Tag: realestateagent

Mortgage News Matters

Zero Down and Low Down Payment Mortgage Options

For buyers currently looking to purchase a home – affordability is the name of the game. And finding a mortgage loan that requires zero – or low down payments, is essential to their home buying process. Fortunately, VanDyk Mortgage provides a variety of mortgage loan options with low or no down payments required for our cost-conscious buyers.

Low-Down Payment Mortgage Loan Options:

30-Year Conventional: With consistent interest rates and monthly mortgage payments, the traditional 30-Year Conventional Loan is one of the most popular mortgage loan options. Programs with down payments as low as 3%, the 30-Year Conventional Loan is a great option for those seeking to purchase a home, before they have the funds necessary to do so. Keep in mind, whenever you put a less than 20% down payment on a home, you may be required to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) until you own enough equity in your home.

FHA: The Federal Housing Association, or FHA loan, is an ideal option for first-time homebuyers with less than perfect credit. With a down payment as low as 3.5% and lower than average interest rates, the FHA loan is a great option for buyers who do not meet the requirements for a traditional 30-Year Conventional Loan.

Zero or No Down Payment Mortgage Loan Options:

VA: A VA, or Veteran Loan, is the best option for Veterans or active duty military members looking to purchase a home of their own. There is no down payment required and low-interest rates. VA loans require no monthly mortgage insurance, making it possible for a buyer to purchase a home without paying out of pocket.

USDA: Backed by the US Department of Agriculture, a USDA, or Rural Housing Loan, is for buyers who are looking to purchase a home in a rural or suburban area with minimal investment. These loans require no down payment and provide flexible credit guidelines, as well as low monthly mortgage insurance costs.

To learn more about low and zero down payment loan options offered at VanDyk Mortgage, visit our website Loan Options.

Mortgage News Matters

Tips for Buyers in a Seller’s Market

Finding yourself a buyer in a seller’s market can often feel intimidating. When inventory is low, and demand is high, sellers are the ones who hold all the leverage.  This is why finding your competitive edge is critical to the home buying process. To make sure you stand out from the crowd, consider using our tips for buying in a seller’s market.

  1. Begin your search today! In a seller’s market, time is of the essence. It is important to do your research and prepare beforehand with important information, such as reports, open houses, and offer due dates, to avoid wasting precious time.
  2. Obtain pre-approval. Getting preapproved by a lender before making an offer tells you how much buying power you truly have and helps pre-determine your bottom line. 
  3. Reduce or eliminate certain contingencies, such as inspections or move-in dates. This reduces common time-consuming obstacles to the home buying process.
  4. Present a strong (or best) offer price. If it is in your budget to do so, consider offering more than the asking price. This will set you apart from other buyers and provide you a competitive edge.
  5. Consider a cash offer. A cash offer tells the seller you are a serious buyer, and not interested in wasting their time. Offering a cash deposit for up to 1% of the offer price is a great way to stand out from the rest.
  6. Do not present a counteroffer. In a seller’s market counteroffers are seen as mere time-wasters. In many cases, sellers will not even consider looking at them. Always start with a strong offer price.
  7. Know your budget and be ready to bid. In a market with more buyers than sellers, a bidding war is almost certain. Understanding your budget and preparing beforehand to bid, is the best way to ensure, both you and your offers are taken seriously.
  8. Avoid being too choosy. As houses move quickly on and off the market, it is important to reduce your non-negotiables. For example, location is important, but renovations can be done anywhere. Limiting various terms is crucial to buying a home in a seller’s market.
  9. Stay alert to new listings. You may think you have found your perfect home, only to find that it has just been sold. Do not get discouraged! The key to being a buyer in a seller’s market is remaining patient and vigilant for the next opportunity that comes along!
Mortgage News Matters

How to Build and Maintain A Good Credit Score

A good credit score is essential to any new or prospective homebuyer. It’s what will show your lender the likelihood that you will be able to pay back your debt. So, we’d say it’s pretty important!

The first step towards building and maintaining a good credit score is to first determine your credit standing. You can do this by obtaining a free copy of your reports from annualcreditreport.com. Once you have this information, carefully look over your report and take note of any errors that you find. These errors can then be disputed with the credit bureaus.

If you find that you have a below-average credit score, it can be refreshing to know that most credit blunders disappear from your credit report every 7 years. For more information on understanding and managing your credit score, check out our Credit Clean-Up Guide.

To better assist you in your credit building process, we’ve listed a few techniques below:

  • Apply for a secured credit card. The purpose of a secured credit card is to build enough credit to qualify for an unsecured credit card, which offers more benefits to its borrowers. A secured credit card requires a deposit to open. And the deposit is typically the same number as the borrower’s credit limit on the card. These work the same as a credit card and you won’t incur interest as long as you pay your balance in full.
  • Credit-builder loans. These are a type of forced savings program where the lender holds the money you borrow in an account that isn’t released to you until the loan is repaid. This can be a great option for those who are looking to build their credit.
  • Becoming an authorized user on a friend or family member’s credit card who is currently in good credit standing. Many will start building their credit by becoming an authorized user on a relative’s credit card. This option adds their payment history to your credit, showing that you are a reliable borrower – if they are in good standing.
  • Get a co-signer. If you have a family member or friend who is in better credit standing, you can also ask them to be your co-signer. This means that if you default on your loan, they are responsible to pay for it, so it’s best to be upfront with your co-signer about all the terms.
  • Have a long history of credit (start building credit early). The best way to start building good credit is to, well, start building your credit. Make sure that you start as soon as you can and maintain good practices like paying regularly and on time.

Once you’ve built up a good credit score, it may be helpful to follow a few techniques you can use to maintain.

