My job as a realtor is to help you to present your house in the best possible light in order to sell it quickly and at the highest possible price. In doing that, sometimes, I have to give you a “to-do” list that might have the tendency to hurt your feelings. Don’t let it! Please don’t take your realtor’s advice as any sort of personal insult. I promise we only have your best interests at heart. Here are some of the things we might tell you that have the ability to give you the wrong impression:
De-clutter as much as possible. Remove as many photos and personal effects as you can.
It’s not that we think your family is ugly or that Grandma Edna’s photo over the mantle is going to be offensive to anyone. Research has proven that people looking at your home are trying to picture themselves and THEIR family living there. If your family photos and tchotchkes are all on display, that makes it tougher for the home buyer to picture your home as their own.
Light some candles (if someone is going to be present, of course) bake a pie, or plug in an air freshener.
Every home has a certain smell that is just a product of your living style. Whether it’s got a hint of coffee, recent baking or…. Gah…. cat pee, the aroma of your home is giving off a vibe. Most people enjoy the smell of candles or baking or, the best yet, fresh air. By presenting a welcoming aroma, you can start the home tour off on a good note.
Consider painting in neutral colors.
We’re not trying to hinder your creativity or personal style. We ARE trying to sell your home and that’s much easier to do if a buyer is able to look at your house and think they can move in and not have to instantly do all sorts of painting and redecorating to get closer to their own style. Neutral colors help give them that feeling.
We need to get rid of all the kid (or dog) toys everywhere.
No, we don’t hate children or dogs. We have them too. But, the buyer may not have children or may have dog allergies or an aversion to animals. By having their things strewn around the house, you are not only creating a possible trip hazard, but you are making it tougher for a buyer to picture your home as their own as we discussed in the beginning.
Remember, the goal of the home showing is to enable the buyer to see all the wonderful features of your home and to be able to visualize themselves living there. We want them to see it so clearly in their mind’s eye that they will make you a fabulous offer. If we give you advice and you are feeling a little hurt by it, please ask us to explain. We certainly don’t want to hurt your feelings. It’s not personal, it’s just good business.
If I can ever be of assistance in your home purchase or sale, feel free to give me a ring.
According to Black Knight Financial Service’s Mortgage Monitor Report, 1.5 million Americans have purchased a home with down payments under than 10% over the last 12 months. This is great news for buyers as this marks a 7-year high.
Many mortgage programs offered by agencies like Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae allow buyers to put down as low as 3% to purchase their dream homes. The strength of the housing market has aided buyers who used low-down-payment programs to buy. As a recent CNBC article points out,
“Defaults on recent low down payment loans, so far, are slow, but that is as much a factor of the good credit quality as it is the strength of the housing market. Home prices are rising incredibly fast, meaning those borrowers are gaining equity in their homes quickly.”
Low down payments aren’t just great for first-time homebuyers. These programs have allowed homeowners who want to capitalize on the equity they have in their homes to use the profit from their sale to pay off high-interest credit cards, fund education or even start a business.
According to a new Census Report, the Annual Survey of Entrepreneurs, home equity was used to start 7.3% of all businesses in the United States, which equates to over 284,000! The industries that saw the most growth from home equity are accommodation & food services, manufacturing and, retail trade.
Gone are the days of ‘20% down or no mortgage.’ What could you build with the equity in your house? Let’s get together today to evaluate your ability to achieve your dreams today!
When going to close on a home this week, I learned a few things I thought I'd share with you.
Fannie Mae has automated underwriting software (DU) that looks at the combination of property, credit, income, and liquid assets to assign an overall Risk Assessment Score to each transaction. There are major changes that happened in July to the way this Risk Assessment is performed that will potentially help you qualify to purchase a home, or qualify to purchase a more expensive home in Northern Virginia.
1. Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac are increasing Max Debt to Income Ratio (DTI) from 45% to 50%
This may help you qualify for a larger, slightly more expensive home purchase.
2. Self-Employed Loan Changes
There are many self-employed people these days and that income has always been tough to use in a loan. Self-employed borrowers may now be able to buy based on their most recent year’s tax return – with higher income than on income averaged over 2 years. This means you may be able to buy sooner or buy a more expensive home if your business is fairly new.
