What’s That Smell?

January 26, 2016

Homeowners may be totally unaware that their home has an unpleasant odor. It can be unrecognizable to them but immediately apparent to visitors on entering the home. smell - 300.jpg

Candles, aerosol spray or even chocolate chip cookies can’t get rid of the smell. To eliminate the odor, the source of the smell first has to be removed and then, the affected areas can be treated.

Cigarette smoke is particularly offensive to people. It is very common for buyers to refuse to even consider looking at a home where smoking is allowed. This odor permeates the air in a home and soaks into carpets, furniture, drapes, clothing and even the building materials like drywall and cabinets.

Pets may be considered part of the family but it is still a problem when the animals are not adequately house-broken. Urine isn’t just absorbed by the carpet but also the padding and in some cases, the subflooring. Sometimes, walls and floors have to be treated and sealed before painting and new floor covering can be installed.

If a casual friend doesn’t want to hurt your feelings about the jeans you’re wearing, you can bet the ranch that they won’t tell you about the odors in your home. You’ll need to rely on your closest friends to tell you the truth or maybe your mother-in-law.

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You are probably aware that Federal law entitles you to a free copy of your credit report annually by each of the three credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax. By regularly looking at each of these reports, you can determine if there are any errors on them and be aware of your credit worthiness.

Instead of ordering all three at the same time, experts recommend that you stagger them throughout the year. This will let you look at your credit at three different times during the year instead of only once a year.32619499_s-300.jpg

An easy way make this happens on a timely basis is to set a recurring appointment on your digital calendar whether it is on your phone, your email program or a contact manager. Make the appointment to order a free credit report from www.AnnualCreditReport.com a recurring event to take place every four months. You’ll order one report from each of three companies once a year.

You can record that date and the bureau you ordered the last report in the appointment’s note section so that you’ll have a history and won’t try to order the same report twice in one year.

This isn’t just for people who are trying to clean-up their credit. This procedure allows you to monitor your credit to be sure that your report is accurate. You might even discover that someone is illegally using your good credit.

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It’s Your Advantage

January 12, 2016

Technology has certainly streamlined the home buying process and introduced things that help purchasers make better decisions. Buyers have enthusiastically embraced video tours, digital signatures and the enormous amount of information available about a home, neighborhood, schools and neighbors.

The ironic thing is that buyers are ignoring the one single thing that can help them secure the “right” home. Talking to a lender or using a financial calculator is not pre-approval. pre-approved-300.jpg

Pre-approval requires written verification on employment and income and ordering a credit report for the purpose of obtaining a mortgage. A mortgage credit score is different than what a person might see from credit reporting websites.

Pre-approval gives buyers the confidence to know the amount they can borrow which can result in bargaining power when dealing with a seller or competing against another offer. Transactions can close quicker once a buyer has been pre-approved.

If any issues are discovered in the initial process, the purchaser and lender will have more time to correct them compared to trying to get it done during the loan approval period as stated in the sales contract.

Most lenders best interest rates are only available to the best borrowers. You might get approved on a loan but at a higher rate than you expected which could make a significant difference in the monthly payments.

The “right” home without financing will never have the buyer’s address. Getting pre-approved with a trusted mortgage professional is one of the first steps in the buying process. It can definitely be an advantage that will benefit you in negotiations and ultimately, during the time you own the home.

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When hiring a REALTOR® most clients want a go-getter and someone to get the job done. We have a buyer’s agent in our office that is Johnny On The Spot. She never misses an opportunity to catch a call, a lead or follow up immediately to get the sale. She’s been in the business about 2 years and sold over $5,000,000 just last year. She’s in it to win it. In my 14 years of being in the real estate business I’ve seen agents come and go. Statistically about 20% of licensees stay in the business and make a living. Some an “ok” living and some knock it out of the park in income.

Just this week I had an offer on a listing from a part time buyer’s agent. They work a full time job and it was a full 48 hours from the time they called me and said they were bringing an offer until I received the offer. They couldn’t get the offer to me because they didn’t have the ability to scan or fax. We had another agent in our office recently that waited a full 5 days for a listing agent to get a contract back to her due primarily to technology issues. We now operate in a technological world. The days of e-signature are real and here. I have an app on my phone that allows me to point, click and create a pdf file and email directly to someone in a flash. I have the ability for clients to sign right on my iPad or click online their electronic signature. We can essentially have a deal worked out, signed, sealed and delivered within minutes nowadays. I’m sure there are folks reading this thinking “where is the personal service”, “where is the old fashioned sit at the dining room table and look face to face doing paperwork”? That is still a very viable way of doing business but Time Is Of The Essence is the core of getting homes sold quickly. When you allow a buyer or seller to mull it over it is not uncommon for buyer’s remorse to set in. Did the buyer of my listing have a legitimate reason not to proceed with the offer? Perhaps. Or did the agent’s inability to get the job done by waiting around for the buyer to think it over too long? I’ll never know but I’m sure it didn’t help.

I’m not bashing REALTORS® for their inability to transact business in a flash. Even before all the technology we are now blessed with we had agents that just didn’t get the sense of urgency or were just plain lazy. My message to buyers and sellers is to hire a full time professional REALTOR® when making one of the most important financial decisions you will make in a lifetime. A home for your family. Hire an agent that will be available to you quickly and efficiently. One who returns calls promptly and one who is going to earn their commission.

In Alabama, licensees have to complete only 15 hours of continuing education every 2 years to renew their license. Most licensees do the minimum. Many because they have another full time job and there isn’t time to attend valuable classes. Some of the most successful agents are those that go over and above the license requirements by attending additional classes to learn ways of doing more business, better negotiation techniques, marketing ideas and yes, technology. Ask your professional REALTOR® what they are doing to be better agents and how they plan to get your home sold or help you purchase a home in record time!

Most of us understand the expression “burning the candle at both ends” to mean working so hard that you burn yourself out. Normally, that wouldn’t be a good idea unless it is intentional.

If the candle is your mortgage and the strategy is to get it paid off early, being “burned out” would be a good thing. One end of the candle would be your regular mortgage payments and the other end would represent additional principal contributions.candle-250.jpg

Since the Great Recession, lenders have been reporting a higher than normal number of borrowers getting shorter term mortgages not only when they purchase the home originally but when they refinance them also. It seems like the mindset of America’s homeowner has shifted a little from the belief that they will always have a house payment.

The extra $100, $200 or $500 in your checking account isn’t earning interest. Additional principal contributions with your regular payments on a fixed rate mortgage will save interest, build equity and shorten the term of the mortgage.

Wealth management is about making financially wise choices. If having your home paid for by retirement age is one of your goals, making extra contributions regularly could get you there. Use this Equity Accelerator to see how it will affect your loan.

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