Archive for Real Estate Tips

How To Get A Mortgage If You Are A Gig Worker

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 15th, 2021

How To Get A Mortgage If You Are A Gig WorkerTwenty years ago the economy was putting the dot-com bubble behind it, and people were buying homes. The high majority of folks worked for someone else; they received a paycheck, were given a W-2 from their employer, and filed their income tax returns accordingly.

This also provided easy documentation to loan officers when folks wanted to borrow a mortgage to buy a home. As of 2019 36 percent of workers in 2020 were identified as bona fide gig workers per the federal government, or a bit more than 1 out of every 3 workers. That change translates to mortgage application processes today.

However, house loan processes have been particularly strict since 2009, especially due to how flexible and liberal loan reviews were at the time during the 2000s real estate bubble that ended that year and almost took down the major banking system in the collapse. For gig workers who essentially function as their own small businesses or as independent contractors, there is no consolidated income report aside from income tax filings.

Most have earned their money from multiple sources to make up a full living income. As a result, matching gig income to a traditional mortgage model can be challenging. Here’s what gig workers should anticipate and be prepared to answer as a result.

Definitive Proof of Income

For the gig worker proof of income is practically the same as showing how a small business produces a net profit sufficient to be invested in when asking for a business loan. As a gig worker, you won’t have a W-2 statement that is accepted as universal proof of your income and ability to pay a loan payment. So, you will need to provide a substitute that can be independently verified.

That means your income proof will need to show your bank statements evidencing all major payments coming in as well as matched by your IRS Schedule C and IRS Form 1040 showing how your income is arrived at. Because IRS forms are under penalty of perjury, they are considered a reliable income proof source for lenders. Some lenders may go further and want to see MISC 1099 forms received by clients for the last three years as well. Bank statements can reinforce assets’ availability as well, but they are not a full substitute.

Keep Your Credit Card Debt Nil or Low

Many independent workers ride on credit cards to pay bills in between jobs. Unfortunately, this also inflates personal debt, which mortgage lenders don’t want to see. To be successful with a mortgage as a gig worker, your credit card balances need to be kept as low as possible. You can have other debt, but it is best to be structured like a student loan or car loan. These don’t change from month to month and are predictable, but a credit card balance can grow quickly, creating a lending risk. Pay pending bills, lower the balance, and shift the debt to other financial tools if you can. The less revolving debt (credit cards), the better.

Boost the Down Payment

Having a larger down payment works wonders in any mortgage application. The traditional amount is 20 percent of the price of the home you want to buy. If you’re in that range, great. If not, save more. Talk with your lending professional to find out about lower down payment options as well. Don’t forget your closing costs. In some cases, those can be contributed by the seller of the home. Once again, your lending professional will be able to give you the best advice for your situation.

Be Realistic

Finally, don’t apply for a mortgage well beyond your income level and savings. You’re just wasting a lot of time and setting up for a disappointment. Focus instead on having a sizable down payment, documented income, and a home price well within your combined payment range. This will bolster your application and resolve a lot of concerns that otherwise get a denial.

Talk with your real estate and mortgage lending professionals for details based on your personal situation.

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Buying and Selling a Home at the Same Time? How to Juggle These Two Transactions

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 30th, 2021

Buying and Selling a Home at the Same Time? How to Juggle These Two Transactions There are few things that can be more stressful than buying or selling a home. When you are buying and selling a home at the same time, your stress level may understandably skyrocket through the roof. There may be financial aspects of both transactions that may be cause you stress, and you may be dealing with logistical issues or simply feel stressed by the stacks of documents piling up for both transactions. While this will inevitably be a challenging time in your life, you can more easily navigate through the transactions with success by following a few tips.

Consider the Timing of Both Transactions

One of the best things you can do when buying and selling a home at the same time is to plan ahead and consider the timing of both transactions. You may get lucky enough to get an offer on your home from a buyer who wants to close just a few days before you close on your new home. However, it is more likely that these two transactions may be finalized weeks or longer apart from each other. You may need to plan on finding an interim home or paying double mortgages for a period of time. You may consider which of these two options is more preferable to you based on your work situation, your family’s needs and your budget.

