Colorado Springs Real Estate and Community News

April 19, 2019

5 Cheap Ways to Stage Your Home Like the Pros

Staging a home is relatively new in the past 20 to 30 years but more and more people are doing it and agents are almost requiring it in order to get the max profit from the sale of a home. While you can hire professional home stagers that cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars, there are some tips and tricks that they use that you can implement and save yourself a ton of money. If you're planning on selling your Colorado Springs home in the next few months, take a look at these five cheap ways to stage your home like a professional.

#1. Remove all personal items.5 Cheap Ways to Stage Your Home Like the Pros

As your agent, I'm going to say this anyway, but, nine times out of 10, many homeowners don't do it. Remember, you're trying to sell the house, not your personal collections, belongings, or photographs. Buyers don't care about that cute little family photo you took in the pumpkin patch last year. They need to see the house and anything that distracts them will only distract them from making an offer as well. Put away any religious items, personal photos, sports memorabilia, and collections. You want buyers to see themselves in the home, not you.

#2. Declutter.

Again, this is something that every real estate agent will tell you to do but it is extremely important, potentially one of the most important steps. If you've been watching Marie Kondo and how to organize your life, she says to get rid of everything that does not bring you joy. Now, I understand that a hammer may not bring you joy, but it is a necessity, however, do you need 12 of them? Remove everything out of closets, drawers, cupboards, pantries, and any other storage in the house and pack it up lovingly and put just a couple of things back so each storage area in the house looks clean and clutter free. Remove everything off of counters, desks, and dressers and put 1 to 3 things back, no more.

#3. Make sure every room has a purpose.

Have you turned your dining room into the makeshift playroom because you just don't use the dining room? It's time to turn that room back into what it was meant to be. Every room needs a purpose so stage the dining room with a lovely table and chairs and set the table. This works particularly good if you never use it. It stays beautifully set until you sell. Bathrooms should be arranged as if they are a spa-like oasis with baskets of toiletries and rolled up linens. A larger bedroom can have a sitting area in the corner complete with a lamp, table, book, and eyeglasses. Outdoor kitchen areas can set the stage for an evening of entertainment with a bottle of wine, a couple of glasses, and maybe a bowl of fruit, ready for that backyard barbecue.

Read More: Things NOT to Have Out During an Open House

#4. Clean and deodorize.

Many homeowners simply clean and miss the deodorizing part. Of course, you need to have a clean house in order to get the most profit from the sale, but have you become nose blind to the odors in your house? Do you have pets? Have you smoked in the house? Has there been a water leak in there still a mildew/musty smell? If you are unsure about your home's odors, have a trusted friend give the sniff test and then eliminate those odors before showing the house. If you have pets, remove all evidence of the pets including the pet during a showing.

#5. Don't forget about curb appeal.

Most featured images from a property listing will show the outside of the house or the view from the house so it needs to be amazing. That first impression is what will draw buyers to look further. Curb appeal is just as important as the inside of the house so make sure the lawn is carefully mowed, sidewalks and walkways are trimmed and edged, there's no debris or leaves on the sidewalk, the driveway is pressure washed, consider painting the trim or the front door, and verify that the front porch is clear for buyers and their agents as they wait to enter the house.

Related: 5 Ways to Make Your Neighbors Jealous of Your Backyard

These are probably the most common ways that stagers set up a listed home. By going down the list and making note of everything that needs to be changed, corrected, and designed, you can inexpensively stage your home just like a pro.

Every home is different so if you have a unique layout that you are stuck on how to stage, give me a call. I have sold hundreds of homes in the Colorado Springs area and would love to give some tips and advice on what Colorado Springs buyers are looking for.

 

Schedule a Consultation With Me Today

Posted in Selling Your Home
April 16, 2019

Colorado Springs is the #3 Best Place to Live in the U.S.

But, you don't have to take my word for it, according to US News & World Report, Colorado Springs has been named as the #3 Best Pl. to live in the country.Colorado Springs is the #3 Best Place to Live in the U.S.

US News & World Report measures affordability, the local job market, and quality of life to determine some of the best places to live in the country. This global authority in ranking and consumer advice has just recently unveiled its 2019 best places to live in the country. It evaluates the country's 125 most populous metro areas and for the third year in a row, Austin Texas takes the number 1 spot. Number two is followed by Denver, and our own Colorado Springs takes the #3 spot, followed by Fayetteville Arkansas, and Des Moines's Iowa.

