Lisa Bradley - Re/Max Vision



Posted by Lisa Bradley on 9/18/2018

There was a time when moving across the country was a trip into the unknown. For some, that prospect may be an exciting one. For a homeowner with bills to pay or children to raise, the more you know about a place the better.

Fortunately, todayís technology equips us with tools to learn everything (or almost everything) we need to know about a place without ever visiting. With the use of statistics, maps, and first-hand accounts, would-be homeowners can put in their researcher hats and get a feel for a place without ever even visiting.

In todayís post, Iím going to introduce you to some of those tools. So, if youíre thinking of making a long distance move sometime in the near future, read on for a list of the most useful resources that will help you along your search.

Cost of living

Most of us would love to move to Hawaii or San Francisco, but letís face it--cost of living differences can make a huge impact on our ability to move wherever we want. Fortunately, there is reliable data on the specific cost of living for different parts of the United States.

Nerdwalletís cost of living calculator lets you enter your current city and income and then compare what you would need to earn (on average) to move to a city of your choice. Moving to Boston, MA from Denver, CO, for example, would mean a 34% increase in costs like housing, groceries, transportation, etc.

Do you freelance or work from home and have the ability to travel wherever you want? If so, check out the Nomad List. It lets you compare housing costs, safety, weather, and--perhaps most important for freelancers--internet speeds in cities around the country and around the world.

Howís the weather?

Another important consideration for long distance moves is the climate. Not only will it determine your wardrobe and comfort level, but it also could mean more expensive heating in the winter or air conditioning in the winter.

To check out the average monthly temperatures and precipitation levels, check out U.S. Climate Data.

School scores

Itís hard to judge schools based on a few numbers, and itís best to see what kind of programs and classes theyíll offer for your children as well. However, to get a glimpse of the nearby schools, you can check out City Data or NeighborhoodScout.

Safety

Safety is always a concern when visiting or moving to a new place. Fortunately, there are several good sources of information for neighborhood safety.

When we think of safety, most of us think of things like crime rates. NeighborhoodScout provides all the data youíll need on crime. However, there are other safety concerns that should be addressed.

The CDC provides health data for 500 U.S. Cities. And, if youíre worried about lead exposure, this interactive map from Reuters has you covered.




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Posted by Lisa Bradley on 9/11/2018

Once you have gone through the pre-approval process and have narrowed down your home search, thereís a good chance youíll soon find a place that you want to make an offer on. This can seem like a huge step for any first time homebuyer. Even seasoned home buyers feel butterflies when the time comes to make an offer on a home they love. Before you even start your home search, you should become educated on how to make a good offer in order to land the property that you really want. Thereís so many factors that effect your offer including the surrounding properties and the current state of the market. Here are a few very important pieces of advice that you should heed in order to have a successful time securing a home and closing the deal. 

Craft A Persuasive Offer

In many areas thereís a low inventory of homes and a high number of those seeking to buy. This means that youíre not guaranteed to get a property that you have made an offer on. Lowball offers might not be at all competitive and even insulting to sellers in certain markets. Often, you may need to make an offer of more than the asking price if youíre in love with a home. By working with your real estate agent and doing the right research, you can craft an offer on a home that will be compelling for sellers.    

Decide On Your Contingencies 

Once an offer has been accepted, itís time to get to work on those contingencies. Be especially mindful of financing contingencies. If something falls through in the process, youíll want to be sure you can get the deposit you made back. Also keep in mind that sellers love reliable buyers who have already been preapproved.  

Home inspection contingencies are another area of importance. After you sign the purchase agreement and the inspection is complete, youíre allowed to ask the seller to make repairs or provide you with a counter offer. While this can be one of the more nerve-wracking aspects of home buying, it has many positives. Home inspections protect buyers from purchasing a home that they canít live with in cases of extreme mold, termites and other environmental and structural issues. 

The appraisal contingency is also important. In order for you to qualify for a loan, the property must be appraised. The property must be valued at or above the purchase price. A loan will only be approved by a lender up to the appraised value. If your home loan is $400,000 but your home of choice is appraised at $390,000, youíll have a problem.       

Your Finances Matter Until You Get To The Closing Table

Donít go crazy with all kinds of purchases before you reach the closing table. Opening a new credit account at your favorite furniture store, for example, could lead to a disastrous surprise on closing day. Hold off on big purchases until after you secure your home. Also avoid making large transfers or deposits from your bank account. donít do anything to negatively affect your credit score

  

Know What To Bring To The Closing

Donít show up to the closing for your home purchase unprepared. Youíll need to have the following items: 


  • Photo ID
  • Checkbook
  • Cosigners 



Think Ahead


Be sure that you think of the future when youíre purchasing your home. Youíll need to have enough cash flow to pay for things like property taxes, home insurance, utility bills and even new furniture for your home. Plan your future mortgage payments accordingly. Some companies have payments that are monthly or bimonthly. 


While buying a home is a huge undertaking, with the right plans in place, the process will be as seamless as possible. With the right plans, the moving truck will be pulling into the driveway before you know it.      




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Posted by Lisa Bradley on 9/4/2018

A homebuyer must stay focused throughout the property buying journey. Otherwise, a buyer risks missing out on an opportunity to acquire the right house at the right price.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you stay on course during the homebuying journey.

1. Craft a Homebuying Strategy

Creating a homebuying strategy enables you to outline the steps that you'll need to take to make your homeownership dream come true. Plus, with a homebuying plan in place, you'll be better equipped than ever before to streamline your house search.

