Wendy Johnson - RE/MAX Professional Associates



Posted by Wendy Johnson on 7/28/2021

If you're planning to purchase a home in the near future, one thing's for sure: You've got your work cut out for you! However, when you finally find the house of your dreams, the time and effort will be more than worth it!

Your to-do list will include calculating how much you can afford to spend on a house, obtaining a pre-qualification letter from a mortgage lender, and eventually comparing loan estimates.

One of the first things home buyers usually need to do before getting too caught up in their real estate search is to check their credit score. Your credit report, which is basically a detailed profile of your credit history, plays a major role in your ability to get approved for a mortgage and obtain favorable interest rates. Consumers are entitled to get a free copy of their credit report once a year from the three major credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Before applying for a mortgage, it's highly recommended that you check the accuracy of your credit report. If it contains mistakes, inaccuracies, or obsolete information, that could affect your ability to get a mortgage -- or obtain favorable interest rates and terms. Fortunately, errors can be disputed and corrected by the appropriate credit reporting company.

The Impact of Your Credit Score

The most widely used scoring system to determine a borrower's ability (and willingness) to stay current on loan payments is called a "FICO score." Depending on your credit history and bill paying habits, your FICO score can range from a low of 300 to a high of 850. If you're wondering how your FICO score stacks up against other homebuyers and consumers in the U.S., the median FICO score was recently in the neighborhood of 721 (although that number fluctuates). That means 50% of borrowers are above that score and 50% fall below that mark.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the best mortgage interest rates are generally offered to borrowers who have earned FICO scores in the mid- to high 700s. If your credit score falls between the high 600s and the low 700s, the interest rates available to you may be somewhat higher.

Those who are saddled with a credit rating below the mid 600s may have difficulty getting approved for a mortgage. If you're in that situation, your real estate agent or loan officer may suggest applying for an FHA loan rather that a conventional loan. Although FHA loans can be more expensive, the standards for getting approved are more lenient. These government regulated and insured loans also allow for a more affordable down payment of as little as 3.5 percent, as oppose to the "typical" down payment of between 10 and 15 percent.





Posted by Wendy Johnson on 7/21/2021

The home selling process should be fast and profitable. Yet problems may arise that make it tough for a seller to optimize the value of his or her house and enjoy a seamless property selling experience. Lucky for you, we're here to help you plan ahead for the home selling journey and avoid potential pitfalls.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you identify and overcome home selling hurdles before you list your residence.

1. Conduct a Home Inspection

You might believe that your house is in great shape and requires no repairs. However, if problems ultimately are discovered when buyers check out your residence, you may struggle to quickly and effortlessly navigate the home selling journey.

For a home seller, it may be beneficial to employ a home inspector. With a home inspector at your side, you can gain expert insights into your house's condition and perform assorted home repairs as needed. As a result, you can eliminate the risk that home problems may prevent you from maximizing the value of your house.

2. Get a Home Appraisal

What you originally paid for your house is unlikely to match your residence's current value. Fortunately, a home appraisal can help you gain a better idea about the present value of your house based on its condition, age and various real estate market factors.

Typically, a home appraisal report can be prepared in just days, and this report's benefits can be significant. A home appraisal report provides you with a property valuation that you can use to establish an aggressive initial asking price for your house. As such, a home appraisal may help you price your residence competitively and boost the likelihood of stirring up plenty of interest in your house as soon as it becomes available.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

The home selling journey can be long, complex and challenging, regardless of whether you're an experienced or first-time property seller. But if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive support as you navigate the home selling journey.

A real estate agent will work with you to help you achieve your desired results. Thus, if you want to get the best price for your residence, you and your real estate agent can brainstorm ways to upgrade your residence and bolster its value. Or, if you want to sell your residence as quickly as possible, a real estate agent can help you do just that.

Of course, a real estate agent is happy to respond to your home selling concerns and questions too. And if you are unsure about how to address home selling issues, a real estate agent is ready to assist you in any way possible.

Want to add your house to the real estate market? Use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble identifying and resolving a wide range of home selling hurdles faster than ever before.




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Posted by Wendy Johnson on 7/14/2021

Buying a home is one of the biggest and most useful investments that youíll make in your lifetime. One thing you should understand when you're making big improvements to a home or doing any kind of high return renovations is that of the Capital Gains Tax. This tax can take away from the return on your investment, especially under the right circumstances. Even with minimal improvements to a home, if an area has seen an upswing in popularity, you could end up paying the price when you go to sell. 


Taxpayer Relief Act


The Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 can help many people to hang on to the returns they see from the sale of their home. 


Previously, homeowners could qualify for a one-time tax exemption of up to $125,000 on the sale of a home. They also could combine the earnings in on the purchase of another home. Currently, there are a few ways that you can save on the Capital Gains Tax thanks to the TRA. 


House Flippers And Homeowners Arenít Equal


Not all home sales receive an equal tax treatment. If you are flipping houses, youíre out of luck when it comes to receiving profit-friendly tax breaks. You need to have lived in a home as your primary residence for two out of five years of owning a home in order to qualify for tax breaks. If this isnít the case, youíll end up paying a Capital Gains Tax on the sale of the property. If youíre a professional house flipper, your homes are considered inventory and taxed as income. The tax on this can vary from 15% to 20%, depending upon the tax bracket you fall into.



