Patrick Degnan's Blog
If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future there are several financial prerequisites that you should aim to meet. Ideally, you’ll want a sizable down payment, a verifiable income history, and a good credit score.
It takes time to build credit. For most people, it can be several months or even years before they see a double-digit change in their credit score. However, if you have a low credit score and want to give it a quick boost, there are ways you can make a big difference.
But first, why should you focus on your credit score?
Credit scores and mortgages
When you apply for a mortgage there are several factors that your lender will take into consideration. One of their top concerns will be your credit score. This score is like a snapshot of your financial reliability. It tells lenders how much risk is involved in lending to you.
As a result, lenders will increase your interest rate if you are high risk and lower it if you are lower risk. To be a low risk homeowner, you’ll want your score to be in the high range, (usually 700 or above).
Credit change potential
Depending on your financial history, it can be more difficult to raise your score in a shorter period of time. If you are young, don’t have a long credit history, or haven’t had many bills to pay in your lifetime, your score will be more malleable than someone who has had low credit for years due to late payments.
In the United States, you have to be eighteen to open up a credit card or take out a loan by yourself (this is different from getting a loan co-signed by a parent or guardian). You can also ask your parents or guardians to add you as an authorized user of their credit cards. This will let you build credit without having to settle for the high interest rate credit cards you would be eligible for.
If you happen to have a low score (anywhere between 300 - 600), the good news is you can achieve a larger change over a shorter amount of time than someone who already has a high score.
So, how do you achieve that change?
One of the easiest ways to quickly improve your score is to check for errors in your credit report. You can get a free report each year from the three main credit bureaus--Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.
Look out for bills that have been mistakenly put under your name and for collections that shouldn’t be on your account.
Avoid new credit
One thing that can do short-term harm to your credit score is opening or attempting to open new lines of credit. That can be a store card, a loan, or getting your credit checked by a lender.
If you want to build credit quickly, making several inquiries could land you with a lower score than where you started.
Pay your regular expenses with credit
A good way to gain credit points in a few months is to pick a monthly expense to use your credit card for. Pay off your full balance at the end of each billing cycle to earn the most points while avoiding building up too much interest.
One exciting part of moving into a new home is dreaming up all the ways you will redecorate and make it your haven. Here’s a guide to picking the perfect paint colors and types for a gorgeous home.
Part of choosing a great color selection is understanding what makes your colors work together so well. You want to pick and stick to one of three color schemes.
Here’s a quick art lesson for today:
Analogous colors are next to each other on the color wheel. These colors when used together allow one color to really stand out.
Monologous colors are shades in the same color family. This color scheme creates a soothing, calm feel to a room.
Complementary colors are opposite one another on the color wheel. The colors in this type of color scheme balance each other equally.
Before heading to the home improvement store for some paint samples it’s best to have the rest of your room’s decor picked out first. Once you have furnishings and accessories picked out you can find a shade for your walls that will tie the entire room together.
A general rule of thumb is:
If you choose a bright or vibrant color for your furniture, choose a neutral shade for your walls.
If you choose neutral colored furnishings you can bring in a bright, vibrant color for your walls.
When designing your entire home it’s best to think of the overall design scheme cohesively. Not every room needs to look the same or have the same colors. However, it should feel like a natural flow and progression as you move from room to room.
Now that you know your colors you’re ready to pick out your paints.
Have you ever wondered why there are so many paint sheen options? And if there is someone out there painting their house entirely with high gloss paint?
While I cant answer the latter question the answer to the former is this: the glossiness of paint directly affects how easy it is to clean.
Here a general guideline of where to use which type:
High gloss should be used for high traffic areas that come into a lot of contact. Think railings and furniture. High gloss can be more costly per gallon but worth the relatively small investment in the long run.
Semi-gloss is great for places that come into contact with a lot of moisture. These are areas like cabinets and trim.
Satin sheen is great for bathroom and kitchen walls. It’s a great balance between a gloss and the matte finish many prefer for their walls.
Eggshell is perfect for bedrooms and other rooms where they aren’t likely to meet as many messes or moisture as the bathroom and kitchen.
Science fiction has long reveled in the concept of autonomous homes and transportation. But it wasn’t until very recently that these dreams started to edge their way into reality. With semi-autonomous vehicles on the manufacturing line and “home assistants” like Google Home flying off the shelves, today’s average homeowner now has options.
