Blog posts for My Blog Mon, 27 Apr 2015 11:35:01 +0100 FeedCreator 1.7.2 Three Biggest Credit Myths <p>Posted by Residential Mortgage Company on Apr 17, 2015</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>There are many widespread credit myths out there. Some are more persistent than others. Here are the three biggest credit myths and the truth behind them.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Myth #1: Checking your credit report can hurt your score.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fact: When you apply for a new line of credit or a lender views your credit report, a &ldquo;hard inquiry&rdquo; will appear on your credit report. If you have too many hard inquiries within a short time period, it may indicate to lenders that you are seeking credit from too many places. However, if you are looking at your own credit report, that is known as a &ldquo;soft inquiry.&rdquo; Soft inquiries have no impact on your credit score.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Myth #2: Once a delinquent loan or credit card balance is paid off, it is removed from your credit report.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fact: Negative information such as late payments, collection accounts, and charged off accounts will remain on your credit report up to seven years after the date of delinquency. Bankruptcies will remain on your credit report from seven to ten years, depending on the type of bankruptcy. Paying off a delinquent loan or credit card balance will only change the status to &ldquo;Paid&rdquo; and will not remove it from your credit report.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Myth #3: You can avoid credit issues by using only cash.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Fact: Paying cash for some things can be a wise financial decision in some cases. However, there are going to be larger purchases in your life, such as a home, when you will need to use credit. In order to use credit, you need to have a decent credit score. If you use cash for all your purchases, you won&rsquo;t build a strong credit history and your score can actually suffer. Lenders look for a history of responsible credit use.&nbsp; You don&rsquo;t need to avoid using credit altogether. You just need to avoid abusing it.&nbsp;</p><p>Originally authored by Ashley Smith on Apr 16, 2015</p> Residential Mortgage Company 5 Things Sellers Might Hide <p>Posted by Residential Mortgage Company on Apr 11, 2015</p><p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>You think you&rsquo;ve found your dream home, and it seems to have all your &ldquo;must haves.&rdquo; Before you close on any home, it&rsquo;s important to realize that there are some things sellers might try to hide, and these things can often be hidden well enough that you don&rsquo;t notice them until you move into the home. When considering the purchase of a new home, make sure to ask the seller and the seller&rsquo;s agent a lot of questions. To save money in the long run, be on the lookout for these 5 things that sellers might try to hide.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;<strong>1.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </strong><strong>Mold</strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <p>If there are any leaks, poor ventilation, flooding that hasn&rsquo;t been thoroughly dried, or poor housekeeping habits, there can be mold hiding in the home. Mold can affect the appearance of a home and cause an unpleasant odor, but most importantly, it has been linked to many health issues. When looking at a home, look for any standing water, water damage on walls or ceilings, and musty smells. As always, make sure to hire a professional home inspector who is trained to look for all these things. If you are interested enough in a home to make an offer on it, make the sale contingent upon your satisfaction of a home inspection in case there is a mold problem.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;<strong>2.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </strong><strong>Termites</strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <p>Termite damage can be very hard to spot. In fact, some homeowners might not even know that termites are eating away at the insides of the walls. Some states require that sellers tell buyers about potential infestations during the sales process. Some termite damage may not warrant completely walking away from the home, and there are many homes that have evidence of damage.&nbsp; Assess the extent of the damage and what it may take to fix it or to just eliminate the pests. Every transaction is different, so discuss with your Real Estate agent what your options might be.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;<strong>3.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </strong><strong>Foundation Issues</strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <p>Always look for cracks in the foundation when walking through and around a home. These can costs tens of thousands of dollars to repair. And more importantly, if left alone, foundation issues can lead to a lot of problems in your home.