Think about where you want to live and what you want to find in your ideal residence. Then, you can make a checklist of home must-haves and wants. And once you develop this list, you can enter the housing market with a plan in hand.

2. Get Pre-Approved for Home Financing

Home financing plays an important role in a buyer's ability to acquire a residence. If you ignore home financing as you move along the homebuying journey, you may struggle to get the finances you need to purchase your dream house.

Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage so you won't have to worry about home financing as you move along the property buying journey. To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. That way, you can learn about all of your mortgage options and select a mortgage that matches your finances.

As you review your mortgage options, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ home financing specialists who can remove the guesswork commonly associated with getting a mortgage. These specialists are happy to respond to your mortgage concerns and questions and ensure that you can make an informed home financing decision.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to staying focused during the homebuying journey, it generally is a good idea to hire a real estate agent. This housing market professional can offer plenty of assistance throughout the property buying journey. And by doing so, a real estate agent will ensure that you can seamlessly navigate the property buying journey and achieve your desired results faster than ever before.

A real estate agent understands the challenges that buyers frequently encounter when they pursue houses and can help you plan accordingly. Furthermore, a real estate agent will guide you along each stage of the homebuying journey and do everything possible to help you avoid potential pitfalls.

Also, a real estate agent provides comprehensive support as you get ready to finalize a house purchase. He or she will help you get ready for a home inspection, appraisal or closing and ensure that you can purchase your ideal house at a budget-friendly price.

Don't lose focus as you pursue your dream residence. Instead, use the aforementioned tips, and you can stay on course and accomplish your homebuying goals.




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Posted by Lisa Bradley on 8/28/2018

Are you a millennial under the presumption that because you carry student loan debt you arenít eligible for home financing?

If you are, you arenít alone. According to a 2017 survey from the National Association of Realtors 80% of millennials donít own a home. And a whopping 83 percent of those who donít own a home say that student loan debt is holding them back.

However, you might have a better chance at homeownership than you think.

Lenders look at your monthly debt commitments when forming a decision to offer to finance. Debt commitments are things like car loans, student loans, credit card balances and mortgages.

As you can see student loans are just one small piece of the puzzle that makes up your eligibility.

What this means for millennials carrying student loan debt who want own a home is that they simply need to get laser-focused on their financial priorities. Steep credit card debt and expensive car loans that fund a lifestyle chasing the newest, shiniest things will work against your home ownership goals.

With student loans, you donít have to pass up homeownership but you do have to be willing to compromise on the other debts you carry. You also may not be able to aggressively pay down your student loans while also making a mortgage payment each month. This is a matter of knowing your budget, your values, and your financial goal timeline.

If you have other debts start by paying them down. Take care of your most expensive debts now before applying for a mortgage approval to increase your eligibility. Lower monthly payments by consolidating your student loans or opting for income-driven repayment options. Refinancing options can give you a lower interest rate and total a 6-figure difference in savings over time.

Doing these things increases your debt to income, or DTI, ratio. Your DTI is a strong factor in financing eligibility. Typically, lenders look for a 28/36 qualifying ratio. This means that 28% of your income is being spent on housing expenses and 36% of your income towards debt, including your future mortgage payment.

When carrying two long-term debts (a mortgage and student loans) you want to make sure you still leave room in your budget for saving. You also want to leave ample room for home maintenance costs and any potential large repairs.

You may also take a temporary lifestyle setback financially while saving up for your down payment. While there are programs that will help you by lowering the required percent down it is always recommended to put as much down as you can. This will lower your month to month payments significantly and make carrying two debts a lighter burden.





Posted by Lisa Bradley on 8/21/2018

For parents who need to move a family from Point A to Point B, keeping kids busy can be difficult. Lucky for you, we're here to help you entertain your kids throughout the moving cycle.

Now, let's take a look at three activities that you can use to keep your kids busy on moving day.

1. Packing Last-Minute Items

Last-minute items like clothing and toys will need to get packed up before you can leave your current address. Fortunately, you can rely on your kids for extra help with packing these belongings.

Including your kids in the packing process is a great way to bond with your children. In fact, you and your kids can work together to pack up last-minute belongings and ensure these items quickly and safely reach your new address.

2. Creating a Moving Day Journal

Let's face it Ė moving can be stressful, particularly for kids. However, if you encourage your kids to create a moving day journal, you may be able to help your children alleviate stress.

A moving journal offers a great opportunity for a child to express his or her thoughts about an upcoming move.

Furthermore, a child can use a moving journal to envision what life might be like at his or her new house. This journal can even include drawings that illustrate how a child might decorate his or her new bedroom, lists of ideas about things to do near a new house and much more.

3. Playing Board Games and Car Games

Pack a bag of board games to help your kids pass the time in the car Ė you'll be glad you did. These games are easy to play and will help your children stay entertained for hours.

Memorization games are great for kids and parents alike too. Of course, don't forget about the classic "I spy" game that you can play with your children while you drive to your new address.

Lastly, if you need extra help as you prep for your move, you should not hesitate to reach out to a real estate agent.

A real estate agent is a moving expert who can take the guesswork out of relocating to a new residence. He or she can help you get in touch with local moving companies, offer packing tips and provide fun suggestions so that you can keep your kids busy while traveling.

Perhaps most important, a real estate agent can offer comprehensive assistance as you buy or sell a house. If you need help finding a residence or selling one as quickly as possible, a real estate agent will work with you so that you can achieve your goals. Also, a real estate agent is happy to respond to your homebuying or home selling concerns at any time.

Want to get the most out of moving day with your children? Take advantage of the aforementioned moving day activities, and you and your kids can enjoy an unforgettable moving day experience.




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