Diane Horrigan - RE/MAX  Trinity



Posted by Diane Horrigan on 2/21/2018

Shopping for a house is a high-stakes game. If youíre a first-time buyer, it can be difficult to gauge the value of various components and features of a home. Appraisals are designed for just this reason.

However, an appraisal is a subjective tool to determine a rough estimate. Furthermore, there are a number of things you canít learn from an appraisal--such as how convenient the home would be for your work commute.

In this article, weíre going to help you, the homebuyer, determine the true value of a home as it would mean to you in your everyday life. Read on for tips on finding out the value of that home youíve been dreaming of and deciding whether itís really the best home for your budget.  

Appraisals are a baseline

When lenders are in the process of approving your home loan, theyíll want to decide whether the home youíre buying is worth the amount youíre paying. To achieve this, theyíll typically hire a third-party appraiser.

Find out from your lender which appraiser they use and read their online reviews. This will ensure that theyíre a trustworthy source of information. Also be sure to check that the appraiser is certified and that they work with a diverse range of clientele (not just your lender!).

Since youíll likely be paying the appraisal fee as part of your closing costs, make sure youíre happy with the appraisal and appraiser.

Key appraisal factors

After the appraisal, consider getting a second opinion or inspection of any of the key components of your home that may impact the appraisal. Some of these factors include:

  • The roof, HVAC system, and septic systems

  • The energy-efficiency of the home

  • The current market value in the area

  • The general upkeep of the home--a few cosmetic problems shouldnít affect the home value much, but serious neglect can cause long-lasting and expensive issues like mold, water damage, pest invasion, and more

What an appraisal canít tell you

Now that weíve discussed the nuts and bolts of home value, we have to venture into what value means to you and your family. Youíll need to ask yourself a series of questions, and some of them wonít have a cut-and-dry answer.

First, how well does this home fit into the work life of you and your spouse? Will it mean a shorter commute, and therefore lower transportation costs and more free time? Putting a dollar value on an extra thirty minutes not spent in traffic can be difficult, but itís a worthwhile exercise to take part in.

Furthermore, does the house have features that will make it a better asset in years to come? Energy-efficiency, proximity to in-demand schools, businesses, etc., can all be selling points for future buyers that are willing to pay more for your home.


Using a combination of a certified appraisal and some introspection, you should be able to come to a confident conclusion as to the value of the home as it means to you and your family.




Categories: Buying a Home   appraisal   home value  


Posted by Diane Horrigan on 2/14/2018

If you believe you are coming close to the time to buy your first home, you'll want to be informed. Itís never too early to begin preparing for a home purchase. The more organized you are, and the better you have your financial situation in order the better off youíll be when it comes to the home search. Where should you start? Below, youíll find some key things that you can do to maximize your chances of finding and securing your first home.


Check Your Credit


Your credit score is one of the most critical pieces of your financial picture. A FICO score ranges from 300 to 850. The higher the number, the better off you are. When youíre getting a mortgage, you want to have good credit. If your credit score is above 740, youíll be eligible for the best interest rates. If your credit score needs help, a higher score will get you the best interest rates available. Once you get your credit score, (Itís free to get through a variety of services.) aim to improve your score. Pay your bills on time. Use less of your available credit (target to use 30 percent or less of your total available credit.) The bottom line is that a low-interest rate will save you a significant amount of money over the life of your loan. 


Refrain From Opening New Accounts


If youíre in the market to buy a home, itís probably best for you to stay away from opening new accounts. Every store has their credit card and offers deals to open an account in store. While it could save you some money on your purchase, opening new accounts has a negative impact on your credit score in the short term. A car loan, for example, will also affect your credit score because it brings your debt-to-income ratio up, which can put a damper on your chances of getting a mortgage for a low-interest rate.


Save, Save, Save


If you want to buy a home soon, youíll need to save up a significant amount of money. These savings will go towards a downpayment, closing costs, and furnishing your new place. Every chance you get, you should be putting money away. Include gifts, bonuses, and any other income thatís outside of your average take-home pay. 


Itís also a good idea to set up a second bank account dedicated to saving for the home. Set up an automatic transfer each month that will go into that account from your primary earnings. You can d this based on how your employer pays you.


Look For A Real Estate Agent


Your real estate agent will be a crucial part of your home search. They will help in everything from finding the property of your dreams to negotiating the deal to sitting by your side at closing. You should do a bit of research to help you find a real estate agent who can assist you in finding the right property for you. 


Ask family and friends for recommendations of agents. You can search for the real estate agentís name online and see what kind of reviews the agent has and contact different agents. From there. You can make a decision.          


Now, good luck with your home search! 





