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Blog :: 07-2015

5 Things Mortgage Lenders Like to See

Job Stability
The lender needs to see signs of stability. Don't make any sudden changes in your employment if you're planning to apply for a mortgage soon-stay at your job for well over two years.

Low Credit Card Debt
Your back-end debt-to-income ratio plays an important part in getting approved for a home loan. This ratio is the total amount of debt payments you make each month divided by your gross monthly income. It should ideally be under 36 percent, but to increase your chances of getting approved for a home loan, work on getting that percentage below 30 percent.

No Charge-Offs
A charge-off is the worst thing to have on your credit report because it means all the creditors attempts to come to an agreement regarding the debt has been ignored. Call all outstanding creditors and collectors in advance to come to a compromise regarding the debt as soon as possible-don't wait until a potential mortgage lender is pulling your credit report to find the negative items.

A Home Within Your Budget
Along the same lines with minimizing your debt-to-income ratio, you should also minimize your potential monthly housing expense as a percentage of income (the front-end ratio). Your front-end ratio shouldn't exceed 28 percent, so to improve your chances of getting approved, choose a home that puts you closer to 20 to 22 percent.

Money Saved Up
Loans with little money down are more difficult to get. Increase your chances of getting approved by saving up for at least 10 to 20 percent down.

Boost Your Home's Appeal with These Backyard Accents

A lot is said about curb appeal when listing your home for sale, and the outward appearance of your property is important. What many home sellers do not know, however, is that the backyard can be even more enticing to would-be buyers. A beautifully manicured lawn and perfectly landscaped exterior will draw buyers in, but what they see in the back of the home may close the deal. Adding these simple touches to your backyard can make your home more appealing, and help it to sell faster.

A Fire Pit
Adding a fire pit to your backyard expands your entertaining possibilities and extends the outdoor living season into the cooler months. More home buyers are looking for pre-installed fire pits, and having one in your backyard can boost your home’s backyard appeal. Install a fire pit that is an appropriate style and size to enhance your backyard space. If your home’s appeal is luxury, then choose a high-end model.

Solar Lighting
Modern buyers are looking for green solutions to their outdoor lighting problems, and nothing is greener than a set of dusk-to-dawn solar lights. Solar lights are inexpensive to buy, easy to install, and they can go almost anywhere. If your home has a rear deck, line the perimeter with solar lights to enjoy pleasant nights grilling, entertaining or just hanging out with friends. A solar spotlight in the backyard can also help keep the property safe from burglars.

Container Garden
This is an easy addition you can make to your backyard deck and patio space. All you need is a few attractive, properly-sized planter pots and a bit of creativity. Intersperse edible plants and ornamental ones so you can enjoy beautiful flowers and fresh vegetables from your container garden.

3 Things to Consider before Accepting a Cash Offer

The cash buyer outranks the financed buyer because there is a lower chance of the deal falling through and because, typically, a cash buyer can close faster than a financed buyer. These are attractive benefits in some situations. Yet there's more to a home offer than a finance contingency and the closing date. In general, there are three things you should scrutinize before accepting a cash offer for your home:

1. Source of the Cash
Of course you need to verify that the cash buyer has the cash he says he does. But it's not just a question of how much cash the buyer has, but also what type of cash he is holding. A buyer needs liquid cash-enough money in the bank to cover the balance of the purchase price and closing costs. That's potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars that the buyer must deliver in the form of a bank or cashier's check at the closing. A buyer who needs to sell a property to raise the cash is as great a risk as a financed-buyer, as there is a chance that they will not be able to sell their current home on time.

2. Other Contingencies
A cash offer contains no finance contingency but that does not mean the offer is contingency-free. Most buyers reserve the right to appraise and inspect the property before closing and to withdraw from the contract if the inspection reveals any major repair issues. If an inspection reveals any problems, you will have to carry out the repairs and/or renegotiate the purchase price. For this reason, a cash transaction may not proceed any faster than a mortgage-financed purchase, and there is still a chance the deal will fall through.

3. The Bottom Line
Some cash buyers, especially investors, make a low cash offer because they are cash buyers. They effectively charge a premium because there is zero risk of the bank refusing the buyer's loan. This may not represent the best deal for some sellers, especially those that need the sale proceeds to purchase a new home.

Weighing Your Options
If you are lucky enough to receive more than one offer, and at least one of those offers is cash, the real question for you to ask is: how risky is the financed offer? The most telling answer to this question comes from the buyers themselves; specifically, what action they have taken towards securing the necessary financing. A financed buyer who holds a quality preapproval letter, provides a good down payment and has reliably paid a mortgage in the past likely will get his loan. These qualities render his offer as strong as or stronger than the cash offer, particularly if he offers a higher price. The trick is to look at the deal holistically and not be swayed by the word "cash."

Make Your Yard Sale a Success

Holding a yard sale or garage sale is like going into business for a day. It can be fun and wildly successful, or it can be pure drudgery and a waste of time. Don’t go to the trouble without reading these tips to make your sale a success.

Join Forces with Friends
A lot of "stuff" in a sale is always more enticing than sparse offerings. A yard sale requires a lot of energy, lifting, moving, and time for details, so the more helpers you can gather, the better. It’s also a lot more fun!

Research Rules
Your neighborhood may have rules concerning when or how long you can hold a yard sale. Is there an annual neighborhood garage sale you can join? You may also need a permit from the city.

Advertising Is Important
The extent of your advertising depends on your location. The more remote your location, the more advertising you need. Make use of newspaper classifieds, online community boards like Craigslist, neighborhood signs, and word of mouth.

Begin Collecting
Start collecting things weeks before the sale so you have time to make decisions (don’t sell grandma’s wedding brooch!), and gather supplies like tables, shelves, hangers, bags, and spare change. If you are in doubt about whether something will sell, put it out there. Even broken appliances have value for their parts.

Be Ready to Make Deals
You’ll sell more if you are willing to bargain, because shoppers love yard sales for that very reason. You can remain firm on items if you like, but if your goal is to get rid of junk there are several ways to do it:

? Designate a charity as the recipient of all or part of the proceeds-people are more willing to buy if they know it’s for a good cause.
? Make up bags or boxes of similar items and put one price tag for everything.
? Toward the end of the sale you can lower prices, offer two-for-one deals, or let shoppers fill a bag for $1, $5, or whatever seems to be a fair price.

Don’t forget the details, such as providing extension cords to test appliances and making a plan for rain.