How To Make Sure You Sell Your Home For Top Price

When you sell your property, your motivation for doing so will greatly affect the final sale price. As such, even if you are simply looking for a quick sale, do also try to be motivated by profit, as this will help you get a higher price. There are a few things you need to do in order to get top dollar for your home when you sell it.

First things first and get to work on the outside of your property. You only get one chance to make a first impression and this is what the outside of your property will do. Hence, the first thing you must do is tidy up your yard and prune your trees and bushes. Try to look at the outside of your home through the eyes of a potential buyer and determine whether or not it has curb appeal. Luckily, you will generally not have to do anything other than a bit of cleaning and tidying.

After looking at the outside, it is now time to look at the inside of your home. It goes without saying that you have to clean and tidy your home on the inside as well. Also, do not be tempted to put up loads of air fresheners or scented candles. You may believe that they smell gorgeous, but the reality is that not everybody enjoys them. Additionally, it may make them think that you are hiding something. Next, you need to make sure you rid your home of clutter. You may love all your nicknacks and pictures but they stop potential buyers from really seeing your property. In order to make your home look big, which is what any buyer wants, you have to get rid of as much stuff as you can from your walls, floors and shelves. The mirror is the one exception to this rule. Mirrors are good because they create the illusion of more space. Also, you have to make sure that you have at least something on your wall, or your home will look hollow. It really is about trying things out and using your own common sense to see what works best and what makes your home look the biggest.

Finally, do a lot of research before you set your price. You must understand that the maximum you will ever get, if you’re lucky, is the asking price. Your goal is for the sale price and the asking price to be as close together as possible. If you ask too much, you may push potential buyers away. Set the price too low, on the other hand, and people will think there is a problem with the property. Then, there is the fact that you will never be able to sell your home for more than the asking price, meaning that you hurt your own pocket by setting the price too low.…

Optimizing Your Profit When You Sell Your Home

As Reach150 recommends, in order to sell your home for top money, you need to invest a bit of time. With time, you can not only fix some of the problems your home may have, you can also learn about real estate. Those who know about real estate usually fair best in this world. Some of the hints and tips collected by real estate professionals to help sell a home for top dollar are outlined below.

First and foremost, you must focus on appearance. Never ignore the cosmetic look of your property if you want to sell it. You do not have control over things such as the geographical location and floor plan of your property, but you do have control over its looks. Remember that a home purchase is, by and large, an emotive rather than a rational decision, which means your home must look and feel right. Also remember that this must be invoked in all the senses.

Make sure you don’t tell your buyers about your motivation, as recommended by RealSatisfied, it should only be yours to know. If you tell what your motivation is, buyers could use it against you, particularly if they are working with a good realtor. If people really want to know why you are selling, try to be obtuse about it. Tell them, for instance, that your needs have changed. This is just vague enough to be the perfect answer. Psychologically speaking, they will assume the best and make up their own scenario. For instance, they might think you are able to afford something bigger and better now. They may also believe that you are ready to find a smaller property because your kids have moved out. What matters, no matter what scenario they come up with, is that it is not motivated by financial gain.

The final thing is that you must be ready to start cleaning. Every surface must be properly cleaned. The elbow grease really has to come out now and you may as well start to get rid of clutter as well, since you will have to do that before you move anyway. You need to transform your home into a show home. This means you need to look at the outside of the home as well. You have to make sure that your yard is clean and tidy, that your lawn is mowed and free from weeds and that your trees and bushes are pruned properly. It is your property’s exterior that will create that important first impression. Only one opportunity is ever given to create a first impression. Hopefully, you will have been able to use these tips to make a quick and profitable sale of your property.

There are more tips available at Peter Harris blog. Alternatively, you can seek advice from a real estate mentor like Freedom Mentor.…

How To Get The Best Price For Your Home

It is likely that your home is your most significant asset. Hence, if you ever want to sell that particular asset, you have a lot of thinking to do. You have to make sure that you have an understanding of the property selling process first. Thanks to the internet, however, you can now find any information you need at the press of a button. By investing that little bit of time to learn about the process, you will find yourself less overwhelmed by it and better able to control it and it will help you get the best price for your home. Hopefully, the following information will help you to get ready to make that killer sale at the highest possible price.

