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Posted by Julie Shanks on 11/10/2019

In your quest to buy a home, you might check out properties online or looking up houses around your neighborhood up for sale. These are all steps you must first make to attain your desire of becoming a homeowner. Before you go into your search proper, there is something you need to do; itís called getting pre-approved for a mortgage. 

A mortgage pre-approval involves lenders going through your financial records to determine how creditworthy you are. Itís a process that allows the lender to go through your financial records to determine if you are loan qualified and how much you are eligible to borrow. Being qualified for a mortgage differs from being pre-approved Ė the latter holds more value to a lender. 

The purpose of getting pre-approved is to convince the lender that if granted the loan, you would be able to payback. Another reason lender asks for pre-approval is to be clear on all your financial situations. The pre-approval process involves lenders going through your financial records either on your request or at their discretion.  The following are things and documents you would be pre-approved about before applying for a mortgage loan.

Proof of Income

The documents showing your income statement is required to validate how much you earn on the average annually. Itís an essential document for pre-approval and underwriting. It involves you presenting your W-2 statements for the past two years, your most recent pay stubs (at least two) and any other additional source of income or bonuses. 

Proof of Employment

Aside from going through your pay stubs, a lender will also want to confirm your employment status from your employer and verify how much you earn. If the job you are working in is a new one, a lender might contact your previous employer. All these are procedures the lender undertakes to ensure they are borrowing to a financially stable individual. Self-employed people would need to provide more critical paperwork about their business. 

Credit Information

A lender would want to measure your debt-to-income ratio before granting you a loan. This procedure involves ascertaining if you are currently repaying any debt like a car loan, student loan or any other loan form. Providing documents relating to this information is vital.

Social Security Number

Lenders need your social security number to verify your identity, to attain your credit reports and also to request your tax returns from IRS. The information is made available through your social security cards, tax documents and all other documents showing your SSN.

Bank Statements

Your bank statement is required to determine if you have enough cash or investments needed to make a down payment, conclude closing cost and still maintain a cash reserve. Your bank statement is one of the essential documents nearly all lenders will request to see to ensure you have enough funds. 

The pre-approval process is the first place a serious homebuyer begins the home application process. Speak to a financial consultant or your real estate agent to help you secure one.




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Posted by Julie Shanks on 11/3/2019

As a home seller, you'll want to do whatever you can to prepare your residence for an open house. By doing so, you can transform your ordinary home into an exceptional one, thereby increasing the likelihood of making an unforgettable first impression on large groups of open house guests.

What does it take to get a residence ready for an open house? Here are three tips to help you update your home, and ultimately, host a memorable open house.

1. Declutter Your Home as Much as Possible

If your hallways, bedrooms and other home areas are loaded with clutter, now is the perfect time to get rid of various unnecessary items. That way, you can show off the true size and beauty of your living space.

For those who have antiques, photographs and other items they want to keep, it may be worthwhile to rent a storage unit. Or, friends and family members may be able to hold on to some of your belongings until you sell your house.

On the other hand, if there are items you need to eliminate immediately, you can always host a yard sale or list items online. You may be able to donate items that are in good condition to local charities as well.

2. Perform Home Exterior Maintenance

Let's face it Ė no one wants to buy a home with a messy front lawn or cracked siding. However, a home seller who allocates the necessary time and resources to identify home exterior issues can resolve such problems without delay.

Spend some time evaluating your house's exterior Ė you'll be glad you did. With a close look at your home's exterior, you can establish home maintenance priorities.

Then, get to work. Perform all necessary home exterior repairs, and you can boost your home's chances of making a positive first impression on homebuyers who visit during an open house.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to preparing for an open house, there's a lot to consider. Fortunately, a real estate agent can help you keep things in perspective and ensure your open house is an instant success.

A real estate agent will teach you everything you need to know about an open house. He or she will offer expert tips to help you get your residence ready for an open house, along with provide insights into what you should expect following the event's completion.

Of course, a real estate agent is happy to help you at each stage of the home selling journey too. This housing market professional will do whatever it takes to help you list a home, price it accordingly and promote it to the right groups of homebuyers consistently.

Make your open house a joyous occasion for both you and potential homebuyers. Use the aforementioned tips, and a home seller can revamp a house's interior and exterior and ensure a residence makes a long-lasting impression on homebuyers.




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Posted by Julie Shanks on 10/27/2019

For those who want to enjoy a quick, seamless homebuying experience, it helps to prepare as much as possible. In fact, those who plan ahead may be better equipped than others to avoid various challenges throughout the homebuying cycle.

From struggling to obtain home financing after a seller accepts your offer to purchase to struggling to find the right home in one of your preferred cities and towns, myriad issues may make it tough for you to achieve your desired results on the homebuying journey. Fortunately, we're here to help you minimize risk as you pursue your dream residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you avoid a homebuying fiasco.

1. Establish Homebuying Criteria

If you enter the housing market with criteria in hand, you can narrow your house search. As a result, you may be able to accelerate your journey from homebuyer to homeowner.

Think about where you want to live. Then, you can hone your home search and focus exclusively on houses in specific cities and towns.

It also may be beneficial to establish a list of home must-haves and wants. This list can help you determine exactly what you want to find in your dream house so you can map out your home search accordingly.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

There is no need to wait to get a mortgage. Thankfully, lenders are available that can help you get approved for a mortgage before you kick off your home search.

Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions Ė you'll be glad you did. This will allow you to learn about the ins and outs of different mortgage options.