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;<strong>4.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </strong><strong>Bad Plumbing</strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <p>Bad plumbing is easily hid but not easily fixed. This is just one more reason to hire a professional home inspector to do a very thorough inspection. However, some home inspections will only identify basic plumbing issues. If there are basic plumbing issues found, it pays to hire a plumber to do a pre-purchase inspection to ensure that you won&rsquo;t be paying thousands of dollars later to fix expensive damage caused by hidden plumbing issues.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;<strong>5.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </strong><strong>The Neighborhood or Bad Neighbors</strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <p>Sometimes sellers can hide things like a high crime rate, a flyover zone, or other issues with the neighborhood. It&rsquo;s always a good idea to drive through the neighborhood at different times during both the day and night if you are seriously considering purchasing a home. Knock on the doors of the surrounding neighbors to meet them and ask them about the neighborhood. With the help of the Internet, it&rsquo;s easy to look up statistics about the area. Also, make sure you hire a trusted Real Estate agent that is familiar with the area.&nbsp;</p><p>Originally authored by Ashley Smith on Apr 9, 2015</p> Residential Mortgage Company Free Home Inspections or Appraisals <p>Posted by Residential Mortgage Company on Apr 8, 2015</p><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size: small;">Here's our latest special:</span></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="" alt="" width="500" height="600" /></p><p></p> Residential Mortgage Company Five Simple Ways to Boost your Home's Value <p>Posted by Residential Mortgage Company on Mar 26, 2015</p><p>&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>If you are considering selling your home, you might receive a lot of advice about what to do to increase your home&rsquo;s value. There are many things you can do to boost your home&rsquo;s value that drain your wallet quickly. Here are 5 inexpensive, simple solutions that won&rsquo;t break the bank and will increase the value of your home.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>1.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </strong><strong>Spend an hour with a professional designer or your Realtor.</strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <p>Invite your Realtor, an interior designer, or a professional home stager over to your home for their input. Many agents do this as a courtesy, while you may need to pay a consultation fee for a designer or stager. The standard hourly fee is generally less than $100. In an hour, you can receive great feedback and a lot of ideas to improve your home and possibly increase its value. Even small suggestions such as where your furniture is placed and what you have hanging on your walls can make a big difference in how your home is perceived by potential buyers.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>2.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </strong><strong>Clean up the yard.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Unkempt bushes, weeds, and overgrown trees can be a turnoff to potential buyers. Curb appeal is important when selling your home and can be what attracts buyers into your home. A small investment in professional yard work and/or landscaping can bring a big return and make a significant difference in the price. &nbsp;A nicely mowed lawn, a few trimmed shrubs, and a clean porch and walkway all make a great first impression. Don&rsquo;t overlook your yard when selling your home because buyers won&rsquo;t.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>3.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </strong><strong>Update your lighting.</strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <p>Updated, modern lighting can significantly enhance your home&rsquo;s appeal. Make sure you fix broken panes, open your windows to let the light in when showing your home, and consider installing lights that use motion detectors. High wattage bulbs make small spaces feel larger, and soft lighting brings warmth to empty spaces. For less than $100, you can install new fixtures to make your home more modern.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>4.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </strong><strong>Get them at the door.</strong></p> <p><strong><br /></strong></p> <p>The front door and the porch are often overlooked. Make sure your front door looks fresh and new and has a nice handle and lock set. The doorbell needs to work, and don&rsquo;t forget an overhang such as an awning or portico above the front door. Also, exterior upgrades such as a deck or patio can create an extension of living space and be very appealing to home buyers. If a deck is built with the right material, it will generally hold its value.