First and foremost, ask yourself why you are selling your property. You need to know your motivation, as it will also help you to determine what your available resources (effort, money and time) are. Those who want a quick sale will act differently from those who want a huge profit.

You need to know your motivation, but you don’t have to tell others about it. When you tell people what motivates your sale, they are able to use this to their advantage, not yours, particularly if they are working with a good real estate agent. If people really want to know why you are selling, try to be obtuse about it. One answer to give them is that your housing needs have changed. This is just vague enough to be the perfect answer. Psychologically speaking, they will assume the best and make up their own scenario. They will think that you came into a bit of money and want to move to something bigger, for instance. They may also believe that you are ready to find a smaller property because your kids have moved out. The thing that matters most is that your buyers will believe you have a genuine motivation other than money for selling.

Lastly, you have to get all your cleaning gear out. Every surface must be properly cleaned. The elbow grease is going to have to come out, and it is also a great opportunity to start to get rid of the clutter in preparation for your own move. You want your home to look like a show home by the time you’re done. As such, make sure you also focus on the exterior of your property. Get to work on cleaning your yard, geting rid of weeds, mowing your lawn and making sure that your trees and bushes are pruned and beautiful. Remember that the outside of your home is what will create the first impression. You only get one opportunity to create a first impression. Hopefully, these tips will help you to sell your property as quickly as possible for the best price.…

How To Make Sure You Get The Best Price For Your Home

In all likelihood, your home is your biggest asset. As such, selling such an asset is a decision that you have to think about properly. Take your time to learn about the process of selling a home first. Thankfully, all you need to do is look online and you will find any information you need. By investing that little bit of time to learn about the process, you will find yourself less overwhelmed by it and better able to control it and it will help you get the best price for your home. Let’s take a look at a few of the things you need to think about before you are ready to make a sale, which should help you get the best possible price.

First things first and get to work on the outside of your property. This is what buyers will first see and what will give them their first impression. So, start by cleaning up your garden and give your bushes and trees a good pruning. You need to try to look at your home through buyers’ eyes and see whether there is sufficient curb appeal. In most cases, increasing your curb appeal is simply down to tidying and cleaning a bit.

You need to know what is good about your home, but also what is bad about it. Make sure that all the good things are highlighted and try to conceal the bad things as much as possible. To find all the good and bad points, don’t rely solely on your own judgement. It is very hard to see the bad in something that you have called home for so long. In reality, your emotions are driving you right now. Hence, you should ask others to tell you the pros and cons of your home. You can hire a professional evaluator for this, but you can also simply ask people you know for their honest opinion. You must decide which option is best for you: professionals can be expensive, but hearing brutal honesty from friends can be hard to deal with.

Finally, get your cleaning gear out. Your home has to be absolutely sparkling. This is the time to really get the elbow grease out and to get rid of clutter, which you need to do before you move anyway. You need to transform your home into a show home. This means you need to look at the outside of the home as well. Your goal is to have a clean yard with a nicely mowed lawn free from weeds, and properly pruned trees and bushes. The exterior of your property creates a first impression. And don’t forget that you only get one chance to make that first impression. Hopefully, these tips will help you to sell your property as quickly as possible for the best price.…

4 Reasons Your Mortgage Application Might Be Rejected

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Rejected stamp imprint on a denied real estate lender home mortgage loan document (fictitious document with authentic legal lang
Shutterstock / Olivier Le Queinec

By AJ Smith

So, you’ve thought about whether renting or buying your next home is the right decision for you. If you decide to buy, you’ll likely have to prepare for financing your purchase with mortgage payments. Here’s where things can get a bit tricky.

