Jeffrey Harrington's Blog
Bad credit happens. Maybe you were late on some loan payments, or maybe you got a bit to swipe-happy with a credit card while you were in college. Or, maybe you were like many other Americans who took a financial hit during the housing crisis. Regardless, it can take a long time to recuperate from a bad credit score.
If you’re hoping to buy a home but have poor credit, it can seem like you don’t have many options. However, there are many mortgages designed with such people in mind.
In this post, we’re going to discuss some of the options for people interested in home ownership who have low credit and ways they can achieve this goal without taking on high interest loans.
First thing’s first: start prioritizing your credit
Even if you want to buy a home within the coming months, it’s always a good idea to start building credit. It does take several months to see a substantial difference on your credit report, but starting now will save you in the long run and will show lenders that you’re making a difference.
To give your credit score a boost in the shortest time possible, set all of your bills on auto-payment, repay and late bills such as medical expenses, and set up payment plans wherever needed. If possible, become an authorized user on someone’s credit card and use that for everyday expenses like groceries. Doing so will help you build credit without opening new cards that have high interest.
Many types of mortgages
Mortgages come in many shapes and forms. Since lenders are in competition with one another, you can often find loans that cater to underserved markets. In this case, that market is people with low credit scores.
Call some local lenders and ask if they have programs for people with low credit. Often they will point you toward first-time homeowner loans and USDA-guaranteed mortgages. Other times they might offer loans with high down payments. But, you’ll never know until you ask.
USDA and FHA Loans
Currently, USDA loans have a minimum credit score of 620. For FHA loans, lenders recently reduced the minimum score to 580. With these loans, you can pay a low, or no, down payment and still receive a mortgage loan.
The first step to getting approved for either type of loan is getting in contact with a lender to determine your eligibility. Eligibility is based on other factors such as your income, and in the case of USDA loans, the location of the home.
If your score is lower than 580 or you don’t qualify for a USDA loan, you can still find other options. One would be to pay a higher down payment on the home. This would help ensure the lender that you are able to provide income to make payments in spite of your credit history.
Another option would be to reason with your lender of choice. Most of the application process comes down to numbers, but if you can show a lender that you have substantial, reliable income, and have been making rent payments for multiple years, these can both help build your case.
When you buy a home, you may wonder what the benefits of having your own realtor to represent you are. If you’re a first-time homebuyer, you probably will have a lot of questions. If you’re a second-time homebuyer you may still have a lot of questions! Buying a home can be a long, tedious process. It’s very helpful to know that you have a knowledgable realtor by your side to represent you and help you through the home buying process. If you’re looking to buy a home in a tough market, hiring your own realtor to represent you as a buyer is especially important.
First, you should consider interviewing some prospective buyers agents in your area. Maybe you can get recommendations from friends and family as well. Learn what you can expect from a top realtor who will represent you as a buyer.
Honesty Is The Best Policy
Your agent should be completely honest with you. While they can’t tell you what you personally want in a home, they should give you every last disclosure. No agent should put a home value or their own commission above their clients. This means that there’s strict documentation that realtors must follow including a code of ethics and standards for practice. A realtor must uphold these promises.
Judging honesty in a realtor can be difficult. An honest real estate agent will help you through the home search process, for example. This is a good place to start. If the realtor points out some of the potential issues that you may have as a buyer in a home, you can see that honesty is one of their main policies.
A realtor should be in frequent communication with you. Even if your home search isn’t active, they will check in, and see where you’re at in the process and if your needs have changed.
Your realtor should alert you if offers have been made on properties that you’re interested in as well. Your buyer’s agent should reply to texts, e-mails, or calls within a short time frame of receiving them. Having a realtor that’s on top of things for you is important when it comes to buying a home since, without their help and information, the perfect home could slip through the cracks for you.
Knowledge Of Rules, Regulations, And Best Practices
Your buyer’s agent should have extensive knowledge of the real estate rules and regulations that are within your state. Each state has different practices when it comes to buying a home. Hiring a buyer’s agent is especially helpful if you are unfamiliar with a state or city. Your agent will be well-informed on all of your responsibilities as a buyer, as well as how and when you should complete these tasks and signings throughout the entire home buying process.
Getting the best price for your home may seem like a major challenge, particularly for a first-time home seller. Lucky for you, we're here to teach you what it takes to maximize the value of your home.
Now, let's take a look at three simple ways to optimize the value of a residence in any housing market, at any time.
1. Analyze the Housing Market
Are you operating in a buyer's market or a seller's market? A first-time home seller who understands the differences between these types of housing markets can boost his or her chances of getting the best possible results during the home selling journey.
Take a look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. That way, you can learn how long homes were available before they sold and learn about the demand for residences in your region.
Furthermore, don't forget to look at the prices of homes that are currently available and similar to your own. With this housing market data in hand, you may be better equipped than other home sellers to establish a competitive price for your house.
2. Conduct a Home Appraisal
A home appraisal is exceedingly valuable to a first-time home seller, as it enables a property seller to learn about a house's strengths and weaknesses.
During a home appraisal, a property inspector will examine a residence's interior and exterior. This inspector will spend several hours evaluating a residence, and after the assessment is complete, provide a comprehensive report that details his or her findings.
