Why Pre-Qualifying for a Loan is Important

In order for the loan process to run smoothly, one of the smartest things to do is get pre-qualified for a mortgage. A pre-qualification is an estimate of how much you can borrow from a lender which allows you to explore loan options specific to your financial situation. Pre-qualifying for a loan before you go home shopping helps you set a budget and strengthen your negotiating position when making an offer. Having a pre-qualification is also a good sign to the seller that you are serious and ready to buy. This is particularly important these days since it’s a seller market and homes are going quickly. Taking this step to be prepared can get you ahead of the game.

How to Pre-Qualify

Pre-qualification is a simple process which can be done at zero cost and completed online. Contact your Loan Officer to find out which documents you should prepare to complete the pre-qualification form. Once you pre-qualify successfully, you can request a letter stating how much you may be able to borrow based on the information you provided. You can share this with your real estate agent or simply tell the agent a price range based on the outcome of your pre-qualification.

Pre-qualification vs. Conditional Approval

A conditional approval requires more information and is a much more serious level of approval. Conditional approval means you will have a commitment to a specific loan program at a specific loan amount. It will also provide more information about your interest rate and monthly mortgage payment.

Before you start your journey as a home buyer, contact one of our Loan Officers to get pre-qualified!

 

Selling Your Home During Winter

Many people believe winter is the most undesirable time to sell your home, but this doesn’t have to be the case. If you know what to expect, you can have just as much success selling your home during winter than you would any other time of year. Don’t be afraid to list during wintertime.

Who’s Buying in During Winter?

In many cases, you’re likely to see more serious buyers in winter than in spring and summer where it’s more popular to look for homes even casually. There are a whole host of reasons someone may be looking to buy a home during winter, some of which come with increased urgency to find a home such as job relocations, an expiring lease, or a contract on their current home. If someone is willing to battle cold and sometimes inclement weather to see your home, it’s probably because they’re serious about buying. The weather can help your home sell faster, too; people are less likely to want to look all over town for a home when it’s cold or snowy which means they may be more likely to choose one of the first homes they see that fits their needs.

The Internet is Your Friend

Virtual listings and showings are always important but especially are during the winter months when it’s cold and gets dark earlier. This is even more so the case now in the wake of COVID-19 with fewer people venturing out. Be sure to get your home on as many listing sites as you can to increase its visibility. Make sure your listing description is thorough and engaging. Depending on scheduling, you may find most of your showings are at dusk or after dark; talk to your realtor about considering a virtual 3D walkthrough to fully showcase your home during the daytime for interested buyers.

Know How to Prepare and Stage Your Home

Prepping and staging your home for its online listings and open houses is always an important part of the selling process. There are some particulars you should keep in mind when selling during the winter months. Winter can be dreary, so let in as much light as you can. If you’re going to be holding in-person showings, ensure all walkways are cleared if it snows and be sure to keep the temperature inside warm and comfortable for visitors. When it comes to decorating for the holidays, keep it simple and tasteful; potential buyers want to envision themselves in your home year-round, not just at the holidays. Make your environment cozy and inviting; you can even consider offering coffee and hot chocolate to prospective buyers.

There’s no need to be afraid of selling your home during the winter months. If you’re preparing to sell your home, you’re probably thinking about buying, too. Contact one of our experienced Loan Officers today to learn more about financing options.

4 Easy Steps to an Organized Garage

Your garage can serve many purposes, but not if it’s full of clutter. A recent study showed that only 30% of homeowners with garages use them to store their vehicles, because they are just too full! If your garage is cluttered, the good news is that this is a project you can tackle yourself at little to no cost to you.

Step 1: Purge Unnecessary Items

Set aside a few hours or a whole day to go through absolutely everything in your garage. Sort items into four separate piles – items to keep, items to sell, items to donate, and items to trash. Make plans to drop off donations and sell anything you’d like to right away, so you can free up that space for your “keep” pile. Put the trash out immediately, or schedule a trash pick up or take a trip to your local dump as soon as possible if it’s too much for your regular trash service to take.

Step 2: Decide Which Keep Items Stay in The Garage

Some items should not be stored in a garage. Move anything from the list below to a safer spot in your home or yard!
Paint Cans: Extreme cold or heat can ruin the paint. It’s best to store cans in a temperature controlled area.
Propane and Other Fuels: Experts recommend keeping these outside and away from your home, since a small spark could ignite them.
Paper goods and Pet Foods: These can attract pests and small animals to your garage. They are safer when stored indoors.
Extra Refrigerator: This can be a huge energy drain in spaces that are not air-conditioned, and is better off indoors if possible.


Step 3: Make the Most of Your Storage Space

Sort your “keep” pile, such as lawn and garden, bikes or sports equipment, tools, seasonal items, etc. Then start storing it all! Wall hooks and open shelves are an inexpensive way to add lots of extra vertical storage space in your garage. Clear or labelled bins are great for grouping and storing smaller items. Clear jars are perfect for keeping track of very small items like nuts and bolts. Wall hooks and baskets can hold all sorts of items, from bikes and hoses to flowerpots. Large items such as lawnmowers should go against walls or in corners to avoid bumping into them with your vehicle. It’s a good idea to store frequently used items closer to the garage door for easy access, while seasonal items can be stored out of the way until they are needed. The garage ceiling can be a great spot for flat, infrequently used items like sleds and beach chairs, just be sure they are placed out of the way of your garage door and high enough not to scratch the roof of your car.

Step 4: Safety Counts!

It’s a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher mounted or easily accessible in your garage, in case of emergency. A carbon monoxide detector can add additional peace of mind (even though you should never leave your car running with the garage door closed!).

Considering moving or refinancing in the near future? If so, one of our experienced Loan Officers would love to help!

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