Timothy Dent's Blog
Ready to buy a home? You'll likely need a mortgage to ensure you can afford your dream residence. Lucky for you, many banks and credit unions are happy to help you discover a mortgage that suits you perfectly.
Ultimately, meeting with a mortgage lender may seem stressful at first. But this meeting can serve as a valuable learning opportunity, one that allows you to select a mortgage that is easy to understand and matches your budget.
When you meet with a mortgage lender, here are three of the questions to ask so you can gain the insights you need to make an informed decision:
1. What mortgage options are available?
Most lenders offer a broad range of mortgage options. By doing so, these lenders can help you choose a mortgage that meets or exceeds your expectations.
Fixed-rate mortgages represent some of the most popular options for homebuyers, and perhaps it is easy to understand why. These mortgages lock-in an interest rate for a set period of time and ensure your mortgage payments will stay the same throughout the duration of your mortgage.
Meanwhile, adjustable-rate mortgages may prove to be great choices for many homebuyers as well. These mortgages may feature a lower initial interest rate that rises after several years. However, with an adjustable-rate mortgage, you'll know when your mortgage's interest rate will increase and can plan accordingly.
2. Do I need to get pre-approved for a mortgage?
Pre-approval for a mortgage usually is an excellent idea, and for good reason.
If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you may be able to enter the homebuying market with a budget in mind. That way, you can pursue houses that fall within a set price range and avoid the risk of overspending on a home.
On the other hand, you don't need to be pre-approved for a mortgage to submit an offer on a home. But with a mortgage in hand, you may be able to gain an advantage over the competition, one that might even lead a home seller to select your offer over others.
3. How long will a mortgage last?
Many mortgages last 15- or 30-years – it all depends on the type of mortgage that you select.
A lender can explain the length associated with various mortgage options and highlight the pros and cons associated with these mortgages.
Moreover, you should ask a lender if there are any prepayment penalties if you pay off your mortgage early. This may help you determine whether a particular mortgage is right for you.
When it comes to finding a lender, don't forget to meet with several banks and credit unions. This will allow you to discover a lender that offers a mortgage with a low interest rate. Plus, it enables you to find a lender that makes you feel comfortable.
If you need assistance in your search for the right lender, be sure to reach out to a real estate agent. This housing market professional can provide details about local lenders and ensure you can accelerate your push to acquire your dream residence.
Moving day; you’ve waited months for this day to arrive, working hard to make sure you, your family, pets, and belongings are ready for the big move.
With all of the preparations and various people involved, it’s easy for moving day to become dangerous.
To ensure that you and your family have a safe and smooth moving day, I’ve provided some tips that every mover should keep in mind.
Make plans for pets and young children
The last thing you want on the first day in your new home is to be wandering around the neighborhood looking for your dog who slipped away during the move. If possible, make arrangements for pets to stay with friends or family for moving day to make things easier.
If you need to bring your pets along, it’s a good idea to put them in a “playroom” with their toys, water bowl, etc. while you have the door to the house open. Not only will it stop them from running out, but it will also prevent you from tripping over them while you carry the couch.
Don’t be a hero
It’s our tendency to want to do a job ourselves if we want it done right. But, when it comes to moving, that philosophy can lead to a thrown out back and a damper on your plans.
When it comes to getting large and heavy objects in and out of the house, make sure you have at least one other person ready to lift with you.
Stack from heaviest to lightest
It may seem obvious, but in the confusion of a move, it can be easy to pack your truck or van in a less-than-ideal way. Rather than playing Tetris with your boxes, try to focus on weight instead. You don’t want heavy boxes near the roof in case they fall on you or on your other belongings.
Place the largest and heavier items in the van first. This will allow you to plan the rest of the load around them, rather than having to move them around to make room.
Take a breather
As tempting as it may be, you don’t have to finish everything in one day. As long as your truck is locked and secure, it’s okay if you don’t bring in every single box. Resting throughout the day and staying hydrated, especially when moving in the summer, will help you stay sharp and ready to keep working.
Have an emergency plan
If you take precautions, you most likely won’t have to worry about emergencies. However, accidents do happen and it’s best to be prepared for them when they do. If you or a family member requires medication, make sure it’s handy and that everyone knows where it is.
Similarly, label your first aid kit and keep it with your necessities during the move.
If you follow these tips, your moving day should be a simple and safe process and you’ll be enjoying your new home in no time.
No matter how you look at it, putting your home on the market is a life-changing experience!
Not only will it change your future circumstances, but it will have an impact on your day-to-day routine, right now.
If your home is actively being shown by real estate agents, there are a few things you may need to do on a regular basis to make the best possible impression on potential buyers:
Keep it clean: Ordinarily, most homeowners aren't inclined to thoroughly clean their house every day -- or "at a moment's notice." Very few people have the time or motivation to keep their home's immaculate on a constant basis; it's exhausting just thinking about it! However, when your house is being viewed by prospective buyers, cleanliness -- or the lack, thereof -- will be noticed. Although "old habits die hard," it may be necessary to enlist the help and cooperation of your children (and spouse) in keeping the house looking presentable at all times. While it's unrealistic to expect your home to look immaculate day after day, it might be necessary to establish some new rules and standards for your family to follow about picking up clothes, toys, snack wrappers, and food residues. If you can maintain a "semblance of order" on an ongoing basis, then it shouldn't be too difficult to prepare your home for the next showing. While you'll usually get at least 24-hours notice before a house showing is scheduled, there may be the occasional request for a same-day visit.
