Jill Finkelstein - Compass



Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 11/22/2020

Selling a house should be a fast, simple process. Unfortunately, potential pitfalls may arise that make it tough to achieve the best-possible home selling results.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you prepare for the home selling journey.

Now, let's look at three steps that every home seller should take before listing a house.

1. Evaluate the Real Estate Market

The housing market fluctuates week to week. Thus, a real estate market that favors sellers one week may favor buyers the following week, or vice-versa.

A home seller should examine real estate market data closely. By doing so, this seller can analyze housing market patterns and trends and plan accordingly.

Take a look at the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. This housing market information will allow you to see how long homes were listed before they sold and help you set realistic expectations for the home selling journey.

Also, examine the prices of local residences that are comparable to your own. With this housing market data, you may be better equipped than ever before to establish a competitive price for your house.

2. Conduct a Home Inspection and Appraisal

Don't wait to conduct a home inspection and appraisal. If you perform these assessments before you list your house, you can gain valuable home insights that you might struggle to obtain elsewhere.

During a home inspection, a property expert will assess your house both inside and out. Then, this property expert will provide an inspection report that you can use to prioritize assorted home repairs and upgrades.

Meanwhile, a home appraisal can help you determine the present value of your house. The appraisal will be conducted by a property expert who will examine your house, as well as review myriad data about homes in your neighborhood and the local real estate market. Next, this property expert will provide a property valuation that can help you determine how to price your residence.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent understands the challenges commonly associated with selling a house. Fortunately, this housing market professional also knows how to identify and address these challenges early in the home selling process, increasing the likelihood of a quick, profitable home sale.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your home selling goals. He or she then will help you put together a strategy to sell your home quickly and maximize your earnings.

When it comes to promoting a residence to potential buyers, a real estate agent knows exactly what to do too. He or she will help you craft an engaging and informative home listing that hits the mark with the right buyers. Plus, a real estate agent will host open house events and home showings to provide buyers with plenty of opportunities to view your house.

Want to list your house? Follow the aforementioned steps, and you can boost your chances of a terrific home selling experience.




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Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 11/15/2020

If this is your first home sale, you might be wondering about what your requirements are in terms of home inspections. A vital step in the closing process, professional home inspections are typically included in real estate contracts as a contingency (the sale is dependent upon their completion).

But, are there any situations in which a seller would get a home inspection?

In todayís post, weíre going to talk about why sellers might want to get their home inspection and how it could be useful to the home sale process overall.

To diagnose problems with your home

When youíre deciding on the asking price of your home, youíll want to take into account all of the things that could potentially drive that price down. Inspectors will look for a number of issues in your home, which can save you from any surprises when a potential buyer orders their inspection of your home.

The further along in the home sale process when you discover an expensive repair that needs to be made, the more complicated it makes your home sale.

So, if youíre in any doubt about whether your home will need repairs now or in the near future, ordering an inspection could be a safe option.

What do inspectors look for?

When inspecting your home, a licensed professional will look at several things:

  • Exterior components of your home, such as cracks or broken seals on exterior surfaces, garage door function and safety, and so on.

  • The structural integrity of your home; checking your foundation for dangerous cracks where moisture can enter and cause damage in the form of mold or breaks in the foundation.

  • The roof of your home will be checked for things like broken or loose shingles or nearby tree branches that could damage your home or nearby power lines in a storm.

  • The HVAC system will be tested to make sure itís running properly and efficiently and also that vents are clean and clear of debris.

  • Interior components of your home will be checked for safety and damage from things like pests and water damage.

Will the seller still order an inspection if my home just had one?

An inspection contingency is built into almost all real estate contracts to protect the interests of the buyer and seller alike.

In most circumstances, a buyer will want to get their own inspection performed. After all, they donít know who you went to for an inspection and whether they were licensed in your state.

The bottom line

Ultimately, if youíre planning on selling your home in the near future and arenít sure if your home may have any underlying issues, itís usually a good idea to get an inspection to make sure you can plan for any repairs or inform potential buyers of any issues with your home.




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Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 11/8/2020

Youíve been thinking it for a while: ďI really should start putting some money aside for a down payment.Ē But, you just canít seem to find any wiggle room in your budget.

Youíre not alone. Saving for a down payment isnít easy. Especially if youíve got rent, car payments, student loans, and are trying to put money aside for retirement.

In todayís post, weíre going to talk about how to make a game plan for your down payment. This way, you can start saving immediately, bringing you closer to your goal of homeownership each day.

Step 1: Give each dollar a job

The first rule of budgeting is that you need to know where each dollar you earn ends up. From there, you can start re-allocating funds to the things you want to save for.

There are many apps and tools available to help you out with this process, including YNAB (You Need A Budget) and Mint. If apps arenít your thing, you can always use a simple spreadsheet.

First, account for all of your income. This could include your salary, rental income, or other forms of money that you have coming in.

Next, detail each of your weekly and monthly expenses. Everything from groceries to the internet bill and retirement contributions.

