Archive for Real Estate

Buying a Home While Relocating is a Smarter Choice

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 8th, 2021

Buying a Home While Relocating is a Smarter ChoiceThe idea of buying a home is challenging enough as the process requires a lengthy approval validation, paperwork, financing, and the actual move with logistics. However, when one really looks at what typically occurs with relocation, buying versus renting can start to make more sense over time.

Finances Have to be In Order

Buying a home more than once every ten years requires a good amount of discipline on one’s personal finances. Most of the initial decisions and approvals will depend heavily on keeping one’s debt versus income ratios in line and viable. That also means saving up a lot to have sufficient cash flow for fees and your down payment. It also means not letting credit cards get out of hand or taking on other significant debt unless necessary as both weigh against one’s ability to obtain new financing for the next home purchase.

Renting Versus Owning

Renting or leasing tends to be the go-to option during a relocation because it tends to be easier upfront, has fewer requirements to achieve, and involves less of a significant commitment financially. After all, what happens if there is another relocation just a year later? However, most relocations are fairly defined in time. Anything under a year would make sense for renting, but when one starts getting beyond a year, buying starts to become far more appealing.

First, all the dollars one pays in rent are a sunk cost. If one buys, some of that money goes into home equity. Second, many companies and organizations who relocate their people often have connections for quick purchasing and residential needs, leveraging corporate interests for their employees. This allows for the rotation of homes from one employee to the next and makes buying easier for longer-term stays.

Third, a purchase for a shorter-term stay doesn’t have to be a full-scale home. Smaller units that cost much less are easier to close and can work just as well for temporary living. Relocating buyers should really consider a wide range of housing options in a buy versus just a strict replacement of what they had before.

Finally, market costs in the target location have to be considered. Some markets are very affordable and might be cheaper than renting month to month but others are astronomical, and it simply doesn’t make sense to buy in these regions for a short-term stay.

The Bottom Line

Understand with renting everything paid is gone and won’t be recovered in any form at all. It’s a lost expense. That can be thousands of dollars after one year alone. Buying will have fees, but the money spent on the mortgage each month buys equity which can be recovered in a sale, plus a possible gain as well down the road. Buying doesn’t work in every situation where one is relocated, but it can be a viable option in affordable markets and when one is staying longer than a year.

As always, check with your local real estate professional for the best advice on your relocation and your personal financial situation.

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Approved With Conditions: What Does It Mean?

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 7th, 2021

Approved With Conditions: What Does It Mean?Applying for a home loan might not be the most exciting part of purchasing a home; however, many homeowners need to go through a lender to purchase a home. It is exciting to hear that the approval letter has gone through; however, it is also possible for someone to see that they have been approved with conditions. What does this mean?

What are some of the most common reasons why someone might have conditions?

It Could Just Be Standard Procedure

Sometimes, people see that they have conditions to meet as a simple part of the approval process. For example, someone might be missing standard paperwork. It is the job of the underwriter to make sure that the lender is not taking on too much risk. Usually, this simply means that the loan requires some additional paperwork to be made final. Applicants need to gather this paperwork as fast as possible so the loan continues through the process. If there is a seller waiting, it is critical to jump on this immediately to prevent the offer from falling through.

What Are The Most Common Conditions?

There are several conditions that people might have to meet in order to finalize the loan approval process. For example, some people may need to provide letters of explanation, documenting anything that could be related to questions in the file. In other situations, a large deposit could require a letter of explanation as well. That way, the lender knows that someone has not taken a cash advance or opened another line of credit to cover the down payment. In other situations, proof of employment could also be listed as a condition of approval. Lenders want to make sure that applicants are going to keep their job after they purchase the house. Finally, earnest money proof could also be required. This is simply a copy of the earnest money check itself. It is critical for applicants to provide this paperwork quickly in order to finalize process.

Try To Meet All Requested Conditions As Quickly As Possible

It can be frustrating to see that a loan has been approved with conditions. Fortunately, a lot of these conditions are relatively easy to meet. Homeowners that are requested to provide proof to finalize the application process should try to do this as quickly as possible.

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Why A Carpet Change Can Boosts Your Home Sales Price

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on April 2nd, 2021

Why A Carpet Change Can Boosts Your Home Sales PriceWhen selling a home, it is rare for folks to see in bold big letters, “new carpet just installed”. However, on a practical level, replacing the carpet in a home just before selling can go a long way to helping the deal close.