The majority of the 25 best places to live are located in the middle of the country even though the tech boom on the Pacific Northwest, San Francisco, and Seattle market do make the top 10 and number 7, 8, and 9 respectively. Washington DC has dropped to number 19 after being 8 last year due to a decrease in housing affordability and net migration. The only city in the Northwest to crack the top 20 was Portland Maine coming ahead of Boston which was number 27. New York City ranks number 90 on the list.

Northeastern cities are the epicenter of higher education and economic development, however, they are not growing nearly as much is like places in Florida, California, and of course, Texas. Plus, northeastern cities are expensive to live in with a higher cost of living is low affordability. Some of the top ranking places have steady job growth, affordability, and high quality of life.

US News & World Report determines the ranking using a public survey of thousands of individuals throughout the country. They determine what qualities people consider important in a home town, at least towns larger than 125,000 people. They also look at rankings of best high schools, best hospitals, low cost of living, retirement usage, job growth, and the housing market.

So, congratulations Colorado Springs, you came in #3!

Want to find out why everyone is moving here? Start your online search here for free or simply give me a call and be connected to an award-winning Colorado Springs agent today!

 

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Posted in Community News
March 26, 2019

Things That Homeowners Waste Money On

OK, we've said it time and again, but it bears repeating: Buying a home is a very big expense—and once you've kicked off all that spending, it's easy to find yourself caught up in rampant lifestyle inflation. After all, you've got an enormous, shiny new house just waiting to be filled with all sorts of nice stuff, right?

Well, take some quick advice: Don't keep spending.

Homeownership comes with its fair share of unique costs—property taxes and urgent repairs and energy bills, oh my. There's no need to add to their cost by shelling out for unnecessary expenses. Here are six major cash outlays that buyers can avoid.

Too much house

This one requires some thought before you actually nail the deal: How much house do you really need? Just because you're pre-approved for a hefty purchase price doesn't mean you should go as big as you can.

"The house that you can afford with the money you're lent can make the budget go out of whack," says Andrew Gipner, a financial adviser at Longview Financial Advisors in Huntsville, AL.

Not sure where to trim? Consider having less closet space, buying fewer bedrooms, or—especially—eliminating a formal dining room.

"You don’t use the dining room nearly as often as you think," says Noelle Hans-Daniels, a Sotheby's Realtor® in Indianapolis. "It's kind of a wasted space."

Fixing up your outdoor space ASAP

Once you close on your home and move in, you might be itching to host your first late-season barbecue. Or maybe you've been dreaming about a koi pond, like, forever. But hold on: Updating your outdoor space shouldn't be your first priority, especially if you're tight on cash. Unlike couches and beds, which are essential to a functioning house, landscaping and decor can be put on pause.

That goes double if you're building new: According to Hans-Daniels, building your backyard at the same time as your home can cost "a lot more than if you did it after the fact."

So exercise some caution before committing: Try pricing out your plans with a landscape contractor, and consider rolling them out in phases.

Old, outdated insurance

Still using the same company that offered you renters insurance seven years ago? It might be time for a change. Shop around.

"You may stay with the same company, but you may find something that's a little better price for the same thing," Gipner says. "Sometimes, people may not want to shop around or may be married to a particular company."

Just because the same company had a good deal on auto or renters insurance doesn't mean it’s the best fit to protect your home. Go through all your options with a fine-toothed comb, looking for a deal that won't crush you financially but also leaves your house and its belongings secure.

After all, now it's not just your stuff—it's your roof, yard, and foundation you have to protect, too.

Space-filling stuff

If you're moving from an apartment, chances are good you're astounded by how much space you have. There's another bedroom and a dining room and ... yet another bedroom!

Don't feel like you have to fill it all at once. Give yourself—and your home—time for personality to emerge.

"A lot of people will go out and say, 'Oh my gosh, I've got to fill this space and buy stuff,’" Gipner says. "I'm not against possessions, but the way some people do it can be seriously detrimental to their finances."

Instead of immediately stuffing the TV room with a generic, new couch and coffee table, wait it out. See what you really need and what you really like. In the meantime, stick the money you save into a renovation fund.

Extended warranties

Many homes don't come with appliances installed, so first-time homeowners might find themselves making large purchases (like a dishwasher or refrigerator).

Here's a tip: You don't need the extended home warranty.

