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Marques specializes in working with clients who are looking into buying a home in CT. Marques works with those that are pre-qualified or would like to learn how to raise their credit score enough for an affordable home loan. Marques also consults with investors who are looking to increase their portfolios through multi-family properties and commercial real estate in CT. Mortgage interest rates are surprisingly low right now and home prices are too - get a great deal that will repay you again and again over the years.

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Marques’ Blog

5 Biggest Credit Score Myths

Your credit is the financial reputation that you carry with you throughout your adult life. Having good credit can be the determine what you drive, where you live, and sometimes where you work. Bad credit will cost you money as well whether it be through higher interest rates, not being able to qualify for a mortgage and having to pay a high rent, or generally not getting approved for credit and having to make all cash purchases. There are many myths about Credit and how to maintain and perfect it, but there are also alot of misconceptions. Here are the 5 Biggest credit score myths. 1. Checking your credit score will cause it to drop Checking your own score wont cause this because it is a soft inquiry. Only a hard inquiry (seeking new credit) will cause it to drop momentarily. There are several free services that give you a ball park credit score figure, but the most accurate report will come from annualcreditreport.com 2. You have only one credit report and score While your score is usually consolidated into one, you do have three scores. Transunion, Equifax, and Experian are the three credit bureaus and while the scores may vary, they’re usually in the same vicinity. A FICO or vantage is usually an average and many times the score used to make credit decisions. 3. You need to carry a balance and pay interest to build credit Some people believe you need to carry a balance to show lenders you’re using credit, but doing so could result in you paying unnecessary interest and could hurt your credit score...

What Credit Score Will You Need To Buy Your First House?

Just about everybody wants to buy their own home, but do you know where your credit score needs to be to do so? Credit is a very critical part in the home buying process, as its really your financial reputation. Your credit score is a mixture of payment history (35%), Outstanding debt (30%), Length of credit (15%), Credit inquiries (10%), and lastly types of credit (10%). All these factor in and collectively give you a credit rating. Here are the following credit score ranges you will need to get pre approved and begin home shopping.*** FHA 30 year loan (3.5% down payment). Single Family, Multifamily (up to 4 units) FICO score at or above a 640 CHFA 1st Time Homebuyer Program (100% Financing) Single Family, Multifamily (up to 4 units) FICO score at or above a 680. I hope this give you a better idea of where you need to be credit wise, and will help you get where you need to be to begin the home buying process.   *** The following are scores based off of averages loan officers I work with require. This isn’t the case for all loan types. Contact for more details.   Marques Strickland Realtor/Buyer Specialist Email: mstrickland@kw.com Web: Homesbymarques.com Connect with me on Facebook Cell: 860-518-0304 Fax: 860-313-0302 Download my FREE ebook, “12 Month Plan To Buying Your First Home”, then Connect with me….. Business hours are from 8am-7:00pm. Saturday and Sunday by appointment only. All calls/messages received after 7:00 will be returned first thing the next business...

3 Things to Do To Prepare Your Home To Get Sold

Making your home as appealing and beautiful during listing it for sale is crucial to accomplishing just that. Quite often, sellers don’t and it changes a buyers opinion on the home during a showing. Here are three areas to focus on when getting your home ready to sell: Clean up and Clean Out Although it should be pretty obvious, cleaning out your home is something that you should do. Take that as somewhat of a heed to do some spring cleaning and get rid of the things that aren’t necessary anymore. Maybe consider donating old items and furniture to charity and other places that can make good use of them. Giving your home a deep clean is also a recommended action. Cleaning the floors. repainting chipping areas, refinishing cabinetry and just touching up all the normal wear an tear areas of your home. Make The Small Repairs Yourself The small fixes that don’t necessarily need a contractor are usually the things needed the most. Leaking faucets, caulking around sinks and tubs, cleaning grout are all things that can spruce up and make that bathroom even more appealing. Replacing light bulbs, re securing handrails, and replacing broken windows can all be things that stand out if they aren’t done to a potential buyer. Curb Appeal What will the initial though be when a buyer pulls up to your home? Will they be wowed or will they be turned away by all it needs. Its harder to make your home shine in a typical Connecticut winter but keeping the property as clean and clear as possible on the outside is something...

