With mortgage interest rates near record lows, you may want to buy a home before rates go higher. Can you qualify for a purchase loan? Your FICO® scores may be the key.
Over 50 years ago, The Fair Isaac Company created credit scoring so that lenders can understand at a glance how much risk you pose as a borrower. “FICO” scores are determined by a software algorithm that analyzes your job, credit, income-to-debt ratios, spending habits and payment history. Base scores range between 300 and 850, and borrowers with the highest scores get the best credit terms.
Each credit reporting bureau, Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax, calculates its own score, so review all your credit reports for errors and get them resolved as quickly as possible. Visit www.annualcreditreport.comto get free one-time copies of your credit reports. Credit scores aren’t free, but you can get scores from all three bureaus at www.myfico.com for under $60.
FICO scores change with new information. Prevent lower scores by doing the following:
- Pay all bills on time.
- Pay more than the minimum payment required.
- Reduce credit card debt to improve income-to-debt ratios.
- Don’t open new accounts to consolidate debt or close credit card accounts.
- Use no more than 30% of your available credit on any card.
- Don’t change jobs immediately before applying for a mortgage loan.
Mortgage lenders are most interested in your ability to repay the loan. Long-term employment in the same field and on-time credit payments are the best ways to build and protect your credit scores.
According to the National Association of Realtors, when a home is properly staged, potential buyers can more easily visualize it as a future home and it often increases the dollar value buyers are willing to offer. Find out more tips for staging your home by visiting www.PetersenPartners.com and request your FREE Preparing Your Home For Sale brochure to be delivered right to your inbox!
While the days are still hot and muggy, it’s hard to think about winter, but with a little prep work now, your lawn will be ready for winter. The end of summer is the perfect time to lay the groundwork for a lush green lawn in the spring. We found these 6 easy tips from This Old House.
- Mow Low
Cut the grass down to 1 to 1½ inches, making it easier to aerate and to judge how much compost to add. If your grass is more than 3 inches tall, take it down incrementally over a few mowings—no more than a third of the grass blade at a time—to avoid stressing the plants.
On a day when the soil is moist, not soggy—the core aerator’s hollow tines can’t easily penetrate hard, dry ground—take a couple of passes around the lawn’s perimeter. This will provide a buffer zone for turning this heavy machine around as you run it back and forth over the rest of the lawn.
Where grass is sparse, prepare for seeding by spreading a half-inch layer of aged compost. I hold a snow-shovelful in the crook of my arm, fling it off with my free hand, as shown, then work it in with a leaf rake. Be sure your compost is cured: dry, crumbly, and cool to the touch. If it’s hot and smells, it’s more likely to harbor pathogens and burn your lawn.
Distribute fertilizer and pelletized lime (if needed) using a rotary spreader. I use a high-phosphorus fertilizer to stimulate root growth; but you should let the soil test determine the best mix for your conditions. To keep the spreader from dumping too much fertilizer in one spot, open or close the hopper only when the spreader is in motion.
Fill the spreader with seed, set its control to about two-thirds of the bag’s recommendation, to account for overlapping passes, and distribute the seed over the compost. As when fertilizing, keep the spreader in motion when opening or closing the hopper. For large areas, you can save time by renting a power overseeder, which slices the turf and drops in the seeds. It eliminates the need to rake in Step 6.
- Rake and Water
Mix the seeds into the compost with a leaf rake held tines up, as shown. Water lightly—5 minutes at a time, two to three times a day—until the seeds sprout. Then water once a day for 15 to 30 minutes. Mow the lawn again when the existing grass reaches 3 inches; bag the clippings. After leaves have fallen, cut the grass back to 1½ inches for its long winter’s nap.
Find out more at https://www.thisoldhouse.com/how-to/how-to-prep-your-lawn-winter.
As you’ve probably seen, the real estate market changed in 2016. Overall, the market is strong, with many neighborhoods seeing homes sell within days and/or with multiple offers. But, real estate is very localized and not all neighborhoods, types of homes, or price points are seeing the same thing. It’s important to know what is truly going on—not only in the real estate market, but also specifically in your neighborhood and price point.
Here are three simple steps to prepare and inform yourself before selling your home. Find out more about each step and how you can prepare and inform yourself before listing your home for sale at www.petersenpartners.com
Home prices in your neighborhood have changed over the last few months. Is your home worth more than you think? Whether you are thinking of selling or refinancing, make sure you have trusted information about your current home price.
Find out what your home could sell for in today’s market! Check your home’s real value for free at www.petersenpartners.com and INSTANTLY receive a report that shows you the recently sold homes near you and how your home compares.
Get trusted advice about local market conditions from experts in the industry. Get in touch with your neighborhood experts at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-379-8040. Find out more about the #1 Team in Georgia for Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices at www.PetersenPartners.com.
