Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 10/2/2017

Finding a mortgage lender should be easy, particularly for homebuyers who want to purchase a high-quality residence without having to worry about spending too much. However, many mortgage lenders are available nationwide, and the sheer volume of lenders can make it difficult to choose the right one.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of selecting the ideal lender.

Now, let's take a look at three tips that homebuyers can use to accelerate the process of choosing the perfect lender.

1. Know Your Credit Score

Your mortgage interest rate may vary based on your credit score. As such, you should learn your credit score before you begin your search for the right lender. This will enable you to boost your credit score if necessary – something that may help you get a preferred mortgage interest rate.

You are eligible for one free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Request a copy of your credit report, and you can find out your credit score and map out your search for the ideal mortgage lender accordingly.

2. Meet with Several Mortgage Lenders

There is no shortage of mortgage lenders in cities and towns around the country. Therefore, you should allocate the necessary time and resources to meet with several credit unions and banks to explore all of your mortgage options.

Each lender can provide details about fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, how these mortgages work and other pertinent mortgage information. This information can help you make an informed decision about a mortgage.

In addition, don't hesitate to ask questions when you meet with a mortgage lender. If you obtain plenty of information from a mortgage lender, you'll be able to understand the pros and cons of various mortgage options and make the best choice possible.

3. Review a Mortgage Closely

A mortgage may enable you to secure your dream residence, but it is important to understand all of the terms and conditions associated with a mortgage before you select a lender.

For example, if you decide to purchase a condo, your mortgage might only cover the costs of your property. Meanwhile, you still may be responsible for condo homeowners' association fees that total hundreds of dollars each month, so you'll need to budget properly.

Of course, you should feel comfortable working with a mortgage lender as well. The ideal mortgage lender should be available to answer your concerns and questions at any time and help you stay on track with your monthly mortgage payments.

If you need extra assistance as you consider the mortgage lenders in your area, you can reach out to a real estate agent for additional support. This housing market professional can provide insights into mortgage interest rates and may even be able to connect you with the top local lenders.

Take the guesswork out of finding the right mortgage lender – use these tips, and you can move one step closer to getting the financing you need to buy your dream residence.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 6/19/2017

Move to anew house and you could step into job security. Relocating when the division you work with moves to a new city or state can signal to your employer that you're dedicated, loyal and steadfast. But, buying a new house solely because your employer is relocating comes with risks. These three points can help to reduce risks associated with buying a new house that's directly linked to a job move.

Job move could lead to a new house

Employment contract - Many jobs are at will, meaning that you can leave the job at anytime. With an at-will job, an employer can also bring your job to an end for any reason, as long as the reason does not violate employment laws. Before you move and buy a new house to follow an employer to another town, check your employment contract. See if your employer will offer you a written, guaranteed bonus if you move. If the bonus covers three months or more of your annual salary, it could give you time to find new employment should you get laid off after you relocate.

Housing assistance - Check with your human resources representative to see if you'll receive housing assistance if you relocate. Generally, the employer must ask you to relocate to get housing assistance. You also may have to move 50 or more miles one way to receive housing assistance. Housing assistance can cover closing costs, transporting your household goods to your new home, temporary housing costs and fees associated with selling your current home. The amount of housing assistance that an employer offers varies. Get a good housing assistance package with your relocation and you could significantly trim the amount of money you spend out-of-pocket on your move. Get all housing assistance agreements in writing.

Buying a new house due to a job move requires honesty

Ripple effects of moving to a new house - Move to a new house and you're children could be forced to go to a new school, you could put hundreds of miles between your family and you could have to learn a new culture. You could also have to get accustomed to a new climate. Reduce the risks of moving to a new house during a job relocation by talking openly with your family, including your young children, about the move. Get everyone in your family's buy-in. Also, ask your employer and human resources representative how your role will change after you relocate. If possible, negotiate a move when interest rates are low and the costs of houses in the area you're moving to are low to competitive.

Pack and move when your employer ask you to work in a division that's moving to a different region of the country and you could forego a layoff. The fact that your employer ask you to move is a sign that your employer values your talent.Another way that your employer values your talent is to offer you relocation assistance. Accept this assistance before you agree to move. It could save you closing costs, equity and help with your down payment.




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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 2/27/2017

Let's face it – buying a home is rarely simple. As such, you may need extra help along the way to ensure you understand the ins and outs of purchasing a house. So what does it take to become an expert homebuyer? Here are three homebuyer education options that are available to homebuyers nationwide: 1. Family Members and Friends Did a family member or friend recently purchase a house? If so, you may be able to lean on this individual for support as you explore the real estate market for the perfect home. Typically, a family member or friend can serve as a reliable source who can share his or her past homebuying experiences. This individual also might be able to recommend a real estate agent who provided outstanding support to him or her in the past or suggest areas where you may be able to find a home that fits your budget. Family members and friends, of course, can help you minimize stress throughout your search for the right home, too. Thus, you should be able to rely on them for a helping hand as you explore the housing market. 2. Networking Groups and Workshops Did you know that networking groups and workshops may be available that can empower you with insights you need to find the right home immediately? That's right, and in many cases, there are no costs to participate in these groups and workshops as well. Usually, a networking group serves as a collection of homebuyers with a common mission – to discover a great house at an affordable price. It is important to note that networking groups are scattered across the country. And in order to find the right networking group, you may want to search websites like Meetup and Facebook. Homebuyer workshops occasionally are held at various locations nationwide by homebuying experts who are happy to share their knowledge. In many cases, cities and towns also will host free homebuyer workshops, enabling you to learn what it takes to purchase a house quickly and effortlessly. 3. Real Estate Agents When it comes to becoming an expert homebuyer, there may be no better resource at your disposal than an experienced real estate agent. Because with the right real estate agent at your side, you'll be able to explore a broad assortment of high-quality houses any time you choose. To hire the right real estate agent, you should be prepared to meet with several real estate professionals and discuss your homebuying needs with them. By doing so, you'll be able to find a real estate agent who you are comfortable working with and possesses the skills and expertise needed to ensure you can find your dream home without delay. Purchasing a house can be a stressful, time-consuming process, but receiving homebuyer education from multiple expert sources ensures you are better equipped to buy a house that fulfills your needs. Utilize the massive collection of homebuyer educational resources that are available, and ultimately, you can improve your chances of purchasing a home that you can enjoy for years to come.





