Sean Perkins - Stone Ridge Properties

Posted by Sean Perkins on 3/21/2018

Your credit score can play a major role in your ability to get the financing that you need to buy a house. As such, you'll want to do everything possible to improve your credit score before you enter the real estate market.

Now, let's take a look at three quick, easy ways to boost your credit score.

1. Pay Off Debt As Quickly As Possible

Get a copy of your credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). You are entitled to one free copy of your credit report annually from each credit reporting bureau, and you should take advantage of this perk so that you can learn about your outstanding debt.

If you have lots of outstanding debt, you'll want to start paying this off as quickly as possible. Because the less debt that you have, the more likely it becomes that you can get a favorable mortgage from a credit union or bank.

Don't wait to begin paying off outstanding debt. If you pay off even a small portion of your outstanding debt regularly, you can move closer to getting the financing that you need to acquire a terrific house.

2. Avoid New Credit Cards

A low credit score can be worrisome, and it may cause you to consider a variety of options to manage outstanding debt. However, if your credit score is low, there is no need to take out additional credit cards.

New credit cards may seem like viable short-term options to help you cover various expenses while you pay off assorted outstanding debt. But these cards are unlikely to help you resolve the biggest problem – paying off your outstanding debt to bolster your credit score.

Instead of signing up for new credit cards, it often helps to cut back on non-essential bills. For instance, if you don't need cable, you may be able to eliminate this expense and use the money that you save to pay off outstanding debt. Or, if you have first-rate items that you don't need, you may want to sell these items and use the profits to pay off myriad bills.

3. Keep Your Credit Card Balances Low

Once you have paid off your outstanding debt, you'll want to keep your credit card balances low.

It often helps to have one credit card that you can use in emergencies. If you keep one credit card and get rid of any others, you may be better equipped than ever before to maintain a high credit score.

Lastly, if you require additional assistance as you prepare to kick off a home search, you may want to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you narrow your home search to residences that fall within a specific price range. That way, you can avoid the risk of spending too much to acquire a house.

Increase your credit score – use the aforementioned tips, and you can raise your credit score before you launch a home search.

Posted by Sean Perkins on 3/14/2018

Shopping for a house is a high-stakes game. If you’re a first-time buyer, it can be difficult to gauge the value of various components and features of a home. Appraisals are designed for just this reason.

However, an appraisal is a subjective tool to determine a rough estimate. Furthermore, there are a number of things you can’t learn from an appraisal--such as how convenient the home would be for your work commute.

In this article, we’re going to help you, the homebuyer, determine the true value of a home as it would mean to you in your everyday life. Read on for tips on finding out the value of that home you’ve been dreaming of and deciding whether it’s really the best home for your budget.  

Appraisals are a baseline

When lenders are in the process of approving your home loan, they’ll want to decide whether the home you’re buying is worth the amount you’re paying. To achieve this, they’ll typically hire a third-party appraiser.

Find out from your lender which appraiser they use and read their online reviews. This will ensure that they’re a trustworthy source of information. Also be sure to check that the appraiser is certified and that they work with a diverse range of clientele (not just your lender!).

Since you’ll likely be paying the appraisal fee as part of your closing costs, make sure you’re happy with the appraisal and appraiser.

Key appraisal factors

After the appraisal, consider getting a second opinion or inspection of any of the key components of your home that may impact the appraisal. Some of these factors include:

  • The roof, HVAC system, and septic systems

  • The energy-efficiency of the home

  • The current market value in the area

  • The general upkeep of the home--a few cosmetic problems shouldn’t affect the home value much, but serious neglect can cause long-lasting and expensive issues like mold, water damage, pest invasion, and more

What an appraisal can’t tell you

Now that we’ve discussed the nuts and bolts of home value, we have to venture into what value means to you and your family. You’ll need to ask yourself a series of questions, and some of them won’t have a cut-and-dry answer.

First, how well does this home fit into the work life of you and your spouse? Will it mean a shorter commute, and therefore lower transportation costs and more free time? Putting a dollar value on an extra thirty minutes not spent in traffic can be difficult, but it’s a worthwhile exercise to take part in.

Furthermore, does the house have features that will make it a better asset in years to come? Energy-efficiency, proximity to in-demand schools, businesses, etc., can all be selling points for future buyers that are willing to pay more for your home.

Using a combination of a certified appraisal and some introspection, you should be able to come to a confident conclusion as to the value of the home as it means to you and your family.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Sean Perkins on 3/7/2018

When you stop and think about it, there are quite a few money-saving opportunities out there that you may not be taking advantage of.

Here are a few ideas worth considering:

  • Automobile Insurance: If you haven't touched base with your insurance agent in a few years, it might pay to call or email them to review your policy. Until you ask, you never know what kind of insurance discounts you may be eligible for. For example, savings can often be obtained by taking a defensive drivers' course, purchasing your automobile and homeowners' insurance from one agency, commuting a shorter distance to work or telecommuting, or simply having a safe driving record. In some cases, you could save a chunk of money by shopping around and switching to a less expensive insurance provider.
  • Cell phone services: Make sure the cell phone service plan you have is competitive and geared to your needs and data usage patterns. With at least four major service providers to choose from (Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile), it make sense to do some comparative research to make informed choices regarding prices, features, time commitments, and services. Checking out online reviews and comparing notes with friends, family, and coworkers about cell phone services can also help you save money.
  • Credit cards: If you're like many people, you probably get inundated with credit card offers, every week. Since it's such a competitive industry, some credit card offers are clearly better than others. While the most prudent approach is to limit your credit card use as much as possible, it also makes sense to seek out the best deals, the lowest interest rates, and the most favorable terms. Assuming your credit card payments are up to date and you've maintained a good credit history, it's often possible to negotiate a lower interest rate on your current credit cards, too. That alone could make it easier to pay off your balance and save money.
  • Contractors: Whether you're considering remodeling your bathroom, replacing your roof, updating your kitchen, painting or re-siding your house, waterproofing your basement, or building a backyard deck, prices can vary widely from one contractor to the next. While it's important to hire a contractor who's experienced, honest, insured, easy to work with, and dependable, there's no reason to pay exorbitant prices for good quality work. Getting at least three price estimates on projects around the house is generally a good way to ensure you're not getting overcharged. Online reviews and personal recommendations from relatives, friends, and neighbors can often point you in the direction of a good residential contractor.
One of the most important principles of smart money management is to make sure you're getting the most value for your dollar. As a consumer, you entitled to shop around, get the best deal, and be satisfied with the quality of products and services you're purchasing.