A Brutally-Beaten Leftover

In just about every used home, the carpet has taken a beating. Even if the home has only been owned for a few years, carpets have taken a tremendous amount of traffic, walked-in dirt, funky smells, and dust that build up over time. That not only changes the color of the existing carpet, it also impacts the air in the house as smells are permanently trapped in that same carpet. And, if the existing homeowner had or has pets, the issues can be ten times as strong.

A Sure Formula

By replacing the existing carpet with a new one that is a neutral color and just installed, it adds perceived value to the home and comes a lot closer to competing with new homes in the area. Everybody buying a home wants to have a sense of newness when entering the home. If it’s an existing home, replacing the carpet will be almost a given for the new homeowner before moving in. So, combining a new carpet with the sale saves the buyer the headache and becomes far more attractive right off the bat.

Removing Embarrassing Conversations

The worst situation to be in is having to explain stains and torn carpet or worn-out patches. Letting them stay practically begs a prospective buyer to argue for a lower price to even disengage. Of course, this issue doesn’t apply so much when it’s a seller’s market and homes are being bid on unseen with high demand. But that isn’t always the case. Rather than handing an argument to a buyer free, adding the carpet could reverse the situation and give you support for a higher sales price.

Case by Case

Your real estate agent will have the best idea of how much a new carpet will apply to your local market for home sales, so start with him or her first. If the current market is looking for lots of quality improvements in a home for sale, you can expect that a new carpet would be to your advantage. And you don’t need to break the bank doing so. Follow the example of builders; use a base level carpet at an affordable price. It will look new, do the job, and help sell your home without paying a premium and cutting into your sale profit.

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An Overview of Amortization: It Plays A Role In Monthly Mortgage Payments

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 26th, 2021

An Overview of Amortization: It Plays A Role In Monthly Mortgage PaymentsEven though this may sound like a fancy word, amortization is simply a long word for a straightforward topic. Furthermore, it plays a significant role in the determination of monthly mortgage payments.

Before taking out a home loan, homeowners need to understand how their payment schedule works and what this means for the future of the home loan.

Amortization refers to the way monthly payments are calculated to make sure that homeowners pay the same amount every month throughout the life of the loan. Even if homeowners do not stay in the house for the life of the loan, amortization will still play a significant role in the amount of money they receive if they decide to sell the home.

Amortization Plays A Major Role In Calculating Monthly Payments

First, amortization plays a major role in calculating monthly payments because it ensures that homeowners pay the same amount of money over the life of the loan. Even though there is interest on the home loan, and inflation will play a role in the value of money during the life of the loan, the monthly payment is going to stay the same.

This is particularly beneficial to homeowners who are still working and believe that their income is going to go up during the life of a 15 year or 30 year mortgage. Even if their income goes up, and even if inflation plays a role, their monthly mortgage payments will still stay the same thanks to amortization.

Amortization Divides Interest And Principal In Monthly Payments

On the other hand, amortization also plays a role in calculating interest versus principal in monthly mortgage payments. At the beginning of the loan, the majority of each monthly payment goes toward interest on the loan. At the end of the loan, the majority of each monthly payment goes toward principal.

This also means that if homeowners decide to sell their home at some point during the loan, they might not get as much money as they think because most of their monthly payments have gone toward interest and haven’t built up any equity. This is another key factor homeowners should keep in mind when it comes to amortization.

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Key Points To Note When Drafting A Contract For A Remodeling Contract

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 12th, 2021

Key Points To Note When Drafting A Contract For A Remodeling ContractThere are a lot of homeowners who are thinking about carrying out a home remodel during the current era; however, it is important to understand what goes into a home remodel contract. Even though it can be expensive to get the contract reviewed by an attorney, it is critical to take a close look at the contract to make sure the language is correct.

What are some of the most important points that homeowners should keep in mind when it comes to a contract for a home remodel?

Understand The Basics Of A Home Remodel Contract

First, it is important to understand the basics. The home remodel contract will have a lot of numbers and it can be challenging to understand. In general, the home remodel contract must state that the contractor is going to secure any and all necessary permits and approvals, the payment schedule, when the project will start, and when the project will end. Any home remodel contract should also contact the license number of the contractor and include a few days to rescind the contract without penalty should the homeowner change his or her mind.

Review The Payment Schedule

In addition to understanding the start and end dates, read the payment schedule carefully. The first payment should never be any more than 10 percent of the total cost of the job while the final payment should be approximately a third of the total cost of the project to ensure the contractor actually comes back to fix any issues should something go wrong with the project. The final details of a home remodel are important.

