Ashlee and Cory

Ashlee and Cory talk about their home buying experience with Darryl

How to Keep Your Mortgage Approval Approved

You know how tough it is to qualify for a mortgage.

Proof you’ve got a long-term job with ample income. A credit score to the moon. Your life’s savings as a down payment. More cash stashed away. A debt-to-income ratio to die for. For some, tax returns for the last two years.

You’ve been there, done that. For weeks now. Maybe a month or more.

You’ve fought the good fight, you’ve run the gauntlet of mortgage qualifications and you have your signature-tired hands on that coveted home loan approval.

Now, all you have to do is not blow it.

For goodness sake, don’t make any surprise financial moves that could cost you your home loan.

Your mortgage approval is primarily based on documenting your income and assets, your equity stake or down payment, your credit and the cash you’ll have left over after the deal is done.

Once you have a mortgage approval, if you change the profile of any one of those qualifiers, you could have to kiss your mortgage goodbye.

Lenders today don’t just check your qualifying information once or even twice. Three, four or more checks, of one document or another, aren’t out of the question in today’s tight lending market.

Avoid big purchases – If you buy a new car, change the lease, or acquire another large possession, it could show up on your credit report or bank statement.

The lender could think you’ve gone beyond the risk the lender is willing to accept on your mortgage – especially if you qualified by a hair.

If the new loan or purchase amount upsets the debt-to-income ratio the lender used to approve your home loan, your mortgage could go “poof.”

No new credit – Likewise, don’t open new credit cards, even for a zero interest rate. Those credit card offers will come streaming in after you close your mortgage. Just wait. The lender didn’t approve you based on the additional card or extra loan.

Pay your bills – Also, pay your bills on time, even if there’s a dispute. Stop paying a bill and the blotch on your credit report can block your mortgage.

Keep your job – Be kind to your boss and don’t get fired. Also, don’t go looking for new work right now, unless it’s a second job to make more money.

Certain job changes also can affect how the lender rates your creditworthiness.

That includes a job change between industries, a job change to start a new company and changing from a job with a salary to a job that pays by commission.

On the other hand, get a promotion and a raise and you should be fine.

Don’t cash out – Leave your stashes of cash alone. Don’t transfer large sums of money between bank accounts. Don’t make random, undocumented deposits to or withdrawals from your bank account.

Don’t be stupid – It should go without saying, but criminal activity, trying to buy a second home and trying to add a co-signer or name to the loan, after approval, could all also get your mortgage canned.

Remember, stuff happens. There are events beyond your control that could cost you your mortgage. A pink slip. A divorce. Hospitalization. The co-signer bails.

However, once your mortgage is approved, do keep tight reigns on what you can control. 

Written by Broderick Perkins

 

 Questions? Comments? Feel free to give me a call @ 614-783-6796 for more information!

LED Holiday Lights: 6 Need-to-Know Tips

By: G. M. Filisko

Published: December 10, 2010

LED holiday lights vs. old-fashioned bulbs: 6 tips to help you decide which is right for you.

 

1. LED holiday lights save you money. LED lights use at least 90% less energy than traditional holiday lights, according to the U.S. government’s Energy Star program.

That results in a $50 energy savings for the average family during the holidays, says Avital Binshtock of the Sierra Club in San Francisco.

Put it into perspective: The amount of electricity consumed by one 7-watt incandescent bulb could power 140 LEDs—enough to light two 24-foot strings, says Energy Star.

2. But LED lights typically cost more than old-fashioned holiday lights.

  • GE 100-bulb string of Energy Star-certified LED white lights: $18.97 at Lowe’s
  • GE 100-bulb string of conventional white lights: $8.97

But shop around because a growing number of retailers are offering sales on LED holiday lights and, if you can’t find a sale before the holidays, you can certainly find one after. Plus, prices will surely go down as these lights gain traction.

3. LED holiday lights last and last. LED bulbs can keep your season bright for as long as 100,000 hours, says Cathy Choi, president of Moonachie, N.J.-based Bulbrite, which manufactures LED and regular bulbs. That’s substantially longer than the life of your old holiday light strings.