3. The Credit Bureaus will no longer include Judgements and Tax Liens on the Credit Report
This will happen UNLESS there are 3 matching data points (Full name, address, and either SSN or Date of Birth) for these judgements. This means about 6% of people with credit scores will see them increase. And, for people who are wrongly matched to a Judgement or Tax Lien – their scores will improve – possibly up to 40 points. That’s HUGE for buyers.
4. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be aligning maximum loan to value (LTV) rates for Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) with Fixed Rate Mortgages up to a maximum of 95% LTV.
These lower ARM rates may allow you to qualify for a more expensive home.
5. Less Hassle with Disputed Trade lines (When a client disputes the information reported by a creditor)
In the past, when a client has disputed the information reported by a creditor – that trade line is ignored by the Credit Bureaus in assigning a credit score and it is ignored by DU in determining its Risk Assessment score. All disputes had to be resolved prior to settlement so that DU could provide a more accurate Risk Assessment. Now, the computer assessment program (DU) will include Disputed Trade lines in its initial Risk Assessment. This means qualified borrowers may not have to resolve a dispute prior to settlement.
This is all good news in helping you to be able to buy sooner and buy more than ever before. If you’d like to discuss how this might affect your personal situation, feel free to contact me and we’ll take a look at where you stand.
School is getting ready to start all around the Northern Virginia area. Do you and your family have everything set and ready to go? Here are some of our favorite blogs and websites for gearing up.
This comprehensive list covers all sorts of "family" tips and rules. Pack lunch before bed. Lay your clothes out the night before.......... the things that will make life easier when the big day comes.
If your students are headed back to Northern Virginia schools, here is a link to the requested school supplies. Don't forget the tissues!
Contrary to your teen's popular belief, it's NOT all about what to wear the first day. The reason for the season is actually to learn. Here are some great tips to getting organized and ready for a great year. My favorite tip is #6 Get Involved. So many kids just go to school, do their work and leave. By getting involved in something on campus, not only are they increasing their learning potential but they are learning to deal with other people in PERSON and not just via their phones.
And, speaking of learning, this blog will help set your student up for academic success with some great study tips. I found #1, Don't just have one study space, interesting. I had always thought that your space was your space and that it was sacrilegious to change. But, the article makes the good point that changing scenery now and then can be inspiring.
We scoured the web for some of the best back to school lunch recipes ever. Be sure to check them out on my "Favorite Recipes" Pinterest board.
If you're like me, when growing up, I couldn't wait until that back to school issue of Seventeen magazine came out. Girls everywhere still seem to rejoice but now they read it online and can click right there to buy their first-day outfit. Me, I had folded tabs, sticky notes, and lists galore. Do kids today even know what sticky notes are?
In my school days, our "gadgets" consisted of a calculator or, if you were REALLY cool, a calculator watch. Now, there are things like note taking pens, the Echo Dot and wireless everything. This list will give you a start on what the kids might be pushing for.
Have you seen any good blogs or tips for back to school? If so, please share in the comments below.
Today we have a guest blog from our friend Keith Barrettat Vesta Settlements regarding Wire Fraud. This post originally appears on their blog.
Several attempts have been made recently in the real estate industry to divert funds from both Buyers and Sellers during the closing process. The fraudulent schemes typically involve the hacking of public domain email accounts (e.g. Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL etc.) and/or the creation of a similarly named account through which the perpetrator creates a separate thread of communication. In these cases, hackers monitor the emails of agents, buyers, and sellers in an effort to gain information regarding transaction details. They then use this information and the hacked email account to direct transaction funds to their own bank accounts. Once the funds are wired pursuant to the fraudulent instructions, there is little or no chance of those funds being recovered.
These emails can appear genuine and can even contain the logos or branding of the title company, agents or lender. In most cases, the emails are written with a sense of urgency that the wire must be made as soon as possible, prior to the closing date. These emails often contain poor sentence structure, grammar mistakes, and the use of different fonts but this is not always the case.
Vesta Settlements takes necessary measures to protect personal, non-public information through appropriate information security and privacy management policies and procedures.
However, despite these efforts, cyber crime will continue and evolve – vigilance and consistent attention from all parties to a transaction are crucial.
Steps you can take to prevent Wire Fraud on your own transactions:
To download a PDF copy of this blog post, please click here.