Top 3 Reasons to Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

Before you start your home search, you want to know how much you can afford, right?

There are two ways to do this: with a mortgage pre-qualification and a mortgage pre-approval. As a home buyer, the pre-approval is more valuable to you during your home search.

How Pre-Approval Helps You as a Home Buyer

One of the main differences between mortgage pre-qualification and mortgage pre-approval is how the lender gives you the mortgage amount.

calculator and finance sheetFor pre-qualification, you give the mortgage lender your general financial history (including debts and income), and the lender gives you a mortgage estimate. For pre-approval, the lender digs deep into your credit report and gives you the exact loan amount.

If you’re choosing between getting pre-qualified for a home mortgage and getting pre-approved, choose to get pre-approved. Here are the top three reasons why:

3. You Learn Exactly What You Can Afford

There’s no estimates in a pre-approval. The lender has looked into your credit history and you’ve given the required documentation to go through with the pre-approval process.

A mortgage pre-approval is not a commitment to the loan, but it paves the way to transition into applying for a specific property — your dream home in your price range.

2.  You Can Narrow Your Home Search

person searching online on laptopSearching through online listings can be a tedious process, especially if there are hundreds of homes for sale in the area. How do you narrow down your home search?

When you’re pre-approved, you’ll know exactly what you can afford, and tailor your home search around the mortgage amount. Now you can easily search through the listings with confidence and renewed energy.

1. The Home Seller Takes Your Offer Seriously

Home sellers like to see that you’re pre-approved — it tells them that you’re serious about buying their home.

So when you’re competing with other home buyers to make the best offer on your dream home, being pre-approved will give you the competitive edge over buyers who are not. Then you can focus on moving into your new home!

We’re Your Real Estate Experts

If you want more information about the mortgage pre-approval process or about finding the perfect home that fits your lifestyle, contact us today and we can get started. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have about the mortgage pre-approval process.

The post Top 3 Reasons to Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage appeared first on Dakno Blog.

6 Simple Home Decorating Ideas for Fall

orange leaves in the fallSeptember is quickly approaching! That means it’s time to bring out the jackets, long-sleeve shirts, and denim jeans.

But what are you doing to bring your home into fall?

Here are a few easy decorating ideas you can do to welcome the cooler temperatures and beautiful colors into your home.

DIY Home Decorating Tips for Fall

You don’t have to paint your walls or buy new furniture to get your home ready for fall.

Instead, you can use some simple seasonal tricks to welcome autumn leaves and pumpkin spices into your home, and impress your visitors in the process.

1. Bring Out the Cinnamon- and Pumpkin-Scented Candles

The smell of those warm spices gently wafting throughout your home is enough to energize you for the season.

Light a few candles in your kitchen or living room, as well as other rooms that receive the most traffic in your home. Your home will be looking — and smelling — festive in no time.

2. Stick a Seasonal Flag Outside

Personalize your front yard by placing a welcoming fall flag by the mailbox, in your front garden, or hanging from your front porch. Let people know that you’re ready for autumn!

3. Swap Out Your Dining Table Centerpiece

Put the colorful summer tones away for next year and bring out your festive fall accents.

roses and flowers in table centerpieceMake a seasonal statement with the centerpiece on your dining room or kitchen table. Some simple autumn centerpiece ideas include:

  • red, orange, and yellow pillar candles
  • roses or colorful leaves in a vase
  • small pumpkins
  • old-fashioned lanterns
  • a bowl of apples

4. Hang a Festive Wreath on Your Front Door

Add some fall foliage, colorful ribbon, or burlap accents to an autumn wreath and catch the eye of your friends and neighbors.

People tend to notice your home’s decorations when they first spy your house, which is why front door accents are often included in tips for increasing curb appeal. Display your fall home readiness with a red, gold, and brown wreath on your door!

5. Decorate Your Shelves with Pine Cones and Oak Leaves

If you have a mantle above your fireplace or an empty space on a bookshelf, fill it with simple arrangements of fall foliage — pine cones, oak leaves, acorns, and pumpkins.

