5 Tips for Buying a Home

Are you thinking about purchasing a home? That’s great! Here are some tips to help you make one of the most significant financial decisions of your life.
1. Ensure your finances are in order
Many homeowners finance their home purchases through lenders including banks, credit unions and mortgage lenders. When financing your mortgage, all of these lenders will pull your credit report. It is your job to ensure your report is free and clear of any negative items before starting the buying process. You also will want to home-2406416_640consider the different loan options and the associated down payment costs.

2. Obtain prequalification from lender
Once your finances are in order, you can schedule a meeting with your lender or lenders when choosing the best option for your needs. You can prepare a file of the following documents to aid in the pre-qualifying process.

• Financial statements
• Bank account information
• Investment information
• Credit card information
• Auto loan information
• Recent pay stubs
• Tax returns for the last two years
• 401K statements, stocks, bonds, life insurance and mutual account information

3. Choose an agent
Not just any real estate agent will work. You need an advocate or expert in your corner ready to help you make one of the most important financial decisions of your life. The right agent can navigate the complex process of purchasing a property and complete all necessary paperwork. Look for these qualities when selecting an agent.

• Experience – A full-time agent has the experience in completing similar transactions to the one you are wishing to make.
• Credentials – Interview a few agents and ask them about their credentials. An excellent agent constantly strives to improve their knowledge of the latest real estate trends and should hold the highest designations in their respective fields.
• Timeliness – You want an agent who returns your emails and calls promptly. Someone who is always ready and willing to answer your every question.
• Attentive – This goes hand-in-hand with timeliness. You want an agent who listens to your needs, interests and concerns. One whom you are comfortable working with through the entire process.
• Excellent references – A list of recent properties sold by the agent can be very helpful. You can also ask for a list of references and see what others experiences have been like with a particular agent.

4. Shop around
After you have completed the preparations and gotten your ducks in a row, it’s time to start looking for your dream home. Go for a drive and explore which neighborhoods, complexes and/or subdivisions attract your attention. This also provides a great opportunity to get a feel for the properties available in your preferred areas which helps you to narrow your search. Once you have a list of properties that interest you can have your agent set up the appointments to visit them. Providing a list to your agent also helps them research the current and long term value of the properties. Also, the agent will help you craft an offer that sellers will accept giving you an advantage over other offers.
5. Understand the purchase agreement
The purchase agreement is a legal arrangement between a potential buyer and the property’s owner or seller. To streamline the process, it is best to keep records of everything and to stick to a pre-determined schedule. The agreement also contains information regarding inspections and appraisals.

What Is Home Equity?

In the world of real estate, there are a lot of terms to know and understand. One of the important terms to know is home equity. So what is home equity, exactly? According canstockphoto407212to Wikipedia, “home equity is the market value of homeowner’s unencumbered interest in their real property.” In other terms, home equity is your home’s real property value.

Using home equity has its advantages which include lowered interest rates due because they are considered secured loans. When it comes to your purchasing a home, it serves as collateral which means lenders can offer competitive interest rates and may have little or no closing costs.

However, it’s also important to know there are disadvantages around using home equity. Because your home serves as collateral, if you are unable to repay your loan, you may end up having to foreclose on your home.

If you are ready to take the next step towards homeownership, we are here to help you find your dream home. Today is the day to move closer to your dream of owning a home and building home equity.

Give us a call today—we are here to answer all your questions and concerns.

Buying A New Home vs An Old Home

Driving around Utah, there is a lot of building go on. Everywhere you turn it seems everyone is building a home, but is worth the cost? As you determine which is the best option for you, here are some of the pros and cons for buying an older home:new vs old

Benefits of Buying an Older Home Cons of Buying an Older Home
Larger yards, more room for kids to run around. More expensive, things get old and all apart, and there is always things to fix or upgrade.
More character, interesting architectural features. Smaller closets, storage space, and garages.
Established neighborhood, more people know each other. Required updates and remodels.

However, for some, owning a home with a larger yard and established neighborhood is not what they want. If you’re considering buying a newer home, here are some important factors to consider:

Benefits of Buying a Newer Home Cons of Buying a Newer Home
Modern conveniences, everything is newer. No uniqueness, tract homes tend to have identical floor plans which can pretty boring.
New construction, your items will last a longer. Immature vegetation, new homes aren’t established like an older homes.
Energy efficient, new appliances use less energy and makes your home more green. House settling, new homes haven’t had a chance to settle so you can expect cracks in the foundation, walls, and door frames.

