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 Ė 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 Ė 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 youíre 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 canít learn from an appraisal--such as how convenient the home would be for your work commute.

In this article, weíre 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 youíve been dreaming of and deciding whether itís really the best home for your budget.  

Appraisals are a baseline

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

Find out from your lender which appraiser they use and read their online reviews. This will ensure that theyíre 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 youíll likely be paying the appraisal fee as part of your closing costs, make sure youíre 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 shouldnít 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 canít tell you

Now that weíve discussed the nuts and bolts of home value, we have to venture into what value means to you and your family. Youíll need to ask yourself a series of questions, and some of them wonít 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 itís 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.

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Posted by Sean Perkins on 2/14/2018

The factor that has the most impact on your home search is your finances. Youíll need to save a significant amount of money. Itís not easy to save when you have continuous monthly bills and responsibilities. Read on for tips on how to get your finances under control in order to save the amount of money it takes to buy a home.  

Do A Budget  

Once you have decided to buy a home, the first thing you should do is take a good look at your finances. A budget is critical when you buy a house because it tells you how much youíll have to spend on your mortgage. Doing this ahead of time will allow you to maximize your income and make adjustments ahead of time as needed. Donít forget that even though youíre buying a home, you still need some savings in addition to all of your other monthly expenses. Your budget should be outlined as follows:

  • Necessities
  • Monthly utility spending 
  • Insurance bills
  • Entertainment expenses
  • Grocery spending

Basically, you want to write down how much money is coming in and where all of the money is going. Thatís a budget in a nutshell. See where you can cut back. What youíre left with is the amount you can save each month. You may want to do this on a percentage basis rather than a flat dollar amount. 

Get A Separate Account

The most straightforward things to do when you start saving for a home is to put all of your money for your house fund into a separate account. This way you can automatically transfer money in, and youíll be less likely to spend any of the money if you donít see it.

Sacrifice The Small Things

Can you take some hand me downs for your kids? Maybe you can start packing a lunch for work instead of buying lunch. Can you cut the cord on cable? It may be hard to sacrifice small luxuries, but these expenses can add up. If you cut these out of your budget, youíll have a little more wiggle room to save for a home purchase. Youíll be surprised how much money you can save just by doing little things. Your morning latte is probably around $5. You could save at least $25 per week by merely making coffee at home! Thatís a saving of over 1,200 per year!   

While saving for a home can seem overwhelming, if you take it in small chunks, youíll be see the results of your efforts rather quickly. 

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Posted by Sean Perkins on 1/24/2018

A home inspection is a vital part of every real estate transaction. Its importance is usually solidified in a purchase contract in the form of a contingency clause.

Whenever you buy or sell a home, the transaction is typically contingent upon a few things being fulfilled. Inspections help protect the buyer from purchasing a home that they believed didnít have any major issues.

For buyers, an inspection can save you thousands in the long run. For sellers, getting a preemptive inspection done (on your own dime) can be useful since it will help you avoid any surprises that could arise when a potential buyer has your home inspected.

Hiring a home inspector

Regardless of whether youíre the buyer or the seller in this instance, hiring a home inspector isnít something you should take lightly. Youíll want to confer with your agent before you pick an inspector.

Itís also a good idea to check out some online reviews and visit the inspectorís website for pricing. Typically, inspectors charge between $200 and $400 for an inspection, so feel free to shop around.

Inspectors are certified, so make sure whoever you choose has the proper licensure. You can search for inspectors in your area with this search function.

Ultimately, youíll want to choose an inspector that can give you the most unbiased assessment of the home, so that you can be assured that you know what youíre getting into when you buy or sell a home.

Preparing for an inspection

Many buyers arenít sure what to expect on inspection day. However, the process is relatively simple.

Youíll want to make sure the inspector can easily access workspaces (like around the furnace, circuit breakers, etc.). This will make the inspectorís job easier and allow them to focus on the service theyíre providing you.

If possible, itís also a good idea to provide them with records of important home maintenance and repairs. Inspectors know what red flags to look for with the home, both physically and on paper.

Finally, make sure pets, kids, and any other distractions are away from home or with someone who can attend to them.

Post inspection

After the inspection is complete, the inspector will hand you a report and be able to answer any questions you have about their findings. They will give recommendations about the timeline for repairs that need to be made soon or even years into the future.

With this report in hand, you can determine if there are repairs you want to negotiate with the seller if youíre buying a home. As a seller, this report will tip you off to issues that potential buyers will likely have and give you a chance to address them in advance.

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Posted by Sean Perkins on 12/27/2017

Ready to make your homeownership dream a reality? In some cases, you may need to submit a home offer that surpasses a home seller's initial asking price, and these cases include:

1. You've fallen in love with a house.

Once you've found your dream residence, you'll want to do everything possible to secure this home as quickly as possible. Therefore, if you fall in love with a house, you can submit an offer that exceeds a home seller's initial asking price in the hopes of streamlining the homebuying journey.

Of course, before you submit an offer on any house, it is paramount to understand what differentiates an average home from a great one.

A great residence is one that you can enjoy both now and in the future. It likely will require minimal initial repairs, and as such, will be worth your time and resources.

2. You are facing steep competition.

For homebuyers who are competing for a high-quality residence in a buyer's market, it often pays to submit a home offer that surpasses a homebuyer's initial asking price. By doing so, you can guarantee your offer will stand out from others and boost the likelihood of securing your dream residence.

In a competitive real estate market, there is no need to hesitate to submit an above-average home offer, either.

A home offer that impresses a homebuyer may set the stage for a quick home sale. And if you put your best foot forward with a home offer, you should have no trouble acquiring a terrific residence, regardless of the current housing market's conditions.

3. You have substantial financial resources at your disposal.

A diligent homebuyer may choose to get pre-approved for a home loan. As a result, this homebuyer may be better equipped than others to submit a home offer that is higher than a home seller's initial asking price.

For example, a homebuyer who receives pre-approval for a home loan can start the homebuying journey with a budget in hand. This homebuyer then can check out houses that fall within his or her price range. And after this homebuyer discovers the perfect house, he or she can make an above-average proposal to acquire the residence.

To get pre-approved for a home loan, a homebuyer should meet with multiple lenders. Next, this homebuyer can review various home loan offers and select one that corresponds with his or her finances.

Lastly, if you need extra support during the homebuying journey, it pays to collaborate with a real estate agent.

A real estate agent will help you evaluate a broad array of houses in your city or town. In addition, this housing market professional can help you put together the right offer on a house to ensure you can secure your dream residence in no time at all.

Take the next step to acquire your ideal house Ė reach out to a local real estate agent today, and you can move closer to finding and purchasing your dream residence.

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