Prepare a Budget Ahead of Time and Update It Periodically

Financial stress can mount during this period of time. You will need to make a good faith deposit and pay for third party reports and mortgage application fees for your new home purchase. You may also need to pay money to make repairs and to stage your current home before you list it. It is common to rent a storage unit and to pay for boxes and moving supplies as well.

In addition, a buyer for your current home may request that you make repairs to your home before closing. It is important that you prepare a budget so that you can pay for all of these expenses as they arise, and you should consider leaving yourself ample funds for unexpected expenses. If you run into a cash crunch, consider completing the sale of your current home entirely before going under contract with your new home purchase.

Use the Same Real Estate Agent for Both Transactions

The knowledge and support of a real estate agent can be beneficial to you for both transactions, and you may consider using the services of the same agent for both. Dealing with one person who is familiar with your goals and needs can be truly beneficial to you throughout the entire process, and he or she may offer insight about the best steps to take to make the transition from one home to the other smoother for your family.

While buying and selling real estate can be stressful, you do not have to make the process more difficult than it needs to be. You can set up a time to meet with a real estate agent today to begin discussing your plans and to take the initial step.

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Ready to Relocate? 3 Tips on How to Set a Moving Budget That Won’t Break the Bank

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 25th, 2021

Ready to Relocate? 3 Tips on How to Set a Moving Budget That Won't Break the Bank Relocating to a new area can be exciting, but it can also be expensive. There are many resources to help, but most cost money. However, if you take your time and plan carefully, you can reduce the expense so you don’t start your new life with new debt. Here are three tips to controlling your moving budget.

1. Find Out What’s Free

Nothing is better than paying nothing, right? Don’t assume you have to fork out money for everything you need to move. If you have accepted a new job, ask your new employer whether the company can cover any of your moving expenses.

When it comes to moving supplies, see what you can get without having to pay for it. Stock up on free moving supplies by asking your workplace, local grocery stores, and friends and family for unneeded, sturdy boxes. Instead of paying professional movers, see if you can barter with friends or family for help in moving boxes to and from the truck.

2. Focus On Essentials

After you’ve pursued every possible angle to cover your needs for free, you will likely need to pay for something. The trick is to only do so for what is absolutely necessary. Many providers will offer you help along the way, but you should only sign up for basic services. This could include moving big items such as a piano, paying for gas and tolls, or buying cartons for oddly-shaped or particularly valuable items. If you are not able to move things yourself, this could include hiring professionals.

3. Do It Yourself

If you have the time and are physically fit, start long before moving day and pack everything yourself. Rent or borrow a truck and move your boxes yourself, perhaps with the help of a friend. Take care of disconnecting old utilities and signing up for new ones. Handle both cleaning your old home and preparing your new one. Anything you can do with a little elbow grease will mean less money out of pocket.

Call your real estate agent for advice on keeping moving expenses down. Ask about providers who may give you a discount for being referred by your agent. Remember that you are in charge of your move, so don’t automatically sign up for every service available. By using free goods and services when available and doing much of the work yourself, you can set and follow a moving budget you can afford.

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In Less Than An Hour A Day, A Home Can Be Organized Quickly

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 19th, 2021

In Less Than An Hour A Day, A Home Can Be Organized QuicklyOrganizing a home seems like a significant challenge. Fortunately, there are easier ways to make this happen. In less than an hour per day, it is possible to organize a home from top to bottom. Getting these unnecessary items out of the way might even prevent people from stubbing their toes! How can this be possible? 

Start Getting Rid Of Unnecessary Items

Start by creating two boxes. The first box should have the word “donate” written on it. The second box should have the “trash” written on it. Then, go through every room in the home. Find items that can be donating. Take them to a local Goodwill or Salvation Army. Remember to get a receipt because these items may be tax-deductible, as long as you work with a trained tax professional.

