Karen Lawley's Blog
If you have plans to buy a house as quickly as possible, it is important to maintain flexibility. That way, you can adjust your homebuying timeline at a moment's notice.
Ultimately, there are many instances where you may need to modify your homebuying timeline, and these include:
1. You are struggling to identify your dream home.
It generally is beneficial to enter the housing market with homebuying criteria. These criteria can help you hone your house search and may be modified as you attend home showings and open house events.
Also, think about where you want to purchase a house. If you would prefer to own a home in a big city, you can tailor your house search accordingly. Or, if you want to live in a small town, you can focus exclusively on residences in areas that match or exceed your expectations.
Even with homebuying criteria in hand, however, changes to your homebuying timeline may be required. But if you remain patient and persistent throughout the homebuying journey, you can eventually discover your dream house.
2. Home sellers are rejecting your offers to purchase.
Once you find your dream residence, you may submit an offer to purchase it. Yet if your offer fails to hit the mark with a home seller, you are unlikely to receive an instant "Yes."
If you find that your offers to purchase houses are rejected time and time again, you may need to adjust your homebuying timeline. Furthermore, you may want to rethink your homebuying strategy.
To submit a competitive homebuying proposal, you should consider a house's condition and age, as well as the current state of the real estate market. This information can help you craft an offer to purchase that accounts for a variety of factors and likely will meet the needs of both you and a home seller.
If a home seller rejects your offer to purchase a house, there is no need to worry. Remember, the real estate market offers many opportunities, and homebuyers who are diligent can continue to search for the right house at the right price.
3. You have yet to find the right real estate agent.
A real estate agent may hold the key to a successful homebuying journey. He or she can help you set realistic homebuying expectations and ensure you can achieve the optimal results.
If you need to adjust your homebuying timeline, a real estate agent can help you do just that. Plus, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new houses that become available in your preferred cities and towns and set up home showings. And if you decide to submit an offer to purchase a home, a real estate agent will help you put together an aggressive homebuying proposal.
Ready to streamline your home search? Reach out to a local real estate agent today, and you can get the help you need to pursue your ideal residence.
If you're getting ready to put your home on the market, the thought of organizing, cleaning, and arranging it may seem like an overwhelming project!
Knowing where to begin and how much money to spend on home staging and decorating are among the many questions that may be flooding your mind, right now.
The key to success is to make as much of an impact as possible, without spending more money than necessary.
One way to avoid "spinning your wheels" when it comes to maximizing the appearance of your home is to work with an experienced real estate agent. A good agent will quickly notice aspects of your home that need attention and advise you on the most cost-effective ways to improve its marketability. If they've shown dozens (or more) houses in their career, they'll be very familiar with all the things that attract buyers, as well as what repels them.
Although everyone has different tastes and expectations, many house hunters are attracted to gleaming hardwood floors, energy efficient windows, and stainless steel appliances. While it may not be cost effective to have new floors, appliances, and windows installed to sell your house faster, you can make the best possible impression by making sure the windows are crystal clear, hardwood floors are polished, and appliances are clean and shiny.
Since many house hunters pay close attention to the kitchen, it's especially important to win their approval on appearance and cleanliness. Because food is prepared and often consumed in the kitchen, it's going to be one of the more challenging rooms to keep clean -- especially if you have children. However, if a prospective buyer is wavering between two houses for sale, you can be reasonably sure that the one with the clean kitchen and bathrooms will be their preferred choice.
There are a lot of other ways you can make your kitchen appealing to buyers, too. By minimizing clutter on counter tops and displaying fresh flowers and a colorful bowl of fruit, you can make your kitchen look much more inviting. Prospective buyers will also respond favorably to appealing fragrances, such as freshly baked bread, cookies, cinnamon buns, or coffee. Clean windows, attractive curtains, and plenty of natural light will also add to the ambiance of your kitchen.
The ideal reaction from potential buyers touring your home would be something to the effect of "I can imagine us preparing dinner, entertaining guests, and sitting around the breakfast table in this house!" Setting the table so that it looks like the family is just about to sit down for a meal together is one way to help convey that image. The encouraging news is that when someone expresses sincere appreciation for the comforts and features of your home, there's a good chance they'll find a place for it on their short list of possibilities!
As you start your journey to home ownership, one of the terms you may hear from your mortgage lender is debt to income ratio. Many people have never heard this term before, but it is an important aspect of obtaining a mortgage. Your mortgage lender wants to make sure you are not going to default on your mortgage payments. While your current credit history plays a role in this determination, your debt to income ratio also is considered.
Your debt to income ratio is the percentage of your gross income against the amount you are obligated to pay monthly. This means your credit card bills, car loans, life, health, and other insurance premiums may be considered, along with your anticipated mortgage payment and taxes. Generally, a lender will want your debt to income ratio to be at or lower than 43 percent of your income.
Calculate Your Ratio Early in the Process
Potential homebuyers can easily determine what their debt to income ratio is based on current mortgage interest rates and the amount they are seeking to borrow to purchase a home. To calculate the ratio, you will need the following information:
- Total annual salary — since a lender will review your taxes for the past three years, the best method is to use your most recent tax return and get your gross annual income before taxes. Once you have this number, divide it by 12 for calculating your gross monthly income.
