Posts tagged ‘real estate’

November 3, 2014

7 Things to Avoid Before Purchasing a Home

 

If you have been approved for a mortgage for your next home, you might be assuming you can breathe easy now and concentrate on packing. Not quite yet though.mortgage

While most of your hard work of building a good credit profile and gathering savings for a down payment and closing costs is behind you, it’s important to remember that the lender will recheck your credit just prior to your settlement date and will also need confirm a few details such as your place of employment to make sure nothing has changed.

That’s the key phrase—“nothing has changed.” You will want to maintain the same credit profile you had for the loan approval until your mortgage paperwork is completely signed.

Source: money.aol.co.uk

 

Avoid the following actions to ensure a smooth settlement:

 

1. Don’t apply for new credit: It may seem natural to apply for a credit card at a home improvement store or a furniture store when you are about to become a homeowner. It’s almost become cliché in the mortgage industry, but the warning still bears repeating: Don’t buy a truckload of furniture until after your loan closes. Applying for credit can lower your credit score. Not only will you lose a few points because of a credit inquiry, but if you are approved for new credit, a lender may worry that you will spend up to your new credit limit and then default on your loan.  If you absolutely need to obtain new credit or accrue debt before closing, talk with your loan officer as soon as possible.

 

2. Don’t close any credit accounts:You may be feeling that this is a good time to get your financial house in order by closing unused credit accounts or transferring your debt to a new credit card with a zero-interest balance transfer offer. While that’s a smart move financially, it’s a bad one for your credit score because you lose points when you have a higher usage of debt compared to your limit on one credit card and to your overall credit availability. Wait until your closing is complete before you make these changes. 

 

3. Don’t shuffle around your dollars & cents:Your lender will need the most recent bank statements before you go to settlement, so if you have any unusual deposits you will need to provide complete documentation of where the money came from. If possible, it’s best to move the cash you will need for your home purchase into one account before you apply for a mortgage. If not, make sure you have complete and accurate records readily available.

 

4. Don’t increase your debts:In addition to your credit score, your debt-to-income ratio is extremely important to a loan approval. If you take on more debt you could be in danger of going above the maximum acceptable debt-to-income ratio. Along with increasing your debts, do not co-sign on a loan. It is especially risky during the mortgage lending process since you will be financially liable for someone else’s debt.

 

5. Don’t skip a payment or make a late payment: One of the most important elements of your credit score is your history of on-time in-full payments. Payment history comprises about a third of your credit score. 

One solitary 30-day late payment can clip 60 to 110 points from your credit score. Maybe not a huge deal if you had an 800 score, right? Possibly. However, if that 30-day late payment is a mortgage or rent payment, some lenders will boot your application altogether. Many will require at least 12 consecutive months of on-time payments in order to qualify for a home loan. So don’t get so caught up in your move that you forget to keep up with paying basic bills.

 

6. Don’t buy a car: You may be feeling that a new car would be a nice addition to the driveway of your new home. Resist that feeling. Even if you can easily afford a new car, the depletion of your savings or the addition of a new car loan could derail your mortgage application. Wait until after you have moved to switch to a new car.

 

7. Don’t change jobs if you can help it: While a job change could mean a raise or a path to a better future, it could also delay your settlement. Your lender needs to verify employment and will need paystubs to prove your new income before your loan can go to settlement. Lenders crave stable, reliable income that’s likely to continue.

Lenders are likely to slam on the brakes if you take a new job in a different field, or if you decide to start your own business. Or even if you get a promotion but see some or all of your income shift to a commission basis.

The bottom line: Any change to your employment is significant. Keep your loan officer in the loop, and ask questions when in doubt. The last thing you want is to waste time and money on a home loan you have little chance in getting approval.

 

*****In other words, no matter how hard it is at this exciting time, it’s better to do nothing than to do anything.

 

Sources: Realtor.com & Yahoo.com
September 11, 2014

Open Houses: Are you asking the right questions?

 

open house2

open house

Are you in the Market for a New Home?