To truly make a statement with your decor, pair vibrantly colored leaves with a white or neutral color base, and enjoy the display capture the attention of passersby.

white fence outside house in autumn6. Put a Pumpkin on Your Front Porch

Nothing says fall as much as a round pumpkin sitting on your porch steps.

When pumpkins come in season, you can purchase one for Halloween fun or simply as a seasonal accent.

Staging Your Home for Sale This Fall?

These DIY home decorating tips work well to increase your curb appeal if you’re selling your property this season.

If you have any questions about home staging tips or about selling your home, contact us at any time. We would be happy to provide you with the answers you need.

The post 6 Simple Home Decorating Ideas for Fall appeared first on Dakno Blog.

3 Best Practices for Real Estate Investment

Investing In Real Estate: AchieveYour Real Estate Goals

RS926_iStock_000010136948SmallWith mortgage rates so low, many investors choose to invest in real estate, as opposed to the stock market. In addition, real estate is a prime investment for novice investors, as it is more tangible and understandable than stocks and the index. According to Bankrate’s annual investment research, 27% of Americans with money to invest would choose to invest in real estate over any other investment. Because real estate is becoming a popular commodity, especially among investors, here are three tips for investing in real estate:

3 Essential Elements to Real Estate Investment

1. Quantity over Quality = A Fair Cash-on-Cash Return

When investing, you are probably going to be using money from CD accounts, stocks, or bonds, which means that you are no longer going to be getting the 4 – 6 percent return. The goal in real estate investment is getting a higher return than what you would have received, had you left the money as liquid financial assets.

Many investors, especially those newer to the game, come into the market looking for prize homes. This can be an extremely risky investment, as finding a renter may be difficult and you need to be prepared for an unforeseen market turn. With that in mind, investing in the average homes that are cash-flow positive, which may not be as fancy as those prized properties, are ideal. View Zillows’ “A Tale of Two Townhomes” for more information.

2. Do Your Due Diligence

It’s common knowledge that investment comes with an involved risk. Yet, real estate developments, parcel/land, Tenant in Common, and fixer uppers have a much higher risk than the previously mentioned cash-flow positive property. With TV shows like “Flipping Boston” or “Flip This House” on A&E, many people want to purchase a foreclosure fixer upper, with a low cost, flip it, and sell it later for a large profit. While this can be a lucrative investment, it takes practice and due diligence (and possibly luck). Even for those looking to purchase the cash-flow investment properties, as mentioned above, doing your homework (viewing reports, analyzing, crunching numbers, etc) is required to make the best real estate investment decisions.

3. Time is Money

When purchasing investment property, you also need to consider the amount of time you have to put into managing the property. Rental properties in vacation destinations and college rentals constantly have tenants coming and going. If you do not have the time to put into the property, you need to make sure that you are investing in the right type of real estate. Find a calm neighborhood or area, further away from colleges, to attract families or individuals that will rent and stay for as long as possible. While there will be issues, having a long term relationship with your tenants will help in the long run, as they usually require less time and management.

Let Us Help You Achieve Your Real Estate Goals

Real estate can be a risky investment, especially for individuals new to the real estate market and industry. As real estate professionals, we are area experts that are privy to real estate trends, as well as market and industry news. Contact us today to learn more about the services we can provide.

What Every First Time Home Buyer Should Know About Home Loans

Home Buying 11First-time home buyers who work with us often have the same question: Should we or shouldn’t we get a first-time home buyer loan?

In fact, there are a number of advantages and disadvantages attached to this type of loan.

So today, we thought we would take a few moments to share with you what you can expect from getting this type of loan as a first-time home buyer. That way, when it comes time for your to decide how you’re going to finance your first home, you’ll have all of the information you need right at your fingertips.

