Habitat for Humanity: Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit organization that helps people in your community and around the world build or improve a place they can call home. Donate, volunteer and raise your voice in support of decent and affordable housing. habitat.org
State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) Program: Depending on income, recipients could be eligible for home repair or replacement, downpayment assistance, rental housing assistance and other affordable housing assistance. floridahousing.org/buyers-renters/local-housing-programs
Concerned that you could be in a bidding war? Use these strategies to increase your odds of getting your offer accepted.
Encourage your agent to reach out to the listing agent to find out what the seller is looking for, such as a quick close, an above asking-price offer or a waived contingency. This will help you and your agent craft a competitive offer.
Make a cash offer. If you’re not in a position to pay cash, get preapproved for a mortgage and have your preapproval letter in hand.
Pay attention to the listing agent’s request. Many times, they will have you submit your highest and best offer. Ask your agent for some strategies on handling this type of offer.
Consider waiving contingencies. If you are financing, check with your lender.
Figure out where you can be flexible. You’ll need to move quickly, so know your must-haves versus your nice-to-haves before you start your search.
Don’t get emotional. Trust your agent to walk you through each step in the buying process.
Be available. Respond to inquiries quickly and ask your Real Estate Agent to check in regularly with the listing agent to monitor the seller’s progress.
You’ve found your dream home, your offer is accepted and your closing date is 20 days away. We know your mind is on furnishing your house and buying supplies. And you are probably a little overwhelmed with all that goes into moving. Don’t jeopardize your chance at a successful closing by making one of these errors.
Here’s what NOT to do before closing on your new home:
Apply for new credit
Move money without a paper trail
Skip a payment or make a late payment for a bill
Spend your savings
Buy big-ticket items
Lenders will continue to check your credit, income and job stability up to just before closing to see if anything has changed that may impact you qualifying.
Purchasing a home isn’t the easiest thing in the world. If you want the best chance of getting a home at a great price, you need to prepare in advance. Check out these 5 tips to ensure you’re ready for your new home purchase.
Get your finances in order. Your credit score should be 700-plus, your source of income should be stable, your debt-to-income ratio should be less than 45%, and you should have a big chunk of money in the bank to cover the down payment and closing costs and have some money left over.
Don’t rush it. If you are under the pressure of a big life event, recognize that you’re probably creating an artificial timeline for yourself. If you are on a deadline to move out of a rental, set up a month-to-month lease instead of racing against the clock.
Know what you want from the house itself and know what a good, reasonable deal is. Pick out specific neighborhoods and home types and analyze them in advance. Make sure you look at houses that have recently sold, not those that are currently on the market.
When you start looking at homes, consider location-related features like your commute time, the parking situation, the school district and property taxes. Know where you stand on HOA communities and factor any HOA fees into your monthly budget.
Once all these things are in order (and you’ve picked out your real estate agent and have been pre-approved for a loan), you are as ready as you’ll ever be. Keep your eyes open for a good deal, and don’t hesitate when that deal pops up.
Memorial Day to Labor Day is peak moving season with more than 65% of relocations happening during the summer months. Take the stress out of your move with these tips from the Professional Movers Association of Florida.
Plan your move in advance so you have time to evaluate your options, and make a decision based on overall value (quality low stress move, insurance/valuation to protect your move).
Confirm that each mover considered carries commercial general liability insurance, automobile liability, cargo liability and workers’ compensation. This can be verified by a certificate of insurance.
Check if the moving company is licensed by Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services by visiting floridaconsumerhelp.com.
Get a written estimate from several movers and compare them. The estimate should be based on an actual in-person or virtual inspection of your household goods. Estimates and Contract for Services must include:
Name, telephone number, physical address and state registration number of the mover
Date the contract or estimate was prepared and proposed date of the actual move
Appropriate pickup and delivery address, name and telephone numbers of the shipper
Name, telephone number and physical address where the goods will be held, if necessary
Itemized breakdown, description and total of all costs and services provided
Acceptable forms of payment available
Determine if the company is a moving broker or moving company. A broker arranges for the transport of your household goods for a fee and sells your move to a moving company – which significantly reduces a consumer’s available funds for the actual cost of the relocation services. Often, the consumer is not aware their move is being sold to another company.
Check your homeowners or rental insurance policies for moving coverage.
Accidents happen, even with the best movers. Discuss valuation with your mover; know the difference between released value at 60 cents per pound and full value protection.
For additional moving tips, visit Professional Movers Association of Florida, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and Better Business Bureau online. Consumers who fall victim to moving fraud, contact Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352).
The additional time that Americans are spending in their houses can lead to excess strain on different rooms of your home. Review these tips to get to know the areas to keep a close eye on and how to relieve strain to avoid overuse.
