Collins & Demac Real Estate



Posted by Collins & Demac Real Estate on 12/5/2019

If you’re a first time homebuyer and want to start weighing your mortgage options, you’ll have much to learn. With so much at stake, you’ll want to make sure you choose the best mortgage for you now, and one that will still suit your needs years into the future.

Sometimes, first time buyers are hesitant to ask questions they may consider too basic because they don’t want to seem inexperienced to lenders, agents, or anyone else they’ll be in contact with throughout the home buying process.

So, in this article, we’ve compiled a list of commonly asked mortgage questions that first time buyers might want to ask before heading into the process of acquiring a home loan.

What is the first step to getting a mortgage?

This question may seem straightforward, however the first step can vary depending on your financial situation. For those who already have saved up for a down payment and built a solid credit score, the first step is probably contacting lenders and getting preapproved or prequalified.

However, if you aren’t sure about your credit score and haven’t saved up for a down payment (ideally, 20% of what you hope to spend on the house), then you should address those matters first.

To find a lender, you can do a simple Google search for the mortgage lenders in your area, or you can ask around to friends and family to find out their experience with their own mortgage lenders.

What does it mean to be pre-qualified and pre-approved?

If you think of the mortgage process in three steps, the first step would be getting pre-qualified. This means you’ve given the lender enough basic information for them to decide which type of mortgage you’re eligible to receive.

Pre-approval includes collecting and verifying further details. At this step, you’ll complete a mortgage application and the lender will run a credit check. Once you’re pre-approved, your file can be moved to the underwriting phase.

What are closing costs?

“Closing costs” is an umbrella term that covers all of the various fees and expenses related to buying or selling a home. As a buyer, you are responsible for paying numerous closing costs. These can include, but are not limited to, underwriting fees, title searches, title insurance,  origination fees, taxes, appraisal fees, surveys, and more.

That sounds like a lot to keep track of, however your lender will be able to give you an accurate estimate of the total closing costs when you apply for your loan. In fact, lenders are required to give you a list of these costs within three days of your loan application in the form of a “good faith estimate” of the closing costs.

What will my interest rate be?

The answer to this question is dependent upon numerous factors. The value of the home, your credit score, the amount you put down (down payment), the type of mortgage you have, and whether or not you’re paying private mortgage insurance all factor into the interest rate you’ll receive. Interest rates also will vary slightly between lenders.

You can receive a fixed-rate mortgage that does not fluctuate throughout the repayment term. However, you also typically have the option to refinance to acquire a lower interest rate, however refinancing comes with its own costs.




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Posted by Collins & Demac Real Estate on 11/28/2019

Photo by Kirk Fisher via Pixabay

Whether you are buying your first home or are upgrading, consider buying a larger home. Even if you are just planning on starting a family, a larger home allows you to grow into it. And, you don’t have to put up with the pesky chore of moving when it’s time to go bigger. If you are upgrading, you should still go bigger than what you think you need because you’ll eventually run out of space. As long as you can afford it, going bigger has more benefits than downfalls.

Save Money When Your Family Grows

Instead of trying to sell a home and buy a larger home when your family starts growing, you’ll already have the larger home. If you plan on two kids but often have relatives or friends visit overnight, you’re better off with the extra bedrooms: one for each child, the master suite and at least one guest bedroom. When you have more than one guest bedroom, you’ll be able to make one into an office or a library if you decide to work for yourself later in life or if you decide you just want a quiet place to escape to once in a while.

Make Money

A home with at least one extra bedroom and bathroom commands more money on the market when you decide to sell it. Instead of a three-bedroom, two-bath house, you might consider a five-bedroom home with at least three bathrooms. You’ll get more for a sale than you would for a three-two. While you might pay more for the house, depending on how the market is when you sell, you could see quite a bit more appreciation than in a smaller house.

More Space

Generally, larger homes also have larger living spaces in addition to the extra rooms. You’ll have a more spacious kitchen and a larger living room that won’t feel as crowded when you entertain. You might find a new hobby later in life and will have the extra space to accommodate that hobby. And, because you have more space, your home will look less cluttered because you won’t have to “find” room to store your stuff.

