Posted by WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briarwood Real Estate on 8/15/2019

Getting your home ready to sell involves more than just packing all of your property in boxes and leaving. It begins right from the time you move in. Often it even starts before you buy another home. Many people rely on money from the sale of their home to buy their next home. If you are in this category, beginning the process early will help increase your profits.

Do not panic; this article will walk you through the entire process. To start with, there are some improvements you can make to your property to make it sell faster. This is what you will see throughout this article.

Improvements You Should Make on Your Home

Almost all homes require some extra love and care, and this is the reason why you need to start this process early. The kind of improvement we are talking about here are those things that will bring up the value of your home. 

How do you do it?

First, critically look at your house and take inventory of all the repairs needed. Spend around two weekends to looking for easy things such as touching up paint and patching nail holes, but plan for more time to check out more substantial projects like the roof or foundation.

The critical areas of your home are the kitchen and bathrooms, so start your improvements there first. Updating these areas of your home can include replacing hardware, painting the cabinets, or hanging new light fixtures.

You should keep an eye out for anything you think might need a bit of work while making these improvements. These improvements should not cost you millions of dollars, but completing these repairs before you list your house for sale will show that you are able and even ready to make more money on the home.

Find out the Fair Market Value of Your Property

The fair market value of your home can best be described as the price that a home buyer would pay readily without any pressure from outside sources. The price can be influenced by many factors such as the appraisal, tax assessment, and homes in that area.

  • The bank or the buyers' lender usually completes the appraisal to ensure the value is in the home before they buy the property.
  • The tax assessment is an estimated value based on information the government has on your property without really seeing the inside of your home.
  • Finding your house's value based on others in the area is referred to as a Comparative Marketing Analysis (CMA).

Comparative Marketing Analysis

A CMA looks at properties that have the same square footage and similar features to determine a sale price for your home. A full CMA also considers some other factors such as houses that have been sold recently or those that listed for sale at the moment, their duration on the market, and how they compare with your listing.

The value of your property may rise and fall depending on a lot of things: the area, the local market, and the season in which you are trying to sell to name a few. It is good to have a real estate agent who knows your particular area complete your CMA. They have a more complete vision of the market you are in and will be able to price your home cleverly at the spot where it will sell fast for the highest value.

Selling your home can take a toll on your patience if you are not prepared beforehand, but knowing and completing these steps in advance will make the process a smooth one. So, get out there and get your house ready for sale!





Posted by WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briarwood Real Estate on 7/25/2019

New homeowners often wonder why the insurance costs of their homes are on the high side. Even long-time homeowners might notice an increase in their home's insurance cost. The pressing question remains; "Why is my homeowner’s insurance so high and how can I reduce it?"

Every homeowner has a budget with which they run their homes. It will be a burden on their wallets to pay high insurance alongside other utility bills–energy bills, water bills, and the likes.

It is essential to know the critical factors that raise insurance cost. Even home buyers need to have this knowledge, so they are prepared for it beforehand.

Your home has many unchangeable features that contribute to the homeowner’s insurance cost. However, there are several ways to minimize the risks and reduce the cost of insuring the home.

Location

Location is one of those things about a home that can't be changed, and it has a significant influence on how much you pay for insurance. If your home sits close to beaches, it is prone to flooding and other natural disasters that are water-inclined. A house in a 'safe zone' will not pay the same insurance as another in areas prone to flooding. This aspect is one thing the insurance company considers.

Structure of your home

Another thing to consider when testing a home's risk is the structure and build of the house. Older homes are seen as high-risk structures by insurance companies. Age will require them to quote a higher homeowner's insurance cost or outright refuse to insure the property.

Also, houses built with wood are susceptible to the devastating spread of fire which increases the risk to such property. The higher the risk, the higher you pay for insuring the home.

Condition of the roof

The roof is perhaps the most critical part of a home. It is usually the largest and suffers from all the exposure to environmental conditions. Roofs have a life span, and it costs a lot to replace them. In older houses, chances are the roof will need a replacement soon and this tells negatively on your insurance.

Home safety

Where a home is located will always determine the cost of insuring it. If your home is in a neighborhood that experiences frequent burglary, homeowner’s insurance cost will be high. It will cost you more to protect your home if it's in an area prone to natural disasters like earthquakes, flooding, tornado, etc.





Posted by WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briarwood Real Estate on 7/18/2019

Do you dream of buying a home? If your answer is yes, then VA home loan can make it a reality. A VA home loan differs from the traditional mortgage home loan. It is essential to know if you are eligible to apply for a VA home loan and how it can help you purchase your own home.

What is VA Home Loan?  

A VA home loan is a loan for which veterans, active-duty service members, and some surviving spouses are eligible. Generally, VA loans feature better terms than a traditional mortgage, and it is easy to qualify. For many military borrowers, the flexibility and no-down payment nature of VA Home loan have made it the most reliable lending plan in the market. You may find it interesting that from 1944 until today, VA home loans have made over 20 million service members homeowners.

VA Home Loan- Eligibility requirements

To be eligible for a VA Home Loan, a person must meet one or more of the following criteria:

- You must have served 90 straight days of active service at the time of war.

- You must have served 181 days of active service. 

- You have accumulated six or more years of service in the Reserves or National Guards.

- Your spouse, who is a service member, becomes disabled or dies during service.

How Does VA Home Loan Work?

