-clutter and de-personalize the home. Therefore, in a crunch, it is best to focus on cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms thoroughly and giving the other areas of the home a once-over with cleaning efforts. If more time is available, focusing on cleaning baseboards, ceiling fans and other features that may not be cleaned on a regular basis but that are visible to buyers can be helpful.

Many sellers will have several weeks to stage a home before listing it, but this is not always the case. In a situation with limited time to stage the home, the seller often must make critical decisions about what absolutely must be done and what is less important, and this can vary from homeowner to homeowner. Those who have questions about staging their home can reach out to their trusted real estate professional for assistance.

First-time Home Buyers: Why Splurging for a Larger Home Beats Condo Living

August 31st, 2015

1st-Time-HomebuyerSome first-time home buyers are on a tight budget when making their real estate purchase, and there may be an inclination by many to purchase a smaller property, such as a condo, rather than the home they truly want. While there may be some initial financial benefit associated with buying a smaller property, there are a few benefits associated with splurging and buying a larger home as a first purchase. By analyzing these benefits, first-time home buyers can make a more informed decision about how to proceed.

Costs Associated With Upgrading In The Future
Some people will purchase a smaller property initially with the goal of later upgrading to a larger property. This can provide the home buyer with the initial benefits of building equity, taking advantage of tax benefits associated with real estate ownership and more. However, there are costs associated with selling property, including closing costs, real estate fees, make-ready and improvement costs and more that should be considered.

Benefits Of Long-Term Ownership
For many, there will be a need to have a larger property over the years, such as when starting a family or when young children grow into teenagers who need more space. When the first property purchased is large enough for the family to grow into, the homeowner can enjoy long-term appreciation and equity growth. More than that, the higher value of the property may mean that there is more upside for property appreciation over the years.

Getting Established In A Community
In addition to the financial benefits associated with investing in a larger property initially, there are intangible benefits. Moving into a new home in a few years means that there is a need to get re-established in a community. When a home buyer settles down into a larger home that he or she plans to stay in for many long years or even decades, getting established and settled in the community can begin right away.

These are considerable benefits that can be enjoyed when a first-time home buyer makes a purchase that he or she plans to enjoy for many years to come, but there are other factors to consider. Each person needs to make a decision regarding a real estate purchase that is best for their needs, goals and financial situation, so there is not a best-fit solution that is right for everyone.

Mortgage 101: 3 Reasons to Avoid Giving Wrong Information on Your Mortgage Application

August 28th, 2015

Mortgage-AppA mortgage application is typically several pages in length, and it requires you to provide a considerable amount of information about your personal, professional and financial life. Some mortgage applicants may not have access to all of the information when completing the application, and others may simply skim over the information and provide incomplete answers. These are only a few of the reasons why information on the mortgage application may not be accurate, but there are several key reasons why applicants should avoid giving inaccurate information.

Loan Approval is Based on It 

The initial loan application will serve as a basis for the pre-qualification of the mortgage request. The applicant may make a decision to move forward with an offer to purchase a home based on a pre-qualification, but the pre-qualification is based on the accuracy of the information that is initially provided to the lender in the loan application.

Information Will Be Verified 

The majority of the information that is provided by the applicant in the loan application will be verified at various points throughout the loan process. For example, a credit report may be pulled very early on in the loan process, and it may be used to document the accuracy of the debts and monthly payments that the applicant wrote on the loan application. Tax returns, pay stubs and other related documentation may also be required. Essentially, the lender will eventually have access the accurate data, so there is little benefit to provide inaccurate information up-front on the loan application.

It Is Against the Law 

A final reason why it is not advisable to provide inaccurate information on the application is because this is illegal. There is a disclaimer on the standard mortgage application that goes into detail about the law regarding providing false information on a loan application. There are also disclosures that are signed before and during closing that relate to this.

Completing a loan application is among the first steps mortgage applicants take when applying for a loan, and it is easy to overlook the importance of providing accurate information at this stage in the process.

Four Surefire Ways to Ensure That You Get the Best Possible Deal on Your Mortgage

August 26th, 2015

Taking time to set up your home mortgage is one of the best steps that you can take to promote financial health and security. The best home mortgage is one with an affordable payment, that does not empty your bank accounts of necessary financial reserves and that will help you to establish equity at a fast pace. If you want to ensure that you get the best deal on your mortgage focus on these tips.

Consider the Loan Term Carefully
The most common loan term options are a 15, 20 and 30 year term. There will be a slight interest rate difference between these options, but the term itself will play a critical role in how quickly your equity increases as well as what your mortgage payment is. The payment should be affordable, and you do not want to set up a payment that is so high that you run the risk of defaulting. However, a shorter term with a higher monthly payment can result in less interest charges and faster debt reduction.

Think About the Pros and Cons of a Larger Down Payment
The amount of your down payment is also critical to setting up the right mortgage. When you make a larger down payment, you will have lower payments and may even qualify for a better rate. However, you also may be tying up your extra funds that could be used for investments or for debt reduction into your mortgage.

Shop For the Best Interest Rate
The interest rate variation from lender to lender may be fairly minimal when factors like the down payment, the term and your credit rating are constant. However, even a quarter or a half-percent difference in the interest rate will impact your payment amount and equity growth significantly. It can also impact your interest charge for your annual tax deduction.

Review the Closing Costs
A final point to consider is the closing costs. Some lenders may take on a higher fee with closing costs in exchange for a lower interest rate. It is important that you consider the difference in the mortgage payment and equity growth over time. Think about how long it will take you to recoup the up-front cost differential with the monthly payment differential. This can help you to determine which loan option is the most affordable overall.

Many will pay attention to the interest rate and loan term when shopping for a new mortgage. These are important factors to consider, but they are not the only ones that are important and relevant. Keep each of these points in mind if you want to set up the best overall mortgage.