IMPROVING YOUR CREDIT

FIVE TIPS FOR IMPROVING YOUR CREDIT

creditscore

Monitoring your credit report and credit rating is important, especially if you’re considering purchasing a home. Here are five tips for improving your credit. It’s not about quick fixes, but responsible financial activity over time.

  1. Get a credit card: OK, this may seem counterintuitive, but let me explain. When used correctly, a credit card can be an effective tool for building credit. Charge a few budget-conscious purchases each month, and pay the balance off before your due date.
  2. Keep your balance low: This is the other side of the coin with credit cards. Try to only charge for items you could pay for out-of-pocket, and try to stick to a balance of only 10 percent of your credit limit.
  3. Food: If your kitchen is being torn apart, preparing meals becomes a lot more difficult. You may be able to keep your food budget steady by switching to meals that don’t require counter space, the stove, or the oven, but don’t be surprised if you end up dining out more often.
  4. Leave paid debts on your report: Paid off debts like car loans show that you have a history of paying your debt on time.
  5. Ask! If you’re looking to pay off a debt quickly, it can’t hurt to ask the lender to lower your interest rate. You can’t get what you don’t ask for!

New Construction

new construction

Thinking of Building?  Know Your Options!

Unlike buying a new car, new homes don’t loose their value as soon as you buy them.  In fact, they can be a better investment than a used home if you choose the right builder and have your home built in the right location.  New homes have come along way over the years and if you want the latest and greatest in your next home, new construction is the only way to go.  Finding the right location, however, can be a bit hard if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Energy Efficient New Homes Biloxi Gulfport Ocean SpringsNew Construction Homes have all of the latest energy efficient and smart home functionality.  Getting a new home warranty is another benefit when buying a new construction home. While you can buy a home warranty with a used home, it normally only covers the appliances and minor coverage on the systems of the home like electric, plumbing and HVAC.  The State of Mississippi mandates that all new home builders must warrant their home’s build quality and systems for 1 year and structural for 6 years. Check out the Mississippi Home Warranty Act for more information.

New construction home building process elliott homes garlon homes mason trendsetters dr horton adams homes westin homes dsld homesThere are many pitfalls in building a new home, so we decided to go over a few of them here.  All agents at NextHome E-Realty have worked for multiple builders and have vast knowledge in new home building along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. While many builders try to take care of their customers, many do the minimum to get to the end.  There are really two types of builders you will be dealing with in single family residential homes.  The first is a Production Home Builder which builds you a home with hardly any changes that you can make.  The second type is a Custom Home Builder which is just the opposite.  They do mainly what their name suggests… build you a custom home that fits you exactly down to the door knobs and plumbing fixtures.  Let’s take a closer look at both types.

“Production” Home Builders

Adams Homes home for sale DR Horton homes for sale biloxi homes for sale gulfport homes for sale ocean springs homes for saleEssentially, production home builders build the same homes over and over and they’ve gotten very good at it.  The more efficient they get at it, the more they can bring down their cost of the home and pass that saving along to you.  Production builders also build on their own lots in their own subdivisions that they sometimes have developed.  The main three production builders on the Mississippi Gulf Coast are Adams Homes, DR Horton and DSLD Homes.  All offer to pay closing costs as long as you use one of their preferred lenders.  While value seems to be the biggest focus for production builders, they don’t give you the ability to make changes to their plans.  This means that you will most likely have to compromise on your home’s design.

“Custom” Home Builders

Elliott Homes for sale Biloxi Gulfport Ocean Springs homes for sale Garlon homes, Westin Homes, Mason Trendsetters, Homes for saleIf production home builders offer the best value, custom home builders offer you the best design… at a price.  So if you need some specifics in your next home, custom home builders offer you the best peace of mind because ultimately, you’ll be the one having to live in the home.  There’s nothing more annoying than to be reminded daily you should have chosen to build your home differently after you move in.  Having a home builder that asks the right questions eliminates this way up front.  You need to discuss how you live in the home, not just how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need.  The most well known custom home builders along the Mississippi Gulf Coast are Elliott Homes, Fritz Homes, Shepard Homes and Sapphire Homes.

 

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List of all new construction homes for sale in biloxi, gulfport, ocean springsMap of all new construction homes for sale in biloxi, gulfport, ocean springs

     Biloxi – New Construction Homes for Sale

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Have a New Construction Home Builder in Mind?