If so, then it’s a good idea to find yourself a buyer’s agent.  A buyer’s agent will always look out for your best interests and will provide you with the most up-to-date information about homes that fit your criteria.  However, you’ll still want to be sure to ask the right questions and take the right precautions while attending an open house, let alone making an offer to purchase.  If you play your cards rights, an open house can tell you a lot more about a property than its floor plan or what the current residents consider to be “clean”. The key is asking the right questions, or making sure your agent is asking them for you.

To help you determine if the house you are viewing has the potential to become your home; here are some items (exterior and interior) you should be asking questions about….

 

Roof:  A leaky chimney can cause all types of problems, which can be costly to repair. Leaks around the chimney are not always evident right away, but they can cause serious structural damage if ignored. When moisture enters the roofing, attic, and possibly the ceiling areas, it causes wood rot, roof damage and dry wall damage.  Therefore you’ll want to ask; if/ when the roof was replaced, what kind of shingles are on the roof and how many layers of shingles. You’ll also want to look for flashing around the chimney if there is one.

 chimneySource: http://www.aardvarkair.com/chimney-services/

 

Gutters: Where the downpipes are located, where they drain to, and how far away they drain from the home (should be about 4-5 feet depending on drainage and terrain).

 

 

Foundation: What kind of material is used (stone, block, poured concrete)? Look for wetness, discoloration on the foundation walls, as well as any support beams that might indicate previous standing water.  Also look to see how straight the walls are; there should not be any bowing or movement.

foundationSource: http://foundationrepairshop.com/


Plumbing:  (in basement, under sinks in kitchen and bathroom) check the water pressure; look for discoloration from minerals in the water (“hard” water), look for wetness or dampness, leaks.

 

 

Heating:  You’ll want to know the energy source for the heating system and how long ago it was installed. You might even be able to find out the sellers’ average monthly heating cost.  During the home inspection they should test the heat output to make sure the entire house is getting heat and there are no blockages.  Check for multiple thermostats and whether the home is split into zones for individual temperature control.

 

 

Electrical: Make sure you know where the circuit breakers are located; you’ll want at least 150 to 200 amps.  The electrical box should be neat and the wires should be in good condition (no fraying, striped wires, etc.).  Also, there should be electrical collars (little fittings that keep the wire from shifting) at the entrance of each and every wire to the box (not necessarily a big deal, but it indicates poor work and potential electrical problems)

circuit breakerSource: http://completeelectrical.biz/electricity-101-what-is-a-circuit-breaker/

 

 

Floors and Ceilings: Check ceilings for water marks or discoloration.  Check floors for bowing or movement as you walk (indicates poor support from the floor below).  Ask if/when the floors were replaced?

bowingSource: http://www.wikihow.com/Locate-a-Leak-and-Repair-a-Buckled-Wood-Floor

 

 

Doors and Windows: Check windows and doors, specifically how well they seal to the outside. Even though a door may close, it may not seal tight enough to keep your heat inside and the cold air out.

 

 

***Other things to consider are gas/oil leases for the property, and any right-of-ways on the property or to get to the property.  You’ll also want to check ceiling heights on each level and in the basement, as well as door heights and widths.

February 6, 2014

Moving Day Etiquette, Mind Your Manners

blog feb 5Moving is a hassle, no matter how much you pack, plan, and prepare for the big day.  You will most likely hit a few bumps along the way!  It is highly recommended that you use a checklist to help you survive this arduous task.

Aside from being organized for the actual move, you also need to take into consideration those around you who will also be affected that day.  Like your mother always said, “mind your manners”.  Here are some etiquette guidelines:

Time of Day – The most recommended moving time slot is between 9am and 4pm on a weekday if possible.  During this time most neighbors will be away at work, therefore reducing any inconvenience to them.  Also remember to keep noise level low; do not allow movers to blare music from the moving van, etc.

Last Impression – Make sure the last moments spent in your old neighborhood are good ones.  Be careful not to block driveways and streets with vehicles or furniture.  Keep an eye on the moving crew; some will take short cuts they shouldn’t, through yards, flower beds, etc.  Be considerate of others!