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 11/21/2016

As soon as someone walks through the door of your home they get a sense of how you have created the space. Making sure that your home feels inviting is important for when guests come over or people enter your home.

It’s also handy to understand how to make your home feel welcoming when it’s ready to be sold. The task of making your home feel welcoming, comfortable and stylish can seem daunting, especially if you’re in the  process of moving or starting over somewhere new. Even entertaining guests during busy times of the year can overshadow seeing the overall welcoming picture of your home. We have some tips for you to help you make sure that every person who walks through the doors of your home feels welcome and cozy inside its walls.

Start with the Entryway

The absolute first impression of your home that people get other than the outside appearance is that of the entryway. The minute people walk through the front door, they’re getting a sense of your home and property. There’s certain accessories that you can add for a simple touch that can make a big difference in the way your home is portrayed. Depending on how your entryway is set up, there are small pieces that you can use to give the entryway of your home an instant feeling of being inviting.

An example of an effective accessory would be a grandfather clock, which is stately and has a charming touch. A rug or succession of rugs also gives a sense of warmth and can add a lot to an entryway. This is particularly useful for homes in colder climates. It’s also important to make practical use of mirrors and lighting in your home’s entryway. If the entryway is a porch, a classic bench is a great piece to make visitors feel like they’re right at home.

Entice the Senses

Once visitors get inside your home, there are several small ways that make an impact on how guests feel inside of your home. Candles are a small touch that work quite well. Since our senses help us make associations, candles with the scent of flowers, cookies, or even cinnamon are a great way to help visitors feel welcome. These scents are very much associated with the feeling of “home.” Many times, it’s effective to burn these types of candles while an open house is going on. The small touch helps to further entice interested buyers.

Keep Delicate Items To A Minimum

When you’re in a museum or a china store, you often feel like you can’t walk around because you’re afraid of breaking something. While it’s certainly acceptable to have nice things in your home, you don’t want anyone walking around it to feel as if they’re in a museum. Part of developing a welcoming feeling in your home is making sure people actually feel comfortable there. These are some thoughts on how to give your home an inviting touch. Now, over to you- what makes you feel welcome in a home? 





Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 7/25/2016

As a homebuyer, you want to prepare as much as possible when you start looking at houses. By doing so, you'll be able to fully evaluate a residence based on your personal wants and needs and ensure you can find your dream house quickly and easily. However, there are many under-the-radar factors that homebuyers must consider when they check out a house, including: 1. Homeowners Association If you're evaluating condos, you should learn about the homeowners association (HOA) that manages the property. This will allow you to review HOA fees, how the HOA operates and other factors that may influence your decision to buy a home. Typically, it is simple to discover all you need to know about an HOA. To do so, you can work with a real estate agent who should be able to provide information about an HOA. Also, you can always contact an HOA directly and receive all the information you need without delay. 2. TV, Cable and Internet Service Providers Do you work from home and require a high-speed internet connection to complete your day-to-day tasks? Or, do you want to ensure you can get your favorite TV channels at all times? Regardless of your individual needs, you'll want to check out the TV, cable and internet service providers available in cities and towns where you'd like to live. This will enable you to find out if these local providers can meet your needs consistently. In addition, you should consider cell phone connectivity in an area, as this will allow you to determine if your cell service provider ensures you can enjoy clear calls in a particular city or town. 3. Attractions and Landmarks Do you enjoy spending a day at the park, checking out historic landmarks or going to concerts? No matter which activities you enjoy, it is essential to learn about the entertainment options near a home you may purchase. For instance, if a concert venue is close to a residence, it may affect nearby traffic patterns as concert-goers travel to and from this destination. Conversely, if you want a house that allows you to separate from the everyday hustle and bustle of the city, you may want to evaluate residences that are located many miles away from popular attractions and landmarks. 4. Walking Paths If you like to stay active, you'll surely want to find a house that features a wide range of safe walking paths that you can use every day. Whether it's going for a morning jog or simply enjoying a jaunt with your dog, you may be able to improve your chances of remaining active and healthy if you purchase a home with multiple walking paths nearby. Of course, a real estate agent can help you explore a vast array of homes in cities and towns nationwide. This professional will learn about your home preferences and allow you to streamline your search for the perfect house as well. Consider the aforementioned factors as you prepare to search for houses, and ultimately, you'll be better equipped to make a more informed home purchase.