Choosing The Right Area For Your Home

September 21st, 2016

Choosing the right area for your homeConsider these criteria before choosing the right area for your home.

There are countless things to consider before moving into a new area. Moving can be stressful, from choosing a good school area for your kids, and distance to your workplace, among other things. This will help you in choosing the right area for your home, by selecting my top four items to consider.

School Zone

If you have children, this can be one of the top things you consider before choosing the right area for your home. You want to make sure your kids are going to be in a safe environment. On my website, you can search all the schools in the area you are considering moving to with the options of different property types, and features. Before choosing a home you can choose a school, and based on that pick a house, I would be happy to help find the school that best fits your needs.

Crime Rate

It’s safe to say the crime rate is a big component when choosing the right area for your home. Here you can search the address you are interested in and this can guide you in the right area for you and your family. A home has to be somewhere where you feel safe and comfortable, so don’t diminish the importance of looking up the crime rate area in the home you are interested in. With my experience, I can help you find the safest area for your family.

Work Distance

Getting to work on time can be a hassle with traffic. Your morning commute shouldn’t be dreadful to think about. Allow me to help find choosing the right area for your home with a short distance to work. Depending on the area desired to live in, we can arrange to look at homes that are close to your job so driving to work can be stress-free.

Entertainment

Living in Florida it almost seems like entertainment is at our doorstep. With countless theme parks, shopping centers, and concert halls there is always something to do. The advantage of the Central Florida area and the in the Orange, Seminole or Osceola areas is being able to choose the right area for your home. All of these areas are close to the countless activities Central Florida offers. You won’t have to drive far to visit the places tourist travel thousands of miles for.

Choosing the right area for your home will be an easy task if you allow me to help you. I will consider your needs and desires, and we together can find the home that bests suits you and your family. My commitment as your local realtor is to provide you with the specialized real estate service you deserve.

Why You Should Have a Credit Checklist for Purchasing A Home

September 14th, 2016

Credit Checklist for Purchasing A Home

Follow this east step-by-step credit checklist for purchasing a home.

Buying a house is the most exciting and one of the biggest decisions you will ever make in your life. It seems like common sense but most adults suffer from bad credit, and by looking out for your credit scores you can ensure a step closer to buying your home. I am going to provide you with a step-by-step credit checklist questionnaire to ensure you have great credit when looking to purchase a home.

Have you paid your bills on time?

Your payment history will make or break your credit score. If the bank thinks you cannot pay your monthly bills on time they won’t think you can pay a mortgage on time. Make sure to do anything possible to pay your bills on time by putting it on your calendar or setting an alarm on your phone to remind you. You can also set up auto-draft from your bank account to ensure you pay on time.

How long have you had debt?

Mortgage lenders like to see a long credit history line. Following this credit checklist for purchasing a home and it will help you demonstrate a habit of good credit. This will also give a sign to the mortgage lender that they can trust you to  pay your mortgage on time.

How much do you owe?

If you are close to your credit limit that makes for a high credit risk. Make sure to use half of your credit limit to pay it monthly, unless you are able to pay for the bill in larger chunks. If you max-out your credit card and pay the minimum, that will make for a longer time for you to pay it off harming your credit score.

Have you applied for new credit?

It’s not wise to apply for several different credit accounts in a short time. Although mortgage lenders like to see several different types of loans like school loans, credit loans, to ensure you are a responsible enough for a mortgage, only open a credit account when necessary. Have a credit checklist for purchasing a home and save for it so when the bill comes so you can pay on time.

Your credit score can make or break your mortgage approval. Follow this credit checklist for purchasing a home to ensure your credit is A+.

House Hunting in Hot Weather: How To Make It A Breeze

September 9th, 2016

House Hunting in Hot Weather: How To Make It A BreezeIt’s no surprise that Florida heat can be overwhelming! But that shouldn’t stop you from house hunting in hot weather. Here are a few tips in order to make your experience a breeze.

Schedule viewings later in the day

Getting in the car, looking at a house, getting back in the car, and traveling to another house can become exhausting. The last thing you want to do is walk around outside at the peak of the day when the sun tends to be hotter. Check with your realtor to see if you can go house hunting in the morning or later in the evening where the sun isn’t as hot and would be comfortable.