4. You can string a BIG strand of LED lights. Safety wise, you shouldn’t connect more than three traditional light strings, but you can connect up to 87 LED holiday light strings, totaling a whopping 1,500 feet, Choi says. So blow your neighbor’s display away by cocooning your house in lights:

  • You won’t have to buy as many extension cords.
  • You can take your holiday lighting display further away from the outlet.

5. LED lights reduce the risk of fire. They stay cooler than incandescent bulbs, according to Energy Star.

6. How about that hue? Some people stick with their old lights because they don’t like the brighter hue that white LED holiday lights emit. But Choi says manufacturers now offer a “warm white” bulb that more closely mimics the glow of an incandescent light. Be sure to read the label to choose a bright or warm white and to ensure what you’re purchasing isEnergy Star-certified.

Colored and color-changing LED holiday lights are more vibrant than conventional lights, making your display easier to see from the street, Choi says.

Brand New HomeOwners Talk About Their Buying Experience w/Darryl

For information on how I can help you find your dream home contact Darryl Threat @ 614-783-6796!!!

Happy New Home Owner Talk about Their Experience

Five Areas That Can Hurt Your Appraisal

When you’re listing your home for sale, one of the things that is very vital is the appraisal. Yet, this is an area that can be significantly positively or negatively influenced by what you do or don’t do to your home before it is appraised.

Knowing which areas to pay particular attention to can help you increase your home’s value. Here are five areas that can hurt your appraisal.

 

  • Unkept exterior/interior

    Having a messy home from the outside in, not only can cause potential buyers to turn away from your home but it can also cause an appraiser to shave a little off your appraisal. If the exterior has lots of overgrown and unkept bushes and the house is dilapidated, this could cause the appraiser to take “as much as 3 percent off”, according to CNNMoney.

    Curb appeal doesn’t just help entice buyers to come in and see more of your home, it can actually increase your appraisal value. Also, If neighboring homes are meticulously kept up and yours isn’t, this could cause your appraisal to be even more severely downgraded. A carefully maintained yard is a sign that the home is also likely kept up.

     

  • Trendy Remodels

    Remodeling can certainly add value to your home, especially if you’re adding storage, room additions, and other important improvements that are popular among buyers. However, if you do a costly and trendy remodel and think that the true cost will equal the value, you could likely be very disappointed.

    Some remodels add value while others can actually hurt you when an appraisal is done. To make the most of a remodel, renovations should keep in line with the historical period of the home. If they don’t, then an appraiser will assess the cost of having the remodel taken out such as a trendy custom-built, entertainment center. However adding space to the kitchen using timeless styles will add value.

     

  • Unfinished remodeling projects

    Don’t have an appraiser inspect when your remodels are incomplete. If you must get the home appraised and work is nearly complete at the time of the appraisal, be sure to give the appraiser a full description of the job and what is being done to quickly and professionally complete it.

     

  • Forgetting to list improvements

    Don’t expect all improvements to help your appraisal. For instance, a new roof won’t count. Buyers and appraisers expect a roof to be in good condition. However, some other improvements could add value to the appraisal. Rather than trying to determine which improvement will increase your value, compile a detailed list and give it to the appraiser. Have copies of any documentation, such as city permits that were necessary, available for the appraiser to review.

     

  • Not doing your homework

    It is important to understand your marketplace and what homes similar to yours have recently sold for. For instance, it is especially vital to know the reason a home that is similar to yours sold for less. That way you can explain to the appraiser the difference between yours and the one that sold for a lower price. Be sure to use an experienced real estate agent to provide you with market information before you have your home appraised.

    Taking the time to understand the areas that can positively influence your appraisal can help ward off the chances that your home will be appraised at a lower value than the asking price. 

    Written by Phoebe Chongchua

     

    For all of your Real Estate needs contact Darryl at 614-783-6796 or dcthreat@gmail.com

Six Musts Before You List Your Home

Deciding to list your home for sale is a momentous time. It means you will be moving on to a new stage of life, no matter if you’re moving up or sizing down. Take a moment to look over these tips for what every seller should do before they put their home on the market.