While getting a hold on the costs involved with home buying can help you determine if you are ready and what you can afford, you also need to prove to lenders that you can and will make your payments. To understand why some people get approved while others are turned away, check out four reasons your mortgage application might not be successful.

1. Poor Credit

If you have a low credit score, lenders likely will be reluctant. If a lending company is willing to work with you despite a rough credit history, it may bump up the interest rate or offer unfavorable terms. But even if you have experienced bankruptcy or home foreclosure in the past, bad credit is not a permanent condition. It’s a good idea to check your free annual credit reports and make sure they don’t have errors. Then, work toward paying down credit balances and make payments on time so your score can rebound. You can also check your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com.

2. Outstanding Debt

Applicants with too much debt often get rejected for mortgages. All lenders have a debt-to-income ratio they work with and if your ratio falls outside the desired proportion, they will not approve you. If you have a lot of debt, it may be a good idea to focus on paying down your debt and/or increasing your income before applying for a mortgage.

3. Unrealistic Expectations

Having an idea about what size mortgage you will qualify for is important. Since affordability is based on various factors, it’s important to understand what you can really afford going into the process. (To understand how much you might qualify to borrow and how much payments would be, try using a free online mortgage calculator.)

4. Employment Doubts

Affordability criteria is taken very seriously. You must have enough income, but also the right type of income. Lenders tend to prefer employment that provides a regular and consistent income. If you are self-employed or work on commission, you may need to prove that you have been profitable for at least two years. If your income is too irregular or there are significant gaps in your employment history, your application might be rejected.

Before you start applying for mortgages, make sure these variables are in order to speed the process and increase your chances for achieving homeownership soon. Consider researching by studying top real estate books and get ready to present your best case for lenders.

 

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Real Estate Investing Is Fun To Learn About!

Real estate is a good way to invest, but there are hazards in which you must look out for. Whether you are an experienced investor or a novice, being aware of these pitfalls can be very helpful. Use these tips to make successful investments.

Once you know that you will be investing in real estate, set up an LLC or something similar. This protects you and your future investments. Additionally, you may be able to get tax benefits for your business because of your dealings.

Learn about the real estate business first before investing. This might mean that you will be cutting back on certain activities in order to make more cash. Quitting your bowling league, for example, might be something that has to happen in order for you to be successful.

Look for areas that are in well-known areas that generate interest from your potential clients. This will maximize the value that you get when selling. It’s also a good idea to look for properties that don’t have high maintenance requirements.

Keep a handyman nearby when you are considering buying a property. Otherwise, your profits can be spent on expensive repairs. Your handyman can help to correct the issues that you face.

Think about the possibility of getting rental income from any property you plan on purchasing. Rental income can be quite substantial. Then, you can resell it later fort a huge gross profit.

Follow investing blogs or join an online investor group. This will provide you with valuable insight that will help you to formulate your own strategies. You may even be able to talk one on one with this person.

Speak with other investors. Get advice from people with experience. It’s also handy to have friends in the business to consult when issues arise. Another resource when searching for informative people is the Internet. Become a member of forums and look for local meetings.

Practice patience, especially at the beginning. Your first deal in real estate may take a lot longer than anticipated. There may not be the right properties out there, or your terms couldn’t be met. Don’t let your anxiety cause you to invest in a scenario that’s not ideal. That is not a good way to use your money. Wait until the perfect opportunity comes along.

You need patience when you begin investing. It could be a while before you score your first deal. Maybe the terms weren’t right or you just couldn’t find a truly great property. Don’t get nervous and put your money into something you don’t need. You want to use your money wisely. Be patient and watch for the right investment.

Exercise plenty of patience in the beginning. It takes patience if you want to invest in real estate. Perhaps there just aren’t any properties that people like, or there aren’t good terms. Don’t become impatient and make less than perfect investments. This will be a poor investment on your part. Stand firm and wait for the right opportunity.

Location is key when looking at properties to invest in. The proximity to great areas will increase the value a ton. You want to think about the potential of the investment and the location as well.