 

Remember to contact me first before contacting any new home builder.  They have their own sales staff representing the builder’s interest and I will be representing your interest.  The great part about having me on your side is that it costs you absolutely nothing.  I get paid by the builder, but as the state mandates… I represent you!  If you have already visited the home builder’s model home, it’s okay!  I can still represent you as long as you have not signed their construction agreement yet.  So, contact me now to get started!

Top 5 Foreclosure Tips

My Top 5 Foreclosure Tips

5 top tips for buying foreclosures, foreclosure power search, foreclosure search, foreclosure, foreclosures, biloxi foreclosures, gulfport foreclosures, long beach foreclosures, ocean springs foreclosures, gautier foreclosures, st martin foreclosures, woolmarket foreclosures, north biloxi foreclosures, diberville foreclosures, pass christian foreclosures, bay st louis foreclosures, waveland foreclosures, diamondhead foreclosures, harrison county foreclosures, hancock county foreclosures, jackson county foreclosures, foreclosures for sale, foreclosure homesWe’ll give you 5 Top Tips in buying it right!  Foreclosures can be a tricky purchase due to several issues that can arise in the home buying process.  With the last few years giving us more foreclosures on the market than usual, everyone is looking for a great deal.  You can get a deal and sometimes a steal, if you play your cards right.

The big lure of foreclosures is the price… but it comes at a cost.  All bank owned properties are sold “AS IS” with no seller’s disclosure of the property and most of the time sold granting the buyer a Special Warranty Deed, not a General Warranty Deed.

 

1.) Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

foreclosure home mortgage approvalGetting pre-approved for a mortgage is a huge advantage over other foreclosure buyers you may be competing against.  Having a pre-approval letter to submit with your offer significantly increases your odds with the bank’s opinion of you.  It says you can actually go through with what you are claiming in your offer.  Banks mostly require a pre-approval letter to be submitted and if you already have this done, you can make the offer on the spot… not having to wait to get pre-approved.

2.) Get a Home Inspection

get a home inspection when buying a foreclosure in biloxi, gulfport, ocean springs, gautier, pascagoula, long beach, pass christianWhen buying a foreclosure, getting a home inspection is a must and can be worth its weight in gold!  A good home inspector can give you insight into a home that even the seller wouldn’t be aware of most times.  Over time, a home can fall into disrepair in areas that can’t be seen.  Home inspectors have a huge checklist to go through from checking the attic vents for leaks to checking the plumbing connections under the kitchen sink.  They can give you a very detailed report with pictures of concerned issues which is very helpful in making an offer. Another big reason you want a home inspector is to check for Chinese drywall.  This is still a big issue today since a lot of homes had drywall repairs after Hurricane Katrina.  Chinese drywall can be very harmful to people and pets… and the house suffers as well.

3.) Check With the Home Owner’s Association (HOA)

home owners association, hoa, hoa dues, foreclosures in biloxi gulfport ocean springs mississippiMore times than most, buyers do not check with the Home Owner’s Association before putting in an offer.  Not only do you want to see if the past property owners paid their HOA dues which may be due, you want to ask people in the HOA about the neighborhood and the property if they know of any past issues. When dealing with a bank foreclosure, the bank doesn’t have any knowledge of the property’s history and they are exempt from filling out a “Property Condition Disclosure Statement”.  Another thing you want to get from the HOA (if there is one), is to get a copy of the restrictive covenants. This way, you won’t be surprised after you move in that you can’t erect a fence or have pets.

4.) Read the Fine Print

Read the fine print when buying a foreclosure home in biloxi gulfport ocean springs long beach pass christian pascagoula mississippiBefore putting in an offer on a bank owned foreclosure, you will have to sign off on the bank’s disclosure package.  Sometimes it can be 50-60 pages of fine print… some pertaining to you on this specific property, some not.  The reason there are so many pages is because of so many different types of properties and issues the banks have had when foreclosing on properties across the United States.  Here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, we don’t have to worry much about snow or basements, but some of the disclosures you may have to sign could pertain to these.  When I say “have to sign”, I mean it.  All banks will not accept an offer on any of their foreclosures without having the paperwork on their side.  This is what you are giving up for price… some liability.  I say “some liability” because if you do what we are saying here, your liability will be reduced.

