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Mortgage News Matters

How to Remodel Your Home & Reduce Energy Costs

Thinking about remodeling your home? Then it may be the perfect time to start thinking about how you can improve its energy efficiency. Though it may not be the first thing on your mind when you’re ready to expand your kitchen or put finally put that bathtub in – yet making your home more sustainable can greatly reduce your energy bills and provide better functionality overall.

To help, we’ve compiled a list of 5 simple tips that can help you reduce energy costs when you’re ready to remodel your home.

  1. Update to energy-efficient appliances. Older appliances tend to be energy-suckers, and often leave you paying extremely high energy bills. Consider purchasing newer, more energy-efficient appliances to help you cut costs.
  2. Invest in smart power strips and surge protectors. With the advancement in technology, comes an increase in the use of electronics. From TVs and computers, to tablets and cell phones, high electronic usage, means high energy usage. Consider plugging your devices into smart power strips or use surge protectors to avoid overpaying monthly on your bill.
  3. Repair or replace your roof. Making repairs to your roof can make a huge impact on your energy bill. From simple repairs like adding new shingles or a heat repelling coating, to major changes like replacing your roof altogether, you can cut costs and greatly improve the sustainability of your home.
  4. Update HVAC system. Similar to getting rid of outdated appliances and replacing them with more energy-efficient ones, updating your HVAC system can have a significant impact on the energy efficiency of your home and create long-term savings.
  5. Window repair and replacement. Adding insulation and improving sealing properties on your windows throughout your home will keep your HVAC system from working overtime, and in the end, save you money.

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Mortgage News Matters

How to Prepare for your Homebuying Journey

So, you’ve decided you’re ready to buy a new home? Congratulations! Now you’re probably asking yourself, what’s the next step? There are plenty of things you can do to prepare yourself for the next step on your homebuying journey, and we listed a few below to help you on your way!

  1. Know your credit score. A good credit score is essential to any new or prospective homebuyer. It gives your lender insight into how reliable you are as a borrower, and ultimately, whether they will lend to you or not. To obtain a free credit report, go to annualcreditreport.com and enter your information. Once you have accessed your reports, you can review and dispute any errors you find.
  2. Consider taking a home buying class. Homebuying classes can prepare you for things you may have not even thought about as a new homebuyer. These classes can give you information on saving for a down payment, searching for the right mortgage loan program for you, working with a real estate agent and so much more. They are a great way to get answers to questions you didn’t even know you had.
  3. Implement financial planning techniques. Saving towards any large monetary goal doesn’t happen overnight. Consider implementing money-saving techniques 3-6 months before purchasing your new home. This can be by setting up automatic transfers to a savings account, savings bonuses, raises, or tax refunds, applying for a credit card with cash rewards, and by not taking on any new unnecessary expenses, such as a new car payment or lease. These simple actions can make all the difference when you’re finally ready to make your big purchase.
  4. Get pre-approved. It is helpful to get pre-approved for your mortgage loan early on in your homebuying journey. Getting pre-approved will allow you to set your budget, which in turn helps you narrow your search.
  5. Communicate regularly with your lender & realtor. One of the most important ways to prep for buying your new home is by consistently communicating with your lender and realtor, so they can help with any questions you may have. The home buying process can feel overwhelming for anyone, regardless of it being their first home or their fifth. Clear and open communication with your real estate professionals is the best way to create a seamless homebuying experience.
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Mortgage News Matters

How to Navigate a Seller’s Market

Since the start of last year, homes for sale have been on the decline, while housing prices have continued to rise.

The combination of stay-in-place orders brought on by the pandemic and the rise of low mortgage rates in efforts to encourage homebuyers has only widened the gap between supply and demand.

Because of this, we find ourselves in a constant state of a seller’s market.

What is a Seller’s Market?

A seller’s market is when the number of buyers exceeds the number of homes available to purchase.

What Does This Mean for Buyers?

With homeowners choosing to stay in their homes for longer and mortgage rates becoming more affordable for a larger number of borrowers, appreciation of homes has only continued to increase.

This means that buyers must stand out while remaining diligent in their search, and buyers who are just entering the market should be prepared to bid over asking and waive certain contingencies if they hope to purchase a home soon.

What Does This Mean for Sellers?

Sellers, on the other hand, have the luxury of being picky. With the value of their home most likely continuing to increase, they can take their time when deciding on who they want to sell to and can expect a bid over asking.

For more on this, check out our post of Tips for Buyers in a Seller’s Market.

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Mortgage News Matters

7 Reasons to Get a Home Inspection

Buying a new home is one of the biggest financial decisions one can make throughout one’s lifetime. Though it may be tempting to move in as soon as you sign on the dotted line – it can be extremely beneficial to get advice from a professional before doing so. From saving money to providing peace of mind, the advantages of getting a home inspection far outweigh the decision to go without.

To better help you make your decision, we’ve put together a list of the top 7 reasons why getting a home inspection is important to any home buyer’s journey.

  1. Identify unseen or unpredicted structural problems that homebuyers may have missed otherwise. When performing a home inspection, a professional will assess areas that are mostly unseen like the roof, attic, foundation, plumbing, heating, and ventilation – just to name a few. They can discover undetected structural problems or leaks that could be costly to fix if they are left ignored for too long.
  2. Ability to renegotiate with the seller. By identifying these major, but common problems before closing and officially moving in, homebuyers can renegotiate terms with the seller by using their home inspection as leverage. What’s more, is it can be used as a contingency in the home buying process which allows a buyer to back out of a home sale without penalty if there are defects.
  3. Save money. Like identifying unseen structural problems and acting as leverage in negotiations, a home inspection saves homebuyers money. Ranging between $300-500, a home inspection is often more affordable than the money spent on major repairs after the deal is already done.
  4. Safety. One of the biggest benefits of performing a home inspection is the safety aspect. By having a professional determine any structural, plumbing, or electrical issues – to name a few – buyers can be sure that they are taking all the proper precautions beforehand, and rest assured their new home is safe.
  5. Estimate maintenance costs. In addition to discovering any issues that can be worked out in negotiations, a home inspection will also provide homebuyers with an estimate of general, or future, home maintenance costs. Allowing them to be best prepared for any issues they may incur.
  6. Insurance. It is true that some insurance companies will not cover homes with certain conditions, which is why it is essential that home buyers perform a home inspection. This way, homebuyers can better understand if their home has any issues that may not be covered by insurance policies, sooner rather than later.
  7. Peace of mind. Lastly, getting a home inspection provides peace of mind for any new home buyer. It gives buyers insight into any conditions that their home may have and many manageable solutions to repairing them, or at least negotiating how to handle them so they are not left paying much more than they planned for.