The Type Of Property Matters When It Comes To Taxes


Whether the property is a primary place of residence, a vacation home, or a rental property, the gains are all taxed differently. If you own a second home that youíre interested in selling, itís not treated the same as a primary residence for tax purposes. Youíll be taxed based on the amount of time that you owned the property, or the amount of time that the property was used as a second home. The taxes are based on a prorated amount of time.


The Price Of The Home Doesnít Matter


You may think that higher priced homes are taxed more heavily than less expensive homes. This would be the case when it comes to property taxes, but it isnít so when weíre talking about Capital Gains Taxes. These taxes are based on how much profit is made from the sale of the home. If a loss was taken, or the homeowner ďbroke even,Ē they may not owe as many taxes. A smaller home that had significant improvements made could be taxed a bit more than a home that was sold at a higher price with fewer upgrades.





Posted by Wendy Johnson on 7/7/2021

In todayís world, many people are concerned about the harm that chemicals may do. Especially in homes with pets and children, families may want to do everything to protect their loved ones from harm. Having chemicals in your home may not only be hazardous, but they could also aggravate certain health conditions like asthma and allergies. There are many things that you can use that are right inside of your own kitchen cabinets to do the same job of cleaning that industrial strength cleaners do. The best part s that you wonít need to worry about your kids or pets getting into dangerous materials. You may also be surprised at what a great job all of these natural cleaners do in cleaning up your home. If youíre trying to save money, you might also   


Stock Up On Supplies


The first thing youíll need to do if you want to have all natural cleaning supplies is to stock up on the essentials. Specific items do a great job of cleaning that a part of any cleaning recipe. Youíll be surprised at how much you can scrub in your home with just a few simple items.  


Baking Soda


Baking soda is such a versatile cleaner. It does everything from deodorizing to act as an abrasive. You can use it in many places in your home from the kitchen to the bathroom to the plumbing.  


Vinegar


Vinegar works to dissolve scale, gets rid of mold, and cuts down on soap scum. Itís also a fantastic stain remover. Itís a great base to use in many cleaners from the kitchen counters to your shower.  


Hydrogen Peroxide


Peroxide is an eco-friendly cleaner that helps to whiten surfaces. You can even find this substance in your toothpaste!


Borax


This substance helps to cut grease, oil, and dirt. Itís great to clean stainless steel with and is a great stain remover.   


Essential Oils


Essential oils are great to add scent to any homemade cleaners that you have. Get anything from tea tree oil to lemongrass to lavender to eucalyptus scents and use them as a part of your natural cleaning recipes.

Homemade cleaning supplies can save you money, time and even space in your closets! Itís easy to see why stocking up on a few essentials can not only keep your home clean but your home and family safe from harmful compounds as well. Try cleaning with something natural and notice the difference in your home!       






Posted by Wendy Johnson on 6/30/2021

If you ride through the suburbs of America, youíll likely notice that the houses just seem to get bigger and bigger. Like our taste for large trucks and SUVs, Americans tend towards the idea that bigger is better.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are people who feel quite the opposite. From this minimalist mindset has emerged the ďtiny house.Ē What exactly is a tiny house?

There is no exact definition. However, most tiny houses are built on wheels--to adhere to local building code--and typically donít exceed 500 square feet in size.

You might be thinking thatís a bit extreme. And you wouldnít be alone--Americans have taken advantage of small homes in the form of modular homes, and cottage-style houses for decades.

With the cost of heating and powering a home rising year after year, itís beginning to make sense to downsize.

So, in this article weíll talk about what it means to live in a smaller home to help you decide whether itís a good choice for you.

Barriers to building small houses

If itís your dream to someday build a small house on a hilltop in your hometown, you might have to face-off with the local zoning committee first. Some of the biggest barriers to building smaller houses are local regulations involving minimum house sizes.

This isnít a new problem, with towns struggling with the idea of minimum square footage as far back as the 1970s. In spite of this barrier, small house and tiny house proponents have been finding loopholes.

One such workaround involves simply building your house on wheels. However, that isnít easy to do and it doesnít always look great either.

Living simply

Depending on your hobbies and philosophy, living in a small house can be a good or a bad thing. Those who seek to become more minimal in their belongings often find that small houses help them achieve this.

The more things we own the more we have to worry about storing and maintaining them. However, if you value experiences more than objects, living in a small house could save you money and therefore leave you with more funds for traveling and other experiences.

Family is another thing to consider when living in a small house. If you have a large family or pets, living in a small house can be difficult. However, there is something to be said about growing up in a small house (it makes it harder for kids to avoid their parents by playing video games in their room or the basement!).

How to decide if you can manage living in a small house

If youíre downsizing from a larger home it can be scary to lose all of that extra space you were used to. There are a few ways to see if you can adapt to a smaller home, however.

You could rent a small apartment while you search for a new home. This will allow you to acclimate yourself to living in a smaller environment.

If you donít want to go through the trouble of signing a lease, thereís always renting a small property through AirBnB or a camping cottage for a few weeks. Then youíll have time to notice what you like and dislike about the smaller space and will be able to plan for how to want to deal with those changes if you decide to move into a smaller house.




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