Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 6/24/2019

It is a fact that people who plan carefully to own a home will run into fewer financial issues later. So, if you want to buy a property now or sometime in the future, your first step should be to check your credit. It is a good idea to review your credit reports and scores from time to time, even if you are not buying the house or applying for a mortgage immediately. 

Your Credit Scores

Nowadays, most lenders use a FICO score when determining whether to offer you a loan or not, as well as in setting the rate and terms. Different lenders may use different credit scoring formulas, so your score can vary based on what type of scoring model the mortgage lender uses whether Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion FICO score. 

The scoring system is dynamic so that your score changes as the information in your credit report changes.

Ways of Getting Your Credit Score

There are many ways of accessing a credit score, and some of them are free. However, most organizations that provide free credit scores do so using different scoring methods than what the lenders' actually use. 

The four ways to obtain a score: 

1. Evaluate your credit card or another account statement - Most big credit card companies and some financial institutions, as well as credit unions, have started the service of providing credit scores to all their customers every month for free. The score is often written on your monthly statement or can be found by logging in to your online account. 

2. Consult with a non-profit adviser - Non-profit credit advisers and HUD-approved housing counselors can provide you with a free credit report in most cases and score and even assist you in reviewing them. A counselor may help you to buy a home, but we recommend you reach out to your reliable real estate agent who is more experienced and understands the job well than a mere counselor.

3. Buy a score - Credit reporting companies will sell your scores to you directly. You can also buy a FICO credit score at myfico.com. These credit scores are often different from your free ones and can be more accurate to what your lender sees. Don't get sucked into paying for extra features with your credit report such as identity theft monitoring, credit protection, or other services offered at the time of purchase.

4. Credit score services - Several websites offer a free credit score service. Some of these websites may be funded through advertising while others may require that you register for a credit monitoring service where you pay a monthly subscription fee to get your free score. 

Be aware that some of these services are usually advertised as free trial offers, and will start charging you a monthly fee if you don't cancel within the first week or month. Before you register for a service, ensure you know how much it really costs and how long the free period lasts. 

Your Credit Score Matters

Everybody is entitled to shop around for the best mortgage for their financial situation no matter their credit score. So, checking your credit history, fixing any mistakes, and knowing your credit scores will make you most suitable for getting a mortgage to buy a property for yourself.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 4/1/2019

Let's face it Ė buying a home in a hot housing market is no easy task. For example, if you wait too long to submit an offer on a house, you risk losing this residence to a rival buyer. On the other hand, if you rush to submit a home offer at or above a seller's initial asking price, you risk spending too much to acquire your dream residence.

Clearly, there's a lot to think about as you search for a home in a hot housing market. Lucky for you, we're here to help you overcome myriad homebuying hurdles and acquire your dream residence, even in a hot housing market.

Let's take a look at three tips to help you succeed as a homebuyer in a hot housing market.

1. Narrow Your Home Search

You know that you want to live in a specific city or town, but you still are uncertain about what type of house that you want to purchase. However, if you create a list of home must-haves and wants, you can narrow your house search and speed up the homebuying process.

Once you have a homebuying checklist in hand, you should have no trouble evaluating residences in a hot housing market. Then, you can check out these houses in person and move one step closer to submitting an offer to purchase your dream house.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

To acquire a home in a hot housing market, you'll likely need a mortgage. Thankfully, lenders are available that can teach you everything you need to know about a wide range of mortgage options.

Lenders can explain the differences between adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages, describe exactly how a mortgage works and much more. That way, you can assess many mortgage options and select one that matches your finances.

After you obtain a mortgage, you can enter a hot housing market with a homebuying budget. This will enable you to further accelerate your home search and ensure you can quickly submit an offer as soon as you discover your ideal residence.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Navigating a hot housing market sometimes can be tricky, particularly for a homebuyer who is competing against dozens of rivals. But if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive support as you pursue a home in a hot housing market.

A real estate agent is ready to assist you in any way possible. This housing market professional will offer insights into the real estate conditions in a particular city or town and help you map out your homebuying journey accordingly.

In addition, a real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to buy a residence in a hot housing market. He or she will help you put together a competitive offer on any home, at any time. And if your offer is rejected, a real estate agent will help you regroup and reenter a hot housing market so you can find your dream home.

Ready to buy a home in a hot housing market? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can accomplish your homebuying goals faster than ever before.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 2/4/2019

A "lowball" homebuying proposal is unlikely to do you any favors, particularly if you want to acquire your dream residence as quickly as possible. In fact, after you submit a lowball offer, it may be only a matter of time before you receive a "No" from a home seller.

When it comes to buying a house, it helps to prepare a competitive offer. That way, you can increase the likelihood of getting a seller to accept your home offer and speed up the homebuying journey.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you avoid the risk of submitting a lowball offer on your dream residence.

1. Analyze the Housing Market

Are you searching for a house in a buyer's or seller's market? Are homes selling quickly in the current real estate market? And are houses selling at, above or below their initial asking prices? These are just some of the questions that homebuyers need to consider as they assess the real estate sector.

With a diligent approach to buying a house, a homebuyer can become a real estate market expert. This buyer can assess a wide assortment of housing market data, and by doing so, gain the insights that he or she needs to submit a competitive offer on any residence.

