Should I Buy a Foreclosed Home?

Foreclosed home are the houses that were unable to pay or cannot accomplish payments for interest of the mortgage by the homeowner/mortgagor, this will be repossessed by the lender either the bank or financier as per arrangement in the terms of the mortgage contract. Foreclosed homes are can be sold by the lenders.

If the homeowner has failed to pay and considered as an overdue on the loan, the house might go for pre-foreclosure. The homeowner will receive a letter of advisory to take an action and should make the due payments soon. In this circumstance, some foreclosure home owners are forced to sell their houses for easy money.

For the home sellers, immediate selling of houses or properties is profitable to them. In some cases, foreclosures can be an advantage to a seller because they might get fully paid or they could get their house back and sell again for the second profit. A better deal always awaits the home seller when they are selling their houses for easy money. The home seller always gets the advantage because they can ask the home buyers for better financing plans.

And the principal advantage for home buyers is the financial savings from buying a foreclosed home. It is inexpensive to buy a foreclosed home because everybody knows that it will be more cheaper compared to new houses. This can be an investment for buyers they will buy it at the cheapest price and resell it on a higher amount. Purchasing a foreclosed home or property can save up to 30% to 40%.

There are some circumstances in buying a foreclosed home because homebuyers will never know what the real shape of the interior is. Home buyers that are willing to do some restoration or repairs, they buy foreclosed house at the cheapest market price. They tend to do this so that they will have their choice what restoration would it be.

You can make money on certain ways on buying a foreclosed home. The easiest way is to buy a foreclosed house and giving it to rent so you can earn a monthly income. Second is to buy a fixer-upper and invest in renovating or make it a well developed house and then sell it to a higher price. The third way is to search for a cheaper but descent foreclosed house and sell it at higher amount.

We all agree that buying a foreclose house is an advantage for the home buyers. Many properties are in foreclosure because many people are incapable to maintain their houses. They are eager to sell it at once because they might get their houses foreclosed. Nowadays there are more homes that is up for sale, this will be nice for home buyers because they have a lot to choose from. This will be a good help for mortgagor to ease them because home buyers are already to give out cash for foreclosed houses.

Because of today’s style of living, some people come up facing a lot of financial problems. They are dragging their self to all of their payments. If your house is in foreclosure or pre-foreclosure, migrating to other country, divorce or you just want to sell your house, home buyers are just around you to help you with your problems and will offer flash cash. As a matter of course home buyers are willing to let out their money to guarantee a fast closing.

Home Staging – Will It Really Help Me Sell My Home?

In today’s news headlines we are hearing everyday about a collapse in the housing market, especially in certain areas of the country. There are getting to be more and more houses that are being foreclosed on because they were financed with loans that they now can’t afford. In some cities, the builders didn’t stop building until there were too many houses on the market, which has caused too many homes to be on the market. That in turn has forced other home values down. In short, the housing market is not the boom market it was a few years ago.

If you are in the position now that you are trying to sell your house, you may be a little worried as to whether you will be able to get it sold quickly and for as much money as you hoped it would sell for. When it comes to selling houses these days the buzz word is “Home Staging”. Is home staging right for you?

Recent stats show that homes that have been staged for sale receive 3-6% increase on their equity than unstaged homes. Also, on average, a staged home sells 2-3 times faster than unstaged homes. This can mean a lot to you financially if you are trying to sell your home. No one, wants to end up selling their house for thousands less than they had hoped to sell it for, and for sure no one wants to end up paying two mortgages because the house sits on the market for a lot longer than you planned on.

So what is home staging? Home staging is basically taking stock of what your house has to offer and doing the things that highlight the best features of the house. Home stagers make your house appeal to the broadest possible range of buyers. Their goal is to make it look the best that it can look, hopefully without spending a lot of money that you won’t get back when you sell the house.

Home stagers generally charge, depending on your geographical area, $200 for their initial report of what they think should be done, and then $75 or more per hour to actually stage the area. This does not include the cost of materials or labor that may be needed.

Depending on your situation, you may not be able to afford to hire a professional home stager, but there is no reason why you can’t learn to do some of the things that a home stager would do. There are a lot of things that you can do yourself that will help your house sell for more money and much quicker.

The first thing you need to do is to take stock of what your house has to offer. If you have been living in the house for a long time, you need to look at it with fresh eyes. Start with the outside. Does the pain on the trim need to be freshened up? Do the bushes need to be trimmed back so you can actually see the house?

Your house needs to be inviting on the outside or your potential buyers will never stop to come and see what you have to offer them inside. Cut the grass. Make sure the garbage bins are out of site. Touch up your trim paint if it needs it. Hose off the siding and knock down the cobwebs.

Once you have improved the looks of the outside of your home, you need to take stock of what you have on the inside. Have you ever taken a picture of your kids and when you looked at the picture realized that there is clutter behind them? We get so used to our surrounding that we get used to the clutter and the excess stuff we have around us. That stuff is fine if you and your family are living there, but if your house is on the market to sell, you need to reassess things. You need to clear off the counters, get rid of excess furniture and toys that are lying around.

