Posted by Matthew Salgado on 10/14/2018

Ready to upgrade from a condo to a house? You'll first need to add your condo to the real estate market to ensure that you can sell this property and buy a new residence. However, selling a condo sometimes can be difficult, particularly for those who are selling a property for the first time.

Fortunately, we're here to help you take the guesswork out of selling your condo. Here are three tips that you can use to list your condo on the real estate market and maximize your property's value.

1. Set a Competitive Price for Your Condo

Spend some time learning about the prices of condos in your area. By doing so, you'll be able to establish a fair price for your condo and improve your chances of generating substantial interest in it.

Condo sellers should look at the prices of similar properties in their respective neighborhoods. This will enable condo sellers to understand how much other condo sellers are asking for their properties, along with how much various condos have sold for over the past few months.

Also, don't forget to include your assets in your condo listing. If you have extra storage space or a covered parking spot, you may be able these amenities into your condo listing to help your property stand out from others.

2. Understand Your Condo Association's Rules

A homeowners association (HOA) sets guidelines and rules for condo owners to follow in a community. And if you fail to comply with these regulations, you may face fines or other penalties from the HOA.

When it comes to selling your condo, it always is better to err on the side of caution. Thus, you should reach out to your HOA in advance to inform the association of your decision to sell your condo. This will allow you to find out whether a homebuyer will need to be approved by the HOA before he or she can purchase your condo.

3. Work with an Experienced Real Estate Professional

Collaborate with a real estate agent who understands what it takes to sell a condo. With this real estate agent at your disposal, you should have no trouble stirring up plenty of interest in your condo in a short amount of time.

An experienced real estate agent will possess many years of condo selling experience and can share his or her insights with you. Plus, if you ever have concerns or questions about selling your condo, your real estate agent will be happy to respond to these queries immediately.

In addition, an experienced real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to sell your property. He or she will host condo showings and keep you up to date about any potential offers. This real estate professional also will provide expert guidance to help you optimize the value of your property.

Hire an experienced real estate agent to sell your condo, and ultimately, you can streamline the condo selling process.




Tags: Condo   condo fees  
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Posted by Matthew Salgado on 10/7/2018

Buying your first home is undoubtedly a long and complex process for someone who has little to no experience in the subject. Your average first-time homeowner learns as they go, with the help of their real estate agent and mortgage lender.

But, even so, first-time buyers often make many mistakes along the way that they could have avoided with prior knowledge and preparation.

In today’s article, we’re going to cover 5 of the most common mistakes that first-time homebuyers make when purchasing a home. From the first house you look at up until closing on your first home, we’ll cover common mistakes from each step of the way to give you the knowledge you need to make the best home buying decisions.

1. Shopping for homes preemptively

Once you decide that you’re interested in potentially buying a home in the near future, it’s tempting to hop online and start looking at listings. But, searching for your dream home at this stage is a poor use of your time.

It’s best to use this time to start thinking about the bigger picture. Have you secured financial aspects of owning a home, such as a down payment, a solid credit score, and two years of steady employment history?

You’ll also need to have a clear picture of what you want your life to look like for the next 5-7 years. Will you still want to live in the same area, or will your job lead you elsewhere?

These are all questions to ask yourself before you start house hunting that will inform your process along the way and make your hunt a lot easier.

2. Not knowing your budget

It’s a common mistake for first-time buyers to go into the house hunting process without a clearly mapped budget. You want to make sure that after all of your expenses (mortgage payment, utilities, bills, debt, etc.) that you still have leftover income for savings, retirement, and an emergency fund.

Make a detailed spreadsheet of your expenses and determine how much you can afford each month before you start shopping for mortgages.

3. Borrowing the maximum amount

While it may be tempting to buy the most expensive house you can get approved for, there are a number of reasons this might be a bad idea for you, financially. Stretching your budget each month is putting yourself at risk for not being able to contribute to savings, retirement, and emergency funds.

Furthermore, you may find that the extra square-footage you purchased wasn’t worth having to cut corners in other areas of your life, like hobbies, entertainment, and dining out.

4. Forgetting important expenses

If you’re currently renting an apartment, you might be unaware of some of the lesser-known costs of homeownership. Your chosen lender will provide you with an estimate of the closing costs, which you’ll have to budget for.

However, there are also maintenance, repairs, utilities, and other bills that you’ll have to figure into your monthly budget.

5. Waiving contingencies or giving the benefit of the doubt

While it may seem like an act of goodwill to give the seller the benefit of the doubt when it comes to things like home inspections, it’s usually a bad idea to waive contingencies.

The process of purchasing a home, along with a purchase contract, have been designed to protect both your interests and the seller’s interests. It isn’t selfish to want to know exactly what you’re getting into when making a purchase as significant as a home.





Posted by Matthew Salgado on 9/30/2018

When you’re buying or selling a home, you may hear the terms, “assessed value” and “market value.” There are few things that you should know about these terms. First, they cannot be used interchangeably. The assessed value is generally much less than the market value. If you’re buying a home, you probably would rather see the assessed value of the home as a price! If you’re selling, the same holds true for the market value of the home for you.


