Perform A Home Self-Inspection! Very Important!

What to Expect at Your New Home's Final Inspection - NewHomeSourceLook at your home top to bottom with a home inspector’s eyes. Review as much as you can prior to putting your home on the market and/or prior to the home inspection process with a buyer. You would be surprised how a buyer perceives your home when a long list of minor issues adds up and creates a lengthy inspection report, resulting in a more stressful buyer inspection response. Removing half a dozen or more small things can really help your home appear to the buyer as if it has truly been maintained. The last thing you want is a long list of unexpected items to show up on the report that you knew nothing about.  You can also discuss pros and cons of getting a pre-inspection done by a professional with you agent.

The goal of this is to pinpoint problems you may overlook every day being you live in the home.

*Roof – Your roof should be flush with the house. No visible mold or rot. Pay attention to fascia, soffits, and if you feel inclined to do so, use a ladder to get on the roof and ensure there aren’t nails popping up, loose shingles etc.

*Gutters – Verify they are attached securely around the home. No sagging or pulling away. Have them cleaned out if needed.

*Attic – Is your attic properly ventilated? Is the insulation properly disbursed? No strange hanging electrical lines? No mold present? Bath fans and such are venting out of the home. Are the soffit vents clogged? No signs of critters in the attic?

*Walls – Discolored spots on walls, especially ceilings, will lead a buyer to immediately think there is or was a leak. This may result in further exploration for potential mold. This is very important to eliminate concern prior to inspection.

*Basement – Check for condensation, water damage, concrete cracks that are not typical. Is there a sump pump and is it functioning properly?

*HVAC – How old is your system and when is the last time you had a regular maintenance check done? They sign off on the sticker affixed to the furnace and believe me, agents and inspectors do look at that. If you have not had service done within the last 6 months to 1 year, it is highly suggested you do. Be sure the furnace filter is the proper size and clean.

*Windows and Doors – Check conditions of weather stripping for exterior doors. Ensure windows do not have a fog haze to them or water beading up between the panes and this is a sign the seal could be broken.

*Plumbing – Ensure there are not signs of leaking under faucets, at water heater, under appliances. Be sure all fixtures are caulked as they should be (tub faucets are notorious for coming up on inspections) and tightened properly, including toilets.

*Crawl space – We don’t tend to get excited about the idea of getting in a crawl space, however the unexpected during an inspection in a crawl space can become very costly if you have no idea what is going on in there and find out you have mold on your baseboard, standing water, and a number of other issues than can be present, of which you have no clue about unless you take a look.

Posted on May 27, 2020 at 2:20 pm
Kristin Bergunder | Category: Uncategorized

7 Jobs You Can Hire Without Face-To-Face

Pressure Wash Your Home Exterior

 

Warm weather and sunnier days are here! These outdoor jobs allow contractors to come to your home and work without needing them to enter your home and interaction is minimal.

  1. Lawn and Yard Work – Spruce up your landscaping. Mulch. Plant a tree or remove one.
  2. Gutter Cleaning – This is excellent maintenance to do after the Fall and Winter months.
  3. Exterior Painting – Extend the life of your exterior trim or apply a new color to give your home a face lift!
  4. Fencing – Need a new fence? Or repair to existing.
  5. Decks and Porches – Decks, patios, porches….all work can be done fairly quick and other than the initial plan, very little to follow up with during the process.
  6. Siding – How is what you have on your home holding up? Do you like the color and material?
  7. Power Wash – You would be amazed what a good power wash will do for a fence, deck, or concrete walk way.
Posted on May 27, 2020 at 2:00 pm
Kristin Bergunder | Category: Uncategorized

You got the house…and want to back out…Now what?!

Buyer’s remorse is seriously the worst. That 80-inch television was just so dazzlingly clear, magical even, hanging on the Best Buy wall. And 10 percent off? Who could have passed up such a fantastic deal? Obviously, not you.

But unlike pricey electronics that can be placed back in the box and returned to the store when your good sense has resumed (always keep those receipts!), that over-budget dream house or better-snatch-it-quick fixer-upper isn’t so easy to give back. When it comes to buying a home, there really is a point of no return, so make sure you know where that is because there’s no box big enough to fit the four-bedroom, two-bath ranch when you change your mind.

