Because of its prominent role in the home buying process, it’s important for you to understand what a credit score is, how it’s compiled and how to obtain your credit report. For your FREE credit report, go to https://www.annualcreditreport.com and let me know if you have any questions!
Checklists work because they contain the important things that need to be done. They provide a reminder about things we know and realize but may have slipped our minds as well as inform us about things we didn’t consider. Periodic attention to these areas can protect the investment in your home.
- Change HVAC filters regularly. Consider purchasing a supply of the correct sizes needed onlineand they’ll even remind you when it’s time to order them again.
- Change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors annually.
- Create and regularly update a Home Inventory to keep track of personal belongings in case of burglary or casualty loss.
- Keep track of capital improvements, with a Homeowners Tax Guide, made to your home throughout the year that increases your basis and lowers gain.
- Order free credit reports from all three bureaus once a year at www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Challenge your property tax assessment when you receive that year’s assessment when you feel that the value is too high. We can supply the comparable sales and you can handle the rest.
- Establish a family emergency plan identifying the best escape routes and where family members should meet after leaving the home.
- If you have a mortgage, verify the unpaid balance and if additional principal payments were applied properly. Use a Equity Accelerator to estimate how long it will take to retire your mortgage.
- Keep trees pruned and shrubs trimmed away from house to enhance visual appeal, increase security and prevent damage.
- Have heating and cooling professionally serviced annually.
- Check toilets periodically to see if they’re leaking water and repair if necessary.
- Clean gutters twice a year to control rainwater away from your home to protect roof, siding and foundation.
- To identify indications of foundation issues, periodically, check around perimeter of home for cracks in walls or concrete. Do doors and windows open properly?
- Peeling or chipping paint can lead to wood and interior damage. Small areas can be touched-up but multiple areas may indicate that the whole exterior needs painting.
- If there is a chimney and fires are burned in the fireplace, it will need to be inspected and possibly cleaned.
- If the home has a sprinkler system, manually turn the sprinklers on, one station at a time to determine if they are working and aimed properly. Evaluate if the timers are set properly. Look for pooling water that could indicate a leak underground.
- Have your home inspected for termites.
Instead of remembering when you need to do these different things, use your calendar to create a system. As an example, make a new appointment with “change the HVAC filters” in the subject line. Select the recurring event button and decide the pattern. For instance, set this one for monthly, every two months with no end date. You can schedule a time or just an all-day event will show at the top of your calendar that day.
By scheduling as many of these items as you can, you won’t forget that they need to be done. If you don’t delete them from the calendar, you’ll continue to be “nagged” until you finally do them.
If you have questions or need a recommendation of a service provider, give us a call at (757) 563-3110. We deal with issues like this regularly and have experience with workers who are reputable and reasonable.
Buyer’s mortgage pre-approval is good for everyone in the transaction. It saves time, money and removes the uncertainty of knowing whether the buyer will be qualified after negotiating a contract. The direct benefits include:
- Looking at “Right” homes – price, size, amenities, location
- Find the best loan – rate, term, type
- Uncover credit issues early – time to cure possible problems
- Negotiating power – price, terms, & timing
- Close quicker – verifications have been made
There is a significant difference in having a trusted mortgage professional take a loan application and run all the necessary verifications compared to going through calculators on a lender’s website. Beside the peace of mind, the cost of being pre-approved is a bargain and generally, limited to the cost of the credit report.
Even if a person has been pre-approved, a second opinion from a different lender may be a good option. It can verify there is a good deal or you’ll discover that you can improve it. Either way, it works to your advantage. Contact me if you’d like a recommendation of a trusted mortgage officer.
Homeowners may be totally unaware that their home has an unpleasant odor. It can be unrecognizable to them but immediately apparent to visitors on entering the home.
Candles, aerosol spray or even chocolate chip cookies can’t get rid of the smell. To eliminate the odor, the source of the smell first has to be removed and then, the affected areas can be treated.
Cigarette smoke is particularly offensive to people. It is very common for buyers to refuse to even consider looking at a home where smoking is allowed. This odor permeates the air in a home and soaks into carpets, furniture, drapes, clothing and even the building materials like drywall and cabinets.
Pets may be considered part of the family but it is still a problem when the animals are not adequately house-broken. Urine isn’t just absorbed by the carpet but also the padding and in some cases, the subflooring. Sometimes, walls and floors have to be treated and sealed before painting and new floor covering can be installed.
If a casual friend doesn’t want to hurt your feelings about the jeans you’re wearing, you can bet the ranch that they won’t tell you about the odors in your home. You’ll need to rely on your closest friends to tell you the truth or maybe your mother-in-law.
“It’s not far, if you know the way.” What this expression implies is that you could have a long way to go if you don’t know where you’re going or how to get there. Just like reading a map, there are some definite steps that will improve your success in buying a home in today’s market.
- Know your credit score – the best mortgage rates are available to borrowers with the highest scores. Unless you know what your credit score is at all three major credit bureaus, you don’t really know what rate you’ll have to pay.
- Clean up your credit – it is estimated that about 90% of credit reports have errors. Some are not serious but others could affect a borrower from getting the loan they want. It is your responsibility to know what is on your different reports and correct them if possible. You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report each year from Experian, Trans Union and Equifax.
- Get pre-approved – Taking the time to make a loan application with a qualified lender even before you start looking at homes will provide peace of mind, make sure that you are looking at the “right” homes and may help you negotiate the best price on the home you select.
- Do your homework – when you find the home that meets your needs and desires, get the home inspected and research the tax assessments, school ratings, crime activity, possible zoning changes and comparable sales in the area.
Call for a recommendation of a trusted mortgage professional and an inspector.