Step 2: Reassess your expenses

Now itís time to make some tough decisions. Are there ways you can cut down on your weekly or monthly expenses? Maybe you arenít using that Amazon Prime membership as much as you thought you would. Or, maybe youíve decided you donít really watch anything on cable but the news. There are a number of ways one might cut back on their monthly bills.

Get creative with family plans, bulk shopping for food, or cooking budget-friendly meals. All of these savings will add up quickly.

Step 3: Pay off small debts with high interest

Letís face it, if you have thousands of dollars in student loans, you might not be able to aggressively pay them down by the time you want to move out of your apartment.

But, for small debts (under $1,000 credit card debt, for example), you could save more in the long run by paying them off and avoiding interest payments.

Step 4: Be smart about your savings

With the right savings account and credit card, you can earn money through savings interest and through cashback rewards on credit cards.

First, find a savings account with the highest possible interest rate. These can often be found from choosing an online bank who doesnít have the overhead of running branches.

Next, direct deposit a set amount of your paycheck each week into that savings account. This way, you can be sure that you wonít dip into your down payment savings.

To generate additional income, you can use cash back rewards from credit cards for things like groceries and gas. Choose a credit card that offers the best cash back rewards for things like groceries and gas purchases. The key here is to only use your credit card on necessities and to always pay off the card in full at the end of each month.

If you follow these four steps, you should be able to streamline your down payment savings process and start saving right now.




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Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 11/1/2020

Many buyers are searching for a home with an attached garage. It helps to keep cars out of the sun, rain, and snow. An attached garage allows you to walk directly from your vehicle into your home without worry.

Garages used to be detached. These structures offered many benefits to homeowners that seem to be forgotten. As cars became more popular and larger, families began to own two cars at their properties. When this became common, so too did the attached garage.

While an attached garage is seen as a luxury and often a necessity, the good points a detached garage have shouldnít be overlooked.

Attached garages can be converted into living spaces. This affords you as a homeowner much more room without the need to move. Homeowners can then build a detached garage for storage or the placement of a vehicle.

Other Advantages To Detached Garages

A detached garage adds character to a home. Many buyers complain of tired suburban architecture, where the garage often becomes somewhat of a focal point for the front of the home. Detached garages can be more pleasing to look at.

Youíll also have a bit more wiggle room as to how you design your home. If you build a detached garage, it can be placed at an angle on the property. The garage can also be hidden in the backyard, or designed to look like a smaller version of the larger house. A path can even be built through the yard to the garage to bring a design to the entire yard.

Another advantage to a detached garage is that toxic fumes from your vehicle wonít get into the house. Homes with detached garages can often receive green points for environmentally friendly building practices. Thereís also less of a risk posed to you and your family for things like carbon monoxide poisoning. You canít leave a vehicle running very long in an attached garage without that risk.

A detached garage also affords the possibility of adding living space above the garage. It can be a great play space for kids or a game room for adults. You can even build a home office in the upstairs portion of the garage. The area will indeed be quiet if placed strategically. If the attached garage is new construction, you can run wild with it. The design is up to you and the possibilities are truly endless.

While many buyers search for a home with an attached garage, detached garages can have many pros and allow great flexibility to you as a homeowner.




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Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 10/25/2020

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

The perfect home is not the only thing you'll need to shop for when you want to become a homeowner. In order to get the best terms, the lowest monthly payment and a reasonable interest rate, start doing some homework now -- before you even attend your first open house. 

1. Check Your Credit Score

Checking your credit score should be the first thing you do when you're considering the purchase of a home. Why? Because every lender you speak to will use it as a benchmark for determining the likelihood of you being able to pay off the debt. The better your credit score, the more favorable terms and interest rates a lender might offer you. The earlier you know your credit score, the more time you have to address any issues that might be contained in it. Remember, you're entitled to one free credit report from each of the three reporting agencies each year. Take advantage of this service and keep tabs on your credit score. 

2. Have Steady Employment 

Being able to demonstrate that you are gainfully employed will go a long way toward qualifying for a mortgage loan and being offered attractive interest rates. Aim for at least two years of unbroken employment. Be ready to back up your claims regarding the duration of your employment and the dollar amounts you bring home. 

3. Offer a Sizable Down Payment 

Come to the negotiating table with a lender and with a solid down payment, you'll be able to enjoy lower monthly payments. There's no fast rule regarding the amount of a down payment. That being said, most lenders like you to have at least 20 percent of the home's purchase price as the down payment. There are some lenders, however, who accept less than 20 percent. If your lender accepts down payments that are less than the standard 20 percent, expect to have to purchase private mortgage insurance. This can be anywhere from .05 percent to 1 percent. 

4. Know Your Debt To Income Ratio

The debt to income ratio demonstrates your ability to pay off the mortgage as agreed upon. Most lenders like to see that your monthly debt payments are equal to or less than 43 percent of your gross monthly income. 

In a seller's market, there might be several people vying for the same home. Addressing the items above can make you look more attractive compared to some of the other potential home buyers. 




Tags: buyer tips   credit score   Loan   planning  
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Jill Finkelstein