The first step to homeownership through VA home loan is to get pre-qualified. You will need to meet up with a VA lender to help you get an estimate of the price of the home you can afford based on your credit, income, and other financial factors.

After getting pre-qualified, the next thing to do is to pre-approve your loan. This will give you the power to take action when you see a home you love. When the preapproval process is complete, you will need to hire a knowledgeable VA agent to help you place an offer and negotiate with the seller.

If you and the seller have agreed concerning the price for the house, your lender will order a VA appraisal of the home. Also, underwriters will analyze your income, finance, and related documents. Next, get ready to sign several kinds of legal documents at your loan closing. After this, you will get the keys to your new home.

Here are some of the most important things to know about a VA home loan;

- It is reusable as long as you pay off the loan every time.

- You can only use it for specific homes.

- You can use it for a primary residence.

- It does not require mortgage insurance.

- It comes with a VA funding fee.

Even if you qualify for a VA home loan, take your time to think if owning a home is right for you. Consider the maintenance, property taxes, and Home upkeep. Renting may seem cheap. Before you go for a VA home loan, consult a home loan specialist.





Categories: Real estate   Mortgage   VA home loans  


Posted by WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briarwood Real Estate on 7/17/2019

It is a fact that people who plan carefully to own a home will run into fewer financial issues later. So, if you want to buy a property now or sometime in the future, your first step should be to check your credit. It is a good idea to review your credit reports and scores from time to time, even if you are not buying the house or applying for a mortgage immediately. 

Your Credit Scores

Nowadays, most lenders use a FICO score when determining whether to offer you a loan or not, as well as in setting the rate and terms. Different lenders may use different credit scoring formulas, so your score can vary based on what type of scoring model the mortgage lender uses whether Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion FICO score. 

The scoring system is dynamic so that your score changes as the information in your credit report changes.

Ways of Getting Your Credit Score

There are many ways of accessing a credit score, and some of them are free. However, most organizations that provide free credit scores do so using different scoring methods than what the lenders' actually use. 

The four ways to obtain a score: 

1. Evaluate your credit card or another account statement - Most big credit card companies and some financial institutions, as well as credit unions, have started the service of providing credit scores to all their customers every month for free. The score is often written on your monthly statement or can be found by logging in to your online account. 

2. Consult with a non-profit adviser - Non-profit credit advisers and HUD-approved housing counselors can provide you with a free credit report in most cases and score and even assist you in reviewing them. A counselor may help you to buy a home, but we recommend you reach out to your reliable real estate agent who is more experienced and understands the job well than a mere counselor.

3. Buy a score - Credit reporting companies will sell your scores to you directly. You can also buy a FICO credit score at myfico.com. These credit scores are often different from your free ones and can be more accurate to what your lender sees. Don't get sucked into paying for extra features with your credit report such as identity theft monitoring, credit protection, or other services offered at the time of purchase.

4. Credit score services - Several websites offer a free credit score service. Some of these websites may be funded through advertising while others may require that you register for a credit monitoring service where you pay a monthly subscription fee to get your free score. 

Be aware that some of these services are usually advertised as free trial offers, and will start charging you a monthly fee if you don't cancel within the first week or month. Before you register for a service, ensure you know how much it really costs and how long the free period lasts. 

Your Credit Score Matters

Everybody is entitled to shop around for the best mortgage for their financial situation no matter their credit score. So, checking your credit history, fixing any mistakes, and knowing your credit scores will make you most suitable for getting a mortgage to buy a property for yourself.





Posted by WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briarwood Real Estate on 7/15/2019

Selling your home is a big deal, and while there's a lot that your real estate agent will do for you, you also have an essential part to play in the process of selling your home for a new one. A seller needs to make the house as attractive as possible when putting it up for sale. Here are the ways to prepare your home for sale: 

Look at the house from a stranger's viewpoint 

The advantage of viewing your property from a prospective buyer's perspective is that it enables you to identify some defects that could prevent potential buyers from initiating the sale process. Taking an unbiased and unemotional look at your home will help you see things in a better light. Better still, you can ask your friend or real estate agent to examine your home and give you an honest opinion about the state of the residence. And, try to amend whatever they pointed out as a defect. 

Remove pets from the house

Pets are good to have in a home, but not all buyers like the idea of buying a home with pets around. Some buyers may not want to see pets around, especially if they are allergic to them. Therefore, it is advisable to remove all pets from the house. And have a non-pet owner give your home the "sniff test" to make sure the pet odors are gone too.

Make Improvement before selling 

Nothing discourages buyers more than a property that is poorly maintained. Not only that, such houses attract lower offers. Prospective buyers will not be willing to buy a house for top dollar that requires extra costs for repairs and improvements. Therefore, an excellent way to increase the value of your home is to improve it before putting it up for sale. However, you should not overspend on home improvements, or the expenses will eat into your profits when selling. Your agent is an excellent resource for pointing out which upgrades are worth the money spent. 

Spread the word

Below are ways that you can market your home by yourself and with the help of your real estate agent.

- Pay for ad space in local directories

- Word of mouth to friends and family

- Multiple Listing Services through your agent

- Speak to your realtor about creating a Virtual Tour

- Plan an open house to allow prospective buyers to see the house themselves

If you plan to place your home up for sale, consider the ideas above to ensure a fast sale. Most of all, follow your agent's advice on marketing trends that work best in your market.