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Monthly Archives: September 2017

Let’s Talk Buyer Qualification: How to Ensure You Sell Your Home to the Right Buyer

Let's Talk Buyer Qualification: How to Ensure You Sell Your Home to the Right BuyerAre you listing your home for sale? If so, it is time to get ready to meet with buyers and their real estate agents. And while you surely want to sell your home as quickly as possible, you will also want to do your homework to make sure you’re selling to the right person. Let’s explore the process of buyer qualification and why it’s important to do a little digging into potential buyers of your home.

Is Your Buyer Pre-Approved For Mortgage Financing?

First, you’ll want to check with your buyer to see if they are approved for mortgage financing. The last thing you want is to agree to an offer only to have the buyer rescind it because they can’t afford your home. If the buyer is not already approved, suggest that they take that additional step before submitting their offer. Otherwise, you may end up experiencing significant delays in the closing process.

Ensure Your Buyer Has Their Earnest Money Ready

Next, you’ll want to check with your buyer to make sure that they have their earnest money ready. These funds are a deposit, typically one or two percent of the purchase price, which is held in escrow once you accept the buyer’s offer. Earnest money is a way for the buyer to prove to you that they are serious about purchasing your home. Once they have placed the deposit down, you can be confident that the buyer intends to close.

Note that the terms of your agreement should ensure that if the buyer backs out of the deal, you get to keep some or all of their earnest money. This is especially important if you’re fielding multiple offers for your home as you may lose the chance to sell if the buyer backs out.

Be Wary Of Offers That Seem Too Good To Be True

If an offer seems too good to be true, that may just be the case. Be wary of any offers that are significantly more than your asking price, or if the buyer is willing to buy your home without so much as an inspection. Rest assured that any serious buyer is going to do their due diligence to ensure they’re getting a good deal.

Buyer qualification is a bit of a process, but it’s an important step that ensures your home sale goes smoothly. When you’re ready to list your home for sale, contact your local real estate professional. We will be happy to assist you with finding the right buyer.

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Posted by on September 29, 2017 in Home Seller Tips

 

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Baby on the Way? Learn How to Child-proof Your Home so Your Baby Is Safe From Harm

Baby on the Way? Learn How to Child-proof Your Home so Your Baby Is Safe From HarmDo you have a baby on the way? If so, you are likely already wondering how you are supposed to make your home safe from harm. The good news is that with a little work, you’ll be able to make your house or apartment that much safer. Let’s take a look at how you can child-proof your home in under a few hours.

Start With The Baby’s Bedroom 

For the first few months, your baby will be spending a lot of time either sleeping or resting in their crib. You’ll want to keep the crib away from any cords, blinds, drapes or other items the baby might get their hands on. The crib itself should meet federal safety regulations and should be comfortable without being too restrictive.

Keep a watchful eye out for anything loose that the baby might be able to put in its mouth. All choking hazards should be kept well away from a crib.

Baby-Proofing The Halls And Stairs

Next, it’s time to take a quick sweep through your halls and stairways. Once your baby starts crawling, they’re at risk for falls and other issues. Go through your hallways and look for any items that the child might pull over. For example, if you have hall tables with plants or pictures on them, are there any fabric items which the baby might be able to reach?

Your stairways should have some sort of baby guards placed in front of them at all times. If possible, you’ll also want your stairs to be carpeted. This can help to reduce injury if your child takes a tumble down the stairs.

Keeping The Kitchen Safe

Finally, don’t forget the kitchen. There are all sorts of dangerous items in the average kitchen, from heavy appliances with loose cords to tablecloths that can lead to utensils on the floor. In short, everything should be kept in drawers and out of a child’s reach. Cupboards should be secured so that a baby can’t open them. If you want to go a bit further, consider installing some padding on the legs of hard kitchen furniture and on corners where a baby could bump their head.

It’s almost impossible to fully baby-proof a home, but the above checklist is a good start. If you have a baby on the way and are looking for a larger, safer home, contact your local real estate professional.

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2017 in Around The Home

 

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Case-Shiller: Home Prices Higher in July, Home Prices May Have Peaked

Case-Shiller reported higher sales of new homes for July; the national reading for new home sales increased by 0.10 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.90 percent. The 20-City Home Price Index rose by 0.20 percent to 5.80 percent on a seasonally adjusted annual basis.

Seattle Washington held the top spot in the 20-City Index with a growth of 13.50 percent year-over-year. Seattle home prices are growing faster than home prices in Portland Oregon, which reported a year-over-home price growth rate of 7,60 percent. Dallas, Texas lost its third-place standing in the 20-City Index to Las Vegas, Nevada, which reported 7.40 year-over-year growth in home prices. Dallas, Texas and Detroit, Michigan tied for fourth position with 7.30 percent home price growth.

