Online home shopping

18 09 2012

Is the house you found online worth checking out in person?

Today, more than ever before, homes are found on the Internet and now we not only have single standstill pictures but also 360-degree interactive views of the home.  An online portfolio of the home could make or break the sale.

Here are some ideas to keep in mind when you are looking online for a home to buy so you don’t waste your time clicking through the millions of home pictures on millions of MLS listings online.

  1. Use a critical eye. Look at the pictures, but keep in mind wallpaper and carpet can be replaced. Try to get a good idea of the layout and look at the description of the home. Is it exactly what you are looking for, if not can you compromise? Make sure to use the search bar to narrow your search. If location is most important to you, type in the area, the type of home you want and start there.
  2. Keep an eye out for homes that only have a picture of the outside. This could mean that the home needs serious work on the inside or there might be a bad bad case of hoarding or the home was not taken care of. Always look for the homes with lots of pictures, so you can get a clear idea of what the home looks like. There is no excuse for the owner or the Agent to not have pictures up. It is so easy to use a point and shoot camera and post the photos online.
  3. Before you go visit a home ask yourself this:
    1. How big is the kitchen? Is there enough room to put a table and comfortably sit 6 people?
    2. Is there enough wall space for your TV, art, etc.
    3. How much light gets in and at what times of the day is the sun in the kitchen/ living room.
    4. How does the picture compare with the google satellite photos? Has anything been changed or moved recently?
    5. Do you feel the layout and style fits your lifestyle?

Check out this blogs for some best and worst listing photos. This link is specifically for bathroom listings.


If you need helping looking for your perfect home online or taking the perfect pictures of your home to post online please contact me at and go to my website to set up your own, easy to use home search at

Understanding Credit Scores

14 09 2012

While buying a home with cash is ideal, the reality of it is highly unrealistic for most of us. Instead we take out loans from the bank to pay for our homes, and then we slowly pay the bank back from what we owe them. In order to qualify for a loan (To rent or buy a home) one of the financial aspects banks look at is your credit score.

Ray Martin, The Early Show’s finical advisor says in an article on, “Over 75 percent of mortgage lenders and 80 percent of the largest financial institutions use FICO scores in their evaluation and approvals process for credit applications.”

Your credit score, or more commonly your FICO score (named after the company Fair Isaac & Company who started it) is a 3-digit number. Between 350 and 850. The number help lenders evaluate the risk in loaning you the money and chance you will pay the loan back on time. The higher the number on your credit score, the more likely you are to pay your loan on time.  The best number to have is 720 or above. At 720 you are a safe risk and will most likely receive a loan with no problems.

Break down of your score as explained by Martin in the article:

  35 percent Payment History: “Having a long history making of payments on time and no missed payments on all credit accounts is one of the most important items lenders look for.”
  30 percent Amount Owed: “This measures the amount you owe relative to the total amount of credit available. Someone closer to maxing out all their credit limits is deemed to be a higher risk of late payments in the future and this can lower their credit score.”
  15 percent Length of Credit History: “In general, a credit report containing a list of accounts opened for a long time will help your credit score. The score considers your oldest account and the average age of all accounts.”
  10 percent New Credit: “Opening several new credit accounts in a short period of time can lower your credit score. Also multiple credit report inquiries can represent a greater risk, but this doesNOT include any requests made by you, an employer or by a lender who does so when sending you an unsolicited, “pre-approved” credit offer. Also, to compensate for rate shopping, the score counts multiple inquiries in any 14-day period as just one inquiry.”
  10 percent Types of Credit in Use: “Your mix of credit cards, retail accounts, finance company loans and mortgage loans is considered.”


How to boost your credit score:

This is a marathon not a sprint.

Most of the your score is based on your payment history, if you pay your bills and other payments on time within 6 months your credit score will improve.

The fastest and most effective way to improve your credit score is to pay down any balances you owe.

If you are looking for a home now, but have a bad FICO score consider waiting a few months to boost your score so you can qualify for a bank loan.

If you have any more questions on credit or FICO scores or credit history or where to get your credit report contact me at

To buy or to sell first, that is the question.