"I'm against them," Gipner says. "What are the chances everything you own is going to break or not work anymore?"

Yes, something might break within the relatively slim service window—but the money you'll spend fixing one thing will be far less than the extended warranties on all the things. Your average warranty costs about $123 for major appliances, according to Consumer Reports, and a single repair costs not much more (and might not even be covered). Just risk it—you'll come out ahead in the long run.

Yard maintenance

Having your own yard is definitely exciting, and while it's important to keep it healthy and watered, you don't need to go overboard. Resist the pressure to hire additional help for your yard—even if you've lucked into an HOA that covers it.

"You can still be part of an HOA and cut your own grass," Gipner says. "You don't have to pay someone an exorbitant amount of money to come out and cut your grass."

Don't be tempted by the sales pitches you'll inevitably receive after your purchase goes through. A gorgeous lawn is achievable—and it can be done all on your own. Really.

Posted in Buying a Home
March 14, 2019

What Size of Storage Should I Get?

If you need a storage unit, there are many questions you should ask before you pick one. For example: What size unit do you need? How much does a storage unit cost?

Choosing a storage unit may seem daunting at first, but if you've reached that point where you've run out of space in your home for all of your belongings, it's time to dive in. Here are some questions to ask to ensure you find the right storage unit for you.

What size storage unit do I need?

Before you begin your search for the right unit, make a list of all the items you'll be storing. This way you can save time by focusing only on storage facilities that meet your needs in terms of size.

Storage units generally range in size from 5-by-5 to 10-by-25 feet, and some may be even larger. Wondering which size is best for you? Picture these:

  • A 5-by-5 unit is the size of a small closet and could hold several small- to medium-size boxes, a dresser, or a single bed.
  • A 5-by-10 unit is comparable to a walk-in closet, which could hold larger furnishings such as a queen-size bed or couch.
  • A 10-by-10 unit could hold two bedrooms' worth of furnishings.
  • A 10-by-20 unit is equal to a standard one-car garage, and could hold the contents of a multiple-bedroom house.

Prefer not to climb over mountains of tubs and boxes to track down something stashed at the far reaches of that space? Choose a unit that allows entry on either side.

"How many times do you put something in the back of a closet only to find that you need it? The same thing happens with a storage unit," explains Willie Dvorak, owner of AAA Storage in Mellette, SD. "Ensuring you can access your goodies from both sides of the unit makes it that much easier to find what you need quickly and safely."

How much does a storage unit cost?

Unless you're filthy rich (and then you probably have a big house with ample storage), you'll want to know how much this unit will set you back each month. CostHelper.com breaks down how much you can expect to pay on average:

  • A 5-by-5 unit costs about $40 to $50 a month.
  • A 10-by-20 unit costs about $95 to $155 a month.
  • A 20-by-20 unit costs about $225 a month.

Is this storage unit easily accessible?

What good is having a storage unit if it's hard to access, both in terms of its location and its design? Dvorak outlines what to look for when selecting a facility.

"If you can't get your vehicle close enough to the unit, you'll be lugging your stuff feet—even yards—in both directions," he says. "While it may not seem like a long walk as you look at the unit, imagine carrying all of your stuff back and forth all of that way. When you're storing stuff, every step is a nuisance. And, when you are stressed, you're more prone to accidents. Turning that rental truck around just adds to the stress. Be sure you can pull up the unit and get your vehicle turned around without any trouble."

What are the storage facility's hours?

Once you've unloaded your belongings, you still want to know that you can reach them in a hurry should you have the desire.

"It's hard to predict when you'll need that hiking gear you haven't used for years, Grandma's scrapbook, or that special award you want to show off," Dvorak notes. "Don't miss out because you think of it after they've locked things up for the night (or weekend). Make sure you can access your stuff 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."

What's the payment policy?

Fred Levine, founder of Little Hard Hats, recommends reading all of the fine print of the contract to determine how long the price is guaranteed.

"They routinely get you in, then shortly thereafter, once you’ve moved all your stuff in, they sometimes raise the rates," he cautions.

"Understanding the payment policy can also help you make decisions about a storage facility," says Caitlin Hoff of consumersafety.org. "What is the late fee or policy? Some facilities will auction your storage unit if rent is not paid after a certain amount of time. Does your facility allow for online payments? If it doesn't, do you have to pay in person? Knowing the full extent of the policy can narrow down a list of facilities."

What type of security is used?