Appearances count: "Keeping up Appearances" is more than just a popular British sitcom; it's a necessary goal for anyone hoping to sell their home within a reasonable period of time. Doing your best to stage your home in an attractive, inviting way is a key ingredient to a successful home-selling strategy. Setting priorities for curb appeal will also help you put your best foot forward in a competitive real estate market. Although many aspects of home staging are based on common sense and simple home decorating principles, it's difficult to be objective when your family's home is involved. There's certainly a lot of credible information online concerning the benefits of reducing household clutter and leaning toward neutral paint colors, but you can also turn to your real estate agent for tips on enhancing your home's curb appeal, interior appearance, and overall marketability.
Unless the home you're selling is relatively new or completely updated, there are a lot of decisions to make about how much time, energy, and money should be spend on upgrades, repairs, and enhancements. While everyone's situation, budget, and timetable is different, it's usually necessary to correct issues that might be considered a glaring problem or a deal breaker. Sometimes those issues don't come to the forefront, however, until you get specific feedback from agents and prospective buyers.
Perhaps the only downside of living in a relatively secure, desirable part of town is that you might let your guard down completely. When that happens, especially on a regular basis, you're creating a vulnerability that could eventually be taken advantage of. That's why is pays to be consistent when it comes to locking doors, teaching your kids good security practices, and always making your home appear as if someone's home.
Your home IS your castle and -- short of building a moat -- there are a variety of practical measures you can take to keep it safe and secure.
- Install a burglar alarm or home security system. There are a lot of options for making your home more burglar-proof, such as installing video surveillance cameras, window and door alarms, or a whole-house alarm system that alerts the local police department or alarm monitoring service of a break-in or other security breach. Virtually any security steps you take will help "tip the scales" in your favor, but a professional advisor from a reputable home security company can assist you in identifying potential vulnerabilities and choosing the options best suited for your budget, your degree of risk, and your comfort level.
- Plan ahead when going on vacation. Allowing your mail or newspaper deliveries to pile up on your front steps or driveway is like extending an open invitation to burglars who might be scoping out the area. Temporarily suspending your deliveries while you're away is a good starting point for keeping your house looking occupied in your absence, but you might also ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye out for unexpected deliveries. If you really trust them, you could even give them a key to your house, in case they're inclined to water your plants and take care of your pets! (That would eliminate the need and expense of sending your dogs and cats to a pet-boarding facility.) One tactic that a lot of homeowners forget about when they're going away for a few days (or even just overnight) is to hook up an automatic timer to a few of their lights. That simple step will help ensure that their house isn't pitch black at night. There's also the more expensive strategy of having a home security system that can be activated and monitored from your mobile device. Do-it-yourself installation kits are available, but some homeowners prefer the technical support features that come with a professional home security service.
- Outside lights can be a deterrent. A few motion-activated outdoor floodlights placed in strategic locations around your home can significantly reduce the risk of night-time prowlers staying on your property for very long. Since one of their primary objectives is to remain undetected and low profile, bright spotlights that turn on when they approach the house will often be enough to send them on their way.
Moving is stressful at the best of times. But when you’re moving across the country rather than across town, it adds to the number of preparations you’ll need to make.
In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how to best prepare for your long-distance move, whether it’s across the state, across the country, or to another country altogether.
Packing and moving
One of the biggest concerns you’ll have during a long distance move is the condition of your belongings.
If you’re using a moving company, you’ll want to make sure you trust them to handle your belongings with care. To ensure that they’re responsible movers, read over their reviews online. It’s also a good idea to review their contracts and to make sure you have enough insurance to cover any costly damages or losses. Speaking of moving companies, be sure to shop around to find out which one offers the best prices and delivery windows.
When it comes to packing your items, air on the side of caution and start boxing items well in advance of your move. Not only is it a good idea to label your boxes by room, but you should put your name and contact information on your boxes if they’re being shipped by a large moving company.
Remember that not everything needs to be in boxes. Soft items like clothing and towels can easily be packed in trash bags, suitcases, and duffel bags. You’ll be able to squeeze in more items and they’ll take up less space in the moving truck.
When filling the moving truck, be sure your fragile items aren’t the top box on a stack of boxes. Similarly, you don’t want fragile belongings underneath too many heavy boxes. Your movers likely have their own way of securing boxes, so be sure to indicate to them which boxes are the most fragile with labels.
Downsize your belongings
The month leading up to your move is a good time to sell or donate items you no longer use. It could save you space on the moving truck, and you could earn a few extra dollars before your big move.
Larger items should be your top priority. Bicycles, lawnmowers, and other big items that you’ve been thinking of replacing can be sold now and you can buy new ones at your future home. However, don’t discount the weight and size of things like DVD and book collections. Many people lug around bookcases from house to house and hardly ever touch the books on them. Furthermore, technology like Kindle and Netflix are making owning physical copies of your media less of a necessity.
Before you start packing the rest of your items into moving boxes, make sure you set aside a “survival kit” filled with your daily use items. Things like cell phone chargers, glasses and contacts, and sanitary items should be in your vehicle or carry on, not in the moving truck.
Moving is expensive, but there are a number of ways you can squeeze some savings out of the experience. First, take advantage of free boxes from local stores and restaurants. Then, ask for friends and family to help you pack rather than hiring professionals, offer them lunch in exchange for their help.
When it comes to getting to your new home, don’t rule out flying as being the most expensive option. Hotels, gas, and eating out add up quickly if you’re making a road trip out of your move.
Finally, see if your move is tax-deductible. If you’re relocating for work, there’s a chance some of your moving expenses will be. If so, be sure to keep all of your receipts along the way.