Categories: Buying a Home  


Posted by Diane Horrigan on 2/7/2018

After years in your current residence, you're ready for a change. As such, you've decided to add your home to the real estate market in the hopes of moving on to bigger and better things. Selling a home can be a daunting task, particularly for first-time sellers. Fortunately, we're here to help you maximize the value of your home and accelerate the home selling process. Here are three tips that will ensure you can become an informed first-time home seller: 1. Stay the Course. Although you may expect immediate interest in your residence, it may take some time for interest in your home to pick up. However, a patient, dedicated home seller knows how to stay the course and remain calm, cool and collected throughout the home selling process. For instance, a home seller may add his or her residence to the real estate market and continue to share the online home listing with friends, family members and colleagues. By doing so, this home seller may be able to stir up interest in his or her residence over an extended period of time. It also is important to remember that Rome wasn't built in a day, and much in the same vein, the first offer you receive on your residence might not be the best one. As a result, you should only accept an offer that makes you feel comfortable, i.e. an offer that meets your expectations. 2. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff. After you accept an offer from a homebuyer, the buyer likely will want to set up a home inspection. And if he or she encounters unforeseen problems with your home, problems could arise that may slow down the home selling process. If a homebuyer notices substantial issues with your home, he or she may rescind an offer or ask that these problems be resolved. Furthermore, home repairs can be costly, which means you may be forced to invest in expensive home improvements or risk missing out on an opportunity to sell your home. As a home seller, you may encounter obstacles as you attempt to sell your home. But when difficulties arise, try to focus on what's important Ė selling your home, maximizing its value and ensuring both you and the homebuyer are satisfied with the end results. A home seller who lets minor issues cause his or her blood pressure to rise may put a home sale in danger. Therefore, if you feel stressed, take a deep breath and try to work with a homebuyer to find a resolution that fits both sides. 3. Employ a Real Estate Agent. The home selling journey often is filled with twists and curves along the way. But with a real estate agent at your side, you'll be able to overcome any pitfalls immediately. Your real estate agent can promote and showcase your residence to prospective homebuyers. This professional also will provide expert tips, enabling you to streamline the process of selling your house. Remove the guesswork from the home selling journey Ė become an informed first-time home seller, and you can speed up the process of generating interest in your house.





Posted by Diane Horrigan on 1/31/2018

If you live in one state, but are trying to buy a home in another state, youíll face some obvious challenges. Thereís certain steps that you can take to help you get through the home buying process in another state. Whether youíre buying a vacation home, or are in a complete transition, youíll need to follow a few steps to make life easier for you. 


Know How Much Time You Have


First, youíll need to ask yourself when youíre planning to move. If you have flexibility and are planning a trip to the new state before you need to move, that paints a much different picture than a more rushed move. Consider:


  • The time it will take to sell your current home
  • When the closing will be on the new home


Keep that timeline in mind.


Youíll definitely want to hire a realtor to handle everything for you on both ends when youíre in this situation. A Realtorís knowledge and experience is definitely worth it to help you.


Get Your Finances In Order


Youíll need to apply for a loan on the home youíre buying in the new state. You should start by getting pre-approved for a mortgage in that state. You donít want all of your important paperwork to be buried in the midst of packing and moving. Also, youíll need to have that loan secured before you even head to the new state to close on the home. Everything should be in order. This situation may be more challenging for you than a typical home purchase. Since big purchases affect your credit score, youíll need to hold off on buying a car, furniture, or any major appliances that you may need. 


Get As Much Information As You Can


As a buyer who is from out of state, youíll need to do your homework. Maybe you have visited the state many times before. Perhaps you know nothing about it. The more you know ahead of time, the easier that your transition will be. Youíll need to find recommendations about which neighborhood to search in. Youíll also want to learn a bit more about the lifestyle the area provides for activities like dining, entertainment, and recreation. You can learn a lot in the internet, but talking to locals- even a local realtor- can help you to find the right spot to live in. 


Find The Right Realtors


Youíll need to find the right realtors in both your home state and the state that youíre moving to. The sellerís agent will assist you in getting your old home sold. From marketing the listing to home showings to sending you all of the paperwork that youíll need to sign, a sellerís agent is very valuable to someone who needs to move out of one state and into another. 


The buyerís agent can help you in your new state, communicating with you on new listings and advising you on the neighborhoods that youíll be the most happy in. Hiring these two realtors may be one of the most important steps in your feat of moving across two different states.


With the resources that are available online, moving from state-to-state isn't as hard as it may seem. Do your research for a smooth transition. Happy moving!





Posted by Diane Horrigan on 1/24/2018

Buying a home represents a dream come true for many individuals. However, to transform this dream into a reality, you'll likely need to qualify for a mortgage.

Finding the right mortgage may seem difficult, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Fortunately, we're here to help you make sense of all of the mortgage options at your disposal so you can select the right option based on your budget and lifestyle.

Here's a closer look at three of the most common mortgage options for homebuyers.

1. Fixed-Rate

With a fixed-rate mortgage, there are no cost fluctuations. This means that you'll pay the same amount each month for the duration of your mortgage, regardless of economic conditions.

For example, if you sign up for a 15- or 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, you'll wind up paying the same amount each month until your mortgage is paid in full. In some instances, you may even be able to pay off your mortgage early without penalties.

A fixed-rate mortgage often serves as a great option for those who don't want to worry about mortgage bills that may fluctuate over the years. Instead, this type of mortgage guarantees that you'll be able to pay a consistent monthly amount for the life of your loan.

2. Adjustable-Rate

An adjustable-rate mortgage represents the exact opposite of its fixed-rate counterpart. The costs associated with this type of mortgage will change over time, which means you may wind up paying a fixed interest rate for the first few years of your loan and watch this rate go up a few years later.

For instance, a 5/1 adjustable-rate mortgage means that your interest rate is locked in for the first five years of your loan. After this period, the interest rate will adjust annually. Therefore, a rising interest rate may force you to allocate additional funds to cover your mortgage costs in the future.

An adjustable-rate mortgage may prove to be a viable option if you plan to live in a home for only a short amount of time. Or, if you're a college student or young professional, an adjustable-rate mortgage may help you pay less for a home now, secure your dream job and become financially stable by the time your initial interest rate period ends.

3. VA Loans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides loans to military service members and their families. These loans are backed by the government and enable individuals to receive complete financing for a house. Thus, with a VA loan, an individual is not required to make a down payment on a house.

If you ever have concerns or questions about mortgage loans, banks and credit unions are available to help. Also, your real estate agent may be able to offer mortgage insights and tips to ensure you can secure a mortgage quickly and effortlessly.

Learn about all of the mortgage options that are available, and by doing so, you can move one step closer to buying a home that matches your budget and lifestyle.




Categories: Mortgage   mortgage rates