Then, take items that can be thrown away and place them in the “trash” box. Be prepared to throw these out. This will instantly create more room in the home. 

Target The Spice Cabinet

A lot of homes have unnecessary space wasted in the spice cabinet. Think about organizing them alphabetically. Be sure to check if any spices have expired, as they might need to be tossed out. Once the spices are all in the right spot, there will be a lot more space in the kitchen. That way, it will be easier to organize utensils, appliances, plates, bowls, cups, and the pantry itself.

Time To Deal With The Decorations

Once the holidays are over, it is time to organize the decorations. Make sure that each holiday has its own separate box. Then, make sure the boxes stack on top of each other. With a separate box for each holiday, it should be easy to store all the decorations in one place. This will free up a lot of other space in closets, storage areas, and cabinets.

Get The House Organized In An Hour Per Day

Concentrate on each small area, going room by room and “decluttering” as it will create a lot more space in the home, and in sections, it is easier to get everything organized. Ensure that everything has its place. It might even be helpful to write this down somewhere. Even though it might take some time to get used to it, having more open space in the home is never a bad thing!

 

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The Top Seasonal DIY Home Improvement Projects

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 11th, 2021

The Top Seasonal DIY Home Improvement ProjectsThere are many people who are spending more time at home these days. As a result, it is important for everyone to take steps to try to improve their quality of life at home. This means seasonal home improvement projects. With the weather nice outside, it is a great idea for everyone to think about how they can get ready for the next season. Therefore, there are a few top seasonal Home Improvement projects everyone should keep in mind.

One of the first projects that everyone should work on has to do with their HVAC unit. Right now, people probably are not running their HVAC unit much right now. Therefore, this is the perfect time for everyone to make sure they get their HVAC unit maintained. That way, if there are any issues that are spotted, they can be addressed before the HVAC unit is needed. 

Check The Roof And Gutters For Signs Of Issues

At the least you can fall outside, it is critical for homeowners to make sure they keep their gutters clear. Otherwise, rainwater might not be able to drain from the roof away from the house. This could contribute to roofing leaks that could wind up as expensive repair bills. For this reason, all homeowners should take the time to check their shingles, their flashing, their edging, and their gutters. This will make sure the house stays safe when the weather turns down. 

Look For Entry Points For Any Pests

Finally, homeowners also have to make sure they are able to keep any potential infestations away from their homes. There are lots of pests that are going to try to get inside the home as the temperature starts to drop outside. This could include silverfish, ants, cockroaches, and termites. When homeowners take the time to look for these entry points ahead of time, they can prevent these infestations from taking place. 

Think About Home Improvement Projects Now

These are a few of the top home improvement projects that all homeowners need to keep in mind. It is critical to take the time now to carry out these home improvement projects while the weather is nice. This can prevent problems in the future.

 

There are many people who are spending more time at home these days. As a result, it is important for everyone to take steps to try to improve their quality of life at home. This means seasonal home improvement projects. With the weather nice outside, it is a great idea for everyone to think about how they can get ready for the next season. Therefore, there are a few top seasonal Home Improvement projects everyone should keep in mind.

 

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Moving On Up: Should You Buy Or Sell First?

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 3rd, 2021

Moving On Up: Should You Buy Or Sell First?It’s exciting to be able to move into a new home. But there are some tricky details to navigate when you already own a home and you’re ready to buy a new one. Should you buy or sell first? Don’t worry. There are viable solutions.

Should You Sell First?

Think about how selling your home first will impact your family. On the one hand, you’ll be in a better financial position. You’ll have cash in the bank. You may be able to negotiate better terms on your new house by putting more down. However, selling first may mean moving into temporary housing while you find a new house to buy. You might need to store your furnishings. In other words, you may need to move twice.

Should You Buy First?

