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Good Morning!

As a homebuyer, having a competitive edge during our current housing market is an important part of the homebuying process.  I am often asked as to whether it is better to be a pre-approved buyer or a pre-qualified buyer for mortgage financing. The followng article from U.S. News will give you details on both and help you get that competitive edge.

Before you can buy a house, you have to know how you’ll pay for it. For 88 percent of homebuyers, that means financing the purchase with a loan, according to the National Association of Realtors' 2018 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report.

A major part of finding the right lender and knowing what you can afford is providing information to the bank, credit union or other lender to prove you can continue to pay back the loan, with interest, over time.

There are two options to find out what a bank is willing to lend you, as long as everything checks out once you’ve picked a house: prequalification and preapproval.

Prequalification. Having a prequalification letter from a lender means you’re conditionally approved to purchase a home up to a certain price, based on basic information about your income, debt and how much you have saved for a down payment.

While prequalification doesn’t require the documentation and proof of funds needed for a preapproval, it’s particularly helpful for homebuyers who have no idea about their budget for a home. “Prequalification gets them in a position to shop,” says John Pataky, executive vice president at TIAA Bank.

Preapproval. With preapproval, you’re providing the details about your employment and financial information and letting the lender pull your credit history to learn more about you as a borrower. A preapproval means the lender is stating confidence in lending you a certain amount of money to purchase a home, pending any issues with the house itself or unforeseen circumstances with your finances.

While the differences between preapproval and prequalification are merely a matter of reporting financial information versus providing documentation for it, a preapproval letter can be far more powerful when it comes time to place an offer on a home. That's because with preapproval, the seller has proof of your lender's confidence in you as a borrower. While prequalification makes it easier to shop for a home you can more realistically afford, preapproval gives you the strength to negotiate a purchase price, Pataky says.

Brian Simmons, founder and CEO of Ask a Lender, an online platform to help consumers shop lenders and loans and get financial advice, echoes the preference for preapproval: “One of the first things a buyer should do when they begin looking at homes is getting preapproved for a mortgage.”

If your local housing market is seeing frequent bidding wars and multiple offers on houses, a preapproval could help keep you from being overlooked by sellers who have many options to choose from when it comes to sale terms and price. Still, there are times when prequalification may be your best option to begin house hunting

Here are five things to keep in mind as you decide whether prequalification or preapproval is the best move for you.

To shop lenders, prequalify. You may not have decided on the lender you’d like to work with yet, and shopping around by inquiring with three lenders or so is always recommended. Rather than just talking to a loan officer about available programs, you can use the prequalification process to gauge how much a lender would be able to lend to you. Of course, don’t base your choice of lender solely on the maximum price you prequalify for. Also consider what terms, rates and other details will best suit you in the long run.

Don’t get preapproved by too many lenders. Preapproval includes a full review of your financial background, including your credit history. As a result, that inquiry is noted in your credit report and can negatively impact your credit score if you have too many recent checks into your credit history.

“It doesn’t necessarily reflect well on you,” Pataky says. If you’re unsure which lender you want to work with, ask more questions and consider trying out prequalification first, then apply for preapproval once you’ve made your decision.

Neither guarantees a rate lock. The interest rate on your mortgage may be a deciding factor in whether you can afford a certain house. But your ability to secure a desirable interest rate through a rate lock, which guarantees your rate will not increase over a set time period – typically between 30 and 90 days – often only happens when you’ve found the house you want to buy.

Rate locks vary based on lender practices, but prequalification rarely offers a rate lock, and preapproval often doesn’t include a rate lock until you’ve identified the house you wish to purchase – or even until the seller has accepted your offer. 

Ask your lender what’s required to ensure a rate lock and how long that rate lock lasts. In many cases, the lock is limited to 30 days, which is just enough time to get through the contract period on a house.

Preapproval still isn’t a done deal. Even if your lender is impressed by your salary and pristine history of paying off debt, no preapproval is a guarantee that a mortgage will be approved once you’ve found the house you want. There are still other factors at play, the first of which focuses on whether your financial situation has changed.

“The factors by which you were preapproved have to be maintained,” Pataky says. That means not quitting your job, not buying a Maserati to keep up with the Joneses in your new neighborhood and not opening up five credit cards in the last two weeks, he explains.

Another factor standing between you and mortgage approval is the house’s condition and appraised value. Even if you’re preapproved to buy a house for $400,000 and agree to that same price with the seller, if the house appraised for only $375,000, your lender will likely only approve you for a mortgage on the house at $375,000. You’re then tasked with trying to renegotiate on price with the seller, coming up with the extra cash on your own or starting your search for a home all over again.

Keep asking your lender questions. Even if you’ve bought a home with a mortgage before, it’s likely been at least a few years, and the process will feel different. At every step of the way, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask your lender about expectations, timing and documents you should have ready to help streamline the process as much as possible.

“During the preapproval process, the buyer will need to provide some of the documentation their loan officer will use when it’s time to underwrite the loan,” Simmons says. “This is a good opportunity to ask the lender questions about the process and get a checklist of documents the lender will need, such as pay stubs, bank statements and tax documents.”

Have an awesome week!

 

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Price: $359,900    Beds: 4    Baths: 2.5    Sq Ft: 2406

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How To Avoid Accidents In Your Home With These 6 Easy Tips

by Galand Haas

Good Monday Morning!


There has been a large number of home accidents over the past several months in the Eugene and Springfield area. With that in mind, I am sending this article from "Realty Times" on home accidents.


It's safe to say that none of us are purposely making our homes a hazard. And, no matter how hard we try, accidents still happen. But there is nothing more important than protecting ourselves, our families, and our investment.