5.) Find Out Why It Was Foreclosed

Find out why a home was foreclosed on or not selling before you buy a foreclosure in biloxi, gulfport, ocean springs, pascagoula, gautier, pass christian, long beach, diamondhead, mississippi gulf coastIf the house was foreclosed… why?  Was it the layout?  Was it not priced correctly?  Was it listed previously?  If it was listed, compare the old and current listings to see if you can see any discrepancies. We have an article on this site under the “Selling” tab at the top of this page named “Looking to Sell?  Here’s the Top 5 Reasons Why It May Not”.  Read this article to see why this house didn’t sell.  It could have been the location, functionality or condition.  Whatever it was… you want to try to figure it out before you make an offer, not after you move in.  If you need to sell the home later, you want to be able to without surprises. The more you do now, the better off you will be!

PHRASES TO AVOID WHEN YOU’RE BUYING A HOME!

three things not to say

AVOID THESE PHRASES WHEN YOU’RE BUYING A HOME!

Sometimes you need to keep a poker face when you’re buying a home. It’s not in your best interest to be totally candid with the seller and listing agent when you’re considering a home. Here a few things that are better left unsaid until you are along with your buyer’s agent OUTSIDE of the home and property.  Even if the Seller or the listing agent is not there, it’s always best to not say anything about the home until you are away.  Many of the security systems nowadays have audio AND video capabilities and the home owners COULD be watching and listening  while you tour their house.

“This is at the top end of our budget”: Don’t let the listing agent know that a home is at the top of your budget. You want to keep all the bargaining chips you can, and letting the seller know your budget can hurt you when it comes time to negotiate.

“I hate the paint”: Or furniture. Or cabinets. Or any of the decor. No matter how hideous the wallpaper in the kitchen is, take care not to insult the seller’s taste. If they’re considering multiple offers, you don’t want to be the buyer that offended the seller!

“We can’t wait to renovate”: Customization is one of the big perks of homeownership, but it’s best to keep your renovation plans quiet for the moment. The seller may have a lot of memories in the home, and may not appreciate your plans to immediately tear down some walls.

WHICH FEATURES ARE MILLENNIALS LOOKING FOR IN A HOME?

millenials

WHICH FEATURES ARE MILLENNIALS LOOKING FOR IN A HOME?

Millennials are the second-largest segment of home buyers, ranking behind only baby boomers, according to the National Association of Realtors.  Here are five features that tend to entice millennials who are looking to buy.

An up-to-date kitchen and bath
Younger buyers often have limited funds for renovations, so it’s important that they have functional and inviting bathroom and kitchen spaces from the very start.

An open floor plan
Having a formal dining room isn’t of particular importance to millennials, in fact, many prefer open spaces with no separation between kitchen, living room, and dining room. An open concept makes it easier to entertain everyone at once.

An office
More and more jobs are offering work-from-home options, and there are also plenty of freelancers and telecommuters among millennials. A dedicated space for getting some work done can be a key attraction.

Friendly location
With gas prices rising, many millennials prefer walking, biking, or public transit for their commutes. A great location is key.

Energy savings
Millennials are often more conscious of energy conservation and efficiency. Energy-efficient appliances, energy-efficient windows, and quality insulation can make a huge difference.

QUICK TIP FOR BUYERS TO COMBAT MULTIPLE OFFERS

multiple offers

A NEW OPTION FOR HELPING BUYERS COMBAT MULTIPLE OFFERS

There’s intense competition for homes in areas where home inventory is low, and cash buyers often get the nod in situations where there are multiple offers.

But there’s a new option for non-cash buyers that could help them compete in these situations, according to an article in the New York Times.

Some mortgage lenders are beginning to offer “pre-underwriting.” Rather than a simple pre-approval for a loan, which is usually based on the borrower’s credit report, pre-underwriting is a complete review of all documents that would be required for loan approval. This “pre-underwriting” strategy puts borrowers on more equal footing with cash offers.

Pre-underwriting is much more involved and time-consuming than a typical pre-approval, so not all buyers are eligible, but that could change in the future.

No two markets are the same, so if you have questions about your market and your financing options, get started by contacting your trusted real estate professional.

THE DIRTIEST ITEMS IN THE HOME AND HOW TO CLEAN THEM

dirty jobs

5 of the Dirtiest items in your home

Of course, one of the dirtiest items in anyone’s home is the toilet. But, that’s not the only place where dirt and germs accumulate. Here are five other dirty items and suggestions for cleaning them.

