Is It Possible To Buy A Home While Carrying A Student Loan?

college or university students studying outdoors s

First time home buyers face a great challenge breaking into the housing market. Rent keeps increasing and the availability of low-priced homes remains limited. Add several thousand dollars in student loan debt to the scarcity of low-value homes and budding buyers are likely to be convinced that they are not in a position to buy. Based on recent research, those who have completed a bachelor’s degree and intend to buy homes are modestly affected by their student loan repayment in their search. In this article, we take a look at tips from financial experts regarding how to acquire a mortgage while at the same time servicing a student loan.

What repayment strategy do you have to get rid of the student loan?

The strategy you choose to pay off your student loan plays a great role in determining whether you will be able to service the mortgage and the student loan concurrently. For instance, if you decide to use the snowball method to service your loan, you have the chance to take a forbearance period that allows you to take a break. Such a break may then be used to clear off other small loans aggressively. Once the forbearance period elapses you will have cleared the small debts you have allowing you to take on a mortgage and clear off your student loan with traction.

Another strategy of paying off your student loan would be to requester your loan administrator to give you a lower interest rate. A low-interest rate on your student loan means your monthly repayments will be reduced thus making it easier for you to take a low-interest mortgage.

What financial plan do you have to pay off the student loan?

For you to pay off your student loan fast, you should come up with a financial plan to help you cut down on expenses. By cutting down most of your expenses, you will be able to have more monthly savings thus enabling you to make bulk repayments that will help you clear the loan in a short time.

To have more money left to repay your loan at the end of the month you may decide to use public transport instead of a taxi, have a roommate whom you split house bills with, and avoiding meals out.

Work within your budget

If you are currently paying a student loan and intend to take up a mortgage, you should ensure that you work within your budget; ensure that the home you buy does not stretch your budget. Your financier will check into your financial reports to determine your debt-to-income ratio then advice you on the amount you can borrow for the mortgage.

When taking up a mortgage while servicing a student loan, you should ensure that you get very affordable repayments that allow you some breathing space on your budget to address other needs. To avoid being greatly impacted when you take up a mortgage while still servicing a student loan, you should ensure the home value is based on your income.

Should you pay your student loan before taking a mortgage?

You can pay your student loan and take up a mortgage at the same time. However, it is advisable to work aggressively towards paying your student loan when you are fresh from college. Instead of moving into high priced apartments and taking car loans, you should focus on paying the student loan fast before you have children and start having other family related bills that may interfere with your loan repayment.

Should your student loan prohibit you from buying a home?

Having a student loan should not prohibit you from buying a home. You can decide to save for a down payment on a house while repaying your student loan by saving less for retirement, automating your savings contributions, and reducing large expenses. Buying a home while servicing a student loan can be made easy through proper planning.

Tips for those who have substantial student loan debts

One of the most effective ways of getting rid of your student loan while building your wealth and savings should be to live below your means. If you decide to upgrade your lifestyle, there is a possibility of losing the flexibility of your budget.

You also need to have a positive attitude towards repaying your student loan; don’t give up. Come up with a monthly budget to help you allocate your resources so that you know what you are left with at the end of the month; this helps you know whether you can increase your repayments.

You should also set yourself a repayment deadline so you that you work towards clearing the loan before the deadline is reached.

Advice to those who want to buy homes but are limited by student loans

If you intend to buy a home but currently limited by your student loan debt, you should strive towards building a strong credit history through timely payments. As well as improving your debt-to-income ratio by paying down your credit cards as well as other consumer debts. Strive towards saving for a down payment and paying down your debts.

Your student loan should not hold you back from buying a home. However, you are advised only to follow the path you can comfortable take on. It is of essence that you balance your student loan with your other financial goals. Ensure the home you buy allows you room in your budget to work towards other financial goals.

Finally, buying a home while still paying a student loan all lies in your ability to balance. All you have to do is set your targets and figure out what matters most. You should decide on whether you can extend repaying your student loan for a few more months to save for a mortgage down payment or finish paying off the student loan then start saving for a down payment when there is no strain on your budget. If you have credit card debt that is still outstanding, it is best that you have it cleared before you start saving for the house down payment. Having a student loan should not be a barrier to you owning a home.

5 Things You Didn’t Know Your Insurance Covered

Insurance - letters on wooden desk with laptop computer and a notebook. 3d render illustration. ** Note: Shallow depth of field

Having home and automobile insurance is essentially inevitable parts of life for most people. When it comes to your home, you want the best coverage for possible incidents such as fires and roof damage. With auto insurance covers accidents and possible weather damage or stolen vehicles. While these are usually covered by a good comprehensive policy, there are other things included in most policies that you may not be aware of.