Furthermore, don't hesitate to ask questions about all of the mortgage options at your disposal. Because if you understand exactly how a mortgage works, you can make an informed mortgage decision.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to avoiding problems during the homebuying journey, it generally is a good idea to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional will offer comprehensive support at each stage of the homebuying journey. By doing so, a real estate agent will ensure you can quickly and effortlessly navigate the housing market.

For example, if you want to find a house in a small town, a real estate agent will help you explore residences that match your expectations. He or she will set up home showings and keep you informed about open house events. Plus, if you identify your dream house, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase.

Let's not forget about the housing market expertise that a real estate agent possesses, either. If you ever have concerns or questions as you pursue your dream house, a real estate agent is happy to address them at any time.

Want to discover your dream residence? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can reduce the risk of encountering problems as you search for your ideal residence.




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Posted by Julie Shanks on 10/20/2019

Before you make the final decision to buy any property, one of the best steps to take is to request a home inspection to be done by an experienced home inspector. You probably don't know how to ascertain the quality of the foundation or the condition the electrical wiring is, so having a home inspector conduct a visit helps you identify things that you should watch out for as well as things to note before you finally purchase the home.

  • Check the property on your own first. It's always helpful if you have had time to check out the house yourself before hiring a home inspector. You will be aware of things to point out to the inspector as likely issues, and the inspector can reassure you about things with which you are unfamiliar. This collaboration enables you to raise the questions when you are checking the property out with the home inspector.
  • Be present in person during the inspection. Being there is equally as important as checking it out on your own first as you will have a chance to check those things you have seen earlier again and this time with a professional. Also, you want to be sure that the home inspector checks out every part of the property as he ought to, this he will do if you are present.
  • Take your camera along with you for pictures. Every process of buying a new house requires getting great pictures for yourself as this helps you check again when you have a clearer head. You might not get an opportunity to go back to the house to have a second look at something you just remembered when talking about the property with your spouse or friends. So, it's always a great choice to have your camera with you during the inspection. Lots of pictures aid a quality decision.
  • Work with a trustworthy inspector. Buying a property often costs a great deal, so it's best you work with folks that come recommended to you and that you can recommend. You donít want to work with a home inspector without any loyalty to you or a credible recommendation from the past. To avoid any form of regret or fraud, you should seek out a trustworthy inspector so you can be sure you are getting a great property.

If you need help finding a reliable home inspector, you should ask your neighborhood real estate professional for recommendations.




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Posted by Julie Shanks on 10/13/2019

When shopping for your new home, you can investigate and gauge many things about the house itself and even about the neighborhood as a whole to help make the best decision. One thing that's difficult to gauge or even factor into your decision making is your immediate neighbors. You might be able to look at their yard to see how they care for their home, or you might be able to tell right away if they have a loud animal, but you won't know them until after you've moved in and have lived in the new house for a while. Even if you could know ahead of time if they have noisy barbecues or a teenager with an aspiring rock band should that play into your decision? Your initial neighbors might decide to sell their home, or they might actually be renters, so you have no idea how long they'll be there. While getting a read on the community as a whole is essentialódo people generally seem to care about their homes, are their clean streets and shared areas, etc.óyou shouldn't refrain from buying the best house for you because you're concerned about your neighbors.

So, what to do if you move into your new home and it turns out your immediate neighbors arenít so great?

If you find that your neighbor doesnít do much upkeep on their front yard, there isnít a whole lot you can do. If you see them when you're out mowing or weed-eating, you can offer to do theirs as well, as a friendly neighbor, but you can't go much farther than that. If their backyard has a lot of trash or messy kids toys or even a few old cars they haven't gotten around to working on you can do some things to keep their unsightly belongings from affecting an afternoon on your back patio.

  • Privacy fencing: If your home didn't have privacy fencing when you made the purchase, consider installing a new fence. There are affordable ways to implement privacy fencing that will create a visual barrier between you and your neighbor. Bonus ó if they have a dog that likes to bark at anything it sees, or it just doesn't get along with your dog, the fencing will help prevent unwanted barking and extra noise.
  • Plant trees or bamboo: Itís a bit costlier but installing a line of medium-sized trees that grow tall (and quickly) or installing a second layer of "fencing" with a row of bamboo will increase the visual and sound barriers in addition to improving the beautiful greenery in your yard.
  • Direct attention away: If your yard is big enough to have a couple of different living areas try placing those areas on the opposite side of the yard from your neighbors and direct attention to your useable space. Install a gazebo in the back corner or hang a shade awning over the patio. Circle furniture up around a built-in BBQ facing away from the other yard. Light up the areas you use with string lights or tiki torches and leave the view along the less than desirable fence line darkened.
  • Outdoor Sound System: It's tempting to overpower your neighbor's loud music, but you can install an outdoor sound system that focuses on the entertaining and living areas of your yard to create more of a sound barrier between their loud music, dogs or children. Kind of like how restaurants use loud music to give each table privacy, you can give yourself a bit of privacy, and peace with strategically installed speakers. 

Finally, be a good neighbor. The primary key to having good neighbors is to be one. Be friendly, be open and be inviting. Follow the same considerate living principles you desire from your neighbors. Engage with your neighbors and become acquaintances or even friends. Who knows, the dad next door with the son who wants to learn death metal might need a break from the noise too, and could be the best new addition to your guys night.

If you're not exactly sure how to approach an issue with your new living arrangement, speak with your real estate professional for the best advice.




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