Sheryl Simon's Blog
Ultimately, there is no surefire amount that you should spend on a house. The real estate market varies in cities and towns nationwide, and as such, the prices of houses fall across a broad range. Also, the condition and age of a house – as well as a homebuyer's budget – may dictate how much an individual is willing to spend on a particular residence.
As you search for your dream house, it helps to plan ahead as much as you can. Because if you have a homebuying strategy in place, you can determine exactly how much you can spend to acquire your ideal residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get your finances in order before you kick off a house search.
1. Check Your Credit Score
Believe it or not, your credit score may have far-flung effects on your homebuying budget. And if you fail to review your credit score before you embark on a house search, you may miss out on an opportunity to purchase your dream house.
A low credit score may make it tough to get the mortgage you need to acquire your ideal residence. Thus, you may want to check your credit score and find ways to improve it before you begin a house search.
You won't have to break your budget to get a copy of your credit report from the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). In fact, you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the aforementioned credit bureaus. Request a copy of your credit report, and you can learn your credit score.
Of course, if your credit score is low, you can always improve it by paying off outstanding debt. Or, if you find errors on your credit report, contact the credit bureau that provided the report so that you can get these issues corrected.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Pre-approval for a mortgage makes it easy to enter the housing market with a budget at your disposal. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage sooner rather than later.
Remember, banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists. Don't hesitate to ask these specialists about assorted mortgage options, and you can select a mortgage that perfectly matches your finances.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent can make it simple to pursue your dream house. This housing market professional will help you narrow the price range for your dream house and ensure you can discover the perfect house without delay. Perhaps most important, a real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf, ensuring you can get the best price on any home.
Ready to start a home search? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can simultaneously look for your dream house and avoid the risk of paying too much to purchase your dream residence.
As anyone up-to-speed on technology knows, social media is everywhere. And it’s a powerful tool—if used properly. You can share information in real-time and receive real-time responses and reactions. Therefore, you should be using social media to your advantage when selling your home. You’re probably wondering what social media has to do with selling a home, right? Well, let’s take a look at a couple ways where social media will not only come in handy, but might just help sell your home in real-time.
1. Post your listing
It’s very likely that your listing will be posted on many real-estate sites and even on social media. This is your opportunity to capitalize on that posting and post on your own social media channels. Consider posting to Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram. By doing this you are increasing the views that your listing will receive and increasing the likelihood that the right buyer will see your home. And all it takes is one person to love your home for it to sell.
2. Ask your friends to share
Word of mouth goes a long way. Technology’s way of word of mouth is through sharing on social media. And if you want to maximize the amount of people who will see your listing, ask your friends to share the posting—they may even add a little note to their share, which (if positive, hopefully) will only help.
3. Give them a reason to love your home
Add a personal message when sharing your listing. Tell the story of how your daughter took her first steps in the family room or how you felt the first time you walked through the front door. Giving that personal touch will bring positive feelings of your home. It will give the potential home buyer the thoughts of all the firsts that they could experience in that home.
Of course, social media will not sell your home. You should be taking the proper steps suggested by your realtor to get it in optimal shape for selling such as making small updates, decluttering, and removing overly personal items. You should also have great photos of your home for the listing. The photos will make a world of a difference when buyers are looking online. It could make or break whether they even consider your home or attend a showing.
If selling your home is timely then social media should bean important component to your selling strategy. It’s the age of technology and every generation is on social media in some respect, especially the millennial generation. And it’s important to pay attention to the millennials as more and more will begin the home buying process. It’s essential to be where they are and for most, they’re on social media.
If you have just purchased a home, you have the option to refinance your home soon. Just because you can refinance your home doesn’t mean that you should. How long you should wait to refinance your home depends on a few things including:
- Your refinancing goals
- The rules of your lender
- If your mortgage has a pre-payment penalty clause
Your goals for refinancing are among the most important things when considering whether to refinance. Lenders typically won’t refinance a loan that you have secured in the last 120-180 days, so if you’re looking to lower your monthly payments, you may have to shop for a new lender.
The Type Of Loan You Have
If your financial situation has changed, it may be smart to change the type of loan that you have. Oftentimes, changing the rate and the terms of the loan can give you the extra freedom that you need for your loan and your life.
Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster
If you do a cash-in refinance, this could be a smart way for you to build equity for your financial future and help you to secure a lower rate for your mortgage. Keep in mind that FHA loans are a bit different when it comes to paying down your mortgage. The FHA streamline program requires that you wait a minimum of 6 months before you refinance.
Before you refinance your home, you’ll need to double-check to ensure that your mortgage doesn’t have a pre-payment penalty. If you do have one of these clauses included in your loan agreement, you should consult your lender to make sure that refinancing is a smart move for you.
