5 First Steps To Improving Your Credit Score

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

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...

5 Easy Home Upgrades To Get Your Home Sold Faster

With the current market as busy as it is, putting yourself in the best position as a seller is vital. Selling your home for the highest amount possible, and in the fastest time is every seller’s goal. So what does it take to achieve that? Price is always the determining factor in your home selling and how fast it sells. What are some other things you can do to get that home sold for more money and faster? Here are 5 helpful tips in making it happen: Neutral paint Paint goes along way in the appearance and presentation of  the home. When buyers walk in, the more neutral the colors, the warmer and appealing the home is. Light Blue or gray seem to be the most popular of the colors at the current time, as that’s what you see on a lot of HGTV programs. Homes with walls that are painted light blue or a pale blue-gray color could bring in as much as $5,440 more than if the home had white walls, according to Zillow’s Paint Color Analysis of more than 32,000 photos of homes sold nationwide. Knobs and fixtures This may be one of the cheapest and effective things that can be done, changing hardware and fixtures all throughout the house. Changing the hardware on the cabinets, drawers, and handles in your kitchen with a stainless or brushed nickel look can drastically change the appearance. While you’re at it, getting matching plumbing fixtures can fully compliment the new look. When it comes to bathrooms, these simple things can go even further, as a vanity change can alter the...
Which Mortgage Product Is Right For You?

Which Mortgage Product Is Right For You?

When buying a home, at any level your first step is getting pre approval for a mortgage. There are several different types of mortgages that allow flexibility to the borrower and fit each scenario a little differently. Here are a few scenarios buyer present and the best type of loan for each: “I want the lowest monthly payment possible” You best bet will be to go with a conventional loan with 20% down. Being that you’re putting that much down, you will not have a PMI (Private Mortgage Insurance which is a fee for any loan in which you didn’t put down at least 20%) in your monthly mortgage. You will also likely have instant equity, being that you owe likely 80% of the value of the home. “I cant afford 20% down, but want a lower payment” Conventional is still available without 20% down. You can go 5%,10%, or sometimes even 15% down. You will still have PMI, but you will also avoid putting down and extra 5-15% percent of the home down at closing. This is a great loan option to keep the loan lower by putting a good amount of money down. “I don’t have much money for down payment but have excellent credit and great job” The best option in this scenario would possibly be a 100% financing loan. This is where you borrow the loan to purchase the home and a second small loan to pay for what would’ve been your down payment. While you are borrowing more, your interest rate is usually the lowest possible on the market at that time. Its really...
5 Reasons Why You Should List Your Home To Sell Now

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...
7 Things That Will Scare A Buyer Away From Buying Your Home

7 Things That Will Scare A Buyer Away From Buying Your Home

When one buys a home, they usually want the most for the least. Whether its the first time buyer that maybe cant afford to do the repairs, or somebody just looking for the best value, buyers are usually inclined to select the turn key property. As a seller, once you list your home, you’re entering into a competition. What about your house is gonna make the buyer choose yours? What value do you give the buyer that makes them not want to look at anything else after yours. A good buyers agent will showcase those things and let their clients know which home is the best investment. Here are 7 things that will likely scare a buyer away. Aged or Damaged Roof One of the biggest repairs and upgrades is the roof. On average a roof can be at least about $6000 to replace (depending on size of the home). Roof issues are responsible for about 40% of the insurance claims in the US. Typical lifespan on a roof is between 21-30 years. Damaged or Missing Gutters Gutters and downspouts are critical in keeping water away from pooling up around the house. Water pooling up can cause major foundation issues and water seepage into the basement and causing further damage. Old Windows and Doors Windows are another major expense that can cost you money monthly in heating and cooling costs. Broken windows may also stop a buyer from buying the house due to financing rules. Window replacement can bring 50%-80% return on your investment. Old and Outdated Appliances Most buyers usually replace their appliances anyways, but old and outdated...
The 5 Pillars Of Buying An Investment Property

The 5 Pillars Of Buying An Investment Property

Real estate is usually the surest and best way to become wealthy in America. Its all around us and the need is always there. Those that have learned and are learning this understand that the first investment property is usually residential of some type. Here are the 5 key things to focus when buying an investment property. Financing (Down payment and interest rates) Funds to purchase the property is usually the first thing that should be determined and factored in. There are a few different avenues one can take, in purchasing. You can buy your first home as an owner occupant (2-units) and put down up to about 3.5% of the purchase price down. You will usually have to live there for about a year, being its a owner occupant. If you’re looking to buy more than 4 units, you’re likely looking at anywhere from 20%-25% down. Interest rates are higher for non owner occupant loans, so that is something you want to discuss with your loan officer. Decide if you’re looking to rent or flip the property Buying and holding versus buying to flip are two separate strategies. Flipping a house will cost you more upfront money to get the home sell-able and ready for the market. Getting your initial investment back on a buy-hold will take a little longer but you’re starting to build equity and a portfolio. Renting the property for income is the smarter route for a beginner until they fully learn the ins and outs of the flipping business. Understand where you’re buying Knowing what is selling and renting in the area is vital for...
5 Biggest Credit Score Myths

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?

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

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...

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