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Can I Qualify for a Mortgage After Declaring Bankruptcy? Yes -- and Here Is How
By Peta-Gay
June 27, 2017

It may feel like a very daunting task to consider buying a home after you've declared bankruptcy, and there's no doubt that it's an uphill battle. Fortunately, while you'll have hard work ahead, there are things you can do to make your dream of home ownership a possibility. Whether you've just declared bankruptcy or some time has passed, here are some things you should consider before getting into the market.

Wait It Out

It might not be what you want to hear, but it's unfortunately the case that you'll have to wait at least two years before you purchase a home following bankruptcy. Since lenders will not want to take the risk on someone that has proven to have poor financial habits, they will require a waiting period for the credit risk you pose to improve. While this may seem like a long time, take the opportunity to improve your financial habits so you can be amply prepared when the time comes.

Build Up Your Credit

To own a home, you'll need to develop some solid financial habits, and that means getting on top of your finances even in times when it feels like you have no leverage. Ensure you get a copy of your credit report and, if you notice any errors, reach out to the credit bureau for corrections. It's also a good idea to consider applying for a secured credit card and ensure that you pay all your bills on time. While it might feel like a lengthy task, developing good habits will have a positive impact on your credit over time.

Prepare For Your Payment

When it comes to a poor credit history, you'll need to pull out every stop you can to convince lenders that you're a solid financial bet. Instead of wasting the time, write up a budget for yourself and save a sizeable sum for your down payment each month. It's possible that 10 or 15% down will do, but a 20% payment will help you avoid private mortgage insurance (PMI) and will go further in convincing lenders of your reliability.

It's more than a little disheartening to have to deal with bankruptcy, but by waiting it out and developing good financial habits in the interim, you'll be well on your way to buying a home. If you're currently preparing to purchase, you may want to contact one of our trusted real estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, 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 (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

Summer Staging Tips: Using Your Lawn and Flower Beds to Boost Your Curb Appeal
By Peta-Gay
June 26, 2017

Every open house involves so much clean up and de-cluttering that it's often easy to forget about the first thing your guest will see when they arrive; the exterior! Instead of foregoing the first impression, here are some tips for fixing up your yard and all its vegetation so you can make a positive impression on potential homebuyers.

Get Out The Pruning Shears

There are few things that will wreck the overall look of your home like an overgrown shrub or an unruly patch of bushes, so instead of letting nature take its course, do some scaling back. While you'll want to make sure you retain the natural look of the shrubs and bushes in your yard, make sure to focus on any overgrown areas or branches sticking out so your property will look well maintained and respectable.

Mow The Lawn

It may seem like common sense to get out the lawnmower and the edger for some basic lawn maintenance, but since it's a rather sizeable task it can catch many people off guard. There's no way around it so make sure you pick a good time weather-wise to cut the grass right before your open house. You'll also want to edge around your sidewalks and driveway for a picture-perfect look that will enhance the impression your home makes.

Plant Some Perennials

A tidy yard and pruned trees will certainly improve the look of your home on the outside, but picking out a few flowers and cleaning up your flower beds can make it look even more inviting. While gardening can take up more than a little time, planting a few flowers or purchasing a few pots can got a long way towards adding that extra touch.

Keep It Clutter Free

Like anything to do with an open house, it's fine to have a bunch of great design features and details, but if there's clutter potential buyers won't see anything! If you'll be putting your home up for sale soon, ensure your yard is as clean as it can be with gardening tools placed in the shed and any toys packed away for later use.

It takes a lot to prepare your home for an open house, but ensure you don't forget about your yard because it's one of the first things your visitors will see! If you're getting prepared to put your home on the market, you may want to contact one of our trusted real estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, 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 (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

Four Ways a Real Estate Agent Can Help Ensure Your Home Sells for More Than Your Asking Price
By Peta-Gay
June 1, 2017

Most home sellers are thrilled to get the asking price they're looking for when putting their home up for sale, but many have not thought about the possibility of getting even more! If you're wondering what tricks of the trade your agent can use when it comes to getting a higher offer, you may want to have them test out some of the following tips.

Price It A Little Lower

It's generally said that you should price your home at market value so it will not linger on the market, but by having your real estate agent price it slightly lower you may be able to get a lot more people through the door. Instead of lowering the price of your home, this can work to stimulate a bidding war for those who see the value in your home and are willing to pay more.