"The home is supposed to be where you and your family are safe and protected but every year accident and emergency units deal with serious injuries and sometimes fatal accidents that occur in the home," said StaySafe. "It is not just children and the elderly that can come to harm in the home with things like chemicals and choke hazards. Accidents in the home claim 18,000 lives each year in America alone, "accounting for 21 million medical visits annually. Many of these accidents are preventable."


These tips will uncover key areas where dangers typically lie and the simple maintenance involved in avoiding them.


Dryer vents

Thousands of fires are started in the home every year because of deferred maintenance related to the clothes dryer. You may clean out the lint screen, but it's the lint you can't see that accumulates in the vent that can be dangerous. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) "recommends cleaning or having a professional inspect the vent for lint build-up a minimum of every two to three years," said Hunker. "Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in case a fire does break out in or around your dryer."


Falls

A third of all fatalities in the home are due to falls. A great number of them are related to old age, however people of all ages can also be at risk. Installing safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs is an obvious safety precaution with little ones, as are grab bars in bathrooms that are serving older individuals. Closely monitoring wet areas - just outside the shower and bath and in front of the kitchen sink - can help with slips. Installing nonslip rug pads under area rugs is key to keeping them in place and eliminating falls.


Blinds

The thought of a young child being strangled due to hanging cords from window blinds is horrifying. But it happens. According to USA Today, "Injuries and death from window blind cords send two kids to emergency department each day." Eliminate the worry without having to give up the blinds by choosing a cordless version. They give you the look and room-darkening features you want with some added safety measures.


Fire alarms

When's the last time you changed your fire alarm batteries? If you can't remember, you're obviously overdue. "Install fire alarms on all levels of your home, and check and change the batteries at least annually," said safewise. "Consider investing in a smart smoke detector like Nest Protect. This alarm uses Wi-Fi to provide real-time updates and remote monitoring right on your smartphone or other mobile device." 


A dirty oven

Most ovens today have a self-cleaning feature. While it's not entirely pleasant to endure the smell while it's doing its thing, it far outweighs the alternative, especially considering 40 percent of fires in the home start in the kitchen.


"A dirty oven can cause fires while cooking, allowing charred food or grease to ignite," said Home Security. "Clean your oven regularly and always attend food while cooking in the oven.'


Carbon monoxide posioning

Carbon monoxide is called the silent killer because "its presence is not known until symptoms of the exposure are experienced," said Poison Control. "It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and potentially dangerous gas. You can't see it or smell it." 


It's typical for smoke detectors to be in homes, but despite the fact that a carbon monoxide detector can save lives, they are often left to the homeowner to purchase and install. "Each year in the United States, more than 200 accidental deaths are caused by carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. It is considered the leading cause of death from poisoning in the United States.


Have an awesome week!

 

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 Price: $269,900   Beds: 3   Baths: 2   Sq.Ft: 1,172

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Simple Home Selling Tips To Attract Buyers

by Galand Haas

Good Morning!

Even in the strong sellers market that we are currently experiencing in the Eugene and Springfield area, there are always a few homes that just don't sell.  9 times out of 10, the issue is price.  We find that even during hot markets, overpriced homes may get looked at, but they just do not attract offers.  Pricing with the market is crucial with any kind of market and today, we find that competitive pricing often brings in multiple offers and the purchase war begins.  This strategy will bring about a sale for top dollar value in any market.  Along with this, there are a few things that homeowners can do to make their home more attractive to potential buyers.  The following are a few tips that just might help you if you have a home on the market or if you are considering the sale of your home.


If your home is in pretty good shape (i.e. it's decently updated and not in need of a total overhaul), you might think it's ready to go on the market as is. But little things you wouldn't expect can end up being deal breakers. And, when you've got competition, you need your home to stand out for all the right reasons. Give your home a good look and address the little things now before they become big problems when buyers are balking.

 

Cords hanging from your mounted TV

This is one of those things that tends to fade into the background in a home we live in every day. But don't be surprised if new eyes go right to those dangling cords and wonder why you didn't take the next step and hide them in the wall. Anything that makes a potential buyer question whether you cut corners or were lazy elsewhere could spell bad news for your home sale.

 

An unkempt yard

So, you had your landscapers out to clean out your flower beds, trim the bushes, plant colorful new blooms and mulch everything. And then, the night before a showing, a storm blew a whole mess of leaves into your yard. Grab that rake and make it a family affair out on the lawn at dawn. You know what they say about first impressions. Buyers likely won't be forgiving of a messy lawn, and your house may stand out if they can see the effort made to clean it up when the neighbors' yards are still 15-deep in leaves.

 

A dingy front door

Again with the first impressions. Your home may look great inside, but if the front door is chipped or faded, or the hardware is worn, your potential buyers may never get past it. This is an easy fix, and one that consistently rates high on the ROI scale.

 

Animals

While homebuyers in general may not mind if animals live in the home they are considering purchasing (unless there are severe allergy issues), they don't want to see - and, especially, smell - evidence of them. You have probably gathered up and stowed away the overflowing box of toys and balls. But have you considered the smell? You might not notice it, but first-time visitors likely will.

You don't have to rehome your pets; Use these tips from petMD to make your home smell pet-free.

 

Cobwebs

Even if you keep a pretty clean home, there may be areas that need attention, like ceiling fans or windowsills that are out of reach. You may not have a housekeeper on a regular basis, but doing a one-time, super deep clean before your home hits the market is a good way to make sure potential buyers don't nitpick and find a reason to question the home's condition.