When you sat down with your agent to go over the different scenarios covered in the policies available to you, it’s likely he or she mentioned the major incidents that would be covered. Auto accident liability, uninsured driver, being the victim of a hit-and-run, etc. Home insurance typically includes structural damage from external forces, be they manmade or otherwise, and damage or loss of personal possessions, amongst others. It’s very likely that they didn’t mention the more obscure events that your insurance policies may very well cover.

Outlined below are some of the “unusual” occurrences that your insurance policies could very well cover. While some of them may be unlikely it certainly doesn’t hurt to know you’re covered.

Planes and automobiles

It’s not particularly likely that a plane will make a fiery landing on your roof, but should that happen, you will probably be covered. Seriously. What about blimps, helicopters or space shuttles? Do these also qualify? In most cases, fire, plane or other unforeseen disaster, you are likely covered for housing (aka hotels) and food costs while you’re searching for a new abode.

Meteors  

Would you have guessed that many insurance policies cover home damage in the event of a meteor strike? As long as the meteor that could, in theory hit your home isn’t a mile wide, you’re in luck! Most policies will cover up to the max limit of your dwelling coverage, which is usually calculated at the amount required to rebuild your house from the ground up. Again, as an added bonus (would there really be any bonus if a meteor hit your house?!?), if your home was rendered uninhabitable by the a giant space rock plunging through the center of your house, you could be covered for living expenses such as lodging and restaurant bills.

Explosions and riots

If you’re dwelling in a slightly, shall we say, volatile neighborhood, your home may be protected against the damage the riots breaking out can incur. You never know – bricks through the windows, a bulldozer in your front yard… it could happen. On the other hand, if your house is lay to waste during war, this falls into that stinking grey abyss insurance likes to straddle. Your bombed-out house wouldn’t be covered and you’d be responsible for picking up the pieces and rebuilding your life on your own. Explosions most likely fall under this grey area, as well.

Flooding and earthquakes

This is one that baffles more many home owners. Homeowners are reminded time and again that they need a separate rider on their home insurance for floods and earthquakes. So how does it make sense that this can often be found in standard auto insurance policies?

Depending on whether or not your auto policy includes comprehensive insurance coverage, you could be completely covered if a flood washes your car away, or fills the engine block with corrosive water. Oddly, every state in the U.S., excluding New Hampshire, requires you carry liability insurance should you be the responsible party in an accident. Others require you additionally carry uninsured or underinsured driver coverage, lest someone hit YOU and not have adequate coverage for your property loss and personal injury.

On the other hand, comprehensive insurance coverage is not required by any state law, however, it may be a good idea to add it on for cases of fire, vandalism or theft, or colliding with an animal. This is also the case for flooding and earthquakes. If you live in an area given to floods and earthquakes, it might be worth considering comprehensive insurance should you find yourself in this position. Of course, as with most any insurance, a big, greedy hand, also known as the deductible, will reveal itself, expecting you to pay up before it will. Look carefully at the deductibles included in the insurance policies you’re considering.

Missiles

Another interesting anomaly in the insurance game is that of missile coverage. Yes, you read that right. You WOULD be covered for missile strikes, as these technically fall under explosions. So, the curious aspect here is, if your car is hit by a missile, what makes the insurance carrier think this isn’t an act of war or terror? It’s not exactly like the neighbor’s kids are going to accidentally lose control of that SCUD and send it careening into your car. The only real possibility for a non-hostile missile hit would be if one fell from an overhead bomber on accident. Should you be the one in ten-trillion this happens to, you’re in luck! Again, just make sure your deductible for missile damage isn’t too high, or you’ll be paying for most of it yourself. It’s reassuring to know that they have you covered, isn’t it?

Increase Your Square Footage By Moving or Renovating

coastal living home in Florida with cracker style tin roof accent

If your house is getting too small for your family you have two choices you can make, you can add on to your existing home, or you can move into a bigger one. Both options have their benefits and their drawbacks. Read on to find out some of the things you should consider before making your decision.

Think About Your Needs

Consider why you feel your home is too small, and then decide what your specific needs are. If your current home could meet those needs with a more efficient layout, then a renovation might be the better choice for you. Think about bedrooms, bathrooms, the kitchen, and shared areas. If you can add space by developing the basement or attic, then you may be able to make it work. Renovating works best if you really love the location of your house and your yard. If you don’t really care for the location, then you might prefer to move.