Consider a broader horizon and invest in some business properties along with your residential rentals. Business properties provide opportunities in rental income, and these investments can be lucrative. Think about a business complex or small strip mall, which will give you several different opportunities when it comes to investments.

Sign up with a good listing service for foreclosures, so you can know when the best deals come up. You can let the service keep you informed instead of constantly checking with agents, lenders, and courts. These will usually be very up-to-date.

Do your research about local regulations and laws in the area you plan to invest in. These legal stipulations will vary from town to town so it helps to know them in advance. Get in contact with officials to make sure you’re completely aware of anything you might need to know before making an investment.

When calculating profits, always factor in the costs of repairs that the inspection dictated as necessary. You will have to make most general repairs before selling a property. If you want to rent the property to someone, you have to think about how much maintenance will be. Just make sure to give yourself a cushion when calculating potential profits.

Do your best to avoid brand new real estate agents. Experience definitely pays off when trying to locate good real estate opportunities. This usually happens because the realtor with experience has connections established, unlike the rookie. At the least, use an experienced firm.

Don’t let emotions creep into negotiations. When investing in a home, you will most likely not live in it. Make sure you don’t make emotional decisions; being emotional often causes you to overpay. If you follow this advice, you will get better returns.

Always know that real estate investing is something to be taken very seriously. Although you want to begin as young as possible, be sure you have the needed stability before beginning your adventure. You need to be established within your community so that you can make better connections. This is great for laying down a foundation to start with real estate investing.

If your investment property has vacancies, have some funds on the side for the monthly mortgage costs until you can get them rented. You will feel better until the next tenant comes around when you have the extra money.

Think about hiring a company to take care of your property. This will cost you some money, but it will save you a lot of money and a ton of headaches down the road.

Negotiation skills are essential to real estate investing success. You will make much more money this way. Read books, take classes, and do what you have to do to learn how to barter with the best of them.

It pays to keep the above information handy and reference it when needed. As tempting as it may be never purchased a house on a whim. Always do your research because in the end that is what helps you succeed.…

What You Need to Know About Closing Costs

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Break down of the real estate closing cost
Yukchong Kwan/Getty

By AJ Smith

So you’re ready to buy a house. Or are you? The selling price is not the only cost you need to prepare for if you are seriously considering making a home purchase. Often forgotten in the equation are the closing costs.

What Are We Talking About?

Closing costs are the fees paid at the closing of a real estate transaction, when the title to the property is transferred to the buyer. They are charged by lenders and third-party service providers. You will have to pay these in addition to the down payment on the home and any principal and interest related to the mortgage. It’s important to factor closing costs into your homebuying budget. (You can use this tool to figure out how much house you can afford.)

How Much Will I Have to Pay?

The exact cost will be difficult to estimate, but it’s a good idea to expect the total to be between 2% and 5% of the price you are paying to buy your home. This amount can either be financed with your loan or can be paid in cash, similar to your down payment. Your lender is required to provide a good faith estimate (GFE) of closing costs within three days of when you submit a loan application, but the GFE is subject to change by up to 10%.

What Charges Make Up the Total Closing Costs?

Closing costs vary based on things like where you are buying a home and your mortgage provider. Your total closing cost amount can be broken into lender charges, settlement services, and pre-paid and escrow costs. Lenders charge an origination fee for the service of getting you a loan and “points” that you may sometimes pay in exchange for a lower interest rate. The amount of these costs often depends on your credit. (You can see where you stand by taking a look at a free credit report summary from Credit.com.)

Settlement fees cover the administrative and legal work needed to finalize a home sale such as an appraisal fee, a credit report fee, flood certification, title services and lender’s title insurance, owner’s title insurance, home inspection, a survey, attorney costs, a government recording fee, transfer tax and all necessary postage or courier services.