Don’t Jump On The Warranty

Finally, do not jump on the warranty even if it sounds great. A warranty for a home remodel is usually packed with a punch of exclusions that are instituted in favor of the contractor and not the homeowner. There are probably state statutes in place that provide much better protection than any warranty that is offered by a contractor. Furthermore, accepting the warranty will remove this protection from the state. Unless a lawyer says to take the warranty, it is better to turn this down and go with state regulations.

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Moving Can Lead To A Major Emotional Lift

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 10th, 2021

Moving Can Lead To A Major Emotional LiftThis past year has been stressful for everyone involved. A lot of people have had to spend more time in their house than they ever have in the past. When this is combined with trying to conduct work and school from home, it is easy to see why people are so eager to get out of their house. 

Even though a lot of people are spending more time outside, it might be better to consider moving entirely. The reality is that a lot of people are currently associating their home with a lot of bad memories. Therefore, moving may be a smart idea. What should people consider when moving? 

Think About The Weather In The New Location

First, it is important for everyone to think about the weather. Of course, the first factor is the average temperature. People should look for a location that isn’t too cold or too hot. Ideally, this new home should have a bit of a variety. New experiences can go a long way toward improving people’s emotional health. 

Then, it is smart to take a look at the precipitation level as well. Nobody wants to go an entire year without seeing rain; however, if it rains all the time, this may make it hard to spend time outside. Look for a location that has mostly clear skies with an average precipitation of around 60 inches or so.

Consider the Population Level of the Location

With a general location in mind, it is time to take a closer look at some options. Usually, these are broken down into three separate categories: Urban, suburban, and rural. Largely, this is a personal decision. Individuals who are younger may be looking for a more urban area that has more “stuff” to do. Those children may be looking for a suburban area with more opportunities to play safely outside. The location is also going to dictate housing prices, which will help homebuyers set their budgets. 

Consider Moving For An Emotional Lift

Ultimately, moving can be just the emotional list that people need. It is critical to think about these factors during an upcoming move. That way, everyone can make the right decision to meet their needs.

 

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Planning a Move With Your Pets

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 5th, 2021

Planning a Move With Your PetsAs a pet owner, you’re probably just as excited to see how your pet loves the new house as you are yourself. It’s fun to watch as your pets explore the new digs. But moving can be stressful for pets. Here are some tips for making the move as stress-free as you can for your furry loved ones!

Acclimate Your Pets To A Pet Carrier

If you travel infrequently, your pets may not be used to being inside the confined space of a pet carrier. Help them get used to it by placing it on the floor near where they sleep. Put some of their favorite toys or blankets inside and encourage them to spend time in there. Once inside, bring Fido or kitty for a short ride in the family car; just once or twice around the block is plenty. Do this a couple of times a week and always reward them afterward with a treat or some petting.

Keep Pets Isolated On Moving Day

Moving day will be scary for your pets. To keep them calm and safe, isolate them in a separate room in the house. You could place food and water bowls in a spare bathroom along with a blanket to rest on. Put a sign on the door so the moving men don’t enter. Isolating pets on moving day will also prevent pets from running outside, where they might run off out of fear or confusion.

Let Pets Adjust To Your New Home Slowly

Even if you have pets that are savvy and accustomed to being outdoors, you don’t want to let them outside when you first move. They may become disoriented and try to walk back to the old house. Or they could encounter a neighborhood animal that isn’t friendly. For a few days after you move into your new home, keep little Fluffy indoors. There will be plenty of time for them to transition into the backyard if that’s something you want for your pets.

Your pets will grow to love your new home, but it’s important to let them take it slow. These three tips may help with the transition. Above all, help them to feel comfortable with the traveling and keep them away from the activity on the actual moving day.

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Buy A Home This Year To Build Wealth

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on March 2nd, 2021

Buy A Home This Year To Build WealthIt is important for everyone to diversify their investments. When people hear this term, they usually think about diversifying their investments across stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. In addition, it is also a prudent idea to leave the traditional financial markets and look for other sources of wealth as well.

This includes real estate. Without a doubt, this has been a challenging year. At the same time, those who are looking to build wealth should consider purchasing a house this year. There are several reasons why.