You also need to do some deep cleaning. First off, if you smoke in your home, take it outside. You will also need to do whatever it takes to get rid of the smell. The smell of cigarette smoke will turn off a lot of people. Pets are also a problem. Remember, you are trying to appeal to the largest number of buyers. It may still be your home, but if you want to get it sold quickly and for a good price, you need to court the potential buyer.

Sell My Home So I Can Relocate for My New Job

The most common reason you may need to sell your home is because you need to relocate. Prior to 2007 the average duration people stayed in their home was 7 years. After the collapse of the housing market the average increased from 7 years to 11 years. Even though the length of time people say in their home has increased, there are many people that need to sell their home quickly so they can relocate.

Relocation because of a job offer in another city is a common occurrence. The Internet allows us all to search for employment across multiple towns, states, and countries. One of the biggest obstacles of accepting a new job is selling your home. The options you should consider when selling your home include selling your home yourself, for sale by owner, selling with a home selling agent, or selling to a local real estate investor.

Sell your house home by yourself can be a complicated process but may save you money. The money you save can be contributed to the savings of not having to pay a real estate agent or real estate broker. Agents gents typically cost 6 percent of your homes selling price, 3 percent for real estate agent representing the seller and 3 percent for the real estate agent representing the buyer. If you are selling a $200,000 home then the cost of selling with a real estate agent will be $12,000. The important thing to remember about selling with a real estate agent is that it is their job and this will save you time and frustration.

The next option to consider is selling your home yourself, FSBO. If you decide to sell your home yourself you should consider the time and effort it will take you. Although you may save money in the end, the time and effort will be tremendous. You will need to research and learn how to sell your home yourself. You may want to attend a local FSBO class, which typically cost between $100 and $200. After you learn how to sell your home you will need to spend some money on marketing your home. If you want your home shown on the Multiple Listing Service then you will likely have to pay between $250 and $300 for a couple month listing. This will allow your home to be viewed by reale state agents that have buyer for houses. The important thing to remember is that if an agent with a buyer does find your home, you will need to pay the buyers realtor fess which is 3 percent of your homes selling price.

The last way of selling your house that you should consider is selling to a local real estate investor. There are real estate investors in every major city in the nation. These investors purchase home from people that would like to sell quickly for a reasonable price. Some of the benefits of selling to a real estate investor include selling quickly, selling for a fair price, and selling your home without having to fix anything. Although real estate investors will want to buy your house for less than full market value, you will get a quick sale, not have to pay realtor fees, and don’t have to learn, list, and sell your home FSBO.

New Home Buyers – Second Step To Buying A Home

Finding and shopping your loan. The loan process and the different types of loans available are very complex. Loan officers and lenders rely on the complexity to confuse and misdirect the borrower in order to get them to surrender and sign on the doted line. Remember credit rules have changed and the three different credit reporting agencies are not supposed to penalize the applicant for applications filed in a thirty day period. This allows you to shop your loan, so don’t listen to the spin that you need to sign today. Shop your loan and get the best deal possible. Stay on the realty trak.

I am going to simplify the loan process to a few definitions and processes that will allow you to get the best loan possible. Truths are simple and whenever you make them complex you have some ones special interest at heart. Don’t be a victim of special interest. Let us break down the types of lenders and list their types of loans, advantages, and disadvantages. Some will disagree with me but I break it down to three types of lenders. Direct Lenders, Mortgage brokers, and Lenders that do both.

1.Direct Lenders- Banks, Credit Unions, Specialty Loan Programs, and Large Corporations are some examples. The advantages of these are a relatively short approval time. Their loans, fees, points, and other charges are very structured so they can give a closing estimate that will be accurate. (PS- Don’t forget to make them give you this it’s called a Good Faith Estimate.) They should be able to give you full loan approval in one day. Many of them are offering No Closing cost loans that they will pay all of your closing, except for taxes related to the sale. This can save you a lot of out of pocket expenses at closing. If you are in the high 600s or above, on your credit score, this is probably the best type of lender for you. But remember, shop the loan out. Specialty Loan programs are out there for low income and first time home buyers. They often offer low interest loans with some paid closing but require the applicant to attend classes. Some Direct Lender disadvantages are that their loan process is very structured. If you don’t fit their guidelines they will turn you down and this is bad for your credit report. Although many are starting to be competitive I have found most tend to have higher interest rates. And everything is done on their time so don’t be surprised to see your settlement pushed back a few days. You need a great deal of patience to deal with Specialty Loan programs for they often take a lot longer to qualify and settle your new home for sale.

2.Mortgage Brokers- Are small, large companies, and individuals. Some service the loan, but most do not. The advantages are they shop your loan to multiple companies. so it is possible they can compete over the rates and points. Some can specialize in certain types of loans (such as FHA, VA, Construction loans Etc. We will define these later) and offer the most competitive and competent services for these type of loans. Many are willing to work with individuals bordering qualification, writing letters and such to improve your credit in order to qualify. The disadvantages are many, and the borrower should be aware of the process all the time. Many loan officers shop your loan to the companies that give them the highest fees to your detriment, so you need to ask for a Good Faith estimate from at least four different lenders that they are working with. If they don’t want to do this, walk away. Many are very busy and don’t submit all of the paperwork until the last minute, this can affect closing costs and increase you’re out of pocket expenses at the last minute. This is why I recommend you shop the loan, you can threaten to abandon them and go back to one of their competitors if they don’t make it right.

