10 Real Estate Terms You Need to Know

rawpixel-661940-unsplashFirst time and season homebuyers alike often are bombarded with real estate terms and jargon. We have compiled a list of 10 terms you can use to understand the lingo.

Amortization
Essentially, this term is used to describe the repayment schedule of a loan including both principal or the original amount borrowed and interest. Amortization schedules are often displayed in table format highlighting the amount of principal and interest included with each payment. The table also includes the remaining loan balance after each payment.

Assessed value
The dollar value assigned to a property by a governing authority to levy a tax or fee on the property owner. The assessed value of your home is used mostly for tax purposes and refinancing.

Buyer’s agent
A real estate agent who represents the best interest of a home buyer. They guide you through the complex transaction of purchasing a home or property. Accredited Buyer’s Representatives are buyer’s agents who have successfully completed specialized coursework in representing buyers.

Closing costs
Fees paid at the closing of a real estate transaction. Closing costs vary but can include attorney fees, credit report fees, documentation preparation fees, title insurance fees, appraisal and inspection fees.

Contingencies
Conditions that must be met prior to closing a real estate transaction are called contingencies. Many offers include a home inspection contingency that ensures the home has no serious defects. Other contingencies include financing or selling a property before purchasing the new one. Offers with fewer contingencies give the buyer more negotiating power.

Earnest money
Usually held by a neutral party, earnest money is a “good faith” deposit buyers make demonstrating their interest and ability in purchasing a property. Buyer’s can lose the deposit by backing out of the sales contract.

Preapproval
Not to be confused with pre-qualification, a pre-approval is a lender’s written guarantee that a buyer qualifies for a loan up to x amount. Financing is subject to receiving full documentation regardless of obtaining a preapproval. Buyer’s with preapprovals have a better chance of their offers being accepted by the seller.

PMI
Private mortgage insurance consists of a monthly payment to a lender when a buyer’s down payment is less than 20 percent. PMI protects lenders against loss if the borrower defaults on the loan.

Seller’s agent
Contrasting a buyer’s agent, the seller’s agent represents the best interest of the seller in a real estate transaction. This representation includes marketing the home to potential buyers and negotiating on the seller’s behalf.

Title insurance
A type of insurance that protects your home purchase against any unknown liens or debts placed against the property. Typically, public records are searched to ensure that the current owner has legal rights to the title and the legal ability to sell the home before the title company issues insurance.

Quick Gardening Tips

annie-spratt-667051-unsplashSpring and gardening season is upon us. A hobby like gardening takes time, effort and money. Clever gardeners figure out little hacks and short cuts that save them in more ways than one. After all, gardening is cheaper than therapy plus you get yummy fruits and vegetables.

  • Soaking
    Soak your seeds in warm water before planting is an inexpensive trick that can help get your plants ready to root and grow strong, durable plants.
  • Get crafty
    Make your own garden markers. Homemade garden markers are not only functional, but cute too. You can use rocks you find outside or in your garden. Use a sharpie and paint to make your homemade markers more colorful. You also can use plastic silverware you have laying around the house. Find out more about DIY garden markers here.
  • Use diapers
    Lay diapers in your pots to moisten your soil longer. Make sure to cut the elastic edges off and lay the diapers with the absorbent side up to maximize moisture retention.
  • Repurpose
    Turn empty milk jugs into homemade watering cans. The best part is that you get a watering can that always pours how you like. If it doesn’t, you can just make a new one. Here are the step-by-step instructions.
  • Keep egg shells
    Quit throwing away your egg shells. They can be used as a natural fertilizer for your soil and to start seedlings. Want to protect your plants from insects? Just place the egg shells around the base of your plants and viola, you have a homemade insecticide minus all the chemicals and toxins.
  • Rice water
    And your leftover rice water can be used as an environmentally safe and chemical-free fertilizer. So instead of throwing your rice water down the drain pour it on your plants to naturally provide much needed nutrients.
  • Even coffee grounds
    Your used coffee grounds naturally ward off slugs. They also help prevent mold and mildew growth. Besides, used coffee grounds are an essentially free natural fertilizer that you would have just tossed out anyway.
  • And toilet paper
    Use toilet paper to make seed tape. Honestly, seeds can be tiny, and the toilet paper can help you organize, space and plant these small seeds as evenly as possible. Here you can find the instructions on how to make seed tape from toilet paper.
  • Don’t forget leftovers
    Plant more herbs and vegetables from left over store bought plants including herbs, celery, onions and more. With green onion you can chop off the bottoms, let them dry, plant them after a few days and they will start sprouting in no time.

4 Rookie Mistakes To Watch Out For When Buying A Home

houses-336436_1280Getting ready to buy your first home? This can be an exciting time, but it can also leave you feeling overwhelmed. While you’re searching for your dream home, here are 4 rookie mistakes to avoid which could end up costing you a lot of money.

  1. Getting too emotionally attached. Buying a home is a huge investment. Because of that, take some time to look at several homes that you love so if one falls through there are other choices.
  1. Assuming you have no rules to follow as a homeowner. Some homes have deed restrictions that come with conditions. Take some time read and understand the restrictions before signing any paperwork.
  1. Not saving enough money. Saving up enough money for a down payment is a big deal, but you should also save a few months worth of mortgage payments in reserve. Putting money aside is also a great idea for any household essentials you may want to get once you’ve moved into your new home.
  1. Not getting preapproved for a loan. You’ve probably crunched the numbers and know how much you can afford, but if you want your offer to be taken seriously by the seller, get a proof of income and assets from your lender. This can be a simple pre-approval letter to show the lender your trustworthy.

If you need to apply for a home loan, getting pre-approved before approaching a real estate agent (or searching for your dream home) is a smart move.

Want to learn what other rookie mistakes to avoid? Check out this article by Home Value Plus.

Interest Only Loans

Here are a few tips to help you decide if an Interest Only Loan is for you:

You may want an interest only if you:

  • Aren’t taking on more debt than you can handle.
  • Expect your income to rise sharply in the next five years.
  • Are disciplined with money.
  • Are an individual who likes to take risks.
  • Have an irregular income (like commissioned sales).
  • Are content to let rising markets build your equity for you.
  • Are confident that home prices will continue to rise.

You may not want an interest only if you:

  • Have a lot of consumer debt you can’t get a handle on.
  • Plan on being in your house past the interest-only period.
  • Are undisciplined with finances.
  • Are borrowing a small amount.
  • Plan on spending the extra cash on “discretionary” items.
  • Plan to sell or refinance before the interest-only period ends.
  • Want to lock in today’s low interest rates.

These Tips Provided By:

 

Sell Your Home Faster With These Tips

When it comes to selling your home there are there is a lot that goes into the whole process, some of which are out of your control, but there are things you can do to heighten the appeal and sell your home faster.

The first thing is to stage your home to help attract potential buyers to view your home. Most buyers will view your home online before they contact you so it is important that your home looks its best. On average, a well staged home sells faster than a home needing upgrades and improvements.

Enhance the curb appeal to pull in prospective buyers by making sure the exterior of your home makes the right first impression. Add a fresh coat of paint, trim the bushes and mow the lawn to make sure your home looks its best at first glance.

Let your neighbors choose their neighbors by utilizing a neighborhood online message board or email list. Consider inviting your neighbors over for a home house, turn it into a block party, and allow your neighbors to invite prospective buyers who have always wanted to move into the neighborhood.

For more tips about making sure your home is ready to put on the market, look over the Checklist of Home Sellers and RE/MAX Seller Action to plan for tips from staging expert, Carla Woolnough, to enhance your homes appeal.

What are some things you’ve done to help make your home sell faster?