The 5 Most Common Dangerous Home Issues

The 5 Most Common Dangerous Home IssuesYou are supposed to feel safe in your own home; however, accidents can happen and there are plenty of hidden dangers that might land someone in the hospital. It is important for you to understand the common household dangers. Knowledge is power and you can take steps to prevent these issues from arising.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

This is one of the most common household dangers that everyone should know. Homes always have a smoke detector; however, carbon monoxide detectors are often overlooked. This is an odorless gas that can actually kill someone if the levels get too high. Make sure that your carbon monoxide detectors are working. This gas commonly arises from the tailpipe of a running car.

Lead Poisoning

Lead can be absorbed through the skin or the mouth. Lead poisoning can lead to serious neurological issues. Newer homes are built without lead paint; however, if you purchase an older home, there might still be lead paint on the walls. Check the paint thoroughly and swap it out if lead is present.

Mold

Mold is a common hazard that grows in homes. Mold can release spores into the air that can irritate people who suffer from asthma and allergies. Make sure that you keep your home clean to avoid mold growth. Mold likes warm, humid climates.

Falls

Injuries due to falls are among the most common accidents that happen in homes. If someone falls in their home, they are at risk of breaking bones or suffering a head injury. Make sure that you keep your outdoor steps clean and stabilize your staircases. This will reduce the risk of falls.

Drowning

Unfortunately, drowning can happen even if someone is safe in their own home. Even if a house doesn’t have a pool, people can still drown in the bathtub. In order to reduce the risk of a drowning event, make sure your pool has a fence around it (if you have one). Also, try to supervise bathing children. This will reduce the risk of a drowning event.

Reducing Household Dangers

Knowing about these dangers ahead of time reduces the chances of them happening. Try to inspect your home thoroughly to make sure that these common hazards are avoided.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

How To Find Hot Markets For Real Estate Investment

How To Find Hot Markets For Real Estate InvestmentReal estate investors who want to build up a strong investment portfolio always keep an eye out for hot markets, which gives them a chance to pick up properties that add to their portfolio value.

A word of caution about hot markets is that if you learn about them after they are already hot, you may have missed much of the run-up that made them hot.

Clever real estate investors try to anticipate markets that will heat up before they do, so they can buy properties in advance of increasing values. Selling properties in a hot market is how they capture profits.

The Hot Markets

Realtor.com® identified seven markets in the United States that are currently hot markets for flipping houses. The average gross profit for house flippers is $62,700. This figure does not include the cost of making the repairs. The gross profit equals about 20% to 33% of the home’s sales price after making the repairs.

An evaluation looking for hot markets for flipping homes considered the percentage of home sales that were investment properties.

The current hot markets, in the order of activity, are:

  1. St. Louis, MO – 18.8% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $189,900.
  2. Birmingham, AL – 17.3% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $190,000.
  3. Miami, FL – 17% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $299,900.
  4. Tampa, FL – 16.2% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $230,000.
  5. Memphis, TN – 16.1% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $206,300.
  6. Las Vegas, NV – 15.7% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $301,800.
  7. Phoenix, AZ – 15.1% of home sales are investment properties. The median sales price is $275,800.

Hot Pockets In Cooler Markets

Another way to find opportunities is to know your local market very well and look for areas that are up and coming. Look for a fixer-upper in a decent area. Also, search in areas that are adjacent to high-priced areas.

Look for soft barriers that can be passed easily, such as a block that is improving, which is next to another block that has already improved. Hard barriers, such as a wide street, a freeway, or a river make it more challenging for an improving neighborhood trend to pass across them.

Summary

Finding a hot market or a hot pocket comes from investigating potential growth areas and watching them. Get a feel for the trends. One strategy is to buy early when the prices are still low, rent the property for a while, and then sell later, once the market heats up.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional.

3 Positive Reasons To Get A 15-Year Mortgage

3 Positive Reasons To Get A 15-Year MortgageMost people can’t pay for a home outright, so they finance it with a mortgage loan. 30-year mortgages are more conventional, but they also come with a significant interest price tag.