3.Lenders that Do Both- Banks, Credit Unions, Mortgage Brokers, and Corporation are examples. Notice that many of the examples from above do both. You need to ask whether this is the case for if a Bank is shopping your loan to another company, you can often go directly to that company and get better terms. These types of lenders have both advantages and disadvantages from both categories but can be an excellent source for shopping your loan.

Now that we have seen the type of lenders lets compare a few types of loans. There are many types of loans and programs and no one individual can keep up with all that is available. I could write a book on everything available only to have it become obsolete because market conditions, government regulations, and or our favorite the Federal Reserve Bank has screwed up again. So I will concentrate on a few basic types of loans that are consistent and most loan types are subs of these types of loans. These are Conventional, FHA, and VA. Here are some of the advantages and Disadvantages.

1.Conventional loan are often more competitive through direct lenders. This type of loan is often better if your credit rating is in the high 600s or above. Higher credit scores can get many benefits from this loan. If you are planning on living in this property for a long time you can buy down the interest rate with points. Often many loan modifications are available. Many lenders that do this type of loan are offering all Closing costs paid even if you use your own settlement company or attorney. There are many types of this loan.

2.FHA loans are often more competitive through brokers. They are excellent loans for first time home buyers with low income, and or borderline credit rating. FHA 203k loans allow lower income individuals qualify for fixer upper homes financing the repair costs in the loan. FHA loans often let the buyer finance some closing costs allowing the purchaser to get in the home with only a small amount down. FHA loans have a cap for different areas often coming under the average price for higher dollar areas.

3.VA loans are for qualifying Veterans and offer many advantages brokers who specialize in this type of loan are more competitive. This loan has many options and is hard to compete against if you are a veteran. But always remember shop the loan.

We can now, armed with the above information, list out a few factors and figure out the best loan that fits our needs. A.How much you qualify for. There are many mortgage and income calculators on the internet that you can figure out how much you qualify for.

A lot of lenders take application on the telephone or internet and can tell you what you qualify for before they take your application. This is easier if you did the first step and got your credit score online. New Home buyers First Step in Purchasing a Home They can tell you the limits for FHA or VA loans in the areas that you are interested in. If you qualify for more than the limits and plan to spend more you know you will have to go with a conventional mortgage, and a direct lender will probably have the best choices for your needs. You can always buy at a lower price it all depends in your lifestyle and how your home fits into it.

B.Your Credit score and Income. If your credit score is 640 to 680 and or your household income is lower than 80k per year then you probably want to go FHA, or find a Conventional Specialty Loan Program.

C.If you are Veteran and have good credit VA is probably the best for you. If your credit is lower such as in B. then maybe you want an FHA loan.

Remember Shop Your Loan. The guides above are nothing more than a common sense approach to getting a loan. Be Creative. Ask Questions and Expect Answers. The market and the loan products in it are forever changing, by shopping the loan you should be able to find the best product that fits your needs. You want find Houses Homes, Houses Apartments Lands, and or Real Estate that fits your lifestyle. Be firm and You and your Realtor should be able to check up on the lender to make sure they are giving you the product that you applied for. Always get a Good Faith Estimate for they love to forget this. I know you can do this if I can.

10 Ways to Rock Your Open House

Open houses don’t have to be boring, and they don’t have to be held on Saturday afternoons. Break the mold and rock your open house!

1. Try a unique day and time for your open house. Evening open houses are a great idea for drawing in working buyers who run from soccer games to birthday parties on the weekends. It’s also great for busy couples, as a fun stop before going home. Hors d’oeuvres and great lighting, jazz music, all set the stage for a different type of open house.

2. Team up with other homes for sale in the neighborhood for a neighborhood open house event. One stop shopping increases the traffic through your home. Realtors are often happy to cooperate with fellow Realtors to promote an event like that. You can also schedule your neighborhood open house to coincide with other neighborhood events like garage sales, car washes, or dog washes. It’s a great way to bring in more people while showing off the personality of your neighborhood.

3. Offer a drawing for a gift certificate, if allowed in your area, for your open house attendees. Offer a gift certificate for the local warehouse store, a lawn and garden store, or a local restaurant. The prize does not have to be large, just something that keeps your home in the forefront of buyer’s minds. Be sure to advertise any special buyer’s incentives at the open house, too. Check with your Realtor, or local authorities to be sure that the drawing is allowed in your town.

4. Arrange to have a mortgage professional on-site for the open house, with your Realtor. A mortgage professional can answer any questions buyers may have about the new first time home buyers tax credit, about qualifying for a mortgage, and what the payments might look like. Many potential buyers tour open houses before they have calculated what they can pay for a home. A knowledgeable, and low-pressure, mortgage rep can have a potential buyer saying “yes, we can do this!”

