Category: Credit Score

Before buying a home, you need to make sure it’s not going to fall apart days after you move in. The first way to do this is to walk through a potential home. The most reliable method, however, is to have a home inspection. After all, a walkthrough can be quick and unreliable, while bringing in a professional is trustworthy. However, there are some mistakes you can make even when it comes to home inspections. And when it comes to making sure a potential home is safe, you need to be specific. So, to help you out, we’ve put together a list of mistakes to avoid during your home inspection, and we hope you find it helpful.

Not looking into the inspector

One of the mistakes to avoid during your home inspection is neglecting to research your inspector before hiring them. Just like with any profession, some inspectors are much worse than others. That can be due to a lack of experience or the wrong inspector. Either way, you shouldn’t take any chances regarding your and your home’s safety. Take the time to look into your inspector’s work experience; check if there were problems or complaints about their work. If you spot a few too many issues, you should probably consider a different home inspector. Remember, this is something you shouldn’t take any risks with, so be thorough. Additionally, when it comes to the home itself, you should look into how to know you’ve found your dream house. After all, that’s not something that happens often, so pay attention when looking.

One of the mistakes to avoid during your home inspection is not doing a background check on the inspector.

Refusing to get a presale inspection

On the flip side, if you’re selling the home, not getting an inspection before selling it can be a big mistake. That is because buyers usually get a home inspection done to ensure no issues are present. And if there are issues, buyers tend to give up on the property, which isn’t good for you. So, getting a presale inspection allows you to fix potential problems ahead of time, ensuring buyers don’t lose interest. Additionally, if you do this before listing the home, you could get away with listing the house for a higher price. All in all, getting a presale home inspection only benefits you as a seller. And if you’re buying and selling at the same time, consider some useful tips for buying and selling a house at the same time.

Not being present for the inspection

Being present for the home inspection has a lot of benefits for you. Firstly, you get to see the problems for yourself, if there are any. Second, you can ask your inspector as many questions about the home as you like. Home inspectors will often take the time to explain everything they’ve seen to homeowners if they’re present for the inspection. Also, reading the inspection report isn’t enough to give you a good idea of the situation. So, getting to see it in person is the best call, especially if you’re buying a home. That said, inspections can take quite a bit of time, so make sure to set aside the time. Additionally, make sure to plan for your move; experts from helixmoveva.com note that planning a move can take a lot of time, and you should be prepared for it ahead of time.

Being present during the home inspection has a lot of benefits.

Not preparing the home before the inspection

Another one of the mistakes to avoid during your home inspection which sellers make is not preparing the home ahead of time. The last thing you want is for your inspector to have to empty a closet to get into the attic. Ensure the home inspector has easy access to the house before arriving. Home inspections last a while anyway, so ensure you clear out everything so your home inspector doesn’t have to spend extra time just trying to get somewhere. Unlock the utility closet, shed, or basement, and make sure all access points are usable. Your home inspector will appreciate it, and you will save time. Also, when looking into buying a new home, consider the neighborhood amenities to look for when buying a home. You want to make sure your new home has everything you need.

Not reading the inspection report

Even if you’re present for the home inspection, you should take the time to read the inspection reports. Although your home inspector should verbally explain all the issues they find, reading through the report is still an excellent idea. There could be something they forgot to mention in the report, and you might as well read through it since you paid for it. Additionally, you can use the report when hiring experts to do repairs, as you can give them detailed descriptions of the problems. All in all, even if you’re sure you understood everything regarding the inspection, take the time to read the report anyway. As we already mentioned, the safety of your home isn’t something you should take chances with. So, ensuring nothing got glossed over is vital after any home inspection.

Once you receive the report, make sure to read through it.

Mistakes to avoid during your home inspection – wrap up

There are a lot of mistakes one can make when getting a home inspection. And this can be not nice since your home’s safety should always be taken seriously, and you can’t afford to take any chances with it. So, being there in person and asking specific questions is very important, as well as reading the report afterward. If you’re the one selling the home, remember that there are a lot of benefits to getting a home inspection done before listing the home. We hope this list of mistakes to avoid during your home inspection helps you, and we wish you a good day.