Buying first gives you more stability. You can stay in your own home until you’re able to move into the new house. When you do move, there won’t be a big rush. You could move over the course of a week or even more. The downside to buying first is that you might be responsible for paying two mortgages for a month or more. There’s no guarantee that your home will sell in a predetermined length of time. And, there’s no guarantee you’ll get the amount of money for your old home that you need to be financially secure.

Viable Solutions No Matter What You Do

Thankfully, there are solutions no matter how you decide. If you sell your home first, you could ask your buyers for a later closing date so that you have time to find a new home. You could even ask them if you can lease your old home on a month-to-month basis so that you have time to buy a new home.

If you buy a new home first, you could get a bridge loan, that helps you pay the second mortgage until you sell your old home. You could also rent out your old home to help offset your mortgage payment.

As you can see, there are ways of making both scenarios work. Whether you decide to buy first or sell first, your real estate agent can help you make it happen.

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4 Steps To A Smooth Mortgage Refinance At A Rock-Bottom Rate

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 28th, 2021

4 Steps to a Smooth Mortgage Refinance at a Rock-Bottom RateRight now is the best time to look at refinancing your home. Even if your current mortgage is as young as a year old, you might find that a refinance is in your best interest.

Be Sure That A Refinance Makes Sense

With today’s rates, refinancing makes sense for many homeowners, but it might not be the right move for you. Depending upon your mortgage, you may pay a penalty if you prepay early. Also, if you’ve paid heavily into your mortgage, refinancing into a new 20 or 30 year mortgage could cost you money over the long-term. The bottom line is to carefully read through your loan documents or even call your loan company to find out the details of the impact of a refinance.

Consult With A Professional

Once you’ve determined that a refinance makes sense in theory, it’s time to talk with an objective professional, i.e., not your loan rep. Seek out a fiduciary, who has receives no gain whether or not you refinance. Have the professional run the numbers so you can see in black and white where you will stand financially after a refinance.

Compare Rates

If you and your financial professional decide that a refinance is the way to go, now it’s time to compare rates. Even with rates at rock bottom prices right now, you’ll find that you might save even more money just by shopping around. Also, remember that if your credit is excellent, you have more negotiating power. If you have a preference with working with a certain company, ask them to match the interest rate you’ve been offered by a competitor. 

Protect Your Investment

Now that you’ve improved your mortgage situation with a refinance, it’s time to consider what your heirs will be left with when you’re no longer here to provide for them. Make sure that your loved ones can reap the benefit of your savvy financial planning by taking out a life insurance policy. There are many variations on life insurance policies, so by sure to compare and contrast benefits, terms and rates.

As a homeowner, you should always be on the lookout for ways to maximize your investment. Use these refinancing tips to get the most out of your home’s value.

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How To Stretch Home Improvement Dollars The Most

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 22nd, 2021

How To Stretch Home Improvement Dollars The MostThere are lots of homeowners who are looking for a way to improve the quality of their home while also increasing the value of their property. Unfortunately, a lot of home improvement ideas can be prohibitively expensive. It is not unusual for homeowners to spend six figures on a renovation project. On the other hand, there are also home improvement ideas that will not break the bank.

What are a few of the top ideas that homeowners should consider? 

Start With A Few Quality Ceiling Fans

First, homeowners should consider starting with a few quality ceiling fans. Because a lot of homeowners do not look up at the ceiling on a regular basis, they may not realize just how old their ceiling fans are. Therefore, homeowners should consider updating their ceiling fans. Ceiling fans should be hung between 7 and 8 feet above the floor. Now, there are advanced Energy Star ceiling fans that will help homeowners lower their utility bills while also increasing the value of their property. Finally, even advanced ceiling fans are not that expensive. 

Consider Planting Some Trees In The Yard

Another idea that homeowners need to consider involves planting trees. Planting trees will not only prevent erosion from the property but can also lower energy costs. Trees can protect the property from rain, wind, and the sun. Furthermore, as trees grow over time, they also increase the curb appeal of a property, driving up the value of the home. Even though a lot of people say that money does not grow on trees, planting a few trees in the yard can help homeowners save a lot of money while also boosting their home’s value. Fortunately, planting trees are also not that expensive. 

