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!

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.

Better Paint Job

painttips

How to get a better paint job

Painting is one of the most inexpensive ways to give your home a makeover. Whether it’s updating an old bathroom paint scheme or adding a bold accent wall, painting can totally transform a room. But painting can be a big hassle and come with tons of prep work and clean up. Here are a few top tips to getting a better paint job, make your painting experience more enjoyable, and lead to a more professional finish.

Prep beyond tape and drop cloths

A drop cloth will protect your floors, but a thick and durable drop cloth is also a little clumsy to maneuver. For smaller, awkward items that are in danger of paint splatter, use plastic wrap. It’ll make it much less frustrating to protect a toilet or bathroom sink.

Be ready for spills and splatters

At the very least, a few drops of paint are going to end up where you don’t want them. Have a rag and some Q-Tips ready for the inevitable paint splatter, so that you can quickly wipe them off before they dry and set on your frames, countertops, or hardwood floor.

Use heat to remove tape 

Patience is key when removing painter’s tape, but it can still tear and leave splotchy edges no matter how careful you are. Hold a heat gun or hair dryer a few inches away from the tape as your remove it little by little. The heat will break down the adhesive and make removing the tape a much less frustrating task.

DOG FRIENDLY HOME

DOG FRIENDLY HOMES

Dogs

Even the most happy-go-lucky dogs and cats have some preferences about the spaces they occupy. If you want to keep you pet as happy and comfortable as possible, here are some things to take into consideration when looking for a dog friendly home.

hardwoodDogs don’t like hardwood
Carpet is more comfortable for your dog when it comes to laying down and sleeping, but it’s also preferable when your dog is on its feet. Dogs typically don’t like hardwood floors because they feel less traction under their paws. They may even try to dig in with their claws to improve traction, possibly damaging your floors. As a compromise, you can place soft, thick rugs on the floor to help your pets relax. You can also place booties or rubber rings on your dog’s feet for better grip.

 

Fireplaces can be scarygas fireplace
You’ve surely seen a dog get spooked by the sound of 4th of July fireworks. A fireplace isn’t nearly as loud, but can still have a similar effect. Plus, those pops and crackles from the flames are a far more regular occurrence. A quieter gas fireplace is more dog friendly. You can also give your dog a chew toy or bone as a distraction before lighting a fire.

 

 

Ignorance is bliss when it comes to fenceschain fence
A chain-link fence can cause stress for your dog, because it can still see other animals and strangers, but is confined to the yard. If you’re considering a new fence, your dog will appreciate a solid one made of wood or vinyl panels. With fewer lines of sight to the outside, your dog will be less anxious.

5 SECRET WEAPONS FOR DIY PROJECTS

diy

5 Simple Ingredients for some of your Dreaded DIY Projects

 

 

 

Is there a DIY home maintenance project that’s been lingering on your to-do list for too long because you’re dreading the trip to the hardware or craft store?

Here are some projects you can tackle with items that are almost certainly already in your home.

  1. Vinegar: There’s probably a jug of vinegar in your pantry right now. You can soak items in vinegar to remove mineral deposits (like in a clogged showerhead), and you can boil vinegar in your microwave to remove odors and make it easier to clean.
  2. Cola: A can of Coke or Pepsi can be used to clean many surfaces, including your glass windows, porcelain toilet, or chrome fixtures. Just do some research before using it on metal surfaces, as it can be corrosive.
  3. Baking soda: This item may actually be more useful for applications other than baking. A baking soda-vinegar paste is great for cleaning bathrooms and kitchens. Baking soda can also be used to absorb odors.
  4. Butter knife: Screwdrivers are easy to misplace. If can’t find a screwdriver when you need one, a butter knife—preferably an older one that you no longer need for table setting—is pretty effective for both Phillips- and flat-head screws.
  5. Toothpaste: Is there an unsightly scratch on your car or bike? The grit in tarter-control toothpastes makes for an effective scratch remover. Clean the scratch, apply some toothpaste, let it sit for a few minutes, and then buff it out with paper towel.

