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By marylourea32039196, Sep 5 2016 11:00AM

Is now the best time to sell your home?

Written by Equifax Reporter on June 29, 2016 in Real Estate

For many people, selling their home is generally part of a long-term plan, but occasionally a new opportunity might arise or you may want to change lifestyles and selling sooner vs. later looks like a good idea.

Maybe your home has more space than you need or you’re thinking about changing jobs or you see an opportunity for profit and are looking for a change. Before you commit to selling, think through whether now is the best time to sell your home and avoid saying goodbye to your home on impulse.

Here are three situations where you may decide that now is the best time to sell your home, and other considerations that may tip the scale toward holding onto your home for a bit longer.

1. Rising home values in your neighborhood

In certain parts of the country, like San Francisco and New York, home values have skyrocketed in recent years. If you’re lucky enough to have purchased your home before this boom, you might find that your house worth a lot more than it was even just a few years ago.

“You’re not just buying a home, it’s also an investment,” says Jon Makolondra, a real estate agent in New York.

Maybe it’s just that your neighborhood that’s seen a sudden increase in demand or the particular architecture of your home is in vogue. If your investment has suddenly gained tremendous value, selling while popular opinion is in your favor may result in a larger profit than anticipated, which may in turn mean being able to afford a higher down-payment on a new home than you would have made selling in a more temperate market.

2. You’ve become an empty-nester

If your children have all recently gone off for careers or college, you might feel that your home is now too big for just yourself and a spouse. If you don’t need the extra room or can’t seem to find good use for it, you may save money by moving to a smaller house.

Or, perhaps you’re facing the opposite dilemma.

“Many homeowners decide to sell when their home no longer fits their lifestyle,” says Jeremy Wacksman, Chief Marketing Officer of Zillow. “This could mean that your family is growing and you need more bedrooms.”

If this is the case with you or your family, it may be time to consider selling your home so that you can move into one with the right amount of room.

3. You’re nearing retirement

For those close to retirement, selling a home can be a tricky aspect of the post-retirement budget to plan for. You might have planned to retire in your home but are now thinking the size and layout are not right. Or, maybe your plans are changing and you’d prefer to spend your retirement years somewhere warmer.

“When people retire, they’ve generally raised their family and are ready to fly south,” Makolondra says. If you can downsize to a smaller home while also moving to a cheaper real estate market, selling your home at this time may be an exceptionally good way to come up with some additional retirement cash flow.

When you should wait to sell your home

But there are also times when choosing to hold onto your home may be the best option for you. Maybe the home prices in your neighborhood have dropped and you expect to lose money on a sale, or perhaps you anticipate needing the extra space in your home in the near future whether it’s for visits from your children, future grandchildren, or for an elderly parent who needs additional live-in care.

If you don’t have a need to move and there isn’t an opportunity to capitalize on by selling, it might be much better for you to hold onto your house, especially if your mortgage is nearly paid off and it’s relatively cheap to live there.

“If you’re not ready to sell, then don’t rush it,” says Wacksman. “Sell your home when it makes sense for your individual situation.”

If you believe it may be time to sell your house, be sure to consult a financial professional to determine the most appropriate steps for you.

By marylourea32039196, Aug 29 2016 11:00AM

Tips for Getting a Mortgage When You Have Student Loan Debt



Written by Steve Cook on January 12, 2015 in Newsletter

Millions of American Millennials (those born between the early-1980s and early-2000s) are dealing with significant student loan debt, but they are also eager to buy homes and start their adult lives.


According to the Project on Student Loan Debt, about seven in 10 college seniors who graduated from public and private nonprofit colleges in 2013 had student loan debt, averaging $28,400. In some states, the average student loan debt was more than $30,000.


Yet in a study by loanDepot, one of the top 30 mortgage lenders in the United States, more than one-third of Millennials plan to purchase a home in the next five years. With all that student loan debt to pay off, how are they going to do it?


Perception vs. reality


There’s no doubt that student loan debt can pose a problem for Millennials who want to buy a home—it can skew their monthly debt-to-income ratio and make it difficult to qualify for a loan. However, the situation may be less dire than they think.


To determine your debt-to-income ratio, lenders look at the monthly cost you pay to service your debt, not your overall debt burden.


Many survey respondents believed that they needed to reduce their payments by more than $300 per month to qualify for a home. However, the loanDepot analysis found that a first-time homebuyer with student loan debt only needs to reduce his or her total monthly debt payments by between $150 and $300 to qualify for a home loan.


Thus, even small changes in the size of a loan applicant’s monthly debt payments can make a big difference in whether a loan gets approved.