  1. Bath Towels – When you and your family dry off from your shower, your bath towel absorbs the water from your body. Then it sits all day breeding bacteria that thrive in warm, moist areas. Combat this issue by changing your bath towels out every two days and washing your dirty towels in hot water to kill anything living on them.
  2. Shower Curtain – Shower curtains easily pick up bacteria the same way bath towels do. They also attract germs from the toilet if they are near each other. Clean your shower curtain by spraying it down with a bleach-based product. Spray the rings and rod, too. Also, when the shower curtain is beyond cleaning, replace it.
  3. Doorknobs – Entryway and bathroom doorknobs are exposed to myriad germs daily. Thankfully, doorknobs are easy to clean. Wipe them down with antibacterial wipes regularly.
  4. Window/Door Tracks – Window and door tracks are harbingers of dust and dirt. The grime that builds up can make you and your family ill. You can easily clean these areas by vacuuming out large pieces of debris and then spraying the stuck-on dirt with water, letting it loosen up and wiping it with a damp cloth.
  5. Toothbrush Holders – Your toothbrush holder is likely teeming with germs and bacteria. Wash it with hot soapy water twice a week. If you can, run it through the dishwasher to ensure it gets clean and sterilized.

DRIVE TIME

drive time

HOW YOUR DAILY DRIVE TIME CAN FACTOR INTO YOUR MORTGAGE

It’s easy to overlook some of the things that can affect your budget and purchasing power when you’re considering a home, and one of the biggest factors that buyers overlook is the cost of their daily commute.

We’ve all heard that real estate is all about “location, location, location,” and properties in more desirable locations typically come with a higher price tag than similar properties that aren’t in a hot neighborhood.

Yet the overall cost of living for choosing one location over another might be negligible when you factor in the commuting costs that are required—gas, vehicle maintenance, insurance—if you purchase a home that is significantly further from your workplace. If your mortgage is $200 less per month, but you’re spending an extra $200 in commuting costs, are you really saving money?

Commuting costs aren’t just about the disposable income left in your bank account, either. It can even affect how much money you can borrow. If you’re a long-distance commuter, a loan officer may factor your travel costs into your debt-to-income ratio.

Aside from how commuting affects your purchasing power or disposable income, there’s also the question of how it affects your quality of life—no one wants to spend hours a week just getting to and from work.

The real estate market varies greatly from location to location, so the best way to get a complete picture of your purchasing power—and all the factors that go into your home budget—is to speak to your trusted real estate professional.

Rent vs Buy?

rent or buy

RENTS CONTINUE TO RISE

Have you been thinking of buying your own home?  Have you checked the rent vs buy costs?  Rental rates throughout the country are continuing to rise. With the average rent having an 0.8 percent increase and a 3.4 percent year-over-year increase.

If you are spending a $1,000.00 a month rent of a home, you may be able to purchase a home of your own and stop paying someone else’s mortgage.  Sometimes for even less than what you are paying for a rental.

With the way rent continues to rise, it’s a great time to consider purchasing a home. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or looking to get back into home ownership, you can save a lot of money in the long run compared to continued renting.

If you’re thinking about buying, talk to your trusted real estate professional and see if it’s the right time for you to make a move and what you’ll need to do to make it happen.

Thinking about a Fixer-Upper?

fixerupper

BEFORE YOU TAKE THE PLUNGE WITH A FIXER-UPPER,          THINK ABOUT RESALE VALUE

We’ve all watched the HGTV programs that show a run-down old house transforming into a dream home. Tackling a big renovation project on an outdated property can indeed pay off big—both with the home of your dreams, and with a return on investment. If resale value is a primary concern, consider these factors as you’re making your fixer-upper plans.

Is the price right?
How much can you invest in a home beyond the sale price while staying in line with the value of homes in the neighborhood? You don’t want to improve a home to the point that it’s worth far more than the norm for the area. You’ll enjoy the property while you’re living there, but if you ever decide to sell, your ROI could be limited by the market value of nearby houses.

Low cost, instant equity
There are a lot of low cost and DIY improvements that will add equity almost immediately, such as rehabbing the landscaping and adding fresh coats of paint. These improvements add value to the property almost instantly.

What’s worth spending on?
A little elbow grease goes a long way, but there will inevitably be projects that require some serious spending. If you’re concerned with getting a return on your investment, focus your dollars toward the roof, floors, and the home’s exterior. They’re not flashy upgrades, but they’re important for future buyers. On the other hand, luxuries like a swimming pool are unlikely to see any return on investment.