One of the things that those shopping for a home today are using more than ever is the internet. While the internet does not tell the whole story about a home, it can give you a glimpse into the home and the community where you are interested in buying a house. Today, I want to share several internet resources that I find helpful in knowing more about a home:
Zillow.com- This is a good resource for getting information about a particular home such as year built, square feet, number of bedrooms, etc. You can also get information about receiving home sales in the area and rent costs. There are a number of other internet sites out there that provide similar information such as Redfin and Trulia. These sites often give you an estimate on what the property is worth right now. While these sites can be helpful, I would caution you on using them as the home values can be way off. One of the reasons is that these home sites do not take into account the condition of the property.
Crimereports.com- This is a good resource to get information about crime statistics for the area. This site can be extremely helpful for persons seeking to buy homes in areas they are unfamiliar to them. As a property owner, I want to live in an area that is safe for me and my family. As a real estate investor, I also know it is could be difficult to sell or rent a home in an area with a high crime rate.
City/ County web sites- Do not forget to check out the city and county web sites when looking for a home. This sites provide information about people that live in the area, major employers, and income levels. Even if you are familiar with the community where you want to buy a home, you might want to check out these web sites for information on tax values, property lines, etc.
Real estate agency web sites- Many real estate agencies have web sites today sharing their listings and also other homes listed with other real estate agencies in the area. Some of the sites even offer virtual homes of properties for sale. Don’t be afraid to check out these web sites.
These are a few internet sites that I find helpful. If you have others that you might helpful, send them to me. Happy buying and selling.-- Randy Wall, Lora Lee Properties
Today, I want to write about identifying motivated sellers of a house. Motivating factors are important to know whether a homeowner will be more likely to accept your offer on the property. Here are a few things that I look for in a homeowner and a property to see if there is motivation to really sell:
IS THE HOME VACANT?- If the property is vacant, the homeowner might be highly motivated to sell. Perhaps they have moved to another home or even city, and are currently making two mortgage payments a month.
HAS THE PROPERTY BEEN FOR SALE FOR SOME TIME?- If a home has been for sale either by owner or through a realtor for 90 days or longer, the home owners might be very motivated to sell. I caution you if this is the only motivating factor you see in the property owner for a couple of reasons. First, homes are generally on the market for sale longer than 90 days in many real estate markets today. Secondly, there might be some factor about the house that makes it a risky investment such as structural problems.
ARE THE HOMEOWNERS GOING THROUGH A PROFESSIONAL CRISIS?- In todays world, there are a lot of people that are losing their jobs or having to take financial cuts in their salary. If the realtor or the homeowner disclose this is the case or they share with you that they are having to move to another city because of their job, this can be a strong motivator in selling their property.
ARE THE HOMEOWNERS GOING THROUGH A PERSONAL CRISIS?- I was in conversation last week with a homeowner who was very motivated to sell. When we started talking about the home she wanted to sell, she shared that she wanted to sell it for $40,000. When we talked last week, she was willing to sell the home for about $19,000. She was motivated to sell quickly because her Mom is in the hospital and has a short time to live. Sickness of a family member can be a huge motivator to sell their home. Here are a few other personal crises that can also motivate them to sell their home quickly: moving to a nursing home…. divorce… death in the family (estate)… bankruptcy.
These are a few motivating factors for home sellers. I am sure there are many others. Happy house hunting and house selling.- Randy Wall, Lora Lee Properties
I wrote in my blog last week about improving your credit score. I especially focused on agencies that advertise they can help you increase your credit score. Our credit score is something that everyone should be interested in whether you are buying a house or not since it can impact your ability to be hired for a job and the interest rate you might pay for major purchases.
Today, I want to write about small, simple things that persons can do to improve your credit score. Here are a few things I encourage you to consider if you want to increase your credit score:
PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME- There is nothing more important that you can do to improve your credit score than pay your bills in a timely fashion. I realize that this can be challenging for some people that are not very organized. One thing that helps me to pay my bills on time is that I pay most of my bills using online banking. As soon as I receive a bill, I go ahead that day and schedule the bill to be paid through online banking before it is due and when I have funds to pay it.
