Monthly Archives: February 2019

Preparing to Buy A Home This Spring


Mid-Michigan homebuyers know as spring approaches they will begin to face some stiff competition for available homes for sale.  With home prices on the rise and fewer homes for sale, buyers need to make sure that they are fully prepared to purchase a home this spring season. To prepare buyers should look at becoming mentally and financially prepared. 

Clarifying Your Home Buying Budget

It is irresistible to peruse photos of homes, tour open houses and day dream about everything you want in a home however, it’s much better to be prepared for what you can realistically expect to afford.  It is crucial for home buyers to have a definitive budget in mind when looking at homes.  It is easy to be swayed into a higher price point when you aren’t prepared.  This often occurs with home buyers who may have been outbid on a home previously.  Bumping up your budget may seem like a surefire way to ensure you get the next house you bid on however be careful.  A home even a few thousand dollars over your cap can really derail your goals.

Purchasing a home is more often than not the largest investment that people will make.  It requires people to dive deep into their past, current, and present finances.  It is crucial to know how much you spend on a monthly basis on fixed and flexible expenditures and to understand how these expenses will change when you become a homeowner.  Lenders provide a preapproval that allows homeowners a maximum at which they will be able to borrow.  This is a starting point for establishing a comfortable price point on a new home and monthly mortgage payment. 

Benefit from Real Estate Professionals

When homebuyers get serious about finding and purchasing a home it is time to consult a professional realtor.  Locating a seasoned professional in real estate will help to ensure you have access to as many homes in your budget as possible, as soon as they become available on the market.  A professional realtor agent will guide you through the real estate process from start to finish.

Another professional you will want to meet with is a mortgage broker.  They will go through the process with you to get you prequalified and go through different loans and options that are available to you.  In some markets first-time homebuyers are fortunate enough to receive special financial credit offers to help make buying a home possible. 

Detail Your Needs Verse Wants

It is important for homebuyers to know what they absolutely need to have in a home verse the luxury wants.  In the fast pace real estate market, we are experiencing right now, buyers need to make sure that they are ready to make an offer when they find the right property.  In order to do this buyer, need to research their priorities and areas where they will be able to compromise.  Limiting your searches to homes that match your needs will also help save time as well as you won’t be wasting time on homes that don’t fit your need.

C21 Lady of the Lakes is a full-service realtor serving Livingston County and the surrounding areas with all their real estate needs.  More information can be found at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com/.



This will come to no surprise, WINTER is here!


After a mild winter here in Pinckney and throughout all of Michigan, the snow and ice has finally arrived.  It is time to break out your favorite moon boots, puffy jacket, and bib overall snow pants, the sledding hills are open.  However, if you are trying to sell your home, it can be an incredibly stressful time.  Winter house sales are notoriously low, but we are here to help; after all buyers exist year-round not just when the weather is cooperating.

Home buyers and sellers are fewer in the winter months.   If you need to buy or sell a home quickly during winter, it is imperative that you work with a professional real estate company like Century 21 Lady of the Lakes.  It won’t be a simple process, but when it comes to selling or buying a home, no matter the season, we have you covered. 

Attracting Home Buyers

Make Accessing Your Home as Easy as Possible

When visiting homes, buyers are trying to picture themselves in them.  They want to feel safe in the place that they choose to call home.  Part of this is the ability to easily move about without concern.  Make sure you clear the snow and ice from your driveways, sidewalks, backdoor entrances, and porches.  Salt and de-icer should be used in all areas that will need to be accessed, it shouldn’t be icy where buyers will be.  Clear icicles, make pathways to ease access to the backyard, generally making it easy for sellers to move about the property.

Make Your Home Welcoming

The inside of your home should make buyers feel as if they just stepped into their new home.  A few key elements can help with this.  First, turn the thermostat up!  Not too high as to roast them but the home should be comfortably warm. 

Next, it is important to take time to bring in the natural sunlight.  Open up the curtains and shades in your home to maximize the natural light.  If your home is showing during the evening hours, it is equally important to have light but obviously in a different form.  Lamp lighting and candle light can have a similar effect. 

If you are having a few showings in one day in may be a good idea to set out some waters, coffee, and fingers snacks.  After a long day of looking at homes it will be a welcome treat and a way to allow your home to stand out from the others. 

Know About the Mechanics of Your Home

Buyers will want to know all about your home because it could someday soon be theirs.  Have as much information available as possible on key elements such as the foundation, appliances, water heater, windows, HVAC, plumbing, electrical and roof.  Buyers will want to know when they were installed, last serviced, and about the maintenance that has been done.  Homeowners appreciate when sellers are good at keeping records about their home’s health and will put their minds at rest.  

Remove Clutter and Tidy Up

Your home can look a little cluttered during the winter.  Outdoor gear is big and bulky, and Christmas decorations can be overwhelming, and just general stuff seems to take over in the winter when we are too cold to put things in their proper place. 

