Category Archives: Buyer Pre-Approval

How to Win Homes in a Seller’s Market

love lettersIf you’ve ever experienced the disappointment of losing out on a home in a seller’s market, you want to do everything possible to keep it from happening again. One tactic many buyers overlook is the “love letter” written to sellers about their home.

Rationally, you might expect the highest offer will always win the home, but there are a host of other factors involved. Some are emotional. Some sellers want to see their home go to a buyer they not only trust to close the deal, but they also like personally.

Want to give yourself an edge? Craft a short “love letter” to go with your offer. Here are the basics you’ll want to cover in your letter:

  1. Explain how much you like their home. Don’t go overboard, but prove to them you know the home and you truly appreciate their taste and the unique characteristics of the house. This might touch on improvements they’ve made or other aesthetic details. 
  1. Spare them all the things you might want to change. What you say is as important as what you don’t say. Don’t tell them you’re going to gut the place as soon as you close, add a second story, or rip out their garden for a pool. 
  1. Demonstrate you’re qualified to close. Make them feel confident in your qualifications as a buyer. Show them you’re pre-qualified for a loan, are buying cash, or have other reasons why you’ll be a hassle-free buyer. 
  1. Be humble and positive. Don’t give them a sob story about the four other homes2022051168 you’ve lost out on. Praise the neighborhood and make them feel as though you would be positively honored to be chosen as the next owner of their home. 
  1. Check the letter for typos. Read it out loud. Listen for clunky sentences or awkward repetition. Have someone proof it for mistakes. Their confidence in your attention to detail is important.

 A good agent should be able to tell you if the letter sounds like an honest appeal. Have it included with your offer as a cover letter.

Need help finding a home worth a love letter? Get in touch today: Barbara & Gregg, The Nicholas Team of Village Square REALTORS 973-509-2222 ext. 1126

Two Years to the Down Payment You Need

home-buying-checklistEvery month you pay the rent, you’re probably thinking, “I wish this money was going into my future.” For a lot of would-be first-time home buyers, it’s the down payment which makes home ownership seem impossible.  Climbing the “down payment mountain” isn’t impossible. Like any major challenge, it’s all a matter of breaking your big, hairy, audacious goal down into practical steps. 

 Here are some tips to conquer saving for a down payment:

 Find out where your money goes. You can’t start saving if you don’t know where you’re spending. For a month or two, track each expenditure, no matter how small. Get an objective picture of where you’re spending the cash. thdpuyvjem If you are spending over $30 a month on coffee; maybe its time to buy a coffee maker and make your own? Most coffee houses sell ground coffee for at home brewing for a fraction of the cost of a daily cup.

Get specific about how much you need to save. Even if you’re not 100% sure what your down payment needs to be yet, it’s good to start doing a little math to figure out how much you need to save. Pick a dollar amount and a timeline to hit that dollar amount. For example, a $25,000 down payment in two years comes to $1,041/month. Sound unrealistic? Either scale down your home desires to something smaller or scale up your timeline. If you can wait three years, that monthly savings goal drops to $694/month.

 Determine the big moves you can make. If you’re in a three bedroom apartment and can stomach the idea of scaling down to a one  or two bedroom, how much would you save in rent? What about going from two cars down to one? If you can make it work, these sacrifices will have a huge impact on your savings goals.

 Setup a separate savings account. Don’t let your dream home money mingle with your regular checking or savings account. Establish a high-yield savings account with a credit union or money market account to protect and build your stash. It’s important to have a separate account with a “hands off” attitude. There are some great deals at some of the online bank institutes.

 Mind the risky investment schemes. Home Mortgage Down Payment, A Gray House, Brown Card And Calculator On Stone BackgroundOnce you have a little momentum, you might be tempted to take some of that cash and invest it in order to make it grow faster. Be very prudent about this, as investing in stocks, startups, or high-yield funds can easily decimate your savings. Be conservative.

 

Of course, it’s important to know how much home you want to buy when you’re saving up for your down payment. We’re happy to give you an idea what homes are selling for in your area.  And more importantly, we can put you in touch with a mortgage rep to determine how much house you can afford – reach out and we will help you make the first move towards your own home! 

Barbara & Gregg, The Nicholas Team of RE/MAX Village Square Realtors  realestate@thenicholasteam.com   973-509-2222

Can I Bring Kids House Hunting?

If you need more room for your growing family, or you’re simply relocating to a new town during the summer months, you may be wondering if bringing your kids along on the house hunting journey is a good idea.

In our experience, there are pros and cons to having kids with you as you try and find the next family home. Here’s what you’ll want to consider before you bring everyone along to open houses and showings.

