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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Getting Your Credit Ready to Buy a Home

If buying a home is in your future, one of the first things you should do is check your credit score. Even if you’re still saving for a down payment, the sooner you know your score, the better. You can get your score by requesting a credit report from one of the three major credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Federal law requires these companies to offer you a free credit report : https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action once per year, so take advantage of this benefit.
After you get your report, thoroughly check for any errors or inaccuracies. Are the addresses, accounts, and balances accurate? Are there accounts you don’t recognize? If you find a mistake, contact the credit reporting company and file a dispute. You want to make sure your credit report is completely accurate before you start house shopping.

What Credit Score Do You Need?

Once you know your credit score, this will help you understand how it will impact the type of mortgage you might be able to qualify for. Conventional loans typically require your credit score to be at least 620. If your credit score is less than that, then you will likely want to look into a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan. If you have a credit score of 580 or over and a 3.5 percent down payment, you may qualify for an FHA loan. Finally, if you have a score of 500 to 579, then you will need at least a 10 percent down payment for an FHA loan.
That said, the closer you are to an 850 FICO score, the better your chances of qualifying for a loan, and the better interest rate you are likely to get.

Steps to Improving Your Score

According to FICO, the scoring system used by the majority of banks, the following are key to having the best possible credit score:
  1. Pay your bills on time. Your payment history is the most important factor for determining your score. If you have a tendency to be forgetful, consider setting up your bills on automatic payment.
  2. Keep your credit card balances low. This is the next most important factor in your credit score, so do what you can to keep your debt as low as possible and pay off what you can.
  3. Open credit only when you need it. The older the age of your open credit card accounts the better it is for your credit.
Improving your credit score takes time, so be wary of any services that claim to be able to fix your credit overnight. If you want to learn more, the FICO company offers a variety of credit resources, including information on how to understand your report : http://www.myfico.com/credit-education/credit-reports/ and how to improve your score : http://www.myfico.com/credit-education/improve-your-credit-score/

Monday, October 16, 2017

Top Amenities for Relocating Baby Boomers

 


“Retirement marks a new phase in a baby boomer’s life, and it only seems natural to relocate or move to a new home when transitioning away from their primary career, or from the day-to-day rearing of school-aged children,” says Jay Mason, vice president of market intelligence at PulteGroup. “Whether they are selling the homes where they raised their children and heading to sunnier pastures or staying near their hometown, it’s not surprising that the 55-and-older buyer wants a variety of options in their homes.”

Baby boomers have differing expectations for retirement, so their home preferences are diverse. But overall, they indicate that their top must-have features for their next home are a multicar garage with storage, open deck or patio, open floor plan, eat-in kitchen, and small, private yard. Further, 30 percent rank proximity to grandchildren as their number one consideration when choosing a community. The other two most popular community amenities are access to water (such as a beach, river, or lake) and parks or other open green spaces.

“Having grandchildren nearby was a surprise, as previous Del Webb surveys have shown that having grandchildren nearby in retirement wasn’t a priority,” Mason says. “The desire to nurture the grandchildren-to-grandparent connection appears to be strengthening between baby boomers and the millennial generation, who also have a strong desire to be near aging parents.”

Source: Daily Real Estate News

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Bidding Wars

When your seller receives multiple bids on their property, the highest offer should not always be their default choice. If it comes with an appraisal contingency and the appraised value doesn’t match the sale price, your seller could be back at square one, looking for another buyer.

With the national median home price reaching $263,800 in June—a record high, according to the National Association of REALTORS®—home prices in many markets are escalating so quickly that appraisals can’t keep up. That’s why real estate professionals may need to have more conversations with their sellers about appraisals.

Any time prices move up fast, the actual appraisal process can lag behind because the appraiser is are looking back in history, not forward into the future to determine appraised value. From the buyer’s perspective, it’s a tough situation where they want to rely on the value of the home from the appraisal. Yet, they know that if they decide to back away, there are other buyers waiting to pounce.

Appraisers have been cautious about run-ups in home prices since the last housing crash. And because first-time buyers rely more heavily on low down payment mortgages, which have stricter appraisal requirements, that could put their financing in jeopardy. That’s one reason cash buyers tend to push first-time buyers out of the market. Cash buyers rarely need an appraisal to complete the sale.

Source: Realtor Magazine - Visalia Times-Delta (2017)

Friday, July 14, 2017

What Colors To Utilize When Selling


               

We all know that certain things sell homes. Location and price are obvious. Equally important is structural integrity, as are features including kitchens, bathrooms and adequate living spaces.         
 
If a two homes on the same block, probably constructed by the same builder and maintained by owners of a similar type, are for sale, something has to put one of them over the top. That's where color psychology can come into play.

Most prospective buyers utilize the Internet and the imagery placed online is a major factor. It is often the colors of rooms that make the photos stand out.                  

Once the prospective buyer arrives at the showing, is when the home's aesthetics really come into play.
                               