Finally, you can get the furniture you want, instead of settling for something just because it fits in your living room. If you’ve always wanted that big-screen TV or even a room with movie theater seating, you can have that when you go bigger.

What You Can Afford

Look at your debt-to-income ratio as that determines what you are able to afford. If you can go bigger, the benefits outweigh the larger utility bills and the amount of extra time it takes to clean. And, look for a house that is on some acreage so that you can create a large outdoor living area and won’t be on top of your neighbors.




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Posted by Collins & Demac Real Estate on 11/21/2019

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Image by StudioDin from Shutterstock

Homeowners wishing to sell their home for top dollar might consider a kitchen remodel to increase its value and efficiency. Aside from the kitchen being the heart of the home, it also has several surfaces you can quickly upgrade that affect the entire space. The tips below give you a guide to which areas in your kitchen give you the best return for your investment.

Cabinets and Hardware

Cabinetry is often the primary component that determines the style of your kitchen. Replacing or refreshing your cabinets is one way to improve the look and feel of your kitchen. If the current cabinetry is in decent shape, refinishing or repainting the faces might achieve the look of new without the expense of a complete replacement. If you choose to tackle this project yourself, take the time to remove the doors, and hardware before you begin. For best results, closely follow notes for sanding and drying time for the paint or stain you’ve selected. Top off your cabinetry with updated hardware.

Paint or Wall Finish

A fresh coat of paint gives the house a clean, updated look. If you decide to paint your kitchen walls, create a neutral but inviting kitchen space. Colors trends are often regional, so let your realtor in on your plans and follow their lead for the best options. 

Another trend for kitchen walls is adding a backsplash. While its purpose is to protect the kitchen wall from water damage, the backsplash has become a modern kitchen focal point. Choose neutral materials that complement the counter and cabinet surfaces and show the kitchen in the best light.

Countertops and Fixtures

Of all the surfaces that add value to your kitchen space, countertops are most desirable. Materials like natural granite and marble give you a good return on your investment. For people who want a countertop that can resist scratches and stains and requires little or no maintenance, quartz serves perfectly.

Replacing tired or scratched faucets with new, updated versions not only enhances the look of your kitchen, but it also improves functionality. Consider a high-profile faucet with a pull-out sprayer and single-handle operation in a style that matches your kitchen’s aesthetic.

Light Fixtures

Lighting has a powerful effect on a room. It brightens your kitchen up, making it appear more inviting. Use lighting to create a vintage style kitchen with chandeliers and or give a modern twist with recessed lighting or pendants. Under-cabinet or task lighting gives a soft glow and makes meal prep easier.

Flooring

An overwhelming variety of flooring options exist for your kitchen; from vinyl and tile to laminate and hardwood. For stylish kitchen flooring design, choose a product that enhances the other elements in the room. A cohesive look is more important than spending all your money in one place.

There are many areas in your kitchen where you can make simple changes to add value to your home. Determine your budget and consult with your realtor on the best options for the greatest return on your investment.




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Posted by Collins & Demac Real Estate on 11/7/2019

Any pet owner will tell you that their pets are a part of the family. They bring joy to new families getting their first dog, and companionship to people who would otherwise live alone. However, they also bring the pet odors associated with having them around the house.

Since we spend so much time in our own homes, we oftentimes don’t even notice pet odors. So, even if you think your home is free of odors, it’s a good idea to get an unbiased opinion of the various odors of your home so that you can address them if necessary.

In this article, we’re going to teach you how to identify and neutralize those pet odors before the open house or first home showing. That way you can make the best impression on potential sellers and leave them feeling like your home has been well-maintained.

Identifying pet odors in your home

Whether you’ve got a dog, cat, rabbit, or hamster, odds are your little friend puts off some amount of odor. To discover where, if any, odors can be found, invite a friend over to your home who isn’t familiar with the smells and ask them their honest opinions about the various rooms in your home. This will give you a good idea of where you need to focus your efforts.

