Mortgage Guys Top Tips for a Smooth Move

Now that you’ve sold, or bought, and of course we hope you’ve worked with The Mortgage Guys on your mortgage, it’s time to think about organizing your move. Whether you’re going around the block or around the world, taking just the clothes on your back or a tractor trailer full of possessions, you’ve got to be organized in order to make the transition a smooth one. The Mortgage Guys have gathered our Ten Top Tips for a smooth and stress-free move:

1-      Plan Ahead – doesn’t matter if you’re move date is in a week or six weeks – planning can take the edge off for you and your family. Create a moving notebook and devote a page to each week (or each day) from now until the move and decide what you’ll accomplish, listing the tasks on each page of the book.

2-      Room Sweep – go room to room in your current place and decide what you’re taking and what you’re selling, donating, or throwing away. These decisions will help you decide whether you’ll need a rental truck or a moving company.  If you’re planning a yard sale, set aside items to sell as you go through the house.

3-      List Resources – make a list of the phone numbers, websites and addresses of the companies you’ll need to help you move (moving companies, rental companies, shipping companies, storage companies, cleaning companies). List out the phone numbers of utilities, schools and other services in your old and new locations.

4-      Gather the Goods – head to the store to gather up what you’ll need for packing (boxes, plastic bags, bubble wrap or other wrapping material, a thick marker pen, color coding stickers, packing tape). You can be creative with packing materials and save money too. Use household items like sheets, towels, grocery bags, and newspaper to pad boxes.

5-      Friendly Folders – create folders or files for all your moving-related expenses and receipts, family records (such as children’s medical and school records), and account information with national companies (cell phones, satellite TV, insurance company, bank etc).

6-      Spread the Word – start a “change-of-address notification” list. Include everyone you do business with, from service people to health care providers as well as your neighbors and friends. Don’t forget to file a “change of address” form with the U.S. Postal Service.

7-      Prepare the Family – if you’re moving more than 10-15 miles from your current home, take children on a farewell visit to some of the places that hold happy memories or hold a going-away party for them and their friends, and for the adults, maybe hold a pot-luck dinner or barbeque.  Make arrangements with a friend or neighbor to watch kids and pets on moving day. This will ease their stress and yours as the truck is loaded.

8-      Go Treasure Hunting – If you’ve hidden any valuables around the house, be sure to dig them up (check the attic and crawl spaces too). Also remember to pick up any dry cleaning, shoe or jewelry repairs, and return library books, movie rentals, etc. Be prepared to carry valuables such as jewelry, collectibles, and medicines with you instead of packing them to go with the movers.

9-      Touch Up – check each room of the home for things you need to repair and or clean. Fix major nail holes, replace burned out light bulbs, clean carpet and floors, and wash down spills in refrigerator. Or, if time is tight, hire a cleaning company to come in and do a quick clean after the movers leave to make sure that everything is clean and ready for the new owners.

10-   Final Sweep – after the truck is loaded with all of your furniture and boxes, do a last check of:

–  Water shut off?

–  Furnace shut off?

–  Light switches turned off?

–  All utilities set for disconnection?

–  All windows and doors are closed and locked?

–  All spare house keys and garage door openers left for the new owners?

–  Mailbox empty of your mail?

–  Have you left anything at all inside, or out?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving is less of a chore when you get organized and check off tasks as you complete them. Once you arrive at your new home, your planning will make the relocation easier, but be sure to start into a routine as soon as you can – this is especially important for kids. We also found this a great Infographic to help you remember to de-stress and move smooth!


George Beylouny is a licensed loan originator and the Branch Manager for Silverton Mortgage Vinings.  He can be reached at 678-428-6514, George@mgatl.com or  www.mortgageguysatlanta.com

 

 

Get your Atlanta Home Ready to Sell FAST – Home Staging Basics

Photo credit: http://wickerandstitch.blogspot.com

When you start thinking about putting your Atlanta home up for sale there are many considerations, from where you’re moving, to who’s listing your property, to who’s handling your mortgage. Before you take the next big step and actually list your home it’s important to get it ready to sell, especially as the Atlanta real estate market begins to change.

The Mortgage Guys have listed 10 basic tips for getting your home in tip-top shape for sale. Here’s how to create a “move-in ready” home that will sell faster and for more money:

  1. DECLUTTER!
    Remove furniture – makes the house look bigger! Whatever you can live without send to a local storage unit with a month to month rental. A de-cluttered home says there’s plenty of storage space available. Remove knick-knacks – especially personal items, photos, religious items. Buyers want to see themselves in a house, so making your home more generic will help them achieve that feeling. And clean out your closets, bathroom drawers and kitchen cabinets because every buyer considers available storage space.
  2. OUT WITH THE OLD!
    If your furnishings are old, outdated and worn, it might be worth the trouble and expense to replace them with new or gently used furnishings in light, neutral colors and updated styles. Consider visiting a local consignment shop for replacement items from sofas to bedding, accessories to art. This may include updating appliances in your kitchen to stainless steel, which are much in demand.
  3. CREATE PURPOSE!
    Rooms look bigger if you bring furniture in from the walls and create conversation groupings of chairs and sofas, giving furnishings a purpose. And while you’re at it, make sure that every room has a purpose and adds overall value to the home and is easy for the buyer to recognize the purpose of the space.
  4. FIX IT!
    Make cosmetic repairs to woodwork, trim, walls and doors. Ensure carpets are clean and wood floors are finished and without scuffs, scratches and dents. Finish unfinished projects and put tools and ladders out in the garage or shed.
  5. PAINT!
    Enlarge the look of rooms by painting adjoining rooms with the same color, creating one larger space. Choose lighter more neutral colors appropriate to each space- bold colors have been known to reduce sales price offers. However, some rooms, like bedrooms can benefit from deeper tones that make the space feel warm, romantic or intimate.
  6. LIGHT IT UP!
    Check to ensure all fixtures have the maximum wattage bulbs in them so that when the Realtor shows your home, they can truly show off the warmth and functionality of the house. Be sure that you have task lighting in the kitchen, ambient lighting in the bedroom, and some accent lighting throughout.
  7. ODD IS IN!
    Interior designers recommend accessorizing with odd numbers, especially three. Arrange your odd counts asymmetrically (in a triangle rather than a row). Choose groupings of varied heights and widths, but select items to group based on a common theme (color, texture…).
  8. FRESHEN UP!
    Bring in freshly cut flowers, stems or greenery from your garden and make them a focal point in your kitchen, dining room, even the bathrooms.
  9. CLEAN IS GREEN!
    A clean home will demand a higher price. Hire a professional cleaning service if you need the help, but be sure to get floors, windows, counters and other surfaces spotless before showing your home. Pet areas need extra attention to prevent unfriendly odors from scaring potential buyers away from your property. Neutralize odors (including the litter box), and add homey scents by baking cookies just before potential buyers come through. The best bet is to make your dough ahead, shape into balls, and freeze. Then just pop a dozen in the oven an hour or so before the appointment.
  10. DON’T NEGLECT THE CURB APPEAL!
    Outside your home requires attention as well. Clean debris from plant beds, mow the lawn and trim bushes and shrubs. Plant brightly colored annuals along walkways or in pots near the entrance. Nothing says “move in ready” like freshly mulched beds. Fertilize the lawn to green it up, same with plants. If you have a porch, add a rocker or two with plush pillows and a book or magazine. You only get once chance at that first impression!

The extra time you spend preparing your home for sale in the Atlanta real estate market can certainly help your house stand-out from other available properties. Staged homes sell faster and for more than their counterparts, so get moving!


George Beylouny is a licensed loan originator and the Branch Manager for Silverton Mortgage Vinings.  He can be reached at 678-428-6514, George@mgatl.com or  www.mortgageguysatlanta.com

 

Do I Need To Sell My Home Before I Can Qualify For A New Mortgage On Another Property?

Although every situation is unique, it is not uncommon for homebuyers to qualify for a mortgage on a new home while still living in their primary residence.

Perhaps you are outgrowing your current house, or have been forced to relocate due to a job transfer?  Regardless of the motivation for keeping one property while purchasing another, let’s address this question with the mortgage approval in mind:

So, Do I Have To Sell?

Yes. No. Maybe. It depends.

Welcome to the wonderful world of mortgage lending. Only in this industry can one simple question elicit four answers…and all of them may be right.

If you are in a financial position where you qualify to afford both your current residence and the proposed payment on your new house, then the simple answer is Yes!

Qualifying based on your Debt-to-Income Ratio is one thing, but remember to budget for the additional expenses of maintaining multiple properties. Everything from mortgage payments, increased property taxes and hazard insurance to unexpected repairs should be factored into your final decision.

What If I Rent My Current Property?

This scenario presents the “maybe” and the “it depends” answers to the question.

If you’re not quite qualified to carry both mortgages, you may have to rent the other property in order to offset the mortgage payment.

In that scenario, the lender will typically only count 75% of the monthly rent you are proposing to receive.

So if you are going to receive $1000 a month in rent and your current payment is $1500, the lender is going to factor in an additional $750 of monthly liabilities in your overall Debt-to-Income Ratios.

Another detail that can present a huge hurdle is the reserve requirement and equity ratio most lenders have. In some cases, if you are going to rent out your current home, you will need to have at least 25% equity in order to offset your payment with the proposed rent you will receive.

Without that hefty amount of equity, you will have to qualify to afford BOTH mortgage payments. You will also need some significant cash in the bank.

Generally, lenders will require six months reserve on the old property, as well as six month reserves on the new property.

For example, if you have a $1500 payment on your old house and are buying a home with a $2000 monthly payment, you will need over $21,000 in the bank.

Keep in mind, this reserve requirement is incremental to your down payment on the new property.

What If I Can’t Qualify Based On Both Mortgage Payments?

This answer is pretty straightforward, and doesn’t require a financial calculator to figure out.

If you are in this situation, then you will have to sell your current home before buying a new one.

If you aren’t sure of the value of the home or how your local market is performing, give us a ring and we’ll happily refer you to a great real estate agent that is in tune with property values in your neighborhood.