First-Time Home Buyer Loans 101

A first time home buyer loan offers financial assistance to qualified buyers by utilizing a variety of methods:

  • Very low down payments or none at all
  • Subsidezed interest costs
  • Grants
  • Forgive loans
  • Defer payments

Generally speaking, the best candidates for this type of loan are home buyers who have never owned a home, although those who have not owned a home in more than three years may also qualify.

With these types of loans, certain restrictions may apply in order to qualify. Thus, it’s important to research beforehand whether you meet those restrictions.

First-time home buyers should also be aware of the specific restrictions attached to using the loan. These may or may not include:

  • Being prohibited from buying homes in higher price ranges
  • Being required to make the newly purchased home your primary residence
  • Being prohibited from renting the home to others

These types of loans are certainly great for those buyers who otherwise might not be able to purchase the home. But there are some disadvantages to this type of loan.

Some of those drawbacks include:

  • Buyers are limited to the type of home they want by price range
  • Buyers may not be eligible for certain program benefits if they sell their home before a predetermined time limit.
  • Buyers may have a limited number of loan types to choose from.
  • Buyers may have to pay for recapture taxes in exchange for benefits they receive through the program

For these reasons and more, some first-time home buyers may find it just as beneficial to get a traditional loan, although this should be considered on a case by case basis.

We’ll Help You Through Your First Home Buying Experience

Contact us today to learn even more valuable information that is sure to help you as a first-time home buyer. We are glad to offer you our expert assistance, which includes straight-forward advice and user-friendly resources.

Until next time!

Buying a Home? 4 Things You Should Know About Home Appraisals

home mortgageAs you might already know, summertime is a very busy time for real estate agents. That’s why so many home buyers decide to enter the market during this time of year.

If you too are a prospective home buyer planning to enter the market soon, then you’ve visited the right real estate blog!

Today, we’re going to share four things that every home buyer should know about appraisals.

What Are Appraisals and Why Are They Important?

An appraisal is the valuation of a property by the estimate of an authorized person.

These are particularly important for those who will be taking out a loan on their next home.

And unless you’re independently wealthy (or have been successful in building a sizeable savings account), you will more than likely end up requesting a loan.

When you ask for that loan, banks reference your home’s appraisal as a way of deciding how much to give you. That’s why appraisals are so important.

Consider this example: Let’s say you make a purchase offer on a home for $120,000. You need a loan for exactly that amount.

However, when the appraisal comes back, it says the home is worth only $100,000 – and the bank isn’t willing to give you a penny more.

This means that you’re faced with a $20,000 budget gap. And that’s enough to kill many a real estate deal.

But Don’t Worry – We Can Help!

Here is some valuable information on appraisals that may help you avoid unfortunate situations like the one above:

Appraisers must meet certain criteria first. According to the Appraisal Institute, a qualified appraiser should be licensed or certified and also should be familiar with the local area. What’s more, federal regulations stipulate that the appraiser must be impartial and have no direct or indirect interest in the transaction. Fannie Mae even requires that appraisers certify that they have experience appraising similar properties in the same area.

Appraisal values are influenced by a number of factors. For instance, appraisers will consider recent sales of similar properties as well as current market trends. They’ll also factor in such things as the home’s amenities, number of bedrooms, floor plan functionality and more.

Appraisers are required to do a complete visual inspection of the interior and exterior of the home. During this time, they’re also required to note any conditions that may adversely impact the property’s value. This may include needed repairs.

Generally speaking, appraisers use Fannie Mae’s Uniform Residential Appraisal Report for single-family homes. This report asks the appraiser a number of questions, including what the home’s interior and exterior look like, what neighborhood it’s located in and what nearby comparable sales there are. Other parts of the report include: a street map showing the appraised property, an exterior building sketch, an explanation of how the square footage was calculated, and photos of the home. After providing all of this information, the appraiser offers an analysis and conclusions about the property’s value based on this information.

We’ll Help You At Every Stage of the Home Buying Process

We hope you found the above information insightful as a prospective home buyer.

