Repairing Your Credit Score

If you are applying for a mortgage, loan, or credit card, your credit score will play a key part in determining if you will be accepted or not.

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[Info-graphic provided by Cashnetusa.com]

Find out more about a mortgage quote from one of many programs so that your mortgage is custimized to fit your needs. Our knowledgeable mortgage consultants will work with you every step of the way to navigate today’s mortgage environment and get you to the closing table.

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Repairing Your Credit Score

FLOOR WARS

If you’re wavering between installing new wood floors or new carpeting in your home, it may seem like a simple decision based on cost, but that is not the case. When choosing flooring for residential homes, it is important to consider design, comfort, price and sustainability. Keep in mind that whichever new flooring you choose will look great when it’s first installed, but even a few weeks of use can require enough sweeping, vacuuming and polishing to make you reconsider your choice.

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Here are some things to consider when choosing flooring: wood versus carpet:

Advantages of Carpet:

  • Cushions slips and falls
  • Reduces noise throughout the house
  • Natural insulator – providing warmth during the winter season
  • Holds onto allergens and keeps them out of the air (vacuuming frequently will remove them)
  • Should last about 10 years
  • Faster and cheaper to install

Disadvantages of Carpet: 

  • Collects dust very easily
  • Needs to be professionally cleaned with hot water extractor (1-2x a year)
  • First is more easily tracked onto carpets
  • Shows walking patterns where foot traffic is heaviest
  • Liquids can seep into the carpet quickly
  • Might be outdated

Advantages of Hardwood:

  • Does not collect as much dirt and allergens
  • Can be repaired if damaged – does not have to be entirely replaced
  • Simple and quick to clean
  • Spilled liquid is easy to wipe up
  • Can be easily professionally repaired
  • Resale value due to popularity
  • Warranty on the “finish” typically ranges from 25-30 years
  • Sustainable, renewable and natural material

Disadvantages of Hardwood:

  • Can be dented – may have to be completely replace board(s) if something heavy is dropped onto it
  • Easily scratched due to moving heavy object, furniture and pet nails
  • Needs to be cleaned more often than carpet because dust/spills/crumbs are more visible

 

Flooring is a big decision, some homeowners prefer the plushness of carpet beneath their feet, while others believe hardwood adds a touch of elegance to their home and that it remains that “new” look for decades. Although in the end, the decision is up to you.

 

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advise and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 25 offices with over 1,000 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium.  Pennsylvania real estate offices include YorkLancasterWyomissingChambersburgGettysburgHarrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

FLOOR WARS

Adjusting Pets to Your New Home

Moving to a new home can be stressful for every member of the family, including the Brown Lab Ballbeloved family pets.  Don’t forget about their wants and needs during this hectic time, it can be rough on them too.

Transitioning to new surroundings is difficult for many pets.  The stress and worry can cause out of character behavior, as well as lowered immune responses.  Here are a few suggestions to help keep them happy and healthy!

  • Keep your pet’s routine as normal as possible.  Be consistent with feedings, walks, playtime, and bedtime.  Keep accommodations consistent; if your dog is used to using a doggy door, install one in your new home right away.  If your cat likes outdoor time, arrange for it, using a leash initially for safety and to prevent him from running away.
  • If you will be traveling long distances with your pet, plan on making frequent stops so they can stretch, eat, and for bathroom breaks.  Confirm that hotels you will be staying in allow pets.  Make sure they are secured safely in your vehicle using either crates or restraining harnesses.  Practice on short trips, before moving day, to help them become familiar with traveling in the car if they aren’t accustomed to it.  For fish or smaller pets, visit a local pet store for suggestions on transporting them.
  • Bring along favorites; this is not a good time to introduce new items.  Bring your pet’s favorite bed, toys, food and water dishes, treats, and other familiar items.  Put them in places that are similar to your previous home.  This helps your pet feel more in control and at home more quickly.
  • If you are moving out of the area, visit your Vet to make sure your pet is current with all vaccines and treatments, to refill prescriptions, and maybe even consider micro-chipping your pet.  Moving is a common time for pets to get lost.  Obtain an updated copy of your pet’s medical records as well.  Since your Vet is familiar with your pet, ask for their advice on making this move easier.
  • Get a new pet ID tag as soon as you know your new address and phone number.  This improves your pet’s chances of getting back home if they take off.  Do this before traveling should they decide to wander off at a rest stop.  Having a recent photo of your pet is also a good idea.
  • Be patient while your pet sniffs around their new digs.  Let them explore.  If they decide to hide for a little while, this is ok, as long as they know where the litter box or doggy door is located.  Their behavior may change for a little while, including eating, barking, pacing, or being protective.  They will need time to adjust, just as you do.  If bad behavior persists, talk to a professional.
  • Find a dog park, local veterinarian, and other pet resources in your new hometown to aid in the transition.