Don’t forget that if you are renovating, you may be limited in regards to what you can actually improve upon. Zoning and building laws can prevent you from making certain additions, and can even restrict the type of renovations you do inside your home. Once you look into your municipality’s regulations, you may find that an addition isn’t even a possibility.

If you do decide to move to a new home, be sure to make a list of all the things you love about your current home first. You don’t want to move to a new home that has everything you didn’t like about your old one but none of the things that made you buy it in the first place.

Don’t Stress

Whether you decide to renovate or move, you’ll likely encounter stressful situations. However, being well prepared and organized can help you avoid any and all potential pitfalls of the choice you make. If you decide to move, you will need to sell your current house and purchase a new one at the same time. Don’t loose focus on selling your home because you’re devoting to much time to finding a new one. Make sure its staged appropriately and everything is well maintained so you can keep up its appeal to potential buyers. Don’t let the Challenge of finding a new home impact your ability to sell your current one.

Ensuring that your sale and closing dates are compatible is another difficulty you might encounter. If your home sells before your new home is available, you will have to find a short-term place to live, and you may need to put your things in storage. This is not an issue if you foresee it as a possibility, talk to your friends and family and find a well located storage area just incase. If you purchase a house before your old one sells, you may need to carry two mortgages at the same time. If this is part of your plan, be sure that your bank is willing to offer you bridge financing before your make any firm decisions. If you’d rather avoid this just be sure you’re on top of your scheduling and keep an open line of communication with all parties involved to avoid any confusion.

If you decide to renovate, you’re not off the hook for obstacles either. Although you won’t be shaking up with your relatives, living in a house while it’s being renovated means workers will need scheduled access to your home. You’ll most likely want to be present for a fair amount of the work as well to make sure it meets your expectations. On top of that, the work being done will often cause a lot of dust and dirt in your home. To minimize this possibly discuss some ideas of daily clean up with you contractor. Also remember that some days you may have to go without power or water if they need to shut down services to do work. Finally consider unexpected expenses and potential delays in time. Projects almost always run over budget and over the estimated time frame. The numbers your contractor gives you is just an estimate so plan accordingly.

Financially Speaking

If you decide to renovate, decide how you will fund the work before you sign any contract. Again, remember that any number your contractor gives you is really just an estimate – the job is almost guaranteed to cost more in the end. You may not be able to resist picking out expensive fixtures when the time comes, or you might encounter unexpected areas behind your walls that need repair. Make sure you can afford both the cost of the work and have a large contingency fund.

You will also want to consider the resale value of your newly renovated home. If you are hoping to recoup even some of the cost of your renovation, ensure that you are not over-improving your home when compared to the other homes in your neighborhood, or even on your street. If your house has significantly more bedrooms or square footage than the others around it, you still won’t be able to sell it for significantly more money than your neighbors’ homes. You have a lot of money invested in your home so if renovating it really wont add to its resale value enough to validate its resale consider the move.

If you decide to move, make sure that you can afford the type of new home that you want. Be sure that you have a realistic idea of what your current home will sell for. You will need to be pre-approved by your bank for a mortgage before you put an offer in on a new home. Also remember that the size of house you can afford will vary drastically depending on the location you choose.

Another expense to consider when moving is the closing costs. Commissions paid to real estate agents, transfer taxes, lawyer’s fees (uncommon but possible), and title insurance are some of the usual closing costs.

When looking to increase your living space, remember that both moving and renovating can be good options. While both can be stressful, knowing exactly what your requirements are, planning everything carefully and not trying to do more than you can handle, will make your upgrade go as smoothly as possible.

5 Top Tips for First-Time Home Sellers

Sold Home For Sale Sign in Front of New House

Today’s real estate market is very competitive. As a first-time home seller chances are, you’ll find the whole process riddled with a lot of confusion. With economists predicting a major increase in home sales in the coming years, it’s important that you prepare yourself to avoid any and all potential pitfalls. If you are not caught up with the market, now might be a good time to seek the expert advice of a Realtor. Allowing you to equip yourself with knowledge of the do’s and don’ts of selling a home for the first time.

Here are a few important tips to help you get through process the successfully.

  1. Prepare your Home for the Market

Today’s buyers are very picky because they have plenty of options to choose from. For this reason, you may be forced spend a little more time and money getting your home market-ready. If you can afford it, make some low-cost improvements that can really increase your homes aesthetic appeal. Do this before listing it for sale and you should almost always see positive results.