Market Value Is Used Differently Than Assessed Value


The market value is how much your home is worth on the market currently. The definition is exactly as the term sounds the home is looked at by an assessor and given a value. The assessed value is used to determine property taxes, among other things. As you can imagine, the assessed value can become a point of contention for many homeowners especially when it comes to paying their tax bills. Many homes end up being assessed at a higher price than their current value, bringing tax bills to higher levels. The market value is what the home will sell for when it is listed for sale.


Be careful when searching for a home to buy. Many sites list the assessed value along with the price of the home or estimated market value of the home. You don’t want to get these numbers confused when budgeting and searching for the perfect house. 


If you’re getting ready to sell your home, pay little attention to the assessed value of the home. That is not what your home will sell for. 


The market value is a good reason to hire a realtor to help you sell your home. Realtors are experts in finding the market values of homes. They will even do something called a CMA (comparative market analysis) for you to help you determine the right price for your home to sell at. This is where comparable properties in the area are examined for their selling prices and all the perks of your home and neighborhood are considered. The market value is determined by the price of the homes that have recently been sold in the area based on the location of the home and how close it is to certain amenities like schools, parks, and the probability of future construction. 


Finally, know that the market value and the appraised value of a home have a lot to do with how much a lender will give you to buy the property. Every home that is being bought must go through an appraisal, to protect the lender from overpaying for a home.    


Whether you’re buying or selling a home, knowing your value terms can really be a help in understanding the sweet spot for pricing a property  





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Posted by Matthew Salgado on 9/23/2018

When guests first pull up to your home, they take a visual survey of the property that they are entering. While they are excited to see you, they also want to feel at home in your space while they’re visiting. Below, you’ll find some ways to make your home one of the most welcoming on the whole block from the outside. 


Clear Clutter


There shouldn’t be any type of clutter on your front lawn. Clutter is a broad term. This can include hoses, lawn ornaments, toys, and other household items. You don’t want your front yard to become a catchall for everything that’s outdoor maintenance. These items should be put away in a garage or towards the side yard. Everything needs a proper place. Any of these items should be out of sight from the front view of your home.


Make The Entrance Welcoming


If you have some kind of a structure near your entryway, the home looks much more welcoming. This could include a covering over your front doorstep, a trellis, an arbor, or pergola. This helps to clearly define the main entrance and give the home an inviting feel.


Keep It Well Lit


The entryways to your home should all be well illuminated. Anyone entering the home at night should be able to see a clear path to the doorways. For decorative purposes, you should also try and highlight the features of your home that you like best such as statues or artful shrubbery.   


  

  Add Planters


Add a few planters to the front of your home. You can use large pots for a dramatic effect, or you can use several smaller planters such as windows boxes to really fill in the front of your home with greenery. For best results, vary the sizes of the containers that you choose to bring the eyes of those viewing the front of your home to several key focal points.     

Fix It Up


You should fix up the front of your home and leave it looking flawless. This will include repairing siding, retouching peeling paint, updating hardware, power washing the home, replacing lighting fixtures, and more. Even replacing or painting your front door and accompanying fixtures can bring on a brightening effect to your home.  


Clean Up The Driveway And Walkways

Few parts of our homes are as neglected as the driveway is. To bring about a great first impression of your home, patch up holes and dips in the asphalt. Even out the terrain if you have the resources to do so. Give the driveway a good cleanup including a sweep and a hose down. Your walkways should be cleared of debris and patched up as necessary as well. These little touches can make a big difference in the impression your home gives.




Tags: landscaping   front door  
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Posted by Matthew Salgado on 9/16/2018

Applying for your first home loan can seem scary or daunting to many first-time homeowners. However, this process, if done correctly, can save you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars on interest over the lifetime of your loan.

Before you apply for a loan, there are several documents you’ll want to gather and steps you’ll want to take to ensure the application process goes smoothly. In today’s post, we’ll talk about one specific aspect of the mortgage application process--credit scores.

Credit scores may seem confusing. However, since they can so drastically affect your home loan interest rate, it’s important to understand their implications.

Credit checks and mortgages

One of the things that all lenders will want to see before approving you for a home loan is your credit score. If you’re thinking of applying for a mortgage, odds are that you’ve been working to build credit by paying off loans and credit cards on time each month.

The three main credit bureaus in the U.S. are all required to give you a yearly free credit report. This is a detailed document that outlines your lines of credit, payment dates, and amounts. It’s a good idea to get a detailed credit report and check for errors before applying for a loan.

Unlike a hard “credit inquiry,” a free report does not affect your credit score, so you don’t have to worry about dropping a few points by requesting one of these reports.

When applying for a mortgage, however, lenders will perform a hard credit inquiry to determine your borrowing eligibility. This is a part of the pre-approval process and is typically unavoidable.

This is important to note if you are planning on applying to multiple lenders. Be aware that each “prequalification” and “preapproval” may come with a temporary drop in your credit score.

Since credit inquiries make up a total of about 10% of your credit score, these inquiries can make a difference in the short term. For this reason, it’s a good idea to avoid opening new cards or taking out other loans (such as an auto loan or student loan) within six months of your mortgage application.

If you aren’t sure of your current score, you can always check for free from websites like Credit Karma and Mint.

One last thing to note about credit scores and their relationship to mortgages is that most lenders use a specific type of score known as a FICO score. In fact, every adult in the United States with a credit score will have three FICO scores, one from each major credit bureau.

So, when checking up on your credit score, it’s good to remember that each score will be slightly different and your lender’s score may not reflect what you see online.




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