Wanda J. Hall - Westford Real Estate



Posted by Wanda J. Hall on 5/20/2019

There is a reason why online lenders like Quicken Loans have amassed millions of customers over the past few years. Actually, there are a number of reasons. Here are a few just for starters.

Accessibility

Anyone with a phone or home internet connection can apply for a house loan online. Wherever you are in the country, you can ask for a house loan, and get it at a competitive rate. To be considered for a mortgage by a bank, you will need to be an account holder with them. Then you will need a bank official to walk you through the application process. Online lenders strive to make their application procedure easy to follow so you can do it yourself from start to finish with minimal guidance. Better Mortgage has been feted for its intuitive online process. 

Quick TAT

Getting approval for your mortgage application from conventional banks can prove to be like waiting for a miracle. Scrutiny on applications is tighter now more than ever in the wake of the recent financial crisis. You may have to wait for more than a month before you get a green light on your mortgage. Online lenders allow you to begin the process online if you’re interested in the product and are agreeable with the terms. Some, like Quicken Loans, promise to get your approval within a matter of minutes. Online mortgage providers will even allow you to complete the entire process online, giving a provision for you to upload all supporting documentation to their website securely.

Informed decision

You will find most, if not all, the information you need to decide on your loan on the lender’s website. Most of them have embedded a loan calculator on their webpages, which allows you to work out how much you will need to pay every month if you input the price of the house and your initial deposit. Even after you secure the mortgage, you can keep track of your repayment schedule without having to call or visit a branch.

Bad credit

A low credit score will quickly undo your application for a mortgage with JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo or any other traditional bank. After burning their fingers during the housing crisis, few of them are willing to take on the risk of FHA-backed house loans. This kind of loan was the low-hanging fruit for many first-time aspiring homeowners as well as those with lower-than-average credit ratings.

Browse through this independent review of online lenders if you intend to invest in a new pad soon.




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Posted by Wanda J. Hall on 5/13/2019

The number of showings a seller needs to host varies. In some instances, a buyer may submit an offer to purchase a house following an initial showing. Or, in other cases, a seller may host dozens of showings without receiving any offers to purchase his or her house.

Ultimately, there are lots of things that a seller can do to boost the likelihood that a home showing leads to an offer to purchase his or her residence, such as:

1. Perform Home Upgrades

A faulty light in your kitchen or chipped paint on your bathroom's wall may be problematic. But if you perform home upgrades, you can complete myriad house repairs. Perhaps most important, you can address various home problems before they otherwise slow down the house selling journey.

Oftentimes, it helps to take a room-by-room approach to identify home problems. If you make a list of house issues, you can address these problems over the course of several days or weeks. Then, when your house is ready, you can add it to the real estate market and host showings.

2. Clean Your House

A neat, tidy house is sure to make a great first impression on buyers. If you devote time and resources to clean each room in your house, you could make it easy for buyers to fall in love with your residence.

Of course, if you need help with home cleaning, you can always reach out to professionals for assistance. If you employ home cleaning professionals, you can upgrade your residence's appearance in no time at all.

3. Eliminate Clutter

Antiques, paintings and other decorations may help you transform a house into a home. However, you should remove these items before you host a house showing. Because if assorted personal belongings are scattered across your residence, it may be tough for buyers to envision what life could be like if they purchase your house.

If you have lots of personal belongings, you can rent a storage unit where you can keep these items safe until your residence sells. Or, if you have excess items, you can sell these items or give them to family members or friends.

Lastly, as you get set to list your residence, you may want to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional will offer tips and recommendations to help you get your residence show-ready.

A real estate agent understands how to promote a residence to the right groups of buyers. He or she will schedule showings on your behalf and provide feedback after buyers view your residence. Plus, if a showing results in an offer to purchase your residence, a real estate agent can offer suggestions about whether to accept, reject or counter this proposal.

If you prepare for a home showing, you could accelerate the house selling journey. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can get ready for any showing, as well as make your home an attractive option to buyers.




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Posted by Wanda J. Hall on 5/6/2019

Everyone wants to own a home of their own at some point in their lives. There is only one first home, and you don't get a second chance. Well, you get a second or third if you want, but that first experience can have a significant effect on how you feel about homeownership. So, here a just a few common sense tips. Unfortunately, common sense isn't always common.

First, slow down. There is no rush to buy that home. When you hurry, you put pressure on yourself to get it done, and you overlook things that can cost you time and money down the line. Sometimes family puts pressure on you to buy your first home so that you can start having babies and they don't want their babies living in a little apartment. Again remember, you are the one who has to live there and the one that has to pay for it. So all those people putting pressure to buy really should not have that kind of influence unless they commit to the full responsibility of the homeownership.

Second, be realistic about the cost. You commonly hear that it is cheaper to own than to rent, and depending on the point of view that can be true. Most people are saying that based on just principle and interest. But have you ever driven through a nice neighborhood and some houses are really kept looking nice, and then there are those houses that the yard is a mess? The grass is not green, flowers and maybe even trees are dying — the actual physical house kind of looks a little run down. You think "this is your home, why are you not taking care of it?" Well, there is a thing that as renters you never have to deal with, and it is called upkeep. Also, utilities like water can get expensive.In a lot of cases, the homeowners bought as much as they could afford in payments without having anything extra. So now they do not have the money for the excess water to water the grass or buy new plants or clean the shutters or fix a window. Take time to understand what your budget is currently. Could you right now—outside of your rent—put an extra twenty to thirty percent of your income into a savings account and have it not affect your food budget? If you can START. RIGHT. NOW. Remember you do have to have a down payment too, so if you don't have it in hand, you have to start saving for it.

