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General

The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has brought with it the need to rethink how we do everything. From everyday tasks to bigger events like moving, we must reassess what we do and how we do it. So, if it’s time for you to move, how do you undertake that process in the midst of a pandemic? We laid out a few tips for successfully and safely completing a move during the pandemic. Read on to find out more.

Clean and Disinfect as You Pack

Packing up everything is a great opportunity to do some major sanitizing. Wipe down all your belongings as you pack them away. This will help ensure you’re only bringing items into your new house that are as germ-free as possible.

Clean Your Current Home Before Moving
One of the best ways to prevent taking germs into your new home is to clean your current home meticulously before your moving day. If you’re hiring a moving company or having any friends and family come to help you, this is essential for keeping them as safe as possible.

Clean Your New Home
We know you’ll be excited to get started in your new home, but before you unpack, clean and disinfect the entire house. Then, wipe down all your boxes. This way, you will have done your best to be off to a good, clean start in your new home!

If You’re Hiring Movers, Provide Them with Cleaning Supplies

Whether you’re hiring professional movers or having friends and family help, make sure you supply everyone with hand sanitizer, cleaning wipes, and a place to wash their hands with soap.

Only Use Store-Bought, New Boxes
You can certainly use boxes you already have at home, but if you’re looking to get more boxes, make sure to get store-bought ones. This will provide better protection against the coronavirus than recycled or free boxes that could be host to the virus.

While doing anything can be overwhelming during a pandemic, these tips should help you handle the unique challenges of moving in a pandemic. Make sure to follow CDC guidelines, and stay safe!


General

How to Vacation in 2020

Jul 15
12:14
PM
Category | General

With social distancing guidelines in place, travel restrictions, and a completely new normal, it’s time to reconsider how we navigate the 2020 summer season. To help spread ideas for how to enjoy the summer and still get a vacation in, we laid out several things you can do for fun, even amidst a pandemic.

Camp in Your Backyard

You don’t need to go anywhere far away as long as you have a backyard! Set up a tent, build a fire, roast marshmallows, and you’ve got yourself a fun camping experience.

Go for a Hike
Despite social distancing, we can still enjoy nature. Make a fun road trip out of visiting a good hiking spot. This is a great way to enjoy a trip and some fresh air.

Go Somewhere New
Even if you’re not venturing far away, you can still enjoy the thrill of traveling to an unknown destination by exploring a nearby destination you’ve never been to. Try taking a road trip and make turns you’ve never made before. You might discover new things and feel a sense of adventure – all while staying close to home.

Have a Spa Day

You can bring the spa home by lighting some candles, enjoying a soothing bubble bath, and playing some relaxing music. Bonus points if you can get a family member to give you a back massage.

Replicate Your Dream Vacation
If you were planning to head off to some exciting, far-away destination, you can still enjoy aspects of that vacation at home. Immerse yourself in the culture and food of your dream vacation destination by eating their cuisine, playing their music, and even watching movies set in that location.

As long as you shift your environment, step out of your comfort zone, and experience new things, you can still experience the thrill of change and adventure without having to go very far. It’s important to take time for yourself, so make sure you do some unwinding and don’t skip a vacation this summer.


Informational


What once was your dream home is now getting old. Maybe you have grown out of it or you just need something new. That means it’s time to figure out your next move – should you buy a new house or renovate your current one?

There’s a lot to consider when it comes to making this decision. That’s why we’ve outlined some of the key factors you’ll need to take into account when choosing the path that’s best for you. Plus, our Loan Originators are ready to help you with decisions like these, so you don’t have to figure it out on your own.

Are You Attached to Your Current Home?
The first thing you should consider is the sentimental value of your home. Are you emotionally attached to this house? You should even consider things the location, your neighbors, the proximity to loved ones.

Do You Need More Space?
Are you finding that you need more room in your home? Consider if it’s an increase in square footage that you need or simply a different layout. Sometimes changing up the layout without adding square footage can make the difference you’re looking for.

Is It Something Only a Move Can Fix?
Sometimes you’re looking for a change because of problems a remodel can’t fix. If you need more land, you need to get away from your neighbors, or the location just isn’t right anymore, that could mean remodeling isn’t an option.

