Blog

Looking for Luxury? How to Upsize Your Next Home Without Upsizing Your Costs
By Peta-Gay
April 1, 2015

Size matters when you are buying a new home. Whether you plan to expand your family, need more room for your stuff, or are concerned with resale value, you want to get the most space for your money. Also, if you want to add a feel of luxury to your home, one of the best ways to do it is to create open spaces rather than cramming all your furniture in rooms so tiny you can barely walk around without knocking something over.

Traditionally speaking, the larger a home is, the more it costs. If there are two newly built houses side by side in a subdivision, the bigger one is likely to cost more. However, there are some tricks to finding spacious houses that are affordable.

Choose Emerging Neighborhoods

Houses in this year's trending neighborhood are at their peak prices. Clever buyers look for neighborhoods that are in the process of being gentrified, buying at the bottom rather than the top of the market, to get more house for their money.

Fix It Up

Houses in perfect condition, that show well, sell for a premium. If you want to get more house for your money, choose something that needs a bit of TLC. A house that has pink walls and orange shag carpet might appear just too ugly to consider when you first view it, but it might just need a few coats of paint and some new carpet to become a spacious dream home.

Do Some Finishing

Unfinished areas such as attics and basements can be finished to create additional living spaces. The basement could become a family room and the attic an extra bedroom or study. An unfinished space can become the extra bathroom you need to make morning more manageable.

Consider an Addition

Contractors can add rooms to a house. If you have a large lot, you can build an extra wing. With a one story ranch house, it may be possible to raise the roof and add a second story.

The more stuff you have, the smaller your home appears. Reduce clutter and invest in smaller condo size furniture to give even the smallest home the appearance of spaciousness.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, MRP 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.

Understanding the Difference Between a Mortgage Pre-qualification and a Pre-approval
By Peta-Gay
April 2, 2015

If you're in the market for a new home and you've been researching mortgages, you've likely come across the terms "pre-qualification" and "pre-approval". While these terms are self-explanatory in some circumstances, they are quite different in regards to mortgage financing. In today's blog post we'll explain the difference between a mortgage pre-qualification and a pre-approval.

Pre-qualification: an Initial Look at Your Mortgage Options

The first – and easiest – step on the way to receiving mortgage financing to buy a home is known as pre-qualification. During this process you'll meet with a mortgage advisor or lender who will assess your financial history including your current income and any debts that you might have. Using these numbers they'll perform a quick calculation that suggests how much mortgage financing you might qualify for when you're ready to buy a home.

Your mortgage professional will also answer any questions that you might have about the process, including what interest rates you may qualify for, how much you'll need to invest in your down payment and more.

Pre-approval: a Conditional Mortgage Commitment

After you've been pre-qualified for your mortgage and you're ready to start looking for a new home you'll go through the pre-approval process. At this time your mortgage advisor or lender will take a much deeper look into your current financial situation, including pulling a credit report to assess how much risk they will have in lending you money. You'll also complete a full mortgage application as this will allow your lender to get a conditional approval for a certain amount or range. Finally you'll be informed about the interest rate and the terms of the mortgage once you find your new home and complete the purchase.

The Final Step: Finding the Perfect Home

Now that you've been pre-approved and have received a conditional commitment from your lender, you're ready to find that perfect new home. On top of having a better idea of your price range and what you can afford, you'll find that sellers are far more receptive to your offers as having a pre-approval signals that you're a serious buyer who is ready to make your move.

Enjoy your new home!

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, MRP 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.

Are You Applying for a Reverse Mortgage? Here Are 3 Considerations You'll Need to Make
By Peta-Gay
April 3, 2015

If you're a homeowner who is looking to tap in to the home equity that you've spent years building you may be interested in a "reverse mortgage" or "home equity conversion mortgage". While these unique financial tools aren't for everyone, if you qualify for a reverse mortgage you'll find that this might be the perfect financial solution which allows you to pay off your existing mortgage, or for some other regular expenses that you have.

Let's take a closer look at how reverse mortgages work, including how to qualify, what happens to your existing mortgage and what a reverse mortgage might cost.

Do You Meet the Requirements for a Reverse Mortgage?

In short, a reverse mortgage is a type of home loan in which the lender pays you monthly payments or a lump sum based on the equity that you've built up in your home. At some point in the future – when you move out of the home, or pass away – the reverse mortgage loan will become payable.

As mentioned above, reverse mortgages aren't for everyone. You'll need to be at least 62 years of age and be a homeowner who has enough equity built up in your home to qualify. You'll also need to understand that your lender will scrutinize your current financial position to ensure that you can keep up with property taxes and other regular costs that you may incur.