Clean your dishwasher filter to increase the longevity of your appliance.
Make sure your smoke detector works and the batteries are fresh during a time when you’re cooking more often at home.
Check under the sink manually for leaks or add a smart sensor to monitor them in real time with alerts sent directly to your smart phone.
Consider replacing your light bulbs with LEDs to use one-fifth the amount of energy as you were using before.
Review each hose in your washer and dryer for its condition by looking at the rubber exterior for cracking or brittle bits.
Fix any water drains that may have flooded during last year’s hurricane season to divert water away from your home.
A vacation home is a perfect way to relax and unwind. If you are considering the purchase of a vacation home, check the following tips to get you unwinding in no time!
Consider how you’ll use the home. Will it just be for family and friends, or do you plan to rent it as well? And realistically, how many times will you use it per year?
Evaluate locations. Are there enough amenities and attractions to keep you— and renters—coming back year after year?
Talk to the locals. What do they love about the area? What’s changing? And what’s it like during the off season?
Study local laws. If you plan to rent the home, local rules may restrict rental periods or cap the number of days you can rent each year.
Calculate costs. Along with mortgage, insurance, property taxes and association or amenities fees, plan for wear and tear. (A good rule of thumb: Budget 1½ percent of home’s value on repairs annually.) And if you intend to rent, add the cost of a property manager.
Talk to an accountant. This person can advise you on such issues as the tax implications of rental income and changes in federal tax laws that could impact deductions.
Test before you buy. Once you’ve settled on a spot, you should rent in every season so you can gauge busy and slow times.
Work with a REALTOR®. Pick someone who knows the community and who can recommend the other experts you’ll want to consult.
If you are like most home buyers, you probably have friends, family and coworkers encouraging you to buy a home. However, you may still be wondering if buying a home is the right thing to do. Well, having reservations is normal, and getting educated is the right move (pun intended)! The more you know about why you should buy a home, the less scary the entire process will appear to you. Here are seven good reasons why you should buy a home.
Tax benefits: The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, and some of the costs involved in buying a home.
Appreciation: Historically, real estate has had a long-term, stable growth in value. In fact, median single-family existing-home sale prices have increased on average 5.2 percent each year from 1972 through 2014, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. The 2007-2010 housing crisis has caused some to question the long-term value of real estate, but values were up 7.0 percent on a cumulative basis in the 2010-2020 decade. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 10 to 15 percent over the next decade 2020-2030, creating continued high demand for housing.
Equity: Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.
Savings: Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.
Predictability: Unlike rent, your fixed-rate mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will likely increase.
Freedom: The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle.
Stability: Remaining in one neighborhood for several years allows you and your family time to build long-lasting relationships within the community. It also offers children the benefit of educational and social continuity.
Being pre-qualified means a lender has decided you will likely be approved for a loan up to a certain amount, based on your current financial situation.
To get pre-qualified, you simply tell a lender your level of income, assets, and debt. The lender will then take that unverified information and determine how much you will likely be approved for. There are no guarantees you will actually be approved for the same amount.
Benefits of being Pre-Qualified:
No effect on credit score
Helps you estimate what you can afford
Good for first-time home buyers
While pre-qualification is often the first step of the mortgage process, some sellers won’t take you seriously until you’ve been pre-approved.
Being pre-approved means you’ve actually been verified and approved by a lender for a specific loan amount. When pre-approved, you will receive a letter that states your approved loan amount.
Unlike getting pre-qualified, when getting pre-approved you provide documented financial information (pay stubs, statements, obligations, credit report, etc.) to be reviewed and verified by the lender.
Benefits of being Pre-Approved:
Gives you negotiation power
Helps you know exactly what you can afford
Allows you to close faster
Keep in mind that being pre-approved doesn’t guarantee you a loan. You still have to complete an application, go through the underwriting process, and wait for final approval from a lender. However, being pre-approved indicates your intent to purchase, so sellers look fondly upon buyers with pre-approval letters.
If you’re thinking about buying a home, the first thing you should do is focus on exactly what you’re looking for by establishing your priorities in the following areas.
Location: determine the neighborhood by prioritizing the importance of how close you need schools, shops, or transportation to be related to your home. Personal tastes: consider how large a home you need and also what style of architecture you prefer. Think about how many bedrooms, bathrooms, and other features that are important to you. Budget: how much home can you afford? Find out as soon as possible! Mortgage specialists can assist you with this; ask them for a pre-approved or pre-qualified letter, which will come in handy when you are ready to make an offer.
You can definitely consider market conditions, but buying a home is really all about you! The best time to make what many believe to be “the greatest investment of your life” is when you feel financially and emotionally ready. If you are, contact me today!
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