 

Poor furniture arrangement

If you're rolling your eyes at the idea that the way you have your living room laid out could make a difference in whether or not your home sells, remember back to when you saw the home for the first time. Were you picturing your own furniture in the space? That's what real buyers do, and if they can't picture how it will work because you have too much stuff in the space or it's oddly configured - blocking a fireplace or doorway, for instance - you're keeping them from doing the thing that could make them buy the home.

 

"Square footage is important to homebuyers, so when you're selling a house it's important to maximize the space to appear bigger and highlight each room's dual functionality to enhance buyer appeal," said U.S. News & World Report. "A home seller can do this by decluttering, lighting up the room and especially by having your furniture strategically placed to show off the square footage. The layout will determine the visual size and flow of the room." You can learn more staging tips for arranging your furniture here.

 

Junk drawers and crammed cabinets

Buyers who are genuinely interested in your home are likely going to open everything and look everywhere. It's not snooping (at least, we hope it's not snooping!) - it's an interest in how much storage there is in the home. You may be forgiven for one "junk drawer," but the neater and cleaner you can make everything else, the better. You want people to see the space, not your stuff.

 

Overfilled closets

The need to showcase the space, not the stuff, goes double for closets. "Whether it's a hallway coat closet or a master suite walk-in, your home's closets will have a major big impact on prospective buyers," said Apartment Therapy. "Box up off-season apparel - or better yet, donate it - and remove extra hangers so yours looks spacious and streamlined."

 

Cluttered countertops

Eliminating, or at least cutting down on, clutter in your home is key to getting it sale-ready, and this is especially important in kitchens and bathrooms. While people may be impressed by your professional mixer and juicer, they're much more interested in knowing they have ample countertop space for their own stuff.

 

Have An Awesome Week!

 

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7 Smart Options to Obtain the Best Credit Score

by Galand Haas

Good Monday Morning!

If you are considering a home purchase, your credit score is a huge part of this process.  You credit score also impact many part of your financial life from what you pay for car insurance to your ability to get credit.  The following is an article from "Realty Times' that goes over some great ideas on how to obtain the best credit score.

Getting ready to buy a house or just thinking about it? Where to buy, what to buy, and how you'll afford it are probably top of mind. But if you're not also concentrating on your credit score - and by concentrating on, we mean actively trying to raise your scores as much as possible - you're not looking at the whole homebuying picture.

Not only can does your credit score factor greatly into what you'll pay for your house, it can keep you from being able to buy one, period. "Your credit history determines what loans you will qualify for and the interest rate you will pay," said eloan. "A credit score provides an easy way for lenders to numerically judge your credit at a point in time. It gauges how likely you are to repay your loan in a timely manner. The better your history appears, the more attractive you become as a loan customer."

Thankfully, your credit score is not static; it can (and does) change all the time, and there are all kinds of ways to improve it, some better than others. We're running down the smartest options to boost your score in the new year.

Shoot for perfection

850 is the best score you can possibly get, and, while it may seem completely out of reach, there are people who actually crest that credit mountain and reach the top. "It's the Holy Grail of all credit scores: 850. On the widely used FICO credit score scale, approximately one in every 200 people achieves perfection, at least as of a 2010 estimate by the Fair Isaac Corporation," said The Motley Fool. Careful budgeting and detailed attention to every aspect of their financial picture are the umbrella tactics they use to get and maintain that score - and they're ones you should be using, too.

Or, shoot for 750

If 850 is out of reach within a reasonable timeframe (reasonable being the maximum amount of time you want to wait before buying a home), try for 750. This is the magic number for many lenders and creditors. "It puts the ball completely in the corner of the consumer rather than the lender, said The Motley Fool. "You'll often have lenders fighting for your business, and in nearly all instances, you'll be offered the best interest rate by lenders, meaning you'll have the lowest possible long-term mortgage and loan costs of any consumer."

Talking to your lender about the items on your credit report that have the best chance of raising your score is key. You may think that paying off that old unpaid account from six years ago is an easy way to get a score bump, but is it about to fall off of your report on its own? 

Set up automatic payments

According to CreditCards.com, a good 35 percent of your credit score is taken from your payment history. You may have missed payments in the past that you need to deal with now, but you certainly don't want to make another mistake while you're trying to get homebuyer-ready. Almost every creditor, from your utilities to your car payment to any outstanding student loans you may have, offers the option of automatic payments. This is the easiest way to ensure you never miss a payment because you got busy or spaced on the due date.

But, just remember to make sure there is enough cash in your account to cover the payments on the day the money will be coming out. If you have been busy moving funds into savings for your down payment, you'll want to set a reminder to put money back into whatever account your auto payments are attached to.

Ask before you shut down credit cards

The amount of credit you have is a factor in qualifying - or not - for a mortgage. Too much debt is a bad thing. But, long-term credit use that has been managed properly can be helpful to your score. If your lender does recommend getting rid of some of your available credit, it likely won't be older cards. "Length of credit history is considered when determining your score - so the longer you've had a credit card, the better," said CNN Money.

Also beware that closing any card triggers a change in your "utilization," and that might not be a positive. Be sure to consult with your lender first.

Watch your credit limits

Banks don't look kindly on those who have used all of their available credit because it gives the appearance that you're not living within your means. "The amount of available credit you use is the second most important factor in your score," said NerdWallet. "Experts recommend you keep your balance on each card below 30% of your limit — if your limit is $5,000, your balance should be under $1,500." 

Of course, even lower is better. Get to 20% or even 10%, and you'll be in great shape. But don't go below that. While it may seem like a zero balance would indicate that you are financially savvy, banks like to see responsible credit management. That means using your cards and paying down the balance to a reasonable level every month.

