Ryan Seward - RE/MAX Select Realty



Posted by Ryan Seward on 8/17/2017

As you go on the house hunt, youíre likely to attend many different open houses. After awhile you can get confused as to what you have seen and where you saw it. Each open house or home showing is only a short window of time. As a buyer, youíre trying to get the feel for a house. Being an observant home shopper can help you to avoid a lot of problems down the road. Check out some of the biggest red flags that you need to look out for when you attend an open house.


The Candles Are Burning Bright


You walk into an open house and see a lovely candle lit on the kitchen table. While it may make you feel all warm and fuzzy, itís not always a good sign. Candles are a great way to mask odors. There could possibly be a musty odor coming from the sink, the basement, or another part of the house. This spells hidden damage and possible danger for you as a homebuyer. While the home inspection should pick up on things like this, you donít necessarily want to get that far in the process. The art of masking odors could be a sign that the sellers are trying to hide something.


Be Your Own Inspector


As you walk through the home do you notice squeaky floor boards, cracks in the walls, cracks in the ceilings, or a drippy faucet? Maybe you see some patches on the walls or mirrors and paintings that seem out of place? These are all issues that could be signs of a greater problem. Keep in mind that no house is perfect, but you should do a little investigating on your own while walking through the house at showings.


The Home Doesnít Appear Cared For


Curb appeal is one thing, but a home that looks unkept is a sign of a larger problem for you. Has the lawn been mowed? Is the fence in disrepair? How does the home appear from the outside at first glance? There are plenty of ways that you can fix up a home to make it your own once you buy it, but the question is just how much of a challenge are you up for? There is always a chance that youíll have large maintenance costs when a home hasnít been properly maintained by the previous owners.


Searching for homes and going to open houses can be fun. It can also be an educational experience to help you narrow down what youíre looking for and what you can handle as a homeowner.            





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Posted by Ryan Seward on 8/10/2017

If youíre hoping to buy a house in the near future, youíll want to focus on saving for a down payment.

Down payments are a way to let a lender know that you are a low-risk investment, and a way to save money on interest over the term of your loan.

If you have your other finances in order--a good credit score and stable income--thereís a good chance that making a 20% or more down payment will land you a low interest rate that can save you thousands while you pay off your loan.

How large should my down payment be?

The larger the down payment you can afford, the more money youíll likely save in the long run. While there are ways to get a loan with no or very small down payments, these arenít always ideal.

First, if you put less than 20% down on your home loan, youíll be required to pay private mortgage insurance, or PMI. These are monthly payments that you make in addition to the interest that is accrued on your loan.

So, if you donít put any money down on your home, youíll accrue more interest over your term length and youíll pay PMI on top of that.

What affects your minimum down payment amount?

Lenders take a number of factors into consideration when determining your risk. If youíre eligible for a first-time home owners loan, a veteranís loan, or a USDA loan, your loan can be guaranteed by the government. This means you can likely pay a lower down payment while still receiving a reasonable interest rate.

When applying for a mortgage, be sure to reach out to multiple lenders and shop around for the rates that work for you. Many lenders use slightly different criteria to determine your eligibility to pay a lower down payment.

Other things that affect your minimum down payment include:

  • Credit score

  • Location of the home you want to buy

  • Value of the mortgage

Saving for a down payment

Youíll get the most value out of your mortgage if you put more money down. However, if youíre currently living in a high-rent area, it could mean that itís in your best interest to get out of your apartment and start building equity in the form of homeownership.

If you want to buy a home within the next year or two, there are a few ways you can help increase your savings.

First, determine how much you need to save. Depending on your housing needs and the current market, everyone will have different requirements. Do some home shopping in your area online and look for homes that are within your spending limits. Remember that you shouldnít spend more than 30% of your monthly income on housing (mortgage, property taxes, etc.)

Next, find out what a 20% down payment on that home would be, adjusting for inflation.