First Impression – The same consideration described above should also be given to your new neighbors!  If you see that the moving truck will be blocking a neighbor’s access, knock on the door, introduce yourself, and explain the situation to them.  Apologize in advance for any inconvenience!  Be readily available if something needs to be moved.

Help – Don’t just sit around and watch or give orders.  Roll up your sleeves and help out, even if you have paid movers.  You can always start unpacking boxes in your new home, be busy!

Refreshments – Offer some basic refreshments to your trusty “crew”, whether it be a group of hired pros or your family and friends.  Provide some snacks, as well as some refreshing bottles of water and sodas; consider offering coffee or hot chocolate if you are moving during colder weather.

Clean up – Once your old home is vacant, take time to clean up any trash, vacuum, dust, and leave it in presentable condition.  Also make a trip around the exterior, cleaning up any debris left behind from the move.  The same holds true for your new home keep an eye out for trash or debris that may be left outside.  Clean it up immediately so your neighbors don’t have to.  Also try to avoid leaving a large trash pile by the curb for pick up. Instead, make a trip to the dump to dispose of these items.

Pets – If possible, take them to the home of a friend or family member, vet, or pet daycare.  If not possible, keep them comfortable in a room away from the noise and commotion.  Pets can become agitated and noisy during a move.  The risk of them getting out and getting lost is also higher during a move.

Thank you – Don’t forget to tip and say “thank you”.  For paid movers it is generally 5% of the total bill.  If using family and friends, show your gratitude by buying a few pizzas for dinner and saying thanks.  People like to feel appreciated.

How you handle yourself on moving day goes a long way in determining what type of relationship you will have with your new neighbors.  Make sure you get started on the right foot!

August 27, 2013

INFOGRAPHIC – Confidence in the Market Jumps Sharply

Confidence in the real estate market is on the rise, and millennials still believe in the American Dream. However, there is a knowledge gap that calls for advice and guidance from real estate professionals. Consumers have their eyes on interest rates.

Prudential Real Estate Q2 2013 Consumer Outlook Survey Infographic

Prudential Real Estate, an HSF Affiliates LLC company, and Prudential Homesale Services Group released results of their second quarter Consumer Outlook Survey indicating that millennials are increasingly optimistic about residential real estate. A full 80% of respondents ages 25-34 said their perception of the housing market is “favorable” or “somewhat favorable,” representing a 9 percentage point increase from the Q1 study.

Among all respondents, the national survey also found that confidence in real estate and home values jumped sharply, reaching 83% vs. 77% in Q1 study and 73% at year-end. Confidence is highest in both South and West regions at 84%.

“Young Americans, like the majority of survey participants, are feeling much better about homeownership,” said Earl Lee, chief executive officer of HSF Affiliates LLC and president of Prudential Real Estate. “People are looking optimistically at housing for all right reasons – a place to feel secure, build a future and raise a family.”

Among all respondents, 70% said that finding the right home and community is crucial to family happiness. Millennials were even more emphatic about the emotional side of homeownership: 93% favor a home for “more space for my family,” while only 75% view it as “financial security to borrow against.”

“Consumers are mindful of the challenges faced during the real estate downturn,” added Earl Lee, CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC and president of Prudential Real Estate. “Though homeownership makes a solid, long-term investment, a home should never be considered a siding-clad ATM.”

-more-

Mortgage and Rate Watch
On securing a mortgage loan, consumer sentiment continues reflecting the challenges people face through strict underwriting guidelines and credit-score requirements:
•    57% of respondents said securing a mortgage is more difficult than it ever was prior to the market crisis.
•    Nearly 40% said lenders are “overly cautious” when it comes to mortgage financing.
•    Anxiety and fear of losing a real estate opportunity are respondents’ main emotional challenges in seeking home financing.
•    With rates rising recently, 71% said they are encouraged to buy a home now rather than later. It is worth noting that 78% of respondents indicated that homeownership is valuable regardless of shifting rates.

While 65% of respondents said they watch rates closely, there is confusion about recent rate trends. Among those who claim to watch rates closely, 43% believe that rates are holding steady or falling, though rates have risen so far this summer.

