According to the experts at Buy-and-Sell-House-Fast.com, the following tips will help you improve your credit and should be taken before you begin your home search.
The first critical step in taking care of your credit is to check your credit report. Unfortunately, many people fail to take this all important first step. Instead, they wait until they have applied for a mortgage loan to find out from the lender that there are problems with their credit scores.
By checking your credit score before you apply for a mortgage loan, you gain the opportunity to find out if there are problems which you can correct and discrepancies that need to be removed. When you check your credit report, make sure you check all three of the national credit reporting agencies: Experian, Trans-Union and EquiFax.
Review your credit report carefully for items that may be erroneous. If you believe that an item on your credit report is reported in error, you have the right to contest it. To do so, you will need to contact the credit reporting agency and explain why you believe the item is inaccurate. Supporting documentation such as receipts and cancelled checks can help your claim. Alternatively, you can engage a credit report repair services firm to fix your credit report.
If there are derogatory items on your credit report that are accurate but which could cause problems in your loan application, you cannot have them removed; however, you can take positive steps to counteract them. In the event that you have missed payments in the past, take steps now to get your bills current. Even if it means tapping into money that you might be planning to use for a down payment, it is essential that you get your accounts current and keep them that way. Begin by immediately making your payments on time. There is nothing which can lower your credit score more quickly than late payments. Ideally, make an attempt to begin sending in your payments a few days ahead of time to make sure they arrive on time and you do not have any more late payments on your record. If necessary, begin taking advantage of electronic payments in order to make sure your payments are made on time. Over time, this can make significant difference.
Keep in mind that eradicating all of your credit balances is really not the solution. In fact, credit can be your friend when you are looking to make a big purchase such as a home. The key is to make sure your credit is positive, not negative. Toward that end, avoid actually closing out your accounts. Instead, make an effort to pay down your balances and keep them paid down well below the minimum or completely paid off, but do not close the account. When your lender runs your credit to make a decision on your mortgage application, he or she will want to see that you have had a long credit management history.
After reviewing your credit history, if you see that most, if not all of your credit cards are maxed out or nearly maxed out, it is time to sit down and plan an aggressive strategy for paying some of them down. One of the critical factors that often determine your ability to be approved for a mortgage loan is your debt to income ratio. In addition, high credit card balances can drag down your credit score. Therefore, it is important to look at paying off some of your balances.
It is generally better to begin with your highest-rate balances first. Many consumers are tempted to move around balances when they receive an offer from another bank that is good; however, before you do this, remember that the worst thing you can do when you are trying to make a major purchase is to open new accounts.
By following these guidelines, you can improve your credit score and improve your chances of being approved for your home mortgage loan.
Once you've settled on a couple of neighborhoods where you would like to live, it's time to pick out a few homes to view. Your wish list can remind you which features are absolute requirements and which amenities you'd like to have if possible. When narrowing down your home search, consider:
-Types of homes
-Home purchase considerations
-Home comparison chart
-What to do when you’ve found the right home for you
Types of homes
In addition to single family homes (one home per lot), there are other forms of home ownership to consider as you begin looking for the next place you will call home:
-Multifamily homes: Some buyers, particularly first-timers, start with multiple family dwellings, so they'll have rental income to help with their costs. Many mortgage plans, including VA and FHA loans, can be used for buildings with up to four units, if the buyer intends to occupy one of them.
-Condominiums: With a condo, you own "from the plaster in" just as you would a single house. You also own a certain percentage of the "common elements"—staircases, sidewalks, roofs and the like. Monthly charges pay your share of taxes and insurance on those elements, as well as repairs and maintenance. A homeowners association administers the development.
-Co-ops: In a few cities, cooperative apartments are common. With those, you purchase shares in a corporation that owns the whole building, and you receive a lease to your own apartment. A board of directors supervises management. Monthly charges include your share of an overall mortgage on the building.
Home purchase considerations
Most buyers' first consideration, after neighborhoods are chosen, is the number of bedrooms. As you begin to view homes, keep the following purchase and resale considerations in mind:
-Weigh your needs, budget and personal tastes in deciding whether you want a home that’s a newly constructed, an older home or a home that requires some work—a ‘fixer-upper.’
-One-bedroom condos are more difficult to resell than two-bedroom condos.
