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Taking an Extended Vacation? Renting Your Home to Long-term Tenants is a Great Option
By Peta-Gay
May 1, 2015

Taking an extended vacation can seem like a dream come true. You may have plans to spend your summer in Europe, your winter in the Caribbean or even a full year or longer exploring a different region. If you have the luxury of taking an extended vacation, you may have your sights set on adventure and relaxation. However, you also need to consider the practicality of leaving behind your home and belongings for an extended period of time. A great idea is to take on a long-term tenant for your home, and there are a number of benefits that you can enjoy by doing this.

Generate Income From Your Home

When you lease your home to a long-term tenant, you will be able to generate a monthly income from the property. This can be used to pay for your mortgage, property insurance and other related expenses while you are gone. Essentially, it can make it more affordable for you to take your trip for an extended period of time.

Decrease Your Maintenance Expenses

When you are away from your home, you may still have maintenance and upkeep chores to do. When you are home, for example, you may easily be able to water your lawn and mow the grass on your own. You may deal with a leaky pipe before it becomes problematic and causes considerable damage to the home. When you are gone, you may need to pay for a lawn service, and you have nobody to watch over the interior of the home. However, when you lease your home to a tenant, the tenant may be responsible for caring for the yard. In addition, he or she can alert you to issues that develop inside the home.

Someone to Keep an Eye on Your Property

When a home appears to be vacant, it is more likely to be vandalized or burglarized. A tenant will give your home an occupied look and will decrease the risk of criminal activity. In addition, the tenant may change your air filters, replace batteries in the smoke detectors and take other steps to keep the home in great condition for you while you are gone. You can specify your requirements in the lease.

If you are planning an extended vacation and you are looking for a convenient way to ensure that your home is taken care of while you are gone, consider the benefits of taking on a long term tenant. You can speak with a real estate agent to learn more about the market rental rate for 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 Huge Mortgage Mistakes Made by First-time Home Buyers - and How to Avoid Them
By Peta-Gay
May 5, 2015

As a first-time home buyer, you may actively be seeking out information about your upcoming purchase. Buying a home is a huge financial move to make, and it can impact your financial situation and even your lifestyle for many years to come. While it is important to learn more about what to look for in a home, it is also important to learn about mistakes home buyers have made. When you learn more about mortgage mistakes that others have made, you can take steps to prevent making those same mistakes yourself.

Committing To A Large Mortgage Payment

Many first-time home buyers contact a mortgage professional to determine what the largest loan amount and monthly payment they qualify for is. However, just because you qualify for a loan amount and monthly payment from a lending perspective does not mean that it is affordable for your budget. After all, you may have a more expensive lifestyle, childcare expenses and other expenses that are not factored into the lending equation.

Not Reviewing All Home Expenses

When you own a home, you will be required to pay for expenses that are not in place when you rent a home. For example, you will have to pay for lawn care, home maintenance tools and supplies, repair bills, homeowners' association dues and more. It is important to allow room in your budget for all of the expenses related to home ownership to ensure that your new home is affordable for you.

Failing To Inquire About Closing Costs

Your mortgage representative is required to disclose all loan charges and fees to you early on in the loan process, but some first-time home buyers do not take the time to thoroughly review or understand these fees. Many are unfortunately surprised by the amount of money they must come to the closing table with at the end of the loan process, and this can be avoided by simply asking questions and reviewing the preliminary loan statement up-front.

Each of these home mortgage mistakes can be costly to a first-time home buyer, but they also are all entirely avoidable. As you begin your loan process and proceed through it to closing, keep these mistakes in mind. Be sure to ask your loan consultant for more information if you have any questions. You can begin the loan process today by contacting a loan consultant directly.

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

Buying a New Home This Spring? How to Avoid Overpaying as the Market Starts to Heat Up
By Peta-Gay
May 6, 2015

While the real estate market in most areas may slow down considerably during the winter months, activity quickly picks up in the spring time. More listings are available for buyers to choose from, but there are typically many more buyers competing for those properties. With the fast-paced and often pressure-filled market activity during the spring, it is easy for buyers to react accordingly and to overpay for the home they fall in love with. By following a few important tips, you can take steps to ensure you get a great deal on your real estate purchase.

Avoid Making Impulsive Or Emotional Decisions

There are many reasons why buyers may overpay during the spring months, and these range from the feeling that they must act quickly to make an offer on a property they love to the belief that they need to offer the asking price even if they feel the price is too high. Some may even be involved in a bidding war with another buyer, and they may structure an offer based on emotion rather than on sound real estate fundamentals. While you may need to move quickly during the spring months, you also should avoid making impulsive, emotional decisions. Spending a little time researching the property and structuring an intelligent offer will generally not kill a deal.