Consider replacing outdated hardware on the cabinetry, broken baseboards, ripped screens, leaky faucets, and make carpentry and masonry repairs. Apply a fresh coat of paint on both the interior and exterior, clean floors and carpeting, and also replace outdated light fixtures. Update the landscape by trimming lawns and hedges, renovating the driveway paving, weeding the garden and making the necessary repairs on the fence.

Remember that the first impression matters most to potential home buyers.

  1. Enlist the Help of a Good Real-Estate Agent

As a first-time home seller, you need to understand the importance of having a professional real estate agent to represent you during the sale of your home. There are hundreds of agents out there and therefore it’s crucial that you choose one with considerable experience in the home-selling process.

While you can easily get an agent based on referrals from your friends and family, it’s important to widen your search scope to ensure that you end up with an expert in the field. Consider checking with your local brokerages and agencies, or even look online for reviews of agents on sites like Yelp.

After finding the right agent for you and your needs, you will be required to sign an agreement with the agent and pay a commission. And because the contract binds you to the agent for a period of three to six months, it’s important that you have only the best.

  1. The Real-estate Agent you Choose matters more than the Brokerage

While it’s of vital importance that you choose an agent with a good presence and base of knowledge, remember that you will only be dealing with the specific agent, not the company they represent. Real-estate agents are simply independent contractors who opt to hang their license with a brokerage firm whose culture and brand match their business. A good agent will work with you to deliver great results no matter what brokerage they are involved with.

  1. Understand the Real-estate Market in your Area

Before listing your home for sale, get to understand the current situation in your local real-estate market. Typically, some real-estate markets boom with sales during specific months. For example, the New York market records huge sales during most of the spring season. Your agent should provide this information ensuring that you sell your home timely and at an optimal price.

  1. Correct Pricing is Important

Price is an important consideration for potential buyers. If you have made some major improvements but your home still isn’t selling, then you need to consider lowering the price. To help you come up with the correct price for your home, perform a comparative market analysis by viewing the prices of homes similar to yours that are on sale and also check the past home sales. This way, you will be able to determine the most accurate price for your home.

  1. Act Fast Immediately you Get an Offer

Do not wait until you get the ultimate offer in order to close. As soon as you get an acceptable deal, go ahead and sign on the dotted line without wasting time. In other words, don’t lose a good selling opportunity in the hope that something grander will come along.

Considering the physical and emotional stress that comes with home selling, it’s crucial that you are prepared to ensure a successful sale.

How To Take The Stress Out Of Moving To A New Property

home, people, moving and real estate concept - happy couple having fun and riding in cardboard boxes at new home

If you’ve been researching real estate and you’re stressed out about the thought of moving your belongings to a new property, sit back and read the list below. The key to a stress free move is just to ensure that you’re well organized. If you foresee yourself moving in the near future, relax, most of the thinking has already been done for you.

Items to collect before your scheduled move :

1. Large, sturdy boxes

Before you spend you hard earned money on moving boxes, it’s well worth asking local businesses such as furniture stores to see if they have any large boxes which they’re looking to part with. Alternatively, it’s worth asking friends and work colleagues to see if they have any boxes available. If you’re unsuccessful, you can purchase suitable boxes online or directly from a moving company.

2. Protective materials 

It’s well worth stocking up on protective materials such as bubble wrap and packing peanuts. It’s highly likely that some of your moving boxes may move around inside of your moving truck, during transportation. Also ensure to pick up enough plastic wrap to cover larger items such as sofas and bed frames.

3. Furniture pads

Avoid injuring your back by using handy furniture pads to shift heavy furniture. As a bonus, by using furniture pads you’ll avoid scuffing or marking your flooring. It’s worth noting, that if you’re moving from a rental property, to a new home, you may be charged for any noticeable scuff marks or damage.

4. Moving straps and ropes

Moving straps are dual purpose, not only can they can help you move heavy items such as furniture but they can also be used to secure items in place, once you’ve stacked your items into your truck or van.

5. A dolly (hand cart)

Opt for a upright dolly which will allow you to shift several heavy boxes at one time, with ease. A two wheel dolly should suit your needs unless you need help moving large heavy items such as refrigerator, in which case you may be better off hiring a four wheel dolly, with a flat base.

6. A tool box 

Essential items on moving day include measuring tape, a razor blade or craft blade, a sharp pair of scissors, duct tape and a screw driver. The later of which you may need to use to take large items apart for easy transportation.