5. Set up a digital photo frame in your home. Fill it with photos of your home decorated for various holidays, featuring landscape shots in different seasons, decorated for a party, gorgeous views, and anything that a buyer may not see during a quick open house visit. Most digital frames allow multiple albums, so that your family photos stay private while buyers are treated to beautiful scenes of your home coming alive on the screen. The newest models also include an option for music. Consider a soft jazz soundtrack for the open house.

6. Offer a small postcard version of your home flyer. At the beginning of your listing period have photo postcards printed up with a beautiful photo of your home on the front. Consider a great shot of your kitchen, your garden, or other stand-out feature, set into a box within the front image. On the back, include the address, a bulletted list of features, and your Realtor’s name, and the web address for your listing. You won’t want to list a price on the card, so that it remains current if you choose to make a price change. Photo postcards are very inexpensive and easily designed on the internet. When you offer a glossy postcard of your home, you can bet that your home will be gracing many refrigerator doors of potential buyers.

7. Don’t settle for grocery store cookies in a plastic container. Bake fresh cookies for your open house, and provide fun and seasonal napkins for your buyers, along with a stack of snack sized plastic bags so they can take them to go. If you don’t bake, either pick up slice and bake cookies at the store. The slice and bake cookies still give that fresh baked, and homemade vibe that spells “home.” Create a cute or elegant homemade small sign encouraging buyers to “enjoy a cookie (or two or three) while you tour our home.”

8. Write a letter to potential buyers telling them what you love about your home. Leave the letters near the cookies during open houses and showings. Start by telling potential buyers what drew you to the home initially, and what you’ve grown to love about it. If you have hundreds of spring bulbs planted, and the home is for sale in October, be sure to let them know. If you have the most wonderful neighbors, and look forward to the yearly neighborhood garage sale or other events, let the buyers know. If you can hear the ocean at night when the rest of the world is quiet, buyers would never know unless they toured your home at midnight. I recently bought a home and it was a happy surprise to find that I have a beautiful water and bridge view all winter long. Buying the house in the summer when all the trees were full, I never would have guessed. Make it easy for buyers to fall in love with your home. If you use a digital photo frame, this is a great way to reinforce this information!

9. Don’t assume that open houses don’t work. When my house was for sale, two of the offers I received were from open house attendees. While most buyers find their eventual home by first seeing it on the internet, an open house is a way for them to linger in the home on their own time, without a schedule to see other homes within a short period. Open houses are also great for buyers who are just deciding to buy a home, but aren’t ready to contact an agent officially yet. An open house offers a potential buyer the chance to see a home with no feeling of obligation.

10. Offer up your home to friends and associates for seasonal open houses, home sales parties, parent meetings. Any way that you can bring more people into your home while it’s for sale, is going to increase your odds of connecting to the right buyer. At the events, keep a stack of your home postcards on a few tables, and keep that digital frame running with glamour shots of your home.

Can You Afford a House? Why Internet Calculators Are Misleading

Answering if can you afford a house and knowing exactly how much when looking for a new house can be difficult, and it should depend on several contributing notions. While “professionals” might tell you that you can spend 3 times your annual income, how true can that really be if they haven’t considered other factors then that? Use the CRISPED System (Credit, Risk, Income, Savings, Plans, Expenses, Debt) to assist you in what to consider before you decide just how much house you can buy.

Credit Score

Your credit score is vital because not only does it determine if you get qualified and approved for the loan at all, but it plays a colossal role in your mortgage interest rate. When looking at the big picture over the life of the loan, a lower interest rate will save you thousands of dollars. In the short run, it will help keep down your monthly payment. A couple hundred dollars on a mortgage payment can be a life saver for some people. If you take the little amount of time to clean up your credit, you can likely afford a more expensive home because of the interest savings. Also, if you have the cash, you can buy mortgage points to help with the interest rate. Your credit score is an integral part of the decision process on what you can afford when looking for a new home.

Risk Factor

By risk factor, I’m referring to a number of things that put you’re at risk for defaulting on your mortgage. Let’s discuss job security first. Consider what industry you belong to, where you are in your career, and the probability you will be in either the same situation or a better one in 5. Some industries are at a big risk for layoffs, while others are not. Is your company working with a technology that could easily die off in the next ten years? Do you have a degree and skills that could assist you quickly getting a new job if suddenly fired or laid off?

Another major risk factor to consider is health. While you can’t always know these things a head of time, do you fear you could end up sick with big hospital bills that would put you in a bind? Maybe you’re healthy as can be, but your spouse, parents, or extended family is not. The financial burden could end up falling on you in this situation. You should have a mortgage payment that will allow you flexibility if a medical issue occurs.

Income

Plain and simply stated, the amount of money you take home every month is an integral part of deciding how much you can afford for a house. As I mentioned earlier, a common rule of thumb is that your house loan could be 2.5 to 3 times the amount of your annual income. This is not a bad place to start, but it should be adjusted based on all of the other factors in the CRISPED System.

While your annual income is definitely important, if you don’t consider your expenses and anticipated lifestyle, it can easily be very misleading. We’ll look into that later on.

