Buying a home is a dream come true for many people and the longer you live in it, the more opportunity you have to build equity. Equity is the difference between what the home’s market value is versus what you owe on it and with each house payment you make, the more equity you gain. Also as your home’s value starts to increase your equity also grows. If you’re looking for additional ways to improve equity in your home, here are a couple of ideas.
#1: Large down payment.
When you’re ready to buy a home, you can get a head start right at the get-go, by making a large down payment. Putting down 20% or more of the property’s value is a great way to not only add instant equity, but it can also keep your house payment lower and it will also allow you to avoid paying private mortgage insurance each month which doesn’t insure you but rather insures the lender against a possible loss.
#2: Shorter mortgage terms.
It’s very common for homeowners to take out 30-year loans on their home, but if you can swing refinancing your home to a 15-year mortgage, you will be able to pile on the equity and help pay off the loan quicker. Your monthly payments will be higher, but the payoff can be significant when your mortgage is paid off in half of the time. If you can’t swing the refinance to a 15-year mortgage, consider paying a little more on the principal of your loan with your payment each month or make one or two extra payments a year and apply it toward the principal. This can help you pay off the loan sooner and will help bolster equity over time.
#3: Home renovations.
There are some remodeling and home improvement projects that can help increase the value of your home and boost the equity. Replacing windows and doors, adding attic insulation, and completing a kitchen or bathroom remodel can all help with increased property value and greater home equity. There are certain home projects that do not add as much value. If you’re not sure, I’m glad to provide advice on which to-dos reap the most return.
If you’re ready to explore the option of buying or selling a home, contact me. I’ve been helping clients of all kinds for more than two decades. As a Realtor®, I can help you start the process and can provide tips along the way. I am glad to help you with the information you need to start your adventure.
If you’ve decided to buy a home this year, you may have some questions about how your credit score will impact your purchase ability. This is a common question for many potential homebuyers, so here, I will discuss some of the primary things that you’ll need to know once you start the homebuying process.
Credit scores and credit reports will affect a borrower’s ability to purchase a home in a few different ways. Credit reports are a footprint that allow banks to review a borrower’s credit history. The information found in these reports will give them the information they need to determine the level or risk they’re taking by loaning money to this person. The higher the credit rating, the lower the risk for the bank. The lower the credit score, the higher the risk for the bank. In addition, remember that your credit score will affect the interest rate of the loan you obtain.
Here are some helpful tips on how to bolster your credit score and secure a good loan on the home of your dreams.
- Make on-time payments on all borrower accounts
- Missed or late payments will negatively affect your credit score
- Satisfy unpaid collections, judgements and tax liens (even if these are medical in nature, it’s ideal to pay them off or settle prior to purchasing a home)
- Establish a credit history by opening a credit line. We are often taught that credit cards are bad. However, they’re essential for establishing a solid credit rating to borrow future funds. The key is to keep the balance below 30% of the allowed limit, always. It’s ideal to pay the balance off each month as well.
- Minimize credit iniquities. Too many inquiries can cause credit scores to drop.
- Don’t close existing revolving trade lines if they’re in good standing. When you close a credit card you lose the on-time payment history which influences your credit rating. (1)
The specific details as to what credit scores are needed to obtain a specific home loan:
– Conventional Mortgage: credit score of 620
– FHA Mortgage: credit score of 580
– Veteran Affairs (VA) Mortgage: While the VA does not have a minimum credit score requirement, Quicken Loans requires a 620 credit score on all VA loans. (2)
The bottom line: the better your credit score, the easier it will be to get a loan for your home. Contact me today for information on what it will take to embark on your journey in buying or selling a home.
- Information courtesy of: Aaron Hicks, Mortgage Consultant with Homestreet Bank
- Information courtesy of: Jevon Domench of Academy Mortgage Corporation
If you’ve determined that now is the right time to sell your home, congratulations!
You are entering into a ‘seller’s market’— this means that there are more buyers in the marketplace than sellers and it’s a great time to sell. One of the most crucial keys to selling quickly with a maximum return is to establish the RIGHT price. You want to maximize your return but set a price from the start to position your home to sell in a reasonable timeframe and let you get on with your next adventure.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU PRICE TOO HIGH?
There are several major risks if you price your home too high. First, your target buyer may not find your home online or see your property because the price is out of their price range. In addition, buyers who are shopping in a higher price range will be comparing your home with others and priced too high, you will not compete, actually making the competition look like a better buy. Homes priced just 10% high reduce the number of buyers by 30%. The end result is that your home could sit on the market for a longer period of time which means your ownership costs continue and most importantly you can’t “move on.”
