Friday, January 20, 2017

Are You Thinking of Buying a Home in 2017?

Is 2017 the year you will take the plunge and buy your first home?  Or maybe you have been thinking about downsizing.  Will this be the year?  If so, you should begin to take the financial steps that will make the process just a bit easier.  Your ability to buy a home rests on your ability to secure a mortgage.  This doesn't mean just obtaining a pre-approval at the beginning of your home shopping adventure.  It means maintaining the info you provided to your lender at pre-approval through the final underwriting process, which often happens just several days prior to your closing.

Here are a few helpful tips to keep you on track:

1.  Don't Change Jobs

     Your ability to repay your mortgage is crucial and that ability comes from the money you make.
     If you change jobs after you have signed a purchase contract, you will likely not close on time.
     This is because your lender will require at least one paystub from your new job and sometimes
     two.  They may also require a copy of the offer letter and a verification of employment (both
     written and verbal).  Word to the wise: Close on your house with your current job.

2.  Don't Apply for New Credit

      Once you have signed the purchase contract do not apply for any new credit.  This includes car
      loans, credit cards, cell phones, and utilities.  Doing this will likely change your credit score
      and as a result your rate lock and/or fees associated with closing on your house.  Most lenders
      monitor your credit throughout the loan process and they will be notified if you do apply for new

3.  Don't Change Your Credit

      Not making changes to your credit also includes not closing any accounts or disputing any credit
      cards.  Doing this could also change your credit score and impede the underwriter's ability to run
      automated underwriting which will pause your loan file from moving forward until it is resolved.

4.  Don't Move Money Around 

      Keep the activity in your checking and savings accounts to a minimum.  The only deposits during
      your loan process should be your direct deposit payroll.  If you are being gifted funds from a
      family member for closing, they should be wired directly to the closing agent.

5.  Don't Start Shopping for Your New Home

     Do not schedule your moving company before you have received your final underwriting
     approval.  Doing so will just cause headaches for everyone if your closing date gets pushed back
     even a day.  Keeping in line with numbers two and three you should wait until after closing to
     start shopping for new furniture and/or appliances.  Applying for new credit or removing a large
     sum from your bank account will be problematic.

If you follow these tips after you sign your purchase contract, you will experience a stress free process.  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to send me an email.  If you are ready to start the process of buying a home, I would love to talk with you.  I can also refer you to a great loan officer!


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Home-A-Rama 2016

On a warm Friday in September I spent the afternoon walking from home to home in Chatham Hills at the epic annual event known as Home-A-Rama.  I left with serious home envy and excitement about the direction home design is taking.  Kitchen pantries are roomy and will easily accommodate our bulk purchases from Costco.  The Jack and Jill bedroom/bath setup for the kids now includes a communal area for play, homework, and movies.  And my most favorite...designing areas with the family dog in mind.  Here are few of my favorite photos from my day.  Please excuse the quality.  I only had my smartphone with me.

Having a convenient dog wash area would save me so many trips to the self wash at Pet Supplies Plus

The problem of where to put that large dog crate is solved!

I absolutely love this under lighting!

The barn door design was in nearly every home but this rustic themed basement was where it shined.

If you live with a boy, you may be like me and wondering "why has this taken so long"

You will never have to worry about infecting your beer when you have this dedicated space for brewing

This stairwell leading to the basement felt like I had stepped into a scene from Game of Thrones

A perfect outdoor living space!

Bocce Ball anyone?

Our old Chicago apartment was smaller than this master closet.  I was ready to move in!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Home isn't selling?

If your home has been on the market and hasn't sold, there could be many reasons.  One could be your home's appearance and how it looks through the eyes of a prospective buyer.  You may not even notice things that can turn buyers off, but appear perfectly normal to you.  We call this "merchandising" your home and you need to treat it the same way retailers and restaurants do.  Here are seven key steps to merchandising your home:

  1. Remove Clutter - to make your home neater and appear larger.  Chances are, buyers are moving because they need more space.
  2. Clean and Paint - to show that your home has been well cared for.
  3. Repair and Fix - before the buyer sees it.  The  need for any repairs can make or break a sale.
  4. Neutralize - removing distracting colors, textures, and personal accessories so buyers can visualize their belongings in your home.
  5. Look and Smell Fresh - from fresh flowers on the table or in the bathroom to a bowl of fresh fruit and the smell of fresh bread baking in the kitchen.
  6. A Trimmed Yard - gives a positive first impression of your home.
  7. Be Ready for a showing at a moment's notice - since each showing is critical because we don't know which one will be your buyer.
Merchandising your home is simply making it more appealing to a possible buyer.  You want your home to be cleaner and to look newer and fresher than the last house or the next house.  Plus, you want to de-personalize it so they can imagine themselves living in your home.  Effective merchandising builds value in the eyes of a buyer.  Prepare your home in advance and maximize its perceived value by showing it in its best light,  Remember, people buy with all of their senses, especially their eyes and noses.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Value of a Realtor

Real estate is a big deal and for most of us it will be the biggest purchase we make in our lifetime.  It is a serious transaction that can be fraught with financial and emotional ramifications.  Why would you want to go through it alone when you can have a knowledgeable professional by your side?  As a Realtor, my fiduciary responsibility is to you.  That means I am looking out for your best financial interests and am bound to do everything in my power to protect you.  I worked in the mortgage industry for 15 years before becoming a licensed Realtor so in addition to helping you find your dream home I will be your ally through the inspection, appraisal, and mortgage application process.  I have developed relationships with the best in the business in all of these categories and believe me after 15 years I know who they are.

It's true that you can shop for a house and even get a look inside without a real estate agent.  But it is very likely that you do not have time to make shopping for a home your part-time job.  I have chosen to make it my full time job and I can match you with your perfect property faster and more efficiently than if you were going at it alone.

Not all Real Estate Agents choose to be a member of the National Association of Realtors but I have and that means I have agreed to abide by their code of ethics. That code essentially stipulates that Realtors deal with all parties of a transaction honestly. Under the code I am obligated to put your interests ahead of my own and if I don't there will be consequences.  

If you have ever bought a house you know the amount of paperwork involved.  Now this is where my years of working in the mortgage industry will help you.  I will make sure every disclosure is signed and every page is dated properly and initialed.  No one wants a call in the middle of their work day two days before closing asking for the odd signed page or disclosure and if I am your Realtor you won't get this call.

Aside from the technical aspects of a sale and the mountains of paperwork it is my job to know the neighborhoods inside and out.  If you have a specific need, I will know the house that meets that need.  Once we find that house, I will be by your side during the negotiations and the inspection.  I will help you with local zoning ordinances so you can build that fence or add that bedroom down the road. Although I am not a lawyer I will still be a resource long after you have closed.  I am required to keep full files in all transactions for several years so you can count on me to provide what you need should trouble crop up.  

If you still have doubts about whether you should use the services of a Realtor we should meet for coffee.  I know a great place.