Five Things to do Before Putting Your Home on the Market

 |  Home Maintenance, Home Organization, Real Estate News, Selling a Home
  • Have a pre-sale home inspection. Be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale home inspection. An inspector will be able to give you a good indication of the trouble areas that will stand out to potential buyers, and you’ll be able to make repairs before open houses begin.
  • Organize and clean. Pare down clutter and pack up your least-used items, such as large blenders and other kitchen tools, out-of-season clothes, toys, and exercise equipment. Store items off-site or in boxes neatly arranged in the garage or basement. Clean the windows, carpets...
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 |  Home Organization, Safety

Moving with Pets

Moving to a new home can be stressful on your pets, but there are many things you can do to make the process as painless as possible. Experts at the Pet Realty Network in Naples, Fla., offer these helpful tips for easing the transition and keeping pets safe during the move.

  1. Update your pet’s tag. Make sure your pet is wearing a sturdy collar with an identification tag that is labeled with your current contact information. The tag should include your destination location, telephone number, and cell phone number so that ...

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Lender Checklist: What You Need for a Mortgage

 |  Financial, Purchasing a Home, Real Estate News, Resources to Hire Professionals
  • W-2 forms — or business tax return forms if you’re self-employed — for the last two or three years for every person signing the loan.
  • Copies of at least one pay stub for each person signing the loan.
  • Account numbers of all your credit cards and the amounts for any outstanding balances.
  • Copies of two to four months of bank or credit union statements for both checking and savings accounts.
  • Lender, loan number, and amount owed on other installment loans, such as student loans and car loans.
  • Addresses where you’ve lived for the last...
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Take the Stress Out of Purchasing a Home

 |  Purchasing a Home, Real Estate News, Resources to Hire Professionals
Buying a home should be fun, not stressful. As you look for your dream home, keep in mind these tips for making the process as peaceful as possible.
  1. Find a real estate agent who you connect with. Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It’s critical that the REALTOR® you chose is both highly skilled and a good fit with your personality.
  2. Remember, there’s no “right” time to buy, just as there’s no perfect time to sell<...
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Property Tax Questions You Need To Ask

 |  Financial, Purchasing a Home, Real Estate News, Resources to Hire Professionals

Below are five property tax questions you will want to ask when considering purchasing a home to make sure you find the right fit.  Always discuss your own personal situation with a financial or tax professional.

  1. What is the assessed value of the property? Note that assessed value is generally less than market value. Ask to see a recent copy of the seller’s tax bill to help you determine this information
  2. How often are properties reassessed, and when was the last reassessment done? In gene...
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Resources to Protect Your Interests

 |  Financial, Resources to Hire Professionals

The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, has free information for you to protect your interests.

  1. National Do Not Call Registry www.DoNotCall.gov or call 888-382-1222
  2. To learn more about credit, loans and mortgages:  www.ftc.gov/credit
  3. Get a free copy of your credit report:  www.annualcreditreport.com or call 877-322-8228
  4. Report ID theft:  www.ftc.gov/i...
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Specialty Mortgages: Risks and Rewards

 |  Financial, Purchasing a Home, Real Estate News, Resources to Hire Professionals

In high-priced housing markets, it can be difficult to afford a home. That’s why a growing number of home buyers are forgoing traditional fixed-rate mortgages and standard adjustable-rate mortgages and instead opting for a specialty mortgage that lets them “stretch” their income so they can qualify for a larger loan.

But before you choose one of these mortgages, make sure you understand the risks and how they work.

Specialty mortgages often begin with a low introductory interest rate or payment plan — a “teaser”— but the monthly mortgage payments are likely to in...

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Getting Your Finances In Order

 |  Financial, Purchasing a Home

Financial issues are in the news constantly.  Below are two resources reprinted with permission from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® for your reference when considering your own personal finances.

 

Get Your Finances in Order: To-Do List

1. Develop a household budget. Instead of creating a budget of what you’d like to spend, use receipts to create a budget that reflects your actual spending habits over the last several months. This approach will factor in unexpected expenses, such as car repairs...

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What is Appraised Value?

 |  Financial, Purchasing a Home, Real Estate News, Resources to Hire Professionals, Selling a Home

The subject of appraisals has been in the news recently.  Here is information for you to help clarify the topic.

 

  • Appraisals provide an objective opinion of value, but it’s not an exact science so appraisals may differ.

 

  • For buying and selling purposes, appraisals are usually based on market value — what the property could probably be sold for. Other types of value include insurance value, replacement value, and assessed value for property tax purposes.

 

  • Appraised value is not a...
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Five Factors That Determine Your Credit Score

 |  Financial, Purchasing a Home

The following is reprinted with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

Credit scores range between 200 and 800, with scores above 620 considered desirable for obtaining a mortgage. The following factors affect your score:

  1. Your payment history. Did you pay your credit card obligations on time? If they were late, then how late? Bankruptcy filing, liens, and collection activity also impact your history.
  2. How much you owe. If you owe a great deal of money on numerous accounts, it can indicate ...
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