Photos used from Pexels

After your first investment property purchase, you may be eager to get it on the market and available to rent. However, you will benefit from taking the time to make the necessary changes that will add value to the home and the renter’s experience. Consider these tips to make your property appeal to more renters.

Ready to purchase a Naperville investment property? Reach out to Bill White Homes for exceptional real estate service!

1. Prioritize Repairs
Most homes need at least a few small repairs after purchase. Even a simple paint job can make the entire place look different. You can DIY something that simple, but don’t be apprehensive about hiring someone to do repairs properly. It’s much easier to get them done before someone moves in. You can also avoid complaints and costly maintenance requests if you get the job done right the first time around.

2. Make Valuable Renovations
Think about changes you can make to the home that will add value and allow you to increase the monthly rent. For example, research shows that outdoor living space, open floor plans, and green appliances are among the top things renters look for in a home. Take the time to make the outdoor area as nice as the inside. You can add a simple patio to the backyard with plenty of space for furniture. Upgrade the kitchen appliances and remodel the bathroom to include more modern fixtures. Even small changes, such as replacing the carpet can add significant value.

3. Market Effectively
Marketing is an important component for any real estate investor. One simple thing you can do is create a PDF to showcase your property and use it to email interested renters. You can even use a PDF editor online to make changes to documents and drawings as you make upgrades. Just upload the file to the website and make the changes. Then you can download and share. Hire a professional web developer to create a website for your company as well. That way you can show all your properties in one place. After your first investment property purchase, you may be eager to get it on the market and available to rent. However, you will benefit from taking the time to make the necessary changes that will add value to the home and the renter’s experience. Consider these tips to make your property appeal to more renters.

4. Register Your Business
As a rental property owner, your business now is to cater to the needs of the property and the tenant. However, things can go wrong. Protect yourself and your assets from possible liability lawsuits by registering your company as a limited liability company. An LLC provides liability protection, and you can use the company name on the deed for your property. Hire a lawyer to complete the registration process for you, or you can do it online at a significantly lower price.

5. Hire a Property Manager
A good property manager will handle all the tasks a landlord would handle. They will ensure you have well-vetted tenants, make all the arrangements for rent collection, handle any issues with default payments, and schedule maintenance staff. Be sure to find someone you trust, or you can hire an established company to act as a property manager for you.

6. Focus on Amenities
You can add value to the rent by including amenities. It can be as big as installing a swimming pool or as small as including a microwave. If your property is in a high-demand area for business travelers, consider furnishing the apartment. Then you can market it to corporations.

Once you have the home ready and the renters are moved in, your job changes. Being a good landlord requires patience and sometimes empathy. Treat your tenants with respect, and they will likely return the favor.

When you’re selling any item, you usually want to sell it for the greatest profit possible. That happens when there’s a strong demand and a limited supply for that item. In the real estate market, that time is right now. If you’re thinking of selling your house this year, here are two reasons why now’s the time to list.

1. Demand Is Very Strong This Winter
A recent article in Inman News explains:

“Spring, the hottest time of year for homebuyers and sellers, has started early, according to economists. . . . ‘Home shopping season appears to already be in full swing!’”

And they aren’t the only ones saying buyers are already out in full force. That claim is backed up with data released last week by ShowingTime. The ShowingTime Showing Index tracks the average number of monthly buyer showings on active residential properties, which is a highly reliable leading indicator of current and future trends for buyer demand. The latest index reveals this December was the most active December in five years.

As the data indicates, buyers are very active this winter. Last December saw even more showings than December of 2020, which was already a stronger-than-usual winter. And remember – you want to sell something when there’s a strong demand for that item. That time is now.

2. Housing Supply Is Extremely Low
Each month, realtor.com releases data on the number of active residential real estate listings (listings currently for sale). Their most recent report reveals the latest monthly number is the lowest we’ve seen in any January since 2017.

And don’t forget, the best time to sell an item is when there’s a limited supply of it available. This graph clearly shows how extremely low housing supply is today.

Even Though Supply Is at a Historic Low, Home Sales Are at a 15-Year High
According to the latest Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), existing-home sales totaled 6.12 million in 2021 – the highest annual level since 2006. This means the market is hot and homeowners are in a great place to sell now while sales are so strong.

