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Posted by Shellye Blake REALTOR® on 1/16/2020

Millennials, i.e. individuals between the ages of 18 and 29 years old, often grab life by the horns. However, when it comes to getting ready for a move, Millennials often encounter problems along the way.

Fortunately, we're here to help Millennials who recently bought or sold a house discover what it takes to complete a successful move.

Let's take a look at three moving tips that every Millennial needs to know.

1. Get a Head Start on Your Move

Let's face it Ė the stress associated with moving can be overwhelming. And in some cases, it may lead Millennials to wait until the last minute to start packing.

Procrastination is never a good idea, particularly when it comes to moving. If you get an early start on your move, you can enjoy a seamless transition from one address to the next.

2. Pick Up Plenty of Packing Supplies

If you own a wide range of books, clothing and DVDs, there is no need to worry. Pick up plenty of packing supplies prior to moving day, and you can safeguard your belongings during your move.

Moving boxes are essential and come in a variety of sizes. You can always purchase moving boxes; or, you may be able to pick up boxes for free from a local grocery store or retailer.

In addition, be sure to pick up packing tape, bubble wrap and other packing supplies. With the right packing supplies at your disposal, you'll have no trouble getting your belongings ready for moving day.

3. Hire a Professional Moving Company

When it comes to moving, there is no need to work alone. Luckily, many moving companies are available to help Millennials complete a successful relocation.

Reach out to a variety of moving companies in your area Ė you'll be glad you did. If you discuss your moving budget and requirements with several moving companies, you should be able to find a professional mover that meets or exceeds your expectations.

Of course, if you need assistance as you search for a moving company, you may want to discuss your options with a real estate agent as well.

A real estate agent can put a Millennial in touch with the best moving companies in any city or town. By doing so, this housing market professional will make it simple for you to get the help that you need for your move.

Lastly, any time you need to buy or sell a house, it pays to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional will learn about your homebuying or home selling goals and ensure you can achieve your desired results. Plus, if you ever have homebuying or home selling questions, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them.

Ready to relocate to a new address? Use the aforementioned moving tips, and any Millennial can pack up his or her belongings and enjoy a quick, easy move.




Tags: moving tips   moving   millennials  
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Posted by Shellye Blake REALTOR® on 1/9/2020

Photo by Steve Buissinne via

Pixabay

Most are familiar with the key components of a mortgage: how much you're borrowing, what your interest rate is, how many years you'll be paying your mortgage back. There are many, however, who do not understand some of the finer details, including what prepayment penalties are and how they may affect you when you're buying or selling a home. 

What are Prepayment Penalties?

In the simplest terms, a prepayment penalty may apply if you pay off your mortgage early. Prepaying can mean either making additional payments that bring down your balance quicker, refinancing your mortgage, or selling the home and therefore paying off the balance of the loan. The reason banks apply these penalties is to recoup some of their lost revenue when years of interest are not collected due to an early payoff. 

Not all mortgages come with penalties and those that do often specify when and how the penalties will apply. For example, many borrowers will not be penalized if the prepayment results from selling the home, but will apply from refinancing or from making additional payments. Others have a limit to how much can be paid early via additional payments during any given year. It's also common for prepayment penalties to only apply during the first several years.

Avoiding the Harshest Penalties

For first-time mortgage applicants, it pays to take the time to find your lender before you choose a home. That way, you'll have plenty of time to read all the documentation, ask questions, and consult an attorney to ensure you're getting terms you can agree to in good faith. Keep in mind, however, that mortgage contracts are not final until you've selected a home and have documents drawn up specifically for that purchase. You may want to have an attorney present during the closing to make sure all the final paperwork matches your expectations.

For sellers, it's best to understand whether prepayment penalties will apply long before contemplating the sale of your home. However, if you missed the opportunity to do your due diligence when signing the mortgage documents, it's not too late. Start by talking with your lender to understand which, if any, penalties you may be subject to. If the penalties are steep enough, now may not be the best time to sell or you may want to keep these expenses in mind when pricing your home. Others may be able to port their mortgage to a new home, or transfer it to a new property to avoid penalties. 

Getting Help

No matter which side of the deal you are on, a qualified real estate agent can help you navigate the process to make sure you're getting the most from the arrangement while also working around tricky situations. To learn more or to get started, feel free to send in your inquiries, so we can get started on your homebuying or home selling journey today.





Posted by Shellye Blake REALTOR® on 1/2/2020

One aspect of house hunting that some prospective home buyers overlook is security. Perhaps it's because they're looking at homes in "nice neighborhoods, where you shouldn't have to worry about that sort of thing happening." Maybe another reason they're paying little or no attention to security issues is that they're more preoccupied with the layout of the kitchen, the size of the backyard, and the condition of the master bathroom.

Even though there are dozens of details to compare and think about when you're house hunting, security features are important enough to include in your checklist. By letting your real estate agent know that home security is a high priority for you, they'll hopefully point out security features that they notice and perhaps ask the listing agent for any additional information on things like installed alarms systems, deadbolt locks, or security lighting on the property.

As a side note, if the present owner has recently installed an extensive security system in the house, you can also use that as an opportunity (excuse) to inquire about crime in the neighborhood and whether there have been any recent incidents in the area. Additional research may need to be done to ferret out that information.