Assuming your gross monthly income is $4,000 and your other monthly debt service—student loan, auto loan, and credit card payments—is $900, your DTI ratio is 23 percent. If you apply for a mortgage with a monthly payment of $1,000, your DTI ratio climbs to 48 percent.


With a DTI ratio of more than 43 percent, you may have a smaller chance of getting approved for a loan. However, if you can cut your monthly debt service by $300, your DTI ratio will drop to 40 percent, giving you a better chance for approval.


Tips for reducing your debt


To get an idea of where you stand, add up all the monthly payments you make and divide that number by your gross monthly income. If student debt is pushing you over the top, here are some tips to help you reduce your monthly debt load so that you can qualify.


1. Start early. If you wait until the last minute to reduce your debt load, you won’t have many options. Start a year before you plan to buy a home and create a plan that will bring your monthly debt load down to a level that will pass muster with a lender.


2. Pay off low balances. Review your credit accounts and pay off those with low balances. By doing so, you can quickly lower your monthly debt service.


3. Consolidate consumer credit. Shop around for a credit card with a low APR, even if it’s a temporary deal. Use it to pay off your expensive accounts.


4. Reduce your living expenses. The more money you save, the more money you can put down on your new home. Eat out less, take public transportation, and cut back on trips to the coffee shop.


5. Increase your income. Take a part-time job or do freelance work to augment your income. Use the proceeds to pay down debt.


6. Avoid new debt. Wait until after you have purchased your house to make large purchases on your credit card or buy a new car.


Student debt need not keep you from becoming a homeowner. Good planning and money management can help make the dream of homeownership a reality.


Steve Cook is executive vice president of Reecon Advisors and covers government and industry news for the Reecon Advisory Report. He is a member of the National Press Club, the Public Relations Society of America, and the National Association of Real Estate Editors, where he served as second vice president. Twice he has been named one of the 100 most influential people in real estate. In addition to serving as managing editor of the Report, Cook provides public relations consulting services to real estate companies, financial services companies, and trade associations, including some of the leading companies in online residential real estate.




The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.



By marylourea32039196, Aug 22 2016 11:34PM

How Much Should You Offer on a House?

Written by Steve Cook on September 17, 2014 in Real Estate

How-much-should-you-offer-on-a-house when you finally find your dream home after weeks, months, or even years of searching, the first step you must take to make it your own is to make the seller an offer.

Unless you’re a real estate professional, chances are it’s not every day that you make an offer for hundreds of thousands of dollars that you will be repaying over the next 30 years. As you might expect, there’s more to putting together the right offer than throwing darts at a target.

So, how do you go about making a fair offer that won’t be a dollar higher than necessary to get the seller to say yes? There are three keys to putting a together a winning offer: valuation, market price, and house-specific issues.

Valuation. First, you need to find out what the house is worth—its value rather than its list price. Value, sometimes called fair market value, is the house’s actual worth. It changes slowly over time or to reflect improvements.

It’s in your best interest to come up with the most accurate valuation you can early in the process of making an offer. If you are taking out a mortgage to buy a home, your lender will order an appraisal after your offer is accepted. Its valuation will determine how much you will actually be able to borrow. If you and the seller have agreed on a price that is way over the home’s valuation, you won’t be able to get the loan.

Appraisers look at three comparable homes—homes that are the same size and that are located within one-half mile to a mile from the property you’re purchasing—that have sold within the past six months. You can obtain that information yourself to do your own analysis before making an offer. (Remember to look at the price for which the home sold, not the price at which it was listed.)

You can find this information online, or your real estate agent can obtain it for you. Better still, your agent can do a competitive market analysis (CMA), which also looks at properties in escrow and properties listed on your local multiple listing service (MLS). The CMA will give you an idea of what price to offer on the home.

Market trends. Do you live in a buyer’s market, a seller’s market, or a market that is balanced? These terms describe how supply and demand impact home prices. In late spring of 2013, for example, home prices in California markets such as Oakland, Sacramento, and Stockton soared as much as 30 percent to 40 percent higher than the previous year simply because inventories were very low and buyers were eager to purchase homes before interest rates rose.

Taking the temperature of your market is relatively easy. Your real estate agent can give you information on trends in sales, price changes, inventories, and market time. You can also find some of this information on such as Realtor.com, Homes.com, and Movoto.com. Keep in mind that home prices and market times are seasonal, and can also vary drastically within ZIP codes.