Hopefully, if all goes well, the appraisal on your next home will go smoothly and you’ll be that much closer to owning your own home.

For EVERY stage of the home buying process, we want you to know that we’ll be there to assist you in order to make the experience as seamless as possible. Contact us today to learn more about the services we provide and the valuable advice and insight we can offer.

Report: US Housing Market Experienced Fantastic Gains This Spring

construction 4We just love having the opportunity to share with you good news about the US housing market and this is one of those weeks!

Evidently, according to a recent article we were reading, sales of newly built homes as well as home prices in general saw some great increases during the month of April, further demonstrating that the housing market continues to improve.

If you’re considering buying or selling real estate anytime soon, we encourage you to continue reading to learn more about this exciting development.

What You Should Know About the National Housing Market

Here is some of the most pertinent information you’ll need about the current state of the housing market:

  • New home sales increased 6.8 percent from March to April, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 517,000.
  • The median price of a new home sold in April was $297,300, up 8.3 percent from the year before.
  • Meanwhile, the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Index increased 4.1 percent in the 12 months that ended in March.
  • Supplies of existing homes remain tight and home builders are still slow to start construction on new project.
  • So far in 2015, builders have constructed just more than 1 million housing units, which is not too much different from 2014.
  • The construction pace increased some in April and actually hit the best level it’s seen since November 2007.
  • Also so far in 2015, monthly sales of new homes have average 515,000.
  • Meanwhile, new home purchases have been up 26.1 percent over the last year.
  • The housing market in April had 4.8 months of supply of new homes, although this is still short of the six months inventory that experts consider a balanced market.
  • New home sales represent about a tenth of all home purchases.
  • Historically, new home sales peaked in July 2005, when they hit an annual pace of almost 1.4 million.
  • Sales bottomed out in February 2011 at 270,0000 units.

Experts attribute steady job growth, historically low interest rates and rising rental costs and key catalysts for the recent improvements on the national housing market.

They have also noted that they believe that the US needs construction of at least 1.5 million new homes a year in order to keep up with the growing population as well as the average loss of existing stock each year because of age.

We’re Your Dedicated Real Estate Experts!

We hope you found the above data as encouraging as we did. The market definitely continues to improve month after month and the memory of the housing market crash continues to fade overtime. This is great news for everyone!

Check back here next time for more valuable information on the current state of the housing market and how it may impact your efforts as a buyer or seller.

US Housing Market Well Positioned for Busy Summer Home Buying Season

home buying 20The summer months should be quite busy for home buyers, sellers and real estate agents alike!

As we head into June, real estate analysts are saying that the national housing market is poised for a successful (and busy!) summer home buying market.

Several factors are at play, experts say, including low housing inventory, pent up demand and increasingly optimistic sellers.

One thing’s for sure: The next few months should be very interesting from a national housing market perspective!

What Every Buyer and Seller Should Know About Market Activity

According to the latest sales figures released by the National Association of Realtors, sales of previously owned homes increased in March by the most in four years.

In fact, purchases increased 6.1 percent to a 5.19 million annualized rate, which is the highest level it’s been since September 2013.

On average, homes were being purchased in 52 days on average, which is the fastest sales rate the country has seen since July.

Here are some more highlights from the latest data report:

