Selling Your Home in the Winter

sellingDean Graziosi shares that it is traditional for spring to be the primary home buying season, while this may be true, you can also successfully sell your home during the winter season as well.  Although it may be a bit more stressful than selling during the prime buying season, it can be done.  While your yard may not be a large selling point when it is covered with snow, it can still stimulate the imagination of potential buyers who can imagine their own landscaping in the yard.

Just as you would take care of any exterior cosmetic issues during the warmer selling months, you should also do the same when selling your home in the winter.  Small upgrades can make all the difference when selling your home in the winter.  Cleaning up any debris that may have fallen in your yard and ensuring that all the walkways and driveways are free of ice can greatly increase the visual appeal of your home.  If it is possible, you should clear out any dead plants or shrubbery that may be located in the flower beds or along any walkways surrounding your home.

On the interior of your home you should remove any clutter that may be found on your countertops or tables.  You should also make sure that your carpet is clean and doesn’t show any significant signs of wear.  You should try to make the interior of your home feels as welcoming and charming as possible.  Open your window coverings to allow natural light to enter the rooms and provide a level of warmth to your home.  When showing your home during the evening, you should take the time to create a warm and inviting feel using your table lamps or any floor lamps you may have.  This will provide your home with a comforting and warm glow.

As a seller, you should also ensure that any special features in your home are properly showcased.  This will help ensure that buyers notice these features and they receive the attention they deserve.  To help prospective buyers imagine what the exterior of your home looks like during warmer months, you may want to include a photo portfolio that includes photos of your yard and landscaping when everything is lush and green.  This is a great way to show buyers the potential and the beauty of your yard that is currently covered in snow.

When selling your home, you shouldn’t wait until warmer weather arrives.  You can have just as much success selling your home during the winter as you would during the warmer months.  In fact, you may have a better chance because there tends to be less inventory during the winter than any other time of year.

Five Tips for Choosing The Right Realtor

realtorChoosing the right realtor is important. You want to go with someone who will truly help you sell your home, buy a new house, or both. Knowing what to ask can be difficult, especially if you are a first-time home buyer. Dean Graziosi understands this and has provided valuable advice to sellers and buyers alike in this area. The following five tips will also help point you in the right direction.

 

One: Begin by getting references. One of the best ways to actually choose a realtor is to ask around. Find out who friends, family members, and acquaintances have used. If you have a specific agent in mind, try to learn about the experiences of past clients. You’ll find out a lot by simply talking to people.

 

Two: Find out if the real estate agent you are considering is licensed. This is extremely important. A person who isn’t licensed isn’t who you want to sell your home or help you buy another. Likewise, also find out whether or not any disciplinary actions have been brought against the agent. Again, this is important because you don’t want a realtor who would not have your best interest in mind or who might bend or break some rules along the way.

 

Three: Does the realtor specialize in a certain type of home sale? This is important. For example, if you own a condo and wish to sell it, you should probably go with an agent who has helped others buy and sell condos. You want to make sure to choose a realtor with enough experience to help you get the asking price you desire as well as assist you when bidding on the home you wish to buy.

 

Four: Choose a realtor with a good track record of helping others buy and sell. Someone who is known for helping others buy and sell their homes quickly will likely attract the interest of potential clients such as yourself. Though every new realtor does have to start somewhere, it’s still a good idea to choose someone with the experience it will take to help the process go as smoothly as possible. This is especially true if you have never bought a home before.

 

Five: Ask questions. Before making any big decisions, you’ll want to ask your new realtor questions. Begin by making a list of things you want to know. That way you won’t forget anything and can ask your questions all at once.

 

Choosing a realtor doesn’t have to be hard, but it will take some time and consideration. You can learn more about this and other real estate topics by visiting Dean Graziosi’s blog.

Finding A HARP Lender

HARPThe government chose to create the HARP program to help homeowners survive the housing crisis, states Dean Graziosi.  The primary purpose of the Home Affordable Refinance Program is to help homeowners who have discovered that they currently owe more on their home than it is currently valued at.  When you refinance through HARP you are able to refinance at a rate that will reflect the current value of your home.

Once you have researched the program and discovered that it may be beneficial to you and your situation, your next step should be contacting a HARP lender.  To find a HARP lender you may want to ask your current lender if they are one and if not, if they know of any creditable lenders who you can contact.  This is an important step, because not all lenders offer the HARP refinancing program, to avoid wasting valuable time during this process you should ensure that the lender you are contacting is a HARP lender.  If your lender is not a HARP lender, you can use some online tools that will help you locate a lender.

If your existing lender is not participating in the HARP program you shouldn’t worry.  You are not required to stay with your existing lender when you refinance through HARP.  This is extremely beneficial, according to Mr. Graziosi, because it allows you to shop around different lenders and find the best rate that is available to you.  But you always have the option to contact a lender that you would prefer to work with and ask if they are offering the program.  Not every lender advertises that they are offering this particular refinancing option, so it never hurts to ask.