People who have a stable career and the income to afford larger payments, or who are nearing retirement, may want to take out a 15-year mortgage. Here are some reasons to consider one.

Save Money Over The Life Of The Loan

The total interest paid on a 30-year loan can be nearly as much as the principal. While it can be difficult to see the bigger picture when facing a mortgage payment that will be a good bit higher, consider this: Paying off a loan in 15 years versus 30 years will save tens of thousands of dollars in interest, and in some cases, as much as $100,000.

Interest rates on 15-year mortgages are also typically lower than other longer-term home loans, which provides additional mortgage interest savings.

Build Equity Faster

Equity refers to how much of your home you’ve already paid for plus what it appreciates in additional value over time. If your home is worth $250,000 and you owe $190,000 on your loan, you have $60,000 in equity.

Since more money is going toward the loan principal rather than interest on a 15-year loan, you build equity faster, which is beneficial for numerous reasons. It lowers your loan-to-value ratio and may improve your chances of getting a home equity loan, which can be used for large expenses.

Become Mortgage-Free Sooner

Instead of having a housing payment later in life, that money is freed up for retirement or other expenses.

If retirement is on the horizon for you in the next 10-20 years, ditching your mortgage payment sooner rather than later is wise. Once you are on a limited income, you will want as few expenses as possible. Plus, having the option of a home equity loan for emergencies is attractive.

There are several excellent reasons to get a 15-year mortgage. Run the numbers with your trusted home mortgage advisor and decide what makes the most sense for you.

When’s The Best Time To Buy A House?

When's The Best Time To Buy A HouseIf you happen to want to move to a hot market for home sellers, here is some advice. Go looking for a home to buy when it is freezing outside or the weather is otherwise severe. Buying a home is both about finding one you like and beating out others if the market has buying competition.

Days On Market

To find out the competition for a particular market, check the median number of days that a home is listed on the market before it sells. This is called the “days on market.”

In a hot seller’s market, the median number of listing days may be very low. The national average days on market (DOM) is 62 days in America.

The top ten cities where homes sell the fastest with the lowest DOM as reported by Realtor.com® are:

  1. San Francisco, CA – DOM 28
  2. Spokane, WA – DOM 31
  3. Boston, MA – DOM 32
  4. Colorado Springs, CO – DOM 32
  5. Lafayette, IN – DOM 34
  6. Columbus, OH – DOM 34
  7. Sacramento, CA – DOM 34
  8. Santa Cruz, CA – DOM 34
  9. Midland, TX – DOM 36
  10. Odessa, TX – DOM 36

Time Of Year

Most homebuyers look for a home during spring and summer. That is when the buying competition is normally stronger. June is the worst month to buy a home if you want to get a discount.

If you can wait until fall or winter, you may see more price reductions. The best time to make a low offer may be during the short window of time between Christmas and New Year’s when virtually no one is looking to buy a home.

Use bad weather for an advantage. Go looking for a home in the dead of winter, when the roads are barely passable, and you may be the only buyer interested. Another advantage that comes from viewing a home during severe weather is that you get to see how much trouble the weather will be if you own it.

Tax Time

One very successful real estate investor buys homes right before tax time because that is when sellers are worried about paying taxes and might be more flexible on the price.

Estate Sales

It is possible to get a nice deal on a house when a family is liquidating assets.

Divorce

A seller may be motivated by having to sell a house as part of a divorce settlement.

Summary

The main factors, if you want to get a discounted price for buying a home, are not to be in a rush to buy one and take your time finding a home that is for sale by a motivated seller. Always ask, “Why are you selling your home?” when negotiating with a seller.

If you are interested in buying a new home or in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

How Does My Existing Debt Affect Getting A New Mortgage?

How Does My Existing Debt Affect Getting A New MortgageCarrying debt is a common problem that people have. Some of the most common types of debt include student loans, credit cards, and motor vehicles. When you are interested in buying a new home, you often think about whether or not your debt is going to hurt your chances of qualifying for a new mortgage.

