Blog

4 Smart Money Habits That Will Help You Save up a Mortgage Down Payment Faster
By Peta-Gay
September 7, 2017

Are you ready for home ownership? The prospect of owning your own house or apartment is an exciting one, but with any financial transaction this large, there are some things to consider. The first is your down payment – that is, the initial payment you'll put against the cost of the house to reduce the amount that you're borrowing in a mortgage. Let's have a look at four habits that will help you to get your down payment saved up faster.

Build (And Stick To!) A Reasonable Budget

The first and most obvious tip is to stick to a reasonable budget. Determine how much you have coming in and going out of your bank accounts and credit cards each month. Group everything into areas like 'food,' 'utilities,' 'dining out,' 'entertainment' and more. Then, reduce each area to a reasonable amount and avoid any overspending.

Figure Out Your 'Latte Factor' – And Eliminate It

If you're unfamiliar with the term, a 'latte factor' is that one consistent purchase that you make each day which, over time, drains your bank account. For example, if you spend $5 each day on your coffee habit that adds up to almost $2,000 per year in unnecessary costs. Pay close attention to your spending habits and try to eliminate anything that you can.

Make Automatic Payments To A Down Payment Fund

If you're working a stable job and have regular pay periods, you may want to explore setting up a separate savings account for your down payment. Once you have this account opened, set up automatic deposits from your regular bank account after each pay day. This limits your ability to spend your cash while building up your down payment fund automatically.

Don't Carry Credit That You Don't Need

Finally, try not to carry credit that you aren't going to use. This includes department store credit cards, extra bank credit cards or lines of credit. While it won't necessarily harm your credit score to have available credit, if you do have it you're far more likely to use it than if you don't. You'll need to be disciplined to save up your down payment. So, don't bother with extra credit that may be too tempting to resist using.

These are just a few of the smart money habits that will help you get your mortgage down payment saved up as quickly as possible. When you're ready to look for your new home, contact our trusted real estate professionals. We'd be happy to share options that suit your budget as well as other tips for getting your down payment saved up.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, CMR®, 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 (8585 Fort Smallwood Road Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

Yes You Should Take the Plunge and Buy a New Home in 2017. Here Is Why
By Peta-Gay
September 12, 2017

Are you thinking about buying a house, apartment or condo? In many markets across the country, there's never been a better time than now to become a homeowner. In this post, we'll share a few reasons why the conditions are right to jump into the market and buy a new home.

Interest Rates Are Heading Up

If you're like most home buyers, you're probably looking to make use of mortgage financing to help spread out the purchase cost over a longer period. If so, you'll want to make a move in 2017 so you can lock in a low interest rate. The Federal Reserve has indicated that interest rates are going to continue to rise over the next year or two. If that prediction holds true, mortgage costs will continue to grow along with rates. Buying in 2017 means that you'll be able to secure a lower mortgage rate which in turn will save you money.

It's A Buyer's Market In Most Areas

Depending on the community that you're looking to buy in, you may find that it's a bit of a buyer's market. There are many individuals looking to sell their homes to lock in the price appreciation that's taken place during the recovery since the 2008 financial crisis. More listings on the market mean that sellers will be open to negotiation as they won't want their home sale to take weeks or months. If you're pre-approved for your mortgage financing and are serious about buying, you may be able to convince a seller to take a lower offer than they normally would.

You'll Start Building Real Net Worth

Of course, one of the best parts of buying a home is that it's a significant financial investment. Properly maintained, your home should continue to increase in value over time. As you continue to invest in upgrades and renovations, you'll build more equity that can be used as leverage for additional credit or just pocketed when you eventually decide to sell. Even though every market has its ups and downs, owning real estate is a far greater path to prosperity than renting.

When you're ready to get into the market and find your dream home, we're here to help. Contact our professional real estate team today and we'll be happy to introduce you to some beautiful new homes that suit your tastes and budget.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, CMR®, 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 (8585 Fort Smallwood Road Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

First Time Home Sellers: Do Not Miss These 4 Tips That Will Keep Your Sale Moving Smoothly
By Peta-Gay
September 14, 2017

Are you selling your home? If it's your first time going through a home sale, you've probably got a lot of questions about the process. In today's post, we'll share four tips that can help to keep your home sale moving along smoothly. Let's get started!

Tip #1: Enlist The Help Of A Professional

First, you'll want to ensure that you enlist the help of an experienced real estate agent. Selling a home is a significant financial transaction and the process can be especially daunting the first time. A professional agent with sales experience will be a major asset in having a stress-free sale. They'll know all the legal and other requirements to selling so you won't be buried in paperwork. Plus, they'll have insight into other local sales which can help with listing your home at a competitive price.

Tip #2: Focus On Your 'Curb Appeal'

As the saying goes: you never get a second chance to make a first impression. With that in mind, you'll want to ensure that you focus on how your home looks when a potential buyer shows up. If you feel the home could use it, a fresh coat of paint is an inexpensive upgrade that can give your home a new look and feel. Don't forget your lawn and other landscaping, which should look well-maintained. The last thing a buyer wants to see is a nasty jungle of uncut grass or dying flowers!

