Making a Competitive Offer on a Home

Finding the right home is only the beginning of your homebuying journey. After that, you’ll have to make an offer — one that both protects your interests as a buyer and helps you stand out from other bidders.

That last part is especially important if you’re buying in a seller’s market, where housing inventory is low and buying competition is high. Want to make sure you make the right offer and snag that dream home? Here’s what you’ll need to know:

  • Tap into your agent’s expertise. Your real estate agent can research the local market for pricing, the number of active listings and more. Being informed about comparable sales can help you make a competitive offer. 

  • Make the right earnest money deposit. Earnest money is used to protect the seller if you back out of the deal. The more you offer, the more confidence they’ll likely have in your bid.

  • Consider your contingencies. Contingencies can be written into the offer to protect your interests as a buyer. But note that a seller’s market may not be suitable for contingency offers.

  • Factor in renovations and repairs. Is the house going to need major repairs before you move in? Factor these expenses into your offer and adjust the price as necessary.

It is possible to make your dreams of homeownership a reality. But keep in mind that you’ll need to have your financing in order before you make an offer on a home.

If you’re starting your homebuying journey and need financing, reach out today.

Yes, You Can Save Money And Pay Off Debt

If you’ve got a mortgage, you probably want to pay it off sooner rather than later. But how do you do that when you’re busy just getting by? More importantly, how do you do it while also saving for the future?

It takes the right planning, tools and mindset. But paying off your loan and saving for retirement at the same time is an attainable goal. Start with these steps:

1. Use windfalls strategically. Are you expecting a bonus or a big tax refund? Don’t spend it all on new clothes or a fancy vacation. Instead, use that windfall to get one step closer to your goals. Put at least some of the money in a high-interest savings account, or use it to make an extra mortgage payment.

2. Make realistic savings goals. Everyone would love to have millions in the bank, but that isn’t always possible. Instead of shooting for the stars, set realistic, incremental savings goals. That way you can reach them while still supporting your household.

3. Create a budget. Planning where your money goes ahead of time can be super useful. You should create an overall budget, mapping out how much to spend on items like entertainment and groceries. Again, make sure the budget is reasonable for your family’s needs. 

4. Find helpful tools. You don’t have to go it alone. Money-saving tools and budgeting apps can help you cut costs and save more. Best of all, they’re conveniently available on your phone.

When it comes to saving and paying off debts, staying the course is crucial. And you might even be able to make it easier by refinancing your mortgage. Reach out today for more information.

Considerations for Repeat Homebuyers

You probably learned a lot as a first-time homebuyer. But just because you’ve bought a home in the past, it doesn’t mean things will be the same the next time around. Every home purchase is different. No matter how experienced you are, it’s important to take the time to understand your goals, the housing market and the conditions under which you’re buying.

Want your second home purchase (or third, fourth or fifth) to go off without a hitch? These tips can help:

Learn the market. Even if it’s only been a few years since your last purchase, the market has probably changed. If you’re looking in a new area, is it a buyer’s market or seller’s market? Study up on home prices in the area, as well as how long homes are taking to sell.

Decide if you’ll sell. If you’re selling your current home while buying a new one, think about how that will work — both logistically and financially. You may also want to consider including a home sale contingency in your offer.

Research the new location. If you’re moving out of state, look into the process of buying in that location before diving in. Each state has different contracts, fees and systems when it comes to buying real estate. Doing research early on can help you better prepare for your upcoming purchase.

Paint the bigger picture. Make sure you’ve decided what you’re looking for in the new home. Sure, if you’re downsizing you want a smaller property (and a lower price), but don’t stop there. Know what amenities you want in the house, what kind of commute you’re willing to have and what your new neighborhood should look like.

If you need a mortgage for your new place, or a real estate agent referral, get in touch today.

4 Essential Furnishings for Your Home

Versatility is often crucial in home furnishings. You never know when you might need to move a piece or rearrange your whole layout at the last minute to accommodate guests. 