The final costs of the closing process are amounts you have to pay in advance for items you will be paying regularly as a homeowner. This includes homeowner’s insurance, property taxes and daily interest. Some of these payments are placed in a special holding, or escrow, account that provides a reserve in case the deal falls through or you can’t pay at some point in the future.

When you are considering the total cost of home ownership, there are some things you can do to minimize closing costs — but understand they will rarely be completely avoidable.

AJ Smith is an award-winning journalist with more than a decade of experience in television, radio, newspapers, magazines and online content. She currently serves as the managing editor for SmartAsset.

 

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How to Keep Your 2015 Homebuying Resolution

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happy couple with keys to new...
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If your New Year’s resolution is to take the leap and buy a home, you may be in luck. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or considering jumping back in, 2015 offers some encouraging signs after a tough time for the housing market.

Mortgage credit and underwriting requirements are thawing as the economy continues to recover. Government-backed mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae recently rolled out conventional mortgage options with a 3 percent down payment. And average interest rates continue to dip below 4 percent.

With conditions looking good for buyers, here’s a look at four tips to help prospective homeowners follow through on that resolution.

Get your credit in order

After years of tight lending, there are continued signs that mortgage lenders are loosening credit requirements. The average FICO score for a closed loan in 2014 was 726, compared to 738 the year before, according to mortgage software firm Ellie Mae.

Buyers without top-tier credit scores may now have a better chance to secure loans. While benchmark scores for conventional loans hover around 720 or higher, FHA and VA loans usually require about a 620.

While the mortgage market has been volatile, credit-building strategies remain the same. Get free copies of your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com. Scour them for mistakes, bad accounts or other issues.

Some consumers work to pay down high-interest debt, while others try to build momentum by focusing on smaller accounts. Choose the strategy that best fits your lifestyle and budget.

Low down payments and interest rates are great, but you can’t tap into either without first clearing a lender’s credit-score hurdle.

Build a nest egg

Buying a home comes with a host of potential upfront costs. Even with reduced requirements for down payments, putting 3 percent down on a $150,000 loan means you’re parting with $4,500 on closing day. You may also need money for an earnest money deposit, inspections, appraisals, closing costs and more.

Upfront costs will vary based on a variety of factors, including the lender and the loan type. FHA loans require a 3.5 percent down payment, while qualified veterans and service members can use a VA loan to purchase with no money down.

Be sure to create and stick to a budget that allows you to put some money into savings each month. Having healthy assets puts you in solid position to purchase a home this year and deal with upfront and unexpected costs along the way. It will also make your loan file look that much stronger.

Learn about loans

Get a solid understanding of the mortgage options you might qualify for, along with their benefits and drawbacks.

No down payment or not paying private mortgage insurance are big-time benefits; however, only a small portion of the population is actually eligible for a VA home loan. But you may be able to secure a zero-down loan using the USDA home loan program.

If you can swing a 5 percent down payment but come up short on credit, FHA financing might be an easier path than conventional loans.

Consider the pros and cons of each in the context of your own financial situation and your short-term and long-term homeownership goals.

Get preapproved

Loan preapproval is critical in the current home-buying climate. This step involves more paperwork and documentation than prequalification, but it gives buyers a clear sense of their purchasing power and what they can realistically afford. It also shows sellers and listing agents that you’re a serious buyer likely to make good on an offer.

Following these steps can help you on your way to fulfilling your New Year’s resolution and let you head into 2016 as a new homeowner.

 

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Is This the Right Time to Refi? 8 Tips to Smooth the Way

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Successful Refinance Refi tips
Trulia

Ready to consider refinancing your mortgage? It can seem like an overwhelming prospect. So we broke it down into the key tasks you’ll need to take care of. Here are eight checkpoints that can help make sure you’re on track, each step of the way. But it’s important to remember that every situation is unique: Consider consulting a real estate or financial professional to evaluate your specific scenario.