Tip #3: Don't Turn Down A Solid Offer

While you likely shouldn't jump on the very first offer you get for your home, you also won't want to pass up on a fair one either. It can be tough attracting a buyer, especially for larger, more expensive, or luxurious houses. If your agent advises you to accept a competitive offer, his or her advice is well worth considering.

Tip #4: Have Your Share Of The Paperwork Ready

Finally, it's worth having your share of the paperwork ready to go. There's a lot of documentation required to complete a home sale, and being unprepared is a guaranteed way to make the closing process take longer. Spend the time gathering what you need before you accept an offer and you'll enjoy a faster sale.

There you have it – four tips that will help to keep your home sale moving along smoothly! When you're ready to discuss selling your home, contact our professional real estate team. We're happy to share our guidance and experience to help you with your sale.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, CMR®, 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 (8585 Fort Smallwood Road Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

DIY Home Projects: Creating a Study Space That Will Help Your Children Stay Focused
By Peta-Gay
September 20, 2017

If you're a parent of school-aged children, you've likely been concerned with their study habits at some point. Sitting down in front of the television or at the dinner table to crack open the books is going to be less efficient than doing so in a quieter, more productive work space. Let's explore how to create a study space that will help keep your children focused and on task.

Ask The Kids What They Need To Be Productive

Before you get to work on creating a new studying space, it's a good idea to have a chat with those who will be using it most. Ask the children what kind of surroundings they feel would help to keep them productive. Younger kids may only need a small desk area but would appreciate more space in the room. Conversely, older children who are in high school are likely to need a lot of desk space for laptops, textbooks, and other studying materials. Starting the project out by asking what they need ensures that they get what they need out of the space.

Brighten Up The Room

Next, you'll want to focus on how the room is lit. A dark room isn't likely to be a positive studying environment. If possible, natural light sources should be used as much as possible. Studies indicate that sunlight is better at keeping individuals alert and focused than fluorescent or other types of home lighting. Also, consider adding some plants which can help to keep oxygen levels a bit higher in the room.

Note that you'll want to avoid making the room so bright that it's distracting. Plus, the sun can cause quite a bit of glare depending on how much outdoor exposure the room has. If there's already a lot of natural light, consider a set of curtains that can reduce or block out any glare to allow for a more comfortable learning environment.

Eliminate Any And All Distractions

Distractions – especially those which are useful for procrastinating – are the bane of any productive space. There should be no television, no video games and no other distracting elements in the study area. The only furnishings should be those used for studying.

A study room is an excellent addition to any home with school-aged children. If you're in the market for a new home – study spaces included – we can help. Contact our trusted real estate team at your convenience and we'll be happy to show you some local options.

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, CMR®, 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 (8585 Fort Smallwood Road Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com

Real Estate Negotiations: 3 Tricks That You Can Use to Ensure Yours Is the Winning Bid
By Peta-Gay
September 27, 2017

You've toured through several listings, attended all the open houses, and have found your potential new dream home. Now the hard part begins, especially if you're working against other buyers who are keen on getting the same home as you. Let's look at three tricks that you can use to make sure the bid you submit on a home is the one that wins.

Don't Start With A Lowball Offer

First, it's important to note that the offer itself needs to be a fair one. If you approach a home seller with a low offer, you'll likely discover that they're not too interested in accepting it. Even worse, if your offer is too low, you risk the seller feeling insulted. And that might prevent you from being able to counter with a higher price to be more competitive. Instead, consider bidding on the low end of a reasonable, fair price range as your starting bid. That way the seller knows that you're serious and is more willing to entertain the conversation.

Let A Real Estate Agent Handle It

If you want to make an offer that a seller can't refuse, you'll want to work with a real estate agent. An experienced agent that has helped dozens of buyers with the purchasing process will have critical knowledge that will be useful in making the right bid. Plus, if you end up receiving a counter-offer from the seller, an agent can assist you with understanding the terms and touching up your bid to get the deal done.

Keep Your Cool And Be Ready For The Counter

Speaking of counter-offers, you'll want to ensure that you keep an open mind when it comes to negotiating with the home seller. Unless your offer is close to or over the listing price, the seller is likely to counter your opening bid. This is normal and is a sign that they're interested, so from here it's your job to ensure that you sweeten the deal just enough that they're willing to close.

These are just a few of the ways that you can ensure that the bid you make on a home is the one the seller accepts. For more tips and insight into buying a house in our area, contact one of our trusted real estate agent today. We look forward to connecting!

About the Blogger - Peta-Gay Lewis, ABR®, CMR®, 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 (8585 Fort Smallwood Road Pasadena, MD 21122). Her contact information is 202 683-0158 (c), 410 255-3690 (o) or agent@propertylocatorsllc.com