How Should I Prepare The Inside For An Open House?

 

For many homes and markets, professional help from someone in “staging” makes good financial sense.  Like this video says, check your staging options first.

If you are doing it yourself, here are 5 key tips.

One – Depersonalize.

You want the buyer to envision this house being their home?

Remove the things that make it YOUR home – photos, awards, collections, and STUFF.

Two – MOVE the stuff.

It’s tempting to shove things in closets and attics but your prospective buyer will see a much smaller house if those spaces are full.

Move it to a storage space or a friend’s garage.

Three – Warm it up.

Baking bread or cookies

adding fresh flowers

and colorful pillows and throws

are touches used by professional stagers to make a place warm without your stuff.

Four – Light it up!

  • Light sells homes.
  • Clean windows, inside and out.
  • Light bulbs all working and curtains open or even gone.

Five – Go Away.

Don’t hover – leave.

Pack for a day trip and have your realtor tell you when to return

Buyers won’t envision themselves buying if you’re around.

Depersonalize and move stuff out;

Warm it up and light it up.

Then leave and let your realtor do their job.

At Title Junction we care about helping you succeed with your real estate goals. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post to see How You Should Prepare The Outside For An Open House.

How Should I Prepare The Outside For An Open House?

 

Thinking of selling your a home in the Cape Coral, Fort Myers or surrounding area? Remember to leave a great first impression from the outside to inspire a prospective buyer to see what is on the inside!

Professional “staging” may include the exterior, but if you’re doing it all yourself, try the five things outlined in this video.

1 – Landscape & lawn.

That’s the first impression; make it a good one.

Mow, prune, edge and get rid of junk!

2 – Paint And Clean!

You don’t have to do the whole house, but the front door and lintels should either be painted or cleaned.

3 – Leaks & Repairs

Small visible problems can become large mental objections and change how someone feels about your house.

Fix ‘em beforehand.

4 – Pets

Some people have allergies and concerns.

Time for Fido to visit a friend.

You weren’t including him with the house anyway.

5 – Get Fresh Eyes

Have your realtor or a friend who’s willing to be candid tell you what you missed. Or pay a staging professional for a report.

We don’t really see familiar things well – so let them be your ‘test buyer’ so you can present the best first impression to the real ones.

At Title Junction we care about helping you succeed with your real estate goals. Have questions? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post to see How To Prepare For An Internet Showing.

 

How Should I Prepare For Internet Showing?

 

Today, if you have a home for sale in the Cape Coral, Fort Myers or surrounding areas, your first “showing” will be on the Internet – you’re watching this on the Internet, right?

Your price, listing description and PHOTOS determine whether someone will visit in person.  Consider professional staging advice or help.

Prep for photos and video just as carefully as real visits.

Ask your realtor if they use a professional photographer.

If they do look at prior photos and pick someone who understands the job.

Photos should make the most of your home’s features and give prospective buyers an emotional connection that invites them to visit in person.

Help them envision their lifestyle in the house not just the counters and walls.

If your realtor recommends video, just as with  photography stage it carefully and hire a professional it will pay off.

And look over your listing when it goes live on a computer AND a mobile device to make sure it’s accurate, pleasant and compels people to show up.

Remember – your first showing these days will be on a screen.

Want recommendations to help your home get Internet ready? Give Title Junction a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post to learn more about What Factors Affect Mortgage Payments.

 

What Factors Affect Mortgage Payments?

 

Looking to buy property in the Fort Myers or Cape Coral areas? Curious about what factors can impact your mortgage payments on that property?

Well, as this story shows, the amount of the down payment, the size of the mortgage loan, the interest rate, the length of the repayment term and payment schedule will all affect the size of your mortgage payment.

Below is a breakdown in bullets:

  • down payment
  • loan size
  • interest rate – fixed or adjustable
  • repayment term – how long
  • payment schedule – how often

all affect the size of your payment.

At Title Junction we believe an informed client is a happy client. Want more explanation on mortgage payments? Give us a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post to see if the TRID rules apply to your real estate transaction.

What Kinds Of Loans Do TRID Disclosures Cover?

 

Do the TRID rules apply to your Fort Myers or Cape Coral area real estate?

TRID rules apply to MOST consumer credit transactions secured by real property. These include mortgages, refinancing, construction-only loans closed-end home-equity loans, and loans secured by vacant land or by 25 or more acres.

