Amy Uliss' Blog
Buying a home is an exciting time. As you start to comb through listings and decide you’re ready to take the plunge to purchase, you’ll want to pursue getting pre-approved for a mortgage. This way, you'll know how much you're approved for and can shop for homes within your price range. Additionally, having a pre-approval boosts your chances of having your offer accepted once you’ve found a house you want to buy. If you aren't already pre-approved, this delays your ability to put in a bid, which means someone else may be the one moving into your dream home.
To get yourself qualified for a mortgage, it’s a good idea to shop around for rates. Many people find they do best with a credit union, however, there are some drawbacks you might want to consider before making your decision of the type of lender you want to work with.
Credit Unions Require a Membership
Unlike traditional banks, credit unions aren’t open to everyone to use. To apply for a mortgage through a credit union, you’ll have to join as a member. The drawback is not just anyone can join. To qualify for membership, you’ll have to be affiliated with a specified organization or meet other designated criteria set by the credit union’s guidelines.
Many people find they are successfully able to locate a credit union they are eligible to join, but it’s not a given. To check to see if you meet the criteria for membership to a credit union near you, check MyCreditunion.gov.
Fewer Branch Networks
Credit unions are community-based non-credit entities. As a result, most of them are geographically concentrated and operate with fewer branches than traditional banks. This means your options may be extremely limited if you want in-person service.
Having a physical branch to visit when you want to resolve problems is a convenience many people often want when working with a financial institution. Consider how important this access to your lender would be to you. If you’re comfortable with strictly phone contact or online options (which might also be limited, depending on the size of the credit union), in-person access may not be an issue for you.
Limited Financing Options
Larger commercial banks typically have a broad range of financing options. While you might find a good rate at a credit union, you’ll typically find far fewer product offerings than you would at a larger bank.
Depending on your individual credit and financial standing, a credit union may not be able to offer you the best interest rates on a mortgage. Additionally, since they are smaller entities, they don’t always have nearly as much cash on hand as traditional banks, which means they might be limited in the number of mortgages they can approve at a given time.
When shopping for lenders to pre-approve you for a mortgage, you have many options between traditional banks, credit unions, mortgage banks and mortgage brokers. If you diligently do your homework, it’ll empower you to find a lender that can meet your financing needs.
Moving day; you’ve waited months for this day to arrive, working hard to make sure you, your family, pets, and belongings are ready for the big move.
With all of the preparations and various people involved, it’s easy for moving day to become dangerous.
To ensure that you and your family have a safe and smooth moving day, I’ve provided some tips that every mover should keep in mind.
Make plans for pets and young children
The last thing you want on the first day in your new home is to be wandering around the neighborhood looking for your dog who slipped away during the move. If possible, make arrangements for pets to stay with friends or family for moving day to make things easier.
If you need to bring your pets along, it’s a good idea to put them in a “playroom” with their toys, water bowl, etc. while you have the door to the house open. Not only will it stop them from running out, but it will also prevent you from tripping over them while you carry the couch.
Don’t be a hero
It’s our tendency to want to do a job ourselves if we want it done right. But, when it comes to moving, that philosophy can lead to a thrown out back and a damper on your plans.
When it comes to getting large and heavy objects in and out of the house, make sure you have at least one other person ready to lift with you.
Stack from heaviest to lightest
It may seem obvious, but in the confusion of a move, it can be easy to pack your truck or van in a less-than-ideal way. Rather than playing Tetris with your boxes, try to focus on weight instead. You don’t want heavy boxes near the roof in case they fall on you or on your other belongings.
Place the largest and heavier items in the van first. This will allow you to plan the rest of the load around them, rather than having to move them around to make room.
Take a breather
As tempting as it may be, you don’t have to finish everything in one day. As long as your truck is locked and secure, it’s okay if you don’t bring in every single box. Resting throughout the day and staying hydrated, especially when moving in the summer, will help you stay sharp and ready to keep working.
Have an emergency plan
If you take precautions, you most likely won’t have to worry about emergencies. However, accidents do happen and it’s best to be prepared for them when they do. If you or a family member requires medication, make sure it’s handy and that everyone knows where it is.
Similarly, label your first aid kit and keep it with your necessities during the move.
If you follow these tips, your moving day should be a simple and safe process and you’ll be enjoying your new home in no time.
If you're looking to buy a new home, there's no reason you should be limited by your geographic area. In today's digital world, buying a home in another city, another state or even in another country has never been easier or more convenient. Additionally, when you buy a home remotely, you're not limited by property values in your own area. This may be especially beneficial to home buyers who currently live in high-value areas but who are looking to downsize or to lower their monthly mortgage payments.
By conducting your home search remotely, you can find the most house for the lowest price, regardless of where it's located. We've compiled the top three reasons why you might want to consider conducting your next home search from the comfort of your easy chair.
Moving Closer to Family
Getting out and on your own may have been a dream right out of college, but once you begin having children of your own, and work responsibilities begin piling up, having family living just down the street can be a lifesaver. Moving closer to family may also be more convenient for home buyers whose parents are aging and increasingly in need of help. By conducting your home search remotely, you can view all available homes near loved ones without ever leaving your house.
