Jay Allen's Blog
Selecting a real estate agent who is an active listener is a critical element in a home search. After all, it is that professional's job to understand your needs...which is best achieved through focused dialogue. It is this solid foundation of communication that will ensure a positive home buying experience. Here are some things to look for in your realtor relationship.
1. Your real estate agent responds to your concerns and questions as quickly as possible.
"Time is of the essence" is a term we see in many legal contracts to ensure that two parties promise diligence in completing defined tasks in order to achieve a common goal in a timely manner. However, in real estate, it is an essential consideration even before you enter into an offer contract. After a home showing, you may have questions about the age of the roof, utility history, etc. The quicker you receive answers to your questions, the better equipped you will be to decide if that home is "the one." These opportunities to purchase are sometimes fleeting...with other equally motivated buyers considering the same purchase decision. It is imperative to quickly gather as much info as possible to avoid missed opportunities.
Home sellers also need reassurance that their agent is responsive. If it takes more than 24 hours for your agent to return your phone call, you can expect other buyers and agents inquiring about your home are experiencing the same thing. Your agent should be held to a high standard on the topic of timely communication.
2. Your real estate agent follows up with you regularly.
A real estate agent who provides regular updates demonstrates that they are actively working on the task of helping you buy or sell a home. Agents who go silent leave a buyer or seller wondering if they are putting in the necessary time to assist with their real estate goals. And that is not a good feeling.
3. Your real estate agent asks questions and requests feedback.
When it comes to choosing a real estate agent, it is vital to select one who asks questions and requests feedback. It is the only way that an agent can develop a better understanding of a client's needs and wants. A skilled agent will dedicate the necessary time and resources to actively engage with their client in order to ensure they are providing top tier service.
Kick off the homebuying or home selling process by hiring a real estate agent who knows how to listen to his or her clients. That way, you can increase the likelihood of a successful homebuying or home selling experience.
Preparing to buy a home is a long and stressful process for many. You’ve spent months, or even years, saving for a down payment, planning your future, and building your credit to ensure you get the best possible interest rate on your loan.
Then you find out, when getting preapproved for a mortgage, that your credit score dropped by a few points. So, what gives?
There’s a lot to understand about how credit scores affect mortgages and vice versa. In today’s post, I’m going to attempt to cover everything you need to know about how applying for a mortgage can affect your credit score so you’ll be prepared when it comes time to buy a home.
Prequalification, preapproval, and credit checks
There are a lot of misconceptions about what it means to be preapproved or prequalified for a loan. Some of it is due to the jargon that is used in real estate transactions, and some of it is just a marketing technique on the part of lenders.
So, what does it mean to be prequalified and preapproved?
The short version is that getting prequalified is a quick and easy process to determine whether you’re eligible to lend to and how much you’re likely to receive. It involves a quick review of your finances, and often includes either a self-reported or soft credit inquiry.
A “soft inquiry” is the type of credit check that employers typically use for a background check. It doesn’t affect your credit score, as you are not applying to open a new line of credit. In fact, many lenders’ process for prequalification is a simple online form that doesn’t even require a credit check. We’ll talk more about the difference between soft inquiries and hard inquiries later.
The simplicity of prequalification makes it a simple and easy way to get started. But, it isn’t always accurate in how well it predicts the type of mortgage and loan amount you can receive. That’s where preapproval comes in.
When you get preapproved for a loan you fill out an official application (you often have to pay for these). This will request documentation for your finances and assets, and will ask your approval to run a detailed credit report.
These credit reports are considered “hard inquiries” and are a vital step in getting preapproved for a mortgage. However, they also, at least temporarily, lower your credit score.
Why hard inquiries lower your credit score
When any creditor, be it a bank or credit card company, is determining whether to lend to you, they want to know that you are a safe investment. To determine this, they want to know how frequently you pay your bills on time, how much you owe to other creditors, and how financially stable you are right now.
When you make multiple inquiries in a short period of time, it’s a red flag to lenders that you might be in trouble financially. Thus, hard inquiries will lower your credit score for 1 to 2 months.
Applying to multiple lenders: the silver lining
When borrowers apply for a mortgage, they often shop around and apply to multiple lenders. While it may seem that all of these hard inquiries will add up and drastically lower their credit score, this isn’t the case.
Credit bureaus take into account the source of the inquiries. If they realize that you are applying for mortgages, they will typically recognize this as rate shopping and group these applications together on your credit report, counting them only as a single inquiry. This means your score shouldn’t drop multiple times for multiple mortgage preapprovals that were made within a small time frame.