-Two-bedroom/one-bath single houses generally have less appeal than houses with three or more bedrooms, and therefore less appreciation potential.
-Homes with ‘curb appeal,’ (a well-maintained, attractive and charming view-from-the-street appearance) are the easiest to resell.
-When resale is a possibility, don't buy the most expensive house on the street, or anything that is unusual or unique. The best investment potential is traditionally found in a less expensive, more moderately sized home on the street.
Home comparison chart
While house-hunting, it's a good idea to make notes about what you see because viewing several houses at a time can be confusing. Create a comparison chart before you begin looking at homes so you can keep track of your search, organize your thoughts and record your impressions.
When you’ve found the right home
Before you begin the home buying process, resolve to act promptly when you find the right house. Every Realtor has stories to tell about a couple who looked far and wide for their dream home, finally found it, and then revealed that "we always promised my Dad we'd sleep on it, so we'll make an offer tomorrow." Many times the story has a sad ending—someone else came in that evening with an offer that was accepted.
Resolve at this point that you will act decisively when you find the house that’s clearly right for you. This is particularly important after a long search or if the house is newly listed and/or under-priced.
Source: RIS Media
1. Use less water
Saving water is all about small steps. Here are a few simple ways that will help you conserve water while saving money.
-Shut off the water while you brush your teeth
-Take showers that are a minute or two shorter
-Only run full loads of laundry and dishes
-Buy from sustainable producers. These are farmers, ranchers and other producers that use techniques that pollute less and use less water. You can do some research online or ask at your local organic market to find these products.
2. Use less energy
If you don’t have the money to buy a hybrid car or convert your house to solar power, you can make a big difference with the following small changes.
-Buy energy efficient appliances. They may be more expensive, but make up for the increased cost in lower energy bills.
-Unplug chargers when you’re not using them. Cell phone and other chargers use up power even if there’s nothing attached to them.
-Put devices with remotes, like TVs, VCRs and stereos on a power strip and turn the power strip off when you’re not using the devices. These gadgets use a lot of power to run the remote receiver even when the device is off.
-Walk or ride your bicycle for short trips
.-Buy local products. It takes energy to transport food and other products across the country. Buying local not only supports your local economy, it helps them use less energy.
-When it comes to saving energy and water, it’s a great idea to get the kids involved—you can even make it a game. Have them track how much water and electricity everyone is using and compete to see who uses the least.
Most of us know the three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle, but when we work on conserving, we often leave reuse out of the picture. While you can often find tips on how to reuse common products from other people, what you need most is creativity. With a little thought, there are many items around your home that can be reused—toilet paper holders can be used to sow seeds for the vegetable patch, old yogurt containers can be cut into strips to make plant labels and old food jars can be refilled with homemade foods or can make great impromptu vases.
4. Use environmentally friendly products
When you go to the grocery store, you probably see more and more ‘natural’ or ‘eco friendly’ products every time. There are generally two big problems with these products: Just because they’re more natural than regular products, doesn’t mean they’re entirely natural and they’re often expensive.If you want inexpensive, natural, safe products, why not just make them yourself? Vinegar is a great way to clean and disinfect glass and other surfaces. Need to remove stubborn stains? Just add some baking soda to your vinegar cleaner. Some quick searching online will lead you to hundreds of other natural safe home-made cleaning products.
Below are tips for buying, maintaining, and protecting your largest asset.Home insurance - Homeowner's insurance often costs quite a bit more than renter's insurance, because it covers the home, in addition to your personal property. Depending upon where you live, you may also need to purchase supplemental insurance for hurricanes, floors, tornados, earthquakes, and other natural disasters that are not covered under your standard policy.
Maintenance and repairs - Owning a home means that you are responsible for the upkeep. These costs can add up quickly, especially in an older home with older systems and appliances. Expect to spend some money on routine maintenance every year. Keeping an emergency fund for unanticipated repairs is also a smart idea. Keeping up with routine maintenance will help your home maintain its value.
Utilities - Prepare to spend some additional money on utilities, including water, garbage collection, heat, and electricity. With more space, it's likely that even the bills you paid when you rented will be higher in your new home.