House-specific issues. Every house is unique, and every house has features that appeal to buyers—and some features that don’t. The negative features of your dream home might be making it hard to sell, especially if there are lots of other, similar homes for sale in the neighborhood. The more comparable houses for sale, the more anxious a seller may be to get an offer, and he or she may be open to your below-list price offer.

This is especially true if the home has been on the market for a while. The longer the seller waits to accept an offer, the more it might be costing them to own the home—particularly if the seller has purchased a new home already or has taken a job in another city.

Making a winning offer

Once you’ve done your homework on value, market trends, and the house itself, you’re ready to make the offer. Approach the process as if your first offer will be your best offer. Don’t assume the seller will make a counter offer; most offers receive a yes or a no. Stay within the price range for which you are pre-approved, and remember that if you offer much above the real value of the home, your lender’s appraisal will probably come in under that figure and you may lose the house.

Keep the asking price in mind. If, through your research, you have determined it is unjustifiably high, or if you’ve discovered that the house has been lingering on the market for several months, make a lower offer.

Don’t forget that you can sweeten your bid with the terms you offer. Does the seller want to delay or speed up closing for some reason? Does he or she want to rent the home from you for several months after closing? Are you willing to pay for any repairs that surfaced in your inspection? Do you promise to take loving care of the seller’s beautiful garden? These are some of the ways that you can add value to your offer, at little or no expense to yourself.

Remember, even though the sellers are moving, they loved the house for many years and will sleep better knowing it sold to someone who will take good care of it.

Steve Cook is executive vice president of Reecon Advisors and covers government and industry news for the Reecon Advisory Report. He is a member of the National Press Club, the Public Relations Society of America, and the National Association of Real Estate Editors, where he served as second vice president. Twice he has been named one of the 100 most influential people in real estate. In addition to serving as managing editor of the Report, Cook provides public relations consulting services to real estate companies, financial services companies, and trade associations, including some of the leading companies in online residential real estate.

The information contained in this blog post is designed to generally educate and inform visitors to the Equifax Finance Blog. The blog posts do not give, and should not be assumed to provide, personalized tax, investment, real estate, legal, retirement, credit, personal financial, or other professional advice. Before making any financial decision, you should always consult with the appropriate professionals who can explain your options, rights, and legal responsibilities, and advise you on any tax, legal, credit, or business implications that may result from those decisions. The views and opinions expressed by the authors of blog posts are their own views and may not be the views or opinions of Equifax, Inc. and/or its affiliates.

By marylourea32039196, Jun 26 2016 12:52PM

Think of your next open house as if it's opening night for your favorite movie. The stars would be walking the red carpet, dressed to impress, promoting the movie and creating excitement and buzz -- that's what staging does to your home when selling.

You want to put your home in the best light possible so you can grab buyers' attention as soon as they walk through the door, and as they walk through the home, it reconfirms their thoughts that they have to have it. That feeling starts online with marketing, then at your front door and continues into your entryway, or the first room of the home they walk into, by creating a warm and welcoming feeling.

Start with First Impressions

Your home needs personality, consistency, and an energy that excites buyers. A small thing, like how you greet a buyer at the door, makes a significant difference in how they will respond to your home, so make sure it's attention-grabbing and helps buyers feel comfortable. Here are some tips to generate a favorable impression among buyers upon arriving at your home:

-- Stay on top of your front landscaping -- mow the lawn and trim bushes.

-- Power wash the home and sidewalks.

-- Add a welcome mat and potted plants around the doorway.

-- Paint your door and update the hardware on it.

-- Place a wreath or decorative arrangement on your door.

-- Remove all toys and figurines from the front yard.

-- Clean all windows.

-- Update lighting and house numbers; make sure they match.

-- Repair the roof and gutters and update exterior paint, if peeling.

-- Remove all the clutter -- keep coats, shoes and other items organized in closets and shelves.

-- Remove any excess knickknacks or family photos.

-- Touch up or repaint the entryway.

-- Vacuum your floors daily. Have any carpeting steam cleaned.

-- Furniture shouldn't be worn out or too big for the space.

-- Match the lifestyle -- the more expensive your home is, the more expensive it needs to look.

Full feature: https://www.yahoo.com/news/5-staging-tips-home-welcoming-open-house-141318400.html?ref=gs

By marylourea32039196, Jun 2 2016 06:18PM

"Nothing compares to actually walking the neighborhood prior to buying in the community. Pounding the pavement will give you a clear image as to how noisy it is, the density of traffic and what your neighbors are like. Getting to know the locals will give you that insider scoop as to whether or not this is the kind of neighborhood you want to raise your family in.”

http://www.hgtv.com/design/real-estate/7-home-buying-and-selling-tips-from-the-property-brothers

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