Savings / Down Payment

The down payment on your new house plays a big role on how much you can afford because it dictates your monthly payment. If you’re able to avoid private mortgage insurance, that could save you around $100 a month. If you to have some extra cash to throw down to keep the down payment at 20%, the total cost of the house you can afford could increase. Once you factor in taxes, every thousand dollar on your loan will end up costing you about an extra $7 a month on your mortgage payment. Saving for a good down payment can be tricky, but it’s well worth it.

After paying for the down payment on the house and closing costs, you should have enough cash left for a six month emergency plan. Depending on your risk factor, it could be more or less, but six months is a solid number to shoot for because frequently that is how long it can take to find a job if you lose yours. For some individuals, putting away at least a thousand a month for savings or vacation funds is vital so consider that if that’s something valuable to you.

Consider your retirement before purchasing a new home. Have you been contributing ten percent of your income to your 401k or IRA? Will a mortgage payment continue to allow you to do this? Worst case scenario you could lose your house, but if you have no IRA (which is protected against creditors) to fall back on, it can be even more financially devastating. You absolutely do not want to find you’re in a situation where you’re 65, unemployed without a retirement income to depend on, and you still have to find a way to pay your monthly mortgage. The bottom line is fund your IRA and do not let your mortgage payment stop you from regularly contributing.

Plans

Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, or 20 years from now? The longer you live in your home before you sell it, the more equity you will have in your house. Home values tend to go up over significant periods of time, but if you plan to sell in three years, your home value could be at risk to plummet depending on the market. Consider whether your job might expect you to relocate in a year. If you do not plan to stay in your house too long, common sense says spending a little bit less than you were planning to originally is the prudent decision.

How about going back to school for a masters degree? Do you want to have kids in the near future? Will you be paying for your children to go to college? As you can see, mapping out your future financial plans before you get hooked on an expensive mortgage payment you really can’t afford down the line is a wise idea.

Expenses / Lifestyle

If your expenses are costly and your lifestyle extravagant, it won’t matter if you’re making two hundred grand a year. The real concern is the amount you have left after you account for expenses. Do you always have to have the latest gadgets, designer label clothes, and go on expensive family vacations? If you enjoy this type of lifestyle, ensure that your income is enough above your expenses to account for your new mortgage payment or your decisions could be financially devastating.

Even if you don’t live an extravagant lifestyle, but you have 5 mouths to feed, you are in the same boat here. Do not neglect to weigh your expenses and life style standards when analyzing how much you can spend on a house.

Debt

The less debt obligations you have, the more cash you will have free every month to put towards a mortgage payment. I recommend paying off any credit card debt you have before buying a house because with high interest rates, your debt can easily snowball. Anything with an interest rate over 8-9% is potentially trouble.

Ultimately, your monthly debt payments should be manageable. If you have a seemingly reasonable $200 monthly installment in student loans, make sure that payment is not going to jump in the next few years. Often, student loan payment schedules are not fixed. However, they will often work with you if you call and talk to the lender. A small car payment and reasonable student loans are not going to kill you, but consider the total amount of debt you have in mind as well.

So Can You Afford a House?

How much house can I afford calculators on the web are aimed towards how much you can get approved at, but they aren’t normally an indicator of what you can really afford because they just do not know your own unique situation. Keep incentives in mind because the more money a bank can get you to spend, the higher the amount of interest they’ll get through the life of a loan. This is the same principal for Realtors as well. The bigger the price tag of the house a Realtor gets you into, the larger their commission fee. Making a decision solely on what you can get approved for is not a prudent idea. Use the CRISPED System when you start analyzing what you can really afford to spend for a house because ultimately your financial security relies on it.

Can You Afford a House? [http://www.thehousemouse.net/]

The House Mouse housing blog is a resource for new home buyers & owners that answers this question & many more for all things home. We cover everything home related including financial questions, home styles, and even to lighter topics such as turning a house into a home.

Can You Afford a House? Why Internet Calculators Are Misleading

Answering if can you afford a house and knowing exactly how much when looking for a new house can be difficult, and it should depend on several contributing notions. While “professionals” might tell you that you can spend 3 times your annual income, how true can that really be if they haven’t considered other factors then that? Use the CRISPED System (Credit, Risk, Income, Savings, Plans, Expenses, Debt) to assist you in what to consider before you decide just how much house you can buy.

Credit Score

Your credit score is vital because not only does it determine if you get qualified and approved for the loan at all, but it plays a colossal role in your mortgage interest rate. When looking at the big picture over the life of the loan, a lower interest rate will save you thousands of dollars. In the short run, it will help keep down your monthly payment. A couple hundred dollars on a mortgage payment can be a life saver for some people. If you take the little amount of time to clean up your credit, you can likely afford a more expensive home because of the interest savings. Also, if you have the cash, you can buy mortgage points to help with the interest rate. Your credit score is an integral part of the decision process on what you can afford when looking for a new home.

Risk Factor

By risk factor, I’m referring to a number of things that put you’re at risk for defaulting on your mortgage. Let’s discuss job security first. Consider what industry you belong to, where you are in your career, and the probability you will be in either the same situation or a better one in 5. Some industries are at a big risk for layoffs, while others are not. Is your company working with a technology that could easily die off in the next ten years? Do you have a degree and skills that could assist you quickly getting a new job if suddenly fired or laid off?