Ask how the storage unit facility is secured. Is there a guard? Video surveillance? Alarms? Is the area well-lit? Also, don't assume the facility is going to cover damages to your possessions inside the storage unit in case of an accident. Check your homeowners policy, and purchase a rider if necessary.

Is it climate-controlled?

Depending on the items you are looking to store, you might debate whether or not you want a climate-controlled storage unit. A climate-controlled unit is better for items such as appliances or antiques that might be damaged in extreme temperatures.

How are pests handled?

No one wants to find that a family of critters has turned your family heirlooms into their home.

"If you are looking at an outdoor storage unit, you want to ask about pest control," says Hoff. "Ask if they have had issues with any insects or critters, and find out how they handle these situations."

Eric Hoffer, president of Hoffer Pest Solutions, suggests doing your own detective work when you preview the facility.

"Overgrown bushes, unkempt landscaping brushing up against the side of the building, and overflowing trash cans are not only a sign that maintenance may not be a priority for a storage facility, but these can be things that attract pests like rodents and roaches close to the building," he says. "All it takes is a small crack or gap in the wall to allow pests inside."

If you're going to the trouble of storing your items for later use, you want to know they'll be in the best shape possible when you want them. Finding the right facility can make all the difference.

Posted in Real Estate News
March 1, 2019

Make Your Bathroom Look Even Better With These Tips

Be honest: When was the last time you set foot in your guest bathroom? We're guessing it was probably the last time you hosted friends or family—and that might have been quite a while ago.

It's easy to overlook this space, especially if it doesn't get much use. But to truly give your guests a warm welcome, your guest bathroom deserves to get some love, too. Plus, it's a spot where you can experiment with your decor style with less risk.

"If there is one place in your home where you can afford to make a statement and have some great personality, it’s the guest bath," says Luke Caldwell, designer on HGTV's "Boise Boys."

1. Trick the eye with mirrors and lighting

A guest bath will rarely be sprawling, but you can make your space appear larger and more inviting with a few simple design tweaks. Caldwell likes to make a little magic with mirrors—he installs full mirrorsfrom the top of the vanity to the ceiling.

Then, he flanks the mirror with eye-level wall sconces, which allow light to reflect across the space.

"It makes the room feel much larger and gives it a real timeless look," Caldwell explains.

As a bonus, since wall sconces cross-illuminate, guests will always be in their best light; overhead lighting can cause shadows that nobody wants.

Caldwell also likes floating vanities, noting they "make a space feel larger and more modern."

2. Hang soothing wallpaper

Don't your friends and family deserve to feel like staying in your home is a true getaway? Give them a spa ambiance that transports them far from their mundane lives.

But you don't need to go all in on the cucumber water and massage tables to achieve this look. Just start with the walls and paint them a tranquil shade of blue or hang a wallpaper print that's soothing, suggests Alicia Weaver of Alicia Weaver Design, in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

"Organic or horizontal lines give the feeling of waves and water," Weaver says. "I love to use shades of blue, especially pale blue, for a spalike feel."

For an extra dose of serenity, set out fluffy "guest only" towels that evoke comfort and luxury.

3. Bring in black

Looking for something a little more chic? A black bathroom will show guests your design prowess.

"I love breaking the design rule of avoiding dark colors in small spaces," notes Leslie Bowman of the Design Bar, an interior design studio in Burr Ridge, IL. "It gives such a dramatic pop."

Keep it simple by sticking with two colors, like black and white. Add a gray tile or natural wood accents, which can provide visual balance to black fixtures.

4. Warm it up

"Bathrooms that wow are stylishly accommodating to guests," says Pam Faulkner of Faulkner House Interior Redesign, in Herndon, VA.

To help get you there, she suggests taking steps to make guests more cozy and warm. Think: heated bathroom floors, towel warmers, and thermostat-controlled showers that ensure the water is always just the right temperature. These small touches can go a long way toward making your guests feel like they're at home—only better.

5. Go green

A live plant or flowers in an elegant planter can easily add a personal touch to your guest bathroom. (It also makes guests feel as if this is a space that you do visit from time to time—if only to water the plants.)

"Bring life into the space with greens," suggests Gina Gutierrez of Gina Rachelle Design, an interior design firm in San Francisco. "I always like the look of succulents, air plants, or eucalyptus hanging from the shower head for a modern look."

Even better, the moisture from the shower will help succulents grow and thrive.