Important areas to clean

First thing’s first: the fabrics, surfaces, furniture, and carpet in your home in your home hold onto odor the most. Renting or buying a carpet cleaner, mopping the hard surfaces, and washing or refreshing curtains is a great place to start.

Many steam cleaners can be used on various surfaces, making them a good solution to get the most value out of your cleaning budget.

Don’t forget the carpet pad

If your pets have ever had “accidents” on your carpets, it’s vital to remember that their mess likely soaked through the carpet onto the carpet pad. While it may seem like a lot of effort to pull up the carpet just to clean the pad, it may be your only option in severe cases of pet odors.  

Painting

Repainting is a guaranteed way to remove any lingering odors in your home. Try to time your painting so that the room has the chance to air out and the smell of fresh paint isn’t overpowering.

Repainting is also the perfect opportunity to brighten up the rooms of your home, making them feel more spacious. Sticking to neutral, proven colors will give you the most bang for your buck.

Let some fresh air in

Before showing your home, open up the doors and windows and doors to closets and basements and let a draft run through the house. This can eliminate any musty smells that have accumulated in the lesser used parts of your home, as well as help mitigate the effect of pet odor.

Last minute additions

The day of showing your home, use a high-quality scented candle or two in places that your pets frequent. You don’t want it to be obvious that you’re trying to mask any bad odors, so don’t use anything overpowering. Rather, opt for a pleasant-to-neutral fragrance that isn’t too noticeable.




Tags: selling your home   cats   dogs   pet odor  
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Posted by Collins & Demac Real Estate on 10/31/2019

It goes without saying that buying a home is time-consuming.

 First, there’s the financial planning to determine when you’re ready to buy a home. Then you need to get pre-approved for a mortgage and start looking for homes. After viewing several homes you finally find the perfect home. Then comes the difficult process of making an offer and negotiating the cost of the home. If all goes well, your offer is accepted and you get to enter the lengthy mortgage closing process. However, your work is not yet done. You’ll have to move out of your current residence and into your new home. All of this while juggling your work and social life.

 After all of this, it might seem like the only thing left to do is relax in your new home. While it may be true that you certainly deserve a break, there are some things you should do sooner rather than later when you move into your new home.

 In this article, we’ll cover ten things you should do right away once you move into your new home.

1. Home security

Your chief consideration when moving into your new home should be making sure it’s safe. The best first step to take is to change all of the locks on your house. In spite of how trustworthy the previous homeowner may have seemed, you can never be 100% sure who had spare keys to their home. Changing locks is quick and inexpensive, especially considering what’s at stake.

Another important step in home security is to put new batteries in and test all smoke detectors, make sure fire extinguishers are up-to-date, and ensure air filters are cleaned.

2. Set up your utilities

One of the first things you have to do when moving into a new home is to call your utility companies and transfer services into your name. Make a list of the services you’ll need to set up (electricity, water, garbage removal, internet, home security, heating, etc.). This is also a good time to set up online accounts and autopay for these services. It will save you time each month and make it easier to keep track of your bills if you simplify this process from the get-go.

3. Self-inspection

You should have already had the home inspected by a professional prior to closing on the house. However, things can change in the time that someone moves all of their belongings out of a home and you move all of yours in. Wiring can be damaged, pipes banged, windows cracked, and so on. Do a thorough inspection of your home to check for leaks, broken wires, and fire hazards to be sure that your home is in good condition.

4. Deep clean

It might be tempting to just move your belongings into their new places once you arrive at your new home. However, the best time to clean a room is when it’s empty. Before you set up your furniture or fill your cabinets, give them a thorough cleaning.

5. Familiarize yourself with circuit breaker and water valves

When disaster strikes, you’ll want to be ready for it. Get to know your circuit box before the first power outage. Store flashlights in easily accessible places and make sure they have fresh batteries. Similarly, familiarize yourself with the main water shutoff valve in case you have a pipe burst. If the former homeowner lived alone and you have a large family, there’s a chance that the sudden surge in power and water usage could reveal issues with plumbing and wiring that the former owner wasn’t aware of.







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