Paula Glazebrook's Blog
Many people view purchasing property as a long-term goal, some see it as a rite of passage. Either way, buying a home for the first time can be an incredibly stressful experience. Those who are going through this process for the first time might be worried about making mistakes that may leave them with the wrong house or a high-interest rate. There are a few common mistakes that first-time homebuyers make that everyone should know.
Not Applying for a Mortgage First
You may want to get out there and find the home of your dreams right away but it is important to apply for a mortgage first. First, it shows any potential seller that the person they are working with is serious about buying a home. This is key because it will convince the seller to negotiate in good faith. Furthermore, when you apply for a mortgage, the lender will provide a maximum loan amount. This gives the borrower a budget with which to work.
Talking to Only One Lender
Be sure to speak with more than one mortgage lender. One lender might offer a certain interest rate to the borrower, another lender might be willing to offer a lower interest rate on the same loan. Other lenders might be willing to wave origination fees or points. Having multiple offers increases your leverage during the negotiation process.
Buying a Home that is Too Big
Be sure to focus on more than just the price tag. While this is a key expense, it is not the only one. Potential homeowners should also consider home insurance, real estate taxes and home maintenance costs. These additional costs may result in the purchase of a home that is too large for their budget. Be sure to take every cost into account when looking for a home to avoid financial stress.
If you are looking to buy a home, consult with a real estate professional to help you secure the right deal on the home of your dreams.
Buying a second home is an exceptional opportunity. You can expand your real estate portfolio, creating an investment strategy for building wealth over the long term. It’s also nice to have a home, one you can use on the weekends to get away. Whether you want to buy a home on the beach, on a lake in a densely wooded area or a home across the country, your first step is securing financing.
Know the Costs of Buying a Second Home
Purchasing a second home does mean more responsibility. It may mean a second mortgage, insurance costs and property maintenance. You’ll be paying utilities, upkeep and taxes on a multiple properties. Using this information, calculate how much you want to spend each month in these areas. Then, you can start looking for the home that fits.
Work to Build Your Down Payment
Buying a second home affordably is easier to do when you can apply a sizable down payment. Most often, home buyers need between 3 and 20 percent of the purchase price available as a down payment. The more you have, the less you finance or the larger of a home you can safely purchase.
With second homes, you may have additional avenues for securing that down payment. This includes savings, of course, but it may also include borrowing against the equity in an existing home to use as a down payment.
Choosing a Loan Program for Your Needs
One of the challenges of buying a second home is proving to lenders you can afford the mortgage payment and other costs. There are loan programs available to help you, but the options are somewhat limited in terms of federally sponsored programs. You may have used a VA or FHA loan, for example, to purchase your first home. These are generally just for the primary residence, not second homes.
However, there are other loans available to you. Conventional loans, which are still some of the most commonly sought-after loans available, are available to most people. Lenders will look at things such as:
Like any other home loan, it will be backed by the value of the home you purchase. In that way, the home must be worth at least as much as you plan to borrow.
Debt-to-income ratios tend to be a big factor for most lenders. Fannie Mae-based loans often require a ratio that is up to 45 percent if you have at least 25 percent down and a moderate credit score. That means your monthly payments need to be under 45 percent of your gross income.
It’s also important to consider how you plan to use the property. Lenders need to know if the home will be vacant (getting insurance for it can be difficult). They also want to know if you plan to produce a second income from it. If so, you need to ensure your loan covers this type of use.
The good news is that most conventional lenders off second home loans. Find the dream home you’ve been looking for, and then work with a lender to secure the purchase.
Deciding to put up a fence on your property may seem like a simple decision, but there are a lot of things to consider before hiring a contractor to get it done.
One question to ponder is whether your neighbors might be offended or annoyed by the sudden appearance of a fence near the edge of their property. The answer to that question would partly depend on your relationship with your neighbor, the size of your lot, and whether the fence is tasteful or an eyesore. The problem with that standard is that "tasteful" is in the eyes of the beholder!