So, What Are the Pros and Cons?
Pros of Moving
The advantages of moving include being able to move to a new location entirely. This means you can choose a spot that better suits your need for more physical space, closer proximity to other locations like work or loved ones, or other physical advantages. Another advantage of moving is that you can upgrade or get the changes you’re looking for without having to deal with the stresses of construction or working with contractors.

Cons of Moving
The disadvantages of moving involve the higher cost of moving, the fact that you might not get exactly what you want compared to renovating to your exact specifications, and the fact that you may need to leave the area you might be fond of.

Pros of Remodeling
The biggest advantage of remodeling is that you can ultimately achieve exactly what you’re looking for. You get to remodel your home however you like so you can make the specific changes you’re looking for. Remodeling rather than moving also means that, if you like the neighborhood or physical location you’re in, you don’t have to lose that. Plus, you can avoid the higher costs and the stress of moving.

Cons of Remodeling
The downside to renovating or remodeling is the stress and energy that can come along with planning and implementing a remodel. Not to mention the possibility of having to live in a construction site, depending on the nature of your remodel. The other major downside to remodeling is the fact that the costs can be unpredictable. Unexpected or surprise costs are likely to emerge in any remodeling project, making your budget higher than planned.

How to Decide What to Do

There are some other big factors that come into play when deciding whether to remodel or sell. You’ll need to consider the financial details and implications of the decision. Do you have a great deal on a new house? How much equity do you have on your current house and what can you do with it? A Loan Originator can help you work through your options and decide what’s best for your specific situation. Overall, the biggest things you want to consider are your housing goals for the next ten years and your finances. That means considering your lifestyle, how it will change in the future, and what that will mean for your needs in a home.

To get help understanding your situation and determining what your best option is, contact us today. Our Loan Originators are looking forward to guiding you through the process and helping you achieve your goals.


Informational


Anyone getting ready to move who already owns a home comes across the question of whether to buy a house before or after they sell their current home. On one hand, buying before selling means you don’t have to risk being without a place to stay or having to deal with finding a short-term rental as you buy a house. However, you could risk being stuck with two mortgages. On the other hand, you could sell before you buy and only be responsible for one mortgage. But this means you may need to consider short-term rental options or determine a place to stay while you look for a new house. While this decision can be tricky, there are steps you can take to sell and buy as close to at the same time as possible.

If this is something you’re considering, reach out to a Loan Originator. They can help you assess your current financial situation to determine what’s the right move for you. They’ll help you understand what options are available to you and if buying a new home and selling your old makes financial sense for you.

1. Evaluate the Markets
First, assess the state of the market you’re buying and selling in. Once you understand what type of market you are in, your Loan Originator and Real Estate Agent can help you get an idea of how to time buying and selling. Of course, it’s ideal to be selling in a seller’s market and buying in a buyer’s market, but if this isn’t the case, there are tools available to you to help you achieve ideal timing. Remember to ask your Loan Originator about what you can financially handle. This will help you stay away from situations that might not be ideal for you such as ending up with more than one mortgage.  

Buyer’s Market
If you’re buying in a buyer’s market, you can make an offer with a sale contingency – meaning, your offer is valid as long as your house sells. This can protect you from ending up with two mortgages if your house doesn’t sell. Just be aware that it could make your offer less competitive.

If you’re selling in a buyer’s market, try to request an extended closing which will allow you more time to stay in your home before buying your new house.

Seller’s Market
If you’re buying in a seller’s market, you can make an offer with a settlement contingency. This means that your offer to buy a home is contingent on the closing of the home you’re selling. That way, you don’t have to buy the new house unless your home is sold. Again, remember that contingencies can decrease the competitiveness of your offer.

2. Prepare Your Home to Show

After you’ve determined the status of the market, you’ll need to start preparing your home to be shown. This includes hiring a Real Estate Agent, pricing your home right, and fixing it up to look appealing. Consider hiring a Home Inspector so you can take care of anything that needs fixing early on instead of waiting for the buyer’s inspector to find something unexpectedly which could mess up your timeline.

Another thing you can do to prepare your house to be shown to buyers is staging your home. You can do this yourself or hire a professional service to do the staging for you. While you are staging make sure you thoroughly clean the entire house or hire a cleaning service. These kinds of efforts can make a huge difference in attracting buyers and getting more money from the sale of your house.

