Todd Finn - RE/MAX Partners

Posted by Todd Finn on 3/18/2018

Entering the real estate market and buying your dream home may seem simple at first. However, problems may arise that make it tough to secure your ideal house at a price that matches your budget.

When it comes to finding the right home at the right price, it helps to prepare. Fortunately, we're here to help you get ready to enter the housing market and ensure you can quickly and effortlessly discover your dream residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to simplify the homebuying process.

1. Create Homebuying Criteria

Purchasing a house is rarely easy, particularly for a property buyer who has no idea how to kick off a home search. But if you establish homebuying criteria, you can speed up the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Allocating time and resources to create homebuying criteria is essential because it forces you to consider where you want to live and what amenities you want to find in your dream residence. Plus, once you have homebuying criteria at your disposal, you can start your home search and move one step closer to acquiring your ideal residence.

2. Obtain Home Financing

Home financing is paramount, particularly for property buyers who want to avoid the risk of spending too much to purchase a house. Thankfully, banks and credit unions can teach you about a variety of mortgage options and help you secure the financing you need to buy a home.

Typically, a lender will meet with you and outline your mortgage options. It also will explain the differences between fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages and respond to any of your mortgage concerns and questions. Then, after you review your mortgage options, a lender will help you make an informed home financing decision.

Don't wait to get home financing, either. If you have home financing in hand when you launch a home search, you may be better equipped than other buyers to quickly submit an offer to purchase a home.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

For those who want to avoid challenges throughout the homebuying journey, it generally is a good idea to collaborate with a real estate agent. In fact, a real estate agent will do everything possible to help you identify and resolve homebuying problems before they escalate.

A real estate agent is a housing market expert and is happy to assist you as you proceed along the homebuying journey. If you are interested in houses in specific cities and towns, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about residences that become available in these areas. Or, if you want to submit an offer to purchase a house, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive homebuying proposal. Best of all, if you have homebuying concerns, a real estate agent will address them right away.

Ultimately, buying a house can be easy. Use the aforementioned tips, and you can streamline the homebuying cycle.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Todd Finn on 3/11/2018

"Motivation" could be defined as a positive energy that is applied to the achievement of a desired goal.

You may be wondering whether you, as a home seller, need to be motivated. The short answer is: "Yes! Your attitude and energy level can potentially make a huge difference in the sale of your home!"

In rare instances, the right buyer may show up at just the right time, without much effort on your part. However, when it comes to getting the best price for your house and selling it within the shortest period of time, you don't want to leave things to chance! The stakes are too high and the window of opportunity is too brief to depend on luck. Although there are several variables that are beyond your control -- such as market conditions, location, and time of year -- there are plenty of things you can do to increase the probability of a fast sale.

Choose a proactive real estate agent: The encouraging news is that there are many full-time real estate agents who are personable, focused, and results oriented. They know their business and they recognize the value of positive client relationships. However, all real estate agents are not created equal. Unless you're hiring a real estate agent based on a rock-solid recommendation from a trusted friend or relative, it's always best to interview at least two agents before making your final decision.

The real estate agent you ultimately work with will have a direct impact on many aspects of your home-selling experience, so it pays to choose carefully. Although a good rapport does go a long way toward a successful working relationship with an agent, it's vital to find one who's experienced, knowledgeable, and successful. Success is important because if they don't have a proven record of selling houses in your area -- especially ones in your price range -- then how can you be sure they'll market your home effectively?

Always put your best foot forward: One crucial thing house sellers do have control over is making a good impression. You rarely get a second chance to make a great first impression, so it's well worth your while to prioritize things like curb appeal, cleanliness, and home staging.

If there's anything about the appearance or functionality of your home that concerns you, you can be sure prospective buyers are also going to notice it. An experienced real estate agent will have a good sense of effective home staging, what might put off buyers, and how you can cost-effectively remedy problems.

Half the battle usually involves thoroughly cleaning your house, applying a fresh coat of neutral-colored paint where needed, and getting rid of clutter in and around all surfaces, including floors, countertops, walls, and storage areas. Although every situation is different, when it comes to furniture arrangement and room décor, "less is (usually) more!"

Posted by Todd Finn on 3/4/2018

Experienced, knowledgeable real estate agents are experts in attracting potential buyers to home showings.

When you initially meet with prospective real estate agents to determine which one would be the best fit for your needs, you can get a pretty good sense of how marketing-savvy they are.

Since marketing is one of the most important parts of their job description, a well-trained, motivated real estate agent will know how to effectively use the Internet, their network of personal contacts, and a variety of other techniques to draw in qualified prospects.

Is there anything that you, as the homeowner, can do to help market your home?

Although it's your real estate agent's role to advertise, promote, and publicize your real estate listing to targeted groups and the general public, there is one huge thing you can do to help: Try to keep your house and property looking impeccable at all times. While that goal may be easier said than done, it's worth some extra time and effort to make your home as inviting and appealing to house hunters as possible.