Tall fences can and sometimes do have a way of changing the look and feel of your immediate neighborhood, so the installation of a fence could potentially cause resentment from other property owners. The decision to put up a fence on your property is a personal one, but there's also a lot of value in maintaining friendly neighbor relations. (It can be a delicate balance!)
One Step at a Time
In some places, local ordinances or Homeowner Association rules may impose restrictions on fences and other structures. Many towns and municipalities require that you (or your contractor) obtain a building permit before putting up a fence, so a quick phone call or email to the appropriate local official can shed light on requirements, restrictions, and other assorted rigmarole!
Since the cost of installing a fence can easily run into the thousands, it always pays to get a few estimates and proposals from reputable fence companies. Other decisions include choosing the best height and composition of the fence. Fencing materials range from metal and chain link to vinyl and wood. Composite fencing materials are also an option.
Your choice will depend on a lot of factors, including cost, durability, maintenance aspects, and appearance. Online information, free brochures, and meetings with contractors can help you learn more and make an informed decision.
Once you've moved beyond the potential issues of installing a fence on your property, there are several distinct advantages to fencing in your back yard.
- Enhanced privacy: While "privacy" can mean different things to different people, a tall fence offers an immediate solution to a variety of privacy-related problems.
- Pet containment: If you don't always have the time or energy to take your dog(s) for a walk in the neighborhood, it's a major convenience to be able to let them out in a contained area to relieve themselves and get a little fresh air. It can also be a good way to keep them safe and out of trouble!
- Wildlife barrier: Although there are often gaps at the bottom of fences that prevent fences from being completely wildlife-proof, a properly installed fence can drastically reduce the chances of wildlife sneaking their way into your back yard. Whether you want to protect your vegetable garden or pets from wild animals, a solid fence can be the barrier that you need.
- Increased security: While fences are not always an impervious barrier to burglars, trespassers, and other intruders, it does provide some protection from those potential threats.
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An open house represents a valuable opportunity for a home seller. If a seller plans ahead for an open house, he or she may boost the likelihood of hosting an unforgettable event that showcases the full beauty of a residence. As a result, this seller may receive multiple offers on his or her home as soon as the open house reaches its conclusion.
Believe it or not, preparing for an open house can be easy. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help a home seller get ready for an open house.
1. Perform Extensive Cleaning
A neat, tidy home is ideal, particularly for a home seller who wants to enjoy a fast, profitable home selling experience. Thus, if you allocate the necessary time and resources to clean your residence now, you may be better equipped than ever before to host a successful open house.
To clean your home's interior, you'll want to take a room-by-room approach. Wipe down each room's walls, mop or vacuum the floors and remove any debris.
Moreover, you should spend some time mowing the front lawn, trimming the hedges and performing assorted home exterior maintenance. And if you need extra help along the way, don't hesitate to reach out to a professional landscaping company, either.
2. Declutter As Much As Possible
Clutter can make it tough for a homebuyer to envision what life may be like if he or she buys your residence. Therefore, you'll want to remove as much clutter as possible prior to an open house.
Oftentimes, it helps to rent a storage unit where you can store assorted clutter until you finalize a home sale. A storage unit generally provides a safe and affordable option for home sellers who want to safeguard various belongings over the course of several weeks or months.
On the other hand, it may be beneficial to sell excess items online or host a yard sale. Because if you can sell items that you no longer need, you can declutter your home and earn extra cash at the same time.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
Hosting an open house may prove to be challenging, particularly for those who are trying to work alone. Fortunately, real estate agents are available who can help you take the guesswork out of getting ready for any open house, at any time.
A real estate agent is happy to provide comprehensive support at each stage of the home selling journey. As such, he or she will help you enhance your home and ensure it is open house-ready.
Usually, a real estate agent will offer personalized recommendations to help you prep your residence for an open house. This housing market professional also will promote your open house in the weeks and days leading up to the event. And when the open house ends, a real estate agent can provide honest, unbiased event feedback as well.
Host a successful open house – use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble achieving the best-possible results during an open house.