Do I need a pre-approval?

Ever had an agent deny to show you a home because you weren’t pre-approved for a mortgage? It’s not because they’re mean, or they don’t value your business… it’s actually because they’re looking out for your best interests.

Let’s face it, shopping for a home before getting pre-approved for a mortgage is like walking into a grocery store without a wallet. You may have the desire to buy, but you lack the ability. Let’s cover some basics…

What is a mortgage pre-approval?

In a nutshell, a mortgage pre-approval is written assurance from a lender or broker that you’re able to borrow money to purchase a home up to a certain amount. It’s based on the income, employment and asset documentation you supply at the time of application, in conjunction with your credit history. So let’s look at the 6 reasons you should get pre-approved.

1. It carries more weight than a “pre-qualification”.

pre-approval differs from a pre-qualification. With the former, the lender has actually checked your credit and verified your documentation to approve a specific loan amount (usually for a particular time period such as 30, 60 or 90 days). A pre-qualification can be useful as an estimate of how much you can afford to spend on your home, but it’s a less accurate indicator of your ability to purchase. A pre-approval always carries more weight.

2. You’ll know how much house you can afford.

Getting pre-approved before you begin house hunting allows you to know how much house you can realistically afford. Knowing this narrows down the options and makes the selection process more efficient. Not to mention, it protects you from the unpleasant surprise of realizing the home you fell in love with doesn’t fit your budget.

3. It adds clout to your offer.

In many markets, homes attract more than one offer. If the sellers are weighing one offer against another, they may lean towards the one accompanied by a pre-approval letter. That’s because pre-approvals instill confidence that the buyer is financially capable of purchasing their home.

4. It could increase your negotiating power.

In addition to strengthening your offer when compared to buyers who haven’t taken this step, getting pre-approved may give you the upper-hand when negotiating the price. If the homeowner is eager to sell, they may be more willing to accept a lower offer from someone they’ve been assured is financially capable of purchasing their home. 

5. It saves time.

Obtaining a mortgage is a lengthy process. Getting pre-approved ahead of time shortens the time between contract to close — this way you’re ready to proceed with finalizing the mortgage once you’ve found the home you want to purchase.

6. Without it, most agents won’t work with you.

Makes sense, too. Right? Think about it: when you hire an agent, he/she will invest countless hours showing you homes over the course of your house hunt. If you were in their shoes, wouldn’t you want assurance that your hard work would lead to a favorable outcome for both you and your client?

How to impress buyers

Little Things That Make a Big Impression on Buyers

It doesn’t take much to ruin a buyer’s impression of a home.

Take an otherwise appealing house and add peeling paint, a leaky faucet, and dirty dishes in the sink, and suddenly the buyer crosses that property off his list. Just as minor imperfections can turn off a buyer, a few small actions by you can make your home seem even more appealing.

Fix conspicuous problems

If you can’t afford to remedy all the problems with the house, at least fix obvious ones. A buyer will notice the rotten porch railing or cracked window pane on a casual walk-through.

Show the owner’s manuals

Sure, everything’s available online, but you still need to know the model number of your oven, dishwasher, and microwave when something breaks. Showing buyers that you’ve kept that information suggests that you’ve taken care of other things related to the house.

Make an effort outside

Short grass makes bare patches less obvious, and a few bags of mulch around trees and in flower beds can work magic on an otherwise lackluster yard. Add in a planter of colorful flowers by the front door, and you’ve added significantly to your curb appeal.

A little effort goes a long way with buyers, so ensure your home makes a great first impression.

Selling my home myths

First-time sellers beware: there are lots of myths out there about the right way to sell your home. While your Texas REALTOR® is your first line of defense against making these mistakes, here are three common selling myths busted:

Myth: I’ll sell my home on my own and save money by not using a real estate agent.
Truth: Texas REALTORS® don’t work for free, but that’s because they provide valuable assistance through the home-selling process. A REALTOR® can help you reduce your risk of making a costly selling mistake and are plugged into your local housing market. If you DIY, that means you’ll have to spend time marketing your home adequately, be available to show the home, and navigate your way through a tricky transaction alone.