Organize Your Paperwork: Every homeowner should have a detailed list of all past repairs, updates, and upgrades they’ve made. This will help your agent know what should be mentioned on the MLS. Did you put on a new roof in 2010 or a install a new water heater in 2009? These are great selling features because they mean less work in the future for the prospective buyer.
Also included in this list should be any home warranty information. These warranties will most likely transfer with title of the home.

Get Ready to Declutter: Even before you’ve officially listed your home for sale, you should start getting rid of things you don’t need. Starting now will mean a more thorough and less rushed job of clearing things out.
Start with one closet and work your way through the entire home. Sort items to toss, keep, sell, and donate.

Having a yard sale is a wonderful way of making a little extra pocket change while reducing the amount of things you’ll have in your home during showings and that you’ll need to pack up and move. It’s a win-win!

Clean, Clean, and Clean Some More: Dirty homes are a real buyer turnoff. Now is a great time wash down walls, spruce up paint, and give your entire home a thorough cleaning. Do your carpets need refreshing? Consider renting a carpet shampoo machine or hiring a professional carpet cleaning company to come in and revamp your carpets.
Chances are buyers will ask for this anyway come closing time. You’ll beat them to the punch and have a shiny, sparkling home to show for it.

Get an Inspection: Did you think inspections were only for buyers? Having a pre-sale inspection can mean identifying problem areas. Perhaps you’re unaware that your foundation needs repaired. This will severely affect your listing price. It’s best to be prepared and realistic in today’s market.
Make Repairs or Get Estimates: Your inspection will likely leave you with a list of repairs, large and small, that need made. Keep in mind that prospective buyers will also get an inspection of your home and will find these same issues. Head them off at the pass and do some fixing up. You may wish to go ahead with large repairs. If not, be sure to at least get estimates so you are fully prepared for negotiations (you’ll know what the real cost should be) or so you can provide the estimates for buyers.
Start Staging: Staging is like prepping your home for its first date. You want to have it clean and well-dressed. This means amping up curb appeal with neat landscaping, fresh paint, and flowers. It means rearranging furniture and removing clutter.
Congratulations on deciding to list your home for sale. Be proactive about making a good first step by following these tried and true tips.

Written by Carla Hill

Is a Smaller Home for You?

Studies over the past few years have shown a solid trend regarding home sizes. Buyers today want smaller homes with smaller price tags. During the boom era in the mid-2000’s, homeownership was about McMansions and spacious sprawls. The recent recession and continued ailing recovery have made many families rethink their budgets and lifestyles. A 9.1 percent unemployment rate hasn’t “helped.”

So, this question is posed. How much space does your family really need? This isn’t a simple cut and dry question. Every family has different needs and dynamics.

Let’s put things into perspective, though. Having a large, show-stopper home doesn’t equate with family happiness. Many families in centuries past lived happily in one room cabins and small-scale homes.

There are social benefits to sharing tighter quarters. Some families feel that smaller homes force more together time, which means more time for bonding and strengthening relationships.

Smaller homes mean reduced costs across the board. Let’s examine these for a moment. Property taxes are based on the value of your land and home. While more prestigious neighborhoods and homes within city limits typically pay higher taxes, remember that a smaller home in that same prestigious neighborhood will pay a smaller dollar amount in taxes each year. Maintenance costs are also lower. It costs much less to replace a roof on a 1,000 square foot house than it does on a 6,000 square foot one!

The same goes for home insurance and, let’s not forget, the actual purchase price of the home. Reduced size means reduced costs.

Perhaps the most important item is reduced energy costs. Smaller homes take less energy (and money) to heat and cool. Plus, there are fewer rooms and that means leaving on fewer lights!

Today’s standard home, according to recent statistics from the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction, is 2,150 square feet. This is down considerably from the boom era seen just 5 or 6 short years ago.

