May 2014

New to Buying a Home? What Home Buyers Need to Know

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Thinking about buying a home for the first time? There are several benefits to becoming a homeowner, but you shouldn’t make this decision lightly.

Keep these home buying tips in mind if you’re considering taking the plunge into homeownership:

  • Talk to a real estate agent. Friends and family members mean well, but they might not offer you the most realistic advice about purchasing your first home. An agent can help determine how much you can afford to spend and whether or not you’re financially ready to buy a home.
  • Think long-term. Since you’ll most likely be in your home for several years, think ahead when choosing a home. Look for one that’s near good schools, even if you doubt you’ll have kids, since this boosts your home’s value. You should also look for a home that doesn’t stand out too much from the rest, such as one that’s much bigger than other homes near it.
  • Take your time. You don’t have to rush into purchasing a home for fear that you’ll miss out on a good deal. Take your time, and make a wise decision instead.

Need more home buying tipsContact United Real Estate, and follow our Facebook page.

Kitchen Remodeling a Lucrative Selling Point for Sellers

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For many home buyers, the kitchen is one of the most important deciding factors in whether or not to purchase a home. If you’re thinking of selling in the near future, doing some kitchen remodeling is a must.

Use the following tips to help you figure out how to spruce up your kitchen:

  • Invest in high-quality countertops. A lot of buyers like granite countertops, but you don’t have to get those if they’re not within your budget. Consider other materials that are just as appealing, such as quartz. Ideally, your countertops should be durable and easy to maintain.
  • Open up your kitchen. Having an open kitchen with a free flow to it is one of the best changes to make. Many buyers appreciate being able to cook and chat with others at the same time. This can be a costly project, though, depending on your current layout, so make sure you can afford it.
  • Update your cabinets. Paint your cabinets white, especially if yours are dark wood cabinets. This is an easy fix that goes a long way toward appealing to buyers.

Want additional help preparing your home for sellingCall United Real Estate, and stop by our Facebook page.

Home Staging Boosts Higher Prices and Quicker Sales

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As a seller, you’re probably hoping to get as much money as you can for your home and sell it quickly. You can boost your chances of doing this by staging your home.

Here are a few things you should know about home staging for prospective buyers:

  • Staging your home means making it look as appealing as possible to buyers. In order to do this, you might have to paint the walls, rearrange the furniture, keep personal items to a minimum and invest in more neutral decor items that the majority of buyers will like.
  • You should expect to spend some money on staging your home, but don’t go overboard. If you stay within your budget, you’ll make that money back in the form of a higher selling price. Your real estate agent can assist you with getting your home ready for staging at a cost-effective price.
  • You can test whether staging is worth it for you by having buyers look at your home before preparing it for staging. If you’re not getting high enough offers, then it’s time to give staging a try.

Need help selling your home? Contact United Real Estate and visit us on Facebook.

Boost Your Credit Score Prior to Home Buying

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Your credit score has a major impact on your ability to get a home loan with a low interest rate. That’s why it’s so crucial to make sure your score is as high as possible before applying for a mortgage.

If your credit isn’t in great shape, you can work toward improving it. Use these tips to boost yourpersonal credit score:

  • Order your credit report. Before doing anything else, request a copy of your credit report. You’re entitled to receive a free one each year. When you get it, look it over carefully for errors and have them corrected right away. You’ll also find out how much you owe and which creditors you owe.
  • Pay your bills on time. Late payments bring down your credit score, and it can take time to raise it again. Make sure you pay all of your bills on time, and don’t miss any payments.
  • Carry low balances. Keep your balances low if you can’t afford to pay them off completely. Higher balances will lower your credit score significantly. Keep balances below 50 percent of your limit.

Want more advice on mortgages? Call United Real Estate, and follow our Facebook page.

Buying a Second Home: Is it a Good Financial Step?

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Having a second home gives you your own personal getaway that you can visit whenever you have a chance. When it comes to buying a second home, though, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Consider the following points if you’re thinking of getting a vacation home:

  • Shop around. It’s tempting to buy a second home in a vacation spot that you fell in love with, but you could be missing out on even better spots or better deals elsewhere. Look around in different locations to see if something better comes along before purchasing a second home.
  • Plan on owning it for awhile. In order to make your purchase a good investment, plan on owning it for at least ten years. Make sure you buy a home in an area that you’ll be able to get to several times throughout the year. Otherwise, buying a second home might not be a worthwhile investment.
  • Factor insurance costs into your budget. Second homes can cost quite a bit in insurance if you need coverage for wind or flood damage, such as in hurricane-prone areas.

Need help finding a second homeCall United Real Estate, and follow our Facebook page.

Three Common Myths About Home Buying

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During your search for a new home, you’re bound to run into a few common misconceptions about the process. Some of these involve the way credit works when you apply for a loan.

These are a few of the most common home buying myths about credit:

  • Your credit has to be in perfect shape. Lenders do use credit to make approval decisions and decisions on interest rates, but you don’t need the best score possible. You can still get a mortgage with less than stellar scores, although your interest rate will most likely be higher.
  • Lenders can share your credit information. Lenders can share this information with affiliates, but only if you’ve given them permission to do so. There are several laws that safeguard your personal credit information and prevent lenders from sharing it without your permission.
  • While there are hundreds of credit bureaus, lenders have base their decisions on the FICO scoring model. Other models such as Score X, Score + or Vantage are consumer based models that give people an idea of what their FICO score might be.

Need help shopping around for a good mortgage? Contact United Real Estate, and visit us on Facebook.