Ellen McLaughlin - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 1/17/2021

Are you planning on moving in the next 6-8 months? Donít let your belongings take ownership of you. As consumers, we tend to accumulate a lot of ďstuffĒ over the years. After spending 5, 10, or 20-plus years in one home, this can amount to more than some of us can handle. Do you have more than 4 sets of dishes? How about piles of toys & board games from when your kids were younger? And then there are those passed-down antiques that no one in the family seems to have use for, yet no one wants to throw away.

 

Rather than rush while packing and having to take the whole mess with you to your next home, consider starting the process early! You can categorize your belongings into the following groups:

 

  • Keep
  • Sell
  • Donate
  • Throw it away


It may be hard to discern which category an item goes in. This is why itís a great idea to solicit help when youíre moving and downsizing your piles of stuff. An outsider can be a bit more objective to help you see whatís useful and what isnít. 


The Keep Pile


The items you want to keep through your move are those that you use every single day. Thereís no question in your mind that youíll need these things at your next residence. Think of the items that are either irreplaceable or still in good working condition like bedding, the coffee pot, furniture, and personal items like books, DVDs, and electronics. 


Sell For Profit


If you have a question about any of the items that youíre going through, you may want to consider selling them. Is your sofa still in good condition, but wonít fit well into your new place? Itís time to get that piece of furniture to another good home and make a bit of cash while youíre at it. There are tons of websites, apps, and other resources that connect you with people who are looking for the items that you want to get rid of.


Donate


Some items may not be an easy sell. You may not even have the time to sell them. This is where donation centers allow you to do some good while youíre cleaning out your things. As youíre packing for the move go through things like clothes, books, DVDs, games, toys, and other knickknacks. Those figurines that have been sitting on the shelf may not be ideal for your new house. 

Itís also a good idea to keep the amount of space that youíre dealing with in mind. If you have less space, downsizing will be ever important. On the flip side, if youíre moving into a bigger house, you donít necessarily need to fill it up!


Trash Pile


Unfortunately, weíll always have a few things that need to be thrown out. Items that are ripped, stained, worn, broken, or plain useless must face the fate of the dumpster. 


No matter how you go about cleaning out your home before a move, you should know that it will feel amazing to have a lighter load to move as the clutter is cleaned out.             





Tags: moving tips   downsizing  
Categories: Buying a Home   Selling Your Home   moving  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 1/10/2021

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

While your credit score will play a role what your mortgage interest rate will be, there are also various types of loans that can increase or lower your monthly mortgage payment. In general, there are two specific loan types, adjustable rate loans, known as an ARM and fixed rate. However, within these two categories, there are various options you should be aware of before shopping for a mortgage.

Fixed Rate Loans

The fixed rate loan is exactly what it sounds like. This means your interest rate will remain stable throughout the life of your loan. Keep in mind, this does not mean your payment will remain the same — if your property taxes or insurance premiums increase and are part of your mortgage payment, the monthly payment will increase.

There are four categories of fixed rate loans that are available to borrowers. The shorter the term of the loan, the lower the interest rate. However, the shorter the term of the loan, the higher your monthly payment will be. The four categories are 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, and the most popular, the 30-year fixed rate mortgage.

Fixed rate mortgages can be as short as 10 years and as long as 30 years. Assuming you were able to secure a $100,000 30-year mortgage at a fixed rate of 3.92 percent, your total mortgage payments would be $172,000 over the life of the loan. If you were to secure a 20 year at a fixed rate of 3.5 percent, you would pay approximately $139,190 over the life of the loan. As you can see, a small decrease in rate, and decrease in time can make a significant difference.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages

If you are considering an adjustable rate mortgage, your lender may offer you different options. The most common types of ARMs are 3/1 ARMs, 7/1 ARMs and 10/1 ARMs. What this means is the first number (3, 7 and 10) means your rate will be fixed over that number of years. The second number (1) means your rate will change every year after the fixed rate period ends.

ARMs typically have what is known as a “cap” which means the amount your loan can increase cannot increase more than a specific amount. The caps may be defined as how much the monthly payment can increase over the life of your loan, over how much the rate can rise over the life of your loan, or how much the rate can increase from year to year. Before agreeing to accept an ARM, make sure you have a full understanding of the terms. It is also worth noting that many ARMs also have prepayment penalties associated with them. This means you may pay a fee to the lender if you sell your home, or you decide to refinance your mortgage.

Deciding whether a fixed rate or an adjustable rate mortgage is the right choice for you can be challenging. Some borrowers may opt for an adjustable rate, so they can meet other criteria such as debt to income ratios. Your real estate agent, and your mortgage lender can help you determine which loan is right for your needs based on the value of your home, how long you plan to own the home, and your current financial status.




Categories: Mortgage  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 1/3/2021

A home showing may play a key role in your ability to sell your house. If a showing is successful, a buyer may submit an offer in the hours or days that follow. On the other hand, if a home fails to impress during a showing, a buyer likely will continue to search for the perfect residence.

It can be easy to ensure that a home showing is successful. Now, let's take a look at three steps that home sellers can follow to increase the likelihood of a successful showing.

1. Clean Your Home

A neat, tidy home is likely to make a positive first impression on potential buyers. Therefore, you should allocate the necessary time and resources to clean your home from top to bottom prior to a showing.

Mow the front lawn, trim the hedges and perform assorted home exterior maintenance. That way, you can instantly boost your house's curb appeal.

Also, wipe down countertops, vacuum carpets and complete various home interior maintenance. By doing so, you can guarantee that potential buyers will like what they see as soon as they walk through your home's front door.