Hold Off For The Right Offer

The benefit of using a real estate agent is that they know the market and will be able to determine what amount the offer on your home should be, so make sure you consult with them before saying yes. It's easy to be tempted by the first good offer that's close to your asking price, but it's often worth it to hold out for the amount you really want.

Sell In The Springtime

It's possible to get a good price for your home at any time of the year, but Spring is the time that homebuyers like to hit the market and this means that you may have a lot more interested parties to choose from. Instead of waiting for buyers to come to you, put your home on the market when there will be a lot of people ready to invest.

Make It Unique

Whether you've recently made some renovations or your home has several unique features, ensure that these details are being properly promoted in your marketing material and at your open house. Not only can these features add a lot of value to your home, they can make potential homebuyers remember it so they'll be willing to negotiate.

Most home sellers put their home on the market with the hope of getting a certain amount, but by highlighting unique features and holding out for a better offer you can get more than you asked for. If you're currently on the market for a home, you may want to contact one of our trusted real estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, 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 (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 a Home With a Mortgage? Here Is What You Can Expect at Your Closing Meeting
By Peta-Gay
June 2, 2017

If you've decided to invest and have finally found your ideal home, it's probably an exciting time for you and your family. But before the deal is sealed, there will be a closing meeting so that all of the loose ends can be tied up. If you want to be ready for closing and are curious what the final meeting will entail, here are a few things to be prepared for.

The Last Walk Through

The initial home inspection may have already occurred prior to your closing meeting, but a final walk through should also be granted in the event that anything has happened to the house since it occurred. If problems have been made note of and a price or repair has been negotiated, you won't need to worry, but the final walk through is a good opportunity to cover off any additional maintenance issues.

Discussion Of The Details

It's a good idea to bring any paperwork you have regarding your mortgage along to the closing meeting as this will enable you to follow up on any outstanding questions and go through the specifics of the home sale. In all likelihood, you'll be going through items like the closing costs, escrow payments, the settlement costs related to the home sale and the deed of trust to secure your mortgage, so ensure you understand all of the documents and are prepared to sign on the dotted line.

All The Appropriate Parties

You may expect the closing meeting to be rather informal after the offer has been accepted, but there are many parties that will be present in order to transfer the ownership of your new home. In addition to the home seller, yourself and your respective real estate agents, there will also be any attorneys present, a closing agent, and the lender. While it can be overwhelming to have so many people present, it is generally a formality so that the proceedings can take place without a hitch.

If you've determined that the home you've made an offer on is right for you, the closing meeting will likely be a seamless experience. However, it's important to ensure you've done your final walk through and looked over all the applicable documents to avoid any issues related to the purchase of your home. If you're getting prepared to buy a home, you may want to contact one of our trusted real estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, 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 (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

How Young Is Too Young to Buy Your First Home? Getting Started Early Has Its Ups and Downs
By Peta-Gay
June 5, 2017

Many millennials are expected to enter the housing market in the next year with the interest rates still low. However, while it may be a good time, it does not necessarily mean that it's the right time for you to make the investment. If you're currently weighing your options when it comes to home ownership, here are some things to consider before you decide to put the money down.

Are You Struggling With Student Debt

It's possible to invest in a home when you're still paying down student debt, but if you're also struggling with a low-paying job and a high debt load, it may not be the right time to buy. Instead of trying to make ends meet to pay a monthly mortgage payment, it might be a better decision to pay off some of your debt, lower your interest costs and consider investing later on. This will also enable you to afford more home when you decide the time is right to buy. 

Do You Have A Down Payment?

It can be a good testament to your financial ability if you want to purchase a home at a young age, but having a down payment is one of the most important things to have on hand when it comes to investing. If you've come up with 20% of the purchase price, this will allow you to avoid mortgage loan insurance. If you don't have this amount, however, or much of anything saved up, you may want to create a budget to save up for at least 3% for your down payment.

Are Your Ready To Commit?

Many people romanticize the idea of buying a home since it's something that really belongs to them, but it's important to be prepared for the monthly mortgage payments, home maintenance and all the other fees and responsibilities associated with home ownership. It's great if you want to invest, but if you want to travel or explore different job opportunities or even continue your education, an investment commitment may not be the best choice.

It can be a great financial benefit for your future to invest in a home at a young age, but it's important to ensure you're ready for the commitment by having your debt paid down and having money saved. If you're currently getting prepared to invest in a home, you may want to contact one of our trusted real estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, 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 (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