Pay down your debt…but check with your lender first

If you're trying to weigh the best tactics for improving your credit and you don't have the funds to take care of every outstanding wrinkle on your credit report and pay down your existing debt at the same time, you definitely want to check with your lender before you make any move. Every dollar is important, and while NerdWallet notes that your credit score will "soar" as you "pay off your debt as aggressively as possible without acquiring more," it could be that your lender has a strategy that places more importance on other credit issues in your report, or has structured your credit repair according to a different timeline.

This underscores the importance of working with a lender who is skilled and experienced in credit repair. Using the tools our lender gave us, we were able to improve our score by almost 100 points in four months, allowing us to qualify for the home we wanted and get a great interest rate.

Don't be afraid to refinance

You may end up buying a home before you get your credit score exactly where you want it to be. If you're in an appreciating market, which much of the country is, and your score continues to rise after you close escrow, you might be in a position to refinance sooner than you think. Especially if you buy your home with an FHA loan, their streamline refinance program can potentially lower your rate without an appraisal, a credit check, or job/income verification.

Have An Awesome Week!

THIS WEEK'S HOT HOME LISTING!

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3155 PORTLAND ST
Price: $365,000 Beds: 4 Baths: 2 Sq Ft: 2242
Gorgeous East Eugene home with valley views. Lower level has separate living potential with full kitchen, bedrooms, bath and laundry. Decks, privacy, RV parking,very light and bright. Super close to U of O and shopping areas. New roof and gas firepl...



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Say Goodbye to Renting and Hello to Homeownership

by Galand Haas

Good Monday Morning!

If you are renting a home or apartment and you would like to become a home owner, instead of supporting your landlord, you should start planning now on how to make this happen.  Yes, home values are up in the Eugene and Springfield area, but mortgage interest rates remain extremely affordable.  Many times, home payments will be far less than rents and also have some great tax advantages.  Here is an article from "Realty Times" that gives some ideas on how to get ready for your first home purchase.

Becoming a first-time homeowner takes a lot more than a desire to buy a house. It takes a lot of effort on your part to save up a down payment — which is usually a pretty good sized chunk of change — research neighborhoods, get pre-approved for a loan and other steps. Fortunately, it is quite possible to say goodbye to renting and hello to homeownership, especially when homeowners-to-be consider the following tips:

Focus on the Down Payment

In order to leave the land of rent, you are going to need a down payment — plain and simple. While it is common to put down 20 percent, some lenders now allow a much smaller amount, and first-time home buyer programs may go as low as 3 percent. While a smaller down payment may sound enticing, a 5 percent down payment on a $200K home is still $10,000 — not exactly a small sum. If saving money does not come naturally for you, don’t worry. With some relatively minor lifestyle changes you can speed up the down payment savings process. Come up with a savings plan to determine how much you need to set aside every week or month and then find ways to “find” that money in your budget. Using the $10,000 example from before, if you are determined to buy a home in two years, you’ll have to come up with about $415 a month to stash into your down payment account. Take a close look at your monthly bills and determine what you can pare down or eliminate — maybe you are paying $75 a month for a gym membership you rarely use, or you pay $40 extra for premium satellite channels that no one watches. These services can be cancelled and the money can go directly into your savings account. Eat out less, have Starbucks twice a week instead of every day and if you need to, consider a side hustle on the weekends to reach this magical monthly amount of $415.

Avoid Identity Theft

Unfortunately, the chances of becoming a victim of identity theft increase when you are buying and moving into a new home. The stacks of documents that are part of buying a home and that are filled with your personal information may accidentally fall into the wrong hands, and once you move, mail may not be routed correctly and thieves may steal your mail and your identity from your old mailbox. Prevent this situation from happening by purchasing an identity theft protection program; find a trusted company that will help safeguard your personal data. In addition to letting you know when a bank pulls your credit report and asking if you have authorized this inquiry, certain services will monitor your financial activity and alert you if anything is amiss.

Check Your Credit Report

When you start the pre-approval process for a loan and then move on to the Big Kahuna of applying for an actual mortgage, your credit report will be pulled numerous times. Your credit score will then be used to determine if you are approved for a loan, and what type of interest rate you will get. Please do not wait until you have the down payment saved and you are champing at the bit to go look at houses to check your FICO score — check your credit as early in the process as you can. If you have a credit card that has been issued through your bank, give them a call and see if they can run your report for you for free; in the cases of some credit cards, they also offer a free monthly FICO score check. Read through the report and check for any errors; this includes credit lines you never opened and delinquent payments that you know were made on time. Dispute any mistakes that you find and look for ways to boost your credit score, like paying down credit card bills and setting up automatic bill pay so you are never late with your payments.

Have An Awesome Week!

 

THIS WEEK'S HOT HOME LISTING! 

Image Unavailable
36946 PARSONS CREEK RD
Price: $379,000 Beds: 3 Baths: 1 Half Baths: 1 Sq Ft: 1,890
Rustic Tuscan country-style charm! Terra Cotta tile, wood flr, rustic dr & window wood trim, steel beams, large windows. Remodeled kitchen w/ ship lap feature wall, galvanized metal backsplash, butchers block countertop & eating bar. Kitchen opens t...


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Sell Your Home Quickly & For A Profit This Winter

by Galand Haas

Good Morning!

Most people would think that after Summer leaves us there is no chance of selling a home.  This is simply not true and sometimes the Winter home market can be red hot.  This year especially with the inventory of homes available for sale being very low, the Winter market could be very good.  Typically, inventories of homes for sale dips even lower during the Winter months due to the fact that most people think Spring/Summer is the selling time.  Less competition can lead to a quicker sale and more money for the seller.  The following is an article from "Realty Times" that gives some good advice for selling a home during the Winter months.