These standard houses have 2.5 baths and 3 bedrooms. Can your children share a bedroom? You bet. It can teach responsibility, sharing, and how to get along with others. These are all great lessons to learn as a child.

These standard houses also feature a garage, central air, a fireplace, separate dining room, and three miscellaneous rooms. This doesn’t sound like a one room shack! It’s simply an adjustment from the McMansions that boasted media rooms, exercise rooms, 5+ bedrooms, and a bathroom for every member of the family.

Just 60 years ago, when many people’s grandparents or parents were first entering the housing market, the average home was just 1,000 square feet. Quaint and charming, these houses made warm and loving homes.

If you’re thinking of entering the housing market and are feeling trapped by shrinking budgets, just remember that a smaller house can be just as charming, functional, and full of love!

Written by Carla Hill
For more information about buying or selling real estate contact Darryl Threat at 614-783-6796 or dcthreat@gmail.com.

Tips for Selling Your Home Before the End of the Year

The fourth quarter of the year can cause some sellers to worry if their home hasn’t sold yet. But according to Trulia.com, there is still time to sell.

Typically, many buyers are eager to move and get settled in before the school year and holidays begin but that doesn’t mean you should be discouraged. While the spring is considered a peak selling period, I recall looking for a home in the winter months and successfully closing just after the New Year. However, I am on the west coast and location does make a difference. Looking for homes in California doesn’t require driving around on icy roads, trudging through snow-covered walkways or stormy weather. Even if you’re not in more mild climates, there is still time to sell your home.

In fact, there are some key factors that may help sell your home. First remember that the number of buyers may be reduced as we head closer to the holidays. Many people simply don’t want to juggle the holiday rush and house hunting.

On the other hand, there will be some serious buyers looking for a very nice holiday gift for themselves. If they’re out shopping in dreary weather or nearing the holidays, it could be because they’re extremely serious about making a purchase before the end of the year. With this in mind, be sure to make the most of every showing. Don’t let things slide with the upkeep of your home because you are juggling selling a home, working, or taking care of the kids. Selling your home in the fourth quarter must be a priority and the closer to the beginning of the quarter the better.

When considering how long to keep your home listed through the holidays, experts suggest looking at the rates of sales activity in your market. Some areas can be pretty bleak, but that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s no chance of selling. Remember, that some people may even have tax reasons and need to purchase before the end of the year.

Expert staging of your home will suit you well. This is a time of year when homeowners bring out a lot of stuff that may be very appealing to them–pumpkins, turkeys, holiday and religious ornaments–but those things don’t always impress buyers. In fact, they can annoy them and make the house seem cluttered. This is not to say you can’t have some nice seasonally appropriate decor. However, the fourth-quarter sale requires a good strategy like using an expert stager. If there are a a reduced number of buyers seeing your home, make the most of each showing by having a spectacularly staged and clutter-free house to show off. Staging provides a competitive advantage.

Another reason this fourth quarter may see more buyers is that interest rates remain historically low. The potential threat of a rise in mortgage rates could have more buyers eager to lock into an excellent rate, even if it means a move during the holidays.

However, you can also negotiate the sale and make arrangements so that you can still stay in your home for the holidays and make the move after the first of the year. Another effect of the holidays, buyers tend to be more emotional and may spend more during this time of year. Couple that with potentially fewer homes on the market and you may have the perfect setting for an ideal sale.

Written by Phoebe Chongchua

For more information about selling your home contact Darryl Threat @ 614-783-6796 or dcthreat@gmail.com

Home Security Check

By: Joseph D’Agnese

Published: February 1, 2010

The first step toward protecting your home from break-ins is to conduct a home security check that will show where your property is most vulnerable.

This step-by-step list, arranged according to the hierarchy of risk, is a good place to start.

Your home’s appearance

Burglars want an easy target. Stand on the street outside your house and ask yourself: Does my property look neglected, hidden, or uninhabited? A front door or walkway that’s obscured by shrubbery offers crooks the perfect cover they need while they break a door or window.

