Lisa's Real Estate Blog

Can't Afford to Buy a Home? Have You Considered Down Payment Assistance?

What's the number one hurdle for renters making the leap to homeownership? That pesky down payment. Even with an FHA loan that only requires a minimum of 3.5% down, the thought of setting aside several thousand dollars is daunting (and for some, darn near impossible).

A survey from Apartment List highlights the struggle for millennial renters, with 62% citing a lack of down payment savings as their reason for delaying homeownership. 48% have zero down payment savings, and just 11% have saved $10,000 or more.

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Why Is There So Much Paperwork Required To Get A Mortgage?

Why is there so much paperwork mandated by the lenders for a mortgage loan application when buying a home today? It seems that they need to know everything about you and requires three separate sources to validate each and every entry on the application form.

Many buyers are being told by friends and family that the process was a hundred times easier when they bought their home ten to twenty years ago.

There are two very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any time in history.

1. The government has set new guidelines that now demand that the bank proves beyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of paying the mortgage.

During the run-up to the housing crisis, many people ‘qualified’ for mortgages that they could never pay back. This led to millions of families losing their home. The government wants to make sure this...

3 Reasons Why You Should Move Before School Starts

It’s almost time for school to start up again. Are you in a great school district?

Find out your schools’ scores here: https://bit.ly/2sxHyDX

If you have school-age children, it’s important to be sure that you are in a highly rated school district before school starts. Here’s why:

  1. If you move before school starts, your child will not have to deal with the stress of moving schools, making new friends, meeting new teachers, etc.
  2. Moving to a higher-ranking school district opens the door for a better education for your child. You are not only investing in a home, you’re investing in their future.
  3. Once your child is no longer in school and it is time to sell, you will have an excellent selling point for your home, because everyone wants the best for their kids.

If you are looking to move for access to better schools, here...

5 Reasons Why You Should Not For Sale By Owner!

In today’s market, with home prices rising and a lack of inventory, some homeowners may consider trying to sell their homes on their own, known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are several reasons why this might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.

Here are the top five reasons:

1. Exposure to Prospective Buyers

Recent studies have shown that 94% of buyers search online for a home. That is in comparison to only 16% looking at print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

2. Results...

5 Things Your Real Estate Photographer Wishes You Knew

Folks, it’s 2019! Contrary to what you might have heard, a buyer’s first impression is no longer that special moment when they first pull up to check out your curb appeal. In fact, more often than not, they’ve already checked out your place from front to back online—and for all you know, they may have decided to cruise right by.

Most buyers spend weeks stalking perusing online listings, making Pinterest dream boards, texting must-see homes to their agent, and, well, ...

Thinking about buying soon? Make sure your credit is in order

There’s no more important time to work on your credit score than when you’re about to apply for a mortgage. Improving your credit can save you a ton of money—we’re talking about thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Here are the actions you can take that will have a notable impact on your score.

Pay down your credit card balances Credit utilization is one of the biggest factors in determining your credit score. Your credit utilization should at least be less than 30 percent of your limit, and it’s even better if you can get it below 15 percent. This rule applies to both individual cards and your overall credit limit.

It may even be worthwhile to use some of the cash funds you were planning to use for a down payment to pay off credit card balances.

Do no harm While you certainly want to improve your score if possible, at the very least you’ll want to keep it steady. Avoid opening new lines of...

Dealing with Financing

Dealing with financing image

As the events of the last few years in the real estate industry show, people forget about the tremendous financial responsibility of purchasing a home at their peril. Here are a few tips for dealing with the dollar signs so that you can take down that “for sale” sign on your new home.

Get pre-approved. Sub-primes may be history, but you’ll probably still be shown homes you can’t actually afford. By getting pre-approved as a buyer, you can save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can't afford. You can also put yourself in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Unlike pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income,...

One-Story Versus Two-Story home: Which is Better?

When house hunting, this question is worth considering—and the answer isn't as simple as you might think. The number of floors in a home affects not just the way it looks, but also how easy it is to navigate and maintain, how much you'll pay for heating and cooling, and much more.

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5 Tips for Buying a Home

Looking to buy a home? Here are five essential tips for making the process as smooth as possible.

Get your finances in order.

Start by getting a full picture of your credit. Obtain copies of your credit report. Make sure the facts are correct, and fix any problems you find. Next, find a suitable lender and get pre-approved for a loan. This will put you in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house.

Find a house you can afford.

As with engagement rings, there’s a general rule of thumb when it comes to buying a home: two-and-a-half times your annual salary. There are also a number of tools and calculators online that can help you understand how your income, debt, and expenses affect what you can afford. Don’t forget, too, that there are lots of considerations beyond the sticker price, including property taxes, energy costs, etc.

Hire a professional.

While the Internet gives...