So you've decided to list your home this winter. Perhaps you've had a job change, need to relocate out of the area, or have financial or family reasons for moving. No matter what is driving the move, you may be concerned about selling at this time of year. But just because you missed the boat on the spring selling season doesn't mean you can't get your home sold quickly, and for a profit. A few tips can help get it moving.

Take photos early... or late

If you can take photos before the trees become barren and the grass goes dormant, do so! The last thing you want is for your home to look blah and depressing in photos. If you can capture a snowy day (with perfectly scraped walkways, of course), that works, too. It never hurts to have your home looking like a winter wonderland.

Go easy on the holiday décor

"Deck the halls, but don't go overboard," said HGTV. "Homes often look their best during the holidays, but sellers should be careful not to overdo it on the decor. Adornments that are too large or too many can crowd your home and distract buyers. Also, avoid offending buyers by opting for general fall and winter decorations rather than items with religious themes."

Always mind your curb appeal

Just because it's winter doesn't mean you can let things slide out front. Potential buyers won't give you a pass on chipping paint, a fence that needs repair, or a front door that's seen better days just because it's frigid outside.

Safety matters

Shoveling the walk from the street to your home is necessary to make it reachable, make it inviting, and also make it safe. The last thing you want is a slip and fall that could result in an injury, and a lawsuit. "Continually shovel a path through the snow, especially if snowflakes are still falling," said the balance. "Footprints on freshly fallen snow will turn to ice if the temperature is low enough, so scrape the walk. Sprinkle a layer of sand over the sidewalk and steps to ensure your buyers' stable footing. Remember to open a path from the street to the sidewalk so visitors aren't forced to crawl over snowdrifts."

Get a good indoor mat

Perhaps you never use a mat for indoors or yours is grubby or tattered from 10 straight years of winter wear. This one super easy move may not be noticed by visitors - but it sure will if it's missing or not in good shape. Little things like a $10 mat can give buyers the impression that your whole house is well cared for, or just the opposite.

Clear the front door clutter

If you live in a climate where there is likely to be snow or rain, there are a few more steps you'll probably have to take in order to keep your house looking great inside. How does your coat closet look? If it's stuffed with jackets, scarves, boots, and gloves, relocating some to make room for potential buyers to put their stuff away while touring your home is a good idea - plus, a tidy coat closet gives the impression that there is plenty of storage space in the home. It goes without saying that winter wear and shoes that tend to stack up in the entry should be banished while your house is on the market.

Make sure everything is functional

Imagine you live in a climate that stays relatively temperate year-round, and then you have a cold spell. You turn on the heater for the first time the night before your first showing, and…nothing. Same for the fireplace in the living room. Your freezing cold house is probably not going to make a great impression on buyers. As soon as you decide you're going to sell your home, go through it room by room, checking all major appliances and home functions and looking for little things that may escape notice on an everyday basis - cracked light switches, chipped baseboards, light bulbs that need to be replaced - so your home is perfect for showings.

Light it up

Shorter days with earlier sunsets limit the amount of natural light in your home. Turning on all the lights before showings is more important than ever. Think about the exterior when it comes to lights, too. If you only have a porch light, you might want to consider adding some landscaping lighting, which will help accentuate your outdoor space.

Listen to your REALTOR® when it comes to price

Will you be able to command top dollar for your home and get the same price you would have had you listed in spring or summer? That depends on so many things, including your neighborhood, the available inventory, the condition of the home, and, of course, your listing price. A trusted real estate agent will take all mitigating factors into consideration and use comparables in your area to develop a pricing strategy.

When it comes to offers, remember this tidbit from Realtor.com: "Just because your home's on the market during the slow, chilly months doesn't mean you have to accept a lowball offer. If you make your home attractive in all the right ways, qualified buyers will come."

 Have An Awesome Week!

THIS WEEKS HOT HOME LISTING!

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1335 B ST
Price: $210,000 Beds: 3 Baths: 1 Half Baths: 1 Sq Ft: 1690
Delightfully renovated! New carpet, vinyl floors, fresh interior & exterior paint, newer roof. Well-sized living rm. Family rm w/ slider & fireplace opens to dining area & well-sized kitchen. Upstairs bedrooms w/ skylights. Bonus rm/4th BR. Laundry/...

 



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8 Quick Tips On Preparing Your Home For Sale

by Galand Haas

Good Monday Morning!

Even in the hot sellers market that we currently have here in the Eugene and Springfield area, it is important to prepare your home for sale if you are going to put it on the market. Paying attention to detail and having your home in great condition can mean a quicker sale and far more money.  Even in this market, I see homes sit out there and not sell.  You still have to price your home right, but condition is an extremely important factor for most homebuyers.  Here is an article from "Realty Time" that will give you some pointers on preparing your home for sale.

Unless you've never bought or sold a house before and have never looked at home listings or watched a single show about real estate (which is pretty hard these days), you have some semblance of an idea of how your home should look when you go to sell it. You probably also have a clue about how best to show off that home in photos (or, at least, you know the importance of showing off that home in photos), even if you personally lack the skill to take them yourself.

But what happens when you ignore the rules? Does a hot market render them irrelevant? Is it OK to list a home for top dollar when the condition is more fixer-upper? "You might think that buyers can see the potential of a house that just needs a little bit of work, but most are looking for a house that is move-in ready and doesn't need any major repairs," said Business Insider. "And even a home that only needs minor repairs may still look like a bad deal to some buyers, turning them off based on appearance alone."