Here are two ways you can increase your home's marketability and help spark more interest among prospective buyers:

  1. Meticulous neatness and cleanliness gives your home instant appeal. On the other hand, a messy, disorganized home or yard will send the wrong message to people touring your house. While it may be counterproductive to have your house reeking from ammonia and harsh cleaning chemicals, keeping countertops, floors, and walls clean will help your real estate agent present your home in its best possible light. Hopefully, you'll be able to enlist the help of everyone in the family (except pets) to clean up after themselves and keep their rooms and play areas looking civilized!
  2. Help maintain curb appeal! As the cliché goes (or was it an old mouthwash commercial?): "You don't get a second chance to make a great first impression!" For that reason, it's vitally important for your lawn to look well manicured and your house to be free from peeling paint and yard clutter. Another eyesore that detracts from first impressions is the sight of weeds growing out of cracks in your driveway or walkway. The cracks, themselves, are a problem you might want to address, but the weeds (or grass) poking through them is like adding insult to injury! If you don't want to spray them with some toxic, store-bought weed killer, then research natural ways to kill weeds.
Although your real estate agent will gladly handle 99% of the marketing for your home, you can help give their efforts an important nudge by making sure your home and property always look their best!

Posted by Todd Finn on 2/25/2018

It’s hard to overstate the importance of credit scores when it comes to buying a home. Along with your down payment, your credit score is a deciding factor of getting approved and securing a low interest rate.

Credit can be complicated. And, if you want to buy a home in the near future, it can seem daunting to try and increase your score while saving for a down payment.

However, it is possible to significantly increase your score in the months leading up to applying for a loan.

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about some ways to give your credit score a quick boost so that you can secure the best rate on your mortgage.

Should I focus on increasing my score or save for a down payment?

If you’re planning on buying a home, you might be faced with a difficult decision: to pay off old debt or to save a larger down payment.

As a general rule, it’s better to pay off smaller loans and debt before taking out larger loans. If you have multiple loans that you’re paying off that are around the same balance, focus on whichever one has the highest interest rate.

If you have low-interest loans that you can easily afford to continue paying while you save, then it’s often worth saving more for a down payment.

Remember that if you are able to save up 20% of your mortgage, you’ll be able to avoid paying PMI (private mortgage insurance). This will save you quite a bit over the span of your loan.

Starting with no credit

If you’ve avoided loans and credit cards thus far in your life but want to save for a home, you might run into the issue of not having a credit history.

To confront this issue, it’s often a good idea to open a credit card that has good rewards and use it for your everyday expenses like groceries. Then, set up the card to auto-pay the balance in full each month to avoid paying interest.

This method allows you to save money (you’d have to buy groceries and gas anyway) while building credit.

Correct credit report errors

Each of the main credit bureaus will have a slightly different method for calculating your credit score. Their information can also vary.

Each year, you’re entitled to one free report from each of the main bureaus. Take advantage of these free reports. They’re different from free credit checks that you can get from websites like Credit Karma because they’re much more detailed.

Go through the report line by line and make sure there aren’t any accounts you don’t recognize. It is not uncommon for people to find out that a scammer or even a family member has taken out a line of credit in their name.

Avoid opening several new accounts

Our final tip for boosting your credit score is to avoid opening up multiple accounts in the 6 months leading up to your mortgage application.

Opening multiple accounts is a red flag to lenders. It can show that you might be in a time of financial hardship and can temporarily lower your score.

Posted by Todd Finn on 2/18/2018

An open house is a big deal, particularly for a homebuyer who is intent on finding his or her dream residence as quickly as possible. If you plan ahead for an open house, you can make the most of this event.

Ultimately, there are many reasons for a homebuyer to craft a list of questions prior to an open house, and these reasons include:

1. You can optimize your time and resources.

Let's face it – few homebuyers have time and resources to spare. And if you attend an open house, it is important to do everything possible to maximize its value.

With a list of questions in hand, you can attend an open house and learn everything you want to know about a residence. Then, when you have answers to your questions, you can decide whether to submit an offer on a residence or continue your search for your dream house.

2. You can obtain in-depth home insights.

In many instances, homebuyers will attend an open house and leave with many questions about a residence. Yet homebuyers who create a list of questions prior to an open house can quickly gain the insights they need to identify their ideal home.

For homebuyers who want to obtain in-depth home insights, preparing a list of questions prior to an open house is a must. Homebuyers who ask questions about a house's interior, exterior, condition and age can learn about many different aspects of a residence. As a result, these buyers can use all of the information at their disposal to determine whether a house matches their expectations.

3. You can make the best-possible decision regarding a home.

Buying a house is rarely a simple decision. Fortunately, attending an open house with a list of questions can help a buyer make an informed decision about any residence, at any time.

When pursuing homes, there is no reason to leave anything to chance. By preparing questions before an open house, a homebuyer can take a data-driven approach to evaluate a house. And after a comprehensive assessment, a buyer can move forward with a home offer or reenter the housing market.

As you get ready to attend an open house, it may be beneficial to hire a real estate agent too. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you may be able to achieve your homebuying goals faster than ever before.

A real estate agent understands the housing market and its intricacies. As such, a real estate agent can keep you up to date about open house events and help you plan accordingly.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will do everything possible to take the guesswork out of buying a house. If you ever have questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them.

Prepare a list of questions before you attend an open house – you'll be glad you did. By doing so, you should have no trouble discovering your ideal residence.