The knowledge gap calls for advice and guidance from real estate professionals to help people make the best choices. Of survey respondents, 63% indicated that a good agent can help them make the right choices about the type of home and community they want. And having a trusted source of information and guidance is important to 64%.

“Our survey shows that Americans who are looking to find and purchase a home remain positive about their prospects, and they’re looking to the guidance of quality real estate agents to navigate the entire process,” said Stephen Phillips, chief operating officer for HSF Affiliates LLC. “Home buyers are more informed than ever with their Internet searches and ongoing research; however, there’s a critical need to transform that information into analysis and advice that helps consumers make the best home-buying and selling decisions.”

The full survey details are available upon request. An infographic illustrating survey findings can be seen above.

Prudential Real Estate Outlook Survey Methodology
Interviews with 2,600 Americans who are “in the market” to buy or sell a home were conducted online by Edelman Berland in June-July 2013, Respondents are aged 25-64 with a household income of at least $50,000, and either recently bought/sold a home or are considering buying/selling a home. The margin of error is ± 2.0% for all respondents.

July 1, 2013

Paint Like a Pro

Paint Perfection

A fresh coat of paint is the fastest, most economical way to spruce up any room in your home. Here are some simple guidelines to help you achieve results that will make any professional painter envious.

paint-like-a-pro

Pick your paint type – Water-soluble latex dries quickly, is easier to clean up, and emits fewer fumes. It is also less likely to fade and provides a breathable surface allowing moisture to escape. Oil based paints are trickier to apply, dry more slowly, and require mineral spirits for clean-up. However, they will provide a more durable finish. There are also specially-designed paints for kitchens and baths to resist mold, mildew, and humidity; they are worth the extra expense! That’s actually a good rule for any paint, consider paying a little more for better quality!

Choose the sheen – Flat, low-luster paints disguise flaws making them good for ceilings and low traffic areas. Glossier finishes form a smoother, water-resistant surface that is easy to wipe clean and stands up to moisture, making them a good choice for kitchens, trim, and high-traffic areas.

Test-drive the color – Buy a sample pot and apply 2 coats to a 3’ sq. of white foam board. Move the square around your room to study it at different times of the day and in varying light conditions. Once you decide on a color, purchase all your paint at the same time. (a gallon will cover about 400 sq ft) If you need more than 1 can, a good idea is to mix all cans together. Different cans could have subtle color variations that will become obvious on your walls. If applying 2 coats, only mix ½ of your paint for the first coat and mix the remaining paint before your second coat.

The right tools – For most jobs you will need a roller, brushes, blue painters’ tape, and a paint tray. Nylon and polyester bristles work best with latex paint, while natural bristles are the best choice for oil-based finishes. A 3/8”–1/2” nap roller suits most drywall.

Prep – Clear as much furniture from the room before you begin. Cover the floor and fixtures with drop cloths and remove outlet/switch covers. Fill holes and patch damaged spots with spackle. Wipe down walls and trim with a damp sponge before you paint.

Cut-in – Use a 2 ½” angled brush to paint the border of your work area. This will keep your roller from bumping against adjacent surfaces.

“Lay off” Method – After rolling an area, make a series of long vertical strokes down the full length of the wall, in the same direction. This will distribute wet paint in a thin, even layer.

Removing the tape – If you have used painter’s tape on your baseboards or trim, you’ll want to remove it the same day you paint. Run a putty knife along the edge at a 45-degree angle to “score” the paint. This will allow you to peel off your tape and not pull off the paint, move slowly and steadily.

Other tips
- Paint an outlet cover and write the paint color/number on the back of the cover. You can take this along to the store when you need to match the color exactly!
- Store extra paint for “touch-ups” in an airtight glass jar (ex: mason jar). Cover the opening with plastic wrap before screwing the lid on and store in a cool, dry place.

Grab a brush, follow these tips, and enjoy great-looking, long-lasting results!

These tips are great for homeowners looking to update the look of their home, as well as for home sellers looking to update the look and price of their home for sale.