Once you have the amount you need to save, remember to leave yourself enough of an emergency fund in your savings account to last you a month or two.




Tags: mortgage   down payment  
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Posted by Ryan Seward on 8/3/2017

For some people, cleaning the house is a relaxing way to pass the time. It's a mindful activity and living in a clean space can help improve your mood and focus. However, for many of us it can be hard to find time to clean after a long day of work, cooking dinner, caring for kids and pets, and so on. Many people try to keep up with the mess by cleaning one room at a time. However, it actually takes much longer to clean if you do it on a room-by-room basis. The most efficient way to clean is by chore. You wouldn't dust or vacuum just one room; you'd do the whole house because it saves you the pain of taking out the vacuum cleaner every time one room needs to be vacuumed. In this article, we'll go over how you can avoid having one long, excruciating cleaning day by spending 5-10 minutes per day cleaning your house.

Monday

Today is pick-up day. After the weekend your home is likely to have a lot of things laying around out of place. Do a quick tidying up in each room of your home. That includes: picking up clothes, clearing off tables and surfaces, and putting away any children's or pet toys that might be on the floor.

Tuesday

Dusting. With your duster in hand, run through each room of your house hitting†all of the surfaces. Grab a microfiber cloth for things like TVs and computer screens that might have fingerprints and put it in your back pocket. In your other pocket, keep a lint roller or lint brush for your sofa, bed, chairs, etc.

Wednesday

Floors. Get out your Swiffer, mop, vacuum cleaner and whatever else you use to clean the floors of your home. Sweep each room into a pile, starting from the walls and working your way in. Once all rooms are swept, grab your dustpan and pick up each pile. From there you can run your Swiffer or mop through your rooms with wood floors or tile. Finally, vacuum any carpets or rugs you have.

Thursday

Kitchen day. Mix some white vinegar and water, toss in a few drops of lemon or lime juice, and you've got an all-purpose kitchen cleaner that's free of any harsh chemicals that you don't want going near your food. For areas that need to be scrubbed, like your sink or countertop, sprinkle some baking soda down after you spray the vinegar solution. Once you're done, tuck your spray bottle and baking soda within reach under your sink--you'll need it again tomorrow.

Friday

Bathroom day. There's no denying it--it's the worst room in the house to clean. But, think about how you'll have the next two days off from work and cleaning and you'll have the motivation to get through it. First, go grab your rubber globes, vinegar spray, and baking soda from yesterday. Today, you'll need them for the sink, tub, and toilet. Other useful items to keep for cleaning your bathroom: an old toothbrush for scrubbing tile grout and baby oil for polishing the chrome on your sinks.   Follow this schedule and you'll be on your way to cleaning the whole house in just 5-10 minutes per day so you don't have to dread those marathon cleaning days.




Tags: Cleaning   house   clean  
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Posted by Ryan Seward on 7/27/2017

Magazine styled homes are gorgeous but theyíre not quite practical. Especially when youíve got little ones running about. But that doesnít mean you canít still have a stylish home. Iíve got a few tricks for you to today to integrate kid-friendly decor with a grown up touch. 

When house shopping keep those with open floor plans at the top of your list. Open floor plans help your family to stay social and connected with each other. Itís also a whole lot easier to keep your eye on your little ones in the living room while youíre making dinner. Additionally, an eat-in kitchen creates a welcoming atmosphere for older kids to hang out around after school while eating snacks or working on homework.

When it comes to furnishing your new home opt for furniture that doubles as storage to tuck away toys. This helps to keep a tidy home while maintaining a welcoming room for children to pull out a few toys and spend time with the family. If you choose to have wall to wall carpeting be sure to choose one designed to withstand heavy traffic. Alternatively, for a statement rug using an outdoor carpet inside adds visual interest and makes for easy cleaning.