Take time before listing your home to pack up the non-sensical things that have accumulated over the years of living within the space.  The goal is to unstuff your home so that buyers can see how ample and spacious the home is.  This is one tip not to ignore.  Rent a storage unit and simply move things that are not needed into it until you sell your home.  When all of the closets and garage aren’t bursting at the seems the home appears roomier. 

C21 Lady of the Lakes is a full-service realtor serving Livingston County and the surrounding areas with all their real estate needs.  More information can be found at http://www.ladyofthelakes.com/.



That’s So 2018! Outdated Mortgage Advice You Should Ignore Right Now

mortgage-outdated
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Buying a house is one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do in your life — and signing the mortgage for that house will probably be one of the most terrifying.

Since navigating the home loan process can be scary to do alone, many people might be tempted to seek out guidance from someone who’s been there, done that. But you should probably ignore everything your Uncle Bob says. (Sorry, Bob!) And Aunt Sue, while we’re at it. They may mean well, but let’s face it, they haven’t taken out a mortgage in 20 years. In fact, even a friend or family member who got a mortgage last year might lead you far astray (in a well-meaning way, of course), since the rules of home financing really do change on a dime.

Our two cents? For starters, beware these dusty pearls of wisdom below. They might have worked wonders back in 2018, but they don’t necessarily work for everyone right now. Here’s why, as well as some fresher, tastier alternatives.

Get a mortgage with a fixed interest rate

You’ve probably always assumed you’d get a 30-year mortgage with a fixed interest rate. Your parents had one … and isn’t that the only way to get payments you can afford? These days, you have many more choices, and reasons to try them out.

“People aren’t buying their forever home right out of the gate anymore, so the benefits of a 30-year mortgage aren’t necessarily there,” says real estate agent Heather Carbone with the Heather Carbone Team at Big River Properties in Boston. She explains that many first-time home buyers are buying starter homes, and that they plan to move on to something bigger and better after a few years. “Going with a five- or seven-year adjustable rate mortgage [ARM] could potentially save them a couple of hundred dollars off their monthly payment and ease the monthly payment burden a little bit, as they will most likely sell their home before the rates adjust,” she says. Here’s more on the pros and cons of ARMs vs. fixed-rate mortgages.

Make a 20% down payment

When you’re trying to come up with a down payment on a house, 20% sounds like a huge amount. So how do people come up with that kind of cash? Most of the time, they don’t. At least not anymore.

“I meet with lots of young buyers who have been instilled by their parents and others that the only way to buy a house is with a large, 20% down payment,” says Carbone. “In today’s market, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. Provided the buyer has a solid credit score, down payments as low as 3.5% are very much a reality today.”

Real estate agent Melissa Rubenstein, with KW Village Square Realty in Ridgewood, NJ, agrees. “While 20% has traditionally been a benchmark for what is acceptable, this no longer holds true in the market, she says. “With FHA loans requiring around 3%, and other traditional loans offering 10% down options or lower, it makes sense to explore different products with your lender. Don’t miss out on historically low interest rates while trying to stash away cash.”

Wait for interest rates to drop

It seems like interest rates could always be better, but according to Bruce Ailion, real estate agent with Re/Max Town and Country in Atlanta, that might not be true at the moment.

“For 2019, we are likely at the end of the low interest cycle, and interest rates are at their lowest,” he explains. “Today is the time to buy, if interest rates are the determining factor.”

You can always wait for them to go lower, but you might be sorry if you do.

Meet with your lender in person

In the past, the only way to talk with a lender was to walk into a bank, which often meant taking time off work and rearranging your whole day. In 2019, things are getting easier.

“Times are changing, and visiting a bank branch to meet with a lending officer is not the only route to getting a mortgage. Now, you can apply for a mortgage online,” says Kathy Cummings, senior vice president of Homeownership Solutions and Affordable Housing Programs at Bank of America in Charlotte, NC. “Research shows that 32% of Americans are comfortable applying for a mortgage digitally.”

This doesn’t mean human contact is obsolete. “When you have questions that you want to speak to an expert about—in person or by telephone—you have the option,” Cummings says. Consider it the best of both worlds.

Pay off your mortgage as fast as you can

If you have a 30-year mortgage, chances are you have a dream to pay it off in at least 20. Not only will it give you an extra 10 years without a monthly payment, but it’ll save you tons of money in interest. Right?

Not really. Jeff Chervenak, president of Guaranty Federal in Bloomfield, CT, says that’s not necessary anymore—and it probably won’t save you much money.

“Paying off your mortgage as a goal is as much emotional as financial. Because interest rates are, even now, so low, consider saving and investing with the money you would use to pay down your loan separately,” he explains. “Liquidity has a lot of value, and you could always use the lump sum accumulated to pay it down or off any time you wish.”

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, mortgages today are very different from they were just a few years ago. Do your homework before you make any decisions, and check with an expert you trust before you sign on the dotted line.

Original Source: https://www.realtor.com/advice/finance/outdated-mortgage-advice-you-should-ignore/

Original Date: Feb 4 2019

Written By: Whitney Coy