USE YOUR CREDIT CARDS MODESTLY- A second thing that people can do is to use their credit cards and/or credit lines in a modest fashion. I am told that when a consumer is using more than fifty percent of their credit line it has a negative impact on your credit score. I understand that sometimes persons need to charge unexpected expenses. Instead of using up a lot of your credit line, why not discuss with the bank or credit card company if they will increase your credit score?
HAVE CREDIT CARDS OR CREDIT LINES- I suppose that it seems unusual that I would say to have credit cards when I just said to use them modestly. However, some folks have poor credit simply because they do not have credit cards or credit lines. If you are not fond of having credit cards, why not get a credit card with a low credit limit or get a secured credit card? The major consumer credit reporting agencies like TransUnion have no idea about your credit worthiness unless they see you using credit cards now and then. Steer clear of department store credit cards (e.g. Sears, Target, etc.) and instead of getting a credit card such as Visa of MasterCard.
I hope you have enjoyed this weeks blog. Thanks for reading.- Randy Wall, Lora Lee Properties
Whether you are a real estate investor or homeowner, there are certain maintenance items that you need to see are done. I want to remind you of some of those maintennace items in this weeks blog. Most of these items require little financial investment and very little skill, but can be very important in protecting the safety and investment of a home. Here are a few handy-man tips:
SMOKE DETECTORS- Make sure that you have smoke detectors in your house. Notice I used the word "detectors" because I believe that it is important to have more than one. Your local fire department professional can offer suggestions about placement of the smoke detectors. Also, if they are battery operated don't forget to make sure the battery is working. Many folks suggest changing the battery twice a year (when the time changes).
CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS- Make sure your gutters are cleaned regularly. This is especially important in the Fall after the leaves have fallen. Leaves in the gutter can clog your drainage around the house. Sometimes, clogged leaves in the gutter can destroy the gutter and/or cause boards around the gutters to begin to rot. Be careful removing the leaves since you are probably going to have to climb a ladder.
CHANGE THE HVAC AIR FILTERS- Change regularly the filters in your HVAC system. I change my filters once a month. These filters help remove dirt and dust in the air of your home and will make your home a safer environment. Changing the filters will also make your HVAC system operate more efficiently which will potentially prolong its life and safe your electricty costs.
WINTERIZE YOUR DOORS AND WINDOWS- Make sure your hot air is not seeping in or cool air is seeping out of your doors and windows. A little caulk around doors and windows and/or some weather stripping might save you money today and in the future.
Thanks for allowing me to share these handy-man tips. Now, get busy doing them.- Randy Wall, Lora Lee Properties
Today, I want to write about credit. While the thousands of foreclosures that have happened in recent years have freed homeowners from the weight of mortgage payments they could not afford, there is a price they have paid for the foreclosure: a low credit score.
A low credit score can have an impact on consumers in a number of different ways. First, it can affect your ability to borrow money for the purchase of a car, home, or other items. Secondly, a low credit score can affect the interest rate one pays. A third way that most people don’t consider a low credit score can affect them is employment. Today, it is not uncommon for potential employers to check the credit score of applicants. A final way that a low credit score can affect you is in your ability to get auto insurance.
There are agencies one can find on the internet and in their community to help you to improve your credit score. I will refrain from making recommendations. I will, however, urge you to follow several guidelines in any contacts you have with them:
CHECK OUT THE AGENCY WITH THE BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU- While it is no guarantee that you will have a good experience with a credit repair agency, check them out with the BBB. See if there are complaints against the agency and if there are any that are unresolved.
BE ESPECIALLY CAUTIOUS OF AGENCIES THAT PROMISE QUICK RESULTS TO REPAIR YOUR CREDIT- Most things take time. Repairing your credit is no different. Be cautious of an agency that says they give you a 750 credit score in 30 or 45 days.
BE CAUTIOUS OF AGENCIES THAT WANT YOU TO PAY THEM A LARGE AMOUNT OF MONEY TO REPAIR YOUR CREDIT- You might have already lost your credit. Be careful about giving a large amount of money to any company that says they can restore your credit. I prefer agencies that are based in your local community.
Good luck in dealing with credit challenges. Happy buying and selling.- Randy Wall, Lora Lee Properties