As you check out different houses that your buyers' agent shows you, here are a few security-related checkpoints to keep in mind:

  • Do the doors look solid and are they secured by deadbolt locks?
  • Do first-floor windows have functional and securely locking mechanisms?
  • Are there any outside floodlights, lamp posts, and/or other forms of illumination around the house?
  • Are there any overgrown bushes next to the house that could conceal a burglar's attempt to enter the house through a window?
  • Are there any fences on the premises that might discourage a burglar from entering the property?
  • Do the main entrances have locking storm doors that provide an extra layer of security?
  • Are there any other security vulnerabilities that you or your real estate agent think need addressing, either now or in the immediate future?
While that list may not include every possible security feature and potential weakness to look for when touring homes for sale, it will hopefully heighten your awareness about the need to prioritize home security -- even before you actually close on a house and move in.

When you do find the ultimate house for you and your family, it's always a good idea to change the locks on all external doors as soon as possible. You never know how many duplicate keys have been circulated over the years to contractors, neighbors, cleaning people, pet sitters, house sitters, and family members. One way to take control of your new home's security situation is to make sure there are no extra house keys floating around in the hands of people you don't know.





Posted by Shellye Blake REALTOR® on 12/26/2019

Getting a mortgage is one of those things that everyone seems to have quite a bit of advice about. While people surely have good intentions, itís not always best to take the buying advice of everyone you meet. Below, youíll find the wrong kind of mortgage advice and why you should think twice about it. 


Pre-Approvals Are Pointless


Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can give you an upper hand when it comes to putting in offers on a home. Even though a pre-approval isnít a guarantee, itís a good step. It shows that youíre a serious buyer and locks you in with a lender so they can process your paperwork a bit more quickly when you do want to put an offer in on a home. 


Use Your Own Bank


While your own bank may be a good place to start when it comes to buying a home, you donít need to get your mortgage from the place where you already have an account. You need to compare rates at different banks to make sure youíre getting the best possible deal on a mortgage. Youíll also want to check on the mortgage requirements for each bank. Different banks have different standards based on down payment, credit scores and more. Youíll want to get your mortgage from the bank thatís right for you and your own situation. 


The Lowest Interest Rate Is Best


While this could be true, itís not set in stone. A bank with a slightly higher interest rate could offer you some benefits that you otherwise might not have. If you have a lower credit score, or less downpayment money, a bank offering a higher interest rate could be a better option for you. Low interest rates can have some fine print that might end up costing you a lot more in the long term. Do your research before you sign on with any kind of bank for your mortgage. 


Borrow The Maximum


Just because youíre approved for a certain amount of mortgage doesnít mean that you need to max out your budget. Itís always best to have a bit of a financial cushion for yourself to keep your budget from being extremely tight. When life throws you a curveball like unexpected medical bills or a job loss, youíll be glad that you didnít strain your budget to the end of your means. Even though the bigger, nicer house always looks more attractive, youíre better off financially if youíre sensible about the amount of money you borrow to buy a home.




Tags: Mortgage   mortgage rates   bank  
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Posted by Shellye Blake REALTOR® on 12/19/2019

Buying a house should be a fast, simple process. However, problems sometimes can arise that prevent a homebuyer from discovering his or her dream residence.

Ultimately, there are many factors to consider before you purchase a house to ensure you can avoid myriad homebuying hurdles, and these factors include:

1. Your Home Needs

No two houses are identical, and much in the same vein, no two homebuyers have the same definition of the perfect residence. As such, a homebuyer should consider his or her dream home demands prior to kicking off a home search.

Making a checklist of home "must-haves" and "wants" is paramount. With this checklist in hand, a homebuyer will be able to refine his or her home search and map out the property buying journey accordingly.

It may be helpful to consider your day-to-day activities as you evaluate where you want to live too.

For example, if you work in the city, you may want to find a house that is located near public transportation. Comparatively, if you have kids, you may want to consider houses that are located close to top schools.

2. Your Budget

You know that you want to buy a house. On the other hand, you still have no idea how much money is available to ensure you can make your homeownership dreams come true.

When it comes to buying a house, it pays to meet with banks and credit unions. With pre-approval for a mortgage, you'll know precisely how much you can spend on a house.

To get pre-approved for a mortgage, set up consultations with several potential lenders. Then, you can learn about all of your mortgage options and select a mortgage lender that matches or surpasses your expectations.

3. Your Homebuying Timeline

Are you looking to buy a home as soon as possible? Or, can you afford to take a wait-and-see approach throughout the homebuying journey?

Examine your homebuying timeline and plan ahead as much as possible. By doing so, you can boost your chances of finding a terrific house and minimize stress as you browse the real estate market.

Regardless of your homebuying timeline, it always helps to work with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can take the guesswork out of searching for a residence and ensure you can discover a stellar house at a budget-friendly price.

Typically, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about new residences as they become available. He or she also will provide honest, unbiased homebuying recommendations and respond to any homebuying concerns and questions.

Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent can provide during homebuying negotiations, either.

A real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a home seller on your behalf. That way, he or she can help you secure a great house without having to worry about paying too much.

Streamline the process of acquiring your ideal residence. Consider the aforementioned factors, and you can keep things simple as you proceed along the homebuying journey.




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