Mortgage Loans Are At Historic Lows

Those who have checked mortgage rates recently have probably found that they are close to historic lows. Therefore, a lot of people who would otherwise not be able to afford a home might be able to purchase a home at a relatively low price. Because interest rates are so low, this has the potential to save someone tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Even those who already have a mortgage are refinancing their homes anyway because of the significant difference. It is not often that homeowners have the opportunity to purchase a home at such a low price. 

Real Estate Values Are Likely To Rise In The Future

Even though it is impossible to protect the real estate market with 100 percent certainty, there is a solid chance that real estate values are likely to rise in the future. Because the real estate market is depressed right now, many people believe that the only place the market has to go is up. There is no telling when the market is going to be this low again. As a result, those who are looking to make an investment in the real estate market should take advantage of the unique opportunity at the present time. 

Diversify Investments In Real Estate To Build Wealth

Ultimately, there are a lot of challenges regarding looking for a home right now; however, those who are able to take advantage of the current opportunity have a chance to build wealth. Even though this might not be the perfect time to buy a home, it might be as close as the market gets. Consider looking for a new home today.

 

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An Overview Of Private Mortgage Insurance

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 26th, 2021

An Overview Of Private Mortgage InsuranceWhen you are going through the process of looking for a new home, you are probably focused on the sticker price of that home. Even though it is important to think about your down payment, your monthly mortgage payment, and the total amount of the loan, there are other expenses that you might need to cover as well. If you do not put down enough money, there is a chance that the lender could ask you to pay for something called private mortgage insurance. What is private mortgage insurance and how much do you have to pay? There are several important points that you should keep in mind.

Why You Might Purchase PMI

Private mortgage insurance is something that the lender may ask you to purchase as a way to reduce their risk. If you do not make a sizable down payment, then the lender is responsible for funding most of the cost of your home. If you end up defaulting on the cost of that loan, the lender will lose a major amount of money. With PMI, the lender will be able to get his or her money back in the event that you default. Even though the exact cost of PMI will vary, you should expect to pay somewhere between 0.5 percent and 2 percent of the loan. You might be able to ask the lender to check with multiple options to find the least expensive policy possible for you. Once the PMI policy is instituted, this is something that you will have to pay on top of your monthly mortgage payment.

Avoiding PMI Payments

Importantly, there are ways that you can avoid PMI. You might be able to avoid this insurance policy altogether if you are able to increase the size of your down payment. If you cannot do that, the PMI policy will usually be canceled when you reach a certain threshold in equity. This is something that you should negotiate with the lender before you sign on the dotted line. In some cases, the PMI policy as waved when you reach 10 percent of the loan amount paid back. Even though you should check with a professional accountant, PMI is likely tax-deductible, similar to mortgage insurance.

 

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What Homeowners Must Do When Behind On Mortgage Payments

Posted in Real Estate by Michigan Real Estate Expert on February 23rd, 2021

What Homeowners Must Do When Behind On Mortgage PaymentsThere are lots of homeowners who fall on rough times from time to time. For example, some people may be in the midst of changing jobs. Other people might be going back to school. When this happens, it can be hard for homeowners to keep up with their mortgage payments. Even though they might be thinking about waiting for the bank to do something, this would be the ultimate mistake.

There are ways to handle late mortgage payments as long as homeowners reach out to the lender to discuss their options. What should homeowners do if they start falling behind on their mortgage payments?

Let The Lender Know Why They Are Falling Behind

If lenders do not hear anything from the homeowners, they are not going to know what is going on. Therefore, they may end up taking drastic action. The first thing that homeowners need to do is to let the lender know that they are falling behind on their mortgage payments. That way, the lender understands that the homeowner knows he or she is behind on the mortgage. Then, let the lender know why the mortgage payments will be coming in late. For example, there might be an unexpected medical expense that took the mortgage payment that month. Or, the homeowner might be looking for a new job. These are all understandable reasons why the mortgage payments might be late. 

Ask The Lender To Go Over The Options

Next, the homeowner also should discuss with the lender all of the options when it comes to late mortgage payments. There are lots of options available. If there is a one-time unexpected expense, the lender might simply break up that payment and spread it out over the upcoming payments without charging any extra interest. Or, the lender might be willing to simply add a few months to the mortgage in exchange for not charging a late fee. These are a few of the many options the lender has at his or her disposal.

Do Not Ignore Late Mortgage Payments

The only mistake that homeowners can make with late mortgage payments is not communicating with the lender. As long as the lender understands what is going on, homeowners should have options at their disposal.

 

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