The Earlier, The Better

When it comes to backing out of a mortgage, it is best to do it early. There is little harm in house hunting, securing pre-qualification letters, and even making an offer or two on your favorite properties. All of these steps can be walked back, and while your realtor might be a little disappointed, there’s really no harm in changing your mind on the front end of the home-buying process. The bargaining stage is a fairly safe space to just step out of if you don’t feel inclined to continue with the purchase of a home. As long as you are still in the negotiating phase, the consequences of backing out are next to none.

Better Late Than Never

Once your offer is accepted, and a purchase agreement is drawn up, though, you are expected to hand over a good faith deposit (also known as earnest money) to assure the seller you mean business. This amount tends to be minimal, typically averaging under 1% of the overall purchase price; however, on a high-dollar house, this could still put buyers into the tens of thousands. Once that money is exchanged, it is difficult to get back without a viable reason, “cold feet” not tending to be one of them. You have to understand the seller will put their home at a pending status, of which stop buyers from touring it (unless it is a continue to show, however traffic still trickles to nothing usually). Should their home go back on market for any reason, there is time lost. Should a home inspection go awry, or an appraisal come back too low, you should have grounds to stand on, but make sure the purchase agreement allows for these reasons for retraction if you aren’t inclined to wave farewell to a considerable deposit.  There are several reasons a transaction falls apart. Sometimes the seller will be understanding, but the reasons behind the decision to back out, communication between the agents, and timing all matter.

Remember, A Purchase Agreement Is A LEGAL Contract

Now, if your indecisiveness takes too long to grab hold, you might find yourself in a bit of a pinch. Once those closing papers are signed, there is little recourse available for a change of heart. For folks heading into a refinance, there is a three-day window in which the mortgagee can back out, providing the refi is on a primary residence. For a traditional mortgage, however, once those papers are signed, the house and that big loan are pretty well set in stone.

Often, folks who decide to rescind after the ink has dried are left with weighty damages to pay or are deemed responsible for costs incurred by the seller as the property in question was pulled from the market for a time. A significant change in finances (such as divorce and job loss) or false claims made by the seller (incorrect property lines, extensive undisclosed issues with the home, etc.) may increase a buyer’s chances of avoiding such penalties. Should you need to back out, for whatever reason, discuss thoroughly with your Agent and Lender to understand the next steps, specific to your unique situation.

Posted on February 28, 2020 at 10:04 am
Kristin Bergunder | Category: Uncategorized

Home Inspection: What You Should Know!

There are a multitude of steps to climb on your way to the finalized purchase of a home, and the home inspection is one of the most important. Different from a home appraisal, the inspection provides homebuyers with a detailed list of existing issues contained within a given property. An experienced professional adept at identifying both structural and cosmetic problems examines the home and compiles a report including both internal and external problems.

While incredibly helpful in theory, home inspection reports can be difficult for the average homeowner to decipher (especially a first-time buyer). So how do you know the difference between a deal breaker and a deal maker? We’re here to shed some light on this oftentimes cloudy step in the homebuying process.

A home inspection report should include a review of the home’s HVAC and electrical systems, plumbing, flooring, doors and windows, foundation, roofing and ventilation system, and any applicable basement and/or garage. It may also cover a home’s exterior decking or porches and patios. While many folks have a general understanding of these systems and structures, it can be difficult to determine which identified issues within these areas are worth your worry – so let’s start small and work our way up.

 

GettyImages-970156662Minor Plumbing Problems:  Drippy faucets, slow drains, and interchanged hot and cold water knobs are the least of your concerns. These inconveniences are easy, and sometimes not even necessary, to correct once you’ve unpacked and made yourself at home.

Dirty Air Ducts: This minor maintenance issue comes up on inspection reports every day and is no cause for alarm. Most homeowners fail to keep up with the recommended cleanings every 3-5 years, so homebuyers are often left to cover this expense shortly after move in.