Relocating for Your Career
You've worked hard for your career, and the most irresistible promotions often involve relocation. When the time comes, you won't have to trust the company to find you suitable accommodations. With a remote home search and the help of a local real estate agent, you can easily find the home of your dreams regardless of where work sends you.
Purchasing an Investment Property
Flipping houses requires know-how, experience, and a large serving of luck. And when you find that perfect property that's selling for peanuts, timeliness matters. When it's not possible to fly out and look at a prospective income property, buying remotely is the only other option. Better still, it gets your foot in the door fast -- maybe even before local investors have time to make an offer.
If you've been thinking of moving out of state, across town, or to the other side of the world, consider doing a remote home search to see what pops up. You'll be surprised at how easy it is to work with an experienced real estate agent over the phone or through email. You may find that housing values in your target area are much more affordable than they are where you're currently living, and that's a win-win for everyone involved, regardless of why you've decided to buy.
Adding some extra warmth to your bathrooms boosts your home value while also ensuring that you’ll have a well-heated and comfortable environment for bathing and showering during winter. With these heating options, you can warm up your bathrooms as needed without having to turn up your thermostat, causing your furnace to run more often. Consider the following high-end heating ideas to keep your bathrooms feeling cozy this winter.
Radiant Floor Heating
Radiant floor heating provides a way to warm up your bathroom floors, so you won’t be walking on cold surfaces. Whether your bathroom floors are made of natural stone or elegant tile, these materials tend to stay cool to the touch, even when you have your furnace running. Having a radiant floor heating system installed means you can have warm floors to step on when you’re getting in and out of your shower or tub.
Different types of radiant floor heating systems are available for bathrooms, including electric, air-heated, and hydronic. Each type generates heat that moves up through your floors, efficiently keeping them as warm as needed. This type of heating system also helps keep your bathrooms warmer overall, since heated air rises.
High-End Towel Warmers
Towel warmers offer a convenient way to make sure you always have a warm towel available to wrap yourself in after taking a bath or shower. Rather than going with a standard one with a simple design and features, consider getting high-end models with more to offer. Luxury towel warmers are available in hydronic and electric models. Hydronic models connect to your plumbing to use heated water to warm up towels, while electric ones use your home’s electrical system.
High-end towel warmers often have extra features, such as heated shelves rather than racks or hanging racks and hooks for holding robes or hand towels. Some towel warmers also have a timer that you can set to turn on at certain times, so you don’t have to wait long for your towels to warm up.
Exhaust Fan Combinations
Bathroom exhaust fans are a standard part of ventilating these areas of your home and preventing too much moisture from building up. You can add heat to these fans for instant warmth, as well as lighting for added safety when you’re walking around at night. Some exhaust fan combinations include an infrared lamp that provides a direct source of heat in the area outside of your tub or shower. With some models, you can automatically have your fan combination, including heat, come on as soon as you step into your bathroom and shut off when you leave.
If you’re interested in purchasing a luxury home or selling one, please feel free to reach out.
If you intend to buy or sell a house, it frequently pays to hire a real estate agent, and for good reason.
A real estate agent can offer expert insights into the housing market. Plus, he or she can respond to any concerns or questions that you may have as you proceed along the homebuying or home selling journey.
When it comes to hiring a real estate agent, however, it is important to note that no two real estate agents are exactly alike. In fact, there are several factors that differentiate an ordinary real estate agent from an outstanding one, and these include:
1. Industry Experience
Regardless of whether you plan to buy or sell a house, you should definitely spend some time evaluating a real estate agent's industry experience. That way, you can find out how long a real estate agent has been working in the industry and choose one who knows how to overcome potential homebuying and home selling hurdles.
Ideally, you should employ a real estate agent who possesses many years of industry experience. This housing market professional likely understands the ins and outs of buying and selling houses and can help you get the best possible results.
2. Communication Skills
The right real estate agent will be a great communicator. As such, this housing market professional will be able to keep you informed at each stage of the homebuying or home selling process.
To learn about a real estate agent's communication skills, it often is a great idea to meet with a real estate agent and interview this individual. During a face-to-face interview, you can get a better idea about what a real estate agent is all about and ensure you feel comfortable working with him or her.
In addition, a real estate agent should have no trouble communicating with you in good times and bad. He or she will be prepared to provide honest, unbiased feedback, and by doing so, help you make your homebuying or home selling dreams come true.
3. Client Feedback
Reach out to a real estate agent's past clients before you hire this housing market professional. With client feedback at your disposal, you can learn what it's like to work with a real estate agent.
A real estate agent usually will be happy to provide you with client referrals. Then, you can contact an agent's past clients and learn about their homebuying or home selling experiences.
Lastly, if you're uncertain about whether a real estate agent is right for you, it sometimes is valuable to find out how this housing market professional will approach the homebuying or home selling process. Explaining your goals and learning how a real estate agent will help you accomplish these aspirations can make it easy for you to find the right agent, at the right time, every time.
Start your search for a real estate agent today, and you can move one step closer to buying or selling a home.