David M. Blitzer, managing director and chair of the S&P Case Shiller Home Price Index Committee, said that the Pacific Northwest largely drove July home prices,12 of 20 cities surveyed reported higher home prices in July. Home prices rose to their highest level since May 2009 but were selling for less than half of what new homes sold for in 2009.

Home Prices Rise, Falling Sales Suggest Prices May Have Peaked

High demand for a limited number of available homes continued to cause home prices to rise, but home sales fell in July. Three of four regions reported lower sales with the Midwestern region sales volume unchanged. Low inventories of homes for sale have increased competition among homebuyers; this creates bidding wars that cause artificially high home prices in high-demand markets.

In related news, The Commerce Department reported that new home sales fell by 3.40 percent in August. The inventory of homes on the market rose from a 5.70month supply to a 6.10month supply of homes for sale. Real estate pros consider a six-month supply of homes for sale a good balance between homes on the market and active home buyers. Increasing inventories of homes for sale suggests that home prices could be peaking as home buyers face strict mortgage rules and affordability concerns.  

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma impacted 14 percent of building permits issued in 2016. While building permits issued may increase, ongoing concerns over labor shortages and building materials costs could become more pronounced as rebuilding in the hurricane zones progresses.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2017 in Housing Market

 

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5 Key Maintenance Tasks to Prepare Your Home for the Winter

5 Key Maintenance Tasks to Prepare Your Home for the WinterThe days are getting shorter, the temperature is dropping and the kids are heading back to school. The approach of autumn means that winter is just around the corner. The question is – is your home ready? Break out your checklist and let’s run through five key maintenance tasks that will get your home prepared to face the winter.

Pack Up And Protect Your Outdoor Furniture

Unfortunately, the arrival of winter means that the patio has to be closed up for the season. It’s time to get chairs, tables and other furniture covered up or stored if you have space. The BBQ will also need to be covered or moved off to the shed or another dry area.

Get Your Windows Ready For Cold Weather

Next, take some time to inspect your windows for drafts, leaks and other issues. This can be as easy as shutting them tight on a windy day and using your senses to determine if any air is leaking in. Depending on where you live in the country, you might need to do some additional work on your windows to get them prepared for the cold.

Turn Down Your Garden, Plants And Flower Beds

Unless you have a garden full of robust, cold-loving plants, it’s likely that you will see most of them die off as we move from autumn into winter. Spend some time turning down your gardens and other areas. This can help to move nutrients into the soil where they’ll be ready to nourish new plants in the spring.

Check Your Furnace And Heating Ducts

If you haven’t used it in a few months, now is the time to fire up the furnace and check the home’s heating system. The last thing you want is to discover that your home isn’t heating on the first cold night!

Consider Giving The Roof And Gutters A Quick Inspection

Last but not least, don’t forget to check your roof for any damage or areas that might be prone to leaking. You will also want to check the gutters to ensure they are clear of debris. Keep in mind that this does involve climbing up a ladder and physically inspecting these areas. If you’re not good with heights or don’t own the proper equipment, don’t sweat it. Give a professional roofing team a call and have them handle the inspection instead.

The better your home is prepared for winter, the less likely you are to have a nasty surprise waiting for you in the spring. If you would rather upgrade or check out a newer home than try to winterize yours, contact your local real estate professional to show you some “winterproof” options in the area.

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2017 in Around The Home

 

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What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – September 25th, 2017

Last week’s economic news included readings on housing starts, building permits issued and sales of pre-owned homes. The Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee issued its customary post-meeting statement and Fed Chair Janet Yellen gave a press conference. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims were also released.

Housing Starts Lower, but Building Permits Increase

August saw fewer housing starts with 1.18 million starts on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis. July’s reading was upwardly adjusted to 1.19 million starts; analysts expected 1.175 million starts annually in August. Building permits rose in August, which suggested builder confidence was strong regardless of fewer starts.

Recent hurricanes had little effect on August building permits, but building permits will likely increase as rebuilding gets under way in affected areas. 1.30 million building permits were issued on an annual basis as compared to July’s reading of 1.23 million permits issued. August’s reading for permits issued was the second highest since 2007.

Analysts noted that more permits were issued for single-family residences than for multi-family complexes. This is likely a response to high demand for single-family homes caused by persistent shortages of homes for sale. Multi-family permits issued fell by 5.80 percent in August with 323,000 permits reported. August’s reading for multi-family housing permits was 23 percent lower year-over-year.

PreOwned Home Sales Dip, Fed Holds Steady on Federal Funds Rate

Sales of previously-owned homes fell to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 5.35 million sales in August. Analysts expected a reading of 5.44 million sales, which matched July’s seasonally-adjusted annual reading of 5.44 million sales of previously-owned homes. High demand and very low inventories of homes for sale has caused sales to fall although very low unemployment rates and relatively low mortgage rates were positive indicators for would-be home buyers.

The Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee announced it did not raise the current federal funds rate of 1.00 to 1,25 percent. Fed Chair Janet Yellen remarked that “the basic message here is U.S. economic performance has been good.” The Fed was puzzled by sluggish inflation and revised its long-term inflation goal from 3.00 percent to 2.80 percent. The Fed is expected to raise its target federal funds rate one more time in 2017 and twice in 2018; this prediction may change if economic forecasts and world events change significantly.

Mortgage Rates Rise, New Jobless Claims Fall

Mortgage rates rose last week in response to the 10-year Treasury rate rising by seven basis points. The average rate for a 30-year mortgage rate rose five basis points to 3.83 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose five basis points to 3.13 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose four basis points to 3.17 percent. Discount points averaged 0.50 percent for fixed-rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

New jobless claims were lower with 259,000 new claims filed. Analysts expected a reading of 302,000 new jobless claims based on the prior week’s reading of 282,000 new jobless claims filed.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include readings on new and pending home sales, personal income, and inflation. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and new jobless claims are scheduled along with a monthly reading on consumer sentiment.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2017 in Mortgage Rates

 

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Understanding the Differences Between ‘Prequalified’ And ‘Preapproved’ For a Mortgage

Understanding the Differences Between 'Prequalified' And 'Preapproved' For a MortgageAre you in the market for a new home? If you are going to rely on mortgage financing to cover some of the purchase cost, you will need to start the application process as soon as possible. However, what if you just need to know how much you will be able to borrow so you can start finding homes in your price range?

Let’s take a quick look at the difference between being ‘prequalified’ and ‘preapproved’ for mortgage financing.

The Process Starts With Prequalification

The first step in obtaining mortgage financing is to speak with a mortgage professional to get prequalified. After sharing some quick information about your financial assets, income, and any debts, your advisor will share a range of financing options and amounts that you may qualify for. Prequalification is typically done free of charge and either in person or over the phone.

Note that your mortgage lender will not be doing any digging in the prequalification stage. There’s no credit check and no hard look at your assets. Don’t get too excited if you are prequalified for a large mortgage as you will still need to be approved.

Once You Are Preapproved, You Are All Set

Preapproval, on the other hand, is a firm commitment to access to a certain level of mortgage financing. Your mortgage lender will require a variety of information to get an idea of your financial situation, your current and future employment, your level of risk and more. Once they have a good idea of how much mortgage you can afford, you will be provided with a conditional commitment letter. This letter outlines how much the lender is willing to offer to you as well as other vital information like your mortgage loan interest rate.

Speed Up The Process By Preparing Beforehand

Finally, it is worth a mention that you can speed up the mortgage process by having all of your application paperwork ready before the initial meeting. Gather up your most recent income tax returns, pay stubs and bank statements. If you have investments or other financial assets, document those. You will also want to be up front about any outstanding debts that you are paying off. The more prepared you are, the faster the application and pre-approval process will go.

Have you found the home of your dreams? Contact your local real estate professional to get started.

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2017 in Home Mortgage Tips

 

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The Quick and Easy Guide to Finding the Best Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home

The Quick and Easy Guide to Finding the Best Real Estate Agent to Sell Your HomeIs it time to move on from your house, townhouse or condo? If a sale is in your near future, you will want to start looking for a professional selling agent or broker to help manage the process. Let’s take a look at our quick and easy guide to finding the best real estate agent to handle your home sale.

Check Your Social Network

The easiest place to start is your social network, as almost everyone knows a great real estate agent. Get a post up on Facebook sharing that you are about to sell your home and you’re looking for the very best agent to help you sell it. Maybe an old high school acquaintance or college friend is now in the real estate business and can help.

Ask Your Friends And Family For Referrals

If you aren’t close with a trustworthy real estate agent, the next best people to ask are your local friends and family. It is unlikely that you’re going to get a bad referral from your best friend, brother or aunt. Send out a few text messages and make a few calls to let the family know that you’re hunting for a great real estate agent. Soon enough, you’ll have some recommendations.

Check Their Designations And Specialties

You might not know this, but real estate agents have specialties and designations available to certify in. Aside from becoming a REALTOR®, your agent may be a Certified Residential Specialist, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative, a Seniors Real Estate Specialist and more.

Be Sure To Read Reviews And Talk To Past Clients

When you’ve made a short list of your final choices for a selling agent, it’s time to check on their recent work. Ask the agent for a list of houses or other properties that they’ve sold recently. If possible, you’ll also want to socialize with some of their past clients to see what the agent is like. You’ll be working closely together for at least a couple of weeks, so it’s important that you choose a real estate professional that you’re comfortable with.

Selling your home is not a painful process, but it’s one where you’ll want to have the best agent working to protect your interests. If you’re thinking about making a move, contact your local real estate professional.

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2017 in Home Seller Tips

 

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