Another major risk factor to consider is health. While you can’t always know these things a head of time, do you fear you could end up sick with big hospital bills that would put you in a bind? Maybe you’re healthy as can be, but your spouse, parents, or extended family is not. The financial burden could end up falling on you in this situation. You should have a mortgage payment that will allow you flexibility if a medical issue occurs.

Income

Plain and simply stated, the amount of money you take home every month is an integral part of deciding how much you can afford for a house. As I mentioned earlier, a common rule of thumb is that your house loan could be 2.5 to 3 times the amount of your annual income. This is not a bad place to start, but it should be adjusted based on all of the other factors in the CRISPED System.

While your annual income is definitely important, if you don’t consider your expenses and anticipated lifestyle, it can easily be very misleading. We’ll look into that later on.

Savings / Down Payment

The down payment on your new house plays a big role on how much you can afford because it dictates your monthly payment. If you’re able to avoid private mortgage insurance, that could save you around $100 a month. If you to have some extra cash to throw down to keep the down payment at 20%, the total cost of the house you can afford could increase. Once you factor in taxes, every thousand dollar on your loan will end up costing you about an extra $7 a month on your mortgage payment. Saving for a good down payment can be tricky, but it’s well worth it.

After paying for the down payment on the house and closing costs, you should have enough cash left for a six month emergency plan. Depending on your risk factor, it could be more or less, but six months is a solid number to shoot for because frequently that is how long it can take to find a job if you lose yours. For some individuals, putting away at least a thousand a month for savings or vacation funds is vital so consider that if that’s something valuable to you.

Consider your retirement before purchasing a new home. Have you been contributing ten percent of your income to your 401k or IRA? Will a mortgage payment continue to allow you to do this? Worst case scenario you could lose your house, but if you have no IRA (which is protected against creditors) to fall back on, it can be even more financially devastating. You absolutely do not want to find you’re in a situation where you’re 65, unemployed without a retirement income to depend on, and you still have to find a way to pay your monthly mortgage. The bottom line is fund your IRA and do not let your mortgage payment stop you from regularly contributing.

Plans

Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, or 20 years from now? The longer you live in your home before you sell it, the more equity you will have in your house. Home values tend to go up over significant periods of time, but if you plan to sell in three years, your home value could be at risk to plummet depending on the market. Consider whether your job might expect you to relocate in a year. If you do not plan to stay in your house too long, common sense says spending a little bit less than you were planning to originally is the prudent decision.

How about going back to school for a masters degree? Do you want to have kids in the near future? Will you be paying for your children to go to college? As you can see, mapping out your future financial plans before you get hooked on an expensive mortgage payment you really can’t afford down the line is a wise idea.

Expenses / Lifestyle

If your expenses are costly and your lifestyle extravagant, it won’t matter if you’re making two hundred grand a year. The real concern is the amount you have left after you account for expenses. Do you always have to have the latest gadgets, designer label clothes, and go on expensive family vacations? If you enjoy this type of lifestyle, ensure that your income is enough above your expenses to account for your new mortgage payment or your decisions could be financially devastating.

Even if you don’t live an extravagant lifestyle, but you have 5 mouths to feed, you are in the same boat here. Do not neglect to weigh your expenses and life style standards when analyzing how much you can spend on a house.

Debt

The less debt obligations you have, the more cash you will have free every month to put towards a mortgage payment. I recommend paying off any credit card debt you have before buying a house because with high interest rates, your debt can easily snowball. Anything with an interest rate over 8-9% is potentially trouble.

Ultimately, your monthly debt payments should be manageable. If you have a seemingly reasonable $200 monthly installment in student loans, make sure that payment is not going to jump in the next few years. Often, student loan payment schedules are not fixed. However, they will often work with you if you call and talk to the lender. A small car payment and reasonable student loans are not going to kill you, but consider the total amount of debt you have in mind as well.

So Can You Afford a House?

How much house can I afford calculators on the web are aimed towards how much you can get approved at, but they aren’t normally an indicator of what you can really afford because they just do not know your own unique situation. Keep incentives in mind because the more money a bank can get you to spend, the higher the amount of interest they’ll get through the life of a loan. This is the same principal for Realtors as well. The bigger the price tag of the house a Realtor gets you into, the larger their commission fee. Making a decision solely on what you can get approved for is not a prudent idea. Use the CRISPED System when you start analyzing what you can really afford to spend for a house because ultimately your financial security relies on it.

Cut the Cost of Home Staging – 4 Top DIY Guidelines

Are you a home seller who’s interested in home staging? You probably are, seeing how popular staging has become recently. As it rightfully should because staging has proven itself to be beneficial to home sellers, realtors, and buyers alike. However, the cost of home staging by professional stagers is not a light one and it might prove too burdensome for some home sellers.

You do not have to forgo the benefits though just because you think you do not have the budget to hire a professional. You can actually do it yourself! The staging process can actually be learned and performed by the sellers themselves. This is why DIY or do-it-yourself staging has started to proliferate.

If you’re worried that you don’t know where to start, don’t be. I’ve compiled a short list of DIY staging steps that you can easily apply for your own home!