NAR also reports available listings by calculating the current months’ supply of inventory. They explain:

“Months’ supply refers to the number of months it would take for the current inventory of homes on the market to sell given the current sales pace.”

The current 1.8-months’ supply is the lowest ever reported.

The ratio of buyers to sellers favors homeowners right now to a greater degree than at any other time in history. Buyer demand is high, and supply is low. That gives sellers like you an incredible opportunity.

Bottom Line
If you agree the best time to sell anything is when demand is high and supply is low, contact to discuss listing your house today.

After deciding to downsize to a smaller home, there is a lot to think about. You must get your home ready for a quick sale. You have to find the right home for your family to move to and make a smooth transition. This process requires many small tasks that can overwhelm even the most easygoing going of us. And when you’re a single parent, things can get even more intense!

Fear not—Bill White Homes is here with some tips and resources to help you plan for a fast, painless downsize!

Prep Your Home
First of all, you will want to diligently prep your home for a quick and profitable sale.

● Pare down your belongings, selling or donating any items you will not take with you to the new home.
● Stage your home to impress potential buyers, which might include rearranging furniture, upgrading the decor, and depersonalizing each space.
● Look into the various websites and mobile apps that provide design ideas for your upgrades.
● Consider hiring a professional interior designer or home stager to transform your home before you put it on the market.

Find a New Home
When it comes time to zero in on the ideal home for your family, keep these tips in mind:

● Assess the layout of any home you’re considering to ensure it will meet the needs of your family.
● Also, research the neighborhood to get a feel for the safety and convenience it can add to your life.
● Use real estate sites to browse the housing market, which will allow you to see the home prices and features available in the area.
● Work with an expert realty team like Bill White Homes to make your entire home selling and buying process less stressful!

Move Smoothly
On moving day, you’ll be glad you took the time to put the pieces in place for a smooth transition!

● Start packing up your old home as early as possible, and pack all of your items so that you can efficiently unpack them in your new home.
● Use software to merge PDF files to have fewer paper documents to take with you.
● Arrange for professional movers to transport your possessions from A to B.
● Consider hiring a babysitter if you need help keeping your children safe and occupied on moving day. There are lots of excellent apps for finding reputable local babysitters!

Who says that a single parent has to go through the downsizing process overwhelmed? By planning out your steps beforehand, you can set yourself and your family up for a smooth experience. Keep the tips above in mind as you get your home ready to sell, look for a new home, and arrange the moving day details. You and your kids will be settling comfortably into your new home and life together in no time!

Are you looking for an experienced realty team in Naperville? Contact Bill White Homes today!

The housing market keeps sailing along. The only headwind that could take it off course is the lack of inventory for sale. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reports that there were 410,000 fewer single-family homes for sale this March than in March of 2020. The key to continued success in the residential housing market is for more listings to come on the market. However, many homeowners are concerned that selling their homes could be challenging for several reasons.

Recently, Homes.com released the findings of a survey that identified these concerns, as well as what it will take for homeowners to feel comfortable selling their houses. Here are the four major homeowner concerns and a quick explanation of what’s actually happening in the housing market today.

1. Homeowners don’t know if they’ll be able to secure their next home before selling.
In negotiations, leverage is the power that one side may have to influence the other side while moving closer to their negotiating position. A party’s leverage is based on the ability to award benefits or eliminate costs on the other side.

In today’s market, buyers have compelling reasons to purchase a home now:

To own a home of their own
To buy before prices continue to appreciate
To secure a mortgage at a historically low rate, while they last
These buyer needs give the seller tremendous leverage. Most already realize this leverage enables the homeowner to sell at a good price. However, this leverage may also be used to negotiate time to find their next home. The homeowner could sell their home to the buyer at today’s price, which will enable the purchaser to take advantage of current mortgage rates. In return, the buyer might lease the house back to the seller for a pre-determined length of time while the seller finds a new home or has one built.

This gives the buyer what they want while also giving the seller what they need. It’s a true win-win negotiation.