Fortunately, you may still get a new home with that debt. There are several factors that may determine whether or not you qualify.

Your Debt to Income Ratio

The debt to income ratio is a major factor that the mortgage lender is going to consider when deciding whether or not you will qualify for a new mortgage. In general, the magic number is 43 percent. If your debt exceeds 43 percent of your total income, the lender will have a hard time giving you that new mortgage.

For example, if you make $5,000 per month, you will want to have less than $2,150 in monthly debt payments. To make yourself a more attractive candidate for a mortgage, try paying off some of your existing debt.

Taking A Look At The Credit Score

The lender is also going to consider your credit score. The higher your credit score is, the more likely the lender will reward you with a loan. In order to keep your credit score high, make sure you manage your debt well.

Making your debt payments on time will keep your credit score high. Missing debt payments will lower your score. Manage your existing debt well and you will have a better chance of qualifying for a mortgage.

Making Sure You Can Handle A Mortgage

Finally, the lender is also going to take a look at whether you can take on the responsibilities of owning a home. The monthly mortgage payment isn’t the only expense you will be taking on. Some of the other issues you will have to handle include property taxes, maintenance costs, and homeowners’ insurance.

The bank or credit union will want to ensure you can handle these costs. To make these expenses easier to bear, it might be a good idea to pay off some of that existing debt.

Investing In A New Mortgage

Looking for a new home is exciting. You can purchase a house with existing debt as long as it is minimized and managed well. Think about these factors before investing in a mortgage. And as always, consult with your trusted local mortgage professional for the best advice on your personal situation.

Common Reasons Why Buyers Are Denied A Mortgage

Common Reasons Why Buyers Are Denied A MortgageWhen you are buying a new home, it is an exciting process. You have spent months searching and have found the home you want to purchase. You are ready to move into the home of your dreams.

Unfortunately, you have found out that your request for a mortgage has been denied. This can be a deflating experience. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this by understanding the most common reasons why a buyer is denied for a loan.

The Loan Requirements Have Changed

One of the most common reasons why you might be denied a mortgage is that the terms of the loan have changed. For example, the lender might have raised the minimum credit score requirement. This might sound unfortunate; however, it does happen from time to time.

Loan requirements might change from the pre-approval stage. If this happens, think about searching for a loan from a different lender.

You Added Debt

The debt to income ratio is going to matter when applying for a loan. If you are pre-approved for a loan and your amount of debt changes, the lender is going to look at this closely. Common forms of debt include student loans and credit cards.

Even small changes in your debt amount can impact your ability to qualify for a loan. Try to avoid buying a new car or maxing out a credit card during the mortgage application process. This will help you keep the loan you’ve worked so hard to earn.

You Changed Jobs

Finally, employment status also matters to the lender. When you take out a loan, the lender needs to know that this will be repaid. This depends on you having a steady stream of income from your job.

If you decide to change jobs between the time of pre-approval and the time of purchase, your employment history and income stream do not mean as much. While changing employment will not totally disqualify you, make sure to discuss this possibility with your lender. Changing jobs within the same field is likely fine; however, moving to a new career entirely can be a red flag.

Mortgage Denials are Frustrating

It is frustrating to have your request for a loan denied. Fortunately, understanding these common reasons can help you avoid this deflating experience. Think about all of these possible scenarios when you apply for a home loan. And rely on the expertise of your trusted home mortgage professional.

3 Ways To Avoid Mortgage Insurance

3 Ways to Avoid Mortgage InsuranceWhen you are buying a home, you may run into a number of hurdles to complete the purchase. One of the items that you may be asked to purchase is called private mortgage insurance, often shortened to PMI. This is a unique insurance policy that your lender, such as the credit union or bank, may ask you to buy in order to protect themselves. In this insurance policy, the bank protects themselves against losing money if you end up defaulting on your loan.

