Monthly Archives: November 2015

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25 11, 2015

5 Action Steps for First-Time Homebuyers

November 25th, 2015|Blog, Buying a home, Tips & Advice|

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Thinking about buying your first home?  Get set for an exhilarating adventure that can also seem a bit intimidating at times. It’s very easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of online research, open houses, and financing options. Take heart! A bit of financial homework early in the process will tell you where you stand. So roll up your sleeves and delve into these five action items. Amidst that whirlwind of activity, they will help keep your feet planted firmly on the ground!

1. Check your credit – As a first-time homebuyer, your credit score is a key factor when it comes to qualifying for a loan. It is important for you to know your score and understand how it affects the cost of a loan. Start by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com to get a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus. Check them carefully for mistakes or anything that doesn’t seem accurate.

Keep in mind that building a strong credit rating involves more than just paying all of your monthly bills on time. Your credit utilization rate – the amount of credit you’re using relative to your credit limit – is also an important factor. Generally, a lower utilization rate contributes to a higher credit score. As a first-time homebuyer, it’s a good idea to minimize the amount of available credit that you have in use.

2. Evaluate your assets and liabilities – Take some time to learn about your monthly cash flow. Track your spending accurately for a few months to gain a clear understanding of how much you owe versus how much you bring in. This exercise will often provide a fresh perspective on your finances. You will find it helpful whether you are accustomed to having a surplus every […]

14 11, 2015

Questions You Should Ask When Buying a Fixer-Upper

November 14th, 2015|Blog, Buying a home|

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There is no shortage of TV shows nowadays where people buy fixer-uppers only to turn them into unique and beautiful homes. It is really inspiring to watch some of these outdated and under-utilized homes turn into beautiful and functional homes. While buying a fixer-upper has a lot of advantages (i.e, lower cost to purchase) there are some things you should ask when shopping the housing market for the perfect fixer-upper.

  1. Ask your agent what is the neighborhood like- The dynamics of a neighborhood become critical when buying a fixer-upper. Will the home require a significant amount of money to remodel in order for the home to be cohesive with the rest of the block? If you put too much money into the update, therefore increasing the value of the home, and the other homes in the area are not valued at that amount, it may be difficult to resell the home and get your money’s worth out of it.
  2. Ask your agent if the home is in a Historic District- Purchasing a beautiful Victorian home may sound lovely, with all of the beautiful details like crown molding and wainscoting just to name a few, but it can come with a hefty price tag. Because most homes in Historic districts require prior approvals before major renovations can be completed, this can cause delay and more money being spent to meet certain criteria.
  3. Ask the inspector what is the state of the home’s major systems-  It is a given that a fixer-upper will likely come with a lot of work and cash being spent. It is important that you choose your inspector wisely and make sure to listen carefully. It is common for cosmetic work to be needed but if there are problems with the foundation, electrical, and plumbing systems, this could mean that you […]
7 11, 2015

How Does Your Credit Card Debt Affect Your Mortgage Rate?

November 7th, 2015|Blog, Tips & Advice|

credit card debt

Credit card debt is something a majority of Americans have nowadays. Most of the time having a little bit of credit card debt can do wonders for your credit score and that in turn can help significantly when applying for a mortgage loan. There is a point where having too much credit card debt can hurt your chances of obtaining a mortgage loan. Since buying a home is the goal for most Americans, getting credit card debt under control early on will alleviate any issues that should arise later on. Here are a couple ways your credit card debt can affect your mortgage rate.

  1. Having a high credit card balance – If you have a higher balance on your credit cards, your mortgage lender will want to see that you have the available funds to pay off the balances. If not, you could be subject to higher interest rates. If your credit history is strong, however, and you have a good payment history this will help. If you have defaulted in the past this may cause your rates to be higher. Keep in mind, most lenders check your credit in the final stages of loan approval, so it is important that you don’t run up credit card debt right before closing even if you have already been approved for a favorable loan rate. This could cause a red flag and delay the closing.
  2. Lacking any credit at all – You may be on the opposite end of the spectrum and not have any credit at all. There are options for securing a mortgage loan with having credit. You can apply for a government-backed mortgage loan or an FHA Loan. There is usually more paperwork involved as you will likely have to prove […]
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