2. Remove Personal Belongings

The goal of a home showing is to help a potential buyer envision what life would be like if he or she purchases your house. As such, you'll want to take down artwork, photographs and any other personal belongings before a home showing. Because if you keep these items on display, it may be tough for a buyer to picture himself or herself as the owner of your home.

Don't forget to eliminate as much clutter from your home as possible too. If you put excess items in storage or sell or donate these items, you can cut down on clutter and show off the true size of your residence.

3. Be Flexible

After you perform extensive home interior and exterior cleaning and remove myriad personal belongings from your residence, it may be only a matter of time before a home showing is scheduled. If you remain flexible, you can boost your chances of hosting as many home showings as possible.

There is no telling when a prospective buyer will want to check out your residence. Thus, if you maintain your flexibility, you'll be ready to leave your house at a moment's notice to accommodate a buyer's request for a showing.

After a home showing, you may receive buyer feedback as well. If a buyer leaves negative feedback about your residence, there is no need to worry. Use this feedback to identify and address problem areas in your house, and you can guarantee that future home showings hit the mark with buyers.

Lastly, if often helps to work with an expert real estate agent when you sell your house. This housing market professional is happy to help you get ready for a home showing and will offer honest, unbiased home selling recommendations. As a result, a real estate agent can help you get the best possible results throughout the home selling process.





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 12/27/2020

Photo by Alexander Stein via Pixabay

If a home is in foreclosure, you can buy it for less. Great deal, right? It can be, but there are pitfalls, and you need even more caution than in a regular real estate transaction.

Stages of Foreclosure

Foreclosure can take months or even years depending on the regulations of the specific state, but the stages are the same:

  1. Pre-foreclosure. The owner has been given notice of pending foreclosure but for now still owns the home. In this case you negotiate with the owner.

  2. Bank-owner. The former owner has been evicted. If the bank doesn’t find a buyer the house will be put up for auction.

  3. Real-estate Owned (REO). The home did not sell at auction. A misleading name because the bank still owns it. And needs to get rid of it.

How do I find a Foreclosure?

If you haven't bought one before, your best bet is to work with a real estate agent who specializes in foreclosures. Some may have credentials: the Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) or the Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource (SFR) designation. Foreclosures are listed on the same platforms as other homes, plus they may be found through banks, local city halls and courts.

Do I need cash?

Not necessarily. But if you'll use a mortgage, get it pre-approved. You’re likely to be competing with cash buyers.

What should I watch out for?

Many foreclosed properties are in poor shape. If they haven’t been inhabited, and maintenance has been neglected and air conditioning hasn’t been running, there could be mold, debris and internal damage. Distraught homeowners sometimes make off with appliances and the copper. There may be liens in addition to the defaulted mortgage. Get an inspection, have the title checked out and assume there’s going to be work to make it livable.

How much should I pay?

Your agent can run a comparative market analysis (CMA). You should pay significantly less than for an unencumbered property to make up for the risk. Professional foreclosure buyers sometimes use a formula of 80 percent of a comparable standard property less cost of known repairs. For example, a $300,000 house that needs $50,000 in repairs should be (80% * $300,000) – $50,000 or $190,000. A skilled agent can help you be competitive without putting yourself in a bind.

Is a foreclosed property right for me?

It will take more time and effort than a regular purchase but can save a pile of money. A DIYer or a person comfortable managing major rehab projects has a head start. If you have strong nerves, high risk tolerance and the ability to be flexible, a foreclosure might be the best deal you can make.




Categories: homebuyers  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 12/20/2020

If you plan to pursue a home in the near future, there is no need to wait to get a mortgage. Because if you enter the housing market with a mortgage in hand, you'll know exactly how much you can spend to acquire your dream house. As a result, you'll be able to map out your home search based on your property buying budget.

There are many things you can do to ensure you can get a great mortgage prior to launching a house search. These include:

1. Learn About Your Mortgage Options

Banks and credit unions offers a wide range of mortgage options. If you meet with these financial institutions, you can learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal.

As you assess your mortgage options, it is crucial to weigh the pros and cons of each option. That way, you can make an informed decision about a mortgage and decide which option will serve you well in the years to come.

2. Ask Mortgage Questions

If you are uncertain about what differentiates one mortgage option from another, it is important to remember you are not alone. Fortunately, you can ask mortgage questions to home financing professionals to determine which mortgage option is right for you.

Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable home financing specialists who are ready to respond to your mortgage queries. Thus, if you discuss your mortgage concerns with home financing specialists, you can get the guidance you need to choose the best mortgage based on your individual needs.

3. Improve Your Credit Score

Your credit score may have far-flung effects on your ability to get pre-approved for a mortgage. However, if you analyze your credit score, you can determine if you need to take steps to improve this score before you apply for a mortgage.

You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Take advantage of this complimentary perk, and you can analyze your credit score at your convenience.

If you have outstanding debt on your credit report, you may want to pay this off as soon as possible. Remember, the sooner you pay off outstanding debt, the sooner you can bolster your credit score.

In addition, if you identify any errors on your credit report, notify the agency that provided the report immediately. This will allow you to correct any credit report mistakes before you submit a mortgage application.

As you get set to apply for a mortgage and conduct a home search, you may want to hire a real estate agent too. A real estate agent can provide expert guidance as you pursue your dream residence. He or she will help you find a house that matches your budget, attend home showings and much more.

Ready to launch a comprehensive home search? Get pre-approved for a mortgage, and you can take the first step to establish a budget for the homebuying journey.




Tags: mortgage   Buying a home  
Categories: Buying a Home   Mortgage