Janet Cramb & Company/LAER Realty Partners



Posted by Janet Cramb on 1/27/2021

Applying for your first home loan can seem scary or daunting to many first-time homeowners. However, this process, if done correctly, can save you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars on interest over the lifetime of your loan.

Before you apply for a loan, there are several documents you’ll want to gather and steps you’ll want to take to ensure the application process goes smoothly. In today’s post, we’ll talk about one specific aspect of the mortgage application process--credit scores.

Credit scores may seem confusing. However, since they can so drastically affect your home loan interest rate, it’s important to understand their implications.

Credit checks and mortgages

One of the things that all lenders will want to see before approving you for a home loan is your credit score. If you’re thinking of applying for a mortgage, odds are that you’ve been working to build credit by paying off loans and credit cards on time each month.

The three main credit bureaus in the U.S. are all required to give you a yearly free credit report. This is a detailed document that outlines your lines of credit, payment dates, and amounts. It’s a good idea to get a detailed credit report and check for errors before applying for a loan.

Unlike a hard “credit inquiry,” a free report does not affect your credit score, so you don’t have to worry about dropping a few points by requesting one of these reports.

When applying for a mortgage, however, lenders will perform a hard credit inquiry to determine your borrowing eligibility. This is a part of the pre-approval process and is typically unavoidable.

This is important to note if you are planning on applying to multiple lenders. Be aware that each “prequalification” and “preapproval” may come with a temporary drop in your credit score.

Since credit inquiries make up a total of about 10% of your credit score, these inquiries can make a difference in the short term. For this reason, it’s a good idea to avoid opening new cards or taking out other loans (such as an auto loan or student loan) within six months of your mortgage application.

If you aren’t sure of your current score, you can always check for free from websites like Credit Karma and Mint.

One last thing to note about credit scores and their relationship to mortgages is that most lenders use a specific type of score known as a FICO score. In fact, every adult in the United States with a credit score will have three FICO scores, one from each major credit bureau.

So, when checking up on your credit score, it’s good to remember that each score will be slightly different and your lender’s score may not reflect what you see online.




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Posted by Janet Cramb on 1/20/2021


 Photo by Aimee Cozza via Pixabay

Moving to a new home can disrupt your routine at any time, but some times of the year are better than others for relocating to a new home. You'll get the most from the experience and enjoy a more seamless move if you plan things for the right time of year and allow yourself enough time to complete the process. The best timing for one family may be completely different than the ideal timing for another. Here's how to tell which times of year are best for your family. 

Families with School Aged Kids

Unless your move will be within the same school district, your kids will likely have to change schools. Because of this and the adjustment time needed to fit into a new classroom, most families time moves to coincide with summer vacation. This ensures your children have a chance to get comfortable in the new home and neighborhood before plunging into a new school as well.  According to experts at Parents magazine, moving during the holidays or a similar long break can work as well, as it will give your kids a chance to make friends right away. 

Singles -- Moving on your Own

Your best time to move will be independent of the school year (though you might find more homes on the market to choose from while school is in session). Choose a time that aligns with a down time in your industry or at your workplace -- long weekends or industry-wide holidays can help you make the most of your time off and give you the most time to settle in your new place. 

Retirees -- Moving Out of the Empty Nest

If you no longer have kids at home, you won't be constrained by the local school schedule -- you may actually find that shopping while school is in session puts you at an advantage, as families are more likely to wait until spring or summer to begin shopping. If you are moving locally, planning your move around family helpers can work; if you are hiring movers, you have a lot of freedom when it comes to picking the right time. If you live in an area with harsh winters or overly hot summers, avoiding these times may make it more comfortable to settle into your new place and begin caring for the property -- beyond that, the choice is yours. 

Make the Most of your Moving Time

No matter when you decide to move, planning ahead and preparing early will help you make the most of the process. You'll love settling into your new home when you are not stressed by a looming school deadline or other significant milestone and get the best possible start in your new home. 





Posted by Janet Cramb on 1/13/2021

If buying a home is something you’re considering, you might be curious about the different types of mortgages that are available to you. After all, the interest rate on your loan could have a huge impact on your finances over time, saving you thousands of dollars.

In today’s post, I’m going to demystify the home loan by explaining the most common types of mortgages. That way, you’ll be able to approach a lender with a bit of context and knowledge to help make the best mortgage decision for you and your family.

Fixed-rate mortgages

The most common types of home loans in the United States today are fixed-rate mortgages. A fixed-rate mortgage has the benefit of stability in terms of its interest rate--year after year, or the lifetime of your loan, you know exactly what percent of interest you’re going to pay.

Fixed-rate mortgages most frequently come with repayment terms of 15 or 30 years. However, some lenders offer different repayment periods.

As with any debt, paying off a mortgage in a shorter term typically amounts to paying less interest over the lifespan of the loan. For this reason, buyers who can afford higher monthly mortgage payments often opt for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.

If you can’t afford higher monthly payments, a 30-year loan will typically have lower mortgage payments, but at the expense of paying more interest over the life of the loan.

The 30-year option is the most often in the United States, where first-time buyers typically have too many other monthly bills to afford a high mortgage payment.