The truth is that if you want good money for your home, you have to do a little work to get it "show ready." Buyers expect to be able to walk into a clean, decluttered home - at the very least. If it's not updated, it better at least look like it's move-in ready.

So how do you explain this listing, then? We'll leave the address and other identifying info out of it to protect the innocent. But a few things we can say: The home is brand-new to the market, and is no bargain, as you might think from looking at the photos; It's priced at least $10,000 over what it should be, just based on comparables, which, for a house in the low $200,000s, is considerable. The photos were obviously taken by the homeowner, who clearly didn't know how to best show off the property (although there were a couple snaps that were passable for an amateur) and who, it looks like, didn't even care enough to try to get it right by: Getting the camera in focus, cleaning out cluttered spaces, and even making sure there weren't random people in the frame of one shot.

At least it will serve as a great example of "what not to do" when selling your home.

1. Don't take your own photos

We'd be remiss if we skipped over one of the main problems here before getting into the details. Don't Take Your Own Listing Photos. Oh, were we screaming? Photos that were not professionally done stick out like, well, photos that weren't professionally done.

"You already know that a listing with pictures attracts a lot more attention than one without, but do you know how to take great pictures of a home? Whether you're an agent or a person trying to sell his own home, it's vital that you make a big first impression, and pictures are the best (and maybe only) opportunity that you will have to do just that," said Inman.

If you absolutely insist on taking your own photos, at least consult some basic rules. Most of which were broken in the listing in question. Note that the photo below was one of the better of the bunch.

2. Address your kitchen

Don't want to make any upgrades to your kitchen before you get the home on the market? That'll cost you (literally). Even painting out those cabinets, a cheap and easy fix, would make a huge difference. But, if you're not going to make changes to improve this key area, at least make the most basic effort to show it in its best light by removing as much clutter as you can. That means everything off your countertops. And your fridge. And the top of our fridge. There's no reason that stuff can't be put away for photos, and for showings. Basic staging rule #1. 

3. Emphasize the space and function, not the other way around

That printer on the kitchen counterop says: "We don't have room for a home office." Unplug. Put in closet. Problem solved. 

4. Always keep your selling points in mind

People like bedrooms - clean and tidy bedrooms that they can imagine their children sleeping and playing in. What, exactly, are we trying to show off here? The dead animal on the wall? The clutter on the floor? The glare from the windows? Perhaps the unique angle of the image that ignored all those basic listing photo rules? This shot shows none of the attributes of the room and only makes a potential buyer question the seller's taste level—and gives them closet space concerns. 

5. Focus!

Maybe check the photo to make sure nothing is blurry before posting it? Just a suggestion. Also, even if this picture was in focus, it still wouldn't be effective. You're not selling bedding, you're selling a home. This image tells a potential buyer nothing about the size or condition of the room. 

6. Show off your bathroom

Where do we even start here? From the weird angle that doesn't show the space, to the missing light bulb, to the clutter in the shower/hanging robe, this is just all wrong. 

7. Emphasize outdoor space

It goes without saying that showing off your outdoor space is important. A little effort to repaint the unkempt patio would have helped. At the very least, mow the yard, trim the bushes, and remove the ladder. An unkempt backyard will only make a potential buyer wonder what else needs attention, especially if they've seen some questionable spaces indoors. 

8. Keep people out of your photos

Stalker alert! The straggler near the fence draws attention away from the other features of the yard - which, in this case, might not be so bad, really. Still…If you only have one photo of the yard or if the best of the bunch has a person in the frame, there's still one thing you can do: Learn how to use the camera's crop feature.

Have An Awesome Week!

THIS WEEKS HOT HOME LISTING!

755 Horn Ln

Price: $295,000  Beds: 4   Baths: 2   Sq Ft: 1868

Tranquil & spacious property! Beautifully landscaped 0.41 acre lot provides seclusion & great entertaining spaces. Remodeled home offers updated kitchen & baths, large living rm w/ gas fp, formal dining, large windows+skylight. Private master ste w/...View Home for Sale>>



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Consider These 4 Criteria When Looking For Your Next Home

by Galand Haas

Good Monday Morning!

The low inventory of homes for sale that we currently have in our local Real Estate market has made home buying much more difficult.  The current shortage of homes for sale has driven prices up and made our home purchase market very competitive, especially in the price ranges where most first time homebuyers are looking.  It is easy to get caught up in this competitive market and pay too much for a home or purchase a home that may not fit your needs.  In this market, the help of a knowledgeable homebuyer specialist Realtor is a must.  They can help keep you from making mistakes that will haunt you down the road. It is also important to educate yourself about the current market and to not be forced into a rush purchase.  The following article from "Realty Times" talks about how to deal with a home purchase during this market.

There's no perfect home, but some homes are more ideal for your household than others. When you look for your next home, carefully consider these four criteria - price, features, location and condition. The closer you get to meeting all four criteria, the better your chances are of making a good buy.

Price

In any market, price has to come first. To determine what you can comfortably afford, talk to your real estate professional. He or she can recommend a lender who will prequalify you for a purchase loan. When you know how much you can spend, it will be easier to shop for homes within your price range. With luck, one will stand out.

Features

The size of your household and your activities determine the features you want in your next home. The number of bedrooms, baths and living areas are a matter of comfort and convenience. You may want an extra bedroom for guests or a second master suite for parents.

If you work a lot at home, you'll want a private home office or a computer nook. You may want a playroom for the kids, a separate laundry area, and fenced yard and covered patio for entertaining. An eat-in kitchen may be more important to you than a formal dining room. You may want an outdoor kitchen or at least an entertainment area.

