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Posted by Maryann Clancy on 6/19/2020

Whether youíre shopping for your first house or your next house, finding a listing you love is exciting. You browse the pictures, check out the property facts, share the link to your significant other, and maybe even schedule a showing.

With the exciting prospect of owning a new home that has all or many of the features youíre looking for, it can be easy to forget about certain details that matter. Most of us look for similar things in a house--close proximity to work, enough bedrooms, an upgraded kitchen, and so on.

In this article, weíre going to give you a list of things to investigate about the house youíre looking at to get a better idea of whether or not itís the perfect match for you and your family.

1. Re-read the listing

If youíre like me and get lost in the photos of a home and forget to make note of the details, be sure to go back and check out the listing a second time. It will likely give you important details of the house that you overlooked on your initial visit.

Look for things like the year the house was built, information of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, and the total acreage of the lot and square footage of the home. These things are hard to accurately represent in the listingís pictures, but will likely be important to your decision of whether or not you should view the home.

2. Do your online research

The number of things you can learn about a home and neighborhood on the internet is astounding. We suggest that before you go to visit a home, you spend 10-20 minutes on Google researching the following topics:

  • School district ratings. If you have or plan to have school-aged children, youíll want to know what your options are for your childís education. Itís often a good idea to check out the local schoolsí websites to see what

  • Commute times. With Google Maps and similar sites, you can plan out what your new commute will be and see how long it will take. You might find different routes that will save you time or avoid traffic (we could all use those extra few minutes in bed every morning). Google Maps isnít always accurate when it comes to morning traffic estimates, but itís a good place to start.

  • Amenities. Having moved into a neighborhood that has no grocery stores within a 20-minute drive, trust me--youíll want to know whatís in the area. Use Google Maps to find stores, gas, schools, parks and trails, hospitals, and other things youíll want close by.

  • Street view. While weíre on Google, use street view to take a remote look around the neighborhood. Youíll be able to see how the infrastructure looks--if the neighborhood is taken care of and if there are sidewalks that offer a safe place to walk or jog.

  • Crime ratings. Donít get too caught up in this section. Crimes happen everywhere, but this is a good way to see if the area youíre moving to is a safe place

3. Donít be afraid to ask questions

If, after all of your online research, you decide you want to go view a home, donít be shy when you arrive. Itís understandable that you wouldnít want to be a burden in someone elseís home. But remember--if youíre considering living there someday youíll want to know as much as possible before making an offer.

Test the plumbing, ask about average utilities, and donít be afraid to introduce yourself to neighbors and ask them questions about the community. The more you know, the better. Happy sleuthing!





Posted by Maryann Clancy on 6/12/2020

There is no feeling like the one associated with buying a house. If you know how to navigate the homebuying journey, you can boost the likelihood of enjoying an unforgettable property buying experience.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.

1. Create Homebuying Criteria

For those who want to enter the real estate market, it generally is a good idea to establish homebuying criteria. That way, you can focus on properties that match your expectations.

Think about the features you want to find in your dream residence. For instance, if you want to own a house that offers a spacious backyard, you can narrow your property search accordingly. Or, if you want to purchase a residence close to some of the nation's top schools, you can hone your property search to a select group of cities and towns.

You may want to conduct extensive housing market research too. Because the more you know about the local housing sector, the better equipped you will be to find a home that you can enjoy for years to come.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

If you want to buy a house, you likely will need a mortgage. Lucky for you, banks and credit unions are available nationwide, and these financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. By doing so, you can learn about all of your mortgage options and select a mortgage that corresponds to your finances.

Also, if you are uncertain about how a mortgage works or require other home financing insights, reach out to a bank or credit union for support. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who can teach you everything you need to know about home financing. As a result, you can work with these mortgage specialists to make an informed home financing decision.

3. Employ a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent is a must-have, particularly for an individual who wants to minimize stress during the homebuying journey. In fact, this housing market professional will do whatever it takes to help you find a terrific home at a budget-friendly price.

With a real estate agent at your side, you can streamline the homebuying journey. A real estate agent will help you establish realistic expectations for a home search, set up house showings and keep you up to date about new residences that become available in your preferred cities and towns. In addition, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase your ideal residence. And once you are ready to close on your dream house, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to do just that.

As you get ready to pursue your dream residence, it helps to prepare as much as you can. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you should have no trouble enjoying a fun, exciting homebuying experience.




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Posted by Maryann Clancy on 5/29/2020

Moving into a new home can be overwhelming. Once you have gone through the long process of buying a home, when the keys are your hand, your mind could be swirling with tons of ideas for what you should do in your new space. There are a few important things that you need to complete before you get into painting those walls or buying a new sofa. Read on for tips.


Look At Your Things


In the excitement of moving, you may forget about all of the stuff that you actually moved into the home. If you hired movers, check your boxes. Make sure that nothing is broken or damaged from the move. If there is anything wrong, you can file a complaint with your moving company.


Turn The Utilities On


The utilities need to be turned over to you from the previous owner. In many cases, youíll need to contact the local utility companies in order to get the bills switched to your name and the services started. This is important for you to have a completely functioning household. Cable and Internet is a choice provider that youíll also need to set up ahead of time before your move.