Blown Window Seals: This is a common problem in many homes. When a seal ruptures on a window, the R value of that window decreases substantially, leading to less insulation and potentially higher energy expenses. However, aside from minimally raised heating and cooling costs, a broken seal will only cause occasional condensation in between panes and fogginess that may increase over time. It is possible to fix a blown seal yourself but DIY on this type of work is tedious, so hiring a professional is likely your best bet.

 

Water Damage: This one is tricky, and it really all depends on where and why the water damage originated. A leaky drain is a quick fix, but a leaky roof could potentially cost you thousands. Follow your inspector throughout the examination of the home and ask lots of questions to obtain the most information possible. They can be a fantastic resource, and one you are paying for, so use them!

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Electrical Issues: Again, it all depends. If the inspection report includes minor fixes like missing GFIs in your kitchen or a light switch to nowhere, it’s no big deal. If they find larger problems like wiring issues with the breaker box or improper installation and securing of wiring throughout the house, it could present potential fire dangers or a costly bill should you choose to correct these problems. For a larger list of common issues, check out This Old House and their how to guide.

Creepy Crawlies: While the occasional stray ant or mouse sighting cannot be avoided, the constant presence of pests within a home should be taken very seriously. Termites and carpenter ants cause extensive damage to a property and can be difficult to exterminate. Mice and bats left unchecked in attics and outbuildings create potentially hazardous areas due to toxins that can build up in their excrement. Squirrels and other small rodents can tear through insulation and cause fire hazards should they get curious about electrical wires. Signs of a constant or rampant pest presence should be taken seriously and corrected by the existing homeowner prior to any sale. Already signed the paperwork? Here are some helpful hints on how to keep pests out of your home.

Work Done Without a Permit: Homeowners looking to save a buck often try their hand at home improvement jobs or hire folks to remodel without pulling proper permits within their county or township. Regardless of the quality of the finished product, this missed step could be incredibly costly, so beware. Buyers should insist that the seller handle any missing permits and building inspections prior to the property changing hands to prevent expensive fixes in the future.

Mold: Mold is oftentimes the result of water damage or poor ventilation within a home. For example, a bathroom fan that vents into an attic space instead of the outdoors will cause excessive moisture to build, inviting mold. While the ventilation problem is correctable, the existing mold should be inspected by a professional and a proper assessment of remediation obtained before closing the deal. Keep in mind, mold can be treated and prevented.

Foundation Problems: The foundation of a house affects the entire structure, so any time issues arise, they should be taken seriously. Visible cracks along walls, ill-closing doors, sagging floors – these could all indicate much larger problems lurking below ground. There are a gamut of problems connected to a house’s foundation and quite a few warning signs to accompany them, so do your research and be willing to walk away when issues are found.

The home inspection is essentially your chance to test drive a house, so do not overlook this inexpensive means of uncovering costly situations down the road. When done properly and by an experienced professional, this stage of the homebuying process can be a real lifesaver, but it should be more than just a piece of paper. Take time to walk through the inspection with your hired professional and get answers to your questions in real time to prevent a hiccup from becoming a high priced, homebuying mistake.

Posted on February 4, 2020 at 9:05 am
Kristin Bergunder | Category: Uncategorized

Let’s hide that litter box! How?

 

Cats make wonderful pets. Whether they are affectionate or aloof, they bring joy and humor to any home. As a member of the family, you love them. As the cleaner of their litter box, life could be better. It’s an eyesore, and we tend to try and hide it away in a small room to keep it out of sight. Fortunately, there are many options for you and your furry friend! Whether you want to purchase something, are ready to get creative, or a mix of both – there’s bound to be a perfect way for you to hide the litter box.

The Ikea Hack

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If you’re looking for a cheap-ish option for hiding your litter box and are willing to do a little work to get it
done, modifying an Ikea cabinet is one way to go. Plus, you can put fresh plants or a candle on top to mitigate the smell. Simply cut a square into the side of the cabinet, install a cat door (or don’t!), and you’re good to go.

 The Wicker Basket

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Baskets like these are relatively inexpensive and are more breathable than the cabinet option above meaning smells won’t linger as long. Plus, baskets with framing like the one in this project are perfect for a little DIY. Cutting out one side of the wicket doesn’t hinder the integrity or sturdiness at all.

