Cheryl Deschenes' Blog
Purchasing a house should be an unforgettable journey for all the right reasons. However, problems sometimes may arise that can make it tough to enjoy a positive homebuying experience.
Whether it's struggling to know where to search for your dream home or getting the financing you need to purchase a house, myriad problems may prevent you from enjoying a positive homebuying experience. Lucky for you, we're here to help you identify potential homebuying hurdles and eliminate such problems before they escalate.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you reap the benefits of a positive homebuying experience.
1. Enter the Housing Market with Clear Expectations
If you know you want to purchase a house, it helps to enter the real estate market with clear expectations. That way, you'll be better equipped than ever before to streamline your house search.
Consider what you want to find in your dream house. For example, if you want to own a house near the beach, you should conduct your home search accordingly. Or, if you want to buy a home with a big backyard and outdoor swimming pool, you can hone your home search as needed.
Think about areas where you want to reside too. By doing so, you can focus on available homes in specific cities and towns.
2. Know Your Homebuying Budget
Get pre-approved for a mortgage – you'll be glad you did. Because if you have a mortgage at your disposal, you can pursue houses in a specific price range and speed up your home search.
Obtaining a mortgage can be simple. In fact, if you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you may be able to get a mortgage in no time at all.
Remember, banks and credit unions employ knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to assist you in any way possible. If you have any mortgage questions, these specialists can respond to your queries. And as a result, you can gain the insights you need to get a mortgage that matches your finances.
3. Employ a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a difference-maker, particularly for a homebuyer who wants to seamlessly navigate the property buying journey. With a real estate agent at your side, you can achieve the best-possible results, regardless of where and when you're searching for a home.
Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you, learn about your homebuying expectations and help you map out a property buying strategy. This housing market professional can offer expert insights into the local real estate market and ensure you can pursue houses that match your expectations. Plus, a real estate agent will set up home showings, help you submit an offer to purchase your dream house and negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf. And if you ever have concerns during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent will address them immediately.
Ready to enjoy a positive homebuying experience? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can quickly and effortlessly navigate the homebuying journey.
If you’ve been considering taking the next step toward homeownership, you’ve likely heard about FHA loans. Offered by the Federal Housing Administration (hence, “FHA”), these loans are great for a number of people hoping to purchase a home but who don’t have a large down payment saved.
There are many misconceptions about FHA loans since they’re often advertised by large, private mortgage lenders but are technically a government program. In order to clear up some of the confusion, we’ve provided answers to some frequently asked questions regarding FHA loans.
Read on to learn about FHA loans and how they might help you purchase a home.
Who issues an FHA loan?
FHA loans aren’t issued by the government. Rather, they’re issued by private lenders but insured, or “guaranteed,” by the government.
Since lenders want to make sure they’ll see a positive return from lending to you, they typically want you to have a high credit score and a large down payment (typically 20%). However, not everyone is able to meet those requirements. In this situation, the FHA is able to help you acquire a loan by giving your lender a guarantee.
Are there different types of FHA loans?
Yes. In fact, there are nine distinct types of loans guaranteed by the FHA. These include fixed rate mortgages, adjustable rate mortgages, refinance loans, reverse mortgages, VA loans, and more.
What do you need to qualify for an FHA loan?
It’s a common misconception that you need to be a first-time buyer to qualify for an FHA loan. However, if you have previously owned a home that was foreclosed on or if you’ve filed for bankruptcy, the foreclosure and bankruptcy have to be at least three years old.
You’ll also need to demonstrate a stable employment history, usually including two years of employment with the same employer.
Finally, the FHA will ask you for your current and previous addresses, the last two years tax returns, and the W-2 forms from any of your recent jobs.
What is the most I can borrow with an FHA loan?
The FHA sets mortgage limits on loans depending on the state and county you’ll be living in. For a single-family home, the limit ranges from $275,000 to $451,000. So be sure to check the limits for your state and county.
Can you refinance an FHA loan?
Refinancing a loan is a great way to receive a lower interest rate or to shorten the term of their mortgage to save in the total number of interest payments. In fact, the FHA typically only allows refinancing when it will result in lower interest payments on a loan.
What is the minimum credit score needed to qualify for an FHA loan?
While you don’t need excellent credit to qualify for a loan, the FHA will require you to have a score of at least a 580. You can check your score for free online from a number of companies, such as Mint or Credit Karma. Be aware, however, that scores vary between credit bureaus. So, it’s a good idea to check your FICO score once per year, which is the score used by mortgage lenders.