Think about your daily life from morning to bedtime, and how your next home can make these activities more pleasant. This should be your "must-have" list, and will help you look at homes more objectively.

Location

Some areas will always be more expensive to live in than others. Neighborhoods that are well-kept tend to maintain higher home values. Homes that are close to jobs, schools and shopping centers tend to sell for more money than homes without as much infrastructure.

What is the best home you can find in the area where you want to live? If these homes are out of your range, you can compromise -- buy a smaller home or a home that needs lots of work in the best neighborhood you can afford.

Condition

Condition refers to the state of repair. Does the home have curb appeal? Is it updated and well-maintained, or does it need extensive and expensive remodeling? Carefully consider any deferred maintenance, such as a roof that may need to be replaced in only a few years. Consider the design and functionality -- is the kitchen too small and would you be able to afford to remodel it? Look closely at repairs, cleanliness and traffic flow.

The one advantage of buying a home that needs updates and repairs is that these homes cost less than updated homes in the same neighborhood.

Be prepared to compromise. Don't frustrate yourself or your family looking for perfection. Sometimes the home of your dreams doesn't have every feature on your checklist, or it may be a little further away than your favorite neighborhood, but you'll be happy if it has most of criteria you want at the price you can afford.

Have An Awesome Week!

THIS WEEK'S HOT HOME LISTING!

32538 Hatfield St

Price: $485,000 Beds: 5 Baths: 3 Sq Ft: 2472

Beautiful new craftsman style home located in the heart of Coburg. Located within walking distance to restaurants, shops and city park. Master suite and guest suite on the main level. Great room concept with a bonus room upstairs. Front yard landscaping and RV parking. Completion date mid-July. Hurry so you can select your own colors! Updated exterior view/picture coming soon. Taxes not yet determined.

Beautiful new craftsman style home located in the heart of Coburg. Located within walking distance to restaurants, shops and city park. Master suite and guest suite on the main level. Great room concept with a bonus room upstairs. Front yard landscaping and RV parking. Completion date mid-July. Hurry so you can select your own colors! Updated exterior view/picture coming soon. Taxes not yet determined. - See more at: http://www.eugeneoregonhomesforsale.com/Property/32538-Hatfield-St-Coburg-Oregon#sthash.51RvKbXF.dpuf
Beautiful new craftsman style home located in the heart of Coburg. Located within walking distance to restaurants, shops and city park. Master suite and guest suite on the main level. Great room concept with a bonus room upstairs. Front yard landscaping and RV parking. Completion date mid-July. Hurry so you can select your own colors! Updated exterior view/picture coming soon. Taxes not yet determined. - See more at: http://www.eugeneoregonhomesforsale.com/Property/32538-Hatfield-St-Coburg-Oregon#sthash.51RvKbXF.dpuf



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3 Steps To Save Money For Your Dream Home

by Galand Haas

Good Morning!

Today, with home prices rising faster than wages and a slight bump in mortgage interest rates, the home market for first-time homebuyers is tougher than it has been in a long time.  Saving enough money for a downpayment and also enough money to keep monthly payments in check can be a tough task.  The following article from "Realty Times" gives would be first-time homebuyers some good advice on how to prepare for a home purchase.

According to Harvard University's "State of the Nation's Housing" report, while more people than ever before want to own their own home, fewer feel financially ready to do so yet. Reasons range from high rents to student loan debt. Millennials, in particular, are waiting longer to get married, start families and purchase their first home. But this is not necessarily bad news for the housing market. In fact, it could mean that the millennial generation has something to teach us all about saving consistently towards a big life goal such as owning your own home!

In this article, learn three important steps to take when you start saving for your dream home.

Step 1: Pay down your debt to clean up your credit.

Your credit score is a tricky business when it comes to saving for your first home. You have no history of carrying a mortgage, so you can't make any real impact there. What you can do is to clean up your overall credit report so your general credit score is as healthy as possible before you apply for your mortgage loan.

According to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), a surprising number of Americans think they have "above average" (60 percent) to "very good" (41 percent) credit, although a full 48 percent have not seen their credit score in the past three years or ever.

So clearly, this is where you need to start. The best way to differentiate yourself from your competition (other people who are trying to convince a direct lender to give them a mortgage loan) is to pay down your debt, clear up any disputes on your credit report and, in so doing, boost your credit score so you can qualify for the best mortgage at the lowest interest rates.

Step 2: Separate and automate your savings.

Saving money is never going to be the easiest goal you attempt. In fact, according to The Atlantic, one of the chief reasons that nearly half of all Americans have little or no emergency savings to fall back on is taking on too much mortgage debt.

So here is a clear area where you should proceed with caution. First, save. Then, buy a home. The best approach to make saving as painless as possible for you is to automate your savings. You can do this by setting up direct deposit on your paycheck and then regular auto-drafts into a savings account reserved just for dream home savings. This way, you never even touch those funds and feel tempted to spend them instead.

Step 3: Downsize to upsize

Finally, one effective change many adults today are making to save more towards their dream home is to downsize while they save. This can mean anything from moving to a smaller apartment to getting rid of your cable television subscription. Also, you must continually remind yourself why you have downsized in order for this step to work well.

But the key to making downsizing work to serve your greater goals is to make sure you deposit every cent of what you save into your dream home fund. Referring back to Step 2 here, the easiest way to do this is to calculate for yourself exactly what you are saving by paying less rent, giving up cable, etc., and then setting up a monthly auto-draft in that amount to deposit directly into your dream home savings account.