Unfortunately, if you are asked to purchase PMI, this will increase your monthly mortgage payment. Therefore, most people try to avoid it. Fortunately, there are a few ways to do this.

Increase the Size of Your Down Payment

Typically, the lender will ask you to purchase PMI if your loan to value ratio is off. In most cases, the lender will ask you to buy PMI if you put down less than 20 percent. It is important to remember that this is still handled on an individual case-by-case basis and each lender handles this differently.

Invest in a Piggyback Mortgage

Another option to avoid PMI is to invest in something called a piggyback mortgage. In this case, you are splitting your mortgage into two policies. For example, if you put down 10 percent, you would need to take out a mortgage for the other 90 percent.

When you take out a piggyback mortgage, you split this 90 percent loan into one mortgage for 80 percent and the other for 10 percent. The drawback of this policy is that the second loan might have a higher interest rate than the first. This can help you avoid having to take out PMI.

Try Building the PMI Into the Loan

Finally, the last option is to roll them into the cost of the loan. In this case, the lender avoids asking you to purchase PMI and instead charges you a little bit more money for the loan. You won’t have a section on your bill for “private mortgage insurance” but you will have a slightly higher monthly payment anyways. Remember that you can refinance to a lower rate later, saving some money; however, it might be harder to eliminate PMI.

Avoiding Mortgage Insurance

These are a few ways that you can avoid purchasing PMI. This will help you keep your monthly payments low. As always, speak with your trusted mortgage professional for personal advice on your specific situation.

How To Get Your Free Annual Credit Report And Why You Need It

How To Get Your Free Annual Credit Report And Why You Need ItYour credit report influences whether or not you’ll qualify for a mortgage and what kind of interest you’ll pay on that loan. This isn’t something you can safely ignore. Smart homebuyers understand the importance of monitoring credit scores and credit reports. Here is some information about how to get your credit report.

Free Credit Report Available

You’re entitled to free credit report, according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. You can get one free report each year from each of the three major credit bureaus; Experian, Equifax and Transunion.

The easiest way to get your free report is to go to AnnualCreditReport.com. This is the official site that was originally established by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

How To Get Your Free Credit Report

Once you reach the site, create an account by registering. Have as much of your available credit information available when you request your free credit report. The reason is because the site will need to verify that it’s actually you requesting the credit report. If you have your information at hand, it will be easier and faster to confirm your identity.

This is just a process that the site has in place to protect your identity from fraud. They might ask you things like past residences, past credit card companies, or something else.

Why You Need To Get Your Free Annual Credit Report

When you apply for a home loan, the lender will pull your credit report and review it. They’ll look for signs that you are a good credit risk. Things they consider include how you handle your debt to income ratio, whether or not you pay your bills on time and if you have any negative notations on your credit report.

For this reason, you should look at your own credit report before applying for a mortgage. This gives you a chance to fix anything that is incorrect in your credit report and an opportunity to improve your credit report if it’s not in great shape.

You Can Help Prevent Identity Fraud

Another important reason to review your free annual credit report is to prevent fraud. If you see anything unfamiliar on your report, such as loans you didn’t take out or balances for things you don’t recognize, you can immediately act on those issues so they don’t affect your chance at getting approved for a home loan.

Always be proactive when it comes to your credit history. By availing of your right to a free annual credit report, you can ensure that your credit is in as good as possible condition when you go to apply for a mortgage.

If you are looking for a new home or if you are interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to consult with your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

Ways to Stay Safe During the Holidays

Ways to Stay Safe During the HolidaysThe arrival of fall, with cooler temperatures followed by a season of holiday celebrations, means getting cozy at home, spending more time cooking and enjoying friends and family in front of a blazing fire, and lighting up your home for a series of holidays. Sadly, though, it is also a time that carries a higher risk of property losses due to fire and accidental injuries.