- Monthly debt ratio — you will want to determine what debts you are obligated to pay monthly. This should include student loans, car payments, and any other debt which you expect to pay for at least five years including personal loans. Using a mortgage calculator, determine what you anticipate your mortgage payment will be including property taxes and insurance. Make sure you include all costs associated with your mortgage when using a mortgage calculator. The totals you get here will generate the total amount of your monthly debts.
- Final calculation — the final calculation will be determining your debt to income ratio. This is your total monthly debt divided by your gross monthly income is equal to your debt to income ratio.
High debt to income ratios can impact your ability to secure a mortgage. However, an important thing to remember is that some lenders do have some flexibility when using debt to income ratios. There are lenders who are exempt from the “ability to repay” rules for qualified mortgages. Talk to your mortgage lender about your debt to income ratio if the numbers are problematic. They can provide you with the available mortgage options based on your ratio.
If you're preparing to buy or sell a home, why should you be forced to work with a real estate agent who won't listen to your concerns and questions? Instead, hire a real estate agent who is a great listener, and you can receive consistent support throughout the homebuying or home selling journey.
There are many signs that a real estate agent is an outstanding listener, such as:
1. Your real estate agent responds to your concerns and questions as quickly as possible.
Let's face it – buying or selling a house can be stressful. Fortunately, a real estate agent who is an active listener will do what it takes to help clients alleviate stress time and time again.
An active listener will learn what it's like to walk in another person's shoes. Meanwhile, a real estate agent who actively listens to a homebuyer or home seller will be ready to respond to urgent client requests without delay.
Furthermore, it is important to employ a real estate agent who boasts comprehensive homebuying or home selling experience. With this housing market professional at your disposal, you can get expert responses to your concerns and questions. Then, you'll be better equipped than ever before to make informed homebuying or home selling decisions.
2. Your real estate agent follows up with you regularly.
A real estate agent who understands the value of active listening will follow up with clients regularly. By doing so, this housing market professional can limit the risk of miscommunication and mistakes along the homebuying or home selling process.
In addition, a real estate agent who provides constant updates will take the guesswork out of buying or selling a home. He or she will make it simple for you to streamline the homebuying or home selling process. And as such, this real estate agent will reduce the chance that you'll encounter potential homebuying or home selling roadblocks that otherwise could prevent you from achieving your desired results.
3. Your real estate agent asks questions and requests feedback.
When it comes to choosing a real estate agent, it is vital to select one who asks questions and requests feedback. In fact, this housing market professional may prove to be an amazing listener who will go above and beyond the call of duty to support you in any way possible.
Ultimately, a real estate agent who asks questions wants to learn about a client's homebuying or home selling needs. He or she wants clients to succeed and will dedicate the necessary time and resources to help each client buy or sell a home.
On the other hand, a real estate agent who requests feedback is always searching for ways to improve, and this commitment to excellence usually separates an ordinary real estate agent from an exceptional one.
Kick off the homebuying or home selling process by hiring a real estate agent who knows how to listen to his or her clients. That way, you can increase the likelihood of a successful homebuying or home selling journey.
The homebuying journey may seem long, complicated and time-consuming at first. Fortunately, there are lots of things a property buyer can do to streamline the process of finding his or her dream residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help a homebuyer navigate the property buying journey like a pro.
1. Narrow Your Home Search
If you know you want to buy a home, you should take the next step forward in your quest to find your dream residence by narrowing your property search. That way, you can hone your search to properties that meet specific criteria and are located in your preferred cities and towns.
Oftentimes, it helps to envision what your dream home looks like and what features it offers. You may want to consider where your dream house is located as well. By examining these factors, you should have no trouble crafting homebuying criteria that you can use to narrow your property search.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
A mortgage generally is a must-have for homebuyers. Lucky for you, there is no shortage of banks and credit unions willing to provide mortgages to homebuyers across the United States. And if you meet with these financial institutions, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage and enter the housing market with a budget in hand.
Typically, it is beneficial for a homebuyer to pursue as many mortgage options as possible. This approach allows a homebuyer to search for the lowest interest rates and find a mortgage that complements his or her finances perfectly. Plus, if a homebuyer makes an informed mortgage decision, he or she may reap the benefits of this choice for years to come.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
Even an expert homebuyer may need help as he or she navigates the property buying journey. By hiring a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive assistance as you search for your ideal residence.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to find a great house at a budget-friendly price. He or she also is happy to share homebuying recommendations and suggestions with you to ensure you can seamlessly navigate the property buying journey.
In addition, a real estate agent will assist you at all stages of the homebuying process. He or she first will help you craft a homebuying strategy. Next, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about houses that become available and meet your homebuying criteria. A real estate agent then will set up home showings and attend open house events with you. And once you discover your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this home.
As you get set to kick off the homebuying journey, it helps to prepare as much as you can. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can plan ahead for the homebuying journey. As a result, you can navigate the property buying journey like a pro.