Now that you know more about how mortgage applications affect your credit score, you can confidently shop around for the best mortgage for you and your family.
A three season room can be a really great investment for your home. This addition really allows for the enjoyment of the great outdoors without exposing you to the elements. It’s an investment that gives a maximum return.
When you decide to install a three season room, there are a few things that you should consider. First, you’ll need to estimate the costs of building the room. How much you’ll spend varies based on the finishes that you choose, the materials used, and the area of the country that you live in.
When you undertake any kind of home improvement project you should obtain estimates first. This way, you’ll have an idea of just how much the project will cost. Contractors will also give you an idea of how they will go about completing the project in order to meet your needs. It’s a good idea to know how much demolition is needed and how long the project will take. This will vary by contractor.
Think Of Using Existing Structures
Using existing structures on your home can really help to cut down the cost of building a three season room. Your current porch or deck area may even have the ability to be enclosed. If the structures are sound, it’s a great option. Remember that a three season room needs glass, a sturdy floor, screens and windows to be complete!
Match The Roof
You’ll want to match the roof of your three season/sunroom with the existing roof of your home. Choose from a variety of styles from simple to the elaborate. Just be sure that the new roofing doesn’t stick out too much. You can even add a skylight in the new addition to let more light in.
You want to be sure that you get an accurate estimate for building your three season room. The contractor should include all of the following areas in the estimate:
- The foundation
- The frame
- HVAC hookups
It should be noted that along with building materials, the cost of labor should be included along with the estimate. Carpenters charge a set rate per hour as do electricians and plumbers. You’ll most likely need a few different contractors in order to complete your three season room, so take that into account.
No matter what part of the country that you live in, you will always be happier if you maximize your enjoyment of the outdoors. Completing a 3 season room can help you and your family to enjoy nature all year round.
Just a quick plug for my good friends, Dienyson & Mariane Assis, who have built and developed a successful Property Caretaking business. Their company, Greater Boston Concierge, serves as an overseer for the maintenance and operation of both residential and commercial properties...managing the landscaping, snow removal, painting, carpentry, electrical, cleaning, insulation, tiling, flooring, countertops, plastering, plumbing, & HVAC. Think "building super"...but for many different types of property. GBC's service appeals to home and business owners who are too busy to manage these various contractors themselves. One company takes care of it all! Great for vacation homes too! Visit GBC's website at www.ringthebellgbc.com for more info.
You and your family spend the most time in your living room. This is a great place for conversation, relaxing, and fun. The place where the family gathers often should also be a place of safety and security for everyone. Every nook of the room should be covered from the floors to the furniture to the fireplace. You can improve the safety of your living space without sacrificing on the style of the space. A safe living space is all part of a safe home.
Be Cautious Of Fires
Fire safety should be a top priority when it comes to your living space. Especially if you have young kids or pets in the home, you’ll need to make sure that little hands and paws cannot get anywhere near fireplaces, candles, or burning incense. Accidents can happen in a matter of seconds with these items. Use baby gates to block off certain areas near the fireplace to keep children and pets away. Burn candles in places that are out of the reach of little hands. Also, anything that’s burning should be secured and unable to be knocked over.
Be Mindful Of Cords
Cords sprawled throughout the living room can spell disaster. These can lead to tripping, electrocution risks, and an overall mess. Use clever ways to keep cords organized and out of sight. You can buy cord keeper units at your local hardware store, or you can create your own. All you need is a box with holes to filter the cords through. This will keep tiny hands and paws out of the reach of loose cords
Install Security Systems
Even when you’re home, it can be a good idea to install a security system. You should always have an alarm system installed near the front door of your home, which typically is near your living space. Security systems don’t need to be an eyesore either. There are plenty of systems that actually blend right into your walls, making them an even better choice to hide them from the likes of thieves or intruders. One idea is to hide the alarm system components behind a painting or wall canvas. This is a good security measure for your children too. They won’t have access to the alarm system, so you don’t have to worry about them believing that it is a toy.
Keep furniture out of walking paths in your living space. It can cause problems for young children who are still learning how to control their own movements. Bulky furniture that gets in the way can also cause a hazard for adults too. You don’t want sharp corners or bulky elements that can contribute to trips, falls, and other injuries. Always keep the safety of the very young and older adults in mind.