Hydrate

Bring a water bottle you can carry as you look at the homes. The best thing is to buy a container where you can put your water in, and will keep it cool as the day goes by. When you’re house hunting in hot weather, staying hydrated is important in our day to day life, but it’s very important as you’re walking around and looking at homes. You want to make sure that you are healthy and your body is cool so you can look at the homes with proper judgement. Bring snacks if you want to so you can stay hydrated and snack on things that will give you energy.

Dress for the weather

When house hunting in hot weather, when you know it’s going to be hot don’t wear a jacket and boots. Wear shoes that will be comfortable for you like sneakers, or any shoes that give support to your feet. Wear sunglasses, so you are able to see the house in full effect, and so the sun doesn’t bother your eyes. Wearing a hat can give you shade so pick one that won’t bother you as the day goes on, I would recommend baseball caps or something that will cover your face from the sun. Loose fabrics and shorts would be your best bet to feeling cool throughout the day.

Location, Location, Location

So you don’t find yourself going back and forth from house to house, map out the houses that you would like to see, and schedule your viewings based on the houses that are closest to each other. This will make it easier for you and the realtor.

I hope this gives you some helpful tips on how to house hunting in hot weather. If you schedule views in a later time, stay hydrated, dress for the hot weather, and locate your viewings at a close proximity to each other. Your house hunting experience won’t be so bad!

Why You Should Get Pre-Qualified Before Searching For a Home

September 1st, 2016

Why You Should Get Pre-Qualified Before Searching For a HomeFew people can buy a home for cash. According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), nearly nine out of 10 buyers finance their purchase, which means that virtually all buyers, especially first-time purchasers, require a loan.

You have found the perfect home. It’s just what you have always wanted. It has a beautiful and spacious yard; a lovely office away from the noise of daily activities; and a master bedroom with a walk-in closet. Wouldn’t it be best to know that you truly can afford this home or be able to secure a mortgage immediately before you fall in love with it?

That is why getting pre-qualified for a loan should be the first step in your home-buying process. Know what you can afford and make sure you are getting the best mortgage possible. There are many programs to choose from, so you will need to learn about your options before you commit to a loan. REALTORS® also recommend getting pre-qualified for another reason: Purchase contracts often require buyers to apply for financing within a given time period, the normal time period being 5 days. By meeting with loan officers in advance and identifying mortgage programs, it won’t be necessary to quickly find a lender, check credit, and rush into a financing decision that may not be the best option.

The process of securing a home loan and receiving the money can be long and tedious. You may spend weeks or even months hunting down paperwork, filling out forms, and ordering past statements. Being pre-qualified will save time. In addition, most real estate agents request that you get pre-qualified before they spend time showing you homes. They want to know that you are ready, willing and able to write an offer if you are shown the appropriate home.

Sellers want to see a pre-qualified letter before signing a contract with you. It is the nightmare of every seller that they will tie up their home for months with an unqualified prospect. A seller wants a fast sale. Does a pre-qualifying letter guarantee you the loan? No, but if a lender or mortgage broker pre-qualifies you properly, you can be reasonably sure.

The real issue with real estate financing is not getting a loan (virtually anyone willing to pay lofty interest rates can find a mortgage). Instead, the idea is to get the loan that’s right for you — the mortgage with the lowest cost and best terms.

Do your due diligence it will be worth the wait.

6 Things To Do After Buying a Home

August 24th, 2016

6 Things To Do After Buying a HomeYou are finally buying a home, congratulations! After a long journey of house hunting you found a place you can call home.

So what next? Many people don’t know that after buying a home moving in can be just as important and a little bit crazy as well. Here are six need-to-know tips for moving in so you can be organized and have peace of mind.

Make copies of your closing documents

After you’ve bought your home, the documents you received at closing can be the most important and expensive copies you have. It’s important that you take copies of them to make sure you have multiple copies just in case one gets lost. Several important pieces of information are in those documents including the deed, the bill of sale, and transfer tax regulations among other things. Once you make a copy get a folder or binder to put all these forms in and label them so you know where they are.

Change the locks

When buying a home, many people don’t think of this but changing your locks can be very important because unless the house has just been built, you never know who has a key. You can always buy new locks at any hardware store or you call a locksmith

Inspect the home

Your home inspector should have done this before the closing but it’s good to inspect yourself. Look around your home to check for dripping faucets or running toilets because those are major signs of leakage. Check that each light works around the house, and that all appliances function properly.