Consider trimming shrubs away from windows, widening front walks, and installing outdoor lighting with motion detectors. Simple motion-activated floodlights cost less than $50, and installing them is an easy DIY job if the wiring is already in place. All sides of your house should be well-lit, not just the front.

Doors: The first line of defense

Are your front and back doors vulnerable? Steel, solid wood, and impact-resistant fiberglass are all good choices for security. If you must have glass, make sure it is tempered or reinforced for added strength, and that sidelights are positioned where somebody can’t easily reach in and turn the lock.

Open all doors and check the strike plates, the metal fittings that catch bolts and latches. Chances are, the strike plates are fastened to the soft wood of the door jamb with two screws only. Not good. Best are four-screw strike plates with 3-inch screws that penetrate the jamb and bite into the hard wood of the stud behind the jamb. All exterior doors should have deadbolts that throw at least a 1-inch bolt. Ask your locksmith to upgrade to Grade 1 or Grade 2 locksets and deadbolts, the most secure options.

Back doors and garage doors are more likely to be attacked before the front door, according to Chris McGoey, a Los Angeles-based home security consultant. If you have an attached garage, secure the door by disabling the automatic opener and locking the door before you go away on a long trip. The door leading from the garage into the house should be outfitted with the same hardware as all other exterior doors and be kept locked at all times.

Windows

In order of risk, ground-floor and basement windows are more likely to be attacked than second-floor windows. The exception is second-floor windows that can be easily accessed by a deck or other elevated structure outside the home. Make sure all windows can be opened, closed, and locked with relative ease–and then remember to lock them. The biggest problem with windows is that homeowners leave the house and leave them wide open.

For added security, consider installing blocking devices on the most easily accessed windows so they can’t be opened from outside, says McGoey. Wooden dowels laid in the track block windows that slide horizontally, and steel locking pins (about $7 each) inserted in small holes drilled through the frames prevent windows from sliding vertically. If you install a home security system later, the pros will install glass-break sensors on your most vulnerable windows.

Storage sheds

Don’t ignore the doors and windows on your outdoor storage shed, especially if you store tools such as ladders, saws, screwdrivers, and hammers, any of which would be handy to a burglar. As with house doors, the best option is a secure deadbolt. Hasp closures are easily defeated because someone can insert a crowbar behind the hasp and snap it.

Not all storage shed doors are able to accommodate a deadbolt. In that case, opt for a heavy-duty slide bolt ($15-$25) instead of a hasp closure. With one of these, a tough steel bolt slides into a fitting attached to the shed door frame or a second shed door. The bolt is then rotated down and locked in place with a padlock. When attaching a slide bolt, avoid screws, which can be easily undone. You’re better off using nuts and bolts because they’re stronger, and because the nut does its job from the interior of the shed.

Patio doors

It’s relatively easy to lift a set of older patio doors off the track, even when they are locked. Don’t attempt to do this on your audit, but take time to inspect the doors and hardware. Replace any missing or broken locks, and consider installing and using locking pins to prevent them from sliding.

Consider your family’s habits: Do you leave the patio doors open all summer? Locking the screen door isn’t good enough; it keeps out bugs, not thieves. Get in the habit of closing and locking patio doors when they’re unattended or you’re not home.

Safeguarding household valuables

Thieves want easy-to-grab electronics, cash, jewelry, and other valuables, though some are not above running down the street with your flat-screen TV. Most make a beeline for the master bedroom, because that’s where we’re likely to hide spare cash, jewelry, even guns.

Tour each room and ask yourself: Is there anything here that I can move to my safe deposit box? Consider getting rid of old jewelry you never wear. A home safe, bolted to your basement slab, is a good spot for everything else. Have you made a video inventory of other items of value in your home? Are you properly insured for theft? Understand that high-ticket items in your home office, such as computers, professional camera equipment, or other business essentials, may require an additional rider or a separate policy. And take steps to back up the personal information stored on your home computer.

Joseph D’Agnese is a journalist and book author who has written numerous articles on home improvement. He lives in North Carolina.