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As you can tell, purchasing one home while living in another can be a very complicated transaction.  Please feel free to contact us anytime so we can review your specific situation and suggest the proper action plan.

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Related Articles – Mortgage Approval Process:

Understanding the Difference Between an Appraisal vs Neighborhood Listing Prices

Why is there such a difference between what my appraised value is and the price similar homes are selling for on my street?

It’s a great question, and you don’t have to be a mortgage professional or a real estate agent to understand the answer.

The distinction lies in the purpose of the two valuations and who is responsible for creating them.

Appraisals:

The purpose of an appraisal is to make sure that an independent non-interested third party verifies the “most likely” sale price based on the market value and condition of the home.

Appraisals are meant to be a realistic determination of the value of a home if it were to sell in the current market, in its current condition.

In addition, appraisers are governed by rules intended to standardize the subjective process of determining a home’s value.

Some of the key factors appraisers look at are: location, above ground size, room count, bathroom count, style of home, condition of property, amenities, and market conditions such as how long it takes for home to sell and if values are increasing, decreasing or steady.

Appraisers are also asked to look only at comparable sales within a certain distance, usually one mile except in rural areas, and within a specified period of time, which is 3 months in the current market.

Listing Prices:

Listing prices on the other hand are influenced by the real estate agent, and set by interested and often emotional sellers.

Sellers are not held by any rules when they list a home. In some cases, sellers take what they paid for the house, add what they have spent on improvements and even add amount for profit.

Often times, sellers will list their home based on the amount needed to pay for the real estate agent, closing costs and cover the amount of the mortgages.

Extra low prices are generally the result of an extra motivated seller that has to sell and move in a rush, so they’ll list their property below market comps in order to be the most competitive.

Throw in bank owned homes (foreclosed properties), and listing prices may be all over the place without a logical explanation due to an asset manager making decisions from another part of the country.

The Verdict:

While list price is never a good indication of what a home in your neighborhood is worth, appraisals are not an exact science that will determine the true value of your home either.

Some will argue that a home is worth what people will pay for it, so there’s obviously a little room for personal interpretation.  Either way, the bank securing that piece of real estate for a mortgage loan generally always has the final opinion that matters the most.

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Related Appraisal Articles:

Five Myths About Home Values

During periods of economic growth, when home values are typically just going up, most homeowners do not question appraisals much.

And in times of turmoil when property values are declining, home sellers and even listing agents quite often question and pick apart appraisals.

However, the actual appraisal process changed very little over the course of the housing boom and bust cycle American homeowners witnessed between 2001 – 2009.

Since the topic of home values seems to be a hot discussion, let’s address the top five appraisal myths.

Appraisal Myths / Questions:

“I just put $15K into the property, why isn’t the appraised value higher? ”

Not all improvements to the property are equal in producing added value. A local real estate investment club used to tout buying a run-down, roach-infested property cheap, and after de-bugging and adding a fresh coat of paint and carpet – *presto* – the house would appraise like the new homes up the street.

Even with cosmetic repairs, the property may still be much more comparable to the foreclosure next door than the new home a block away. Look first to the “guts” of the property, the electrical, heating & air, etc. If they are updated, then the number of beds/baths and square footage are the next biggest weight, followed by a genuine updating of cosmetic improvements.

“But my home really compares to some of the properties in the neighborhood across the way…”

For example, if a homeowner preparing a house to sell adds $150,000 in upgrades to the kitchen, built-in cabinets and flooring, it may help the property show better in an open house and in magazine advertisements.

However, the seller might still be stuck with a $450,000 appraised value like the three comparable properties on their street vs the $750,000 they were hoping to list it for.

Even though the neighborhood across the main street had similar homes in the higher price range, especially after the seller’s extensive upgrades, appraisers will always use homes from the actual neighborhood to establish value first.

So basically, the seller simply over-improved their home for their specific neighborhood.

“This appraiser included foreclosures as comps – that’s not fair”

It isn’t fair, especially if your home is well-kept and in great condition compared to the run-down foreclosures in the neighborhood.

Unfortunately, if every recent sale, or nearly all sales, are foreclosures at reduced prices, then the appraiser is forced to use the recent sales and trends as comparable values.  High foreclosure rates generally depress values and show a trend of lowering prices. 

And abnormally high foreclosure rates generally depress values and show a trend of constantly lowering value.

“But I just put in a $50K pool, doesn’t that count for anything?”

Pools and professional landscaping rarely see a dollar for dollar value add on a property.  The value is going to mainly be based on comparable sales in a neighborhood.

“How can similar homes in the same neighborhood appraiser for such different values?”

This is a typical question for older neighborhoods where similar models may have drastic price differences.

Additional rooms and square footage can be the main reason for one property appraising higher than another.

Keep in mind, just because the market trend in a particular neighborhood is improving over time, the individual properties need to meet the same conditional improvements as the others in order rise with the tide.

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An appraiser is looking at several things when determining the value of a property: improvements, size and square footage of the living area, neighborhood amenities, location and the market trends around the area.

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