Do Those Additions Really Add Value To Your Home?

When you own a home, there are additions that you can make to the property that will improve the value of your home. For example, a newly renovated kitchen or bathroom is a popular choice that will really make the home more desirable to buyers.Home-Selling-Tips-3

Also, adding storage space or a well-thought-out family room or other practical space can be a very good investment that will bring up the home’s value.

However, there are other projects that are not really worth your time or money and will allow very little opportunity to recover your costs when it is time to sell the property. Here are a few examples of things that you think might add to the value of your home, but really don’t.

An Elaborately Landscaped Garden

A beautifully landscaped garden might make the home more visually attractive to buyers when they are looking at the property, but it will not likely add to the selling price.

This is especially true if the new buyer is not interested in putting in the effort to keep the garden well-maintained and sees it as a burden. If they don’t have time to do the landscaping, they will need to hire a gardener which will add to their expenses.

A Hobby Specific Room

Are you tempted to convert a bedroom into a room that is specific to one of your particular interests, such as an art studio, a library or a wine cellar? This will not add a lot of value to the home, because the next buyer is not likely to share your passions.

It might even make the home less than desirable, because the next owner will not want to spend the time and money renovating the room back into a bedroom.

You can create a hobby room; just make sure that you make non-permanent chances to the room so that you can quickly and easily switch it back to a bedroom.

A Renovated Garage

Redoing your garage and turning it into a family room or a play room might give you a short term benefit, but you might regret it when you go to sell the home. Most people want a garage to serve its original purpose – as a place to protect their cars from the elements and store their shovels, garbage cans, leaf blowers and other outdoor things.

These are a few examples of home additions that will not add to the resale value of your property. To find out more about selling your home, contact your mortgage professional.

Written by Dennis Frank – Kent Real Estate Agent – Call Now @ 253-561-1763

 

Tips On Passing Your Home Inspection With Flying Colors!

Home inspections are a tense time for everyone. Sellers are fervently hoping that nothing major is wrong with their home that could hold up the transaction.Questions_to_Ask_Your_Home_Inspector_Before_Buying_Your_Home

Buyers are eager to hear that their new house is in prime condition. Whatever the wishes, one thing is for sure; any news from an inspector is usually bad news.

Home inspectors have a tough job. They have to be trained to spot hundreds of potential issues with a home and be knowledgeable of local codes, community restrictions and residential permit parameters.

Stay one step ahead of your home inspector by reading the list of common home inspection issues below. Then hopefully your inspection won’t reveal any unwelcome surprises.

Electrical Wiring

This is a common bubble-busting issue, especially in older homes. Wiring might have been up to code when the home was built, but it now violates code and is a fire hazard.

Look for non-grounded outlets, shoddy wiring or a mass of confusing connections in the electrical panel. Replacing an entire electrical system can be expensive, but it’s worth it not to risk a fire.

Plumbing

Look for signs of water damage in the ceilings. This could be a sign that something above, like a bathtub or sink is leaking into the floor or walls. Look around toilets and inside kitchen cabinets for traces of wet flooring or wood.

While external leaks are easy enough to fix, interior pipes might require you to rip up flooring.

Foundation And Framing

Examine the foundation and framing of your home for any structural issues. You’ll want to keep an eye out for cracking in the foundation due to water runoff or settling. Also, look for signs of wood rot or termite damage.

These issues affect the framing of your home and could cause scary structural problems if left unattended.

Roofing

While it’s probably too difficult for you to inspect the roof yourself, just stand back in the yard and see if you can notice any bare spots. Also, check for water damage around the roof line from rain leaking in. Don’t get too discouraged about roof issues. It might not call for a complete replacement, but just a repair on one section.

These common home inspection issues affect both sellers and buyers. As a buyer, you’ll want to keep a eye out for these problems so that you know what you’d be getting for your hard-earned money.

As a seller, it’s good to stay one step ahead of the home inspector so that whatever price is agreed upon goes through.

Written by Dennis Frank – Kent Real Estate Agent – Call Now @ 253-561-1763

How Do Mortgage Lenders Decide How Much You Can Borrow?

When you visit your lender to get a mortgage for your home, they will tell you the maximum amount that you are allowed to borrow. But how do they reach this total and what factors do they take into consideration?

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How do they determine that one borrower can take on a bigger mortgage than the next? This decision is made by mortgage companies by considering a wide range of factors, including your credit information, your salary and much more.

Here Are Some Of The Common Ways That Lenders Determine How Much You Can Borrow:

1. Percentage Of Gross Monthly Income

Many lenders follow the rule that your monthly mortgage payment should never exceed 28% of your gross monthly income.