Below are some of the colors that can help make your home stand out from the crowd, and the type of buyer who may respond to them:                                

Yellow

There's not a happier hue on the color wheel. Yellow is typically associated with happiness and, more directly, with sunlight. That makes it the ideal color for places that may not receive a lot of natural light, like a shady study, hallway or bedroom. Many people do not particularly like yellow according to Realtor.com, which means it should be used strategically and subtly; softer hues like butter creams and soft yellows are often the way to go. If someone wants bright yellows they'll bring their own accessories (though some cheery yellow daffodils are never a bad idea, particularly in kitchens that may have a lot of white or black surfaces).                                 
Gray                                

Gray is considered a neutral, but it's trickier than that; the difference between a light gray and a dark slate can be quite different, as can a potential buyer's reaction to it. Connecting spaces like hallways and foyers are good places for gray paint, while its neutral qualities can play well with brighter pops of blue or yellow when it comes to accessories.                                

From Realtor.com:                               

The key is choosing a gray with the right base color. For example, Colson noted, a beige-based gray will create warmth, while a blue-based shade will have more of a cooling, icy effect.

Similarly, brown is a neutral with a large range of possibilities. It can be useful in certain places and a no-no in others, and runs the risk of clashing with wood furniture and trims that could possibly turn off potential buyers.

Reds                                

Realtor.com warns designers to stay away from utilizing some shades of red when trying to attract prospective buyers. Those colors are associated with action and intensity, and can make buyers feel anxious. That being said, RealEstateAgentU.com recommends red - think burgundy or black cherry - for a dining area, as it can increase stimulation and there for conversation... and appetites.                                   
White                                

If you're trying to sell a home in a hurry, white is the safest bet on the board, both internally and externally. It's clean, easy, refreshing, and easy to accessorize with accessories and trims of all colors. Best of all, white helps a potential buyer see the possibilities of a space - it's easy to say "well, we could paint this room X color" when it's a sparkling fresh white. Not the case when a room is painted navy or even a darker beige or ochre. It's also wise to make sure the exterior of your home fits, at least partially, with the rest of the homes in your neighborhood. Chances are white is going to work.
Blue                                

Blue is a solid choice for a bedroom, as it is typically associated with tranquility and water - which most people find relaxing (there's a reason many blue hues have names associated with the ocean, after all). But it doesn't have to be all about the boudoir.                                

From Realtor.com:

"Separated dining rooms are the perfect place to try out a deep navy or dark gray, because they are supposed to feel cozy and inviting instead of open and expansive."

Blue's many shades - ranging from near-black navy selections to bright teals that are nearly green - are also perfect for additional trappings like pillows and window treatments, particularly in bright places with white walls and a lot of light.

Green                                 

Green is soothing, and an effective choice for living areas and bedrooms, and - for those of you with a thumb of this color - plants can be an attractive way to make a sunroom or living space really pop on the cheap. The soothing green is versatile, as well. From Realtor.com:                                

That vibe makes green a perfect complement to almost any room in your house. For example, paler greens like seafoam or sage have a calming effect best suited to bathrooms, while darker, earthy shades of green such as moss or evergreen create a sense of quiet and peace--perfect for a cozy den space.
 
 
Sources: Realtor.com, RealEstateagentU.com, ZBuyer                                 

Friday, July 7, 2017

5 Most Common Home Buyer Regrets

Half of recent home buyers say that if they could repeat the homebuying process, they’d do something differently, according to a survey by financial website NerdWallet.com. Respondents indicate that their biggest source of regret when buying a home was not preparing enough financially for homeownership. Here are some of the most common reasons for buyer regret, according to the survey.
  1. Purchasing a home that’s too expensive. Millennials and Generation X members were more likely than baby boomers to say they overspent on their home purchase, according to the NerdWallet survey. A 2015 MacArthur Foundation survey also found that more than half of consumers had to make sacrifices in order to afford their mortgage or rent. About 20 percent said they took an extra job, 17 percent stopped saving for retirement, and 14 percent accumulated credit card debt, according to the MacArthur survey.
  2. Purchasing a home that doesn’t fit their needs. About 5 percent of respondents to the NerdWallet survey say their home didn’t align with their homeownership goals. Housing experts recommend avoiding common homebuying mistakes like forgoing a home inspection, ignoring commute time, or choosing the wrong neighborhood. Also, consumers need to know what amenities they need. That’s not always easy: 7 percent of buyers say the amenities and features they valued most changed after buying a home.
  3. Not putting enough money down. Low-down-payment loans can help buyers without robust savings get into a home, but some may later regret not saving more before taking on the costs of homeownership. Twenty-eight percent of millennials and 27 percent of Gen Xers say they wish they had saved more before buying their house, according to the NerdWallet survey.
  4. Not being organized. Many home shoppers say they wish they had gathered paperwork before the mortgage application process and developed a system for keeping it organized. That includes W-2 or tax return forms, profit-and-loss statements for business owners, brokerage statements, proof of Social Security income, and evidence of child support payments. Home shoppers also need proof of their assets, such as documentation of down-payment gifts and copies of bank statements, as well as information on outstanding debts.
  5. Not shopping around for a loan. Half of borrowers take the first mortgage that’s offered to them, according to a survey by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. But shopping around for a mortgage with an interest rate that is even half of a percentage point lower can result in tens of thousands of dollars in savings over the life of the mortgage. Home buyers should compare more than interest fees, including the cost of private mortgage insurance and the loan’s APR (which is the interest rate, points, fees, and other charges all rolled into a yearly rate).
Source: “The 10 Biggest Regrets People Have About Buying a Home,” CheatSheet.com (June 14, 2017)