Patricia White's Blog
Ready to add your house to the real estate market? Before you list your residence, it helps to take plenty of high-quality photos both inside and outside your home.
Ultimately, home photos can make or break a homebuyer's first impression of your residence.
For example, if your home listing includes photos that show off the true beauty of your house, a homebuyer may want to check out your residence in-person. Or, if home photos make your house look small and cluttered, a homebuyer may shy away from your residence altogether.
Don't let bad photos affect your ability to sell your house.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get your house ready for a photo session.
1. Clean Your Residence
A beautiful home is likely to stand out to homebuyers. Meanwhile, if you clean your residence from top to bottom, you can get your house photo-ready in no time at all.
Mop the floors, wipe down the walls and ceilings and perform assorted home interior cleaning. Also, don't forget to mow the front lawn and complete various home exterior improvements.
If you need help with home cleaning tasks, you should contact a professional home cleaning company. With a professional home cleaning company at your side, you can receive expert support as you prep your residence for a photo session.
2. Declutter As Much As Possible
Although your home may be filled with assorted artwork, antiques and photographs, now may prove to be the best time to declutter as much as possible.
Too much clutter can make your house appear tiny. However, if you dedicate the necessary time and resources to declutter your house, you can show homebuyers the true size of your house.
If necessary, you can rent a storage unit to hold your excess items. Moreover, you can always reach out to family members and friends to see if they can store your excess items in their residences until you find a new place to live.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
When it comes to real estate photography, it pays to work with a housing market professional. Lucky for you, many real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide who can help you get your house ready for the real estate market.
A real estate agent can assess your residence and offer recommendations to help you improve your house's appearance. Plus, he or she can put you in touch with the best professional real estate photographers in your area.
Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent can provide throughout the home selling journey too. A real estate agent is happy to set up home showings and open houses, negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf and do everything possible to help you maximize the value of your residence.
Use the aforementioned tips to get your house ready for a photo session – you'll be glad you did. Thanks to these tips, you can move one step closer to getting the best results from the home selling journey.
There's nothing more satisfying than knowing exactly what you want and taking the necessary steps to get it!
Whether you're searching for the right job, your soul mate, or the home of your dreams, being clear about the results you want can help pave the way for success.
When it comes to house hunting, there are several ways to increase your chances of finding a wonderful home that meets all your criteria. By being organized, focused, and goal oriented, you'd be amazed at what you can accomplish!
Create a priority list: While a certain amount of flexibility is crucial when you're in the market for a new house, there are some things that are essential to your happiness and wellbeing. Those would be considered "must haves" or non-negotiable items.
Unless you already know exactly what you want, a priority list can help you sort out the countless options, features, and expenses you'll be weighing as you explore available listings in your price range. Your priority list can include everything from architectural style and backyard space to number of bathrooms and kitchen layout. There are literally dozens of things to consider, such as the character of the neighborhood, amount of storage space inside and outside the house, and commuting distance. Many house hunters also have a strong preference for features like working fireplaces, screened in porches, and first-floor laundry rooms. If privacy is among your top priorities, you'll want to pay extra close attention to factors like distance between houses, fencing, trees, and hedges.
Choose the right real estate agent: Although most real estate agents are knowledgeable, resourceful, and easy to work with, you don't necessarily want to sign on with the first one you meet. By talking to two or three, you can choose the one who instills the most confidence in you. Ideally, he or she should have ample experience as a buyers' agent and be familiar with the specific neighborhoods in which you're interested. It's also important that you feel comfortable with them and that you can cultivate a smooth working relationship. If you have any misgivings about their accessibility, communication style, or responsiveness, then they might not be the ideal match for your needs.
Although personal recommendations from friends and family is often the best way to find a top-notch real estate agent, online reviews can provide you with helpful insights into an agent's professionalism, personality, and track record. Most agents would also be more than happy to provide you with references of recent and current clients to contact.
While real estate professionals enter the profession for a variety of reasons, most agents genuinely enjoy working with people and get a lot of satisfaction from helping them find the house of their dreams.
When you purchase real estate, you need to decide how you want to hold the title. Many closing agents make an assumption, and that assumption may come back to bite you later in life. In most states, you may title real estate in five ways: sole ownership, joint tenancy with the right of survivorship, tenancy in common, tenants by the entirety, and in a living trust. If one of you should pass, you may not be able to avoid probate if the title to your real estate shows that you don’t own full interest in the property.
Methods of Holding Title
The methods of holding title determine whether you are able to avoid probate in many states for your primary residence.
Sole ownership means that you own the real estate yourself. If you are single, you may have your name listed as the sole owner of the property. If you are married, you may still hold the title as the sole owner, but you would be the only spouse who is liable for the financial burden.
Joint tenancy with the right of survivorship means that at least two people buy the property and have their names listed on the deed. Each person owns an equal piece of interest in the property. If one person passes, their share goes to the other person. If more than two people are listed, the decedent’s share is divided equally among all of the people listed on the deed. This is the only way that your primary home has a chance to avoid going through the probate process unless you hold the property in a living trust.
