My Blog

Down Payment Misperceptions

1/20/2022

The majority of buyers finance their home purchase. However, some buyers may delay purchasing believing that they need a certain amount saved for the down payment. While it might be ideal to have 20% of the purchase price (or more) available for a down payment, it isn't always necessary. Lenders have many options for mortgages and different down payment amounts can be accepted. According to a study by the National Association of Realtors, the average down payment for first time home buyers over the last three years ranged between 6% and 7%. 

If you, or someone you know, is looking to buy a house, please have them reach out to me. I am happy to get buyers in touch with great local lenders who can help fit them to a mortgage that is right for them. Buyers may be ready to buy sooner than they realized. Even if they discover it would be best to save additional funds, it is good to know this sooner rather than later. It is always good to have an established relationship with a lender! Call me today and I'll connect you to lenders who can help you to get ready to purchase a new home! 906-236-3750

Six Ways to Prep Your Home to Sell

1/13/2022

If you are thinking of selling your home in the spring or summer, don't wait to get it ready! If you think you are ready, it might be in your favor to list it now when inventory is low and buyers are just waiting. However, if there is work that you need to get done, don't delay. Don't be fooled into thinking that inventory will stay low forever. Here are six tips to get your home ready to list in late winter or early spring. These items could be done in just 30 days.

  1. Paint rooms. This is an inexpensive way to spruce up rooms in your home. Getting a fresh coat of paint on walls will brighten them up and make everything look like new. 
  2. Curb appeal is as important as ever, even with the snow. Keep driveways and walkways cleared of snow and as snow begins to melt in the spring, remove any dead leaves, branches, or weeds that may be showing through the snow. 
  3. Make small fixes. If you have a broken railing or leaky faucet, it can give the impression to buyers that not everything in the home was well cared for. Now is the time to repair any small projects you have been putting off. Replace missing tiles, fix torn screens, or touch up holes or cracks in walls. None of these repairs will cost a lot of money, but they will have a huge impact on a buyer's impression of your home.
  4. Brighten up! Replace low wattage light bulbs with brighter ones and actually changing some fixtures out completely can brighten up a room instantly. It makes a home feel cheerful and bigger.
  5. De-clutter. The less you have, the larger your home will appear. This doesn't mean getting rid of everything, but it does mean organizing and removing much of your stuff. Rooms often have too many pieces of furniture and simply removing one piece can give the impression of more space. Reduce the number of books in shelves and take down and personal photos. Buyers like to envision themselves living in a home, not just see the seller's life there.
  6. Clean like you've never cleaned before. Cleaning the house before it goes on the market is one of the most essential tasks you can do. Dedicate more than one afternoon to getting your home to sparkle. Set aside a few days to clean rooms from top to bottom. The kitchen and bathrooms should be immaculate. Cleaning windows is another great way to allow more light into a room. A bright, spotless house makes your home much more appealing to buyers. 
Call me and let me know if you are even considering listing your home at any point this year. I can provide a free comparative market analysis and give you an idea of what your home will sell for in the current market. If it is something you have been considering, this can help you decide if this is your year. I'm here to help whenever you are ready!

Happy New Year!

1/6/2022

I certainly hope 2022 is off to a great start for you! All indications show that 2022 will still be a great year for real estate - both for buyers and sellers. Despite rising home prices in the past 18 months, interest rates are still in a buyer's favor and sellers are thrilled with prices they are getting for their home. Research shows that owning a median priced home is still more affordable than renting. This is such a unique market where it benefits both buyers and sellers.

If you are considering buying or selling this year, now is the time! Sellers especially can benefit greatly from listing during the winter months when the inventory is lower and there is less competition with other houses for sale. For buyers, let me start the search for you and if needed, get you connected to fantastic local lenders who can help find the right loan to fit your needs.

I look forward to working for you or anyone you may know! Call me today at 906-236-3750.

Loans that Barely Ding Your Credit Score

7/7/2021
Credit scores are very important for qualifying for a mortgage, financing a vehicle or anything else, and snagging the best rates. What consumers do with their finances leading up to applying for a loan can have a big impact on how high, or low, their credit score gets.

Home prices have been rising over the past year and some homeowners are sitting on a significant amount of equity. Instead of purchasing a new home, some are tempted to tap into that equity to pay for remodeling projects, medical expenses, or something else. After researching hundreds of home equity loan requests, research has shown that many borrowers do see a decrease in their credit score after taking out a home equity loan. However, the decline seems to be fairly small and the consumer's credit score usually recovers in less than a year. If you are looking to remodel or upgrade your home to meet your current needs/desires, this may be a more affordable option for you. Call your local lender to determine what your options are!

