Mortgage rates change constantly through an unpredictable combination of government policies and economic conditions. This video explains the common term ‘rate lock.’
A “Rate Lock” is a guarantee that a lender will honor a specific combination of interest rates and points for a given period of time. A lock protects a buyer from rate increases but commits them to a higher rate if mortgage rates fall below the locked rate.
As of 2014, rate locks aren’t usually an option until a purchase offer for a specific property – new-home or resale – has been accepted by the seller. The borrower’s credit score, the loan-to-value ratio property type, location and other factors plus, of course, market rates and market conditions will also affect rate-lock decisions.
Decide whether to lock or “float” based on your capacity for risk and your best rational knowledge about construction and closing schedules. If your rate lock expires an extension might be available but both you and the lender will be looking at current mortgage rates to decide the best option.
For many homes and markets, professional help from someone in “staging” makes good financial sense. Like this video say, check your staging options first.
If you are doing it yourself, here are 5 key tips.
One – Depersonalize.
You want the buyer to envision this house being their home?
Remove the things that make it YOUR home – photos, awards, collections, and STUFF.
Two – MOVE the stuff.
It’s tempting to shove things in closets and attics but your prospective buyer will see a much smaller house if those spaces are full.
Move it to a storage space or a friend’s garage.
Three – Warm it up.
Baking bread or cookies
adding fresh flowers
and colorful pillows and throws
are touches used by professional stagers to make a place warm without your stuff.
Four – Light it up!
- Light sells homes.
- Clean windows, inside and out.
- Light bulbs all working and curtains open or even gone.
Five – Go Away.
Don’t hover – leave.
Pack for a day trip and have your realtor tell you when to return
Buyers won’t envision themselves buying if you’re around.
Depersonalize and move stuff out;
Warm it up and light it up.
Then leave and let your realtor do their job.
Today, your first “showing” will be on the Internet – you’re watching this on the Internet, right?
Your price, listing description and PHOTOS determine whether someone will visit in person. Consider professional staging advice or help.
Prep for photos and video just as carefully as real visits.
Ask your realtor if they use a professional photographer. If they do look at prior photos and pick someone who understands the job.
Photos should make the most of your home’s features and give prospective buyers an emotional connection that invites them to visit in person.
Help them envision their lifestyle in the house not just the counters and walls.
If your realtor recommends video, just as with photography stage it carefully and hire a professional it will pay off.
And look over your listing when it goes live on a computer AND a mobile device to make sure it’s accurate, pleasant and compels people to show up.
Remember – your first showing these days will be on a screen.
As we show you in this video, start several months before the property is made available. Look through the eyes of a buyer
- What needs to be cleaned?
- Or tossed?
Ask yourself – or a friend, If you were buying this house what would you want to see?
The goal is to show a home that looks good makes the most of its assets like space and location and attracts as many buyers and as much demand as possible.
Allow yourself enough lead time – not just a day or two – to make the most of the sale. And get help from a real estate agent – early.
Well, as this story shows, this will likely be the first opportunity to examine the house without furniture giving you a clear view of everything.
Check the walls and ceilings carefully as well as any work the seller agreed to do in response to the inspection.
Any problems discovered previously that you find uncorrected should be brought up prior to closing. It is the seller’s responsibility to fix them.
You’ll see some pictures in this video to help you remember later, but essentially, home warranties offer you protection for a specific period of time, such as one year, against potentially costly problems like unexpected repairs on appliances or home systems which are not covered by homeowner’s insurance.
Warranties are becoming more popular because they offer protection during the time immediately following the purchase of a home a time when many people find themselves cash-strapped.
A flood plain is an area of land adjacent to a stream or river that experiences flooding during periods of high discharge. Watch this video and it’ll make sense.
If you live in a flood plain lenders will require that you have flood insurance before lending any money to you. But if you live near a flood plain, you may choose whether or not to get flood insurance coverage for your home.
Check the National Flood Insurance Program site at FloodSmart.gov for more information. And work with an insurance agent to construct a policy that fits your needs.
As we show you in this video, an inspector checks the safety of your potential new home.
Home Inspectors focus especially on the structure, construction and mechanical systems of the house and will make you aware of only repairs that are needed.
The Inspector does not evaluate whether or not you’re getting good value for your money.
Generally, an inspector checks (and gives estimates for repairs on):
- the electrical system
- plumbing and waste disposal
- the water heater
- insulation and ventilation
- the heating and AC system
- water source and quality
- the potential presence of pests
- the foundation, doors, windows, ceilings, walls, floors, and roof.
Be sure to hire a home inspector that is qualified and experienced. It’s a good idea to have an inspection before you sign a written offer since once the deal is closed you’ve bought the house as-is.
Like the video shows, “earnest money” is money you put down to demonstrate your seriousness about buying a home. It must be substantial enough to demonstrate good faith and is usually between 1-5% of the purchase price though the amount can vary with local customs and conditions.
If your offer is accepted the earnest money becomes part of your down payment or closing costs. If the offer is rejected, your earnest money is returned to you. If you back out of a deal, you may forfeit the entire amount.
Well, as this story shows, there isn’t a definitive answer to this question. You should look at each home for its individual characteristics.
Generally, older homes may be in more established neighborhoods offer more ambiance and have lower property tax rates. People who buy older homes, however shouldn’t mind maintaining their home and making some repairs.
Newer homes tend to use more modern architecture and systems are usually easier to maintain and may be more energy-efficient. People who buy new homes often don’t want to worry initially about upkeep and repairs.