Create A Firm Budget

All home buyers regardless of the season should create a firm budget. This should include a personal monthly budget so that they can determine what home ownership costs are affordable for them, and it should also include a buying budget that accounts for a down payment and closing costs. Keep a trained eye on this budget, and do not deviate from it.

Be Willing To Walk Away

When you fall in love with a property and envision your family living in the space for years, it is easy to develop an emotional attachment to it. While you may be excited about a property, you also should be willing to walk away if the transaction becomes too costly for you through negotiations and counter offers. Remember that there are many other properties on the market to choose from that may be more affordable for you.

Seeking representation from a skilled real estate agent is an important step to take when buying a home. A real estate agent can help you to define your goals and to remain true to them, reminding you of your needs and specifications as well as your budget for your purchase. If you are ready to start looking for a property to purchase, seek assistance from an experienced real estate professional today.

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 Reasons Why Your Mortgage Lender Might Ask for Your Tax Returns - and Why You Should Provide Them
By Peta-Gay
May 7, 2015

After you have completed the initial loan application and have signed the preliminary loan disclosures, your mortgage loan application will generally receive a preliminary prequalification. This prequalification will be based in large part on your ability to provide documentation to support your statements on your loan application, including your stated income and assets. Typically, a lender will include a request for least the last two to three years of your income tax returns with this documentation. There are several reasons why a lender may need to review your tax returns and why you should provide requested documentation as soon it is requested.

To View All Sources Of Income

Your mortgage lender will typically request a copy of your W2 tax forms, which will show your salary and compensation from your employer. However, the W2 form will not show all sources of income that you may receive. For example, rental property income, dividend income and even alimony or child support are just some of the many types of income that you can document through your tax returns.

To Average Income From Self-Employment

Most lenders will require self-employed borrowers to document their income through their tax returns. They will receive income as well as business-related expenses on the tax return. It is common for mortgage lenders to average this type of income for the previous two to three years. Typically, this is the only way that self-employed income is verified for mortgage purposes.

To Comply With Underwriting Guidelines

There are various types of mortgage loans that you may apply for, including stated income loans and low documentation loans. While not every type of loan that you apply for will require you to submit tax returns, some loans will have this as a firm requirement. Your loan request simply will not be reviewed and approved until you provide the required documentation to the lender.

If you want to be approved for your mortgage, it is important to comply with lender requirements. Providing documentation as soon as it is requested can speed the application process up, and your personal income tax returns may only be some of several documents that you will be required to submit to the underwriter for your loan request. You can speak with your mortgage representative about questions you have regarding required documentation, and you can work diligently to comply with underwriting information requests.

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 Trends That Will Help Shape Your Local Real Estate Market in 2015
By Peta-Gay
May 18, 2015

Each real estate market is unique in various ways, and your local real estate agent can help you to become more familiar with the trends in your community. For example, in some areas, it may be common for a seller to pay for at least a portion of the buyer's closing costs, but this may not be common practice in other areas. While each market may be unique, there are some common trends that you can expect to be rather widespread across many communities throughout the next year.

Buyers Acting Quickly To Make An Offer

In recent years, it was rather common for buyers to take their time researching the market and comparing various listings. There was a feeling that financing would continue to be affordable and that home prices would remain relatively low in many markets due to economic conditions. However, the economy has generally rebounded and market conditions in many areas have improved. There is an increasing feel of urgency in buyers to make a purchase sooner rather than later in order to lock in a great deal.

Younger Buyers Making a First-Time Home Purchase

Many younger adults have notably been sitting on the sidelines and have not been buying real estate at the same level that previous generations did in their 20s and younger 30s. However, as overall real estate market conditions have improved as well as other economic factors like the employment rate, consumer confidence and more, younger buyers are increasingly finding the confidence to move forward with their first home purchase.

More Realistic List Prices

In recent years, it was common for some sellers to list their home for sale based on the amount they owed on their mortgage or their general belief in property value without giving much consideration for market conditions. This may have been out of financial need, a general belief that their property value did not decline significantly even when markets plummeted and more. However, because market conditions have dramatically improved, you will find that the list prices on many properties are much more realistic.

Real estate agents keep a pulse on the trends in your local market, and their insight and guidance can be invaluable to you as you search for a property, structure an offer and walk through the rest of the home buying process. If you are preparing to purchase a home in the coming year, you can begin looking for a friendly and helpful real estate agent such as myself to assist you.

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