Top 10 Kitchen Trends for 2021

6/24/2021
Social media allows predictions to be made for future trends based on what is going viral and getting the most "likes." Based on what is trending in kitchen Instagram posts, the top 10 predictions of hottest kitchen trends for 2021 are:

1. Granite countertops
2. Pantry cabinets
3. Quartz countertops
4. Kitchen islands
5. Eco-friendly
6. Brass faucets
7. Copper hardware
8. Mosaic backsplash tiles
9. Induction countertop
10. Farmhouse sinks

In terms of color schemes, white still reigns supreme. Black mono-chrome kitchens came in second, followed by cooler colors like green and blue colored kitchens. Modern kitchen styles with super clean designs are definitely trending!

Check for Mistakes on Your Credit Report

6/15/2021

A recent study from Consumer Reports has indicated that more than one third of Americans say they have found at least one error in their credit report. Sometimes mistakes dealt with personal information (misspelled name, incorrect address, etc...) and approximately 11% of survey respondents found mistakes that regarding their account information which could be damaging their credit score. Sometimes these errors are not discovered until the consumer is in the middle of trying to get a loan for a new house or car. Errors can be corrected, but they often take time. It is important to check your credit report and assess it for accuracy.

Credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are usually available for free once a year. You can monitor your credit report at AnnualCreditReport.com. If you do find an error, you should contact the reporting firm directly. These simple steps can save a significant amount of potential time and hassle down the road. If you haven't done so recently, check your credit report today.

Helping Buyers Navigate the Current Market

5/17/2021

Buyers are entering the market in droves and in order to have the advantage when writing an offer, it is important to be prepared! Here are some steps buyers can take to be better prepared when they find a house they are interested in writing an offer on.

1. Have your preapproval letter or proof of funds available. Preapproval letters are typically only valid for 90-120 days. Get yours updated with your lender if needed!
2. Be decisive. If you see a home you want to schedule a showing for, don't wait until the weekend. The house may be pending by then. Schedule the showing as soon as you are able!
3. Submit a clean offer. Inspection and appraisal contingencies are often standard, but it is important not to have additional contingencies, such as a home sale contingency or requesting the seller provide a rebate for closing costs.
4. Be open to being creative. My licensed assistant, Karen Bruce, and I work with buyers and give other suggestions or ideas to help help an offer potentially more desirable to sellers.

Call me today and let me help you navigate the market as a buyer! Let Karen and I handle the stressful parts - we will be diligent in communicating with you so you are comfortable every step of the way!

Intense Competition Leads to Fastest Sales Ever

4/30/2021

Homes are selling in an average of 20 days fewer than a year ago. While there is definitely intense buyer competition, it was good to see inventory open up slightly in April as more sellers started to list their homes. Inventory is still 26% lower than it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many real estate experts predict that more homeowners will list their homes in the coming months, which is the common trend as weather warms and summer approaches. 

It is important for all buyers who are actively searching to have their preapproval or proof of funds ready before writing an offer! On the seller side, it is a GREAT time to sell! Call me today if you'd like a free analysis of what your house is worth in today's market! 906-236-3750

Baby Boomers Are the Richest Home Sellers

4/6/2021

With the present real estate market, buyers are securing good interest rates and sellers are getting prices they are happy with. Overall for 2020 home sellers saw a median gain of $66,000 more than what they originally purchased for (nationwide). However, sellers ages 66-74 saw a median gain of $100,000 in equity. Boomers and older homeowners are really the ones holding the cards when it comes to selling. Homeowners who have been in their homes the longest tend to see the highest profits at resale. Often times older generations are looking to downsize or move closer to family members or to a warmer climate. Having been in their home longer means more of their mortgage is likely paid off and they will walk away with more after the sale closes.

That being said, younger age groups are still doing well in today's market when they sell also. If you are thinking of buying or selling, please give me a call. I'd be happy to share how I can work for you to help you accomplish your real estate goals! 906-236-3750

Wallpaper is Making a Comeback!

3/25/2021
Some people cringe at the thought of wallpaper and the work it takes to remove it. However, wallpaper is making a comeback in small doses. Newer self-adhesive removable wall paper is a game changer without a long term commitment. Used on an accent wall or above molding, it can dress up a space without overwhelming a room. Consider your house - is there any chance an accent wall could improve a space? Would you be willing to try wallpaper knowing that it could be easily removed? It will be interesting to see how this trend develops throughout the year. 
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