IDEAS FOR ACCENT WALLS

Light-Blue-Accent-Wall-Living-Room

What Kind Of Accent Wall Would You Do?

An accent wall can totally transform a room, taking it from boring and drab to bold and exciting. Accent walls create a new focal point for your space, add liveliness and contrast, and are typically a very inexpensive DIY project.

The starter accent wall
You can easily add an accent wall to your room in one afternoon by applying a new paint color. Deep blues and bright oranges are common choices for accent walls, but choose a color that will complement your existing decor and overall design aesthetic.

Wook-Plank-Accent-Wall-Interesting textures
Bright, contrasting paint is a good starting point, but there are other options for accent walls that are even more eye-catching and distinct. Floor-to-ceiling wood planks can make your home seem both rustic and modern all at once and provide a natural, outdoors-inspired feel. It’s more work than simply painting a wall, but it’s still relatively inexpensive. You can source the wood from pallets on Craigslist and stain it yourself before attaching it to your wall. It takes a little extra elbow grease, but it’s worth the effort.

Accent-Wall-Ideas_04Patterns, murals, and more
Paint and wood are bold enough on their own to transform a room, but they’re still pretty subtle compared to other accent wall options. A chalk paint accent wall is a creative idea for any room and makes for some fun moments when you’re entertaining. There are also endless options for wallpaper and stenciling if you want some patterns or you can get really bold with a mural or oversized art print.

WHICH DOWN PAYMENT STRATEGY IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

20-percent-down-payment

Is a 20% Down Payment Really Needed Today?

You’ve most likely heard the rule: Save for a 20% down payment before you buy a home. The logic behind saving 20% is solid, as it shows that you have the financial discipline and stability to save for a long-term goal. It also helps you get favorable rates from lenders.

But there can actually be financial benefits to putting down a small down payment—as low as 3%—rather than parting with so much cash up front, even if you have the money available.

THE DOWNSIDE OF LESS THAN 20%

The downsides of a small down payment are pretty well known. You’ll have to pay Private Mortgage Insurance, on some loans, for years, and the lower your down payment, the more you’ll pay. You’ll also be offered a lesser loan amount than borrowers who have a 20% down payment, which will eliminate some homes from your search.

THE UPSIDE OF 20% OR MORE

The national average for home appreciation is about 5%. The appreciation is independent from your home payment, so whether you put down 20% or 3%, the increase in equity is the same. If you’re looking at your home as an investment, putting down a smaller amount can lead to a higher return on investment, while also leaving more of your savings free for home repairs, upgrades, or other investment opportunities.

THE HAPPY MEDIUM

Of course, your home payment options aren’t binary. Most borrowers can find some common ground between the security of a traditional 20% and an investment-focused, small down payment. Your trusted real estate professional can provide some answers as you explore your financing options.

DEALING WITH SCRATCHED HARDWOOD FLOORS

Scratches-from-Wood-Floors

Best Ways To Fix Scratches on Hardwood Floors

Hardwood floors are highly desirable for most homeowners, but they come with their share of challenges when it comes to cleaning, maintenance, and repairs. After a few months or years of heavy use from kids playing with toys and chairs being shuffled around, it may be time for some DIY fixes.

Hiding scratches: If you’ve got a good eye for matching colors, you can actually use crayons or markers or purchase wax sticks from the hardware store to fill-in scratches. Try to match the stain color on your floors, but don’t worry if it’s a little off. If the color is close, once the scratch is filled, it’ll look like a variation in the wood grain.

Polishing floors: You can make a polish solution for your floors from household ingredients. Mix olive oil and vinegar in equal parts, pour it directly into scratches, and then wipe it off after 24 hours. It may take several applications, but this homemade polish will fill and cover most scratches.

Clever decor: It’s not a long-term solution, but sometimes the most painless way to fix scratches in your floors is to cover them with a rug or furniture arrangement.

Spot sanding: For deeper scratches, you’ll need to spot sand with fine steel wool or sandpaper, use wood filler, and stain and seal the repaired area.