May 22, 2013

Dress Up Your Outdoor Living Space

Looking for a fun way to dress up your outdoor living space? check out these great do-it-yourself projects using recycled wooden pallets.

It is no secret that wood pallets can be repurposed into impressive furniture and decor.It is amazing what people have created from these abundant, often discarded resources that can usually be found for free with little effort.

Dress Up Your Outdoor Living Space

Pallet Sofa Materials:  4-5 Pallets, Plenty of workspace, good pair of gloves, Circular saw, 3×3 or 4×4 posts for frame, wood screws, sander for smooth finish, clear wood sealer, outdoor cushions/pillows, and some creativity!

Pallet Coffee Table Materials:  Wooden pallet, sander for smooth finish, 4 wheels, paint or sealer to create a colorful, water-resistant finish.  Don’t forget to personalize with a few flashy items to sit on top!!

Pallet Benches Materials:  Several wooded pallets (depending on how many benches you want), tape measure, saw, sander, wood screws, paint or sealer to finish, and more creativity!!  Keep in mind….if your benches are not against an outdoor wall you will need to be sure the backs are well supported!

Outdoor Lounger Materials: 2 Pallets, sander to smooth, 2-3 metal hinges, chains & hooks to secure adjustable back of lounger, paint or water sealer to protect wood, colorful, outdoor cushions, And of course a good book and icy, cold beverage to enjoy when you are finished!!

For detailed instructions and more do-it-yourself decorating ideas visit: http://goodideasforyou.com/ideas-a-inspirations/summer-a-gardening/patio-furniture.html

April 15, 2013

Q1 Consumer Outlook Survey (Infographic)

Consumer confidence in real estate and home prices reaches a year-long high. Buyers and sellers are motivated entering the spring buying season.

q1-info-graphic2013

Want more information on today’s real estate market? Contact a Prudential Homesale Real Estate Agent today.

February 25, 2013

The State of Real Estate

Homeownership is important and attitudes are positive, however, with the lingering crisis and trouble qualifying for a mortgage, we now find guidance is more important than ever.

Prudential Real Estate Outlook Survey Infographic-final-large-web

February 14, 2013

Hearts & Homes

It’s Valentine’s Day, so here’s an Infographic that we found on RealEstate.com which takes a look at how romantic attachments influence home buying.  The graph looks at the statistics for the married vs. single populations of U.S. cities. The U.S. demographics have changed, and for the first time more households are unmarried. Check out the full article here.

Valentines-Day-Infographic2

Homes in Maryland  | Homes in Pennslyvania

February 6, 2013

Why use a Realtor to buy your next home??

 

February 2013 IOV - Ecard

 

Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in a lifetime. Considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it is worth using a real estate professional.

 Determining price range – By providing some basic information about your financial status (income, savings, debt, etc.), a Realtor can help you determine the price range for your home and refer you to a lender that is best qualified to assist you.

 Finding the right fit – A Realtor has access to more resources than average individuals and can help locate the property that is the best fit for you, whether actively listed on the market or not.

 Extra Information – In addition to finding the right home, a Realtor can provide other types of valuable information that may be critical to your decision; information on zoning, schools, utilities, etc. These items can be important in determining a home’s future resale value and if a home has the environment you desire.

 Negotiations – Real estate contracts involve a myriad of factors; more than just price. You may need to consider financing, date of possession, and the inclusion of repairs, furniture, or equipment. An agreement should also provide enough time to complete inspections of the property before you become bound to the purchase. Your agent can advise you on all of these items.

 Resources and support – If your contract includes inspections for pests, structure stability, roof condition, asbestos or others; a Realtor can suggest responsible professionals to do most of these and provide written reports. You will also want to see a report on the title of the property; a Realtor can help you interpret this document and clarify things like property lines, rights of access, etc.

 Financing – There are so many options; a qualified Realtor will be able to explain them and help you decide the best terms for your budget.

 Closing – A Realtor will guide you step-by-step through the process, making sure it is process is as smooth as possible.

Contact one of our real estate professionals today to help you find your next home!

 

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