What to wear:

Your personal safety should be paramount, so ensure to wear sturdy shoes such as trainers or working boots which boast anti-slip soles, as the last thing you want to do is to drop a heavy item on your foot. It’s worthwhile picking up a pair of tough work gloves, which will give your hands extra protection and will minimize your chance of dropping expensive items. Lastly, make sure to dress for the weather and to wear breathable, comfortable fabrics as you’re likely to work up a sweat, moving items around.

4 clever ways to ensure that your moving day goes as smoothly as possible:

1. Sort your belongings into two lists

Your first step should be to list all the items in your home which you wish to keep as well as all the items you plan to give away or donate to charity.

2. Draw up an inventory

Make sure to draw up an inventory off all the items which you need to shift. Allow room to add extra notes, as an example you may want to make note of the items which you require a dolly to move, or items which are fragile and which need to be wrapped up and secured properly.

3. Don’t rush or make hasty decisions

Make sure that you’ve allotted plenty of time to move your items, without having to be hasty. If possible rent your moving van or truck for a full day, not a half day and start moving your items early in the morning. Make sure to take regular breaks.

4. Recruit your friends and family to lend a helping hand

Moving, isn’t a one person or a two person job, so it pays to ask around to see whether you can find half a dozen able bodied friends or family members to help you out. On the day or removal assign some friends to helping your sort and box items, whilst other friends can be tasked with the duty of moving your moving boxes to your moving van or truck. Just remember to thank your volunteers, be shouting them to a free lunch or dinner.

As long as you’re well organized, you should find that your moving day passes without any hitches!

 

Why You Should Consider A Real Estate Agent

Young couple signing renting contract with real estate agent

The Problem

Purchasing a home is for most people, the single largest investment they will make in their lives. How will you approach the most important financial decision that you might ever have to make?

A labyrinth of obscure rules, regulations, and unscrupulous sellers looking to make a quick buck await you entering today’s property market. Every year, the lure of a fast, profitable deal without professional assistance leaves many prospective home owners disappointed, paying out of pocket and having wasted countless hours.

The Solution?

The services of an experienced real estate professional can help you navigate your way through every problem listed above.

You need an expert guide when traveling a dangerous path. Why do mountaineers aspiring to climb Mount Everest rely on the services of Sherpa guides? The former are experienced climbers themselves, and spend at least months training before attempting that iconic climb. Yet they defer to the skill and local knowledge of this particular group of people.

Much like the Sherpa have intimate knowledge of the mountains, gained solely through personal experience. A professional agent will have a wealth of knowledge rooted in past experience to help guide you through any challenge you might face.

You should familiarize yourself with the locality in which you intend to buy a home and the price cycles that occur within it. In fact, it’s helpful for the real estate agent when a client knows the location and budget they want to work with because it significantly narrows and simplifies the search. However, it’s still not a substitute for the experience and instinct a professional real estate agent has to offer you. Just like the Sherpa knows where to tread, the realtor’s personal relationships within the industry can help to uncover hidden property gems.

It is not just about finding the right property, realtors are multi-skilled negotiators. Contrary to popular belief, purchasing a house involves several discrete steps that take both time and money.

Good agents do not simply find you a house and leave, they will walk by your side every step of the way from your first look at your dream home to signing the best mortgage deal they can secure on your behalf. At each of those steps, the personal relationships that they maintain with industry professionals can open up opportunities to help facilitate a smooth transaction.

The purchasing process generally starts off with an initial offer. The home owner allows for an in-depth inspection of the premises so the purchasing party is comfortable with the initial valuation. You may make an adjusted offer if the inspection uncovers anything that might devalue the property, or even cancel the deal if the appraisal is overtly discouraging. During all these steps, your real estate agent will be working their hardest to ensure that you receive the very best deal possible.

It’s also important to try and avoid focusing too much on having to pay for the service of a well established agent. It can distract you from all the benefits that will be provided to you during this lengthy process. Keep that in mind when you discuss payment with your agent; ultimately, the odds are the money you spend on him or her will be recouped in the price negotiation process for your dream home.

The Bottom Line

Finding a property that is ideal for your purposes is not a part-time job that can be effectively accomplished by reading listings  in newspapers and online. Such an approach is simply not thorough enough.

Professional real estate agents produce the majority of those listings and the odds of you finding a property that satisfies all your criteria yourself are very narrow.

There is no need to compete with the professionals. Instead, allow them to work for you. It is probably the wisest first step you will take towards the home you have always dreamed of.