Every lender has different rules as to how quickly you can refinance your mortgage. You may also need to meet certain qualifications in order to go ahead with the refinancing.
As tempting as it can be to try and get a lower mortgage rate, you may want to hold off on refinancing for a variety of reasons. Remember that every time you refinance your home, you’ll need to pay closing costs and other fees. While it may be a savings in the long term, it could cost you some up front cash.
The best course of action is ideally to shop for a lender and a mortgage rate that will suit your needs from the beginning. While no one can completely predict a changing market, you can shop around and find the right rate and loan for you at the time.
Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or a seasoned homeowner, the terminology of mortgages can be confusing. Since buying a home is such a huge financial decision, you’re also going to want to make sure you understand every step of the process and all of the conditions and fees along the way.
In this article, we’re going to explain some of the common terms you might come across when applying for a home loan, be it online or over the phone. By learning the basic meaning of these terms you’ll feel more confident and prepared going into the application process.
We’ll cover the acronyms, like APRs and ARMs, and the scary sounding terms like “amortization” so that you know everything you need to about the terminology of home loans.
ARM and FRM, or adjustable rate vs fixed rate mortgages. Lenders make their money by charging you interest on your home loan that you pay back over the length of your loan period. Adjustable rate mortgages or ARMs are loans that have interest rates which change over the lifespan of your loan. You may start off at a low, “introductory rate” and later start paying higher amounts depending on the predetermined rate index. Fixed rate mortgages, on the other hand, remain at the same rate throughout the life of the loan. However, refinancing on your loan allows you to receive a different interest rate later down the road.
Amortization. It sounds like a medieval torture technique, but in reality amortization is the process of making your life easier by setting up a fixed repayment schedule. This schedule includes both the interest and the principal loan balance, allowing you to understand how long and how much money will go toward repaying your mortgage.
Equity. Simply state, your equity is the the amount of the home you have paid off. In a sense, it’s the amount of the home that you really own. Your equity increases as you make payments, and having equity can help you buy a new home, or see a return on investment with your current home if the home increases in value.
Assumption and assumability. It isn’t the title of a Jane Austen novel. It’s all about the process of a mortgage changing hands. An assumable mortgage can be transferred to a new buyer, and assumption is the actual transfer of the loan. Assuming a loan can be financially beneficial if the home as increased in value since the mortgage was created.
Escrow. There are a lot of legal implications that come along with buying a home. An escrow is designed to make sure the loan process runs smoothly. It acts as a holding tank for your documents, payments, as well as property taxes and insurance. An escrow performs an important function in the home buying process, and, as a result, charges you a percentage of the home for its services.
Origination fee. Basically a fancy way of saying “processing fee,” the origination covers the cost of processing your mortgage application. It’s one of the many “closing costs” you’ll encounter when buying a home and accounts for all of the legwork your loan officer does to make your mortgage a reality--running credit reports, reviewing income history, and so on.
An open house can be a life-changing event for a homebuyer. If you plan ahead for an open house, you should have no trouble determining whether a residence matches or exceeds your expectations. And if the answer is "Yes," you can proceed quickly to submit a competitive offer to acquire a house.
What does it take to prep for an open house? Here are three open house preparation tips that every homebuyer needs to know.
1. Understand Your Budget
Before you attend an open house, you should find out how much money is at your disposal. Thus, you may want to meet with banks and credit unions to see if you can get pre-approved for a mortgage. That way, you can kick off your home search with a budget in hand.
Although you know that you have only a certain amount of money to spend on a residence, it may be worthwhile to consider attending open houses for residences with initial asking prices that are above your price range. Because in some instances, a home seller may be willing to accept an offer that falls below his or her initial asking price.
2. Create a List of Questions
A home is one of the biggest purchases that a person can make, and as such, it pays to be diligent. If you craft a list of questions before an open house, you can get immediate responses from the showing agent. Then, you can determine the best course of action.
When it comes to an open house, there is no such thing as a "bad" question. As a homebuyer, it is paramount to get as much information as possible about a residence to determine whether a house is right for you. Therefore, if you create a list of questions in advance, you can improve your chances of getting the most out of an open house.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
If you're uncertain about how to approach an open house, you're not alone. Fortunately, real estate agents are available nationwide who are happy to teach you the ins and outs of the real estate market. By doing so, these housing market professionals will make it easy to take an informed approach to any open house, at any time.
A real estate agent will always keep you up to date about new residences as they become available. Also, if you are interested in homes in a particular city or town, a real estate agent will notify you about open houses in this area. And if you need extra help prepping for an open house, a real estate agent is happy to assist you in any way possible.
Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent provides throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent will help you submit an offer on a house, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and much more.
Be diligent as you get ready for an open house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can fully prepare for an open house.