Be sure you give your pet the attention they are used to and maybe even a little extra during this tough time!

Moving in to or out of Maryland or Pennsylvania? Take a look at our online relocation guides.

Central Pennsylvania Relocation Guide
Berks / Schuylkill Haven Pennsylvania Relocation Guide

Baltimore Maryland Relocation Guide

Metro DC Relocation Guide

Adjusting Pets to Your New Home

Insider Tips for House Hunting

Insider info is extremely helpful when house hunting. Here are 7 Tips to help you choose your next home.

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Look beyond the upgrades – 
It is easy to get pre-occupied by a home’s most charming details, for example an upgraded kitchen with top of the line appliances, and in the end overlook a few minor yet extremely important features (an unleveled floor or a foundation). So to save yourself a major headache after you purchase and make sure you hire a reliable home inspector to help you avoid costly repairs.

You can also inspect a possible future home by looking at these common problem areas:

  • Cracks in walls larger than 1/8th inch
  • Doors and windows that stick to the frame
  • Sloping or uneven floors
  • Noticeable damage to the exterior


Make a comparison chart – 
When you are in the market, you will most likely see a handful of houses, which can make it difficult to keep track of certain attributes within each one. By making your own comparison chart/checklist ahead of time, you can bring the chart to each home viewing and take down notes during the walk through or shortly after.

During the creation of your chart/list, think beyond basic features and include your thoughts on: -The condition of the exterior structure

  • Natural lighting
  • Storage space
  • Landscaping

*This chart/list is to be used as your own personal tool to help guide your decision; it is not to be used in place of a professional home inspection.


Walk through…… and then repeat – 
It is easy to get overwhelmed the first time you walk through home for the first time. So during the first walk-through, have fun, wonder around and think about your first impression. After you are done, go back and start at the beginning, re-enter the house and walk through again. This time take out your chart/list and carefully inspect the home as if you were home inspector and not a buyer.


Ask to take photos – 
Taking your own photos will really give you a full picture of what the house looks like. Before you take photos, make sure you ask your Real Estate Agent if you are allowed.


Lift up the rugs
– If you are back for a second look at a house you are considering to become your home, it is important to know what is potentially hiding under the rugs. Rugs and furniture can be placed to conceal carpet stains or damaged floors. Make sure you inform your Real Estate Agent of your concerns, and they will be able to accommodate.


Look up and down
– Make a point of focusing on things that are outside of your normal line of vision. Focus on the ceilings, floors, windows, under the sinks, and roof.


Visualize living in the House – 
Ask yourself, “How would I utilize this space?”. Even though the current homeowners use upstairs bedroom as a kid’s room, decked out in racecar wallpaper and light blue paint, doesn’t mean you can’t use it as a home office or movie room. Paint color and furniture can all be removed, so use your creativity and really envision your own style inside the home.

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advise and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 25 offices with over 1,000 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium.  Pennsylvania real estate offices include York,LancasterWyomissingChambersburg,Gettysburg,Harrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

 

Insider Tips for House Hunting

MILLENNIALS AND REAL ESTATE

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Recently on Inman News, there was an article that focused on millennials renting vs. purchasing a home. It discussed a book written in the 1960’s about investing in real estate. Although the nature of the book is outdated, the basic concept is, if you want to become a millionaire by the age of 65, all you have to do is buy $1 million worth of real estate in your thirties, with a 30 year mortgage and then pay the mortgages off over time.

Now a millennial will most likely look at that statement and think it is absurd. With that being said, that statement is a very basic summary of the book. There are numerous ways to apply this concept. Some may require a great deal of effort, such as flipping houses, and other ways involve high risk. But another way is to just stop renting.

To say “just stop renting”, can be a lot easier said than done. However, here are three helpful tips for Millennials on purchasing a home in 2015.

 

1. If you are waiting to purchase a home because you want to save a large amount of money for a down payment, the reality is; you don’t have to. The mortgage world is changing right now, for the better. Lender standards are regaining flexibility. Requirements for down payments are going down, in many cases, a down payment is only 3% of the sales price. In 2014, underwriting for self-employed borrowers was extremely strict, but now is moving back towards a reasonable standard.

If you were disqualified by a lender last month, does not mean you shouldn’t re-engage this month. It is a new year, a new market and new guidelines. Millennials shouldn’t assume that just because they can research qualifications online, that they have the ability to self-qualify – or worse, disqualify for a mortgage. Researching qualifications online is a great start, but it is still extremely important to meet in person with a mortgage professional.

 

2. Search for a home that meets your needs today , your projected needs for a decade. Everyone goes through similar life cycles; you live with your parents/guardians, and then at some point you move out. Once you leave, you have a set of needs for housing, such as proximity to work, nightlife, transportation…etc. But then if/when you start a family, your housing needs will change. Mid-forties are considered the peak earning years, and frequently this is followed by the last move-up in housing. Mid-fifties can bring on the empty-nester era and downsizing to a smaller home. And then when retirement rolls around, a second downsizing may occur, perhaps in a different location. So when you do decide to purchase a home, you should plan ahead accordingly.