Furnishings in heavy duty fabrics like microfiber, acrylics or distressed leather can withstand messes and frequent cleaning. For existing furniture, slip covers are another way to protect sofas while being able to easily wash messes from kiddos and pets. Round shaped tables eliminate sharp corners and the bumps and bruises they create.

It may be tempting to choose dark colors to hide inevitable messes and stains however itís best to opt for mid-tone colors to keep a bright, welcoming room. Add pops of color with pillow covers in lighter colors. Pillow covers are ideal since not only can they easily be swapped out to give a room a fresh new look but they can also easily be cleaned by throwing them in the wash.

Install shelves that allow books to be propped up with their covers viewable. Children will be more likely to grab them to read and they will also double as an evolving art display in your home. Another great way to add child-friendly art is to frame the paintings and drawings your children bring home. Youíll have a unique one of a kind piece to rival Pollock and Rothko.

A guest bedroom with one or two bunk beds will make your home the sleepover favorite among your childís friends. Youíll maximize space and provide a much more comfortable sleeping space than a sleeping bag on the floor. Storing snacks in baskets and see through jars out in the open makes it easy for kids to grab and go throughout the day. Youíll have peace of mind visitors arenít going hungry while creating a welcoming, homey space for all.

When decorating most put their own taste and style first. However, when raising a family the difference between a house and a home is that everyone living under its roof feels at comfortable in its space. Creating a family friendly home doesnít mean sacrificing style but it does mean a few tweaks that bring everyone closer together.  




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Posted by Ryan Seward on 7/20/2017

Longing to take ownership of a house could tempt you to shop for a lender who will approve your home mortgage even if your savings and your financial habits clearly signal that you are not ready to own a home. If you search long enough, you may find that very lender. You also might regret that you did.

You might want to put off signing a home mortgage

Going with a mortgage lender who doesnít take a detailed look at your credit history could cause you to take on more mortgage than you can afford. Miss one mortgage payment and the lender might start foreclosure proceedings.

Foreclosure tends to start within three to six months after you miss your first mortgage payment. To keep from losing money on the house, lenders may work with you to restructure your loan, making the monthly payments more affordable.

The restructured loan may leave you with less to pay each month, but more to pay over the life of the loan. Another feature of the restructured home mortgage might be higher adjustable interest rates. Itís adjustable interest rate loans that can skyrocket as soon as markets or the economy start to strengthen.This trend helped to set off the Great Recession.

More reasons to go with a stricter home mortgage lender

Other reasons why you may want to work with a home mortgage lender who takes a deep dive into your credit history include:

Better understanding of the impact of your spending habits Ė After a lender turns you down, take the time to chart out what you spend money on and why. See if you are engaging in emotional spending. Seek support to deal with perceived lacks that are causing you to over spend as a way to feel complete,valuable or whole.

Time to strengthen your credit Ė Repair and strengthen your credit, so that you will get a home mortgage from a lender whoís committed to taking steps to remain solvent. Instead of looking at a thorough credit review as a bad thing, see it as a chance to improve.

Opportunity to retrain yourself Ė Start retraining yourself to approach your finances differently. Create a budget and stick to the budget. Look at money as a resource, not a magic wand. The retraining that you do could keep you from getting in over your head months or years after you buy a house.

Position yourself for a better home mortgage Ė Most of all, a good reason to prefer a rigorous home mortgage credit review is to position yourself to land the best mortgage that you possibly can. While you repair your credit and work to secure a better home mortgage, learn more about closing costs, interest rates, home inspections, realtor fees and commissions and lender fees.

Repairing your credit can take time. The good news is that you can make a lot of positive headway in just one year. To repair your credit and position yourself to secure a home mortgage with a reputable lender, pay off high interest loans and credit cards first. Take on additional work online or offline. Deposit money that you earn from this additional work into a savings account. Use this money to build a healthy down payment on a new home.

These actions can make your home mortgage application more attractive to reputable lenders. Furthermore, these actions can help you to get the best mortgage, a mortgage with a low interest rate and an affordable repayment plan.