Jeffrey Harrington's Blog
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.
Many homeowners are unaware that the most common causes of house fires are cooking related. According to data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking fires cause 46% of house fires and 44% of household injuries.
You aren’t alone if you think those numbers are shockingly high. However, most of us are never taught cooking safety techniques. In this article, we’re going to give you some tips to protect you and your family from the most common and some lesser known causes of kitchen fires.
Cooking fire statistics
Knowing the most common causes of cooking fires is a great way to understand just how dangerous certain types of cooking really are. The NFPA reports that frying is the most dangerous type of cooking. Two-thirds of cooking fires were the result of the ignition of food and cooking materials.
In terms of equipment, the range or cooktop is the most dangerous part of the kitchen, causing over 60% of fires. However, much of the time the cause comes down to leaving your equipment unattended.
One of the most important things you can do to reduce the risk of house fires is to stay in the kitchen while you’re cooking. Unattended ranges, stovetops, and ovens can be particularly deadly since they can happen as a result of someone dozing off while watching television, or someone forgetting they left a burner on after they go to sleep.
A good way to monitor your cooking is to always use a timer, even if you don’t necessarily need one for the cooking that you’re doing. Also, be sure that your smoke detectors are working and that you have a functional fire extinguisher in your home. Make sure your family knows what to do if they encounter a fire.
Before you turn on your burners before frying, make sure there is nothing around your oven that can catch fire. A food container, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper towels, or curtains could all potentially catch fire if they come in close contact with a burner.
Clothing is also a leading cause of kitchen fires that turn fatal. Make sure sleeves and other pieces of clothing aren’t near any burners or open flames.
In case of fire
If you encounter a large cooking fire that is spreading throughout, the best thing to do is to immediately gather your family and get out of the house, avoiding the kitchen entirely. Call 9-1-1 as soon as you are safely outside and don’t re-enter the house under any circumstances.
For small grease fires, smother the fire with a lid and turn off the burner immediately.
Understanding cooking fires
Most fire requires oxygen to burn and spread. If there is a small fire in your kitchen, using a soaked towel or a pan lid to smother it will suffice.
However, grease fires work differently. Never put water on a grease fire, this can cause the fire to spread very quickly. Rather, use a lid to put out the fire if it is small enough to get near. You can also throw baking soda, or use a fire extinguisher on a small grease fire.
An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) offers a home loan with an interest rate that may move up or down. Therefore, with an ARM, your mortgage payments may rise or fall depending on a variety of market factors.
For many homebuyers, an ARM remains a viable home financing option for a number of reasons, including:
1. Lower Interest Rate at the Beginning of Your Mortgage
An ARM enables you to purchase a home that may exceed your price range. As such, it frequently represents an ideal option for a young professional who expects his or her income to rise over the next few years.
With an ARM, you are able to lock in an interest rate for the first few years of your mortgage. For instance, with a 5/1 ARM, your interest rate will remain in place for the initial five years of your home loan. This means that your mortgage payments will remain the same for five years, then rise or fall based on market conditions.
Ultimately, an ARM may help you secure your dream home. In fact, an ARM often allows homebuyers to pay a lower interest rate at the beginning of a mortgage than the interest rate associated with many traditional fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) options.
2. Extra Savings for Home Improvements
If you choose an ARM with a below-average interest rate, you may be able to save extra money that you can use to improve your home.
For example, if you want to overhaul your residence's attic or basement or add an outdoor swimming pool, an ARM may help you do just that. Because you'll know exactly what you're paying for the first few years of your home loan, you can budget accordingly and invest in home improvements that may help you boost the value of your home.
3. Affordable Short-Term Financing
If you intend to live in a home for only a few years, an ARM may be preferable compared to an FRM.
In many instances, an ARM will feature a lower interest rate than an FRM. As a result, if you take advantage of an ARM, you may be able to secure a great house at an affordable price. Plus, if you sell your home before your initial interest rate expires, you can avoid the risk that your interest rate – and monthly mortgage costs – may rise.
Homebuyers should evaluate both ARM and FRM options. By doing so, a homebuyer can assess his or her home loan options and make an informed decision.
If you ever have ARM or FRM questions, banks and credit unions are happy to respond to your queries. These lenders will enable you to evaluate your financing needs so you can acquire your dream house.
Furthermore, consulting with your real estate agent may deliver immediate and long-lasting benefits. Your real estate agent can offer home loan recommendations and put you in touch with local lenders.
Dedicate the necessary time and resources to assess your home financing options, and you can move one step closer to securing your ideal house.
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.