Why You Should Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval

Mortgage Pre-ApprovalBuying a home can be a complicated process, but there are things you can do to ease some of the stress. Preparation for purchase should begin well before you ever look at a potential property. Important things to consider when purchasing a new home include crime rates, school district reputations, commute times to work or school, availability of public transportation, HOA fees, and, of course, how much you can afford. Obtaining a mortgage pre-approval is the best way to estimate how much you can finance for a new home.

Know Your Purchase Power

Determining your budget can be difficult if you plan to finance a purchase. Without knowing the exact term and interest rate you’ll be paying, you can’t accurately calculate the total purchase price you can afford. A mortgage pre-approval letter will tell you what a lender estimates they can finance based on your background and credit history. You’ll need to provide the lender with some detailed information about yourself to obtain the pre-approval, including your income figures, credit report and score, and employment history. You won’t have to worry about falling in love with a home you cannot afford as long as you stick to the pre-approval letter’s limit. Read more

Selling Your Home in a Seller’s Market

Selling Your HomeToday’s real estate market is on fire — if you are a seller, that is. The current supply of available homes is down by around a third since last year! Homes are also selling in record-setting times, sometimes within just hours of hitting the market. Many people are currently going all out to purchase any home that pops onto the market, and sellers are receiving multiple offers (in some cases, 50 or more!) well over their asking price.

This many offers to consider can leave a seller feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Accepting the highest offer is not always the best choice, but it can be difficult to know which factors are the most important when deciding between multiple offers.

If you want to sell your home in today’s red-hot seller’s market, follow these tips to maximize your profits while minimizing your stress: Read more

How to Market Your Home for Sale

Market Your Home for SaleAlmost three-quarters of Americans say their home is their biggest asset. When it comes time to sell, you want the highest price possible with minimal investment. More and more people choose to market their homes themselves, skipping some of the selling costs that eat into sellers’ profit. Knowing how to market your home effectively is the difference between selling quickly or having your property sit on the market for months. Follow these guidelines to get your home sold so you can move on with the next chapter in your life:

  • Conduct a Comparative Analysis

The absolute first thing you’ll want to do is a comparative analysis of nearby properties like yours that are currently for sale or recently sold. Use online tools like those available at www.realtor.com and www.zillow.com to see similar homes in your area. Focus on homes closest to your property, as property values, even from one neighborhood to another, can vary widely. When comparing properties, look for similar: Read more

Proven Ways to Increase Home Value

Increase Home ValueIf you’re like most Americans, your home is probably your most valuable investment. When it’s time to sell your home, there’s probably one thing on your mind, and that is getting the highest price possible. You can’t control all of the factors that determine your home’s value, but making repairs and renovations is a popular way to get your home sold quicker and for a higher price. There are many tried-and-true ways to increase your home’s value before listing it on the market, including:

  • Increasing the square footage

Much of a home’s value is based on liveable square footage. Adding a bedroom, family room, or bathroom is an almost guaranteed way to increase the home’s value. The addition needs to be built well and within local ordinances. It should also go with the overall aesthetic of the house. Read more

First-Time Homebuyer Programs in Florida

First-Time HomebuyerThere aren’t many things in life as exciting as closing on your very first home! While you’ll certainly be excited and feel accomplished as a new home buyer, the process can also be intimidating and hard to navigate, not to mention expensive. Luckily, in the state of Florida, there are several ways first-time homebuyers can reduce the monthly payments, down payment, and closing costs on their mortgages, making homeownership easier than ever!

Florida hosts several programs that offer 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages for first-time homebuyers, collectively known as the Homebuyers Loan Programs. With one application to Florida’s state housing authority, Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC), you can be considered for all available loan types within this program. These loans are backed by various federal agencies, including the FHA, VA, USDA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. There are a few requirements to receive one of these loans: Read more

What You Should Consider Before Refinancing Your Mortgage

Refinancing Your MortgageThinking about refinancing your home? Refinancing is essentially taking out a brand new (often higher) mortgage for your home, paying off your existing mortgage, and keeping what’s leftover, if anything, in cash. Some people refinance to lower their payment, usually by extending their mortgage term for more years, while others may refinance with a higher payment and shorter term so they can pay the mortgage off faster. Some refinance to a higher mortgage than they currently owe, up to the value of the property, to make a large purchase or invest into retirement savings. No matter what you want to refinance for, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. Many factors will affect your refinance, but here are some top things to consider before signing that refinance paperwork: Read more

A Complete Guide to If and When You Can Back Away From Buying a House

Despite its excitement, the actual process of buying a home can feel rather daunting. You might get halfway through and find yourself facing changes, obstacles, or concerns that make you consider backing away from your purchase. 

That’s why it’s important to educate yourself on the home buying process before you begin. In addition to learning the ropes on how to buy a home, don’t forget to learn more about how to not buy a home. What reasons allow you to back away from a deal, and when does it become too late? Here’s what you need to know. 

The Best Time to Back Out is Before Your Offer is Accepted

You find a house you love and put in an offer, but then have a chance of heart. You can withdraw your offer and walk away without any complications. 

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What Makes a Good Real Estate Agent?

Becoming the best real estate agent possible requires more than sitting at a desk completing clerical work. You must work strategically and passionately to serve the best interests of your clients. Make sure you embrace these habits to become a trusted and popular real estate agent. 

Leverage New Technology

You don’t need to become an expert on every social media platform out there, but you will gain far more traction with your business if you purposefully harness the best technologies available. 

Most importantly, texting and email are no longer enough! You want to gain a Facebook or Instagram following, create virtual reality tours for your properties, master a brokerage CRM, and download helpful apps onto your phone. 

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Types of Home Loans: Which Option Works Best for You?

You need a home loan — more commonly known as a mortgage, but which type of loan is best for your financial situation? Make sure you understand the ins and outs of each home loan option before you launch into the search for your dream home. 

Conventional Mortgages

Conventional loans are funded by private financial lenders. They’re the most common type of mortgage because they don’t have strict regulations on income or home type, and location. However, they do require stringent credit score and debt-to-income ratio numbers.  Read more

Why Is It Important To Have a Home Inspection?

Buying a home involves more than the transfer of money; the buyer and seller must both complete and uphold certain processes that protect and respect all parties involved. 

A home inspection is one such process that is essential to ensure that the buyer is not investing in a property that will turn into a money pit. This is only possible with a thorough and reliable home inspection. 

What Exactly Is a Home Inspection?

A home inspection is completed by a professional inspection specialist to provide an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home. This includes every major system from the roof down to the foundation: the heating, central air, interior plumbing, electric, roof, attic, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, basement, and structural components.  Read more