Painting your front door is one of the quickest and easiest ways to give your home a fresh look. New paint can refresh the entire facade and a vibrant color will further boost your curb appeal and add a personal touch to your home exterior. Colorful front doors have proven to be more than just a passing trend and you can find inspiration almost anywhere. However, both the choice of color and the project itself can seem daunting. Wondering where to start?
Here are some tips to help you with your front door painting project:
Keep an Open Mind
If you have an idea for a new color in mind, it might tempt you to jump right in and choose the first swatch you see. However, if you start with a wide range of options initially, you may find something even better you had not considered. Take your color swatches home and look at them in the natural light. No matter how well lit your paint or home improvement store may be, colors will always look different when they’re outside. This will help you narrow down your choices.
Test Your Color Choices
Once you have a smaller number of paint samples to work with, try painting a few test patches on the door. In order to make sure the test will be accurate, make sure your door surface is clean and prepped. You can simply sand and prime small areas in order to get the truest color. Wait for the paint to dry thoroughly and look at it as the light changes throughout the day.
Wait for the Right Time
You can accomplish your door painting project in a single weekend, but only if conditions are perfect. Check the weather and plan for a good time to start your project. Avoid extra moisture, but also beware of hot, direct sunlight. While one will delay the drying process, the other will cause the paint to dry too quickly, which can lead to blistering. It’s a good idea to consider the comfort of the rest of your home during this process as well. Don’t forget that you may be without a front door for the time you’re working on it!
Prep Your Door
You can prep and paint your door while it’s on its hinges, but laying it flat will prevent paint from dripping and help you reach every edge and corner. Sand and clean thoroughly and use whatever primer recommended in combination with the particular paint you’re using.
Always wait for each layer of paint to dry before starting another one. This will ensure the smoothest texture and most solid color. Many professionals recommend starting with a handheld brush on the bevels first before moving on to the larger surfaces. For the middle and side areas, a roller is ideal for evenness and efficiency. Once you have your color applied, give the door a coat of finish to protect the paint from weather and other damage. If your door is still on hinges, plan accordingly. You will want to avoid closing the door until everything is completely dry.
Changing the color of your front door is an easy and exciting way to transform the exterior look and feel of your home. With proper planning and patience, you can boost your curb appeal and enhance your own experience every time you enter your home.
"Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home!" That saying (and old song) has been around for generations, but it's as true today as it was a century ago. Almost everyone would agree that your home should be a refuge from the calamity and dangers of the outside world.
A related saying which has been repeated for even longer is "A man's home is his castle." That age-old concept not only emphasizes that fact that we all deserve to be safe and secure in our own homes, but it's also the basis for certain legal principles. Unfortunately, the mere existence of our rights as homeowners does not prevent burglaries, break-ins, and criminal intrusions from happening, so it's necessary to take steps to help protect your home and family from crime.
The good news is that there are literally dozens of things you can do to make your home a safer, more secure place. While it can be costly (but often worth it) to implement an elaborate, high-tech home security system, there are plenty of inexpensive measures you can take to discourage burglars. Here are a few crime-prevention tactics which can greatly reduce the chances of a break-in or intrusion taking place at your home.
Be security minded: If you live in a low-crime area, it's easy to let your guard down and become complacent. When it comes to keeping your property, family, and possessions secure, though, it's much better to "err on the side of caution." One regrettable mistake many people make is to leave their doors unlocked when they go out to "run a few quick errands." Not only can errands take longer than originally planned, but experienced burglars can be in and out of your home in minutes. By being consistent with locking doors and securing your home before you leave, you'll significantly reduce the chances of becoming a crime statistic. Instilling that awareness and those habits in your children is also an important element of any effective home security strategy.
Simple security solutions: Although glass panels alongside a front door can be an attractive design touch, it can provide potential intruders with a glimpse of the inside of your home -- including its layout, a view of valuables left out in the open, and whether your security system is activated. There are several ways you can obscure the view people have of your home's interior, including frosting the glass using a special spray, temporarily attaching a decorative window film, or installing etched glass. Customized window blinds may also do the trick.
Innovative ideas: Burglars generally tend to target homes that appear vacant or unsecured. Half the battle is creating the impression that someone is home, even if you're not. While you've undoubtedly heard about the technique of hooking up timers to your lights to make them go on and off at designated times, here's an interesting variation on the theme: You can purchase a device for $20 or $30 that simulates the flickering light that a TV gives off when it's being watched. While this is not a standalone or foolproof technique, it can be a low-cost part of an overall home security strategy.