So take a step back and assess: How versatile are your home furnishings? If they’re lacking in flexibility (or if you’re planning to furnish a new house in the near future), make sure to work these multipurpose pieces into the mix:

Side Tables: A pair of side tables gives you a place to set drinks in the living room. But they can also offer quick, easy and accessible storage, keeping your space from getting messy and cluttered. You can use side tables to hold your belongings next to your bed too.

Simple Dressers: Use them for clothes, linens and blankets in a bedroom or hallway and for towels in the bathroom. You can hide a dresser in the closet if you’re not keen on their aesthetic but still need the storage space.

Slipper Chairs: These simple, upholstered pieces are lightweight, easy to move across the house and great for entertaining. Pick a neutral color so it won’t throw off your design scheme when moved around. They can be kept in the bedroom, living room or dining area.

An Ottoman: It can be used as a footstool or seating in a gathering space. Get one that can also serve double duty with storage capabilities. Opt for one that can be used as a coffee table to really make the most of this piece.

When you’re buying new furniture for your home, think beyond its initial and immediate use. Could you move it to other areas of the house? Those are the furnishings worth investing in.

Do you need help financing a home makeover? Have questions? Get in touch today.

5 Smart Colors for Home Design in 2019

Are you thinking of refreshing your home’s decor? Or prepping to buy and decorate a new home?

When it comes to home design, color choice is everything. Not only can color affect mood, but it can also impact the perceived size and brightness of your space.

According to designers, here are five fashionable colors you might want to throw into the mix:

Pewter is a neutral beige-gray. It’s a functional choice that works virtually anywhere in the house. Thanks to its muted tones, it goes well with just about any color or accent, from bright and bold shades to lighter pastel ones.

Which hue is great for drawing in the eye? Mustard. It’s perfect for highlighting decor or accenting a specific part of your home. This one is best used in smaller doses because it’s so strong.

Light blues are naturally soothing. That makes them an appropriate option for bathrooms, bedrooms and powder rooms — places that could use the calming effect of these tones.

Nature-inspired deep greens are an excellent choice for large rooms. That goes double for ones with lots of windows and natural light. These dark hues aren’t great for smaller spaces — they often make the area feel more cramped.

Simple, muted pastels are perfect for places where a minimal feel is best. They also evoke cleanliness, making them well-suited to kitchens, laundry rooms and bathrooms.

These are just a few of the shades that designers are predicting will be hot in 2019. Test out swatches, consider your decor and think about how you use each space. Your home’s interior will be refreshed in no time.

Reach out today if you’d like a referral to a local interior designer.

5 Tips for a Hassle-Free Moving Day

Does the idea of moving have you frazzled? You’re not alone. 

It’s a big undertaking, even for the most organized of homeowners and renters. On top of all the purging, packing and loading you have to do at your old place, there are lots of tasks to complete at your new home.

Are you planning a big move in the near future? Use this list to keep everything on schedule:

1. Clean your new place. As soon as you have access to it, give your new home a good cleaning. Moving in and sorting your belongings is hard enough — you don’t want to be dusting and vacuuming on the day of the move too.

2. Set up utilities ahead of time. You want functioning electricity, water and internet on move-in day, right? Make sure to get utilities and service providers set up early to avoid moving day hassles.

3. Plan for oversized items. Have a piano or large sculpture? What about heavy mirrors? Start planning how you’ll transport these items ahead of time. And designate spaces for each piece in the new home. Don’t forget to keep your movers in the loop.

4. Hang all your window coverings. You don’t need a fully decorated house on day one. But installing blinds and curtains on moving day is necessary. Why? Because you probably don’t want to wake up at sunrise on day two.

5. Keep track of the paperwork. Do you know where you’ll keep move-related documents and receipts? Make sure you’re keeping them in one place — a secure, easy-to-find one. You’ll need that paperwork when it comes time to file your taxes.

After that, it’s just time to unload, unpack and get settled, and turn your new house into a home.

Are you looking for your next home? Get in touch to discuss your financing options.