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20067797_SReady to buy your first home? Your first step is to visit a mortgage lender to see how much house you can afford. But be prepared for the paperwork that comes with it. Here are the documents you’ll be asked to provide as part of the loan application process:

Rental payment history. If you’re a first-time home buyer, you’ll need to provide proof that you paid your rent on time. Your lender can tell you how to document this payment history.

Tax returns. You will likely be asked for two or three years of tax returns with all the attached schedules and documents.

Paychecks, W-2s and other income documentation. Start with at least a month’s worth of paychecks, plus W-2 forms for you and your spouse. Do you have income from other sources? Include documentation for any freelance work, self-employment income and child support payments as well.

Account information. Your lender will want to see checking and savings account statements for at least one month. You may be asked for any other account statements as well to document your down payment funds and money you have set aside in savings.

Remember, the more quickly you respond to requests for documentation, the more quickly your loan application can be processed!


46796187_MEight seconds.

Not much time, right? But that’s how long you have to catch a buyer’s attention when selling a home. So, you’ve got to make those seconds count from the moment a prospective buyer arrives on your property.

It’s not just about selling your home quickly. It’s also about fetching the highest price possible.

Properties that look nice and smell nice inevitably sell for more money than comparable homes with cluttered closets, dishes in the sink and dandelions speckling the front lawn. So, how do you get your home ready for a potential buyer? Here are some tips that will help you make a good first impression.

Let’s start with the outside:

  • Curbside appeal: Believe it or not, the cleanliness of your street and sidewalk matter when it comes to selling a house. Keep the pavement in front of your house free of litter – even if it takes a sweep – and remove any weeds that may be growing up through the cracks of your sidewalk.
  • Fresh paint: Even if you don’t want to spend the money to paint the entire house, there are a couple places that will pay off in dividends if you can afford a few gallons of paint. When it comes to making a good first impression, there’s no better place to start than with the fence. Give it a fresh coat. You should also think about the front door, shutters and even lamp posts to send a message that you care about details.
  • Landscaping: No buyer will be impressed by an overgrown, or weed-infested, lawn. Keep the yard looking nice by mowing the grass, weeding flower beds and clipping any hedges.

Now for the inside:

  • Lighten up: Make sure your house looks as bright as possible. Light is a proven seller. So keep the windows clean, replace any burned-out light bulbs and even use mirrors to help magnify the feeling of light and space.
  • Color scheme: Although you may enjoy decorating in orange or lime green, avoid those colors when selling. Look for neutral colors that allow buyers to better picture themselves in the home.
  • Clean, clean and de-clutter: Make sure your potential buyer isn’t distracted by a gallon of milk on the counter, dust bunnies beneath the couch or knickknacks piled high on your shelves. Focus on making your home look big, clean and desirable.

Does that help? If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call.


The 20 percent downpayment myth

Oct 3
7:29
AM
Category | General

793815 - two-story house with five dollar bills backgroundThink that you need a 20 percent downpayment to purchase a home? Many prospective home buyers buy into this myth, studies show. Yet research shows that among those who take out a mortgage to purchase a home, the median downpayment is about 10 percent.

For first-time home buyers (comprising more than one third of all home buyers), the downpayment is typically lower, in the 5 percent range, while repeat buyers typically make a downpayment of around 14 percent, according to National Association of Realtors’ data.

In all, 88 percent of home buyers finance their home purchases. Some other home financing facts:

  • For 59 percent of home buyers, the source of their downpayment is wholly or partially their personal savings. Thirty-eight percent of home buyers use all or part of the proceeds from the sale of a primary residence, contributing to the larger downpayment for repeat buyers.
  • For 13 percent of buyers, the most difficult step in the home buying process is saving for a downpayment. Of those buyers, nearly half say that student loans made saving for a downpayment more challenging. Forty-two percent cite credit card debt as being their primary challenge; 37 percent cite car loans.
  • Of all home buyers surveyed, 65 percent are married couples, 18 percent are single females, 7 percent are single males, and 8 percent are unmarried couples.

Are you ready to purchase a home? We’re here to help you get started!


38391470 - female realtor giving young couple key from real estateYou found a home your family loves. But you’re not the only one who wants it. What’s the best way to make an offer on a home that other buyers are vying for as well? Here are some ways to put your best foot forward:

Start off with your best offer. This isn’t the time to start with a lowball offer and wait for the seller to make a counteroffer before you offer more. If you have competition, you’ll want to consider making your best offer right off the bat. That said, don’t let a multiple offer situation push you into offering more than you’re comfortable paying.

Make sure you’re pre-approved. Make sure you’re pre-approved for a home loan before you start your home search, not just prequalified. Attach your pre-approval letter to your offer.

Don’t skimp on earnest money. An adequate earnest money deposit is a sign that you’re serious about buying the home.

Don’t waive the home inspection. In multiple offer situations, it’s easy to get caught up in the competition and do whatever it takes to win. To stand out, some buyers will even elect to not make a professional home inspection a contingency of their offer. Home inspections are an important part of the home buying process and can help you spot costly problems.

Relax. There are so many parts of a multiple offer situation you have no control over, so try not to let the stress get to you.


3486735 - family moving into new home smilingHomeowner and renter insurance plans are designed to protect you in the event of a disaster such as a fire. But with all the items in an average household, it’s imperative that you document your belongings so that you can file an accurate and timely claim should you need to. When moving, many families buy new appliances or furniture and in some cases get rid of other items. That’s why once you’re settled into your new home, it’s an ideal time to create or update your home inventory. Here are the three components of an effective home inventory:

Photos or video. You can take photos or video, but you’ll want shots of entire rooms and close-ups of items such as electronics, jewelry, collectibles, guns and any individual items of significant value. It’s a good idea if you’re using video to provide a narration as you walk through each room, explaining what you are recording.

A written inventory. You’ll also want to prepare a written inventory of your belongings. You can create a Word document on your computer or use a blank sheet of paper or a worksheet like this one from the National Association of Realtors. Keep your written inventory with receipts for items you’ve purchased.

Safe storage. If you have a fireproof safe, keep both your visual and written inventories there or in another safe place. You also may want to keep a copy off-site as well, in a safe-deposit box or with a trusted friend or family member. If your written and visual inventory is saved electronically, make sure it’s backed up.

Having a home inventory makes surviving and dealing with a home disaster a lot less stressful. Could you imagine trying to recount every single item in your home that was damaged, destroyed or stolen? With a home inventory, you’re more ready for the unexpected.


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