The Woods Team's Blog
If you have been looking to give your home a bit of pizzaz, you may be worried about the cost or the time investment. The good news is that you don’t need to put in a huge amount of work or money in order to make a big difference in your home. Below, you’ll find some of the easiest projects that you can complete in a hurry. You’ll be enjoying a new view of your home in no time!
Change Up The Mantel
We often grow comfortable with the decor in our homes. It’s a good idea to change those pictures and displays that you have along the top of your fireplace from time to time. For a more dramatic change, you can replace the entire mantel.
Bring Out The Front Entryway
The entry to your home is all a part of the curb appeal. You can easily paint the front door or part of the entryway to enhance the look of the front of your home. If you want to go even bolder, try and replace the door with something a bit different than what you already have.
Refresh The Paint
Whether you look at the inside or the outside of your home, you can easily bring about change to the look of your home. Add a fresh coat of paint to the front door. Take a tired looking room and change the paint color of the space. Taking things room by room can be less time consuming than trying to take on the entire house at once. If the exterior of your home needs some fresh color, this project can be expensive, yet rewarding as the amount of curb appeal that you have will increase dramatically.
Try Some New Lighting
It’s easy to get some new lighting fixtures. It could be as simple as switching a lamp or installing a few new light fixtures. For an even more dramatic change, add some dimmer switches or energy efficient lightbulbs. Checking in on the lighting in your home can be beneficial for both your home decor and the practical use of lights.
Don’t forget the outdoors as well. It can be very refreshing for your landscape to have some outdoor lighting that highlights the more dramatic pieces of the outdoor space.
Plant Something New
If you take the time to plant something new, you can bring a whole new look to the exterior of your home. Whether you take the time to plant one simple bush or are able to place down a whole new flower bed, small changes make a big impact.
However small your home improvement projects are, they are a part of working towards making your home a better place to live.
Buying your first home can be stressful enough without worrying about whether or not your mortgage loan pre-approval is going to go through. You may not be prepared for the mountains of paperwork that you'll need to submit before a lender gives you the thumbs' up. That's why it's such a good idea to know the requirements before you narrow down your home search.
Here are the top items your mortgage broker or lender will need in order to pre-approve you for a loan.
1. Proof of Income
W2 employees will need paystubs, IRS 1040 forms, and copies of their W2 form for the last two years.
For self-employed individuals, and small business owners, the burden of proof is higher. In additon to 1099 MISC forms, you may need to submit a letter from your accountant stating that your business is still active and a profit and loss sheet.
2. Asset Information
In addition to the regular taxable income you are bringing in, the lender will want to see proof of other assets, including savings, investment accounts, and written documentation of a family member's intent to gift you money.
These assets will let the lender know if you can afford a down payment, pay for the closing costs on the loan, and have enough cash reserves to afford the transition into homeownership.
3. Employment Verification
Lenders want to know not just that you are employed but also that you are stably employed. Thus, they request a letter from your employer to verify your employment status and the salary you're earning.
Self-employed individuals will need to submit at least two years of their complete 1040 forms in lieu of this verification process.
4. Credit Information
Before they will pre-approve a loan, the lender makes a hard inquiry into your credit. You will need a credit score of at least 620 to qualify for a conventional mortgage loan or a Federal Housing Administration Loan with zero percent down. The government may approve borrowers for an FHA loan with a score between 580 and 620 if they are able to make a sizable down payment.
In order to qualify for the lowest interest rates available — typically the ones you see advertised — you must have a credit score of at least 760. In some cases, it is worthwhile to defer applying for pre-approval until you can raise your credit score. Why? A lower interest rate can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the mortgage.
5. Personal Information
Finally, the lender will want to verify your identity by requesting copies of your driver's license, social security number, and signature.
A home selling budget may prove to be exceedingly valuable. With this budget in hand, an individual will know approximately how much money that he or she will need to complete the home selling journey.
Now, let's take a look at three expenses to include in a home selling budget.
1. Home Cleaning
If you want to impress buyers, you likely will need to maintain a neat, tidy home interior. As such, you may want to account for cleaning supplies in your house selling budget.
Of course, you may choose to hire a home cleaning company. And in this scenario, you should consider how frequently you want this company to clean your house.
Regardless of whether you choose to purchase cleaning supplies so you can clean your house on your own or hire a home cleaning company, you should shop around. That way, you can evaluate the costs associated with different cleaning supplies and home cleaning companies and make the best-possible decision based on your finances.
2. Home Repairs
Repairing a home may be costly, particularly for those who failed to maintain their residences over time. Yet if you consider the home repairs you need to complete, you can incorporate the costs associated with these repairs into your house selling budget.
