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FICO Scores: How Does Your FICO Score Impact Your Mortgage? Let's Take a Look
By Peta-Gay
February 13, 2015

Most people have heard the term FICO score, but some remain confused as to what it actually is and if it affects them when they try to obtain a mortgage. A few questions can be answered to help people understand how it can affect the amount of interest you pay on your loan.

What is a FICO Score?

A FICO score is a credit grade of a borrower, based on credit history as reported to 3 separate credit reporting agencies. It is based on a number of factors, including the amount of credit a person has, payment history, late payments, judgments, loan defaults and other factors.

A mathematical formula developed by Fair Isaac Corporation (thus the term FICO) is used to grade the credit risk the borrower represents. Scores range from 350 to 850. A score of 650 or better is considered good and a score above 750 is considered very good.

Does a FICO Score Affect a Mortgage Rate?

Mortgage interest rates are calculated in part, on the amount of risk the borrower represents. The higher the risk the borrower presents, the higher the interest rate the lender must charge to account for the risk. With FICO scores, the lower the score means a higher risk, and thus, less favorable mortgage terms. Those with low FICO scores may have difficulty finding a mortgage.

How much the rate will change depends on the lender. Myfico.com estimates that with current rates, a borrower with an average FICO score can expect to be charged more than 1.5 percentage points more than a borrower with an excellent score. Though the difference in interest may not seem to be much, it will add up over time.

For example, a borrower seeks a $200,000 mortgage on a 30 year fixed rate. Because they have an excellent credit score, they obtain a mortgage at 3.549%. Monthly principal and interest payments at that rate amount to $904 per month. Total interest paid on the loan will be $125,285 over the 30 year period.

Another borrower seeking the same mortgage has a lower credit score, in the average range. The borrower is offered the same mortgage but at 5.138% interest. The monthly payment will be $1094 per month and the borrower will pay $192,607 in interest. The difference in this case, between an excellent FICO score and an average score is $187 per month, $67,302 over the life of the mortgage.

Is a FICO Score Permanent?

No. A credit score will change depending on the borrower’s credit history. A borrower with a lower score can increase it over time by taking certain steps to improve it. Obtaining their credit report is the first step to improvement. It should be reviewed for accuracy, and incorrect entries should be reported. Outstanding judgments, if any, should be paid. Paying down revolving credit card debt also can help.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis is Owner and CEO of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8096 Edwin Raynor Blvd Suite C Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com.

DIY Lovers: 'Greenify' Your Home with These Three Eco-friendly Home Improvement Projects
By Peta-Gay
February 12, 2015

Are you a homeowner who is searching for ways to make your home a bit more eco-friendly? Equipping your home with "green" improvements can save a substantial amount of energy and money, especially over the long term. In today's post we'll explore a few projects that handy do-it-yourselfers can undertake in order to make a home a bit friendlier to the local environment.

#1: Focus on the Windows

Depending upon the time of year; windows have an impact on both heating and cooling costs. In the summer, older windows can drastically heat up a home causing cooling costs to skyrocket. In the winter, older windows can leak cold air within the home and let out the heat, which causes the heating costs to rise as well.

A simple replacement of older windows can save a homeowner as much as 30 percent on annual energy costs, as newer windows are more efficient at insulating the home against the weather conditions outside. Combining a window upgrade with other energy-related changes can lead to even greater savings. For example, consider installing a ceiling fan in rooms that are generally occupied – such as the living room or family room – as these can circulate cool and warm air and help to reduce energy use.

During the colder months, use as much solar heating as possible. Open up curtains, and trim trees to allow for natural light to enter the home. The sun heats up the home through radiant heating, which is an effective and essentially free source of energy.

#2: Improve Your Insulation

A home that is properly insulated will help to preserve its heat and cool air. Heat can leak out from the home through cracks, but it can also occur through convection heating. The air within the home will eventually cool down from a steady decline of heat when the heat is transferred outside through the walls.

Beyond hot and cool air leaking out from the home, each room within the home can indirectly influence the temperature in adjoining rooms. This is especially true for the garage and any room that shares common walls. By using insulation in the garage, the home may cool down by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit.

#3: Install Smart Thermostats

Some green options simply mean a change in which type of appliances are used. In terms of a thermostat, a "smart" one like the Nest Thermostat can be installed. Use of one can cut energy costs by 20 percent, at minimum, by simply adjusting to the homeowners’ schedule.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis is Owner and CEO of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8096 Edwin Raynor Blvd Suite C Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com.

Here's Why Professionally Shot Aerial Photos and Videos Can Help You Sell Your Home
By Peta-Gay
February 11, 2015

Today’s homebuyers are savvier about their buying options than ever before. They are able to research prices, browse listings, and investigate other important factors before even making the first call to a real estate agent. So professional photography and video can make the difference between your home getting a second look or getting skipped. In today's blog post we'll explore how professionally-shot aerial photos and videos can help you get your home sold that much quicker.

Buyers Love Having a Birds-Eye View

It’s increasingly likely that buyers will look for aerial photography to help them make their buying decisions. Just like professional ground-level photos of the home and property, and like the video tour that really gives that first-hand feel, aerial shots are something buyers like when evaluating properties.

People enjoy looking at aerial content because it gives them a new perspective. That helps them feel good about their choice to pursue a property. Plus, they take you seriously when you take marketing your property seriously using quality material.