2. Understand a Home's Condition

A home purchase is one of the biggest transactions that an individual will complete over the course of his or her lifetime. As such, the decision to submit an offer on a house should not be taken lightly.

To make the best-possible choice, it helps to look at all of the available information about a residence. You should review a home listing closely and attend a home showing. In many instances, it may be beneficial to check out a house a few times to get an up-close look at it before you submit an offer.

The condition of a home will play a major role in how much you are willing to offer to acquire a residence. Therefore, you should learn as much as possible about a house's condition. And if you feel comfortable with a home, you should be ready to submit an offer that will match a seller's expectations.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Hiring a real estate agent generally is a good idea, particularly for a homebuyer who wants to reduce the risk of submitting a lowball offer on a house. A real estate agent can help a homebuyer prepare a competitive offer, as well as ensure that a buyer can enjoy a seamless home transaction.

Furthermore, a real estate agent will allocate the necessary time and resources to help you analyze a house. He or she will even offer homebuying recommendations and teach you everything you need to know about the homebuying cycle.

Avoid the temptation to submit a lowball offer on a house Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you can submit a competitive proposal to acquire your dream residence.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 1/14/2019

Deciding whether to submit an offer to purchase a house may prove to be difficult. Fortunately, we're here to help you weigh the pros and cons of submitting a homebuying proposal so you can make the best-possible decision.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you determine whether now is the right time to submit an offer to purchase a residence.

1. Evaluate Your Budget

If you believe you've found your dream home, you should take a look at your budget. That way, you can verify whether you'll be able to afford this residence both now and in the future.

Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start a house search. If you meet with banks and credit unions, you can learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal. Then, you can select a mortgage that allows you to pursue a house with a budget in hand.

2. Consider Your Homebuying Criteria

You want to discover your dream residence as quickly as possible, but it is paramount to find a house that you can enjoy for years to come. If you have a list of homebuying criteria, you may be able to quickly determine whether a residence is right for you.

As you craft homebuying criteria, think about what you want to find in your dream residence. For instance, if you've always wanted to own a house on a beach, you can narrow your home search accordingly. On the other hand, if you would like to own a home that has an above-ground swimming pool but can live without this feature if necessary, you should include an above-ground swimming pool as a low-priority item on your homebuying checklist.

3. Assess the Housing Market

The housing market often fluctuates, and a buyer's market today may shift into seller's favor tomorrow. If you analyze the housing market closely, you can differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's one. You then can decide whether to submit an offer to purchase or hold off on providing a homebuying proposal until housing market conditions improve.

To distinguish a buyer's market from a seller's market, it generally is a good idea to look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. You also should find out how long these residences were available before they sold. By reviewing this housing market data, you can assess the demand for houses in your city or town.

Lastly, as you debate whether to submit an offer to purchase a residence, you may want to consult with a real estate agent. This housing market professional is happy to provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations. As a result, a real estate agent can help you perform an in-depth evaluation of a home and determine whether to offer to buy this house.

Make an informed decision about whether to submit an offer to purchase a residence Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you'll be better equipped than ever before to decide how to proceed with any house, at any time.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 12/3/2018

When youíre buying a home, itís important to offer a good price to be able to land the property of your dreams. You also donít want to overpay for the house youíre buying. If you want to know for sure that youíre paying a good price for a home, youíre going to need to do some price comparisons. Take a look at recently sold homes in your neighborhood of choice and see what the going rate is. If all of the homes are similar in the area, it will be easy to find out how much the home youíre buying is worth. There are a few ways that you can do comparisons to make it easier for you to determine the right price for the home you want to buy. 


Take A Look At The Neighborhood


There are certain features that attract nearly everyone to certain neighborhoods. From the safety and friendliness of an area to the schools that are nearby, to the stores, and public transportation access, people are attracted to what makes their lives easier and more enjoyable. The bottom line is the more desirable the neighborhood, the higher the price of the homes in it. 



Check Out Public Records


With the Internet, itís pretty easy to access public records these days. You can take a look at what properties have been bought and sold for in recent times int the area of the homes that youíre looking at. You can even take a peek at some historic information to help you see if the area is up-and-coming.


Is The Neighborhood Going To Become Trendy?


Sometimes, you can find a great property for less in a neighborhood that hasnít quite reached itís full potential yet. If thereís a slot of new construction going on, thatís a good sign that the neighborhood is moving on up! Especially attractive features in a neighborhood are new schools, new shopping centers, or new parks.                


There Is A Tipping Point To Growth


If it seems that a neighborhood is growing a bit too much, it may actually decrease the value of your home. Huge commercial developments can actually be detrimental to the value of a property. Where thereís a lot of people, thereís also a lot of noise and traffic. Thatís usually not a desirable factor in a neighborhood.    


Meet In The Middle


When youíre looking at the price of properties, the best bet is to meet somewhere in the middle for what is reasonable. While you donít want to buy the highest priced home in the neighborhood, you probably donít want to lowest price for that neighborhood either. Working with a more average number is a good option because your home helps any home lower priced than yours, while any higher priced homes help to increase the value of your home. Itís a win-win situation when you choose a property based on price and keep this strategy in mind.