Here are 4 Fundamental Tips in Staging Your House:

1. Know the critical areas Home Buyers look at

Home buyers pay specific attention to areas of the house that most home sellers overlook. These areas are not quite the top priority for some home sellers but buyers tend to be quite critical to these things like your flooring or walls. For some sellers, these areas are just trivial aesthetic issues but for home buyers, it’s more than that.

Pay close attention to those areas because they might be the tie breaker your buyers are considering when choosing between your house and a different seller’s house. Don’t let any chance escape you.

2. Brighten up your home

You may not be aware of it, but your house has most likely become darker and darker inside since when you first move in. Look around and you’ll notice all the items you’ve added to your home over the years. You’ve probably put up curtains and blinds all over the place as well as big furniture. While you might be totally comfortable in this ambience, it might give off a different feel to your home buyers.

Dim houses might project a gloomy and unwelcome atmosphere to those who are visiting your house for the first time. Consider these points and make sure your house looks warm and welcoming to your buyers by improving your lighting.

3. Use moderate colors

Look at your house. Does it look good to you? Most likely, the answer is yes, right? After all, majority of home owners try to “break-in” their homes by adding a bit of their own flavors into the house. The same goes for the colors we choose when painting and decorating our houses.

The thing is, our personal tastes might not be shared by many other people. That’s why, it is best to choose moderate or neutral colors as you repaint your house when staging. The best look to go for when staging your house is the modern, fresh, and neutral look. Neutral colors have a more universal appeal and will therefore attract more buyers than strong or bright colors.

4. Make sure your house is clean

In the home staging context, “cleaning” is more than just taking out the trash and wiping out all the dust. “Cleaning” means removing all the clutter inside the house. This means keeping all your personal items away from your buyers’ sight. This includes your trophies, family pictures and other memorabilia that marks your identity as the home owner.

When touring a house, home buyers want to feel like they’ve found their new home. They are trying to imagine themselves living in their new house. Seeing all your personal items will distract them from doing that. It’s best to hide these things instead.

These are just a few of the many simple things you can do with your house. Follow these guidelines and you’ll surely be on your way to a successfully staged house, ready to be sold to eager home seekers. Good luck!

Designing a Whole House Audio System

FOUR CRITICAL QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE YOU START YOUR SYSTEM DESIGN.

1. What, exactly, is whole house audio?

Whole house audio is, you guessed it, audio for your whole house! And while that may seem like a “no brainer” answer, when it comes to planning and implementing whole house audio it is anything but a “no-brainer”.

There are more than a few variables to consider when planning your whole house audio system. This guide will provide you with a useful overview of the things you need to consider and outlines the process; however, it is no substitute for an experienced (and FREE!) system designer. But with this whole house audio guide and a system designers to assist you, you’ll be rewarded with premium sound exactly where, when and how you like it. Soon you’ll close your eyes and be unable to discern if you’re in your surround sound living room, orchestra level at Lincoln Center… or your kitchen!

Whole House Audio Systems? Multi Room Audio? Multi Zone Audio? Multi Source Audio? Multi Control? What’s the difference?

Whole house audio systems are frequently and synonymously referred to as multi room audio or multi zone audio. These terms are used interchangeably and while whole house audio usually includes one or more “primary zones” like a home theater or surround sound living room; it is, by definition, a multi zone system that includes “secondary zones” like hallways, bedrooms and other spaces that aren’t a priority for the very best sound experience.

Multi source home audios systems can comprise any number of rooms or “zones” but these zones will have more than one source of audio input. You may find yourself tying in multiple audio sources to this whole house audio system; TV, DVDs, iPods, Stereos, In-house intercoms, even door bell to your home may be input considerations.

Multi Control refers how you control input for your sources and zones. Controlling zones independently for volume becomes a priority when dealing with multiple zones whole house audio distribution. (Do you really want to have to leave the room to control the volume for that room?). Similarly, multi controls are virtually a requirement for multi room, multi source home audio environments (Do you really want to leave the room to forward the song on the CD player?)

As for controls themselves, there is an assortment of options, largely dependent on the controls that are available from the manufacturers of the systems you’re buying. They can either be wall mounted, wired keypad controls, IR (infra-red), or Wireless (radio signal). Each has their own benefits.

2. Why Should I have a System Integrator (System Designer) involved in the whole house audio? Can’t I do this myself?

Whole house audio is confusing. But it doesn’t have to be. A good system designer will make achieving your home audio goals an easy prospect. The number of variable to take into account for a well engineered whole house audio experience is mind numbing. What rooms to include in what zones? How many independent controls are needed and where? What are your “input” sources? TV? Stereo? The doorbell? What is the furniture arrangement in these rooms? Do you want speakers discreetly embedded in the walls? Are the floors tiled? Is the ceiling vaulted?

These are just a few of the question’s you won’t know to ask if you haven’t designed or installed whole house audio before. Save yourself a nightmare, and work with a free experience CEDIA certified system integrator who can take the hassle out of putting together an amazing home audio experience.

3. What are your goals? It’s all about you!

There are a tremendous number of variables in designing whole house audio, but all of them are subject to your goals. Ultimately, it all comes down to a simple question: what kind of home audio experience do you desire?