Unpack Your Stuff


Rome wasnít built in a day but you need certain things like clothes and coffee makers as soon as you move into a space. Find the boxes that have the most important things in them like sheets, blankets, clothing, and important appliances. Work your way out. You donít want your new home to stay a complete disaster zone forever. 


Organize Your Stuff


Moving into a new home gives you a new opportunity to get organized. Get everything in order the first time. This will keep you from needing to clean up constantly at a later date. When you start off with good organization youíll be a lot happier in your new home. 


Think Security


Make sure that your new home is secure for your family. Think of everything from accidents to crime. Install an alarm system. Change the locks. Inspect the property for any hazards. All of these activities can help to make your new home a more secure place to live. 


Learn About Your New Surroundings


When you move into a new neighborhood, you should take the time to get to know the area. This includes meeting your neighbors and taking a stroll around your neighborhood to see the area more closely. Discover the highlights of the area like restaurants, shops, and other activities. Enjoy the new place that you call home to the fullest!




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Posted by Maryann Clancy on 4/24/2020

Having a high credit score is one of the most important and helpful things you can achieve before buying a home. A solid credit history will give you a better chance of being approved for the home loan you want and getting a lower interest rate so that you know youíre getting a good deal on your first home.

But, as any renter can tell you, it can sometimes be difficult to lift your credit score when youíve got so many other things to worry about.

In todayís post, Iím going to cover the best ways to build credit while renting an apartment so you can lift your score to an amount that will help you achieve your goal of homeownership.

1. Take over the bills

If you live with roommates or with your family, one good way to start building your credit score is to simply put more bills in your name.

If youíre certain that youíll be able to make on-time payments on them each month, this can be a way to boost your score without much thought.

Keep in mind, however, that not all utility companies report your payments to credit bureaus, so itís a good idea to check that yours does before putting the bills in your name.

2. Become an authorized user

If taking out new credit isnít an option for you, becoming an authorized user on someone elseís credit account can help you increase your score.

Be sure to find out whether the credit issuer reports payments for authorized users before taking this step. And, once youíre sure that they do, you can be added to the account without changing anything about your spending.

3. Convince your landlord to report your rental payments

In most cases, rental payments arenít reported to the credit bureaus. However, it is becoming more common. Check to see if your landlord uses a service like PayYourRent or RentTrack. If not, consider asking them to try it out.

4. Solving the ďno creditĒ problem

Since we all start off with a blank slate in terms of credit history, some renters have the issues of not having enough credit information to start building their score.

If this is the case, it might be a good idea to open your first credit account. But, wait! Before you start racking up debt on your first credit card, take a minute to make a wise plan.

First, donít change your spending habits just because you have credit. Pick a card that offers rewards in the form of cash back, and only use your card for things like gas and groceries that will help you earn points.

Then, set your card to auto-pay in full each month so that you never start accruing interest. This way, youíll build your credit score and earn money (in the form of rewards or cash back), making it a win-win.





Posted by Maryann Clancy on 4/17/2020

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Ready to buy a house? It pays to be proactive, especially if you hope to streamline the process of acquiring a terrific residence at a budget-friendly price.

A superb house is likely to stir up interest from large groups of homebuyers. Fortunately, with a proactive approach, you can stay ahead of the homebuying competition and boost your chances of securing a wonderful house.

Ultimately, there are several best practices for proactive homebuyers, and these practices include:

1. Search for Homes Early and Often

The early bird catches the wom. Much in the same vein, a proactive homebuyer is better equipped than others to achieve his or her desired results.

Keep a close eye on the housing market Ė you'll be glad you did. If you monitor home listings in your city or town, you can quickly identify potential properties that you may want to buy.

In addition, evaluate housing market trends and patterns. With this housing market data in hand, you can differentiate between a buyer's and seller's market.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Meet with several banks and lenders in your area. By doing so, you can explore a variety of mortgage options and select one that complements your finances.

There is no shortage of mortgage options at your disposal. For example, many homebuyers prefer a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which guarantees they will pay the same amount each month for the life of a mortgage. On the other hand, some homebuyers choose a 15-year adjustable-rate mortgage, which features lower upfront payments that gradually increase over time.

If you're uncertain about which mortgage option to select, there is no need to worry. Banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage professionals who can help you make an informed decision.

Perhaps best of all, meeting with mortgage professionals guarantees you can receive expert responses to your concerns and questions. These mortgage professionals will devote the necessary time and resources to assist you and make it simple for you to select a great mortgage.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you want to enter the housing market, there is no reason to wait. In fact, if you contact a real estate agent today, you can immediately launch a successful homebuying journey.

A real estate agent is dedicated to your homebuying success. He or she first will learn about your homebuying goals, ensuring you can start the homebuying journey on the right foot. Then, this housing market professional can help you narrow your search for your dream residence.

In most instances, a real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new residences as they become available and help you submit home offers. This housing market professional also provides a one-of-a-kind homebuying resource. And if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.

Don't wait to kick off a homebuying journey. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you can become a proactive homebuyer.




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