This will ensure that you are not stretched too far with your mortgage payments and you will be more likely to be able to pay them off. Remember, your gross monthly income is the total amount of money that you have been paid, before deductions from social security, taxes, savings plans, child support, etc.

2. Debt To Income Ratio

Another formula that mortgage lenders use is the “Debt to Income” ratio, which refers to the percentage of your gross monthly income that is taken up by debts. This takes into account any other debts, such as credit cards and loans. Many lenders say that the total of your debts shouldn’t exceed 36% of your gross monthly income.

The lender will look at all of the different types of debt you have and how well you have paid your bills over the years. By using one of these two formulas, your mortgage lender calculates the size of a mortgage that you can afford.

Of course, there are many other factors that need to be considered, such as the term length of the loan, the size of your down payment and the interest rate.

Remember that when factoring in your income, you usually have to have a stable job for at least two years in a row to be able to count your income. If you want to increase your chances, you could consider paying down your debts or buying with a co-borrower, which will improve your debt to income ratio.

For more info about mortgages and your home, contact your mortgage professional.

Written by Dennis Frank – Kent Real Estate Agent – Call Now @ 253-561-1763

Legal Secrets For Homeowners!

Being a homeowner is exciting. It can be financially rewarding, too. Unfortunately, it can also put you in a tough legal position.

Between the complexities of owning a house, having to deal with lenders and the risk that comes from owning something valuable, keeping yourself legally protected is a good idea.

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Here Are Some Risks And Some Ways To Handle Them

  1. HOAs. If you own a condo, town home or other property in an association, the homeowner association is extremely powerful. Not paying their dues, violating their rules, or doing just about anything else to end up on the wrong side of them could leave you subject to fines or even foreclosure.
  2. Neighbors. Whether or not good fences make for good neighbors, bad neighbors make for legal problems. Before dealing with your neighbors, research your community’s laws to see what options you have to deal with their unlicensed backyard dog breeding facility, teenager that steals your oranges or their tree that keeps breaking your window. It’s good to know what your responsibilities are as a neighbor, as well.
  3. Legal Paperwork. Part of having a house is having paperwork. Keeping it in a safe place where you can get to it when you need it is always a good idea.
  4. Being A Landlord. If you’re thinking about moving out and turning your house into a rental, take the time to see if you can really do it. Your mortgage, your homeowner association bylaws and your community’s laws can all either prevent you from renting out your house or can impose conditions or extra costs.
  5. Financial Scams. When you own a house, you’re at risk of being the victim of mortgage scams. If you also have strong credit, you could also be a target for identity thieves that want to steal your good name to steal money.
  6. Insurance. Your insurance does more than pay if something happens to your property. It can also give you liability protection that pays off if you harm someone at or away from your home. Given that you could lose your house in a suit, this protection is particularly valuable.

Being a homeowner requires more than just mowing the lawn and painting on occasion. You will also want to pay careful attention to your legal exposure and manage it.

A little bit of care could save you a lot of money and trouble down the line.

Written by Dennis Frank – Kent Real Estate Agent – Call Now @ 253-561-1763

What To Consider When Buying A Fixer-Upper!

In your imagination it seems like a great idea – you purchase an older run-down property and you have the chance to fix it up and turn it into the home of your dreams.

To Renovate, Or Not To Renovate

However, the renovation project that is simply a quick montage in

What_To_Consider_When_Buying_A_Fixer-Upperyour imagination will actually take several months or years and thousands of dollars in real life.

The concept of renovating a “fixer-upper” property is exciting, but the reality is a lot of work and investment. How can you make sure that you are making the right choice for you?

One of the main advantages of buying a fixer-upper property is that you will usually be able to get the property for a much cheaper price. But is it worth it for the amount of time and money you will need to invest in the property?

Here Are Some Questions You Should Be Asking Yourself When Making Your Decision:

  • Do you (or your friends and family members) have the skills to be able to perform most of the renovations yourself? If you do the labor yourself, you will be able to save thousands of dollars that you would have spent hiring contractors, which will make the renovation a much more profitable project.
  • Are you comfortable with the idea of living in a construction zone, perhaps for several months or more? There will be dust and noise everywhere and you might have to cope without a kitchen or a shower for a while.
  • Make sure that you have a thorough inspection of the home performed so that you can see whether the home has a sturdy foundation, good wiring and plumbing, etc. If your inspection reveals any structural issues or water damage, you might be in for more than you bargained for. You need to start with a house that has “good bones”.
  • If the home has serious structural, plumbing or wiring problems you should stay away – these repairs are very expensive but “invisible”, so you are unlikely to recoup your costs when you sell the home.
  • Add up the estimated costs for renovating the property along with the cost of the home – does it still work out to be a better deal or would you be better off buying a new property.
  • What is your strategy for financing the renovations? If your only option is putting it on the credit card, you might want to think twice because this is a very high interest option.