An important key concept in designing the perfect whole house audio solution is understanding your goals and lifestyle needs. Sure, budget plays a big role, but don’t start there. Dream big! There is always room to scale back based on your priorities. (Maybe the master bedroom closet doesn’t need multi-speaker surround sound?)

4. What kind of music lover are you? Lifestyles & Preferences.

How and where you enjoy your music and even the type of music plays a role in the design of a new system. Knowing your entertainment preferences will help you define the needs your whole house audio will fulfill.

Entertainers. Entertainers may find themselves open to a lot of options depending upon how and where they entertain in their home. Do you entertain in multiple areas around the house? Dinner parties tend to prioritize one room, whereas larger parties may sprawl from living rooms to game rooms and outdoor areas. These systems are usually focused on one source of audio covering multiple zones.

Backgrounders. A side from entertaining, another benefit of whole house audio is the ability to continuously pipe music (or any audio source) throughout the house. Home owners who value background music for their everyday life, may not favor multiple primary zones- with full surround sound speakers- but prefer quality audio strategically placed contiguously throughout the house to provide continuous quality sound from room to room.

Home Theater Buffs. The big game? Movie fanatic? Nothing has brought premium audio into demand more than the rise of home theaters. Whether it’s a dedicated home theater room complete with reclining chairs, cup holders and a popcorn machine or living rooms transformed by over-sized plasma screens; the demand for home theaters has set new standard for premium sound systems. This new expectation for great sound has homeowners asking themselves: why can’t i have this quality sound throughout the whole house?

If entertaining in smaller groups around the TV in one room sounds like all the “whole house audio” you need, then you may find whole house audio isn’t the solution after all. Home video junkies can build a premium surround sound systems for that “primary zone” without adding additional zone. (You will still do well to consult a free system integrator for this task!)

But as is frequently the case, once people experience the amazing difference a premium surround sound system makes in the living room they find a reason to extend that quality to additional rooms of the house. Sports fans may extend the living room audio to other areas so they don’t miss a second of the big game. Movie buffs on the other hand, may enjoy their movies in their master bedrooms as well as the living room and choose to invest more than one “primary zone” multi-speaker surround sound as part of their whole house audio design.

Audiophiles. These users are prone to multiple “primary zones” valuing the best quality sound in a variety of rooms. Beyond great listening in the family room, they’ll want superior sound in game rooms, outdoor living spaces, home gyms or master bedrooms. (Or, budget willing, all of these areas!) For someone who loves music and cooking, premium surround sound in the kitchen may be as important as the living room. If you entertain a lot in the game room, then you may ante up and invest in a sub-woofer and additional speakers.

Dynamic Sound Systems provides the newest and latest products to meet the growing demand for high quality equipment. Please feel free to browse our site where we have a full pictorial and informational guides on all of our products. We look forward to working with you in your quest for the ultimate sound system.

Virtual Tours of Houses

The Internet has forged a remarkable transformation in the Real Estate Industry, making the task of marketing, buying and selling a home, more efficient. Time is one of man’s most valuable assets and through the use of internet virtual tours of houses, home buyers can focus their time and attention only looking at homes that meet their criteria. Each real estate agent has access, through industry information, dozens or hundreds of homes that meet a buyers’ basic needs; the size of the house, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, school districts, lot size and so on. Before photographic virtual tours an agent had to rely on physical inspection of a house with a client to see if the home suited their clients’ needs. With the use of an internet tour, the agent has the means to show a potential buyer accurate digital photographs of the features of all the homes that meet the buyers’ needs without ever leaving their office.

Because of the use of the photographic tour agents and buyers no longer need to drive from house to house to house, using their valuable time, to see what can now be viewed on a computer screen. Homes that fit into their clients’ basic buying criteria, but do not appeal to their tastes, can immediately be removed from the list of potential new homes, creating a very manageable group of only those properties in which a buyer has a real interest.

Virtual tours of houses offer strong benefits to the seller of a home also. The home owner, through the use of a virtual tour, can have a potential buyer, anywhere in the world, view their home. One agent told me she once had a buyer who lived on the east coast that saw a virtual tour I photographed of a home in the Los Angeles area. The buyer called the agent to set an appointment the next day, flew in and visited the house. The next day they made an offer.

I have also had agents tell me that they have sold houses solely on buyers that have seen the homes through a virtual tour on the internet, calling them to make an offer on the house.

A second benefit for home owners is that they are able to entertain only serious-minded buyers, people that have already seen their home and have a real desire to view the property in person. This cuts down on the time they spend on having persons come into their home just to discover that the house did not meet their fundamental search criteria.

And lastly, the most obvious benefit of virtual tours of houses for the home owner is the marketing power it offers. Real estate industry statics show that approximately 80% of home buyers first go to the internet to look for potential homes. Gone are the days of people pouring over newspaper inserts to see a couple of low quality images of a home and trying to make an intelligent decision to spend time and money to go see it. If a person does not have a virtual tour presence on the internet these days, they will miss out on a majority of the potential buyers visiting their neighbors’ homes.