2. Homeowners don’t know if their current home will sell for the asking price or top market price.
This is the perfect time to maximize profits while selling a house. NAR just released a study showing that bidding wars are at an all-time high. The study reveals that when comparing the first quarter of last year to the first quarter of this year, the number of offers on homes for sale doubled from an average of 2.4 to 4.8 offers.

Whenever there’s a bidding war, the price of the item for sale escalates. Bloomberg recently reported:

“For the first time ever, the average U.S. home is selling for above its list price.”

If a seller is looking for a top-dollar sale, there’s no better time to sell than right now.

3. Homeowners don’t know if they will get an offer without their home requiring work or updates.
Again, leverage is the greatest strength a seller has in this market. Due to the lack of homes for sale, many buyers are more willing to take on home improvement projects themselves in order to get the home they’re after.

A recent post on whether or not to renovate before selling notes:

“It may be wise to let future homeowners remodel the bathroom or the kitchen to make design decisions that are best for their specific taste and lifestyle. As a seller, your dollars and time might be better spent working on small cosmetic updates, like refreshing some paint and power washing the exterior. Instead of over-investing in your home with upgrades that the buyers may change anyway, work with a real estate professional to determine the key projects that will maximize your listing, without overdoing it.”

If a seller is worried about doing work or updates on their home, they must realize that today’s historically low inventory likely renders these projects less critical to the sale of the house.

4. Homeowners don’t know if they can have a quick closing process.
When speed is important, there are two points sellers should look at:

The time it takes to find a buyer for the home
The time it takes to close the transaction
In the latest Existing Home Sales Report, NAR explains:

“Properties typically remained on the market for 18 days in March, down from 20 days in February and from 29 days in March 2020. Eighty-three percent of the homes sold in March 2021 were on the market for less than a month.”

Eighteen days is fast, and it’s a new record. Here are the days the average house is on the market in each state:
4 Big Incentives for Homeowners to Sell Now | Keeping Current Matters
Regarding the time it will take to close the transaction, all-cash sales accounted for 23% of all home purchase transactions in March. All-cash sales can usually be closed in thirty days.

If a mortgage is necessary, the most recent Origination Insight Report from Ellie Mae shows:

“Time to close all loans decreased in March. The average time to close a purchase fell to 51 days, down from 53 the month prior.”

If you’re looking for a quick closing process, there’s never been a market in which the two-step process (finding a buyer and closing the deal) has taken less time.

Bottom Line
Selling your house can be daunting, especially in a fast-paced market. However, the fact that we’re in such a strong sellers’ market clearly eliminates many common concerns. Contact a real estate professional today to learn more about the opportunities for homeowners who are ready to sell.

With mortgage interest rates hitting record lows so many times recently, some are wondering if we’ll see low rates continue throughout 2021, or if they’ll start to rise. Recently, Freddie Mac released their quarterly forecast, noting:

“The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit a record low over a dozen times in 2020 and the low interest rate environment is projected to continue through this year. We expect interest rates to average below 3% through the end of 2021. While this is a modest rise from 2020 averages, the recent vote by the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates anchored near zero should keep rates low.”

Freddie Mac is projecting low rates going forward with a modest rise that’s expected to continue through 2022. Freddie Mac isn’t the only authority forecasting low rates with a slight rise. Fannie Mae, The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) also anticipate low rates with a small increase as 2021 continues on.

It’s important to note that, while a small change in interest rates can have a substantial impact on monthly mortgage payments, these rates are still incredibly low compared to where they were just a couple of years ago.

What does this mean for buyers?
Low mortgage rates are creating an outstanding opportunity for current homebuyers to get more for their money while staying within their budget. As the economy gets stronger and we recover from the challenges of 2020, it’s natural for rates to potentially rise in response to a healthier economy. Mark Fleming, Chief Economist at First American, reminds us:

“Rising interest rates reduce house-buying power and affordability, but are often a sign of a strong economy, which increases home buyer demand. By any historic standard, today’s mortgage rates remain historically low and will continue to boost house-buying power and keep purchase demand robust.”

With low rates fueling activity among hopeful buyers, there are a lot of people who are highly motivated and looking for homes to purchase right now. In this environment, it can be challenging to find a home to buy, so a local real estate agent will be key to your success if you’re thinking of buying too. Working with a trusted real estate professional to navigate the process while rates are in your favor might be the best move you can make.