The Corner Bench

CornerBench4

While this project isn’t made for hiding a litter box, it can be easily fixed to change that. Simply use the method in the Ikea Hack to cut out a rectangle on the side. A bench like this one can be left with a plain wooden top or can be padded to add extra seating in your entryway or kitchen.

Under the Stairs

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Have empty space under your stairs? You can use it to hide your cat’s litter box! Use the instructions on this project to craft doors and a small room for your cat. This keeps your litter box hidden away as well as out of the way, keeping you from having to add extra furniture to your home.

Decorative Planter

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This adorable planter can be purchased at Wayfair (plant not included!). Plants and litter boxes work so well together because plants naturally freshen the air around them. A planter like this could be created with a little time and elbow grease, but if you’re looking for something that’s ready to go now, this one is the way to go.

In a Drawer

hidden-litter-box-furniture

This project is similar to the first on the list, but instead of a regular cabinet, install a pull-out drawer instead. This will give you easy access to clean the litter box without having to put your head under a cabinet.

There are dozens of ways to hide a litter box in your home, and the internet is full of tutorials or purchasable options. Hopefully this list gave you some ideas of what to do in your own home. Remember, a litter box is only well-hidden if it’s also well-cleaned. Unscented or odor-absorbing litter (versus ones with heavy scents), daily cleaning, and an air freshener will go far to keep litter boxes hidden even from the most sensitive noses. When you home is on the market, you definitely want to keep the box clean and utilize one of the suggestions above, if possible, to remove it from being out in the open for potential buyers to see….and smell.

 

Posted on January 17, 2020 at 10:04 am
Kristin Bergunder | Category: Uncategorized

7 Questions to ask your lender

If you want the best deal possible in a business situation, start by asking the right questions. The things you ask your Loan Officer can help to guide your conversations and ultimately result in a great transaction. Your LO wants you to be happy. He or she would love for you to leave the closing table feeling good. Where to start? Try the following seven questions to get the ball rolling:

1. If I pay some things off before you pull my credit report, could I get a better interest rate?

The answer here is dependent on your current credit. Start by finding out exactly what’s on your report. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com for your free yearly copy. It will show all open accounts and all closed accounts for the past several years. The report will also list any bankruptcies, judgments, liens, and previous credit pulls. It’s good practice to bring a copy of your free report to your first meeting with your LO He or she can advise on what to pay-off, close, and/or dispute before the lender initiates their actual credit inquiry. Your free report won’t show your FICO score but it will offer a host of information to help you prepare for your loan application.

2. How long should I wait after a major financial blunder before I apply for a loan?

A good rule of thumb is to wait two years after a bankruptcy, foreclosure, short sale, etc. before applying for a new mortgage. The two-year rule assumes that during the waiting period you pay your bills on time and display great character when it comes to credit. Some borrowers may be advised to wait up to four years before applying for a mortgage if a more conservative loan product best fits their needs. If you must apply for a loan sooner than advised then the underwriter is likely to place you in a subprime risk category, resulting in a higher rate and/or tighter loan terms.

3. Are interest rates trending up or down?

It’s impossible to predict exactly what the mortgage market will do, but a good LO will be educated in this area. Find out if your LO keeps tabs on market indicators and reads-up on analyst predictions. If rates are likely to move up before you move on, you may want to consider locking your interest rate. Conversely, a downward trend in the market might prompt your LO to advise a “wait and see” strategy.

4. Does the loan I want have a prepayment penalty?

Loan terms vary from product to product. One item to consider is the presence or absence of a prepayment penalty. Some lenders will impose a fee if the buyer pays off a loan early, especially if the payoff is the result of a refinance. If there’s a chance that you could move or refinance shortly after obtaining your new loan, discuss this with your Originator. Prepayment penalties are not inherently bad – they serve a purpose in the marketplace as they help to stabilize returns for secondary market investors. Just make sure to ask whether your loan has a prepayment penalty so there are no surprises down the road.