Clean Up

Even if you moved into a new home, after buying a home it’s important to clean the house thoroughly. If you moved into a used house with carpet, steam clean the carpets to make sure everything from the previous homeowner is out, including stains, or past smells. Wipe down the cabinets inside out before you start placing kitchen supplies inside. Deep clean the bathrooms so it is clean for you once you take a shower in your new home. Most places may look clean when you move in but you don’t know how long the place has been empty and if any critters have walked along your cabinets and bathrooms.

Call pest control

This is something you might want to do on move-in day, just so the first night you don’t have any surprise uninvited guests in your home. Your best bet is to call pest control and get it handled immediately anything such as mice, termites, roaches, ants all need to be terminated.  

Check the water heater

To save on their utility bill, a few developers might turn off the water heater and forget to change it before closing. Locate the water heater and make sure its on and working for you.

Moving in can be so exciting but these few details can fall through the cracks. Make sure to follow up on these tips to ensure that your first day at home will be a little less stressful.

Best Time To Sell Your Home

August 15th, 2016

Best Time To Sell Your HomeDo you know the best time to sell your home?

You can sell your home whenever you need to, but I’m are going to share the times I think it’s best to put your house on the market then you can determine the best time to sell your home.

Spring

Have you heard of the term ‘spring cleaning?’ Everyone collects items they haven’t used around the house and either donates or sells them. Well, it’s the same with selling a house, spring selling! Although you can sell your home in any season, the spring season is known to be the most popular time to put your house on the market. In the spring people receive their tax checks and are able to afford down payments. The days are longer so the chance for people to look at more houses is greater. More people shop when the weather is nice out, making this season ideal for realtors, and sellers.

Autumn

Before the holiday season is upon you, listing your house during the autumn season will the best time to sell your home. Everyone is back from summer vacation, and many realtors are willing to do what it takes to sell a home before the holiday season. Autumn is known to be the second best time of the year to sell a home, after the spring season. In the fall many empty nesters want a smaller more quaint home to live in, not worried about school starting.

Winter time is considered off season for realtors, so you have a couple of months until then to sell your home. The colder the weather the less likely people want to leave their homes and search for houses.

Stay away from summer months

Hot weather can make it difficult for people to go house hunting making this season a tricky one when it comes to selling your home. Many people are on vacation and the market for homes becomes smaller, leading it to not be the best time to sell your home.The houses can take longer to sell due to the inactivity of people buying and since most people bought their homes in the spring they are moving in during the summer time. If you are a buyer and are looking for homes, this could work to your advantage because the people who bought a home in the spring are looking to quickly sell their homes in the summer.

Realistically, homes can sell at any time if they are priced right and appeal to the right buyer. However, if you are looking to sell your home, the autumn and spring are the best times do so. When you are buying or selling property in today’s real estate market, it is important to have confidence in your real estate professional. My commitment as your local realtor is to provide you with the specialized real estate service you deserve.

Problems with For Sale By Owner

August 8th, 2016

Problems with For Sale By OwnerSelling your house as ‘For Sale By Owner?’ You might be tempted to forgo hiring a realtor and sell the house yourself, after all, how hard can it be, right?

With a realtor

A good real estate agent spends a great deal of time with every transaction trying to avoid problems before they happen and solving them when they do. Finding the right buyer for a home is only one step. A good agent steers a transaction to settlement through a maze of issues arising from negotiating a strong contract, home inspections, title searches, appraisals, financing and closing.

Are you really saving money?

Without a realtor

By far, the most common reason for someone to try to sell a house as for sale by owner without a realtor is to save money by avoiding a commission fee. The problem is, buyers know the seller isn’t paying a commission, so they take that into consideration and make a lower offer. Like any other real estate transaction, the final sale price, and who pays for any commission, a home warranty, and closing costs are all negotiable. Sellers without an agent need to be savvy in order to come out on top.

With a realtor

If the buyer has an agent, you’ll have to pay their three percent commission. And the fundamental problem is, the buyer’s agent represents the best interest of the buyer, and you wouldn’t know the difference because you’re not entrenched in the business every day.

Do you really have the time?

Without a realtor

You must always be prepared to show your home. There’s a knock at the door from a potential buyer (or maybe just a nosey neighbor). Is it safe? Is it legitimate? How would you know? Does a potential seller really want to answer calls or a knock on their front door from complete strangers and invite them into their home for a look?