In the end there is no wrong choice. The important thing is buy a home that fits your lifestyle, needs, and budget. Write down everything you want in your home, what you have to have, and what you can live without. The more you know about what you want going in, the better you’ll be able to decide if a older or newer home is the best option for you.

Have you bought an older or newer home? Would you do it again? What do you wish you’d known going in? Tell us about your experience below in the comments.

Avoid These 3 Mistakes When Buying A Home

Home buying can be a stressful experience, but it can also be an exciting time. While you search for your dream home, explore various neighborhoods, and find the best place to raise your family, here are 3 rookie mistakes to avoid which can cost you more money.potted-731201_640

  1. Keep emotions out of it. Remember, as you search for your dream home, this is a huge investment, but there are a lot of great homes out there. As you look at homes, find a few that you’re interested in so if one falls through you have other options that you love as well.
  1. Save your money. Take some time to save up enough money for a down payment (at least 20%) and also save up an emergency fund. General rule of thumb, save up at least a thousand dollars, but better yet, save up enough to cover you for a few months in case you lose your job or have another financial problem.
  1. Get Pre-approved. Many people mistake going into this without getting pre-approved first. Before you begin your search or hire a real estate agent, speak with a loan officer to find out how much you qualify for and what you can afford. This way you don’t get discouraged with falling in love with a home way out of your price range.

Learn more about what rookie mistakes to avoid by checking out  this article by Home Value Plus.

4 Things To Do Today To Prepare Your Home To Sell

welcome-to-our-home-1205888_640Are you ready to sell your home? As you move forward in getting your home on the market, take a moment to spruce up your home to help make it not only look better to potential home buyers, but to boost the price.

While you’re looking around your home for little projects to boost the resale value, here are 5 easy things you can do to make your home look its best.

  1. Give the front door a fresh coat of paint. When it comes to curb appeal, give your front door a splash of color to make it pop. Plus, a fresh coat of paint makes your home look well kept and will appeal to potential buyers.
  1. Maintain a healthy lawn. Another simple thing you can do to make sure your home is appealing to buyers to to keep your lawn looking its best. Invest some time into making your lawn is properly aerated, mowed, and watered. If you’re grass is brown or has big gaps missing, not only does it make your home look unattractive but it turns buyers away.
  1. Install safety lights around your property. Not only are floodlights or landscape lighting a great safety feature around your home, it enhances the beauty of your home. Add lighting around certain areas of your home to accent focal points and other areas of your home you want to highlight.
  1. Replace any broken items around your home. If you have any broken screens, shutters, or gutters around your home, now is the time to get them repaired. Not only does this take away from your home’s appeal, but broken home features can turn potential buyers away.

If you’re ready to sell, give us a call today. We are here to help and ensure you get the best price out of your home.

Win At Your Home Projects With These 3 Tips

tools-864983_640The weather is warming up (at least for now) and, with the warmer temperatures, now is the time to get outside and work on some of the projects you’ve been meaning to do. Still too cold outside for you or have more indoor projects you want to complete, now is the time for that too—before spring fever hits.

As you begin to plan for you new project. use this time to prioritize your to-do list. The more prepared you are going in, the more likely you are to stick to you plan and complete your project.

The next thing you’ll want to do is set a budget. By going in with a budget, along with a plan of action, you can prepare for any unexpected surprises or lack of funds. Also, by taking some time to get things in order, you’re less likely to get sidetracked or run into other problems that might deter you from finishing your home project.

Another excellent tool to help you stick to your project is to set specific deadlines and goals via a calendar. While you set your deadlines, this will give you a better idea if you’re on track with completing your project on time or if you need to make adjustments to ensure you finish.

If you’re looking to sell, either now or in the near future, taking time to make some repairs on your home can help to increase your home value. Through taking time to improve your curb appeal your home will sell quicker and be more appealing to potential home buyers.

Have questions or what to learn more about what you can do to sell your home, give us a call. We are here to help you navigate the home buying/selling process.