5. What will my total payment be if I go with the highest loan amount offered?

Lenders will offer you a loan amount based on your ability and likelihood to repay on time. This doesn’t mean you have to go with the highest loan amount offered. Some people who can afford Cadillacs still buy Corollas. And those people still have a nice car to drive. The same applies to a home purchase. Consider your total payment at various loan amounts before committing to your next home or refinance.

6. How soon can we close?

Most loans can closes in under 30 days and a large portion are 17 days or less. Some buyers and sellers need more time for a variety of reasons.

7. Last but not least, do NOT make any financial changes until you speak with a lender! 

Ask your lender what items you need to focus on regarding bills to pay, funds needing to be saved, and planning for that next big step. Don’t assume the answer is to pay off that car loan or wipe out as much debt as possible to improve your credit score. Remember they are the expert and a good lender will guide you in the right direction to your next home, or your first!

“Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” ~Tony Robbins

Posted on December 16, 2019 at 10:38 am
Kristin Bergunder | Category: Uncategorized

Fixed Rate VS Adjustable Rate Mortgage

Buying a home is overwhelming – plain and simple. There are just so many decisions to make. When is a good time to buy? What neighborhoods are on the upswing? How old is too old? How much is too much? Are we truly fixer-upper kind of people? How badly do we need a fenced yard? Do the neighbors look friendly? More importantly, do they look quiet? Which lender is the best? What in the world is an adjustable rate mortgage? Is this really worth all the stress?

Okay, let’s slow it down and tackle those questions one at a time, starting with the easiest: Yes, it really is worth all the stress.

Next, we’ll jump up a level and work through a tougher one: the world of adjustable rate mortgages. But before we go too deep, let’s look at its counterpart – the fixed rate mortgage – because to understand one, you have to understand the other.

Fixed Rate Mortgages

The fixed rate mortgage is just that – a mortgage that has a fixed interest rate, one that does not change over the life of the loan. Whether it be 10 years or 30, that interest rate is going to stay the same.

For homebuyers who prefer to stay on-budget, tend to avoid financial risk, or plan to stay in the home for at least five years, the fixed rate mortgage is most likely the best bet. While the interest rate might be higher than the initial percentage offered on an adjustable rate mortgage, over the life of the loan, homeowners tend to pay a considerable amount less in interest. Additionally, this route allows the buyer to build a budget and stick to it as the payment amount never changes (not withstanding any escrow payments that could fluctuate due to property taxes or insurance costs).

Those looking for consistency in their monthly expenditures and a bit more peace of mind in the homebuying process will do well to consider this type of loan. Fixed rate mortgages are dependable, reliable, steadfast – much like that trusty dog laying by your side, the one you just have to get a fenced yard for, right? Seriously. There are so many questions.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMS)

So back to the big one: What in the world is an adjustable rate mortgage? Let’s start with the basics. An adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), also commonly referred to as a variable rate mortgage, is a loan in which the interest rate is subject to change after a fixed number of years. This type of loan usually begins at an attractively low rate for the initial period (typically 3, 5, 7 or 10 years) after which time the interest rate adjusts annually or even monthly based on the index it is tied to.

These types of mortgages often appeal to buyers planning to sell the home prior to the end of the initial fixed period, those hoping for more house than their current debt-to-income ratio allows, or folks purchasing a second home for the purpose of future rental income to help offset the increase in payment amounts. An ARM can be a great option for buyers with specific goals like these, but like all methods of financing, it is important to do ample research before laying down any signatures. To better understand how variable rates are determined, organizations like Debt.org are available to fill in the blanks. Mortgage calculators designed to help consumers considering variable rate loans are also a handy tool.

Financing a home is a big deal, and the decision on which type of mortgage to pursue plays a key role in how quickly and comfortably you can pay down that debt. For this reason, be sure to take your time, plug in the numbers and ask great questions of your lender before making the final decision. An adjustable rate mortgage might just be the ticket, but much like those seemingly serene neighbors, looks can be deceiving. In five years, that quiet couple might have four barking dogs, two sets of twins, a new affinity for the drums and a rooster that crows from sun up to midnight – and that’s okay as long as you had the foresight to plan for the increase in volume, as long as you’ve prepped during the honeymoon period and stocked up on ear plugs. An adjustable rate mortgage is kind of like that, a perfectly suitable option for those who are well-prepared.