  • The share of first-time buyers increased slightly while distressed properties made up a smaller part of the market
  • The number of homes for sale increased in March for a second month.
  • In fact, that gain was the biggest since December 2010.
  • Figures from the Mortgage Bankers Association showed that the group’s index of purchase applications increased in recent weeks to the highest level since June 2013.
  • The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index increased 0.5 percent to 2,107.96 recently, which is within 12 points of a record high.
  • More sellers expressed confidence about buyers entering the market as the weather warms, further helping to increase the supply of properties for sale.
  • In fact, the number of existing properties for sale increased 5.3 percent to 2 million in March from a month earlier.
  • And sellers’ instincts about buyer interests appear to be spot on. For instance, 40 percent of homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month.
  • The median price of an existing home jumped 7.8 percent from March 2014 to March 2015, to $212,100. That’s the most since February 2014.
  • Meanwhile, the cost of a purchased house was 5.4 percent higher in February from the same time last year, which is tied with May 2014 for the biggest gain.
  • Purchases increased in all four U.S. regions, led by a 10.1 percent increase in the Midwest. They were up 6.9 percent in the Northeast, 6.3 percent in the West and 3.8 percent in the South.
  • Sales of single-family homes rose 5.5 percent to an annual rate of 4.59 million, which is the most it’s been since August 2013.
  • Meanwhile, closings on multifamily properties (including condominiums) increased 11.1 percent.
  • Purchases of distressed properties represented 10 percent of the total, which is down from 11 percent in February.
  • Also, the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage was 3.67 percent recently. The rate was 3.59 percent in February, which was the lowest in almost two years.

One Small Concern is On the Minds of Experts

Experts did express concerns about how fast home prices were rising, which they credited in part to low housing inventory. Thus, economists said the best way to fix that is to increase the supply of homes for sale on the market.
It will be interesting to see if enough sellers enter the market in the next couple of months to temper those price increases.

We’re Your Real Estate Market Experts!

We hope you have found the information above as insightful and encouraging as we did. Seeing the national housing market recover is definitely a welcome sight!

Please check back here soon for more updates on the state of the housing market. We’re confident that having this knowledge will help you make savvier decisions as a buyer or seller.

US Pending Home Sales Rise for Third Month in a Row

home buying 18We have some excellent news to report from the national housing market: Evidently US pending home sales index increased for the third straight month in April.

This is a great testament that the national housing market is getting back on track and becoming increasingly stable.

If you’re considering entering the market anytime soon as a buyer or seller, we encourage you to continue reading to learn more about this new trend.

The Latest Outlook from the Housing Market is Positive

Let’s take a closer look at the recent report from the National Association of Realtors.

According to recent data, the pending home sales index (which is based on contract signings for purchases of previously owned homes) increased 1.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted level of 108.6 in March.

This is also higher than in February, when the level was 107.4.

And evidently, the increase in the home sales index is higher than many economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal thought it would be. They had expected the increase to be 1 percent.

Here are some additional highlights from the recent report:

  • When comparing March 2014 to March 2015, the index increased 11.1 percent.
  • Completed existing-home sales increased 6.1 percent in March. This increase followed two months in which the gains were lackluster.
  • And although sales of newly built single-family homes decreased from February to March, they increased almost 20 percent from the sales pace of a year ago.
  • The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage was 3.77 percent in March, which is slightly above the previous month but also down from a year earlier.
  • And pending sales of existing homes increased in the South and the West during the month of March, but decreased in the Northeast and Midwest.
  • Meanwhile, markets across the country are seeing home prices increase.

Experts believe that low housing inventory have driven prices up on existing homes. And while that has helped to close the gap in cost between newer homes (which are typically more expensive) and previously-owned homes, existing home sales still account for roughly 90 percent of the overall market.

Will These Positive Housing Market Trends Continue?

Check back with us soon to see if national real estate activity continues on this upward trend or takes a dip.

Having the most up-to-date market data is critical to ensuring a successful outcome as a buyer or seller. That’s why we hope you’ll check back here again soon for the most up-to-date information on the market possible.

5 Baby Boomer Housing Market Trends to Watch

boomersRegardless of where you live, experts are expecting that Baby Boomers will have a major impact on the local housing market.

That’s because this sizeable portion of the population is comprised of 76.4 million individuals. And many of them are expected to make major moves over the next several years as they continue to retire.

To that effect, we wanted to share with you the top 5 Baby Boomer real estate trends to watch for in the coming months and years.

The Top 5 Real Estate Trends for Baby Boomers

Although many Baby Boomers plan to move to the Sunbelt when they retire, others may be motivated by different factors.