3 Things to Consider When Buying Your First Home

There can be a lot of stress when it comes to buying your first home. How do you choose? Are you making the right decision? Do you want to be tied down in one location for a while? What if you lose your job? The questions are endless and terms you need to know. As you move forward with buying your first home, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Keep in mind the costs associated with owning a home. Many first time homebuyers enter in to buying a home without being prepared for the unknown expenses that come up after the contract is signed. Some of the expenses include: taxes, insurance. association fees, home maintenance, utilities, and minor or major repairs. When preparing to buy your first home, talk with your real estate agent about the costs and have them ask the seller’s agent to provide you with the monthly utility costs or you can call the utility companies for an estimate.
  1. dollar-837378_640Save for your down payment. In most situations. it is recommended you have 20% of your target purchase available for a down payment. If you don’t have the 20% for a down payment, it won’t (usually) be a problem. There are loans available that offer various credit levels and interest levels. Talk with your loan officer or mortgage lender to see which option works best for you.
  1. Hire a local agent. When searching for your dream home, you’ll want to hire a local agent to help you. Before hiring someone to assist you in your search, take some time to find an agent who really knows the area. Also, ask them how many homes they’ve helped buyers purchase, their experience, and for references. Listing agents should also have a good understanding of the fair market value for the homes around the area you’re interested in.

Buying a home is a big decision so take some time to do your due diligence. The more you know when going into the home buying process, the more confident you’ll be. We’re here to help  you find your dream home. Give us a call today and find out what we can do for you.

Improve Your Home for The Winter In 4 Easy Steps

smaller white tableIt’s beginning to look a lot like…

Can you believe it is that time of year again? The winter months are around the corner, and with the snow flurries getting ready to start flying, now is the time to start taking the steps to get your home ready for the cold.

Here are 4 things you can do today to improve your home:

Utilize curtains to minimize drafts. Curtains are an excellent resource to use to help eliminate drafts and add some extra warmth to your home. When you choose curtains for your home, pick something made of insulated material or have a cotton flannel backside for optimal use. Leave your curtains (especially those on the side that gets the morning sun) open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter and help warm your home and reduce energy costs.

Enhance the lighting. Add uplights and other quality light bulbs around your home for maximum light. This can be extremely helpful during those gray, dreary days when you want to add some extra glow to your home.

Unclog your gutters. Leaves and other debris can clog your gutters and cause some serious problems. Take some time now before the snow starts flying to clean out your gutters and keep your home safe from any potential damage.

Buy a humidifier. With the cold months, heaters are turned on; drying out your skin and making you more susceptible to colds. Humidifiers can help put some moisture back into the dry air. Remember to clean your humidifier often and change out filters to help protect against mold and mildew.

Learn more about what you can do to make your home more cozier for the winter months at Better Homes and Gardens.

How To Make Money On Your Home

In the movie Money Pit, a young couple moves into a home they think is a cute fixer-upper, but come to find out the home is a complete money pit. Have you ever feared that would happen to you when you are looking to buy a home? Avoid buying a money pit with these 3 tips and purchase a home that will make some money. houses-691586_640

  1. Location. If you want your home to appreciate in value, take time to choose the right location, the right neighborhood. Be watchful of neighborhoods that have a lot of For Sale signs tattooing the street. If many people are looking to leave, this is not the neighborhood you want to move into.
  1. Size. The belief “bigger is better” is no longer the mindset of many potential homebuyers these days. Although home sizes are getting bigger, don’t be afraid to go against the society norms and purchase a smaller home. Why? Because with a smaller home will give you more room to build equity.
  1. Condition. Take the time to hire a certified home inspector to check out the home’s condition before you sign the paperwork. As you have the home inspected, some red flags to be aware of are:
  • Foundation problems and noticeable structural problems
  • Prior sinkholes
  • Termite or pest damage
  • Water damage

Although you can have the damages repaired, is it worth the costs in the long run? Certain repairs can get quite expensive so it’s better to keep looking for your dream home.

Read more about what to look for when buying a home that can make you a profit here.

Keep Your Identity Safe During a Home Showing

padlock-166882_640Home showings are one part of the home selling process, but are you leaving yourself vulnerable to identity theft. Though most people have good intentions when coming through your home, there are still some precautions to keep yourself safe.

Lock up your documents. Do you have a bank statement, passport, or checkbooks lying around your home? Before you have people come into your home, lock up any and all important paperwork. Also take a moment to ensure your computer, laptops, tablets are password protected and you’ve logged out of you devices and unplugged your computer.

Hide your mail. Your junk mail, especially credit card offers, can be a treasure to those trolling to steal your identity. After going through your mail, shred anything you longer need.

Clean out the medicine cabinets. Prescription bottles have a lot of information you don’t want to share with strangers. Hide your prescriptions or lock them up during showings to ensure no one takes your pills or insurance information.

Learn more about what you can do to protect yourself here and talk to your real estate agent for more tips and suggestions.