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3 Budget-friendly DIY Weekend Renovations to Step into Spring
By Peta-Gay
March 2, 2016

The springtime is often the best time of the year for cleaning up and getting rid of old items, but with its proximity to the winter months it can still be hard to commit to large-scale renovations. If you're looking for some small fixes to give your home a seasonal boost, here are a few options that won't take up a lot of time.

 Freshen Up The Window Frames        

Paint can instantly enhance the brightness of any room, but deciding to repaint can be a job that takes more than just a weekend. Instead of committing to everything, paint your window frames for a task that is cheap and doesn't require a huge expenditure of time. Since the eyes will naturally be drawn to the windows in any room, this will serve to improve your space without all the work that goes into sanding and taping everything.

Add An Accent With Wallpaper        

A creative, striking way to upgrade the look of your home is a wallpaper accent that will be easy to install but add trendy appeal to your home's aesthetic. Instead of going for the same old, choose a wallpaper with a funky design to the area of your choice. By placing it behind a mirror or another picture, you'll add a lot of oomph without all of the effort that goes into completely repapering a wall. It's just important to ensure you use an adhesive wallpaper that can be repositioned in the event your first attempt doesn't work out.

Replace An Old Fixture        

It doesn't necessarily take a lot of legwork to easily revamp a stale space, so consider a light fixture that will instantly draw the eye and can serve as a high-impact piece that really sets the tone for your chosen space. While you'll want to choose something that won't completely contrast with the style already present, the right piece can really enhance and modernize what you already have. It's just important to turn off the breakers before you start fiddling around with installation.

The idea of home renovations can make people think of large scale projects that consume a lot of time, but there are plenty of little things to be done that will make for big changes without an excess of effort. If you're making some upgrades and are preparing to put your home on the market, you may want to contact a trusted real estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal 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 Psychological Hacks That Will Help You Sell Your Home Faster
By Peta-Gay
March 3, 2016

From real estate agents to homebuyers, there are so many tips out there on how to sell your home that it can be overwhelming to determine which tricks will boost your success rate and make the sale. If you're looking for a few sure-fire hacks for getting your home off the market quickly, the following may do a lot of the hard work for you so that selling won't remain a worry for long.

Stick To A Neutral Palette        

Neutral colors like white and grey may seem like a boring approach to design, but they're actually a great way to grab a potential buyer's attention. While an especially bold color like red or dark blue can distract the viewer, neutral tones will not jar the eye and will enable the viewer to see the features that your home truly offers. Instead of a space they can't see for the color, they'll be able to pay attention to the details that really matter.

Discard The Oversized Items        

Most of us have an old, bulky piece of furniture that we still haven't bothered to get rid of, but when preparing your home for viewings you may want to finally let go of this ostentatious piece. A bulky furniture item will make an undersized space look even smaller, whereas – in a large, sprawling space – it will swallow the size of the room. Instead of a large-scale item, stick to classy, medium-sized pieces that will effectively complement each other.

Keep Personal Items To A Minimum        

It may seem like personalizing your home, from pictures all over the fridge to movie posters, will add to its appeal, but it can actually take away from the impression that potential buyers will get. While a home that has a few personal touches here and there can make it more memorable, too many of these little details may actually make the viewer feel out of place. Since the end goal is an offer on your home, enabling potential buyers to imagine themselves in your space is key.

There are an endless amount of tricks involved in a successful home sale, but there are a few little hacks you can do that may work wonders on the minds of potential buyers. If you're almost ready to put your home on the market and are considering your options for selling, you may want to contact one of our trusted real estate professionals for more information.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal 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

It Isn't Always a Clear Road after Pre-approval: 4 Reasons Why Your Mortgage May Be Denied
By Peta-Gay
March 4, 2016

So you've been pre-approved for a mortgage – great! You've taken the first step toward becoming a homeowner. But before you start picking out china patterns, you'll want to keep in mind that a pre-approval isn't the same thing as a mortgage agreement. There's still no guarantee that you'll actually get a mortgage.

But why would a lender deny a mortgage after pre-approving a borrower? Here's what you need to know.

Sudden Changes In Income Or Employment History        

A number of mortgages will require borrowers to have consistent employment for a certain length of time. If you apply for an FHA mortgage, for instance, you'll be obligated to have an employment history dating back at least two years. Any gaps in your employment history will require a written explanation that your underwriter will need to approve.

If you switch career fields while in the process of buying a home and it has a significant impact on your income, your lender may deny your mortgage.

 Credit Mismanagement After Pre-Approval        

Lenders like to see consistency – so if your credit score suddenly drops after you've been pre-approved for a mortgage, it sends up a red flag. Even something as minor as a late payment on a cell phone bill could affect your credit score just enough to cause your lender to deny you. Pay extra attention to your bills throughout the home buying process, and make sure nothing slips past you.