From A Renter To An Owner: Are You Ready To Make The Transition?

Silver house key lying on a contract of house sale lease insurance or mortgage in a real estate concept viewed low angle with focus to the tip.

If you’re currently renting an apartment or even a home, then you are aware of the steep costs associated with renting. According to recent studies, Americans spend 30% of their monthly income on rent, while those who live in their own homes spend only 15% on mortgages. Now obviously all of us would prefer to own homes, but one of the biggest road blocks is the down payment. For most of us it’s difficult to know when you’re in a suitable situation to take on such an expense. So timing is everything when it comes to making  move like this. Let’s break down what mortgage experts think about the whole issue of switching from a renter to a homeowner. So you’ll be prepared if you find yourself having to make such a transition.

Knowing whether you are ready or not

First let’s go over liquidity, meaning the amount of money you have at your disposal. Generally, those who have fewer debts than others are considered liquid enough to afford a down payment. For example, your car is payed off or nearly so, if you have student related expenses those are taken care of. Essentially a significant portion of your finances are not being budgeted to various debts you may owe. Your financial position should tell you whether you are ready to make that move or not.

The difference between being ready and thinking that you’re ready

You have been looking forward to a place you could call yours for ages now. So It’s understandable that the decision to buy a home is at times nagging at you. Most buyers find themselves making instinctive decisions, only to find that they were never ready to make the move when they did. There are many financial commitments that come with owning a house, and it is important that you keep them in mind when making your final purchase decisions. Home inspections will be required, there are hidden costs you might not be aware of, and the financial responsibility of taking care if a home needs dedication. You therefore need to be very sure about what you want before diving in.

How do your finances affect your moving plans?

Some of us move around a lot, so it doesn’t make sense, financially speaking, to buy a home in one area, only to move to another city or part of the country within the year. In addition, places such as New York are too expensive for homeowners, and moving out of the area is implausible due to work and family demands. So take into consideration where you want to buy your home and how this will impact you with respect to work and your possible need to remain flexible.

How much of your monthly income should you pledge towards mortgage repayment?

According to experts, if your mortgage costs 30% or a little less of your monthly income, then that is a feasible rate. You want to live comfortably and enjoy the trimmings of modern living without having to sacrifice too much to your mortgage payment. Think about the percentage you would be comfortable paying as part of the mortgage. The industry has no set percentages, and some lenders are flexible enough to allow you to pay out what is within your comfort zone. Here’s where it helps to have a very well rounded understanding of your general monthly expenditures.

Homes with down payments of less than 20%

Some of us think that when the percentages are too low, that there’s a catch in there somewhere. I encourage having a keen eye when going over the final paper work however, remember it’s perfectly plausible for numbers to vary based on a quite a few variables so be analytical and thoughtful when reviewing. Keep in mind that this 20% is going to rise steadily if the value of the home is too high. At the same time, avoid going too low on the percentages because that would translate to high installments, balance is key.

To rent or to buy: where is the financial edge?

Again it all really depends on where your finances are at this particular point in time. It makes sense to rent if you think that the down payment on a new home is going to be exacting. And it makes perfect sense to look around for a home when you are sure you can make the sacrifice without veering too far away from your comfort zone.

Leveraging on your savings

The beauty with savings is that they give you a lot of flexibility in life. If you save more, then you are in a position to buy more. At the same time, putting up more money upfront ensures that you enjoy less installments and preferable rates in the long-term.

Moving from renting a home to owning one is a big decision. Find a mortgage professional and pick their brains about your ability to make such a transition. Check your credit score and be wary of any additional costs associated with home ownership. And do not forget to lean on the expertise of a great real estate agent to point you in the right direction.

Tips That Can Make a Cross-Country Move Bearable

Moving boxes in new house. New apartment background.

Everyone who has ever attempted moving cross country will readily admit that it is quite a daunting task. However, sometimes it can’t be helped, a new job a better school system, what ever the reason may be. Despite the odd and demanding nature of this type of move, there are certain things you can do to help make it bearable.

– Treat the entire experience as an adventure

– Pare it down

– Embrace your new location

Treating the movement as an adventure

A move like this will require days or even weeks to complete. A move from Tacoma Washington to Nashville Tennessee for instance, would take you at least four days. If you moved with a modest size family and drove at least 10 hours each day that is. This sounds grueling in just about any context, but if you’re willing to do a little exploring along the way its not all that bad. Regardless of the route you’ll be taking there is almost always something wonderful to see along the way.