 

Posted in Community News
Feb. 15, 2019

Don't Neglect These Maintenance Tasks Before You Sell Your Home

If you're a homeowner, you already know that keeping your property in tiptop shape requires dedication and patience for ongoing maintenance. But what if you've put your home on the market, or even accepted an offer? Perhaps you're thinking: Not my problem anymore.

Sorry, folks, we've got news for you: Just because you’re selling doesn't mean you're off the hook from routine maintenance tasks—and that's especially true if you’ve already vacated the house.

Sure, a well-cared-for house shows better: Small things like broken doorbells and leaky faucets make buyers wonder if your property also has bigger issues elsewhere. But more important, a little routine maintenance can help you avoid a catastrophic problem down the line that could devalue your property and derail that sale.

To prevent minor issues from escalating into full-blown, money-sucking, sale-killing problems, focus on these six important areas you can’t afford to neglect.

1. Keep up the yard and walkways

Whether you're still living at the home or not, you'll want to make sure to keep your landscaping tidy—remove dead tree limbs, rake leaves, and clean out flowerbeds.

“If your home does not have a well-maintained exterior, (potential buyers) will keep driving,” he cautions. “Plus, this kind of neglect can be a bull's-eye for vandals to break into your property.”

Consider having lights on timers so the house doesn’t look dark all the time, and arrange for driveways and walkways to be plowed weekly in the winter months. And don't let mail pile up in the mailbox.

2. Clean the gutters and check the roof

This one's easy to forget about, even when you don't plan on going anywhere. But when it comes to gutter and roof issues, neglect can cause a dangerous domino effect.

Overflowing gutters can damage your foundation, and also lead to drainage issues. And, of course, you don’t want buyers seeing puddling water as they approach your house.

"Buyers, seeing the house when it’s raining, will also see your gutters overflowing," she says. "That’s a terrible first impression.”

And then there's the roof. Of course, it'll be examined during the home inspection, but it would behoove you to do it before putting your home on the market. Small roof cracks can remain undetected for years, causing water to slowly infiltrate your home and damage ceilings and walls.

3. Service your heating systems

It’s not sexy, but the hidden guts of your home need regular attention, whether you’re still living there or not. That means having your HVAC systems professionally serviced.

First up, your furnace: If you get it addressed before you list your home, it won't smell like dust when you crank up the heat during an open house on a chilly day. While you're at it, have the duct work and filters cleaned as well. And if you have baseboard heaters, vacuum those out, too.

(Speaking of heat, Roberts suggests keeping the thermostat at 66 degrees Fahrenheit when agents are showing your house so buyers can visit your place comfortably. This will also avoid any issues with pipes freezing or bursting.)

Have a chimney? Be sure to have it inspected and cleaned as well.

“You want to make sure there are no cracked flue tiles, and that from the exterior, there are no gaps in the mortar between the bricks,” Hiscock explains. “Otherwise, you could potentially have the chimney fall over onto the house, and that’s a very expensive fix.”

4. Keep the critters out

If you don’t want to add "family of raccoons included" to your listing (and pay the hefty tab for getting them out), inspect the inside and outside of your home for any areas that need to plugged up. Take care of holes from damaged siding or fascia under the roofline—and do it promptly.

“In a colder climate, squirrels look for somewhere warm to go, and they’ll find their way into your property,” Hiscock says.

Stove and dryer vents, for example, should be covered with wire mesh to deter pests.

5. Wash your windows

Most people associate sparkling windows with spring-cleaning, Roberts says. But if your house is on the market, it doesn't matter what time of year it is—you need to get those babies squeaky clean.

“If buyers walk through your home and all they see is dirty windows, that’ll really mar the showing process," she says.

Make sure to wipe them down after a bad storm, when they're especially likely to show muck and grime buildup.

6. Check the calendar

Depending on what time of year you bring your house to market, pay attention to any details that scream, "We don’t live here or care anymore," Roberts says.

That means tackling seasonal tasks such as clearing away lawn mowers in the fall and storing shovels in the spring.

“Too often, I see a seller’s patio furniture still outside during the winter time. To me, that's not a good reflection on the property,” Hiscock says. “It shows deferred maintenance and lack of caring, and can really turn off a potential buyer.

"If a seller can’t put away their patio furniture and lawn mower, what makes you believe that they've actually maintained the property all the years they've been there?” he adds.