Posted by Sean Perkins on 2/28/2018

Buying a home is one of the more complicated purchases that you’ll make in your lifetime. It’s not something that you can just open your wallet, pull out a wad of cash and buy. There’s a warm-up period for a house hunt. You need to prepare before you even start the process of the purchase. There’s a lot of different things that you should do to ready yourself to buy a home. You’ll need to organize your finances, find a real estate agent and ready yourself. If you’re looking to buy a home in the near future, it’s time to get busy! 

Keep Your Credit Score In Check

Your credit score is so important for so many reasons. The highest your credit score can be is 850 and the lowest it can be is 300. You’ll get a really good interest rate on a home if your credit score is 740 or above. A lower interest rate can save you a lot of money over a year’s time. 

The good news is that you can spend time repairing your score. This will include paying down debt, asking for credit limits to be raised and correcting errors that may be on your credit report. You want to be sure that you’re using 30% or less of your total available credit. As always, if your bills are paid on time, it will help you to keep that score up. Also, stay away from opening new credit cards, as this can bring your score down due to frequent credit checks. 

Put Gifts To Good Use

Whenever you get a financial gift, whether it be for a wedding, a Christmas bonus, or a birthday gift, make sure that you save it for your home purchase. You’ll need quite a bit of capital between closing costs, fees and down payments. You’ll be glad you saved the money once you start the home buying process. You’ll also want to make sure that you have and emergency fund built up. You don’t want to buy a home without some sort of a financial cushion behind you. 

Research Real Estate Agents 

Your real estate agent will be your right hand person when it is time to buying a home. You’ll want to know that your agent is knowledgable and can help you in this big decision. Your real estate agent is the person who will help you reach your goals, and you want to feel comfortable with them. Ask for recommendations and do your research.  

Get Preapproved

Sellers love buyers who have been preapproved. This shows that they’re reliable and financially able to buy a home. A preapproval can be done a few months in advance of buying a home. It will take an in-depth look at your finances including:

  • Proof of mortgage or rent payments over the last year
  • W2 forms for the past 2 years
  • Paycheck stubs for the past 2 months
  • List of all debts including loans and court settlements
  • List of all assets including car titles, investment accounts and any other real estate you may own.

Buying a home is a big deal but with the right preparation, you’ll be on the road to success and ready to secure a home purchase.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Sean Perkins on 2/21/2018

You've sold your house, and now, you have only a few weeks to pack up all of your personal belongings and move them out of your current residence. Time moves quickly, especially in the days after you accept a homebuyer's offer to purchase your house. Thus, you'll need to pick up essential packing supplies so you can prep your belongings and ensure you're ready to relocate without delay. So what are some of the must-own packing items for those who need to move out of a home? Here are four essential packing supplies that you'll need to take your belongings from one location to another quickly and safely: 1. Cardboard Boxes No packing checklist would be complete without cardboard boxes, as these boxes enable you to pack up items big and small and transport them between locations. Ideally, you'll want to pick up cardboard boxes of all sizes before you relocate. By doing so, you'll be ready to pack up a wide range of belongings, place them in cardboard boxes of different sizes and streamline the process of getting ready for an upcoming move. 2. Bubble Wrap Want to protect valuable antiques and other delicate items? Pack them in bubble wrap, and you'll be able to minimize the risk of damage to these items when you relocate to your new address. Bubble wrap is readily available and affordable, and it can make a world of difference when you're moving. Ultimately, it is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to bubble wrap, too. And if you're uncertain about whether an item should be placed in bubble wrap, you may want to use as much bubble wrap is needed to safeguard this item and minimize the risk that it could break or be damaged during your move. 3. Duct Tape Duct tape is paramount because it enables you to seal any cardboard boxes instantly. Plus, the seal that duct tape provides is strong and will ensure that your belongings will stay in place throughout your move. Like bubble wrap, duct tape is easy to find and inexpensive. As such, you should pick up multiple rolls of duct tape as you begin packing, because doing so will guarantee you're able to pack up your belongings and store them in cardboard boxes safely. 4. Pens and Markers Want to label your moving boxes and ensure you're able to put them in the right place at your new address? With bright, vibrant pens and markers at your disposal, you can label your moving boxes to your heart's delight. Having a large array of pens and markers may make it easier to categorize your belongings as well. In fact, you can even use a color-coded labeling system to organize your belongings by room to ensure you can unpack quickly after you arrive at your new home. When it comes to relocating from one address to another, you'll want to do everything you can to make the moving process as simple as possible. And with the aforementioned packing supplies, you should have no trouble preparing for your move and guaranteeing all of your belongings reach your new home.