1. Identify Your objectives.

Are you trying to save money by reducing monthly payments, or do you want to take out equity from your home? Interested in switching from an adjustable-rate mortgage to a fixed-rate mortgage? (Or vice versa?) When you shop around with lenders, they’re going to want you to be able to answer these questions. Make sure you can clearly articulate why you’re looking to refinance.

2. Refresh old paperwork.

Remember all that paperwork you needed to obtain your first mortgage? Yep, you’ll need to dig it up and update each piece. (Remember, it’s important to be truthful.) Get a copy of your most recent credit report and make sure that you understand your score and take steps to correct any errors. (And remember, now is not the time to apply for a new card. Every time you open a new account, your credit score is affected — and lenders can (and will) check your credit again, sometimes days before closing on the refi.

3. Crunch the numbers.

Not a math genius? No problem. You can use online tools such as Trulia’s refinancing calculator to figure out what makes sense for you. Don’t forget to consider closing costs when you evaluate totals: Even “no-cost” refinancing options can have associated fees.

4. Shop around.

Again, just like in your first go-round shopping for mortgages, you’ll want to choose multiple lenders and submit an initial application with each. Comparing rates and fees can save you serious cash, so it’s worth it to make sure you interview potential lenders and weigh their pros and cons.

5. Submit your application.

Gather all the required documents for prequalification. (Yes, it’s worth it.) Required documentation can include recent pay stubs (or other proof of steady employment) and bank statements. Lenders will probably also ask to see your tax returns from the last two or three years. Take care to have all of your paperwork in place beforehand so that you’re not wasting precious time that your lender could have used to approve you.

6. Pick your loan.

Consider the terms and fees of each loan, and make sure that you don’t just read the fine print, but that you understand it. Be certain to look at the “true” long-term cost of refinancing, along with the immediate financial benefits. For example, refinancing into another 30-year fixed-rate mortgage may lower your monthly payments upfront, but you’ll have to weather many more years of additional payments.

7. Get an appraisal.

The appraisal report will be an important factor in determining the success of your loan application — and you have to pick up the bill (anywhere from $300 to $500). It’s important to understand why the appraisal is a crucial component of the process. Unfortunately, there’s the very real possibility that you find out your home is worth less than you thought. The good news is that there are steps you can take to fight that low appraisal.

8. Be prepared to wait.

Delays are common in the refinancing process, so you’ll want to factor in a few extra days for the unexpected. Since you’ve already done your homework and compiled all the relevant paperwork, you should be able to respond quickly to requests from your lender to help speed up the process.

 

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How Much Could Lower FHA Mortgage Insurance Costs Save You?

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mortgage
NOBUHIRO ASADA/ShutterstockThe White House cited $900 a year as the typical savings, but the number would be higher for buyers with larger loans.

By Alison Paoli

In an effort to make homeownership more accessible and sustainable, President Obama announced last week the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will reduce annual mortgage insurance premiums by 0.5 percentage points. On a $175,000 home loan with less than 5 percent down, that reduction would mean a savings of $818 per year, or $3,932 over five years.

FHA annual mortgage premiums are paid in 12 monthly installments every year, and are paid on top of principal, interest and insurance. For new FHA loans, they last for the entire life of the loan, regardless of whether you have more than 20 percent equity in your home.

The announced changes will take the annual mortgage insurance premiums from 1.35 percent to 0.85 percent for loans with less than 5 percent down, and from 1.30 percent to 0.8 percent for loans with more than 5 percent down. According to the White House, the lowered premiums will help more than 800,000 homeowners save on their monthly mortgage costs and enable up to 250,000 new home buyers to purchase a home.

Annual Savings in FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums on a $175,000 30-year Fixed Loan

Years

3.5% Down

5% Down

1 Year

$818

$805

5 Years

$3,932

$3,863

10 Years

$7,421

$7,276

20 Years

$12,669

$12,375

30 Years

$14,709

$14,338

Methodology: Zillow calculated the monthly mortgage insurance premium payment by applying the annual fee (in basis points) to the average annual outstanding balance after accounting for upfront fees, as described by the FHA.

 

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