For instance, some may be motivated by staying closer to families. Others may be looking for the least expensive place to live. Still others may be more interested in moving to a place with a high quality of life for seniors.

Thus, regardless of where you live, it’s important to consider the following Baby Boomer trends:

Boomers want to pay off their mortgage. Many Baby Boomers own their own home. They’ve been paying a mortgage for decades. Thus, one of their primary goals is going to be to finally pay off the mortgage and own their home outright. In fact, for many, paying off the mortgage is a crucial consideration before they’re willing to retire.

They want more convenience. This may look like a smaller home with less maintenance and less work, but it may not. Baby Boomers also care about living in homes that have modern appliances, energy-efficient doors and other features that will make their life easy. As such, many are also opting for one-story homes because of their bad knees, bad hips, etc.

Baby Boomers want a walkable neighborhood. They’ve already spent a lot of time in their car, what with commuting to work, taking their kids to and from hobbies, etc. So now they’re trying to get back to simpler times, where they lived just a couple of blocks from the grocery store or the local restaurant. They want to be able to access the amenities they want and need without having to always get in the car.

They want to remain on their own. In fact, according to a Merrill Lynch survey, only 10 percent of Baby Boomers say they want to move into any kind of retirement or age-restricted community. Instead, they want to stay in their own homes, in their own neighborhood nad have their own friends.

Baby Boomers want to stay close to their loved ones. This is also a high priority for residents. They not only want to be close to their children, but also their grandchildren as well. Proximity to loved ones is certainly key with this segment of the population.

We’re Your #1 Source for National Real Estate Trends

We hope you’ve learned something new after reading today’s real estate blog. The Baby Boomers will undoubtedly have a huge impact on the real estate market as they prepare for where they want to live their Golden Years.

Please check back here soon to learn about more trends that may impact your local housing market.

Signed Contracts for US Homes Increase, Report Shows.

Home contractIn the latest sign that the U.S. real estate market is improving, more Americans signed contracts to purchase homes in February than in nearly a year.

The National Association of Realtors released the data, which showed that the seasonally adjusted pending home sales index increased 3.1 percent to 106.9 in February.

That’s the highest it’s been since June 2013!

If you’re preparing to list your home anytime soon on the local housing market, we encourage you to continue reading to learn more about this trend!

US Home Sales Are On the Rise!

Here are some additional highlights from the recent National Association of Realtors report:

  • Buying activity increased in the Midwest and West during the month of February, although it actually decreased slightly in the Northeast and South.
  • Existing homes sold at an annual pace of 4.88 million in February, which is slightly below last year’s levels.
  • The supply of homes was just 4.6 months, compared to five months a year ago. It should be noted that a six month inventory is considered a balanced market.
  • Average 30-year fixed rates were 3.69 percent last week, according to the mortgage giant Freddie Mac. That was down from a 52-week high of 4.41 percent recently.
  • Home prices have increased 17 percent since the middle of 2012, which is when the market bottomed out.
  • Analysts are particularly encouraged by the recent gains because it means that the housing market was able to overcome such unforeseen and uncontrollable hurdles like freezing weather and a particularly harsh winter.

Experts say that the upturn suggests that the spring home buying season will be robust.

They added that home sales are likely to be further supported since the unemployment rate is down to 5.5 percent.

In fact, the unemployment rate is down to its lowest level in nearly seven years!  And employers have added 3.3 million jobs during the last year, including 295,000 jobs in February.

All of this is giving would-be home buyers more buying power as well as consumer confidence. This, in turn, is leading more to enter the national housing market in search of their dream home.

We’re Your #1 Real Estate Resource!

We hope you found the above information insightful as a prospective home seller.

As you can see, it really is a great time to list your property on the market.  After all, there’s plenty of pent-up home buyer demand and home sales activity appears to be picking up.

Please check back here soon for more valuable insight on that national housing market and how it may impact you.  We’d be happy to offer our expert insight in order to help you enjoy a successful outcome as a home seller!