Staying on top of these regular tasks will make it easier to sell your home with fewer headaches. Plus, it'll preserve the value of your property, and potentially, the thickness of your wallet, too.

Posted in Selling Your Home
Jan. 14, 2019

What Do Successful Home Buyers Have in Common?

Here's a breakdown of home-buying habits to adopt now, especially if you hope to start looking once home-buying season is in full swing come spring. These behaviors are things you can do daily, weekly, monthly, or even just yearly. Taken together, they set you well on the path to homeownership with a minimum of pain and suffering.

1. Daily: Ditch an indulgence or two

Excuse us for stating the obvious—but saving for a down payment is vital to a successful house purchase. And buyers who can put down 20% don’t have to pay private mortgage insurance. Getting to that 20% down payment is a goal achieved by spending less.

Daily habits you may want to adopt now include eating out less often, cutting the cable bill, canceling (or downgrading) the gym membership, forgoing expensive coffee, and making your own lunch every day, says Patricia Vosburgh of NextHome Gulf to Bay in St. Petersburg, FL. And it's not just about skipping $4 coffee—buyers shouldn't make big purchases either.

2. Weekly: Make deposits into a 'home savings' account

"When I was young and newly married, I couldn’t afford to buy an apartment or a house," says Dolly Hertz, licensed associate real estate broker at New York's Engels & Volkers. So she opened a designated "home savings" account, and she and her husband got into the habit of depositing a set weekly amount.

3. Weekly: Start attending open houses

Getting into the habit of attending open houses will not only give you a feel for what homes are available, but seeing homes that could be yours will also help motivate you to save.

4. Monthly: Do a trial run at homeownership

Owning a home is more than just coming up with a 20% down payment. You also have to be able to pay the mortgage and home maintenance costs.

To make sure you won't max yourself out, test out the habit of saving as a homeowner. For one month, set aside the anticipated amount of your monthly housing expenses and what you'd need for an emergency fund. (A good rule of thumb is to save 10% of your mortgage amount every month for maintenance fees. So if your payment is $1,200, sock away $120.) Then see if you can live within your new budget.

5. Monthly: Pay all bills on time

To qualify for a mortgage at a reasonable interest rate, you'll need a credit score that is in the 600s at the very least. The best way to keep your score high is to be in the habit of paying every single bill on time. Timely payments are especially important for auto loans and leases, since mortgage lenders look there first when checking reliability. Lest you forget, set bills on automatic payment.

Bills includes your rent, too. Remember, when you’re going into a home purchase, you sometimes need a referral from your landlord. Whether your rent check arrived on the first or the 15th of the month matters. And don't forget about medical bills, which stay on your credit score for seven years if late or unpaid, says Hertz.

Finally, always pay down credit cards with any extra cash you have at the end of the month.

6. Yearly: Check your credit report

Do you even know what your credit score is, or even laid eyes on your credit report? If not—or if you haven't done so recently—now's the time to check.

Posted in Buying a Home
Dec. 28, 2018

What Credit Should I Have to Buy a House

First of all, we want to say congratulations. Buying a home, or even thinking about buying a home is a huge step. It’s an exciting milestone in your life and a wonderful investment.

It can be so confusing when you think about how much credit you need in order to purchase a home. Many people also wonder how much money they need to be able to put down. Both of these answers are short and long. Today, we are going to tell you exactly how much credit you should have in order to buy a home. Keep reading to learn more.

The first thing to keep in mind is that it doesn’t need to be high, the negative if it’s not high though is that your internet rate will be higher. This means it will end up costing you more money over time. Therefore, trying to have the highest credit score possible is a great goal.

If you have started thinking about purchasing a home, it’s important to also try and boost your credit score. This does not mean going out and getting credit cards, so you can pay them off. In fact, you really don’t want any new credit cards coming in when you are trying to purchase a home loan. If you are getting ready (maybe a year or two away) from your first home, this is a great time to start preparing for the credit check by making it as high as possible.

There are two factors that go together to determine how you can get in your mortgage. The first is your credit score and the second is your down payment. They work together to come up with your total.

Since your home loan will go on for so many years, they want to ensure you have past examples that you will be able to pay every single month.

The minimum you want to have is a 500-credit score with 10% down on a home. This should guarantee you a home with most loans. However, bigger the better. Having a credit score in the 600 range is a lot better to ensure your chances of getting a loan and for a better rate.