Quality Material Makes Your Property Look Good

Professionals create quality products. They have the skills, tools, and professional eye to make your property and its best features look amazing. Quality marketing materials can even shorten sale time and raise the final list price, too.

Aerial footage is especially effective when topography, land features, and amenities are best displayed from above. Professional aerial shots can really enhance the overall impression of your property.

Professionals Are Certified

The use of unmanned aerial systems – what we commonly call “drones” – is becoming more frequent in the production of commercial photos and videos. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t issues.

Current Federal Aviation Administration regulation requires that UAS equipment be certified and operated by a certificated pilot when used for commercial purposes. This means that you can’t just buy a drone and take pictures to sell your house. You can’t pay your real estate agent to take them either, unless they also meet the FAA regulations. Hiring a certified operator can save you fines or even legal trouble down the road.

When you’re ready to take marketing your home to the next level, contact a reputable real estate agent such as myself to get started because my goal is to ensure your property is sold quickly for the best price. Professionally shot aerial photos and videos can really make the difference for a prospective buyer when they make the list of “must-see” listings. 

About the Blogger- Peta-Gay Lewis is Owner and CEO of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8096 Edwin Raynor Blvd Suite C Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com.

Buying or Selling Your Home? Follow These Three Tips to Ensure a Stress-free Real Estate Transaction
By Peta-Gay
February 10, 2015

Buying or selling real estate is a significant milestone in life. Frequently, it means that a new phase is starting, whether it's a new job, a new relationship, or moving to a new area. However, when the most basic steps are missed, this transition can be fraught with stress and disaster. To ensure a smooth deal, home buyers and sellers alike should be sure to mind the following tips.

#1: Always Be Honest

Honesty and clear communication need to be a two-way street. Home buyers and sellers expect their real estate agent to be honest with them, and likewise it is always necessary for a home buyer or seller to be honest with their real estate agent.

Hiding details or covering up potential problems will only cause more issues when everything comes to light. When important information is withheld, it's possible for delays to occur, costs to rise, or even for the deal to be killed.

It's much better to disclose all necessary information upfront so the situation can be handled appropriately. An expert real estate agent will be able to guide home buyers or sellers through the problems and to a workable solution.

#2: Hire A Professional Real Estate Agent

Buying and selling real estate is not an easy process, so it's never a good idea to try to proceed without a professional who can be trusted.

Far too often, people let friends or family members represent them in real estate transactions. In these cases, it's likely for feelings to be hurt, relationships to be damaged, and trust to be compromised.

Rather, it's recommended for home buyers or sellers to use a real estate agent they do not have a close personal relationship with. That way, they can stand confident that their agent is looking out for their own best interests, and nothing else.

#3: Understand The Market

Far too often, home buyers or sellers fail to recognize their area. If they are the home seller, this means understanding what kind of buyers are looking in their market. If they are the home buyer, this means understanding what kind of neighborhood they would enjoy living in.

Failing to identify this crucial information will waste time for the seller and buyer alike. However, this is where a real estate agent comes in: he or she will know the market inside out and be able to offer valuable counsel.

Home buyers and sellers if you have any questions at time please feel free to contact me at 202 683-0158 or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com .  I’m a professional that knows the key to a smooth real estate transaction.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis is Owner and CEO of Property Locators, LLC™. She is a licensed REALTOR in DC, MD, and VA with Douglas Realty, LLC (8096 Edwin Raynor Blvd Suite C Pasadena, MD 21122).  Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com.

Peta-Gay Lewis Earns NAR's Military Relocation Professional Certification
By Peta-Gay
February 9, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact:

Contact Person: Peta-Gay Lewis

Company Name: Property Locators, LLC

Telephone Number: 202 683-0158

Email Address: agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

Website address: www.propertylocatorsllc.com

 

Peta-Gay Lewis Earns NAR’s Military Relocation Professional Certification

Military Personnel and Veterans Benefit from

REALTOR® Expertise in Military Benefits, the Relocation Process, and Support

 

Washington, DC, February 9, 2015 — Peta-Gay Lewis with Douglas Realty, LLC has earned the nationally recognized Military Relocation Professional (MRP) Certification.  The National Association of REALTORS® confers the MRP certification to REALTORS® who want to help military personnel and veterans find housing solutions that best meet their needs and allow them to take full advantage of their military benefits.

When military staff and their families relocate, the services of a real estate professional who understands their needs and timetables can make the transfer easier, faster and less stressful.  REALTORS® who earn this certification know to work with active duty military buyers and sellers, as well as veterans. 

“Homeownership is an important part of the fabric of America, and having a stable home environment is vital when men and women of the military are called away to serve their country. Working with a REALTORÒ who understands specific needs and timetables related to military service will help make their transfers easier, faster and less stressful,” said NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty, in Villa Park, Calif. “The Military Relocation Professional certification will help REALTORSÒ hone their knowledge and skills for working with veterans and active duty military buyers and sellers to ensure that homeownership remains affordable and accessible to them.”

The certification provides NAR’s members with resources to accommodate current and former military service members at any stage of their military career, and is an approved elective for NAR’s Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR®) designation. To earn the MRP certification, REALTORS® are required to be in good standing with NAR; complete a one-day MRP certification core course; complete a pre-class readings to learn military background information and better understand important acronyms and military culture; and complete two webinars.  For more information about the MRP certification, visit http://www.militaryrelocationpro.org

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