Bottom Line
If you’re ready to buy a home, it may be wise to make your move before mortgage rates begin to rise. Contact a local real estate professional to discuss how today’s low rates can create more opportunities for you this year.

The housing market recovery coming into the new year has been nothing short of remarkable. Many experts agree the turnaround from the nation’s economic pause is playing out extremely well for real estate, and the current market conditions are truly making this winter an ideal time to make a move. Here’s a dive into some of the biggest wins for homebuyers this season.

1. Mortgage Rates Are Historically Low
In 2020, mortgage rates hit all-time lows 16 times. Continued low rates have set buyers up for significant long-term gains. In fact, realtor.com notes:

“Given this means homes could cost potentially tens of thousands less over the lifetime of the loan.”

Essentially, it’s less expensive to borrow money for a home loan today than it has been in years past. Although mortgage rates are expected to remain relatively low in 2021, even the slightest increase can make a big difference in your payments over the lifetime of a home loan. So, this is a huge opportunity to capitalize on right now before mortgage rates start to rise.

2. Equity Is Growing
According to John Burns Consulting, 58.7% of homes in the U.S. have at least 60% equity, and 42.1% of all homes in this country are mortgage-free, meaning they’re owned free and clear.

In addition, CoreLogic notes the average equity homeowners gained since last year is $17,000. That’s a tremendous amount of forced savings for homeowners, and an opportunity to use this increasing equity to make a move into a home that fits your changing needs this season.

3. Home Prices Are Appreciating
According to leading experts, home prices are forecasted to continue appreciating. Today, many experts are projecting more moderate home price growth than last year, but still moving in an upward direction through 2021.

Knowing home values are increasing while mortgage rates are so low should help you feel confident that buying a home before prices rise even higher is a strong long-term investment.

4. There Are Not Enough Homes for Sale
With today’s low inventory of homes on the market, which is contributing to this home price appreciation, sellers are in the driver’s seat. The competition is high among buyers, so homes are selling quickly.

Making a move while so many buyers are looking for homes to purchase may mean your house rises to the top of the buyer pool. Selling your house before more listings come to the market in the traditionally busy spring market might be your best chance to shine.

Bottom Line
If you’re considering making a move, this may be your moment, especially with today’s low mortgage rates and limited inventory. Reach out to us today to get set up for homebuying success in the new year.

The year 2020 will be remembered as one of the most challenging times of our lives. A worldwide pandemic, a recession causing historic unemployment, and a level of social unrest perhaps never seen before have all changed the way we live. Only the real estate market seems to be unaffected, as a new forecast projects there may be more homes purchased this year than last year.

As we come to the end of this tumultuous year, we’re preparing for perhaps the most contentious presidential election of the century. Today, it’s important to look at the impact past presidential election years have had on the real estate market.

Is there a drop-off in home sales during a presidential election year?
BTIG, a research and analysis company, looked at new home sales from 1963 through 2019 in their report titled One House, Two House, Red House, Blue House. They noted that in non-presidential years, there is a -9.8% decrease in November compared to October. This is the normal seasonality of the market, with a slowdown in activity that’s usually seen in fall and winter.

However, it also revealed that in presidential election years, the typical drop increases to -15%. The report explains why:

“This may indicate that potential homebuyers may become more cautious in the face of national election uncertainty.”

Are those sales lost forever?
No. BTIG determined:

“This caution is temporary, and ultimately results in deferred sales, as the economy, jobs, interest rates and consumer confidence all have far more meaningful roles in the home purchase decision than a Presidential election result in the months that follow.”

In a separate study done by Meyers Research & Zonda, Ali Wolf, Chief Economist, agrees that those purchases are just delayed until after the election:

“History suggests that the slowdown is largely concentrated in the month of November. In fact, the year after a presidential election is the best of the four-year cycle. This suggests that demand for new housing is not lost because of election uncertainty, rather it gets pushed out to the following year.”

Will it matter who is elected?
To some degree, but not in the overall number of home sales. As mentioned above, consumer confidence plays a significant role in a family’s desire to buy a home. How may consumer confidence impact the housing market post-election? The BTIG report covered that as well:

“A change in administration might benefit trailing blue county housing dynamics. The re-election of President Trump could continue to propel red county outperformance.”