For more information and to talk with a lender to find out which option is best for you, give me a call!

Posted on July 1, 2019 at 1:16 pm
Kristin Bergunder | Category: Uncategorized

Preparation To Sell: THIS IS IMPORTANT!

The term “seller’s market” is something we have heard a lot over the past couple years, but does that mean you put forth less effort to market your home properly…NO! Favorable interest rates and an influx of millennial buyers have created demand for houses as well as home loans. Now is a GREAT time to sell! But while garnering an offer might be easier than in years past, good marketing and preparation are still extremely important.

  • Prep work pays.Some sellers order a pre-inspection from a licensed home inspector ($300-$500). Others consult with their Realtor regarding potential issues and fix things before their home goes onto the market. When demand for homes is high, sellers may be tempted to list a home as-is (i.e. without fixing it up first), but this will result in lowball offers. Consult with a professional to learn where the weakest links exist in your home and remedy those problems before you go to market. Some of the issues known to curtail a full-price offer include:

 

  • Missing/damaged roof shingles
  • Peeling paint on the exterior and bold color choices inside
  • Dirty windows
  • A chimney in need of maintenance or one that has never been inspected or cleaned
  • Mold in the attic. Even just a few inches of non-toxic mold or mold residue can alarm buyers.
  • Decluttering is a big deal.This applies whether our economy is at the height of excess or the bottom of the barrel. Cluttered spaces are a big turn-off to buyers. Also, personal tastes matter, so consider repainting your rooms with neutral colors. Granted, this makes absolutely no financial sense. Things like bright paint colors and too much furniture really shouldn’t make a difference to potential buyers, but they make a difference nonetheless. Consider some of the following modifications before you present your home on the marketplace:
  • Neutral paint colors – You can save on cost by purchasing 5-gallon buckets and painting every interior room the same color as long as you choose from a neutral palette.
  • A home that looks “lived-in” is not necessarily a good thing. Have a friend or family member walk through your home and offer you a fresh perspective on your space. If they think an area looks cluttered or contains unnecessary furniture, have a garage sale, donate unneeded items, or move some things into a rented storage space before you schedule any showings. Keep in mind you are moving so boxing things you won’t be using regularly is suggested.
  • Clean, clean, clean.Make sure your home is spotless for every showing. If you’re averse to cleaning or don’t know where to start, hire a professional cleaning crew. Some areas of deep-cleaning that you might have overlooked until now include:
  • Oven
  • Windows
  • Baseboards
  • Light fixtures including ceiling fans
  • Check the attic.Get up into your attic. Inspect and clean the area. Pretend to be a buyer and look for any “red flags” that need addressed. Better to do this now than during the inspection phase of your transaction. Also, inspect any other forgotten areas like storage closets and cellars.
  • First Impressions Matter.Buyers have choices. Put your home’s best face forward by doing the following.
  • Work with a real estate agent who commissions a professional photographer. Most buyers begin their home search on the internet and will use photos to decide whether an actual showing appointment is worth their time.
  • Do an exterior audit of your home before you list and before each showing. Was there a storm last night that blew leaves and sticks around? Did Fido leave a little presents in the yard? Buyers are understandably critical as they approach the front door of the biggest investment of their life, so show them more positives than negatives.
  • Keep the grass mowed or sidewalks shoveled free of snow

 

Consider a Home Warranty.

  • Home warranties have been around for several years now and can sweeten the deal for a prospective buyer. For around $400 you can offer buyers one year of enhanced insurance against unexpected repair costs. Longer coverage periods are also available.

 

When you’re ready to bring your product to market, don’t go it alone. Work with a real estate agent adept at marketing who can advise you on proper presentation of your home. Also, negotiate with buyers who are financially informed. Even in a seller’s market, enlisting the help of professionals puts you in the best position possible when it’s time to price, negotiate, and close on the sale of your home. Remember that “inking” the contract isn’t an end but a beginning.