Third, look at homes. Do not engage a realtor yet! They have one job, and it is to sell you a house. Right now you are not to that point, so do not put that pressure on yourself. Start driving around neighborhoods and start observing different things about them. Start getting into the habit of seeing the little details of each home. Go online Friday night and find the OPEN HOUSES that are going to take place on Saturday and Sunday. Determine which ones you would like to see. Look at ones that are way out of your price range, ones in your price range, and then do not miss the ones that are way below your price range. Remember it is better to be way below your budget than at the very top end. As you go through each of these homes, do not just wander through. Take your time to look at the details. Not only the cool aspects but the little things that show that might be wrong, a link in a sink, marks in the walls and doors. These opens houses not only help you figure out what you do or do not want, but they also help you not to miss things when you are ready to buy and find the house that you would like to purchase. There is nothing worse than buying a home and after you moved in you start seeing things that are an issue that you do not remember being there before you purchased.

It is all about the details and since you have never purchased a home before you need practice paying attention to the details so you will be the best buyer you can be when you have your downpayment ready.

One last note, when you visit these open houses, the realtor usually wants a contact number for follow-up. If you are not ready for that pressure, let them know you're just in the preliminary stages of looking. A home could be the biggest purchase of your life, so go into it relaxed and prepared.




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Posted by Wanda J. Hall on 4/29/2019

Unmarried couples often find themselves surprised at the additional steps it takes to buy a home compared to their wedded friends.

This guide will help you prepare for buying a home together as an unmarried couple:

Banks will assess you differently than they would a married couple.

Whereas they look at a married couple as a single financial unit, you and your partner will be assessed individually. This certainly has its pro’s and con’s. Know that if one partner has a significantly lower credit score it can affect your eligibility for a loan as a couple.  

Legal ownership of the title will be different.

Unmarried couples have three options when it comes to title ownership: sole ownership, joint tenants and tenants in common.

Tenants in common is the most popular. The difference between tenants in common and joint tenants is this:

  • In a joint tenancy ownership is 50/50. If one partner were to become deceased, ownership of their half of the property would carry over to the other partner.

  • Tenants in common ownership can be disproportionate to reflect each partners level of investment.  If one partner were to become deceased, their living trust would inherit ownership of their portion of the property if another option is not otherwise specified in their will.

  • Sole ownership is just that. One partner owns full legal ownership of the property. This option can have tax benefits and increase your financing eligibility if one partner has a higher income or better credit score than the other.

It’s highly recommended for unmarried couples to sign a property, partnership or cohabitation agreement when buying a home together. This is a legal precaution to safeguard both partners in the future should anything happen.

If your finances are separate it is ideal to at the very least create a joint checking account from which to draw the down payment and mortgage installments. This is especially true if both partners are contributing to these payments. It create a clean, clearcut payment process each month.

Know each other's finances.

Discuss your credit scores, debt burden, savings, investments and financial goals. Get clear on where you each stand and how these factors will influence your buying process. Create a budget together as a couple to ensure you can take on not just the responsibility of a mortgage payment but also closing costs, homeowners insurance, property taxes and maintenance costs. Plan for savings like retirement, nest egg, family planning, future vacations, and emergency funds.

Buying a home together as an unmarried couple is a different process than that of married couples. However, that doesn’t mean it has to be harder. With an understanding of what to expect ahead of time and a plan in place, the process can be a smooth one.






Posted by Wanda J. Hall on 4/22/2019

The cost of buying a house extends beyond a seller's initial asking price. In fact, there are many "hidden" costs that buyers need to consider as they decide whether to purchase a house, such as:

1. Closing Costs

There are various closing costs that a buyer may encounter before he or she finalizes a house purchase, including survey, appraisal and wire transfer fees. As such, it generally is a good idea to prepare for these costs prior to launching a house search. Because if you prepare for closing costs, you can ensure that you have the finances available to cover these expenses when you are ready to complete a house purchase.

Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions prior to starting a home search. These financial institutions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage and teach you about home closing costs. Best of all, after you get a mortgage, you can start your home search with the financing you need to secure your ideal residence.

2. Property Taxes

Property taxes usually are assessed twice a year, and they vary based on state and county. However, if you learn about property taxes, you can map out your homebuying budget accordingly.

Real estate property tax information is part of the public record. Thus, you can access information about property taxes related to a particular home before you purchase it. And once you have this information at your disposal, you can use it to determine whether to move forward with a house purchase or continue your search for your dream home.

3. Utilities

Utility bills vary based on the size of a home, its location and other factors. If you devote time and resources to estimate your utility expenses, you may be better equipped than ever before to make an informed home purchase.

To assess your potential utility costs, you may want to consult with a seller's agent. This professional may be able to provide you with insights into the current homeowner's utility expenses to help you budget appropriately.

It never hurts to hire a real estate agent to help you navigate the homebuying journey, too. A real estate agent can offer expert insights into closing costs, property taxes and other homebuying fees, as well as help you quickly discover your dream residence.

Let's not forget about the comprehensive homebuying guidance that a real estate agent can provide, either. For instance, if you are unsure about whether to submit an offer to purchase a house, a real estate agent can offer recommendations and tips to help you make the best-possible decision. Or, if you have concerns or questions at any point during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.

For those who want to buy a house, it helps to learn about all of the potential costs associated with a home purchase. If you start budgeting for a home purchase today, you could accelerate your quest to find and buy your ideal residence.




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