Jeffrey Harrington's Blog
As the workforce changes and a growing number of companies seek out contractors and freelancers, many Americans find themselves in a gray area when it comes to their income. They may put in full-time hours, but on their taxes they work for themselves.
Mortgage lenders are cautious about who they lend to. They want to make sure you are a low-risk investment who has reliable, predictable income to ensure that they’ll earn money off of your loan.
This can sometimes make it difficult for freelancers, contract workers, or the self-employed. Not only might your taxes be unconventional, but your income could vary depending on the time of the year and the amount of business you receive.
It’s easy to see why many people would be anxious about applying for a mortgage under these circumstances. However, if you’re self-employed, there’s no need to worry. You can still get approved for a mortgage at a fair interest rate--you just need to do a bit of work to provide the right documents to your lender.
In this article, we’ll show you what documents and proof of income you’ll likely need and how to present it to a lender to make the process run as smoothly as possible to get you approved for your mortgage. Here’s what you need to do.
Organize your records
Before applying for a mortgage, it’s a good idea to take a look at your record-keeping process. As a self-employed worker, you’re probably already used to tracking your own income. However, this will help the lender analyze your income easier and move the process along more quickly.
Having a master spreadsheet of your dated invoices, paid amounts, and the names of your clients is a good place to start. You’ll also want detailed, easy to read information for your previous employers, landlords, references, and any other information you think will be pertinent.
Next, gather your tax documents for the last three to five years. As a self-employed worker, you likely file a Schedule C (Form 1040) and a Schedule SE. Make sure you have copies of these forms.
Dealing with deductions
Many self-employed workers write off business expenses in their tax returns. Travel expenses, internet, and other costs associated with doing business are all ways to save by reducing your taxable income. Doing so can save you money, but it can also reduce your net income which is what lenders will see when you provide them with your information.
If you’re hoping to get approved for a bigger loan, one solution is to plan your taxes in the year prior to applying for a mortgage. Make fewer deductions than you normally would to increase your net income.
Be ready to clarify
When a mortgage lender is reviewing your information, make sure you are open and available to provide any information that can be helpful to them in considering your application. Being prompt and accurate with your responses will signal to your lender that you are willing to work with them.
If you’re trying to sell your home, you probably have thought of everything from staging to pricing to when the best time for your realtor to hold an open house is. What you may not have considered is the exterior color of your home. Yes, both colors inside and outside of your home can attract or detract buyers from your home.
Although it could seem silly for you to invest in a brand new exterior paint color right before you sell your home, it could result in some big returns when you head to sell the property. Below, you’ll find some of the best exterior paint colors for your home and why these colors are great in attracting buyers.
Colors That Blend In With The Natural Surroundings
This principle for color is fantastic. You have a wide range of choices in everything from a putty to a stone to shades of green. These colors all can blend in with the natural environment around your home. Depending upon what surrounds your home, the colors that you choose can vary widely. Do you have a home out in the woods? Choose a sharp shade of green or a bold shade of brown or tan. Everything from the type of foundation you have to the outer accents of the home should be considered when choosing these exterior paint colors.
Think Of The Type And Color Of The Trim You Want
If you really want white trim along the edges of your home, you should pair up that color with the base color of your home. For example, if you’re looking for a white trim, choose colors that will look good with that tone like shades of blue and gray. Remember that buyers will be attracted to complimenting colors.
Neutral Is Best
When you really can’t make up your mind when choosing an exterior paint color, always go with something neutral. This is the best way to play it safe when you’re putting your home up for sale and making changes. Buyers can always envision themselves living in a neutral colored home. It may be a bit more difficult to match the personalities of buyers with eccentric color choices.
Examples Of Attractive Exterior Paint Colors
- Light Blue
- Deep Blue
- Forest Green
- Bright Red
While no magic combination of colors is guaranteed to make your home sell fast, you’ll have a better chance of selling if the home appears pleasant from the outside in. Putting a fresh coat of paint on your home can really bring about more curb appeal, attracting buyers, possibly giving the property a bit more value. Don’t hesitate to invest a little money in your home before you sell to get the maximum return on the sale.
Are you planning on buying a home by a certain date? It’s unfortunate that life can’t go as we plan it all the time! With a bit of planning finding the right home at the right time is possible. Many times, families are looking to buy a home before the end of the summer. This allows them to get settled in and get the kids started in a new school before the start of the year in September. Just because there are more popular times throughout the year to move doesn’t mean that the inventory of homes changes much as to what’s on the market. Whatever the reason for the short supply of homes, you’ll need to be informed and creative in order to land a house in a high demand market when it’s crunch time. Below, you’ll find some tips to help you on your search.
Research Your Location Ahead Of Time
Every housing market has a bit of a down time. You want to pinpoint that period. Does your location have a time of year where people flee the area for vacations? The holiday season can also be a great time to look. There may still be low supply, but there also will be less competition. Do a bit of research in order to find pricing trends. When the prices dip, you’ll know that’s a time where competition for homes is lower.