Homeowners' association fees - Find out if you will have to pay homeowners' association fees. Many communities have a homeowners' association, commonly called an HOA. An HOA is typically tasked with maintaining common areas and enforcing deed restrictions. Membership in a community HOA is often mandatory and members are charged a monthly or annual fee.
Home furnishings - You'll probably need, or at least want, to purchase furniture and decor items for your new home. Most people, when purchasing a new home, decide to paint, upgrade the decor, purchase new furniture, and buy new linens.When purchasing a new home, factor in these items to your total budget to make sure that you are completely financially prepared for homeownership.By doing this, you'll rest assured knowing that you are purchasing a home that you can comfortably afford.
Eugene Makeev, a home improvement expert offers the following tips for homeowners who are looking to spruce their homes up this summer.
Patios and Decks
What better way to enjoy the warm days than by creating an outdoor living space for the family to enjoy. Decks and patios are among the most popular summer remodeling ideas. There are various factors to take into consideration when deciding whether a patio or deck is the most appropriate project to undertake. Such factors include soil condition and consistency, site terrain, use, capacity, privacy as well as the cost and maintenance you are willing to put up with.
Throughout the seasons, your home has taken good care of you and your family and now is the best time to give back. Go through your property to evaluate and create a checklist on areas that need mending or replacement. This list is a crucial preparation before calling a contractor or handyman for maintenance and repair services. Some common maintenance and repair include:
-Waterproof the basement
-Re-caulk and replace weatherstrip
-Clean and seal wooden decks
-Trim bushes and trees
-Re-align downspouts and gutters
-Clean the pool
-Mend the fence
-Seal cracks along driveways, foundation, walkways, etc.
-Maintenance of HVAC systems
Energy Efficient Renovation
When it comes to summer remodeling, there's no better way to invest your hard-earned dollars than by making your home energy efficient. An energy efficient summer remodel is truly a worthwhile endeavor as it will result in years of savings on your energy bills. Some of the common items you can buy and integrate into your energy efficient renovation include:
-Insulation systems and materials
-Roofs that resist heat gain
-Biomass burning stoves
-HVAC systems with the highest efficiency tier
-Geothermal heat pumps
-Wind energy systems
Source: Paige Tepping
What A REALTOR Can Offer You
8 Reasons Why You Should Work With a REALTOR®
Not all real estate practitioners are REALTORS®. The term REALTOR® is a registered trademark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics. Here’s why it pays to work with a REALTOR®.
1. Navigate a complicated process. Buying or selling a home usually requires disclosure forms, inspection reports, mortgage documents, insurance policies, deeds, and multipage settlement statements. A knowledgeable expert will help you prepare the best deal, and avoid delays or costly mistakes.
2. Information and opinions. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They’ll also be able to provide objective information about each property. A professional will be able to help you answer these two important questions: Will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?
3. Help finding the best property out there. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your REALTOR® to find all available properties.
4. Negotiating skills. There are many negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession, and inclusion or exclusion of repairs, furnishings, or equipment. In addition, the purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.
5. Property marketing power. Real estate doesn’t sell due to advertising alone. In fact, a large share of real estate sales comes as the result of a practitioner’s contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, and family. When a property is marketed with the help of a REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.
6. Someone who speaks the language. If you don’t know a CMA from a PUD, you can understand why it’s important to work with a professional who is immersed in the industry and knows the real estate language.
7. Experience. Most people buy and sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase. Even if you have done it before, laws and regulations change. REALTORS®, on the other hand, handle hundreds of real estate transactions over the course of their career. Having an expert on your side is critical.
8. Objective voice. A home often symbolizes family, rest, and security — it’s not just four walls and a roof. Because of this, homebuying and selling can be an emotional undertaking. And for most people, a home is the biggest purchase they’ll every make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on both the emotional and financial issues most important to you.
5 Things to do Before Putting Your Home on the Market
1. Have a pre-sale home inspection. Be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale home inspection. An inspector will be able to give you a good indication of the trouble areas that will stand out to potential buyers, and you’ll be able to make repairs before open houses begin.
2. Organize and clean. Pare down clutter and pack up your least-used items, such as large blenders and other kitchen tools, out-of-season clothes, toys, and exercise equipment. Store items off-site or in boxes neatly arranged in the garage or basement. Clean the windows, carpets, walls, lighting fixtures, and baseboards to make the house shine.