The growing number of home automation technologies is encouraging even more innovation in a burgeoning market. But, the newness of these devices and the confusion around what they actually do can make it difficult to decide which one to bring into your home.
In today’s post, I’m going to introduce you to some of today’s most handy smart home devices to burden the workload of homeownership and give you some tips on which of the best technologies are yet to come.
One of the first smart home devices to hit the shelves was arguably the home assistant. They look like small Bluetooth speakers but have the ability to respond to your voice commands. So far, the front runners are the Google Home and Amazon Echo, but there are a number of other brands in the running as well.
Many of the tasks you use a smartphone for can also be easily accomplished with a home assistant. Tell it to set or turn off your alarms, look up things on Google, ask about the weather, play music, and so on. The Amazon Echo functions similarly but also integrates with other smart home systems so you can control things like your lights and coffee maker just by asking.
Many home automation manufacturers have taken to selling kits that enable you to automate your home one outlet or device at a time. You can then control these devices with your smartphone, whether you’re at home or at the office. (Ever get worried you left the iron on? No more!)
The best part of these devices is how customizable they are and the fact that many integrate with assistants like Amazon Echo. However, some systems, like Samsung’s SmartThings, has its own central “hub” that connects your devices.
Smart home security
Security companies were one of the earliest adopters of automation. Today, many of the biggest home security companies (think ADT and Vivint) aren’t just making your home safer, they’re also making your life easier.
Common among these smart home security systems are things like cameras you can control with your smartphone from work, alerts from smoke and CO detectors, and door and window sensors to alert you if someone enters, or attempts to enter, your home.
These technologies are still evolving. That means each year newer, better devices will hit the market. However, this process of innovation will also drive down prices, which is good news for you as a homeowner and consumer. So, think about what your specific needs are and choose the products that fit them. And, if you’re not sure about any of the products on the market, don’t be afraid to hold off--the next best thing is right around the corner.
When you find a home that you love, you probably already have been pre-approved by a bank for a certain amount that will enable you to buy a home. Once you put in an offer on the home and it’s accepted, however, you may need to take a step back. The appraisal can help you to know what the value of the home actually is. The bank may decline your loan based on the appraisal This is one of the most important steps to obtaining the financing that you need to purchase a home.
What Is An Appraisal?
In a nutshell, an appraisal protects the bank from investing in a property that’s worth less than what they’re paying for it. This process also protects you as a buyer from buying a property that’s worth less than what you’re expecting it to be worth.
Although the appraisal makes sense financially, it doesn’t mean that the process won’t be emotional for you as a buyer and for the sellers as well. The appraisal can in fact make or break the purchase of what you consider as your dream home. There’s a lot of data that’s collected for the appraisal, which can cause nerves to be shot on both sides while the value of the home is being calculated.
What’s The Difference Between The Inspection And The Appraisal?
A home appraisal is much different than an inspection. The home inspection is important in its own right. As a buyer, you hire a home inspector to find any potential problems or hazards that could be big issues for you in the future as a homeowner. While property appraisers will make note of glaring issues, they won’t check out the nuts and bolts of the home like a home inspector will. The home inspector checks out everything from the air quality to the chimney to the toilet and sinks. There’s many things that will affect your home appraisal. In other words, if you’re a seller, you want to get major issues fixed before you put your home on the market. Home inspections will be very important for different reasons to you as a buyer since it will be valuable to you in the future. Appraisers may request an inspection if they notice something serious within the home, but they are more interested in the value of the property than the direct problems that are within the home.
Who Will Pay For The Appraisal?
Generally, the seller will pay for the home appraisal along with the closing costs. This can be a few hundred dollars. In certain circumstances the buyer may agree to pay for the appraisal, however.
What Goes Into Calculating The Worth Of A House?
Appraisers look at many different factors including:
- The square footage of the property
- The number of bedrooms
- How many bathrooms the home has
- The condition of the home
- How much have comparable properties have sold for in the area
- Safety issues
- Other factors pertaining to health and safety
The appraisal process can seem complicated, but once you’re educated on the matter, you’ll be prepared when it gets to that point in the home buying process.