With a realtor

An experienced agent will meet with and pre-screen a potential buyer prior to showing homes. The agent will also ensure that buyer is preapproved for the price range in which they’re looking. Safety and privacy are also points to consider when you’re selling a house without a real estate agent. Realtors have sophisticated tracking devices when monitoring your home during a sale process. Any agent showing a home must seek permission, schedule an appointment and obtain a unique security code to access the house or gate codes if in a gated community. A Realtor can screen visitors to your home, and follow-up with clients who have toured the home.

Can you spot a scam?

Without a realtor

Are you cognizant enough in real estate to recognize if someone is taking advantage of you? Buyers feel they may be able to leverage a better price and or incentives for the home because the seller often lacks the skills and knowledge to negotiate.

With a realtor

Most buyers employ an agent to represent them and would have the agent’s experience on their side.  For Sale By Owner properties also tend to attract the seasoned investor looking for a great deal.

Will you end up hiring a Realtor anyway?

According to the National Association of Realtors, For Sale By Owner properties accounted for eight percent of home sales in 2015. Oftentimes, homeowners are unsuccessful at selling their homes and will seek out the professional services offered by a real estate agent. Sellers become discouraged after they tried themselves for months to sell their home. They were tired of entertaining strangers knocking on their door and calling at all hours of the day and night, and weary of not being able to encourage those potential buyers to prove their financial ability. Not to mention trying to navigate the necessary disclosures, contracts, and closings. Hiring a realtor with a history of proven success can offer you peace of mind that any real estate transaction will be handled with the utmost professionalism. Selling a home is a complex process with many pitfalls, which can mean either receiving less money or potential legal liability or both. Working with a good real estate agent helps you overcome these issues so you net more money and won’t worry about problems coming back to you after the sale.

You think you are qualified to be a For Sale By Owner? The following tips are a good start for FSBO home sellers:

  • Don’t skimp on house preparation. Your house will be in competition with houses listed by agents who coach their clients on how to prepare their house for showings.
  • Learn about legal requirements for disclosures in your area. If you do not disclose certain information to the buyer, they might be able attack you later in court.
  • Familiarize yourself with the paperwork and contracts required by a real estate transaction. You may have to hire a lawyer to review the contract at a cost higher than you would pay a Real Estate Agent to handle the details for you.
  • Hone your negotiating skills and be prepared to turn down some offers. Real estate agents are expert negotiators, and the buyer’s agent might try to take advantage of your inexperience.

Of course, many sellers will gladly pay a real estate agent a commission when the seller can’t garner sufficient attention to sell the house on their own. Also, the idea of a property transaction, perhaps the most important financial move of someone’s life, without a professional may be unsettling. Agents know what agreements need to be signed and which laws must be observed, saving a lot of hassle for the buyer and seller, and keeping them both out of court. A real estate agent will also act as a buffer between the buyer and seller, who might feel uncomfortable dealing with one another directly.

10 Things You Shouldn’t do Before Buying a Home

August 1st, 2016

You’ve made a decision to buy a house.  From now until you close, you want to keep your finances in order when it comes to getting your mortgage.

Even if you have good credit, there are things you can do to make lenders think twice. It’s your duty to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Here are 10 things you shouldn’t do before buying a home:

  1. Don’t change your job before applying for a home loan. Along with that, now is not the right time to become self-employed or quit your job. You want to show lenders stability, which means you’ll be less likely to default on the loan.
  2. Don’t change banks. Like your employment, you want your banking history to show stability.
  3. Don’t buy a car or truck or any other form of transportation that you have to finance. Buying one increases your debt-to-income ratio and that’s something loan officers don’t want to see.
  4. Don’t buy furniture on credit before buying your house. Like financing a car, charging big-ticket items increases your debt-to-income ratio and now is not the time.
  5. Don’t be late on your credit card payments or charge excessively. You need a track record of responsibility and show that you can manage your money.
  6. Don’t make large deposits into your bank accounts. Lenders like the money that will be your down payment to be sitting in your account for at least two months, what they call “seasoning,” so that the funds don’t just appear out of the ether.
  7. Don’t lie on your loan application. Sounds simple, right? But don’t leave out any debts or liabilities you have or fudge your income. It’s fraud.
  8. Don’t co-sign a loan for anyone. Even if you’re not the one making the payments on that loan, it increases your debt-to-income ratio.
  9. Don’t have inquiries made into your credit. Looking for new credit translates into higher risk for lenders. If your inquiries are related to your mortgage search, it usually doesn’t affect your credit score because the assumption is you are rate shopping. But opening credit accounts within a short period of time represents some risk and your credit could take a hit. It may not be a huge factor in calculating your ability to repay a loan- but why take a chance?
  10. Don’t spend your money saved for closing costs. Part of the price of financing a loan is the closing costs and you’ll likely have some responsibility for paying them. Make sure you have enough for your share of the obligation.

