Monthly Archives: January 2016

Moving Yourself? What do you need?

One of the frustrating parts of moving is… every time you get home from the store you realized you should have gotten.. yet another item you need to pack with and ran out of. Here is a list of items you need in order to pack as well as items that would be smart to keep out of the moving truck until the very last second.

Boxes

Packing Tape

Packing Paper

Bubble Wrap

Moving Blankets (you could also use old towels)- to wrap furniture or artwork and tape over the fabric; this creates extra layers of protection for your glass or delicate belongings.

Markers or Label maker-Label, Label, Label. You will not regret it.

String or Rope

Screw Drivers-sometimes you have to take doors off the hinges to get furniture through, or you have to take furniture apart

Cleaning supplies-clean as you go, it makes the process easier (broom, dustpan, vacuum, Clorox wipes, Windex, paper towels, etc.)

We know how fast moving tape is used, and depending on how many “movers” you have, you might want to invest a tape gun per mover, or have two people share one and label it. Have a designated spot to sit down your moving supplies so you are not constantly looking for what you need.

Hope this helps you in your DIY Move!

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What time of year is the best time to move?

top-5-fsm-seasonal-businessAs we continue to kick off the New Year we can see how full our schedules are. We all know that different seasons, months, holidays of the year bring different pros and cons. So what are the best and worst parts of moving during different seasons? When is the best time to move?

Unfortunately, the best time to move can also be the most inconvenient time to move for some. The slower months for moving companies, realtors, etc. are during the holiday season of November through January which also mean the cheapest prices for you as a mover. The con to consider as you move during the holiday season though is traffic. When considering the time it will take to move, double the amount of time it should take you to get to your new home, that way you are not frustrated and you do not feel behind. As many travel during the holiday season roads are easily clogged and traffic is guaranteed.

The same also goes with the days of the week. Monday through Thursday are the slowest and cheapest because no one prefers to take off of work to move. It is easier to acquire a mover and cleaners for your home on these days, which you might want to be mindful of.

Parents: I know you are thinking right about now.. gosh. These are not beneficial to my kids at all. This will disrupt their lives even more than the Move itself and it will be so hard for them to keep up with homework, make friends, etc. The idea is though: it will not make the Move transition any more difficult than it will be already. Why you ask? Because the kids will be at school during the day. You do not have to worry about them, take long lunch breaks, find something to entertain them, etc. Fact: you will need that half hour mental break when you go pick them up. They very well might be excited to see the progress made each day during the Move. Transitioning schools during the school year allows them to make friends instantly in class rather than during the summer the chance of them moping around the house wishing they knew someone in the neighborhood. Moving during the school year can be potentially best for everyone involved and cheaper for your wallet.

Another obvious consideration to moving is the weather. It cannot be controlled, but being mindful of the climate and reoccurring weather in the area that you are moving each year can help you better plan your move. For instance, it would be extremely difficult to move in the south in July because of the extreme heat. It will take double the amount of time to move because the need for water breaks for your professional or volunteer movers. Know the typical weather patterns for your area and use them for your moving wisdom.

Sometimes, as movers we do not have a choice on when we need to move, but this helps us highlight pros and cons if we do have the choice to better enhance the Moving adventure.

 

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Why You Shouldn’t Try to Sell Your Home Yourself

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FOR SALE BY OWNER?

Everyone knows the market is slowly recovering. The Fed has even hiked interest rates (well, hiked may be a bit of an exaggeration) as an indicator that the US housing market, among other economic factors, is on the mend. As a result,  some homeowners might consider trying to sell their home on their own, a phenomena known in the industry as a For Sale by Owner (FSBO). There are a lot of on-line marketing schemes which have been set up to help FSBO participants. All you need is to put a sign out front and an ad on a FSBO website and you are good to go, right? How hard can it be?

Well, Tom Ferry, a well known Real Estate guru recently tweeted, “Studies have shown that the typical house sold by the homeowner sells for less than when it’s sold by an agent

It’s a great article I would encourage anyone thinking of selling by themselves to read it.  I want to emphasize a couple key items. This is not like selling your car. You cannot pull out the registration, flip it over and sign it over to the new owner. It doesn’t work that way. Especially when there is a mortgage in place which must be paid off and the buyer is getting a new mortgage.

The paperwork involved in selling and buying a home is quite extensive. I counted the number of times one of my buyers had to sign his name during a closing ceremony and he signed it 68 times. Now granted, some of those forms were copies, but the majority of them were unique documents. I closed on a cash purchase home and although there were not 68 signatures required, there were still more than 31.

The Real Estate contracts and forms are designed to protect both the seller and the buyer, so you want to use good ones. Most Real Estate Agents have access to good contracts. I recommend you find one that is member of the Georgia Association of REALTORS®, as the GAR has some of the best copyrighted contracts available. A non-member can also pay a fee to have access to the forms.

And really! Why do most people want to sell their homes themselves? They don’t want to pay a commission to an agent. Think of your agent as a temp hire – you are the boss. You are hiring them to represent you and assist in completing a complex task. If they do a good job, you are likely to make more money from the sale of your home than you would if you didn’t use them, so where is the risk?