5 Reasons Why You Should List Your Home To Sell Now

The common time for sellers to list their homes is the Spring. The reasoning is pretty clear with the nicer weather and longer daylight hours. The question is, is that more beneficial than listing now as opposed to waiting a few mote months? Here are my top 5 reasons why we need to sit and speak about listing your home now. Low Inventory Being a Realtor that helps a lot of buyers find homes, I see the lack of inventory we have. Being that we have that lack, the supply and demand principle comes into play. Correctly priced homes in good condition aren’t lasting, as buyers are moving quickly due to the lack of choices. More importantly, do you really want to wait until the rest of the sellers come and create more competition? Urgency In Buyers Buying and moving into a home in the dead of winter isn’t fun, so a family that is looking to do so is motivated. The showings this time of year are more likely to be somebody serious and ready to make the move. Being at the beginning of the year, many companies also transfer employees at this time of year so that is another factor to create the urgency. Lower Price Points Move Faster  In Greater Hartford, the lower price points where first time buyers are located move very fast. If its move in ready and priced well, you may have multiple offers within the first few days on the market. The lower the home is priced, the more buyers will be able to buy which creates that traffic. New Administration There...

6 Mistakes Buyers Make In A Sellers Market

With the market tightening up, and becoming more geared towards a sellers market, buyers are feeling the press of the competition in the market. I am personally coming across less on the market, and more multiple offer situations. Some buyers are growing frustrated with not being able to find what they are looking for in a timely fashion. Being an agent that has much experience with the buy side of a transaction, i stress the following 6 points with my buyers when the market is in its current situation. Not making your best offer right off the bat We all want a great deal, but sometimes that $5,000-$10,000 difference isn’t worth losing the home. If it fits all you need, want, and are looking for don’t over negotiate. Chances are, there is another buyer that may see the same benefit as you and will offer closer to what the seller wants. Really consider offering your best right away. Overthinking the sales price Relating to my first point, a buyer can “sleep on it” too long and end up losing the house. Just because you looked at the home or even told your agent you liked it a lot, that doesn’t stop or hold the seller obligated to wait for you. The seller will usually take the first offer that reaches their desired price so they can reach their next destination or goal. Focus more on the monthly price than the purchase price. Working with an inexperienced agent This is a very competitive market, and you need every advantage you can get. Having an agent that knows all the tricks...

What Do You Need To Start Home Shopping?

I often come across and have helped many people buy a home whom didn’t even know they had the ability to buy one. Public perception of becoming a homeowner or buying a home period is pretty tarnished. I’ve heard everything from needing a 750 credit score to needing $20,000 in the bank. While a good amount of funds and excellent credit are welcomed, going to those levels aren’t exactly needed to change your address. Here are the basics needed to get pre approved for a mortgage and begin home shopping: Credit Score of 640 and above That is usually a good number or place to shoot to be above. FHA (3.5% down) is the normal product a first time buyer usually uses. The big thing with your credit and applying for a mortgage is to make sure you have no late payments within the last 12 months, and nothing in collections currently. 2 Years Tax returns and W2s (3 Years 1099s If Self Employed) This is something to prove that you make what you tell the loan officer you work with you make. This will be all submitted to the underwriter and lender you’re using. 60 Days Bank Statements and Paystubs This is another financial thing to prove your funds and ability to afford a down payment. It is essential that you don’t have any overdraft or return check fees, as it doesn’t show financial responsibility. Possible funds for a down payment If you’re going with a FHA loan you would be looking at 3.5% of the purchase price as your down payment. Closing costs can mostly be included...

5 First Steps To Improving Your Credit Score

When it comes to improving your credit there is no “instant” fix to make it happen overnight. The best and fastest way to make sure that your credit stays great is to never let it go bad. Life happens to us all, and things happen. Here are the first 5 steps I direct my clients to do to improve their credit scores: Get a copy of your credit report and address errors According to a recent poll, 1 in 5 consumers have an error on their report. You should visit annualcreditreport.com and download your report (every citizen gets a free copy once a year), and see that everything is accurate and up to date. 2. Write a letter, or have credit repair company handle the errors found If errors or maybe a late payment is found, contacting the company that reported it should be your next step. It isn’t easy to get a creditor to remove a late payment, but there is a dispute process. Most lenders really only factor in the late payments within the last 12 months. Removing a negative account from your report can drastically improve your score once done. 3. Lower your credit card usage 30% of your credit score is your outstanding and current debt. Lowering that (under 30% of your limit on each card and overall) balance will definitely help your score within 30 days as well once the creditor next reports. Another option, is to request a balance increase from your creditor, which will lower how much is being used if increased. 4. Don’t apply for any credit Seeking new credit in...