Another factor that goes into your home mortgage is your salary. Your income should be at least 3 times your payment.

That all may have been a little confusing for you. We hope we cleared it up.

In conclusion:

The more money you put down the better.

The higher your credit score is the better.

If you can make up for one of those you have a better chance of getting approved and having a lower interest rate.

Keep working hard at increasing your credit by paying off your credit card monthly and not using it on purchases too large.

For more tips on purchasing your first home, contact us today!

Posted in Buying a Home
Dec. 14, 2018

Keep Your Dog in Mind While Purchasing Your Home

Your furry friend is like a family member to you. They probably feel (and sometimes act) like one of the kids. Are we right? If you answered yes, you probably want to incorporate their needs into your housing purchase.

Although you are not purchasing a house specifically for them, it’s important to have a pet-friendly home so they can live in peace

Keep reading to learn how you can keep your dog in mind while purchasing your home.

Some areas have HOA rules and regulations. If you are looking into communities with these laws, make sure there are not rules for dogs. Some even say you cannot have them. Some of the rules are not strict, but it is still important to keep any restrictions in mind.

If you have a larger dog a backyard is always a nice addition to the house. It’s important to have a well secured fence if you have a backyard though. The first step is to ensure the HOA does not have any rules against this. If there already is a fence, that’s a great positive! Fences are not impossible to build, so it’s something you can always add in the future. However, you can’t add a backyard if you don’t have the room on your property. If you have a larger dog, this is a great addition to keep in mind.

If you don’t mind your pets roaming the neighborhood, this is something to keep in mind too. Some houses are way too close to large streets to be safe for dogs. Some neighborhoods also don’t like this. If you like the idea of your dog being able to roam around free, make sure you check out the neighborhood multiple times before purchasing. Try and find another dog family and ask them questions too.

Some floors are terrible for dogs, they scratch instantly. If you plan on putting in new floors, try a distressed wood which will easily hide scratches. Also, luxury vinyl and laminate are great options. Carpet is never the best option, especially if it is lighter colors. Dogs bring in dirt and mud, it’s just natural for them to bring it in. That may mean a lot more vacuuming for you. Try and stay away from a lot of carpet, and if you do don’t get a pure white option.

If your dog is getting older stairs may not be the best option for them. If you want a two-story home and do have a dog, make sure the first floor is equipped with everything they will need. If not now, you never know what will happen in the future. Picking them up every time they need to go outside can end up being a lot of work.

Posted in Buying a Home
Nov. 21, 2018

Things not to Have Out During a Home Showing

When selling your home, one of the most important steps is showing your home to potential buyers. If you make mistakes during this crucial step, you can drive away buyers, and cost yourself offers on your home. This is why staging your home is so important, and why you should make sure to not have these things out in view during a home showing.

 

Items that showcase your political views

You want to make sure your home is appealing to as many buyers as possible, and if you lay your political views on the line, you may instantly be driving away half of your potential offers. Make sure to put away any political pictures, flags, or other items you may have out in your home.

 

Weapons or taxidermy

For avid hunters, this one may be difficult, but it is very important to put away any weapons or taxidermy displays that you may have showcased in your home. Hunting displays such as deer mounted on the walls may give off a sense of dread to some potential buyers, and weapons may take the focus off of your home’s great features, and just make buyers remember your house as the one with the swords or guns.

 

Jewelry and other valuables

Make sure to lock up or store any valuable items before showing your home to potential buyers. You will have strangers in your home walking around, and you do not want anything to go missing.

 

Adult items

Make sure to put away any R rated material before you show your home, because many potential buyers may be with their families. The last thing you want during a showing is to make your guests uncomfortable with adult art pieces, or sexual objects.

 

Lots of family photos

While your family photos add sentimental value to your home for yourself, it will not for your potential buyers. You want to make sure that buyers are able to picture themselves living in your home, and they will not be able to do that with dozens of your family’s photos hanging on the walls.

 

Moving boxes

You may be packing up the home as you are selling it, but make sure to keep your moving boxes put away during showings. Moving boxes will make your home seem cluttered, and will not give off the most livable impression of your home.

 

Home showings are an extremely important part of the home selling process, so make sure not to damage your home’s appeal by leaving these objects out. If you think ahead, and stage your home properly, you will have a great home showing, and improve your chances of receiving a fantastic offer.

 

If you would like to learn more about how to properly sell your home, contact us today!

 

Posted in Selling Your Home