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>5.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </strong><strong>Paint.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>One of the simplest improvements you can make to your home is a coat of new paint. When selecting paint colors, stick to neutrals. Neutral colors will make your home more desirable to more people. Paint is generally inexpensive.&nbsp;</p><p>Originally authored by Ashley Smith on Mar 25, 2015</p> Residential Mortgage Company Top 5 Real Estate Myths you've Heard <p>Posted by Residential Mortgage Company on Mar 5, 2015</p><p><img style="display: block;" src="" alt="" width="600" height="500" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;"><br /><span style="font-size: small;">Don&rsquo;t believe everything you hear (or read on the Internet). There are many common myths about Real Estate, the market, agents, and buying or selling your home. Here are 5 Real Estate myths you&rsquo;ve probably heard recently and the truth behind them.</span></p> <p><strong><br />Myth #1: Based on the current interest rate, it&rsquo;s the wrong/right time to buy.<br />&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>While national interest rates do fluctuate and can cause your mortgage payment to be lower/higher, all Real Estate is locally focused and each situation is unique. If you are financially and mentally ready to buy, you have a good credit score, you have saved enough for a down payment, you can pay a reasonable monthly mortgage payment on a home you want that fits your needs, you&rsquo;ve carefully compared the pros and cons of renting vs. buying, then it might be a good time for you to buy. But even if interest rates are the lowest they have ever been, if you are not financially ready and don&rsquo;t fully understand the sacrifices owning a home requires, it is probably not the right time for you. Look carefully at your financial situation along with interest rates to determine if it&rsquo;s the right or wrong time to buy for you.<br />&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Myth #2: When making an offer on a home, never offer the full asking price.<br />&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>While this strategy may have worked a number of years ago, times have changed. There&rsquo;s no real strategy for making an offer on a home in today&rsquo;s market. The seller may have deliberately overpriced or underpriced the home. A home that is priced right in its market can receive multiple offers, and some of them may be over the asking price. Working with an experienced Real Estate agent who understands the market can help you determine what to offer.<br />&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Myth #3: Selling a home For Sale By Owner (FSBO) will save you money.<br />&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>In a recent survey asking sellers who successfully sold their homes FSBO, only 4 in 10 said they would sell their next home without the expertise of a Real Estate agent. It&rsquo;s a lot of work to sell a home and takes expertise to truly understand the market and how to price a home. In many cases, FSBOs lose money. The home could be overpriced, causing it to remain on the market too long. The transaction could be mishandled. The seller could be inexperienced in negotiating. Hiring a Real Estate agent also saves you time. Agents show the home when you&rsquo;re unavailable, they respond to inquiries from potential buyers and agents, and they are better equipped to handle various feedback from visitors.<br />&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Myth #4: Agents get kickbacks from lenders, title companies, and/or home inspectors.<br />&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>This has been false since 1974, when agents were prohibited from receiving any kickbacks or favors from Real Estate vendors. It&rsquo;s against the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). An agent&rsquo;s license would be jeopardized if any kickbacks or favors were accepted.<br />&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Myth #5: Sellers can expect to earn back the money they invested in remodeling projects.<br />&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>The truth is that it&rsquo;s extremely rare to get all the money back that you put into a remodel project at resale time. The highest return in a recent survey was a siding replacement of fiber-cement, and that return percentage was 84.3%. Remodeled kitchens and bathrooms are big selling points and can make your home more attractive, causing it to sell more quickly, but they will not necessarily provide a full return on your investment.<br />&nbsp;</p><p>Originally authored by Ashley Smith on Mar 4, 2015</p> Residential Mortgage Company Free Home Inspections <p>Posted by Residential Mortgage Company on Feb 25, 2015</p><p><img src="" alt="" width="400" height="400" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>FREE HOME INSPECTIONS!