HOW CAN WE SELL YOUR HOME AT THE RIGHT PRICE?
Call me! I will do research on what the market conditions are in your neighborhood, taking into consideration your home’s features, age, location, and updates/remodeling you have done. Then we’ll sit down and talk about your specific goals and needs, then set a price and terms of sale that fit those goals and needs. We’ll develop a marketing plan specific for your house and price range that targets the right kind of buyers. During the time you are FOR SALE, I’ll be sure we get input from buyers and their agents to make sure we know how they see our condition and price. This allows us to make sure we do what we can to make your property more attractive to buyers. All the while, we will keep aware of things happening in the local market and that might affect how your home sells.
Each home and each client has a unique story. Whether you’re moving from a condo to a house, moving from acreage to the downtown core, I can work with you in that journey.
If you have lived in your home for a while and you’re considering completing a refinance, you likely have some questions as to when or if it’s the right time to do so. Refinancing is a big decision, as it requires a lot of details and time, but it can have some great benefits to it once it’s all said and done. When deciding whether or not you want to refinance, one of the key questions is to ask yourself how long you plan on being in the home. If you intend on staying in the home for several years, a refinance could be a great choice, as you’ll likely recoup the closing costs over your time spent there. For those that are looking to move in a couple of years, refinancing might not make as much sense.
Aaron Hicks, Mortgage Consultant at HomeStreet Bank in Vancouver provides some great reasons to take into consideration on when a refinance might make sense for you.
Reason#1: Reduction in interest rate
Refinancing to lower your interest rate and payment is one of the main reasons why people choose to refinance. Hicks says, “There are still many people out there that have a much higher interest rate on their home loan than they should considering the current market. Refinancing could very well favor a lower interest rate or reduced monthly payment that reduces a person’s overall outgoing monthly debt.”
Reason #2: Reduction in loan term
If you want to pay off your loan faster, refinancing to significantly lower your loan term could be a fantastic idea. In most situations for example, if a borrower wants to refinance from a 30-year fixed mortgage to a 15-year fixed, the borrower will save a substantial amount of money in interest every year.
Reason #3: Cashout.
If you have been in your home for a while and it has gained significant equity, many homeowners choose to refinance and take cash out of the equity. Hicks says, “Some people do this to consolidate liabilities, make home improvements, or use the cash to invest in additional real estate. The ultimate goal here is to have the cash you are taking out work toward future financial freedom.”
Reason #4: Change loan programs.
If you have an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM), it can be very helpful to refinance to a fixed rate loan. Hicks shares, “ARMs carry the risk of having their interest rate increase significantly. When this happens, this can cause severe financial burden on a person’s finances.”
There are many reasons to consider a refinance, but each homeowner’s situation is different. What may work for one, may not work for another. Sit down and look closely at your home loan and what is left to be paid back and consider whether a refinance is right for you.
Well, after hours of searching and a lot of different house showings, you’ve finally found the home you want. With a home sale, there are a lot of different things that need to happen. Paperwork needs to be signed, loans need to be cleared, and a home inspection needs to be done. You might have wondered why you need a home inspection. Even though the house might appear to be perfect, there are often hidden problems that can be diagnosed when a reputable home inspector comes to take a thorough look at the property.
Benefit #1: Peace of mind.
Buying a home is arguably one of the largest and most important purchases that you will ever make in your lifetime. Because of this, you should make sure that there aren’t any hidden issues that could have been spotted with a home inspection. When it comes to buying a home, you need peace of mind, knowing that you’re getting a fair price for the home.
Benefit #2: Hidden problems can be discovered.
A home inspection will include a full report of the condition of the home, both interior and exterior, as well as those harder to see areas such as the crawlspace, chimney, or attic. The report is designed to point out any major problems as well as some minor ones that can be fixed with simple improvements. No one likes surprises when it comes to home repairs, so knowing what you are getting into before you move in is important.
Benefit #3: Saves you money in the long run.
If you don’t have a home inspection and you decide to go ahead with the purchase of the home, there may be costly issues that pop up after you move in. This could be avoided by simply having a home inspection done during the purchasing process. It’s very common that the seller will fix issues before the sale goes through. This means the seller is responsible and you’re off the hook for those repairs – that can save you big bucks down the road!
Your home is a big investment and in order to be protected and know the exact condition of the home, a home inspection is a definite must-have.