By following these three steps, you can make tangible financial progress in saving to buy your dream home. If you can save 20 percent towards a downpayment, you can avoid paying expensive Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) and you may even qualify for a lower interest rate. Scrimping and saving is never fun or easy, but it will be worth it when your realtor hands you that brand-new set of house keys!

Have An Awesome Week!

THIS WEEKS HOT LISTING!

Hilltop Drive #1

Price: $225,000    Beds: 0    Baths: 0    Sq Ft: 0

Development property platted for 8 residential building lots. Easy access for roads and utilities. Lot sizes range from 6,700 sq. ft. to 14,000 sq. ft. Plat map and estimate on development costs available upon request....View this property >>


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7 Tips Toward Homeownership

by Galand Haas

Good Morning!

If 2017 is the year that you are planning on making a home purchase, the environment is going to be good for doing this.  The following are some guidelines for a home purchase that were published in "Realty Times".  

Thinking about buying your first home? What an exciting time this is bound to be. And, also, what a (potentially) overwhelming, confusing, and stress-filled time. It can easily veer into scary territory if you're not prepared and not surrounding yourself with professionals who can help guide you in the right direction.

These seven tips can help you make that dream of homeownership come true in 2017.

1. Work with the right real estate agent

The guy next door or your brother's girlfriend's cousin who just got his real estate license may be hungry to get your business, but that doesn't mean he's your best bet. An experienced agent quite simply knows things that someone who is brand new probably doesn't. An experienced agent will also have important relationships in place that may be able to help buyers in every facet of the home purchase, including:

  • Finding houses that aren't even listed yet

  • Finding homes that may be slightly outside of a buyer's criteria but that are worthy of consideration

  • Leveraging industry relationships to get you great deals or better terms

  • Managing appraisals and inspections

  • Working through every step of the purchase process and handling any issues that pop up along the way

  • Negotiating a deal that works for both sides

2. Don't be afraid to talk to multiple lenders

Your Realtor will most likely have several lenders they have worked with and can refer you to. You may also want to speak to loved ones and get a referral or two from someone they've worked with successfully. Each lender may have a different recommendation and/or knowledge of a special loan that works for you, so it makes sense to look at a few different options.

3. Mind your credit

Many people have no idea what their credit score is, but if you're thinking about buying a home, knowledge is power. Different loans have different minimum credit score requirements, and it could be that your score doesn't measure up for the best loan rates, or maybe you need to do some work to qualify for even the most lenient loan.

A good mortgage lender can advise you on your best options to raise your score, from removing any errors on your credit report, to paying any delinquent accounts, to exploring credit repair options. The earlier you learn your score and delve into the details with a qualified lender, the more time you have to address any issues you find.

4. Save, save, save

For many people, getting the down payment together is the hardest part of buying a home. And the closing costs can be an unwelcome surprise for those who weren't expecting to have to come up with even more cash. When you first set out to buy a home, make sure you know how much you have to save. Your lender should be able to give you a pretty good ballpark based on a certain home price. Housing experts recommend adding 5% to that number just to be safe.

Even if you've never been a great saver in the past, there are strategies you can use that will help you build the nest egg you need for your down payment and closing costs, including these tips from nerdwallet:

  • Automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings can help to make the process mandatory - and maybe a little less painful.
  • Save raises and bonuses rather than spending them.
  • Set aside tax refunds.
  • Keep the change. At least a couple of banks have variations on this theme. For example, Bank of America allows debit card users to sign up for a service that rounds up purchases to the nearest dollar and puts the change into a linked savings account.
  • Visualize your goal. Slap big, beautiful photos of your dream house on the refrigerator, near your office workspace - and wrap a small one around the primary credit card in your wallet. You might charge less and save more."
  • As for where to put that money while you watch it grow, experts recommend that "If the plan is to become a homeowner in the next 12 months, the money should be kept completely liquid. That means you can easily access it at any time," said CNN Money. "The best way to do that is in a good old-fashioned savings account, Schulte said. Look for one with a higher yield. In today's low rate environment, that probably means an online-only account like Ally or Synchrony Bank, which currently pay around 1% annually."

5. Lock in your rate

Rates can be unpredictable. Locking in a rate when you get close to buying, which your lender will undoubtedly recommend, can protect you if rates rise. Many lenders also offer a one-time adjustment in case rates go down.

6. Stay at your job

Not happy at work and thinking about making a change? If you're looking to buy a home, you may have to delay that plan. Part of your qualification for a mortgage will be based on your job history. Making a big change just before you buy or during the escrow process will be problematic. Lenders advise buyers to stay the course until after the home closes escrow.

7. Don't open new credit cards or buy a new car

Your lender will spell out the do's and don'ts of how to protect your credit when trying to buy a house, but if you haven't yet talked to anyone and you think you're getting close to be purchase-ready, that Kohl's card you take out to save 20% on your $100 bill could cost you. Before you take out any new debt, check with a lender.

Have An Awesome Week!

THIS WEEKS HOT HOME LISTING!

2445 Elysium Ave

Price: $350,000    Beds: 4    Baths: 2    Half Baths: 1    Sq Ft: 2172

Remarkable remodel! Luxurious updates, lots of natural light, abundant storage, large corner lot. Large atrium entry with flagstone tile. Spacious family room with vaulted ceiling, beams, Coretec Plus vinyl wood floor, 2 sliders & gas fireplace. Ope...View Home for Sale >>


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Photo of Galand Haas Team  Real Estate
Galand Haas Team
Keller Williams Realty Eugene and Springfield
2644 Suzanne Way
Eugene OR 97408
Direct: (541) 349-2620
Fax: 541-687-6411

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