&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><em>For all loans originated and closed March 1-March 31, 2015!</em></p> <p>Plus, the same great service you've come to rely on from the area's most experienced mortgage lender!</p> <ul> <li>Fast pre-approvals for your clients</li> <li>Loan programs to meet your clients' needs</li> <li>Experienced and professional loan officers</li> <li>Fast closings and disbursements</li> </ul> <div>Call Carmelita at 910.391.3024</div> <div>Call Jim at 910.263.1869</div> <div>Ft. Bragg Federal Credit Union Members call Eleaser at 910.487.8201</div> <div><strong>;</strong></div> <div><strong>910.483.1211</strong></div> <div><strong><br /></strong></div> <div>* Valid up to $400. Receipt required from licensed inspector. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other credits or offers.&nbsp;</div><p></p> Residential Mortgage Company Free Appraisals <p>Posted by Residential Mortgage Company on Feb 4, 2015</p><p><img style="vertical-align: top;" src="" alt="" width="500" height="600" />&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p></p> Residential Mortgage Company Buying a Home with a Swimming Pool <p>Posted by Residential Mortgage Company on Feb 4, 2015</p><p><img src="" alt="" width="600" height="300" /></p> <p><br />One of the items on your homeownership &ldquo;must-haves&rdquo; might be an outdoor swimming pool. But should you buy a house with a pool? Here are some factors to consider when it comes to owning a pool:<br />&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Location</strong></p> <p>What region of the country do you live in? If you live in an area where it is cold for most of the year, you might find that you keep your outdoor pool closed most of the year. If you keep the pool open when it&rsquo;s cold, expect to pay extra to heat it. Also, expect to spend extra time cleaning it during the Fall. Consider that if you own a pool and live in a climate where it is often cold most of the year, you most likely won&rsquo;t get your money back when it&rsquo;s time to sell, as there is little demand for pools in these regions.</p> <p>Houses with pools are most suitable in warm climates such as the South and some Western states. Although it can still be costly to own a pool in these regions, you may find that you will use it enough to be worth the cost. Also, pools in warm regions can significantly add to your resale value.<br />&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Maintenance</strong></p> <p>There is a lot of maintenance required to keep a pool clean, heated, and working properly. Some pool owners don&rsquo;t mind the maintenance at all. The pH balance of the pool needs to be checked daily. If it is a concrete pool, it may be more prone to cloudy water and algae. Depending on what kind of filter you have, you may need to clean it a few times each season. If you can justify the costs, some pool owners find it beneficial to hire pool service maintenance companies.<br />&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Additional Costs</strong></p> <p>Other costs to consider: the water itself, heating the pool and utility costs, fencing required by your local safety codes, any resurfacing, replacement of parts, pool equipment, toys, flotation devices, pool deck furniture, a pool cover, and liability insurance.</p> <p>The cost of heating your pool varies by climate, regional utility fees, and how warm you prefer it to be.</p> <p><strong><br />The possibility of accidents</strong></p> <p>It&rsquo;s something you don&rsquo;t want to think about but need to if you own a pool. There always needs to be an adult present if children are going to be around a pool. Statistics show that drowning is the leading cause of death between the ages of 1 and 4. You will likely need to set enforceable rules, have a child-proof gate that surrounds the pool and remains locked when no one is swimming, and possibly purchase a pool alarm so neighborhood children don&rsquo;t wander into your pool.</p> <p><strong><br />Homeowners Insurance</strong></p> <p>Owning a pool can affect your homeowners insurance. Because of drowning risks and water-related injuries, some insurance companies consider a swimming pool a big liability. Most standard homeowners insurance policies include a minimum liability coverage limit of $100,000. However, some insurance companies recommend increasing your limit to at least $300,000 or obtaining an umbrella policy to increase your liability coverage.</p> <p>Make sure you research any additional cost you may incur. Generally, you can shop around for the best deal on insurance depending on your home, location, and other circumstances.</p><p>Originally authored by Ashley Smith on Feb 3, 2015</p> Residential Mortgage Company Sell Your Home Fast <p>Posted by Residential Mortgage Company on Jan 17, 2015</p><p><img src="" alt="" width="600" height="500" /><br />Perhaps you&rsquo;re underwater in your home, or maybe you&rsquo;ve received a great job offer out of state, or you have an adjustable rate mortgage that&rsquo;s about to rise. Whatever the reason, you need to sell your home fast.