  1. Liability matters. If you have a newborn strapped to your chest, it might not be much of an issue to walk through a prospective home, but toddlers are a different story. Your home may be kid safe, but not all homes on the market have been prepared to show with a free-range child in mind. childseats Kids don’t necessarily understand this new home isn’t a playground, and there may be areas which are not explicitly safe for your little ones. ( And another thought: car seats!  Be ready to drive in a separate car from your agent or have enough room  for an  extra adult in the car… see point #4 below).

 

  1. Is it an open house or a private showing? Open houses are often group affairs, and you’ll need to check your comfort level bringing your child along in these social settings. Kids can also get bored at these grown-up moments. Will you be able to focus on the home if your attention is split between the home and your kid? Kids are certainly allowed at open houses, but in general it is easier to maximize an open house kid free.

 

  1. Is it important to have your child with you? Sometimes, when you have an older child you want to help adjust to the idea of moving, it can be useful to lay the ground rules with your kid and make them feel as though they are important in the process. Teens can also provide valuable perspective on a new home, especially when it comes to checking out home amenities and the bedroom situation. Getting teen buy-in can ease the transition, especially when they’re leaving friends and familiarity behind.

 

  1. house-hunting with kids 3Sometimes you have no other option. If a babysitter is out of the question, or your schedule is such that having your child with you is a must, you should know that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having your kid along for the ride. It can be useful to let your agent know, provided your agent is the one taking you on a tour of the property. This will help the agent remain alert for potential safety and liability issues, and may even help them tailor the time it takes to move through the homes.

 

We want your whole family to be safe during the home hunt and happy when you’ve found a place you like. Let us help you find the perfect home for your family… we can start our search today: Barbara & Gregg, THE NICHOLAS TEAM of RE/MAX VILLAGE SQUARE 973-509-2222  EXT. 1126   RealEstate@TheNicholasTeam.com

 

 

2016 WINTER BUYING AND SELLING GUIDES AVAILABLE

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The process of buying a home can be overwhelming at times, but you don’t need to go through it alone.

You may be wondering if now is a good time to buy a home…or if interest rates are projected to rise or fall. The free eGuide  for BUYERS or SELLERS will answer many of your questions and likely bring up a few things you didn’t even know you should consider when buying a home.

2015 FALL HOME BUYER and SELLER GUIDEs NOW AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD

 

Are You Thinking About Selling Your House Soon?

It’s difficult to know when is the best time to sell, or how to get the most money for your house, but you don’t need to go through the process alone.

You may be wondering if prices are projected to rise or fall…or if you should rent your house instead of selling it. The free eGuide below will answer many of your questions and likely bring up a few things you haven’t even thought about yet.

Check it out here and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

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Are You Thinking About Buying a Home?

The process of buying a home can be overwhelming at times, but you don’t need to go through it alone.

You may be wondering if now is a good time to buy a home…or if interest rates are projected to rise or fall. The free eGuide below will answer many of your questions and likely bring up a few things you didn’t even know you should consider when buying a home.

Check out the Home Buying Guide here, and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

FICO looks to other data points for scoring

calculaterIf you’re in the market for a home, you’re probably in the market for a mortgage. With the exception of all-cash buyers, most buyers will find out soon what their FICO score is and what banks think about it.

The FICO score has a huge impact on whether or not lenders consider you an acceptable credit risk, and yet there are more than 53 million Americans out there who don’t have a credit score at all. This doesn’t mean they’re a bad risk, necessarily… it just means they haven’t used credit cards, held a previous mortgage, or had an auto loan. They may be perfectly responsible financial citizens. So how do they apply for a mortgage?

In an attempt to broaden access, FICO has begin to factor new data sources. Announced in April, 2015, FICO will now include two additional sources: A national utility database, presided over by Equifax, and LexisNexis, which relies on public records.

The idea behind the change is this: First, the timeliness of utility payments can be used as month-to-month evidence of financial health. Second, FICO will be looking at LexisNexis address changes to determine how often people have relocated. In theory, frequent moves may be an indication of increased risk.

Though the impulse may be good, the changes are not without some controversy. Some argue the accuracy of the Equifax database may be a concern. It also adds one more credit reporting database which must be monitored. There’s also a worry that the “frequency of move” may unfairly punish people and provide a disincentive for relocations, downsizing, and upsizing of homes, provided FICO only uses the LexisNexis information in a punitive way.

More details are sure to emerge, but one thing is for sure: The era of Big Data in the cloud will be sure to cast their shadow on the way financial institutions assess risk in the years ahead. One hopes that they ultimately let in more sunshine than shade when it comes to helping buyers attain the dream of homeownership.

Are you ready to explore the dream? Contact us today. We’d be happy to help you navigate the home buying or selling journey and help you find a great mortgage lender:mort The NicholasTeam, Barbara and Gregg you can call out office at: 973-509-2222  or email us at: realestate@TheNicholasTeam.com.   Visit our website for more information and to start your home search!