  • Pay regularly and on time. One of the most effective ways to maintain a good credit score is to make sure you are paying your bill regularly and on time. To help you with this, consider setting up automatic payments so that you don’t miss a loan or credit card payment.
  • Maintain reasonable credit. Experts recommend keeping credit at no more than 30% of your credit limit if you can help it. If you must go over 30%, make sure you pay it back down to that amount as soon as you are able to.
  • Only apply for the credit you need. Think of it like a loan, only borrow what you need. Anything more is too much.
  • Pay minimum monthly balance on time. Paying on time shows your consistency and reliability as a borrower.
  • Keep old credit cards open. Closing old cards can have a negative effect on your credit, so it’s best practice to keep them open even if you no longer use them.

*The three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – have recently extended their offering of free weekly credit reports through April 22, 2022, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. *

Mortgage News Matters

10 Tips for Staging Your Home to Sell

Once you’ve decided to sell your home, you’ll need to start thinking about the next step: Home Staging. Staging is the setting and arranging of your home to appeal to potential buyers.

Different than decorating, it does not convey a sense of style, rather sets the stage for others to imagine themselves living there.

It is an extremely important part of the home buying and selling process and because of that, we’ve put together a helpful list of 10 tips to successfully staging your home!

  1. Start with curb appeal.  When it comes to staging your home to sell, you must first start with curb appeal. Think – first impressions. The outside of your home is the first impression all potential buyers will have – and you want it to be a good one. There are many things that go into creating curb appeal for your home, such as repainting or repairing needed items, power washing your driveway, walkway, or sides of your home, and cleaning your gutters and roof.

    For a more exhaustive list of curb appeal tips, check out our blog on 10 Curb Appeal Tips That Will Help You Sell Your Home Faster.
  2. Depersonalize your space. With the overall goal of encouraging potential buyers to imagine themselves living in your home, it is helpful to depersonalize your space. This includes getting rid of personal photos, putting away jackets and personal clothing, and hiding common personal products that may line your bathroom counter. It may seem like these actions will make your space ‘less homey’, but only to you.

    Eliminating your personal items will make room for potential buyers to imagine their own photos hanging on the walls, their own shoes lining the front entrance, their coats hanging, and will allow them to further identify with the space.
  3. Get rid of clutter. Like depersonalizing your space, you’re going to want to dispose of all unnecessary clutter. Clearing your clutter makes your home look cleaner, bigger, brighter, and more welcoming. No one wants to walk into a mess, and clutter can be distracting from the main selling point – which is your beautiful home! Keep your décor minimal and add only what is necessary.

    Keep in mind, decluttering doesn’t mean throwing everything into a closet and shutting the door! One major selling point of a home – and one that most potential buyers will be looking for – is the closet and storage space. In fact, many real estate experts suggest keeping your closets open during a home viewing to further show off the storage space. And if it’s filled with all the clutter from the living room, it’s not a great look. Make sure as you’re decluttering, you’re throwing out or properly storing your items.
  4. Clean, clean, and then clean some more. Deep cleaning your entire home is one of the most important steps you can take when staging your home. It is easy to overlook places that you walk by every day, without thinking twice. But remember, potential buyers are looking at it for the first time and with heightened attention to detail.

    Places that are often overlooked are baseboards, pet fur on furniture and around the floor, and high places like ceiling fans or light fixtures. Make sure when you are preparing to clean, you consider every corner and look at everything through a metaphorical magnifying glass.
  5. Make any needed repairs. If there are any spots in your house in need of a paint touch-up or appliances in need of a quick fix – now is the time to make any necessary repairs.  This shows potential buyers that you take care of your belongings, which extends to your home, and provides assurance that you are not selling them a home that has been neglected in any way. This also instills trust amongst home buyers and sellers.
  6. Keep it neutral. In a similar sense to depersonalizing your space, presenting your home in a neutral color and design will generally make it more appealing to more people. Styles and colors are specific to certain taste levels, and the last thing you want to do is alienate or offend a potential buyer with something too loud or very specific. This may mean you may want to consider re-painting a certain room or wall in a more neutral color. This way, buyers can walk through the home and see a blank canvas that they can soon turn into their own.
  7. Add fresh flowers or plants. Bringing fresh flowers and plants into your space is a great way to liven up any environment while adding a bit of color. It can also bring a pleasant smell that will make your home more inviting. If you have pets or children and you are wary of bringing plants into your space, consider buying fake plants that will add life and color to your space, without making a mess or causing potential harm.
  8. Bring in the light. Brightening your home with light fixtures or window treatments is a great way to energize your space! Bringing in light often makes a home feel larger, more welcoming, and warmer. If your home is generally darker due to trees or location, consider buying more lighting and placing them throughout the space. Remember, welcoming is the feeling you want to convey in every room of your home.
  9. Consider furniture placement. Many of us arrange our furniture to our own liking, which is fine – unless you’re trying to sell your home. Industry professionals suggest pulling furniture away from walls and bringing couches and chairs into a closer seating area. This will open the room and allow for a more walkable area.

    The great thing about furniture – you can move it as many times as you’d like! Play around a bit and find what looks best for your space. Just keep in mind that you want your space to look open and welcoming, while at the same time giving off the idea of homey and cozy.
  10. Clean or refinish floors. Another area that we tend to overlook is our floors. This is one space that accumulates a lot of wear and tear and is extremely important to spend time improving the appearance of. If you have a home with mostly carpet, considering renting or purchasing a steam cleaner to eliminate stains or residue from normal everyday activity. Likewise, if you have hardwood floors, consider refinishing them so the new homeowners feel that they truly are purchasing a new home.