It may be beneficial to conduct a house inspection prior to listing your home. Once you receive a house inspection report, you can learn about any underlying home problems. You then can assess the costs to perform assorted home repairs.
For those who want to save money on home repairs, you may be able to complete simple property upgrades on your own. If you are unsure about how to perform various home improvements, however, you should hire a professional. Otherwise, if you try to complete these home improvements on your own, you risk making expensive, time-consuming and dangerous mistakes.
3. Packing and Moving
After you sell your house, you may have only a short amount of time to pack up your belongings and relocate to a new address. Meanwhile, if you account for your potential packing and moving costs, you can ensure that you will have the funds available to cover these expenses when you are ready to relocate.
In some instances, home sellers pick up packing supplies early in the property selling journey. This ensures a seller won't have to worry about rushing to purchase packing supplies as moving day approaches.
You may want to reach out to local moving companies for quotes, too. And when you finally sell your home, you can finalize plans with an affordable, convenient moving company that you have already vetted.
Lastly, selling a house can be challenging, but a real estate agent can help. If you hire a real estate agent, you can receive plenty of assistance as you craft a home selling budget. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will do whatever it takes to help you enjoy a fast, profitable house selling experience.
When you list your home for sale, you will have people you don't know exploring the property -- and while real estate agents will supervise them, you will still have extra foot traffic in your home. You can work with your listing agent to ensure that visiting buyers are properly vetted (new listings often attract curious visitors that are not interested in buying, just touring the home). You can also take steps to protect your property during open houses and showings. A security system isn't beneficial -- because the people admitted to your home for a showing have permission to be there. Here's what to do before you list your home to protect your possessions from theft or harm. Most people are well-intentioned and the vast majority of showings are trouble-free but preparing to show your home can give you peace of mind and preserve your privacy and possessions, too.
Replace originals: If you have original works of art as focal points in some rooms, you may want to replace them with prints, reproductions or lesser works while your home is on the market. Consider having artwork professionally packed by an art historian or specialty mover before your home goes on the market and you won't have to worry about it being in an empty home. Note that even well-intentioned visitors could damage original art simply by touching it, so evaluate which pieces should stay on display when you show your home.
Remove small electronics: Your wall mounted flat screen is safe during showings since it is simply too awkward to remove and tote away, but smaller pieces could be at risk. Small electronics like phones, tablets and games should be removed or secured before a showing. These items may also contain your personal information and secure data, so putting them away can protect your privacy, too.
Secure or remove personal items: Jewelry and other small items should be removed from the home or placed in a safe or other secure location. Even if you don't have a conventional jewelry box or valet on display, consider removing especially valuable or sentimental items while your home is on on the market.
Most visitors are honest, authentic buyers. However, if you have concerns about theft or damage, sweep your home before you list it and secure or replace any important items.
Believe it or not, you don't need to be a homebuying expert to score a great deal on your dream residence. In fact, there are many things you can do to find and acquire a house that won't force you to break your budget, and these include:
1. Shop Around
When it comes to conducting a home search, it generally is a good idea to be thorough. If you search for residences in a variety of cities and towns, you can boost the likelihood of finding a home that you can afford.
Also, it is important to remember that scoring a great deal on a residence usually requires hard work and patience. If you perform lots of housing market research, you can gain deep insights into the real estate sector. You then may be able to use housing market insights to find ways to speed up the process of locating and purchasing your ideal home.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
If you have a mortgage in hand when you start your home search, you will be better equipped than other buyers to pounce at the opportunity to acquire a budget-friendly home.
Typically, it won't take long to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you meet with myriad banks and credit unions, you can explore all of your home financing options. Then, you can select a mortgage and perform a home search with a budget at your disposal.
If you have questions about a mortgage, there is no need to worry, either. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to respond to your home financing queries. Therefore, these specialists can help you make an informed mortgage selection.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a homebuying professional who will help you find a terrific house at an affordable price – without exception. He or she knows what it takes to perform an in-depth home search, and as such, will take the guesswork out of acquiring your dream residence.
In addition, a real estate agent offers comprehensive homebuying insights you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. If you are unsure about where to search for a home, for example, a real estate agent can help you hone your homebuying criteria. Or, if you are uncertain about how much to offer to acquire your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive homebuying proposal.
A real estate agent is available to assist you in any way possible as you navigate the homebuying journey, too. That way, you can get the help you need to seamlessly go from homebuyer to homeowner.
For those who want to purchase a first-rate house at an economical price, it helps to prepare for the homebuying journey. By using the aforementioned tips, you can move quickly to find a home that falls in line with your finances. As a result, you could accelerate your home search and acquire your ideal residence in no time at all.