Myth: If I price my home higher than market value, I’m leaving room for negotiations.
Truth: Buyers have no idea this is your strategy and won’t understand why your price is too high. Many won’t even view your home if it’s priced too high, much less put in an offer. An improperly priced home is also more likely to sit on the market, making potential buyers think there’s something wrong with it. And when that happens, you’ll probably end up with lower offers than if you’d priced the property correctly from Day One.

Myth: I’ll mow the lawn and hide my stuff and my home will be ready to show.
Truth: Is a mowed lawn and hidden clutter all it takes to attract you to a home? It won’t work for potential buyers of your property, either. Your Texas REALTOR® might go through your home with you and identify areas that could use some sprucing up to make your home more appealing. Or, he or she might recommend working with a home stager to make the best impression. Be open to those suggestions … your Texas REALTOR® knows what makes a property sell quickly for top dollar. Call us today and we can help you get your home ready to sell and for the best price!

When Is The Best Time Of Year To Buy A Home?

One question that pops up constantly from both first-time and seasoned homeowners alike is “When is the best time of year to buy a home?” Potential homeowners want to know the best time of year to get the best home for the lowest price – and ideally, at a time that makes sense for their life.

It would be great if there were a simple and straightforward answer, like “the best time of year to purchase a home is between April 1 and April 7.” But unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

Let’s take a look at the factors that play into answering the question “when is the best time of year to buy a home?”

Convenience

The first factor to consider when buying a home is convenience. This is particularly important if you have a family.

If you have school-aged children, you ideally want to move in between school years, so sometime between May and August. Pulling a child out of school in the middle of the year can be challenging, and children might have a hard time to adjusting to a new school in the middle of the year.

However, because so many potential homeowners have families that want to move during this time period, it drives up the prices, making the summer the most expensive time a year to buy a home.

So, if your main concern is convenience for your family, then summer is a good time to buy – just be prepared to pay a higher price than you would at other times of year.

Inventory

If your top priority is having a lot of houses to choose from, you’ll want to buy a house during the time of year when the most homes are on the market. That way, you’ll have your pick of multiple properties and are much more likely to find a home that has all the items on your wish list.

In most areas, the highest inventory peaks in the spring, right before the end of the school year. Inventory stays high throughout the summer and then starts to fall in early autumn, with the lowest inventory happening in late autumn and winter.

If you want a variety of homes to choose from, look to buy in the spring.

Price

If your main goal is to get an amazing home at a low price, the best time of year to buy is when competition is low. When there aren’t as many people looking to buy, it drives down the prices of homes, and you can purchase property at a significantly lower rate. On average, homes cost 8.45% less in January and February than they do in June, July, and August.

If you were looking at purchasing a $500,000 property, that would bring the price down $42,250 for a sale price of $457,750. That kind of price drop could save you a significant amount of money over the course of your mortgage and lower your monthly payments.

If you’re looking to get the most house for your money, purchasing a home in the winter is definitely your best bet.

The best time of year to buy a home is largely dependent on your needs and priorities. If you’re looking to buy at a time that’s most convenient for your family (and in particular, your children), buying during the summer is a great option. If you want to see as many homes as possible in order to find a property that has everything you’re looking for in a home, you’ll want to buy a home in the spring, when inventory is at its highest. And if your bottom line is you want to pay the lowest price possible, purchasing a home in the winter, when prices are significantly lower, will be the most advantageous.

Just keep in mind that finding and purchasing a home takes time; while it happens, the chances of finding a property during the first week of looking for a home are slim. On average, people spend 30 – 60 days looking for a home and another 14 – 60 days from contract to close, so make sure to give yourself plenty of lead time to take advantage of the time of year that’s best for YOU to purchase.

Seguin’s ZDT to be featured on Travel Channel

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Seguin’s very own amusement park, ZDT, will be featured on the Travel Channel tonight at 7 pm! Bert the Conqueror is a thrill seeker that goes across the country to test out thrill rides and his quest landed him in Seguin for the Switchback, the parks wooden rollercoaster that opened in October of last year.

The Switchback is unique because it includes banking at more than 90 degrees, a reversing spike and riders even go backwards! ZDT’s Switchback is the first modern wooden roller coaster, part of the appeal for Bert the Conqueror to test it out! To see his quest to conquer the Switchback, tune in tonight, August 30th at 7 pm on the Travel Channel!