Adjustable-rate mortgages

Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) were once an ideal option for first-time buyers who could purchase a home at a very low interest rate and then refinancing once that rate was set to rise. However, after the housing crisis of 2007, trust in the housing market drastically declined.

In recent years, ARMs have begun to make a comeback. However, they currently still only account for around 5% of home loans.

Adjustable-rate mortgages come with one important advantage and one huge disadvantage over fixed-rate mortgages. The upside is the ability to borrow money for a home at a lower interest rate than other mortgage types. The down side? Your interest rate isn’t locked in for the length of the loan, meaning your rate could, in theory, rise dramatically before you sell or pay off the home. This is exactly what happened to borrowers during the subprime mortgage crisis.

Guaranteed loans

There are a number of special loan programs that have been sponsored by the government over the years. Among them are USDA rural development loans, VA loans for veterans and their spouses, and FHA loans offered by the Federal Housing Authority.

All of these loans make it easier to buy a home with little or no down payment or a credit score that’s less than perfect. That makes these options great for first-time homeowners.




Tags: Buying a home   mortgage  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Janet Cramb on 1/6/2021

A home inspection is a vital part of every real estate transaction. Its importance is usually solidified in a purchase contract in the form of a contingency clause.

Whenever you buy or sell a home, the transaction is typically contingent upon a few things being fulfilled. Inspections help protect the buyer from purchasing a home that they believed didn’t have any major issues.

For buyers, an inspection can save you thousands in the long run. For sellers, getting a preemptive inspection done (on your own dime) can be useful since it will help you avoid any surprises that could arise when a potential buyer has your home inspected.

Hiring a home inspector

Regardless of whether you’re the buyer or the seller in this instance, hiring a home inspector isn’t something you should take lightly. You’ll want to confer with your agent before you pick an inspector.

It’s also a good idea to check out some online reviews and visit the inspector’s website for pricing. Typically, inspectors charge between $200 and $400 for an inspection, so feel free to shop around.

Inspectors are certified, so make sure whoever you choose has the proper licensure. You can search for inspectors in your area with this search function.

Ultimately, you’ll want to choose an inspector that can give you the most unbiased assessment of the home, so that you can be assured that you know what you’re getting into when you buy or sell a home.

Preparing for an inspection

Many buyers aren’t sure what to expect on inspection day. However, the process is relatively simple.

You’ll want to make sure the inspector can easily access workspaces (like around the furnace, circuit breakers, etc.). This will make the inspector’s job easier and allow them to focus on the service they’re providing you.

If possible, it’s also a good idea to provide them with records of important home maintenance and repairs. Inspectors know what red flags to look for with the home, both physically and on paper.

Finally, make sure pets, kids, and any other distractions are away from home or with someone who can attend to them.

Post inspection

After the inspection is complete, the inspector will hand you a report and be able to answer any questions you have about their findings. They will give recommendations about the timeline for repairs that need to be made soon or even years into the future.

With this report in hand, you can determine if there are repairs you want to negotiate with the seller if you’re buying a home. As a seller, this report will tip you off to issues that potential buyers will likely have and give you a chance to address them in advance.




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Posted by Janet Cramb on 12/23/2020

Photo by Nina Garman via Pixabay

Moving into a new home can be a very exciting experience. From getting to know new people to starting a new job, it can all be a very enjoyable transition. However, there are some aspects of moving that many people don’t really enjoy. And the biggest factor of all is the money involved. From hiring movers to buying boxes, all of the expenses can add up very quickly. However, there are some tips and tricks if you want to save as much money as possible.

Donate Your Unused Goods

One tactic to save on moving costs involves getting rid of the things you never use. This strategy is especially useful if you’re hiring a moving company to help with the transition. While these professionals are typically paid by the hour, you’re going to want to downsize to prevent spending an arm and a leg for this service; the more stuff you have, the more money you'll have to fork over. Furthermore, the more belongings you bring, the bigger the truck you’ll have to rent. To save time and loads of money, do good for yourself and others by donating the items you don’t need.

Don’t Move During Peak Season

While this is sometimes out of your control due to a job or another reason, you should always try to move during the off-peak season. People tend to move from May until September, so try your best to schedule a move between October and April.

Do the Move Yourself

Many people decide to hire a moving company when they’re moving to a new home. However, this can cost thousands of dollars. If you want to save, consider renting a truck and moving everything yourself. While it may take a lot of time and energy, you can experience tons of savings. Try to find family members or friends that are willing to help, then you can have the whole process done quickly. Not only can this lead to a great deal of savings, but you can also get some quality time with loved ones and a solid workout in the meantime. However, if you have large items and are not comfortable moving them, utilize a professional service once you've reached your destination.

Rent a Moving Container

Another beneficial option is to rent a moving container. These still can be expensive, but it is far cheaper compared to hiring a moving company. In addition, these containers are becoming far more common nowadays, which has really dropped the price of this service. It’s best to choose a container if you have a larger time window for the move, and especially if you’re doing most of the work yourself.

Moving can be expensive and stressful, but by focusing on the tips mentioned above, you can save hundreds of dollars as you’re making this important life transition.




Tags: moving   buying   moving expenses  
Categories: Uncategorized