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How Much Is the Right Amount to Commit to Your Down Payment? Let Us Take a Look
By Peta-Gay
October 25, 2017

Are you thinking about buying a new house or apartment? If you are going to take out mortgage financing, one consideration you will have is your down payment, which is the amount you pay up front in cash to cover some of the purchase cost. Let's consider a few points that will help you to decide how much is the right amount for your down payment.

How Much Do You Have?

The most obvious question you will need to answer is: how much do I realistically have to place as a down payment? Keep in mind that your down payment is money that you aren't going to see again until you sell your home. While you want to invest a significant amount for reasons we will share below, you still need to maintain a cash cushion of a year's salary or so in case you fall ill or lose your job.

More Down, Less Monthly

The main case for putting as much as you can into your down payment is that the more you invest, the less you must borrow. This means that over time, you will pay less interest and you will also have lower monthly payments. Keep in mind that with today's low interest rates it's a bit less of a burden to carry a large mortgage. However, these rates may swing upwards over the years, which will increase your costs.

The Need For Private Mortgage Insurance

If you're going to put less than 20 percent down on your home, you're almost certainly going to be required to purchase mortgage insurance. There are numerous options available to you, including those offered by the Federal Housing Administration or FHA. Your mortgage lender will share this and other private insurance policies that will protect you.

Don't Forget About Lost Opportunity Cost

Finally, don't forget to factor in the lost opportunity cost that comes with investing a large down payment. Unless you have a terrible money manager, your mortgage interest rate is likely to be less than you would be able to make investing the difference in your financial portfolio. If you're thinking about putting an extra $50,000 in your down payment, consider that you might be able to make 5 to 10 percent on that over the next decade. There are no guarantees in investing, so speak with a professional for further guidance.

It's not easy to choose the perfect amount for your down payment but speaking with the right lender will make the decision easier.  We're happy to share our experience working with different lenders to help you with the purchase of your new home.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, CMR®, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed Property Manager & REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8585 Fort Smallwood Road Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

The Quick and Easy Guide to Finding the Best Real Estate Agent to Sell Your Home
By Peta-Gay
October 24, 2017

Is it time to move on from your house, townhouse or condo? If a sale is in your near future, you will want to start looking for a professional selling agent or broker to help manage the process. Let's take a look at our quick and easy guide to finding the best real estate agent to handle your home sale.

Check Your Social Network

The easiest place to is your social network, as almost everyone knows a real estate agent. Share that you are about to sell your home and you're looking for the very best agent to help you sell it. Maybe an old high school acquaintance or college friend is now in the real estate business and can help.

Ask Your Friends And Family For Referrals

If you aren't close with a trustworthy real estate agent, the next best people to ask are your local friends and family. It is unlikely that you're going to get a bad referral from your best friend, brother or aunt. Send out a few text messages and make a few calls to let the family know that you're hunting for a great real estate agent. Soon enough, you'll have some recommendations.

Check Their Designations And Specialties

You might not know this, but real estate agents have specialties and designations available to certify in. Aside from becoming a REALTOR®, your agent may be a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), an Accredited Buyer's Representative (ABR), a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES), a Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA), certified Military Relocation Professional (MRP) and more.

Be Sure To Read Reviews And Talk To Past Clients

When you've made a short list of your final choices for a selling agent, it's time to check on their recent work. Ask the agent for a list of houses or other properties that they've sold recently. If possible, you'll also want to socialize with some of their past clients to see what the agent is like. You'll be working closely together for at least a couple of weeks, so it's important that you choose a real estate professional that you're comfortable with.

Selling your home is not a painful process, but it's one where you'll want to have the best agent working to protect your interests. If you're thinking about making a move, contact our real estate team. We are happy to share our experience in the local market and some of the homes that we've recently sold.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, CMR®, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed Property Manager & REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8585 Fort Smallwood Road Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

Understanding the Differences Between Prequalified And Preapproved For a Mortgage
By Peta-Gay
October 16, 2017

Are you in the market for a new home? If you are going to rely on mortgage financing to cover some of the purchase cost, you will need to start the application process as soon as possible. However, what if you just need to know how much you will be able to borrow so you can start finding homes in your price range?

Let's take a quick look at the difference between being 'prequalified' and 'preapproved' for mortgage financing.

The Process Starts With Prequalification

The first step in obtaining mortgage financing is to speak with a mortgage professional to get prequalified. After sharing some quick information about your financial assets, income and any debts, your advisor will share a range of financing options and amounts that you may qualify for. Prequalification is typically done free of charge and either in person or over the phone.