3. List Your Home
Now that your house is in pristine shape for the market, have your agent list it and start accepting showings. Speak with your agent about what you’re looking for in contract negotiations to best stay on track with your timelines. This may also be the time to start viewing home listings you’re interested in buying.

4. Buy Your New Home

While you’re waiting on the closing of your current home, start the process of buying your new home. Determine your budget, work with your Loan Originator to get pre-approved for a mortgage, go house hunting if you haven’t yet, submit an offer, get an inspection on the home, and close.

We understand that this process can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re here for you. Our Loan Originators are happy to help guide you through your homebuying journey to help make it as simple and straightforward as possible. They’ll guide you through your options and help you make the choices that will satisfy your goals. Contact us today to get started. 


General

If you’re looking to refinance, improving your home’s curb appeal can strengthen your house’s appraisal value. And if you’re trying to sell, upgrading curb appeal can help your home sell quicker and for more money. Plus, enhancing curb appeal is a great move, even if you’re not selling or refinancing, because who doesn’t admire the results of any kind of home improvement? Whether you’re looking to refinance, sell, or just improve your home, bettering the curb appeal can make a huge difference – and it doesn’t have to be difficult! Here’s a list of simple projects you can take on to instantly skyrocket curb appeal.

1. Decorate with Lights

Consider adding lights such as lanterns on exterior walls or along walkways. Then make sure to turn them on at night. This will give your house a warm, welcoming glow. If you already have exterior lights, dust them off and clean them up – it will make a huge difference!

2. Spruce Up the Door

Even doing something as simple as hanging a wreath on your front door can really improve your curb appeal. Another option is to paint your door which is a great and inexpensive way to add a pop of color that enhances the look of your home. Choose a color that appears inviting and accentuates your home.

3. Add a Fresh Coat of Paint
Adding a layer of fresh paint to your home can really brighten and freshen up the look of your home, making your home appear cleaner, newer, and well-maintained.

4. Add Plants and Greenery

Think planters, hanging plants, and window boxes. Adding even a little bit of greenery can strongly improve your home’s appearance. Place planters by the door to accentuate this key spot, and keep symmetry in mind as you decorate.

5. Create a Clear Walkway
Line the path or walkway to your door with flowers, stones, and lights. This will make your home appear inviting and attractive.

6. Tend to the Lawn
Mow the grass, rake leaves, pull weeds, and trim shrubs. A little yard work goes a long way toward making a home look great.

7. Decorate Your Porch

A porch decked out with chairs, tables, benches, or swings livens up a home. You can hang flower baskets and string lights too.

8. Pressure Wash the Exterior
Consider pressure washing the siding, garage, driveway, walkway, and roof to make your home look shiny, clean, and new. This is also a great step to do before you apply a fresh coat of paint to the siding or garage.

9. Upgrade Your Mailbox
Replace your old mailbox with a shiny, new one. This is a simple way to instantly boost your curb appeal.

10. Replace Your House Numbers

Another way to make a difference in your home’s curb appeal without having to spend too much or do to much is to replace your house numbers. This is your chance to improve upon the overall look and feel of your house, so make sure to pick numbers that have a design that compliments your house.

11. Upgrade Little Things like Doorknobs and Door Knockers
Take this opportunity to look around and identify little bits of hardware or areas that you can easily replace. Changing out an old doorknob for a new one can do a lot for improving your house’s curb appeal.

12. Fix Up Little Issues
Now is the perfect time make easy, quick repairs of odds and ends like ripped screens and broken lightbulbs.

13. Conceal Electrical Fixtures
Paint electrical boxes attached to your house with the same color as the siding so that they’ll blend in. This is an easy way to hide what would otherwise stick out and take away from your curb appeal.

14. Clean Your Gutters
Clean gutters will make all the difference in the outside appearance of your home, so consider dedicating some time to this project.

15. Wash Your Windows

Another easy way to make the outside of your home more enticing is to wash your windows. Washing away dirt and grime will make your home look newer, which is a great way to possibly sell your home quicker and for more money.

Improving your home’s curb appeal doesn’t have to be an unreachable or expensive goal. There are plenty of easy, simple ways to make a difference which will help you sell or refinance your home. If you’re looking to refinance, speak to one of our Loan Originators today. We can help walk you through the steps you need to take so you can achieve your goals.


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