Taking On More Debt In The Interim        

A number of buyers will take on more debt after they've been pre-approved for a mortgage. Although it may be tempting to get a new car to go with your new house, getting a car loan will change your debt-to-income ratio and cause your lender to think twice about how responsible you are. If you're in the process of buying a home, hold off on any other major purchases until after the deal has closed.

 An Unsatisfactory Bank Appraisal        

Sometimes, your mortgage can be denied for reasons that have nothing to do with you. Some lenders will only issue a mortgage if the property value of the house in question is appraised above a certain level. Others will deny a mortgage if the home requires roof repairs, electrical work, or a new heating system.

You'll want to check with your lender to see what home conditions could be cause for denying your mortgage application.

Getting approved for a mortgage is a convoluted process at best, but a mortgage advisor can help you to navigate the approval process with ease. Contact your local mortgage professional for more tips on how to ensure you get approved.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal 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 Things You Need to Consider Before Buying That Fixer-upper Home
By Peta-Gay
March 7, 2016

The idea of buying a home that will need a fair bit of renovating can seem like a great investment opportunity, but some renovations come with high prices and may actually end up costing you more than you think. If you're trying to determine whether or not a fixer-upper is worth the cost, here are some important things to consider.

What Will It Cost?        

If you're going into a home expecting a few renovations costs, a minor detail here or there may not add up to much. However, if you're not interested in spending the big bucks on making changes, you'll want to estimate an approximate amount of how much the renovations you don't want to live without will amount to. By including all the necessary labor and materials, you'll be able to determine if the price-point of your offer will be worth it. Keep in mind that if there are any serious issues with the house, it may not be worth your while to consider the purchase at all.

Will Renovations Increase The Value?        

In the event that you're buying a home for its investment value, it's going to be particularly important to consider if the renovations required will actually increase its market value. While adding another bedroom or upgrading a bathroom may not add significantly to a home's overall price, certain more inexpensive improvements like painting, refinishing and new siding can actually add a lot to the look (and worth) of your home.

How Much Are You Willing To Take On?        

It's easy to think that you're prepared to do the dirty work when faced with a fixer-upper, but getting down to brass tacks may not be so simple when the time comes. Before taking on a home that needs a lot of renovation, consider how much you're willing to do so that you can determine if fixing it up will even be an economic boon after all the labor that may go into it. If you're not a DIY kind of person, you may want to avoid a house that has a long list of repairs.

A fixer-upper can be tempting for those who want to invest or save on a home purchase, but you'll want to carefully consider if it will be a good choice when it comes to selling time. If you're currently perusing 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, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal 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 Tips and Tricks to Make Mortgage Pre-qualification Easy
By Peta-Gay
March 8, 2016

If you're planning to buy a home, you should know that the mortgage pre-qualification process is the first in a series of steps that eventually lead to home ownership. A pre-qualification is different from a pre-approval – the pre-qualification meeting is simply you and your lender hashing out how much you can afford to spend on a property. But once you've been pre-qualified, it makes the mortgage process easier.

So how can you make the pre-qualification quick and painless so you can get on with your house hunt? Here's what you need to know.

Get Your Debts In Order        

One of the major questions during the pre-qualification meeting will be your work history and debts. Your lender will use your social security number to look up your work history and determine your income and current assets, as well as your monthly debt payments. If you have a high amount of debt, you'll want to do everything you can to pay it down before this meeting.

Chart Your Income And PITI        

Your lender will use a specific ratio (the PITI to income ratio) to determine how much it's willing to lend you in order to buy a home – and that's why, if you calculate this ratio beforehand, you'll know what to expect going into the meeting. PITI stands for "Principal, Interest, Tax, Insurance" – and it refers to the four components of a standard mortgage payment. Your PITI ratio, then, shows how much of your income goes toward your monthly mortgage payment.

To calculate your PITI to income ratio, simply divide your gross monthly income by your monthly mortgage payment (your PITI fees plus your mortgage insurance). Most lenders will want to see a PITI to income ratio that is under 28%. 

Build Out Some Mortgage Calculator Numbers        

It's important that you have an idea of what to expect when you walk into your pre-qualification meeting. That's why you'll want to run some calculations of your own before meeting with your mortgage advisor. There are a host of online calculators that can help you to break down how your mortgage will work out.

Look for an online mortgage prequalification calculator offered by a bank or other mortgage professional. Organizations like FICO and Wells Fargo also offer prequalification calculators that make it easy to see what you can afford.

Pre-qualifying for a mortgage can seem like a daunting process, but it's actually quite simple. Your mortgage advisor can help you to understand what goes into a pre-qualification. Contact your local mortgage professional to learn more about how pre-qualifications work.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, MRP®, PSA® is Founder & Principal 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