Make sure you plan out your journey well ahead of time too. Finding cost effective and adequate accommodations can be difficult last minute. Also don’t forget there are plenty of websites and apps available to you for finding the best possible deal you can.

Pare it down

Moving can be very easy and even enjoyable if you simplify the entire process. People with limited transportation space for instance, need pack only what they consider essential. Take things with you in your car that you feel you have to have in your new home to make it through your first night. Everything else leave to the moving van and always consider that the van could be late. So take things you feel you would need on your first day in your new house.

You might even want to consider taking a planning trip out to your new home before moving everything there. This trip will also let you see what might not be a good fit for your new house. Meaning you’ll know what you should consider selling and what you should consider keeping. Its much easier and cheaper to sell or donate items before your move than it is to sell them when you’re settled, one less thing to worry about.

Also, once you’ve managed to sell the items you wish to part with, you’ll not only pay less for moving everything, but the money you make will help fund your move.

Embrace the new home

When you move across the country you’ll most likely be moving somewhere with no friends or family. When you’re finally settled and you find yourself with some time on your hands, go out and explore the city. Research the highlights of your new community and participate in some of the local activities. Attend events, eat out, visit museums and art exhibits or any other social activity that might interest you.

It also helps to take your family everywhere you go, the kids especially. Going with them to restaurants, libraries, supermarkets and museums among other parts of the new city, helps them embrace the idea that the new location is their new home and community.

Even consider browsing through community pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These serve as great outlets for finding local events, as well as meeting local people. Instagram especially is a great way to discover more about the local scene and and all its offerings. Aside from social media check out the different community pages and see what you can find on there. One app and site commonly overlooked in a case like this is yelp, find out what locals are saying about all the different events and places you’re considering.

Make sure you’re kids develop a new social circle as well, encourage them to take part in any extra curricular activities that are offered at their school. This type of move is always much easier when your kids have plenty of opportunity to interact and make new friends.

When you and your family make a move this big its important to remember that perception is key. Its easy to focus on your old home and the people you knew, but try to focus on the new memories you’ll make and the new people you’ll meet. A cross country move can be difficult but more often then not its always a worth while experience.

Home Equity: You Actually Have More Than What You Think

Discussion with a real estate agent at the office

In the last quarter of 2015, more than 759,000 properties had regained equity. What does this indicate? Basically, almost 91% of all mortgaged properties managed to land the positive equity position a lot of homeowners are aiming for.

To support that, according to the president and CEO of CoreLogic, Anand Nallathambi, for much of the country, the negative equity epidemic is improving and changing for the better. This was made possible because of the continuous rise in home prices for the past 3 years– it serves as an indication that the money flows have increased, while the housing stock’s ratio declined.

No doubt, a lot of homeowners would agree that this is good news. However, are they even aware that because of this, their equity position also changed?

Based on a recent study conducted, Fannie Mae suggests that a lot of homeowners aren’t even aware that their equity position isn’t the same anymore– most of which even underwent a dramatic change. With that, most of them fail to take advantage of the situation.

For instance, the study showed that 23% of Americans still have the misconception that their homes still have a negative position. The truth is, only 9% of these homes are in that standing.

This only implies that more than 32% of Americans with a mortgage fail to realize the opportunity they can enjoy from this kind of situation. Due to the sizable equity position, the majority of homeowners will have the privilege of moving into a new housing situation with ease– something that will definitely meet their current needs.

This issue was tackled on their most recent report.

Wherein, homeowners who have the habit of underestimating their homes’ value doesn’t only underestimate the home equity, but also has the tendency of underestimating the following:

1) The notable down payment that could be settled with the use of home equity;
2) The possibilities of qualifying for the needed mortgages;
3) The opportunities for selling the current homes to buy a new one.

Here’s How to Evaluate the Equity of a Home

For those who are taking out a home equity line of credit, the amount of equity in a home plays a very important role. The home equity is the difference between the current mortgage balances and the appraised value of the home.

Meaning, the more equity a homeowner has, the more refinancing option may be available to the home owner.

Thus, the equity can help the lender determine the loan-to-value ratio– one of the factors the lender must consider when deciding whether the application should be approved or not. Likewise, it will also help the lender determine whether they have to pay for the private mortgage insurance.

Calculating the Loan-to-Value Radio

The loan-to-value ratio is another method on how to determine the amount being owed on the current mortgage.