 

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Get Pre-Approved

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Once you have decided to buy a home, you will want to know how much of a home you can afford. Once you know that, well, you can truly begin looking in earnest. All the search engines out there on the internet allow you enter a minimum and maximum price range, filtering out the homes you cannot afford and focusing on those you can. I recommend you download my mobile application to use as one of your search engines. It draws its information directly from the GA Multiple Listing Service (GAMLS), which has the most up-to-date information. But what is better than that, it has a scan feature you can use from your smartphone. As you are driving around looking at neighborhoods or see a particular house you are interested in, you can point your phone at it, hit scan, and it will pull up that home and any others within a 1 mile radius. Cool, huh? To get my mobile application, simply text “scarroll” to 678-400-6100 and follow the directions.

Let’s step back a moment. If you are just curious what’s out there, look at everything. Dare to dream.

But if you are seriously searching, don’t be one of the many buyers who starts looking for a new home without taking the time to find out how much they can afford.  That’s like going to the grocery store without your wallet! How do you figure out how much home you can afford? Well you can use what is called an Affordability Calculator.

Now call me and while you are getting pre-approved, we will start looking for the right home for you.

But I digress. The purpose of this blog is to tell you how to get pre-approved. A pre-approval is generally a written statement from a lender stating the lender’s preliminary determination that a borrower would qualify for a particular loan amount under that lender’s guidelines. The determination and loan amount are based on income and credit information. Most pre-approval letters are good for 60 to 90 days.

Don’t confuse a pre-approval with a pre-qualification. With a pre-qualification, the lender relies on information provided by the buyer to estimate how much the borrower could qualify for. With a pre-approval, the lender verifies the borrower’s information and documentation to determine exactly how much it would be willing to lend to that borrower.

There are many reasons why you should get pre-approved. The most important reason is that you will get an accurate idea of how much home you can afford. This can help to target your home search and ensure you only look at houses that are truly in your price range. A pre-approval letter also helps you prove to real estate agents and sellers that you’re a credible buyer and able to act fast when you find the home you want to buy. Some sellers might even require buyers to submit a pre-approval letter with their offers, though having a pre-approval letter does not guarantee that your offer will be accepted by a seller. A pre-approval letter can make you stand out in a competitive real estate market. If you make an offer on a house without a pre-approval, your offer may not be taken as seriously as an offer from another person with a pre-approval.

So how do you get Pre-Approved?

Gather Essential Information (gather supporting financial documents – don’t guess)

Financial: Income, asset and expense information
If buying: Estimated purchase price and down payment amount
If refinancing: Estimated property value and loan amount

Select a Loan Company. Feel free to email me if you are stumped. I can send you some contacts who I feel comfortable working with and help you identify one matching your particular situation. My email is susan.carroll@bhhsgeorgia.com.

Begin the Pre-Approval Process

Contact a local mortgage consultant by phone or email.
Complete their online application form.
Your mortgage consultant will ask for the financial and property information you’ve gathered. To complete your request, you’ll need to submit your supporting documents before they issue the Pre-Approval letter.

Complete the Loan Application Process

Once you have found the home of your dreams, you will need to complete your application. If they have not already done so, your home mortgage consultant will probably ask you for Pay stubs, your last two years’ W-2s, last two federal returns, two months’ worth of bank statements of all types of accounts, and permission to pull your credit report.

Based on this information, they will provide a Loan Estimate shortly after receipt of your application. The Loan Estimate provides an estimate of the costs of obtaining your loan and the anticipated cash needed to close. After you review the Loan Estimate, you must indicate in writing your intent to proceed with the transaction. Avoid delays by submitting all pages of legible documents as soon as possible, along with any required fees.

There are more steps in the real estate process which must be followed until you actually close on your new home and walk out with the keys. But they are the topic of other blogs.

Here are some of the sources I used to draft this blog in case you want to read more……

http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/do-you-need-mortgage-preapproval.aspx

https://www.credit.com/loans/mortgage-questions/how-to-get-pre-approved-for-mortgage-home-loan/

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Help from Homes For Heroes

HFH Logo

As you are probably aware, I come from a Military background. I was born an Army Brat (who came up with that anyway?) and when I graduated from college, I entered active duty as a Military Police Officer; a 2nd Lieutenant. I served on active duty for 14 years and then, because of several medical problems brought on, according to my doctor, from “being all you can be,” I decided to take an early out and entered the reserves instead. My knees still ache from all the years of running…..

When I learned about the Homes For Heroes program and what I could do as a real estate affiliate to help others who have dedicated their time and their lives to helping others, I knew I had to be a part of it. So if you work or worked in any of the following; military, police, fire, medical field or as a teacher; and you are selling or buying a home; let me know. My way of paying forward is to contribute part of my real estate commission to my clients’ closing costs. Yep. You heard it. I will help you pay your closing costs. I can also put you in contact with lenders and closing attorney’s who will provide a discount of their fees as their way of thanking you for your service.

If you have a moment, take a look at this short film. And remember when you decided to register, let them know that I am your Realtor of choice. Or type in http://www.homesforheroes.com/affiliate/susan-carroll to register.

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