Here are some guidelines about how to reduce those risks and stay safe this winter:

Keep The Kitchen Safe

Serious burns and kitchen fires can dampen any holiday celebration. Statistics show that Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays can be especially prone to accidental kitchen fires and injury. If you have guests helping out, or children in the kitchen, be especially watchful. Don’t overload circuits and never let electrical cords dangle over counters. Supervise young helpers, and know what to do in case of a stove-top grease fire or a sparking appliance.

Check The Fireplace

There’s nothing as cozy as a roaring fire on a chilly winter evening. But follow the rules for fireplace safety: Have a proper screen, don’t throw paper into the fire, and check the damper and chimney spark arrestor. Whether you have a traditional fireplace or a gas-fueled metal firebox, perform a pre-season check to assure that everything is operating properly before lighting that first fire.

Candle Safety

Candles are a huge risk during the holiday season, from Halloween on through New Years. As pretty as they are, wax candles should never be left to burn unattended, indoors or out. If you want to line your sidewalk with jack-o-lanterns or create a glowing pathway for winter guests, consider battery-operated candles for safety. Indoors, keep candles away from draperies, drafts and flammable decorations, and don’t ever place candles on a Christmas tree or among pine boughs on a mantel or dining room table. It’s simply too dangerous.

Trees And Home Decorations

If lighting up the home for the holidays is a tradition for your family, check the UL label for both indoor and outdoor lighting and never overload a circuit. Use care when stringing lights, and turn them off when you’re not at home. Check ornament labels — look for flame retardant and non-flammable certification. Always turn lights off at night or when you’re not at home.

General Safety Precautions

Autumn is also the prime time to test your home’s smoke alarms. It’s smart to stage a family fire drill. Go over your escape plan in case of fire, and be sure to inform guests about what to do in case of emergency. In addition, if you don’t already have a carbon monoxide detector, why not consider installing one this fall?

Staying safe is a family responsibility, one that you should take seriously!

If you are looking for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property this winter, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

Real Estate Tips for a First-Time Home Seller

Real Estate Tips for a First-Time Home SellerMany homeowners don’t think about what it takes to successfully sell a home until they make the decision to purchase a new home. It makes sense to consider the best ways to improve your home sales appeal early if you think you might consider selling at any time in the future.

Some reasons for buying a new house are to accommodate a growing family or a transfer to a new job. No matter the reason you want to buy a new home, it is important that you take the right steps to ensure you sell your home on terms that meet your needs.

Not only do you want to get a good price for your home, but you also want to sell your home sooner rather than later. Read this article for real estate tips that will help you as a first-time home seller.

Price Your Home Accurately

It is essential that you price your home accurately. To do this, you should use a reputable, trusted real estate listing agent. The home selling process will be far more straightforward for you if you choose a real estate agent who is actively engaged in real estate on a daily basis and knows your neighborhood well.

Your agent will take a look at the comparable sales of homes in the area and create an estimate of value, which is called a comparative market analysis. You can compare this estimate to the estimates from different real estate websites as well.

However, your listing agent will likely provide you with the most accurate estimate of value because they will use their education and experience to take into consideration the nuances of your local market and your particular home that will impact the sales price.

Home Staging

If you want to boost the value and buyer appeal of your home, you should do some home staging. In general, homes are most appealing to buyers with half of the furniture removed. Believe it or not, you want potential buyers to walk into your and wonder if anyone is actually living in the home.

The purpose of home staging is to boost the appeal and selling power. One of the best and most cost effective upgrades you can do during the home staging process is painting the walls. A fresh coat of paint will make any home look better.

List Your Home

The season that you choose to list your home is an important decision. The sales success can depend on the weather, time of year, local community, school schedules, and the state of the real estate market. Your real estate listing agent should have a solid plan to broadcast their new listing in the best light possible on its first day being listed and follow that with an energetic promotional agenda.

Talk with them to learn more about their customary marketing plan before agreeing to list your home for sale. This gives your agent a chance to demonstrate their marketing expertise and you will know that you have the best representation for your home when it goes on the market.

If you are interested in purchasing a new home or refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.