Increase The Quality Of The Insulation In The Home

Finally, a lot of homeowners neglect the quality of the insulation in the home. Even though this might not be as attractive as a complete kitchen or bathroom remodel, upgrading the insulation of the home reduce its utility bills. Furthermore, upgrading the installation is not that expensive. Homeowners should consider taking a closer look at the insulation of their homes every few years. There may be ways to save a significant amount of money.

 

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The Top Ways To Upgrade The Exterior Of The Home On A Budget

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 21st, 2021

The Top Ways To Upgrade The Exterior Of The Home On A BudgetThere are a lot of people who are spending more time at home these days. As the temperature starts to warm up once again, there are some homeowners who are looking for ways to upgrade the outside of their home. Even though there are some people who are looking at installing a brand new patio or deck, this can be extremely expensive. Fortunately, there are ways that homeowners can completely transform the exterior of their home without breaking the bank. Take a look at a few of the top ideas below.

Consider Adding An Outdoor Rug

First, homeowners should consider adding an outdoor runner or rug to the exterior of their home. Because this run is going to be outside, try to go with bright colors. Furthermore, there are also specific runners and rugs that have been designed specifically to stand up to the wear and tear of the outdoors. Consider adding a rug that leads from the patio door to the deck. Or, think about placing an area rug underneath the table outside. This can completely change the look of the patio.

Think About Installing A Swinging Chair

For those who are looking for a way to relax outside, consider installing a few swinging chairs. In some situations, homeowners might be able to attach a swinging chair directly to the awning outside. In other situations, it might be a smart idea to install a swinging chair that hangs from a tree in the yard. It is important to make sure the awning or the tree is able to support the chair before it is installed. Then, add a bright cushion to the chair and relax outside with a great book! 

Use Citronella Candles

Anyone who likes to spend evenings outside under the stars should consider using candles. Specifically, think not using citronella candles. Citronella candles will help keep the mosquitoes away in addition to adding a majestic fuel to the outdoors. Think about using them on top of poles that line the walkway. This is a great way to add a little bit of ambiance to an evening party.

Consider a few of these ideas to completely change the exterior of the home in a budget-friendly way.

 

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Tips For Getting A Mortgage Application Approved

Posted in Real Estate Tips by Michigan Real Estate Expert on January 15th, 2021

Tips For Getting A Mortgage Application ApprovedRight now, mortgage rates have fallen to rates that haven’t been seen in years. This opens the door for many people to apply for a mortgage that they previously may not have been able to afford. Sadly, not everyone who applies for a mortgage is going to be approved. There are a few steps that applicants can take to increase their chances of getting their mortgage application approved.

Increase The Credit Score

Applicants need to make sure that their credit scores are as high as possible when they apply for a mortgage. The greater the credit score is, the more trustworthy they look to lenders. In general, applicants are going to need a credit score of 620 or higher to qualify for a home loan; however, those who want to get the best interest rates possible need to make sure their credit score is as high as possible. Try to ask for a free copy of the credit report from one of the major credit bureaus and correct any inaccuracies that might be present. Then, pay down as much debt as possible before applying for a mortgage.

Add More To Savings

Those who want to qualify for the best interest rates will need to be willing to put more money down. The only way to make this happen is to increase the amount of money in the savings account. Lenders are more willing to provide people with a home loan if they know the potential homeowner is supplying some of the capital as well. Delaying the home search by a month or two to collect more money in a savings account can dramatically improve someone’s chances of getting approved.

Increase Employment History

The longer someone has been employed, the better the chances of the application being approved. Lenders want to make sure that the potential homeowner is going to be able to pay back the loan. The longer the applicant has been employed, the greater the chances that he or she is going to remain in that position. A longer employment history could help someone qualify for lower interest rates.

Get A Mortgage Application Approved

These are a few steps applicants can take to improve the strength of their application. That way, they can get the home of their dreams.

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