Current Loan Balance/Current Appraised Value

Example: You have a loan balance of $150,00. Your home currently appraises for $210,000. So, the loan-to-value would appear like this:

150,000/210,000= 0.71

Convert 0.71 to a percentage, and this will give you a loan-to-value ratio of 71%

Knowing how to calculate the loan-to-value loan, as well as having the idea on how this can impact your current situation can help you come up with choices on how to reach your financial goals with ease– whether you should borrow from an equity, refinance, or simply continue paying the down payment.

The Appraisal

A professional appraisal is an integral part of determining the loan-to-value ratio. In case that an on-site appraisal is needed, then the lender must look for a certified appraiser, and this will be the one to calculate the true value.

Homeowner Tip

One of the best ways to improve the appraisal is to make smart improvements in your home. Thus, consulting an appraiser is highly recommended. Likewise, keep in mind that the economic conditions can also negatively affect one’s home value no matter how much improvement is being made.

Final Words

For homeowners, it’s important to familiarize yourself about the true equity of your home, and keep updated on the possible opportunities that go along with this. In such a case that you’re uncertain about the savings needed for the home, contacting a real estate professional can help you figure out the digits. Who knows, you may be surprised after finding out the true value

6 Things You Can Do If Your Home Isn’t Selling

 

Home For Sale Real Estate Sign in Front of New House.

Homeowners can get jittery when that for sale sign starts becoming a permanent feature on their lawns. As potential buyers keep eyeing without buying, you might begin to wonder what exactly is wrong with your property. Why is it not selling? If your house is languishing on the market, it may be time to rethink your selling strategy. Even in a slow market, there are a few things that you can do to get buyers to commit to a purchase. So here’s 6 things you can do to help make sure your house sells.

1.Give it a makeover

Buyers may be skipping your property because they think it requires a makeover. They are more likely to buy a home that requires little or no work at all. You don’t have to splash money on an expensive renovation. Instead, find out from your realtor what it is that buyers didn’t like about the property. You can also ask buyers to give honest assessments of your property. Focus on simple and less costly fixes such as fresh paint or a thorough clean-up. The garden may need a little sprucing up as well. This will not cost you that much, but it may make the difference in a tight market.

2.Lower the price

You may reluctant to lower your selling price especially if you believe it’s a fair valuation. However there is no point in clinging to a dream price if your home has been listed for months on end. The property market is not stagnant. Prices move up and down depending on the economic outlook among other factors. Demand may soften in a depressed market and make buyers very price sensitive. A little cut in price may be enough to seal the deal. This is preferable than waiting for another year. Compare the offerings in the market to get an idea of a competitive price point. Your agent may also have a better idea on price movements in the market.

3.Take a break from the market

The longer your property remains listed, the more it loses its appeal. Buyers can spend a long time looking for that dream home. Once they notice that your property is not selling, they immediately assume there is something wrong with it. They may simply ignore the property after seeing it a number of times. Furthermore, some buyers will take advantage of the situation to negotiate for a much lower price, knowing that you are desperate to sell. Unless you absolutely cannot afford to, take the house off the market for a few months before listing it again. If the market is stagnant, consider renting it for a year or more before putting it back on the market.

4.Evaluate your relationship with your agent

A bad rapport between you and your realtor could be making the situation more difficult. You need to agree on the sales strategy and pricing, so as to prevent unnecessary conflicts with your agent. This can be achieved by having an honest conversation about what you expect from the deal, bearing in mind the prevailing market conditions. Listen to advice from the realtor, since they understand the market and are in touch with potential buyers. Both of you should be flexible enough to change strategy if the current approach is not working. If you feel that the agent doesn’t understand your needs, then you may consider working with a different one.

5.Change your advertising

Most buyers will know your property from listings on real estate websites. This is because most house searches today begin online. It may be helpful to change the photos you have on display and try different shots of other areas of the home. For example, add photos of the garden or a different angle of the kitchen. You may also use a professional photographer if the original photos were not done properly. Property descriptions and other promotional details should also be altered to give our listing a new feel. These small changes may spark interest from buyers and lead to a sale.

6.Comparison shop

Selling property can be tough in a stagnant or depressed market. Ensure you stay ahead of competitors by comparison shopping to see what is on offer. This will allow you to figure out what incentives buyers are looking for. This will allow you to make similar offers or alterations to your property. It will also guide you on the pricing. Since potential buyers are looking around, then so should you.

Finally, it is important to keep your mind open and listen to advice form professionals. Do not stick stubbornly to your own strategy if your house is staying too long on the market.