7 09 2012

I get asked if it is better to buy a home first then sell, or sell first then buy? The best answer I can give is, it depends. This is a hard question because there is no exact answer. There are pros and cons to both sides. The best way to figure out which option is best for you is to answer the questions below:

1.How much risk are you willing to take?

If you are on a tight budget and need to know how much money you will have netting from the sale of your home, then selling first is the best option for you. In order to make a budget for your new home it is most common for buyers to budget with the money they received from their home sale.

2.Is renting an option for you?

The risk you take when you sell first is not being able to find a home to buy and move into right away, if this is the case you can rent until you find what you are looking for. However, when you buy a home first you have more pressure to sell your home quickly, especially when you are in need of the money from the sale to pay for your new home. So ask yourself if you are willing to rent and consider both sides of the equations before you decided to buy or sell first.

I hope this was helpful. If you have any further questions on buying or selling your home please contact me at

Tips on selling your home by Keller Williams.

3 09 2012

It is a sellers market in the housing market today. The prices of homes and rising and the inventory is shrinking. Make sure to take

Today, take advantage of the sellers market when you sell your home. A sellers market means the buyer has little to no power during the sales process of a home. However, this does not mean you can price your home too high otherwise it will not sell. But, to ensure you are selling at the highest price possible here are some tips from Keller Williams to help you home sell quickly:

1.     Make sure to list your house and the market price. An incorrectly priced home will detour buyers.  Keller Williams found that “if you list your home at market price, your home will be in the market for fewer days, you are twice as likely to make multiple offers, and your chances of fewer price reductions are your sales price being close to your list price are much greater”

2.     Your home should be in excellent condition. Make sure to fill in all the holes in your wall, update the paint colors, and patch up your roof. “93% of homes that were in better condition received offers close to their list price”, states Keller Williams.

3.     Stage your home. This step if often over looked, but it is a key step in making sure your home is sold quickly and at the highest price. Make your home “depersonalized”. Take away all the family photos and unclutter the room. If needed put your extra stuff in storage so the house is clean and uncluttered for the buyer to look at. The cost of storage or a professional stager is minimal compared to the benefits of selling your home at a higher price.

Medicare tax and home sales

22 08 2012

Starting in 2013 the new Medicare tax will affect high income tax payers. The taxpayers with a modified adjusted gross income over $200,000 (for singles) or $250,000 (for married couples filing together) will get taxed on their “unearned income”.

The “unearned income” means the tax is only applied to investment income that is not derived from and active business or employee compensation including:

  1. gross income from interest, dividends, annuities, royalties, and rents and other income than those derived from an active business.
  2. Any gain from a passive trade or business.
  3. The net gain from a sale or any other trade of an investment or a non-business property.

The tax will directly affect home sales because if the net-gain from the sale puts the homeowner in or over the $200,000/$250,000 tax bracket modified adjusted gross income threshold then the owner will have to pay the extra amount in Medicare taxes.

Overall, the new tax will push owners with a large equity in their home to sell them in 2012 before the new tax takes effect.

MHA: A government program aimed to help improve the housing market

11 08 2012

Making Home Affordable (MHA) is a government program to help homeowners avoid foreclosures, stabilizing the housing market and help improve the country’s economy.

The Making Home Affordable Program was created for the Financial Stability Act of 2009. The program was made to enforce standard loan modification guidelines for lenders to follow or take into consideration when they evaluate a borrower for a potential loan modification.

There are many options a homeowner can qualify for in the MHA program including: lowering monthly mortgage payments, if the homeowner is not able to afford the home anymore there are steps in the program to help avoid foreclosure.

Click the link below to explore the different programs available to you:  


Real Estate in the 21st Century

25 07 2012

Looking for a new home to rent or buy is a tedious and frustrating process. There are thousands of websites and pictures to look at, people to call and directions to look up. Keller Williams developed a comprehensive website to help people find everything they needed to find a home in one convenient place.

My website via Keller Williams, does all the hard work for the buyer/renter.

How to use the website: The search is categorized into: location, price range, type of home and more. Once the search terms are set the site provides the user with a list of homes and an interactive map where the user can save the search.

The website is available to view on all smart phones with Internet access.  Stop by the site today and start the easiest and quickest home search of your life.


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