3 Tips To Negotiate After A Home Inspection

After you chose the home you’re purchasing, the home inspection is the next crucial step in the process. This is where we have a certified home inspector come through the home and test the systems. Now you don’t own the home yet, so he isn’t breaking anything or going into walls. He is simply testing the different elements of the home and giving you his expertise on what the issues could be. As a experienced agent in the area, I notice many of the issues when we initially walk into the house, so I give my clients fair warning of possible items that may come up. When issues do come up, follow these three tips to successfully protect your best interest after your home inspection. ASK FOR CREDIT OR REPAIR TO BE MADE When issues come up and the buyer is worried about them, its best to see if the seller will remedy them. There are two ways that it can be handled, by repairing it directly or the seller crediting (taking money off the sales price) the buyer. I personally like the seller to handle the repair as opposed to crediting off the price. For example, if the seller were to take $2,000 of the price, that’s typically a savings of about $10 a month in the mortgage. That does no good for a problem that is persisting currently, and the buyer will have to fix once they move in. THINK OF THE BIG PICTURE If you plan to remove things and renovate, then many things may not be of big issue. Focus on the electrical, plumbing, heating,...

4 Tips For Selling Your Home In The Winter

Usually when one lists their home in the winter, that indicates a serious motivation to sell. Lets face it, during the cold winter months, the inconvenience of having people in and out of your house is a lot. With that being said, we have to make sure that the inconvenience is worth it. We want to make sure that your efforts are going towards getting this home sold. Here are 4 tips to get your home sold in the winter. BE SURE ITS EASILY ACCESSIBLE With winter weather so unpredictable, keeping the property clean adds difficulty to keeping it ready. In New England we can get a quick two inches of snow and ice at any given time. Buyers agents quite often have to show a property in unfavorable conditions and keeping your home maintained is key to getting buyers in the door. You also don’t want to open yourself up to the possibility of a slip and fall and legal action. KEEP THE HEAT ON Walking into a warm house in the cold New England months is a great feeling. This is no different with those home shopping. The warmer the home feels, the longer the agent and buyer will stay inside and increase the overall showing. Keep the home comfortable and inviting. SHOW OFF YOUR OUTDOOR AMENITIES In the dead of winter, while contending with snow on the ground, its tough to see the grounds. Whether it be your pool, yard size, patio, be sure to include pictures from the summer time so buyers can see what they’re buying. This is an added bonus and adds a...

5 Steps to Get You Closer to Owning A Home While Renting.

If you’re a renter and intend to one day own your own home, the being prepared is one of the best things you can do to ease the process. Buying any type of property isn’t easy,  but you can avoid some of the pitfalls by having all your ducks in a row ahead of time. Here are 5 things that will advance you in the transition from renter to homeowner: UNDERSTAND COSTS When renting, all you pay is your rent in most case, but as a homeowner a mortgage purposes satisfies several things. A mortgage payment is broken down by four things, P.I.T.I. (Principal, Interest, Taxes, Insurance). This is very vital to know because some towns have higher tax rates than others which will ultimately increase your monthly payment no matter how good of a deal your realtor gets for you. You also are responsible for the things that go wrong on your home, and the repairs that go along with them. This is a very overlooked aspect as many people arent ready for the things that tend to go wrong. KNOW HOMEOWNER TAX BENEFITS Mortgage interest and property taxes are both deductible when you file your annual tax returns and reduce taxable income. These deductions significantly lower the cost of home ownership. This is one of the best benefits to owning property. KNOW THE RENT VS. BUY NUMBERS In most areas of the country it is becoming cheaper to buy a home rather than rent a place. Most people are scared of the down payment required for a house but fail to realize, the average rental in Connecticut...

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