5 Tips to Increase the Value of Your Home

July 20th, 2016

We’ve all seen home improvement shows and wonder if we could ever do that to our home? Well, you can.

And it’s not as hard as you may think. In fact, by implementing these simple improvements it can really increase the value of your house to potential buyers. Whether you are looking to sell your house or just desiring a new look, here are 5 tips you can follow to increase the value of your home.

Tip 1: Clean Up

Taking the time to deep clean your home, and getting into every nook and cranny can really make the home feel open and brighter and will significantly help increase the value of your home. As you clean you can also inspect the house to see any damages that you may need to fix and specific things you may want to change. There are some damages that you may want a professional to fix. As you inspect, take note of the things you cannot fix and call a professional to stop by and see what the next steps are.

Tip 2: Modify your Appliances

If your appliances are white and you have a stainless steel refrigerator you should try to make them all look cohesive by either changing your white refrigerator or your stainless steel appliances. You can also try adding handles to your kitchen cabinets that are cohesive with your appliances. This simple task could really make your kitchen look more modern and make a huge difference in a buyer’s mind when looking at your home

Tip 3: Paint, Paint, Paint

Fresh paint can make a great difference to your home by creating a fresh, new feel. The more neutral the paint the brighter your home will look and the better chance you will have to sell your home. Painting your front door can also make your chances of selling your home higher. Choose a color that best fits your house color and suites your personality. This slight change can drastically help increase the value of your home. Go brighter if you would like a pop of color like red, or a more neutral color like white. Make the look of your house stand out among the rest.

Tip 4: Upgrade your bathroom

Purchasing a new faucet for your sink and bathtub can really make your bathroom look and feel more luxurious, but make sure the faucet for the sink matches the one for the bathtub.You can also buy new handles for the cabinets in the bathroom to give it an extra touch that will go a long way.

Tip 5: Renovate your Lawn

The first thing anyone sees before entering your home is your lawn. You do not want the first impression of your house to be weeds that need to be pulled out or overgrown plants blocking the entry way. Power washing your sidewalk, and driveway all the way up to your front door can really make the house look newer and clean. Adding flower pots can help increase value to your home by making the outside look more friendly and pleasing to the eye, especially for the buyers.

These simple renovations can make a huge difference by adding value and authenticity to your home. There is always going to be more you can do to your home whether you want to sell it or for your own enjoyment, but that these simple and affordable tips can increase the value of your home significantly.

To Rent or To Buy, That is The Question

July 16th, 2016

Whether someone should rent or buy is the biggest question a family asks themselves while in search for a home.

Costs can be a significant consideration because it is one of the biggest purchases someone can make. Only you and your family can decide when the right time is for you to buy a house. Let’s look at three questions to ask yourself before considering purchasing a house for sale versus renting.

How long do you plan on staying?

Before consider buying a house, this is an important question to ask. Are you planning on looking for a place to settle in and make a home for you and your family? Then some would say buying is the better option. However, when renting, you are buying time to save up money or to find a place you really enjoy.

Is your job stable?

Having a stable job is an immediate plus when looking to purchase a home. When people look to buy or rent, they can budget out their finances. By doing so they are able to see what they can spend monthly for either an apartment or house. If your job requires you to move frequently, renting may be the best option.

Would you rather spend your finances elsewhere?

Ask yourself this question? Would you rather do something else with your finances, such as go on a trip, or buy something you’ve wanted for a long time? If the answer is yes then maybe renting may be your best decision and  having a mortgage is not your best option. Consider your options and make a pros and cons list, this will help you decide if purchasing a house or renting is your best option.

Many people would love to have a home to call their own, but remember, you can make yourself a home wherever you are. It’s like the saying goes “Home is where the heart is.” These three questions will help you determine what option is most suitable for you and your family.