</p> <p><em><br />Here are five tips to lure more buyers in and sell your home at the highest price possible:</em></p> <ol> <li><strong>Hire a Real Estate agent.</strong> If you need to sell your home fast, you need a professional that knows exactly how to do that. A Real Estate agent can help you assess what your home and your listing needs to stand out on the market. An agent will help you price your home accordingly and try to get you the most money for your house.</li> <li><strong>Take professional-quality photos.</strong> Most homebuyers will start their home search online and will make many judgments based on the quality of the photos they see. Rent a wide-angle lens or have a professional photographer come take photos of your home. Lots of high quality photos on a bright, sunny day will make your home look bigger and more inviting.</li> <li><strong>Stage your home.</strong> Homes that are professionally staged sell faster and for more money than homes that are not. Homebuyers want to picture themselves living in your home. They don&rsquo;t want to see how you live in your home. Remove photos, knick knacks, personal items, and clutter. Arrange furniture in a way that promotes a good flow when showing the home. A professional stager can be a great resource to help sell your home quickly.</li> <li><strong>Include incentives for the buyer.</strong> Consider paying closing costs or prepay taxes. Include appliances or furniture with the home. Be creative. Offer to pay for landscaping or maid services, install a new security system, etc.</li> <li><strong>Hire a professional cleaning service and/or professional organizer before showing your home.</strong> Having a sparkling clean, clutter-free home is a low-cost way to help present your home at its best and draw more interest. It will generally only take one day for a cleaning service to make your home look its cleanest.&nbsp;</li> </ol><p>Originally authored by Ashley Smith on Jan 16, 2015</p> Residential Mortgage Company Small Financial Steps that lead to Big Success <p>Posted by Residential Mortgage Company on Jan 8, 2015</p><p><img src="" alt="" width="600" height="300" /><br /><br />It&rsquo;s the beginning of the year, which means, for many people, making resolutions. Whether we keep them past January is for another post. Perhaps you have made some goals this year to put you in a better position financially whether you are trying to improve your credit, save money, buy a new home, or just be more financially responsible.</p> <p><em><br />Here are five small, simple financial steps you can take this year to lead to better personal financial success.</em></p> <ol> <li><strong>Arrange for autopay on as many bills as possible to ensure your bills are paid on time.</strong> 35 percent of your FICO score is based on whether or not your bills are paid on time. Also, when your bills are paid on time, you don&rsquo;t accrue interest or late fees. Having your bills automatically paid also saves you time and decreases your stress.<br />&nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Pay more than the monthly minimum on credit cards.</strong> Extra money you pay on your credit cards goes toward your principal balance. We recommend paying at least $20 more per month than the minimum to help significantly decrease the balance. If you have more than one credit card, start with the one that has the highest balance or highest interest rate first.<br />&nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Plan a budget and stick to it.</strong> Each month, create and review your budget and throughout the month, revisit it to make sure you&rsquo;re sticking to it. Break down your expenses so you know exactly where your money is going. Knowing how much you spend will help you spend less. Some financial experts recommend using cash rather than credit cards, especially for entertainment expenses, dining out, and other miscellaneous costs. That way, once the cash runs out, you know you have reached your monthly limit.<br />&nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Save a reasonable amount each month by automatically drafting it into a savings account.</strong> Determine how much you can reasonably save each month without having to withdraw any of that money out of savings. Set up an automatic transfer for that amount to be deposited into your savings account every month around the same time. Then, don&rsquo;t touch it.<br />&nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Pull your credit report at least once each year.</strong> You can receive a free credit report at <a href="" target="_blank"></a>. This report won&rsquo;t give you your FICO score (also known as a credit score), but it will help you review and evaluate your credit to ensure that there aren&rsquo;t any mistakes and to help you better manage your credit. If you&rsquo;d also like your FICO score, you can obtain that at for a fee. The average credit score is around 690. If your credit score is lower than that, you should work to improve it.<br />&nbsp;</li> </ol><p>Originally authored by Ashley Smith on Jan 7, 2015</p> Residential Mortgage Company