Buying a fixer-upper property can be a great investment and can give you the opportunity to transform a run-down old house into the property of your dreams. However, make sure you that you consider the choice carefully before making your decision.

For more information about home mortgage advice and how to get approved to buy a home, contact your trusted mortgage professional.

Written by Dennis Frank – Kent Real Estate Agent – Call Now @ 253-561-1763

Smart Ways To Create Equity Within Your Home!

Home equity is the difference between what your home can sell for and what you owe on it. Generally, the longer you own your home, the more equity you build.

This is money you can use before you sell your home through a home
equity loan. Just keep in mind that a home equity loan is secured with your home. If you can’t make the payments, you can lose your home.

Use Your Home Equity In Smart Ways:

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  1. Remodel Your Home – If you’ve wanted to add on a family room or modernize your kitchen, consider using your home’s equity to fund the project. Home improvements usually increase your home’s marketability and value.
  2. Make Needed Major Repairs – Your home’s equity can be a funding source for major repairs like plumbing problems and re-roofs. Once again, this is an improvement for your home that will help keep its value up.
  3. Buy Another Property – Real estate is still a safe investment. You can use your home equity to buy a second property when home values are down. When the market recovers, you can sell the investment property for a profit. This also works if you have to move out of town and are still trying to sell your home. If you can afford the payments, use your home’s equity to purchase your new home until the current one sells.
  4. Pay For Unexpected Medical Expenses Or Job Loss – You never know when a medical emergency or job loss will leave you in debt. A home equity loan can give you the money you need to get through this difficult time.

It’s easy to build equity in your home when you find the right deal. Let me help you find your perfect home and negotiate a great price and terms for you. Contact your mortgage professional today.

Written by Dennis Frank – Kent Real Estate Agent – Call Now @ 253-561-1763

How To Make Your Home Look More Luxurious On A Budget

Have you been looking through home décor magazines and gazing with wonder at the gorgeous homes inside? Do you want to add a touch of elegance and luxury to your home, but you are on a tight budget?

No need to worry, there are many ways that you can make your home look like a 2014-02-28-_AroundTheHomemillion bucks, without actually having to spend a fortune.

Luxury Home Decor Ideas

Here are a few great ideas that don’t have to cost a lot, they just require a little bit of planning and some elbow grease and they will take your home from ordinary to luxury.

  • Mount your curtains at ceiling level rather than the top of the windows. This draws the eye upwards and gives the illusion of high ceilings.
  • Paint your interior doors a sleek and shiny shade of black. This looks very modern and sophisticated and is much cheaper than buying expensive doors.
  • If your home doesn’t have crown moulding, paint a white band around the ceiling to fake the look.
  • The little details can make a big difference when it comes to making a home look elegant and luxurious. Add in finishing touches such as a beautiful glass vase, a stack of coffee table books, fresh flowers or a piece of artwork.
  • Remember, less is more and a cluttered house will not create the impression of luxury. Eliminate as much clutter as possible, making your home seem more spacious and sophisticated.
  • Lighting can also have a big impact on how luxurious your home appears. Invest in a few beautiful and stylish lamps, or a chandelier, and you will transform the entire space.
  • When choosing fabrics for accessories and upholstery, go for fabrics that have a luxurious texture such as velvet, satin or fur. They can be faux to make them cheaper, but they will still add to the luxurious look.
  • You can take simple and cheap accessories such as a candle holder or a vase from the dollar store and then paint them with gold paint. They will have a luxurious look, for much less than the real thing!

These are just a few ideas that you can incorporate into your home décor of your home in order to make it look and feel more luxurious. For more helpful information, contact your mortgage professional.

Written by Dennis Frank – Kent Real Estate Agent – Call Now @ 253-561-1763

What Is A Mortgage Pre-Qualification?

A mortgage pre-qualification is an initial estimate of what type of mortgage a borrower could get. It is limited, though, because it’s only based on what the borrower tells the lender, which might not be the same as what the lender finds out when it goes through a full process of analyzing the borrower and his credit.

Steps Of A Pre-Qualification

To get pre-qualified, a borrower starts by finding

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a lender. Typically, he will give the lender basic information on his ability to borrow. This includes his income, how much money he has in the bank, his current payments and an estimate of his credit worthiness.