If you’ve looked and have not been able to locate a lender that you are familiar with and would feel comfortable working with, Mr. Graziosi recommends that you go over the list of lenders offering the HARP program.  If, after second glance, you find a lender that you believe is a good fit for your current financial situation, your next step should be contacting that lender.  When you contact a lender, you should ask to speak to a HARP specialist who can help you through the purpose.

You should also be aware that some lenders refer to the HARP program by other names.  When you contact a lender, it is important that you state that you are interested in refinancing your home through the Federal Housing Finance Agency.  This will help you avoid any misunderstanding s and ensure that you are refinancing through the proper program.  Any time you choose to refinance your home it can be a stressful endeavor; however, once you contact a lender who is familiar with everything involved in a HARP refinance, you will be well on your way to keeping your home and lowering your payments.

The Most Common HARP Refinancing Questions

mortgageHARP, also known as the Home Affordable Refinance Program was created by the government to help many homeowners lower their monthly mortgage payments and stay in their homes.  If you are a homeowner who is currently underwater on their mortgage, HARP may be able to help you too, even if you currently owe more on your existing loan than your home is currently worth.  Since it was first created in 2009, the program experienced many changes which have allowed it to help more homeowners refinance their existing mortgage.

While HARP has proven to be beneficial for homeowners, many still have questions about the program itself and what it is designed to do.  To help you understand the program and what it consists of, Mr. Graziosi has put together a list of the most commonly asked questions regarding HARP.

  • Can I Refinance Through HARP If I Have An Adjustable-Rate Mortgage – The answer to this question is yes.  In fact, refinancing through HARP can help you obtain a more stable fixed-rate mortgage.  If you’re a homeowner who is approaching a payment reset, refinancing through HARP now will lock you into a low fixed-rate before they go any higher.
  • Have Recent Changes To HARP Made It Easier To Be Eligible Now – Recently the program experienced significant changes, but the major improvement to the program was that the limit on the amount that they could be underwater was removed.  Because of this recent change, more homeowners may be eligible to seek refinancing through the program than before.
  • Is HARP My Only Option – HARP is currently one of many different refinancing options available for homeowners.  What makes HARP unique is that it is the only program available that allows borrowers who have little to no equity in their home to take advantage of the lower interest rates we are currently seeing.
  • During A HARP Refinance Can I Remove Or Add Someone On The Loan – This is a common question among those who are interested in refinancing through HARP.  The answer is yes, during the refinancing process changes can be made and borrowers can either add or remove someone as long as one of the original borrowers remains on the loan.
  • How Do I Determine Whether Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae Owns My Loan – This is a relatively easy step for homeowners interested in refinancing their mortgage.  The first thing you should do is visit the following websites to determine if your loan is owned by one of the lenders mentioned above.  http://freddiemac.com/mymortgage  http://knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup
  • Will I Have To Make A Down Payment If I’m Currently Underwater – The answer to this question is no.  There is no down payment required when you refinance through HARP, many lenders will often allow you to include your closing costs in the new loan to avoid any out-of-pocket expenses.

Buying a Home With No Credit

credit scoreIt’s difficult to buy a home these days, but when you have no credit, it gets even harder to be approved for a loan. As Dean Graziosi points out in a post on a similar topic, while some people have been building a credit score for years, others haven’t been able to do this. If you fall into the second category, you’ll be happy to know it will still be possible for you to buy a home.

 

A high credit score enables you to purchase larger items such as homes and cars at lower monthly payments. This serves as a disadvantage to those who have either chosen not to have a credit card or who haven’t been able to sufficiently build up enough credit to be privy to these perks. The end result is paying more each month and not getting the best possible loan. Even so, one of the best ways to build up your credit is to purchase a big item such as a house. The key is to prepare yourself for the larger payments and higher interest rates by saving money. The more you are able to place on a down payment, the better off you’ll be in the long run. This also shows the mortgage companies you will be good for the loan because you’ve taken the time to save up enough to get started.

 

Saving money will give you something to use on payments each month so you can stay ahead. You’ll also have something to fall back on in hard times.

 

Typically, a minimum credit score of between 620 and 640 is required before you can even be eligible for a loan. There are, however, some other methods you can use if you don’t have a score that falls into this range. As Dean Graziosi explains, this is how lenders will determine your current credit standing.

 

Rental history does count for something. If you pay on time, lenders who are looking into your credit will be able to use this information to determine you are in good standing with your landlord. If you’ve never been late in paying rent, this will serve you very well. The same will apply to all your other bills.

 

Some lenders will require a co-signer on a loan before approving someone without credit. Many people are very hesitant to co-sign for good reasons, but finding someone who trusts you enough to do this could actually help you obtain the loan you are seeking.

 

If you have bad credit, straighten it out by paying off all debt and re-establishing credit before even attempting to request a home loan. If you have filed bankruptcy, you will be given a certain amount of time before it will be possible for you to begin re-establishing credit.

 

Purchasing a home will be harder without a credit score, but by following a few general suggestions, it can become possible. According to an article posted on MSN Real Estate “it’s exceedingly difficult to obtain a mortgage without a credit score.” Nevertheless, it can be well worth it in the end. You can learn more about this and other topics by visiting Dean Graziosi’s website.