 

Posted on May 15, 2019 at 4:01 pm
Kristin Bergunder | Category: Uncategorized

Pre-Qualifications vs Pre-Approval – What’s the Difference?

Mortgage industry terms—there are many and it can be hard to make sense of them, especially when they seem so similar. Pre-qualification and pre-approval are often used interchangeably, but there are some major differences between the two. Both options can be helpful to your Realtor and other mortgage professionals while shopping for a home, but a pre-approval can help you further along your mortgage journey than a pre-qualification. This guide will help break down the benefits of both options.

How Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval Differ

1.Pre-approval gives you a more accurate estimate.

2.A pre-approval will give you a much bigger picture of the home you can afford. After you finish the pre-approval process, you will receive a formal letter that states what your budget is. Your pre-approval is usually good for 90-120 days, but can be easily refreshed.

3. Pre-approval can jump-start the mortgage process

4. A pre-approval is going to give you documentation on your credit from a hard inquiry, as well as information on your assets, income, and debts. This is usually the first step after applying for a mortgage, so it is very helpful to your mortgage professional if this is already complete.

How Pre-Qualification and Pre-Approval are Similar

1. They can estimate the loan amount you qualify for.

When you first start looking for a home, you will have your own thoughts about how much house you can afford. Getting either a pre-qualification or pre-approval will give you an estimate based on things like income and credit score. From there, you can start to eliminate homes that are too high for your price range and start to look for the home that fits all of your needs including your budget.

2. They can show sellers that you are a serious buyer.

When we are experiencing a seller’s market, which means the housing inventory is low and houses don’t stay in the market for long, it can be important to have a pre-qualification or pre-approval. This will show the seller’s that you have already gone to a mortgage professional and taken the first steps in buying their home. This means you are a more serious buyer, which is a more confident sell for them!

3. They can give you a better chance of getting a loan for the amount you’ve offered the seller.

Getting a pre-qualification or pre-approval means that a professional has taken time to look through your finances to see what you will qualify for. As you continue through the mortgage process, you will receive a loan amount that is not far off from what you have already been approved or qualified for.

You’ll save yourself and others a lot of time and energy by getting pre-approved for home financing. Most real estate agents prefer that you have a letter of pre-approval before starting to shop for a home. The great news is that there is no charge and no commitment to go through our easy online pre-approval process with a trusted lender.

 

Posted on May 3, 2019 at 1:06 pm
Kristin Bergunder | Category: Uncategorized

Home Improvement Return On Investment Misconception

I get asked this A LOT…..how much money am I going to get back if I remodel, or if I upgrade my kitchen counter tops and paint my cabinets, replace my flooring, etc.? A question I ALWAYS ask in my design consultations is what the foreseeable future looks like. Are we upgrading or modifying for you for 2 years, 5 years, 10 years? That has a definite impact on how we proceed. In real estate, I will work with clients many months in advance sometimes because the seller is curious where to allocate funds to take care of necessary repairs, deferred maintenance, and suggested updating. Education and conversation assists my clients in making choices they feel confident about.

The biggest misconception I see (reality TV home improvement shows have influenced this) is that homeowners expect to profit from their investment after upgrading or putting money in to their home. Obviously, that is the goal if you are flipping homes, but for homes that are owner occupied, if you spend $2500 on new counter tops, don’t expect that the value of your home has now increased by $5,000.

I wrote an article recently on the difference between upgrades and deferred maintenance. If you haven’t cleaned your carpets in well over a year, touched up your exterior trim paint that’s peeling, have a roof that’s 20 years old, or ever had your furnace professional serviced, the cost to take care of those first (considered more necessary) may impact what you have left to upgrade a bathroom, for example. What some folks may not realize is that taking care of needed repairs and possibly doing some updating may be what your home needs in order to put it more in line with the comparable homes around you so that it sells for a comparable price and much faster.

Our goal is to enhance your home whether it is for you or for the next homeowner, or a combination of the two. If selling, we want to attract as many buyers as possible while maximizing your home’s potential to appeal to each of those buyers.

Posted on April 11, 2019 at 3:04 pm
Kristin Bergunder | Category: Uncategorized