The rule does NOT apply to Home Equity Line of Credit transactions reverse mortgages mortgages secured by a mobile home or other dwelling that is not attached to real property.

Also, TRID rules do NOT apply to loans made by a person or business that makes 5 or fewer mortgages in a calendar year.

More questions about TRID? Call Title Junction – The Premier Title Insurance Provider Serving Cape Coral, Fort Myers And The State Of Florida. Call 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post to help understand what Equity means.

What Is Equity?

 

Have you heard the term “Equity” before and wandered what it actually means? In short, Equity is the value YOU own in property such as a house. It’s the difference between what’s OWED and what the property is WORTH in the current market.

In the example this video shows – if you have a house in Fort Myers or Cape Coral worth $300,000 today and you owe the bank $200,000.  Your equity would be $100,000.

If the house is valued at $500,000 in five years, and you still owe $150,000 your equity will be $350,000.

Equity grows if the property value goes up or if the amount owed goes down.  The key thing to remember, simple as it sounds, is that you “own” increases in value. The bank’s loan doesn’t go up if the home’s value goes up.

Equity in a home can be used as collateral for loans but a house is not a piggy bank. Home equity can become a key financial asset over time; treat it wisely.

More questions about understanding Equity in Fort Myers, Cape Coral and other surrounding areas? Give Title Junction a call at 239.415.6574.

In case you missed it, check out our last Title Junction post for finding information on Schools and Community Resources in the Fort Myers and Cape Coral areas.

How Can I Find Out About Schools & Community Resources?

 

Often times we at Title Junction get asked about how to find more information about schools and community resources. One of the easiest ways to do that is to contact the Chamber of Commerce for either Cape Coral or Fort Myers for promotional literature or talk to your real estate agent about welcome kits, maps, and other information.

You can get information about school systems by contacting the city or county school board or the local schools. A good place to start for more information on schools in the areas of Cape Coral and Fort Myers is the Lee County School Board.

You may also want to visit a Lee County library branch. It can be an excellent source for information on local events and resources and the librarians will probably be able to answer many of the questions you have.

More questions about Community Resources and Schools in the Fort Myers, Cape Coral, and other surrounding areas? Give Title Junction a call at 239.415.6574.

When Do I Get My Loan Closing Disclosure?

 

If an eligible loan proceeds from Estimate to closing, creditors must provide a Closing Disclosure form documenting the actual transaction terms and costs THREE business days before consummation. It must be in writing, whether paper or digital, and disclose ONLY the information specified by the CFPB.

If terms or costs change prior to consummation the creditor must provide a corrected disclosure containing the updated terms. In some cases, this may require an additional 3-business-day waiting period to consummation.

Consummation and Closing are legally distinct although they may occur at the same time depending on applicable State laws. Consummation occurs when you become contractually obligated to the CREDITOR on the loan not, for example, the real estate seller. The Disclosure must be delivered three business days prior to the legal Consummation date.

What Is The Debt-To-Income Ratio (DTI)?

 

Measuring your existing debts against your existing income is one part of a lender’s required assessment of your ability to repay a loan.

Like the video says:  debts are existing financial commitments; a car payment is a debt a grocery bill is not.

To calculate your debt-to-income ratio add up your monthly debt payments and divide them by your GROSS monthly income. (Gross income is generally the amount of money you earn BEFORE taxes and other deductions.) The Federally-established debt-to-income target is a maximum of 43% for Qualified Mortgages.

If your ratio is higher there may be other loans available  – however, there may also be additional questions to establish your ability to repay, and the rates may be different than those available for Qualified Mortgages.

Studies suggest that a high debt-to-income ratio puts a homeowner at greater risk of challenges making monthly payments. So consider your situation and risks carefully before exceeding that suggested ratio.

What Does Ability To Repay Mean?

 

What are the “Ability to repay” rules about?

In a nutshell, as this video shows, new laws require lenders to make a good-faith assessment of a borrower’s capacity to pay back their loan over time.

It’s a longer-term view that goes beyond immediate income, debt and credit rating.

These new Federal laws- supervised by the CFPB – require lenders to ask more questions –

about income, assets, employment, credit history, and monthly expenses –

as they relate to the proposed loan.

For example, a lender offering a mortgage with a low initial rate must try to assess how a borrower will handle the later, higher rate as well.

If you’re applying to borrow ask whether the program you’re considering is a Qualified Mortgage

Ability-to-repay rules are built in to loans that meet Qualified Mortgage guidelines.