Always Have Your Finances In Order
When you’re buying a home, no matter what time of year it is, you need to have your lender on call. Make sure that you have been preapproved and that your downpayment money is at your disposal. Sellers like serious buyers who are ready to pass paperwork.
Know What You’re Willing To Compromise On
When you’re buying a home on a timeline, you may not have the luxury of searching around endlessly to meet your wishlist. You should have a few musts, but there may be many things that you’ll need to work with or compromise on in finding the right property. You may be able to find a home in the right neighborhood, but it might not have the granite countertops that you’re looking for. When time is of the essence, your home search priorities need to be set straight.
Don’t Look For Bargains
When you’re in a time crunch to land a home, you don’t want to fool around with price. In order to land a home that you love, you might have to offer a bit more than the asking price. There’s no space for a bidding war, a low offer, or an extended search when you need to buy a home fast.
Looking to add your home to the real estate market? Ultimately, you'll want to do everything you can to maximize the value of your residence.
For home sellers, getting the best price for a residence may seem virtually impossible at times. Fortunately, we're here to help you plan ahead so you can get the best price for your house as soon as it hits the market.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you optimize the value of your residence, regardless of the current real estate market's conditions.
1. Examine the Housing Market
When it comes to the real estate market, it is important to understand how your residence stacks up against the competition.
Collect housing market data to learn about the real estate sector. Then, you can establish a "competitive" price for your home and boost your chances of a quick home sale.
Typically, home sellers should look at the prices of currently available residences in their cities and towns. This will enable home sellers to understand the local real estate market and establish a price range for houses that are similar to their own.
Don't forget to review the prices of recently sold houses as well. With this housing market data in hand, home sellers can find out whether they are about to enter a seller's or buyer's market.
2. Complete a Home Appraisal
Let's face it – what your home is worth today is unlikely to match what you initially paid for your residence. If you have completed a wide range of home upgrades over the years, the value of your residence may have increased. Or, if you failed to maintain your house's interior and exterior, your residence's value may have fallen.
A home appraisal will enable you to learn about your house's strengths and weaknesses. This assessment is performed by a professional property inspector who will take a close look at your house's interior and exterior. After the assessment is finished, the property inspector will provide you with a report that can help you price your house appropriately.
If you want to boost your home's value after a home appraisal, you can always complete various home interior and exterior improvement projects. That way, you can enhance your house both inside and out and move closer to maximizing the value of your home.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a difference-maker for home sellers, and for good reason. This housing market professional will do everything possible to help you prep your house and ensure you can receive the best price for it – without exception.
Usually, a real estate agent will set up home showings and open houses, negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf and much more. He or she will even provide honest, unbiased home selling recommendations to ensure you can streamline the home selling journey.
Don't leave anything to chance as you get ready to add your house to the real estate market. Use these tips, and you should have no trouble getting the best price for your house.
Receiving a low offer on a home can be frustrating for a seller. But, you’re likely to see at least one or two offers on your property that are lower than you would like.
Right now, the housing market is filled with young professionals burdened with student loans, rising costs of living, and stagnating wages. So, it’s no wonder that they’re trying to save money anywhere they can.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about what to do when you get a low offer so you can set yourself up for a sale that you’re happy with.
Don’t refuse outright
The first thing to know about low offers is that they can sometimes turn into something that both you and the buyer are happy with. Many successful home sales started at a number that the seller considered too low, but--through negotiation--was brought to a higher price and better deal overall.
Many sellers are uncomfortable with the idea of negotiation. Most people seldom negotiate prices unless they are buying a car, and even then would prefer to avoid the hassle.
For others, negotiation is a normal part of everyday life. Flatout refusing an offer, especially if you aren’t receiving many other higher offers, could be a missed opportunity.
Compare your asking price with similar homes nearby
Odds are that you and your agent have already done your research and found an asking price that is comparable in your neighborhood. But home prices fluctuate. To reassure yourself that your asking price is fair, take another look at homes up for sale that are around the same age and size of your home.
Take time to craft a counteroffer
Once you’ve had time to talk the offer over with your family and real estate agent (and maybe vented a bit), it’s time to come up with a counteroffer.
There are a few options for making a counteroffer that don’t involve significantly lowering the amount you stand to gain from the home sale. First, you could offer to relieve the buyer of some of the closing costs, such as paying for the inspection. Or, if you planned on leaving new appliances in the home, you could lower your asking price but take the appliances when you move.
Weigh your options
If the buyer still won’t raise their offer close to your asking price, it’s probably a good time to move on and rethink your sale strategy.
Take some time to consider the sale as a whole. If you aren’t receiving many other offers, it might be time to consider lowering to price or rethinking your marketing plan. You might consider repainting and taking new photos, or changing up your listing to highlight some other features of the house.