What Happens to Your Existing Mortgage?

If you have a regular mortgage it's still possible to qualify for a reverse mortgage, but you'll need to use some of the proceeds to pay off your existing mortgage. For example, if you have $50,000 owing on your mortgage and you receive a reverse mortgage for $100,000, you can pay your initial mortgage off and still have $50,000 to use as you see fit.

Do You Know What a Reverse Mortgage Costs?

Keep in mind that like a traditional mortgage, a reverse mortgage has costs attached. You'll need to pay mortgage insurance premiums, service fees, lender fees and other third-party fees that are typically referred to as "closing costs". 

A reverse mortgage can be an excellent way to take advantage of the equity that is currently locked up in your home.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, MRP 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.

3 Easy Ways to Put Aside a Bit of Extra Cash So You Can Pay off Your Mortgage Faster
By Peta-Gay
April 7, 2015

If your personal budget is similar to many other people's budgets, your home mortgage payment is by far the largest expense that you pay for each month. In fact, this payment may easily account for 20 or 25 percent or more of your take-home income. Understandably, you may be focused on trying to pay this expense off early. By focusing on this payment, you can build equity and may be able to achieve financial security more quickly. You simply have to find a way to put aside a bit of extra cash regularly so that you can make extra payments, and there are few easy ways that you can consider.

Use Your Tax Refund

First, if you are one of the many taxpayers who receives a refund each year, consider setting aside some or all of this refund to reduce your outstanding mortgage balance. Some taxpayers may have such a sizable refund that it can account for two or more mortgage payments each year. However, even a few hundred dollars extra put toward your principal balance will save you a considerable amount of money in interest charges over time and will have a wonderful effect on your balance.

Earmark Your Annual Bonus

If you are lucky enough to receive an annual bonus each year, you may consider using this to pay down your principal balance. While you may usually spend this money on extra holiday gifts or just add it to your spending cash, you can benefit more substantially when you contribute it to your effort to pay down your mortgage.

Use An Automated Draft To Create a Fund

Another great idea that will work well for all individuals is to create an automated draft from your checking account each month. You may set aside the funds in a special account, and you can make an extra mortgage payment from this account periodically. Another idea is to set up auto payments for your mortgage that are higher than the amount due. For example, you may establish auto payments that are $50 or $100 more than your scheduled payments.

Paying off your mortgage earlier can be a life changing event for you. Simply imagine how different your life would be if you were not responsible for this payment each month. The fact is that this could be your reality sooner than you think if you follow these tips. For the best results, apply two or even all three tips to your efforts.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, MRP 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.

 

All About Radon: How to Test Your Home for Radon Gas and What to Do if You Find It
By Peta-Gay
April 8, 2015

If you are concerned about the presence of radon in your home, you are not alone. The fact is that radon is an invisible, odorless gas that may be found in buildings around the world. It is a radioactive gas that is emitted from the ground soil as trace amounts of naturally occurring uranium break down. The gas can enter a building and remain trapped, and this is known to cause as many as 21,000 deaths related to lung cancer each year, according to the EPA. Testing your home from time to time is a necessity, and you can easily accomplish this in two different ways.

A Home Radon Test Kit

Regardless of the age or location of your home, you should test your home periodically for the presence of radon. You may be able to purchase a radon test kit at a local home improvement store or even online. These kits are designed to be easy to use and to read, and they can provide you with the information you seek in a short period of time.

A Professional Indoor Air Quality Test

Another option is to hire a professional to complete a full indoor air quality test. This may provide you with more information about the presence of radon, asbestos, mold spores and many other pollutants and particulates that may be making you and your family sick. A professional test may be more comprehensive and sensitive. Furthermore, the results can be more reliable.

If You Have Radon In Your Home

If you have the unfortunate experience of learning that your home has radon gas inside of it, you may immediately feel stressed and concerned. This is understandable considering this is a known carcinogen. However, while it is important that you take immediate action to cleanse and purify your home's air, there is not a need to panic. There are numerous filtration and purifier systems that you can invest in that have amazing results. In fact, some can eliminate up to 99 percent of the radon in your home.

Even if your home tests clean for radon today, keep in mind that this gas can naturally seep into your home over time. You may consider testing your home periodically for radon at regular intervals for the entire time you live in the space. This will help you to identify a problem in your home and to take action soon to minimize the health risks for you and your loved ones.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, MRP 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.