As the weather changes and before the days seem to get shorter, there’s a few simple maintenance routines and easy chores you can do to keep your home in tip-top shape this winter and heed off potentially costly repairs. We found this great list from HouseLogic. Click here for more detailed information.
Here’s 5 tips that can help you sell your home. For more tips, visit www.PetersenPartners.com.
From our friends at This Old House, here are some helpful tips to prepare your lawn for fall and the changing weather.
BOLSTER A THIN LAWN
Rent a core aerator from the home center (about $90 per day) to remove plugs of soil from the lawn; run it over damaged sections to improve drainage and get oxygen and nutrients down to the roots. Rake a thin layer of compost into holes. Then sow seed a little heavier than usual and gently mix into the compost with the back of a rake. Water as directed on the seed bag.
DIVIDE AND MULTIPLY PERENNIALS
Uprooting plants and pulling them apart may sound cruel, but it actually rejuvenates them. Water well a day or two before digging all the way around a perennial, 6 inches from its base. After prying out the root ball, tease roots apart, leaving groupings of three to five shoots. Share extra bounty with friends.
Be sure to stay ahead of the birds. Snip off seed heads and let them dry for about a month on paper-lined sheet pans. Separate out the dried seeds and slide them into marked envelopes or jars. Now you’ve got a head start come spring.
If a home purchase is in your future, one thing you absolutely have to think about is your credit score. No matter what your timing looks like, it’s a good idea to think about it sooner rather than later, because having a good credit score can be the difference between obtaining the mortgage you need to buy your dream home—or settling for less because you didn’t qualify for the money you need. Here are some great tips on understanding your credit score from RISMedia.
Unfortunately, many prospective buyers don’t think about their credit score until they’re already in buying mode. And more often than not, at this point, it may be too late to do anything to fix your credit score. Therefore, it’s important to remember that if you have a bad credit score, it’s not something that can be fixed overnight or by simply making a phone call.
If you’re not sure where you even stand on the credit score spectrum, the first thing you’ll want to do is obtain a copy of your credit report. Your report will list all the details that were used to calculate your score, including past payment information concerning loans, credit cards and other bills.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, nearly five percent of consumers have a major error on their credit reports, and approximately 25 percent of all reports have some sort of error that can negatively affect a score.
Once you receive your credit report, look it over and make sure there are no errors or discrepancies. For instance, if there’s an entry for an outstanding bill on a credit card or a late payment on a car loan that’s incorrect, you’ll want to take action quickly, as these items will lower your credit score. Be sure to dispute any errors you find with the Credit Bureau.
If there are no mistakes within your report, and your score isn’t where you want it to be, there are a number of things that can be done to gradually increase your number. To start, make a list of the money you owe and start paying off any debts you may have incurred over the years. Eliminating debt is the best way to see your score rise. Also, be sure to pay everything on time path forward. Late payments are seen as a huge negative when it comes to your credit report and overall score.
You’ll also want to refrain from opening any new accounts or taking out other loans, as this will simply add to the problem. Be sure to stay away from closing accounts that you have a strong history with as well. By closing accounts, you run the risk of eliminating a good payment record.
And last but not least, beware that debts that get sent to a collection agency typically stay on your report for years. While most people think paying these items off will cause them to vanish from their credit report, it’s simply not true.
If you feel that all hope is lost, there are agencies out there that you can pay to help you improve your report and remove negative items. Before you go this route, think about the expense you’ll be incurring, and whether it’s worth it in the long run.
Checking your credit score is something you should think about doing annually regardless of whether you’re planning to move or not. By keeping up to date with your report, your credit score will be solid when you’re ready to buy your next home.
To learn more about understanding your credit score, contact the Petersen Partners team today at email@example.com or 770-379-8040. We’re the #1 team with the experience and professionalism you can trust.
Styled, Staged and Sold asked a home stager what their favorite accessory was and the answer makes perfect sense:
Stager: Patti Stern, PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, Cheshire, Conn.
Why I love it: “One of my favorite accessories is rugs — in all shapes and sizes. Rugs are great for staging because they can dress up any space. We sometimes even layer rugs over existing carpeting to play down flaws and update an all sea of beige carpeting. Rugs can anchor furniture and often better showcase hardwood floors.”
Make it work tips:
1. When staging a room, look for a modern neutral rug that goes with the décor, such as organic rugs like sisal for under a kitchen table or even with a colored border.
2. If there is hardwood don’t go too big with the rug. Try a 5×7 under a kitchen or small dining table when there is hardwood to add color.
3. Don’t use too many patterns. Think about the rug when the room will be photographed. You don’t want it to overwhelm the photo. When in doubt, use a neutral beige rug that will make the photo and the room pop.