Tenancy in common is used when two people buy a property together. Generally, the two people are not married. Each person owns their share separately from the other. This is where closing agents and attorneys make the mistake of not asking the buyers how they want to be listed on the deed. If you own a property as tenants in common and one person dies, the real estate must go through probate. If you are married and do not want your share to go to your spouse automatically, then you would instruct the closing agent to list the owners as tenants in common.
Tenants by the entirety is only available in some states. This method of ownership means that both spouses own the property. One cannot sell the property without the agreement of the other. If a creditor is going after one spouse for a debt that is not owned by both parties, the creditor is barred from attaching a lien on the real estate.
The Living Trust
Regardless of how you hold title to real estate with your spouse, if the property is transferred to a living trust, the property then passes to your beneficiary postmortem. The property does not need to go through probate. However, if you use a pour-over will, which means that the property is not in the trust, but automatically transfers to the trust upon your passing, many states require probate before the property changes hands. If you are considering using a living trust, contact a probate attorney to help you set this up so that it is done correctly.
If you receive an offer to purchase your home, you may have only a limited amount of time to decide whether to accept this proposal. As such, there are several factors you'll want to consider to determine whether to approve an offer to purchase your home. These factors include:
1. The Price of Your Home
If you established a competitive initial asking price for your home, you should have no trouble determining whether an offer to purchase falls in line with your expectations. Thus, if an offer to purchase your home is at or above your residence's initial asking price, you may want to accept a buyer's proposal and move forward with a house sale.
Of course, if an offer to purchase your house falls below your residence's initial asking price, you should still evaluate the proposal closely. If you feel the offer to purchase is the best proposal you might receive, you may want to accept it.
2. The Current State of the Local Housing Market
Examine the current state of the local housing market – you'll be glad you did. If you discover you are operating in a buyer's or seller's market, you can assess an offer to purchase your home accordingly.
If you find a buyer's market is in place, you may be more inclined than ever before to accept a competitive offer to purchase your home. Because in this market, the number of sellers exceeds the number of buyers, and rejecting a homebuying proposal does not guarantee you will receive better offers to purchase in the near future.
Comparatively, if a seller's market is in place, you may want to take a wait-and-see approach to any offers to purchase your residence. In this market, the number of buyers exceeds the number of quality houses available. As a result, you may receive dozens of offers to acquire your residence if you wait for the local housing market to develop.
3. Your Home Selling Goals
You should feel good about accepting an offer to purchase your house. Therefore, if an offer to purchase enables you to achieve your home selling goals, you may want to accept it sooner rather than later. By doing so, you can take the next step to finalize your house sale.
As you debate how to proceed with an offer to purchase your house, you may want to consult with a real estate agent too. This housing market professional may be able to offer housing market insights that you won't find anywhere else. Plus, he or she can provide honest, unbiased home selling recommendations. And if you ultimately decide to accept an offer to purchase your residence, a real estate agent can guide you along the final stages of the property selling journey.
There is no reason to settle for a subpar offer to purchase your house. But if you consider the aforementioned factors, you can make an informed decision about whether to accept, reject or counter a homebuying proposal.
As you start your journey to home ownership, one of the terms you may hear from your mortgage lender is debt to income ratio. Many people have never heard this term before, but it is an important aspect of obtaining a mortgage. Your mortgage lender wants to make sure you are not going to default on your mortgage payments. While your current credit history plays a role in this determination, your debt to income ratio also is considered.
Your debt to income ratio is the percentage of your gross income against the amount you are obligated to pay monthly. This means your credit card bills, car loans, life, health, and other insurance premiums may be considered, along with your anticipated mortgage payment and taxes. Generally, a lender will want your debt to income ratio to be at or lower than 43 percent of your income.
Calculate Your Ratio Early in the Process
Potential homebuyers can easily determine what their debt to income ratio is based on current mortgage interest rates and the amount they are seeking to borrow to purchase a home. To calculate the ratio, you will need the following information:
- Total annual salary — since a lender will review your taxes for the past three years, the best method is to use your most recent tax return and get your gross annual income before taxes. Once you have this number, divide it by 12 for calculating your gross monthly income.
- Monthly debt ratio — you will want to determine what debts you are obligated to pay monthly. This should include student loans, car payments, and any other debt which you expect to pay for at least five years including personal loans. Using a mortgage calculator, determine what you anticipate your mortgage payment will be including property taxes and insurance. Make sure you include all costs associated with your mortgage when using a mortgage calculator. The totals you get here will generate the total amount of your monthly debts.
- Final calculation — the final calculation will be determining your debt to income ratio. This is your total monthly debt divided by your gross monthly income is equal to your debt to income ratio.
High debt to income ratios can impact your ability to secure a mortgage. However, an important thing to remember is that some lenders do have some flexibility when using debt to income ratios. There are lenders who are exempt from the “ability to repay” rules for qualified mortgages. Talk to your mortgage lender about your debt to income ratio if the numbers are problematic. They can provide you with the available mortgage options based on your ratio.