 

3. A home is not an ATM; a home is a long-term investment. The issues that arose during the housing bubble were due to the increase in the pool of buyers, and the thought that the souring appreciation would never end; so many people pulled out their equity (cash-out refinance) and used it to purchase assets, like cars and other depreciating items.

If members of the millennial generation buy appropriate homes for a decade, pay mortgages on-time, don’t do a cash-out refinance, and move-up (or downsize), once they get to a certain age, they will own their own house mortgage-free. That is something no life-time renter will ever be able to say.

Millennials most likely have large student loans, probably don’t want to take on more debt, and view renting as a flexible way to move anytime/anywhere. But as a millennial, it might be time to change your perspective, and start thinking long-term about your life. If you buy sooner rather than later, you won’t look back ten years from now saying you made a bad decision when you got the 30-year fixed rate mortgage under four-percent.

 

If you are planning on moving or know of someone who is thinking about moving, then contact your local Homesale Agent for help. For more real estate information, please visit our Homesale website.

 

MILLENNIALS AND REAL ESTATE

Holiday Recovery

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AskHomesale.com provides real estate advise and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 25 offices with over 1,000 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices inBaltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium.  Pennsylvania real estate offices include York, LancasterWyomissing, Chambersburg,Gettysburg,Harrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

Tips for Home Buyers  |  Tips for Home Sellers | Tips for Homeowners

Holiday Recovery

2015 REAL ESTATE PREDICTIONS

What does this year have in store for you? If you’ve been waiting to sell your home, 2015 might be the perfect opportunity! This year (2014), was the best year in the U.S. economic recovery since the 2008-2009 recession. With the economy accelerating; fueling jobs and income growth, the outlook on prospects for homeowners and would-be home buyers is positive.

2015 Houising Market

 

Mortgage Rates Will Head Back Up
An improving economy means that mortgage rates will unavoidably increase again. Freddie Mac, the now-government controlled corporation that buys and sells mortgage securities, conducts a weekly survey of mortgage rates being offered by lenders in the U.S. They also make various forecasts relating to the housing industry. Their long-term outlook calls for gradually rising rates over the next 12 months. They expect the average rate assigned to a 30-year loan to rise gradually, perhaps reaching or exceeding 5.0% by the end of next year.

Granted, this is only a real estate prediction for 2015 — not an assurance. But it is based on some of the best data available, analyzed by economists who specialize in mortgage and housing trends. So it probably won’t be far off. Think of it as a well-educated guess.

 

Mortgages Will Be Easier to Obtain
According to the Federal Reserve results of its July “Senior Loan Officer Survey on Bank Lending Practices,” mortgage lenders are relaxing their standards in several key areas.

To briefly explain, lenders are allowing lower credit scores and higher levels of debt, where mortgage borrowers are typically concerned. This trend is an industry-wide reaction to lower loan volume. Traditionally, when application volume goes down, lenders try to compensate by relaxing their standards and putting more loans into the pipeline. This happened in 2014, and it will likely continue into 2015 to some degree.

 

The Impact of Millennials
Some millennials, born between 1981 and 2000, are no longer living with their parents as they struggle to pay off student loan debt. Although the job market has been a challenge, employment is improving, and older millennials are planning for the future.

Millennials between the ages of 25-34, represent about 65% of first-time home buyers. This means that older millennials (young adults) are at an age when many are getting married and starting their own families. In the next 5 years, millennials are predicted to have a major impact on the growth of the housing market.

 

Closing Out the Foreclosure Crisis
It’s been seven years since the housing bubble burst and foreclosures skyrocketed, but in 2015 we’ll see the end of that era. Already this year has seen fewer foreclosures and short sales in the mix. With foreclosure inventories down more than 30%, it is predicted that there will be a slightly greater drop in foreclosure levels in 2015.

However, the situation will differ in every market, neighborhood and individual home, which is why most people prefer working with a Real Estate professional.

Information provided by: Homebuying Institute & Realtor.com

 

AskHomesale.com provides real estate advise and information for home buyers, home sellers, and homeowners alike. Askhomesale.com is part of the Homesale Realty Family. The Homesale Family of Companies is the leading real estate company serving the Baltimore, Maryland, South Central and Southeastern PA real estate markets.  Homesale Realty has more than 25 offices with over 1,000 REALTORS®. Homesale Realty’s footprint includes Maryland real estate offices in Baltimore City, Federal Hill, Fells Point, Westminster, and Timonium Pennsylvania real estate offices include York, LancasterWyomissing, Chambersburg, Gettysburg, Harrisburg, and Schuylkill Haven.

2015 REAL ESTATE PREDICTIONS