Note that your mortgage lender will not be doing any digging in the prequalification stage. There's no credit check and no hard look at your assets. Don't get too excited if you are prequalified for a large mortgage as you will still need to be approved.

Once You Are Preapproved, You Are All Set

Preapproval, on the other hand, is a firm commitment to access to a certain level of mortgage financing. Your mortgage lender will require a variety of information to get an idea of your financial situation, your current and future employment, your level of risk and more. Once they have a good idea of how much mortgage you can afford, you will be provided with a conditional commitment letter. This letter outlines how much the lender is willing to offer to you as well as other vital information like your mortgage loan interest rate.

Speed Up The Process By Preparing Beforehand

Finally, it is worth a mention that you can speed up the mortgage process by having all your application paperwork ready before the initial meeting. Gather up your most recent income tax returns, pay stubs and bank statements. If you have investments or other financial assets, document those. You will also want to be up front about any outstanding debts that you are paying off. The more prepared you are, the faster the application and preapproval process will go.

Are you thinking of buying a home? Contact us today and we will be happy to assist you with getting your dream home.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, CMR®, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed Property Manager & REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8585 Fort Smallwood Road Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

2018 Housing Opportunity Committee Member Regional Representative 2018 2019
By Peta-Gay
October 12, 2017

 

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Executive Offices
430 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611-4087
800.874.6500 FAX: 312.329.5962
www.nar.realtor


October 12, 2017

Peta-Gay S Lewis
Washington, DC 


Dear Peta-Gay:

Determining what’s next for our association and for our industry is not an easy task – difficult decisions will need to be made. However, when we take ownership, change happens, and when we each bring our unique gifts and insights to the table, our association and our industry evolves. There is no doubt, challenges are ahead of us; but more so, 2018 is sure to bring tremendous opportunities.

In assembling the 2018 team that will address these challenges and opportunities, I looked for a diverse and capable group who exemplified a specific set of leadership qualities. These include dedication to our industry, a forward-looking vision for our association, and a range of professional experiences.

On behalf of the entire Leadership Team, I would be honored if you would join us by serving on the following committee(s) in 2018:

2018 Housing Opportunity Committee, Member: Regional Representative (term is 12/1/2017 to 11/30/2019)

On behalf of the National Association of REALTORS®, thank you for the work you do now, and for the work you’ll do throughout 2018. As appointed committee members, we are empowered to make a difference. This is our moment – let’s OWN IT!

Sincerely,

Elizabeth Mendenhall
2018 NAR President

Upgrading Your Home? 5 Great Reasons to Make the Switch to Hardwood Floors
By Peta-Gay
October 11, 2017

Are you tired of scouring the internet, trying to find the secret recipe for whatever will take stains out of your carpet? And the irritating annual steam cleaning ritual where your whole home is soaking wet for a couple of days? Ugh. If your old carpet has you down, it might be time for a change. In today's blog post we'll share five great reasons why you'll want to make the switch from carpet to hardwood floors.

Your Home Will Look Amazing

Let's face it. Unless you have a serious appreciation for all things shag, hardwood floors look much better than carpet. Available in a variety of colors and grains, hardwoods add a natural element to any room. They give off a much warmer appeal than carpet as well, especially when polished.

They're Much Easier To Keep Clean

Spill on the floor? No problem. Pet have an accident? Rest easy. Hardwood flooring is far easier to keep clean than any form of carpeting. Your floor won't absorb liquids and solids won't leave a mess.

They're A Great Equity-Building Investment

Hardwood floors are an excellent investment in your home. Some studies show that up to 75 percent of the cost will be returned when the house is sold, which puts hardwoods high on the list of equity-building renovations. Also, many home buyers are specifically looking for houses with hardwood flooring. So when you do choose to sell, your home may sell that much faster.

They Last Longer Than Carpets

The next time you are over at a friend's house, take a look at their floors. Many homes have hardwood flooring that has been around for decades, requiring only the occasional refinishing to restore its former shine. Hardwoods last much longer than carpets and won't require a full "rip and replace."

Your Allergies Will Thank You

Finally, if you or any of your family members suffer from allergies, hardwood floors may be the answer. Carpets collect dust, which can lead to the formation of dust mites and other allergens. And while you can vacuum them regularly, only the very best vacuums have enough suction to get deep into the carpet fiber to remove this gunk.

These are just five of the many good reasons to invest in hardwood flooring for your home. When you're ready to sell, or if you're in the market for a great new home, get in touch with us. Our team of real estate professionals will be happy to show you some great local opportunities.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, CMR®, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed Property Manager & REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8585 Fort Smallwood Road Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com