 

The lender takes the pre-qualification information that he gets and compares it to the loan programs of which he is aware. For instance, if he knows that a borrower doesn’t have a lot to put down, but the borrower mentions that he’s active-duty military, the mortgage broker might offer a VA loan as an option.

Based on the programs he sees and the information the broker gets from the borrower, he will tell the borrower what kind of mortgage to expect. Typically, this gives the borrower a sense of the likely rate and of the amount he can borrow. Generally, this is enough to let a borrower start looking at listings with a realistic sense of what will be affordable.

Mortgage Pre-Qualifications And Pre-approvals

When it comes time to start writing offers, though, a mortgage pre-qualification might not be enough. A pre-qualification is missing one important factor — underwriting the borrower’s income and credit. When a borrower goes beyond a pre-qualification to get a mortgage pre-approval, he submits his credit for the lender to check.

That way, his qualifications get confirmed and the lender can issue a more binding letter that not only lets him know what he can afford but also lets him show a seller that he is truly qualified to get a loan. With that letter, his offer may be viewed as stronger and he can be more likely to get the ability to buy the house he wants.

Written by Dennis Frank – Kent Real Estate Agent – Call Now @ 253-561-1763

Don’t Make These Mistakes When You Want To Get A Home Loan!

Getting a home loan can be a challenging process, and a finicky one. Qualifying can be challenging and once a buyer gets approved, it can be surprisingly easy to derail the process. Here are some mistakes to be avoided:

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Once a borrower makes his application for a mortgage, his fate is largely sealed. One way to increase the chance of qualifying for a home loan is for a borrower to check his credit before applying. That way, he can address any issues before they become problems for the lender.

Changing Jobs

Lenders judge borrowers on their ability to repay the loan. While a borrower’s credit rating is a good indicator of past performance, his current job and income provides some assurances that he can make his payments.

Changing jobs or losing a job interrupts the income, and can make a lender decide not to lend to that borrower.

Taking On New Debt

New debt can derail a mortgage in two ways. First, adding debt can lower credit scores from the inquiry that comes as well as worry lenders. Second, new debt increases monthly payments, which lower the amount that a borrower can take out on a home loan due to the limitations imposed by the lender’s debt to income ratio.

Fudging The Numbers

Some borrowers might be tempted to tweak some of the numbers on their mortgage applications to make them more attractive to the lender, but lying on a mortgage application is a very bad idea.

First, lenders investigate what gets entered and they’re likely to catch it. Second, it is also fraud and could leave the borrower subject to prosecution.

In general, people considering a home loan should remember the Hippocratic Oath that doctors take. Its message — do no harm — is a good rule of thumb for applying for a mortgage.

Applicants that keep their financial status the same throughout the process without making any changes are more likely to emerge at the end with their new home and their original loan.

Written by Dennis Frank – Kent Real Estate Agent – Call Now @ 253-561-1763

How To Add Color To Your Home Decor Without Going Overboard!

There is a fine line between adding color to your home décor and using too much color, so that you feel like you are living inside a rainbow.

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A little bit of color will add a lot of fun and interest to your home design, but too much color can be overwhelming. How can you achieve that perfect balance?

Here Are Some Tips To Keep In Mind For Using Color In Your Home In A Subtle And Balanced Way:

  • Use Color Schemes

Before choosing the colors for your décor, do a little bit of research into color schemes and how they work, so you know how to combine colors harmoniously.

For example, you can choose a complementary color scheme with shades that are across each other on the color wheel – such as blue and orange or purple and yellow.

Or you could try an analogous color scheme, which is a scheme where the colors are next to each other on the colour wheel – such as blue, green and purple.

  • Use The 60/30/10 Rule

This is a rule that interior decorators use in order to use colors in a balanced way. Use the dominant color on 60% of the room, so that it will create a unifying look.

Then, use the secondary color on 30% of the room in order to add visual interest. Lastly, use an accent color for 10% of the room to add that little extra.

For example, you might use the dominant color for the walls and carpet, the secondary color for the upholstery and the accent color for some pillows, a wall hanging or a throw rug.

  • Try An Accent Wall

Perhaps you have found a gorgeous paint color, but it’s just a little too bright and overwhelming to use for all four walls of a room.

In this case, you can simply paint one wall with the color and the other walls with a neutral tone, so that you can enjoy the shade without it being overpowering.

You could also simply use the color in one aspect of the room, such as the baseboards or the door jams.

These are just a few of the ways that you can incorporate color into your home design, without it being overpowering. For more information, call your trusted mortgage professional.

Written by Dennis Frank – Kent Real Estate Agent – Call Now @ 253-561-1763