Analyzing the results of a home appraisal report is paramount. This will allow a home seller to find out what he or she can do to upgrade a home. Then, a home seller can allocate the necessary time and resources to transform assorted home weaknesses into strengths.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a home selling expert, and as such, this housing market professional will do what it takes to help a first-time home seller optimize the value of a residence.
Typically, a real estate agent will help a home seller navigate all steps of the property selling journey. He or she will promote a residence to potential homebuyers, set up home showings and open houses and negotiate with homebuyers on a seller's behalf.
Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is happy to help a home seller make informed decisions. This housing market professional will even teach a home seller about the real estate market and provide honest, unbiased home selling recommendations.
For a first-time home seller, navigating the real estate market may seem virtually impossible. But with a real estate agent at your side, you can streamline the home selling process and move one step closer to optimizing the value of your house.
Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and a first-time home seller can increase the likelihood of receiving a great price for his or her residence.
When you’re trying to sell your home, there are a few mistakes that could make or break completing the sale of the home in a timely manner. While some things like a tough market or a home with a lot of extra-special features are out of your immediate control, there are plenty of things that you can do when it comes to selling your home. Read on for expert selling tips on what to avoid when your home is going on the market.
Your Home Is Overpriced
Overpriced homes tend to sit on the market for a longer period of time. This is because buyers can see that the price isn’t right and are waiting for a price drop. It’s so easy to overestimate the value of your home as well.
When a home sits on the market for a longer period of time, buyers also wonder if there’s something wrong with the home. Was there a botched inspection? Does the home need major work that’s not visible to the naked eye? An idle home sale leaves buyers wondering, and your home still left on the market.
As far as price goes, if your home has been sitting on the market, you’ll need to consider dropping the price in a timely fashion if the price isn’t right. You also should be open to bargaining with buyers. In the grand scheme of selling a home sometimes being stubborn with $5,000 doesn’t pay off in the end.
You Didn’t Clean Before A Showing
When your home goes on the market, you’ll need to do a deep clean of the home. This could mean shelling out some money for a professional cleaning service. Buyers want to see homes that are in pretty good condition. It’s hard to picture living in a place where there’s a lot of dirt and clutter. If you need to, put some of your stuff in storage for the showing. Buyers need some vision to help them decide on the home that’s right for them. You can help them to find that vision with a spotless house.
Using Subpar Photographs
When it comes to selling your home, you want the best possible photographs to depict your property. Most home buyers start their search online these days and high-quality photographs are the best first impression of your property that you can give. A few cell phone pictures just won’t cut it. If you can’t get professional photographs done to sell your home, you might want to find someone with a more professional camera or a bit of amateur photography skills. Buyers are focusing on the pictures way more than they are the words in descriptions for online listings. Find the best way to give buyers an overview of your property in images with a good impression.
If you’re selling your home it can be frustrating when you aren’t receiving any offers. Perhaps you’ve heard that it’s a seller’s market and that the offers on your house would be flying in. However, it’s more complicated than that.
Whether or not your house receives offers is determined by a number of reasons--some that in your control, others that aren’t. But, that doesn’t mean you have to give up and sell your house at a low price.
In this article, we’ll discuss what to do if your house just isn’t selling. We’ll talk about some reasons why people may be hesitant to bid, to inquire about a showing, and to seal the deal and purchase your home.
Revisit the comparable properties
If your home has been on the market for a while, it’s a good idea to check out the other recent homes in your neighborhood to see how their prices compare to the listing price of your home. Since the market fluctuates, other sellers could be adjusting the cost to reflect the current rates, leaving yours higher than it should be.
When pricing your home, make sure you are comparing your house to those that have actually sold. Using houses that have been on the market for a while as a baseline might mean you’ve priced your home too high to sell just like theirs.
Also, make sure you are using houses that share many of the common features that yours does. This can include:
The year the house was built
Number of bedrooms and baths
The lot size
The condition of the home
Remember, it isn’t all just about location.
Getting more leads
If people aren’t making inquiries about your home, there are a few things you should check up on. First, make sure your listings are updated and accurate. The contact info should be easy to find, and you or your real estate agent should provide multiple means of contact (email, cell phone, text, etc.).
Next, ensure that you’ve given enough details about the house. If people are searching for a specific number of rooms but your listing doesn’t mention the number of rooms you have, you might be missing out on several inquiries.
Finally, make sure your photos are high resolution and well-lit. You want to make sure visitors to your listing can get a clear idea of what your home looks like. If your photos are small, dark, blurry, or if they make the house look cramped and cluttered, you should retake your photos or consider hiring a photographer.
Getting more offers
If you’ve had plenty of inquiries and showings but you aren’t getting any offers there may be a deeper, underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Usually, this means your home needs important repairs and upgrades that buyers simply don’t want to make.
If your house is priced to be move-in ready but it’s not, you’ll have to make some upgrades or lower the price.
Not working with an agent
Sellers can also have a difficult time getting offers if they attempt to sell the home themselves without using a real estate agent. If your home is FSBO (For Sale by Owner), you’re missing out on a number of listing services and connections that an agent can provide.