Again, overall sales should not be impacted in a significant way.

Bottom Line
If mortgage rates remain near all-time lows, the economy continues to recover, and unemployment continues to decrease, the real estate market should remain strong up to and past the election.

Saving for a down payment is often the biggest hurdle for a first-time homebuyer. Depending on where you live, median income, median rents, and home prices all vary. So, we set out to find out how long it would take to save for a down payment in each state.

Using data from HUD, Census and Apartment List, we determined how long it would take, nationwide, for a first-time buyer to save enough money for a down payment on their dream home. There is a long-standing ‘rule’ that a household should not pay more than 28% of their income on their monthly housing expense.

By determining the percentage of income spent renting in each state, and the amount needed for a 10% down payment, we were able to establish how long (in years) it would take for an average resident to save enough money to buy a home of their own.

According to the data, residents in Kansas can save for a down payment the quickest, doing so in just over 1 year (1.12). Below is a map that was created using the data for each state:

How Quickly Can You Save Your Down Payment? | Keeping Current Matters

What if you only needed to save 3%?

What if you were able to take advantage of one of Freddie Mac’s or Fannie Mae’s 3%-down programs? Suddenly, saving for a down payment no longer takes 2 to 5 years, but becomes possible in less than a year in most states, as shown on the map below.

How Quickly Can You Save Your Down Payment? | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

Whether you have just begun to save for a down payment or have been saving for years, you may be closer to your dream home than you think! Meet with a local real estate professional who can help you evaluate your ability to buy today. Call us!

Whether it is with the goal of saving money or for the satisfaction of living in the fruits of one’s labors, it has become increasingly popular for homeowners to take on home renovation projects themselves. One of the most common types of do-it-yourself projects is a bathroom remodel. Not only can bathroom remodels help to improve your overall quality of life, but they can also dramatically increase the value of your home if you ever decide to sell.

 

However, there are a number of potentially complicated or dangerous parts of every bathroom renovation, such as electrical and plumbing work, that you should be aware of before attempting the project. Here are some things to keep in mind when you are tackling a bathroom renovation for the first time so that your project can be quick, easy, and fun.

 

Plan out the Entire Project Beforehand

 

As with any kind of renovation, the first thing you need to do is plan out the scope of the entire project. The more you prepare, the fewer unexpected costs you will have to endure down the road. Start by listing all the things you would like to do to your bathroom. Don’t factor in cost at this point — instead, just list them all. You may want to include things like a walk in shower, a clawfoot tub, a heated floor, a double sink, and so forth.

 

Next, organize the list in order of desire — put your must-haves at the top, all the way down to negligible or “bonus” projects. Then, it is time to do some research online. Find the average costs of each type of project and put the numbers next to each line on your list. Finally, compare these costs to your total budget. This way, you can make sure that you have enough money for the most important projects, allowing for extras if you happen to come in under budget.

 

However, Remember to Have Fun

 

Even though it is tempting to get bogged down in the minutia of planning and money management, don’t let yourself forget to have fun. A bathroom remodel is a great way to boost your bathroom’s appeal, both for yourself and for potential buyers if you ever decide to sell your home. For instance, a renovated bathroom can provide you with a 40 to 80 percent return on investment, depending on the current state of the real estate market.

 

Think About Ways to Come in Under Budget

 

It is common for do-it-yourself projects to end up going over budget, but there are a few things you can do that will keep your costs lower. First, if you need to buy power tools for your renovation, you may want to try borrowing them from a handy friend or family member. If you end up having to buy them after all, look at previously used tools to save money. Next, while part of the reason you may want to be doing the project yourself is to save on the cost of a professional, in certain cases, a professional can actually save you money, such as with walls damaged by water. Furthermore, certain plumbing and electrical projects can be dangerous for you to attempt on your own — always hire a professional contractor in those cases.

 

When you are renovating your bathroom, remember to consider all the possible angles that will need to be covered, both from the financial and design sides of the process. Doing so will allow you to relax and have fun with the project.

 

Photo Credit: Pexels

Thank you to guest writer, Erin Reynolds