Ellen McLaughlin - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 9/13/2020

Buying a home is a process that can seem daunting and even a little scary to most first-time buyers. After all, being a homeowner is a huge financial and personal responsibility.

To make this lengthy process a bit more approachable, weíre going to break it down into five steps. While these five steps may be somewhat different for each person, depending on their own unique situation, they do comprise most home buyerís experience.

If youíre interested in learning the steps youíll need to take before owning your first home, read on.

Step 1: Know your long-term goals

Before you buy a home, youíll want to have a clear understanding of what you, your spouse, and your family want from the next five or more years. Youíll want to make sure the area youíre moving to can provide things like career advancement and opportunity, good schools for your children, and so on.

These questions may seem obvious, but itís an important conversation to have before making the long-term commitment of owning a home.

Step 2: Your budget and your needs

It might be tempting to hop online and start shopping for houses, but first you should get a clear idea of the size and cost of the house youíre looking for. This involves determining your budget, thinking about your credit and planning for your down payment.

Step 3: Mortgage pre-approval

Getting preapproved for a mortgage can be a great way to gauge the interest late and loan amount youíll be approved for. Youíll need to gather paperwork, including income information (pay stubs), tax returns, and W-2 forms.

Be aware that lenders will run a detailed credit report. Since credit reports count as an inquiry, they can temporarily lower your credit score by a few points.

Applying to several lenders within a short period of time can make a significant impact on your score. However, it will start to rise again within a few months if you donít open any new credit accounts or take out other loans.

Step 4: Get an agent

Real estate agents know the ins and outs of the home buying process better than anyone else. Theyíll be able to guide you through the process and provide you with information that you canít get anywhere else.

Step 5: Pick the right home for you

Now itís time to start home shopping. However, before you begin, remember that getting approved for a loan doesnít mean you must or should seek to spend the full amount on a home.

Plan for your needs, and keep the future in mind. Someday you might decide to upgrade, but in the meantime you can be building your credit and building equity in a smaller or more frugal home.





Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 8/30/2020

If possible, it helps to maintain a flexible deadline as you navigate the homebuying journey. Because if you have a tight deadline in place, you risk making a rash homebuying decision. And as a result, you may pay too much to acquire a home. Perhaps even worse, you risk purchasing a house that fails to match your expectations.

As you prepare to kick off your homebuying quest, it helps to plan ahead. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to streamline your home search and discover your ideal residence in no time at all.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you accelerate the homebuying journey.

1. Prepare Homebuying Criteria

If you know you want to buy a home, you should put together property buying criteria. That way, you can enter the housing market with a plan in hand to acquire your dream residence.

To establish homebuying criteria, think about where you want to reside. For instance, if you want a home close to parks and other family-friendly attractions, you should hone your house search accordingly. On the other hand, if you need a house that offers quick, easy access to family members, you should search for a home near these relatives.

Consider the features you want to find in your dream home, too. If you make a list of home must-haves, you can focus exclusively on houses that have the features you require.

2. Establish a Budget

Usually, it is beneficial to begin a home search with a mortgage at your disposal. If you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you will know how much you can spend on a house. Then, you can search for houses that won't force you to exceed your budget.

To obtain a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you everything you need to know about home financing. Plus, they can help you make an informed mortgage selection.

3. Hire a Real Estate Agent

With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble performing a successful home search.

A real estate agent is devoted to homebuyers' success, and as such, will do what it takes to help you achieve your desired results. For instance, if you want to buy an affordable house in a small town, a real estate agent will make it simple for you to do just that. Or, if you want to purchase a home near your office in the city, a real estate agent will craft a custom homebuying plan so you can accomplish your goal.

Furthermore, a real estate agent takes the guesswork out of buying a house. If you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent will respond to them Ė without exception.

Want to enjoy a fast, stress-free homebuying experience? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you may be better equipped than ever before to seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 7/26/2020

Let's face it Ė there are many risks that you may face during the homebuying journey. From submitting an offer on a house that ultimately proves to be a poor investment to failing to obtain a mortgage due to a bad credit score, there are various issues that may prevent you from achieving your desired results. Lucky for you, we're here to help you focus on the task at hand and eliminate potential risks as you search for your ideal residence.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you avoid risks throughout the homebuying journey.

1. Set Realistic Homebuying Expectations

How you search for a home may determine whether you are successful or unsuccessful. For example, if you evaluate houses that fall outside your price range, you may struggle to find a home that you can actually afford. On the other hand, if you establish realistic homebuying expectations from the get-go, you may be able to streamline your house search.

Think about where you want to live and how much you can afford to pay for a home. Also, you should consider home must-haves and wants. With this information at your disposal, you can avoid the risk of missing out on an opportunity to acquire a residence that matches your expectations.

2. Get a Mortgage

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is pivotal. Because if you obtain a mortgage today, you can enter the housing market with a budget and narrow your house search accordingly. Perhaps most important, a mortgage enables you to avoid the temptation to pursue homes that be priced beyond your budget.

Consult with banks and credit unions, and you can learn about a broad array of mortgage options. Then, you can select a mortgage and kick off your search for your dream residence.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

Problems may arise at any point during the homebuying journey. And if you're unsure about how to address these issues, it may be tough for you to acquire your ideal residence. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you may be able to identify and address homebuying problems before they escalate.

A real estate agent understands the housing market and is happy to share his or her expertise with you. This housing market professional can teach you about the differences between a buyer's and seller's market, help you prepare a homebuying strategy and much more.

Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent can provide as you get ready to submit an offer on your dream home, either. A real estate agent will help you craft a competitive homebuying proposal. Furthermore, he or she will negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and do everything possible to ensure you can acquire your dream residence at a budget-friendly price.

Take control of the homebuying journey Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you can limit risk as you search for your ideal house.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 6/21/2020

A home showing will help you gain the insights you need to make an informed decision about a house purchase. At the same time, you may have many concerns about whether a residence is right for you, even after you complete a home showing.

Ultimately, there are many questions to consider after you finish a house showing to ensure you can make the right choice about a residence, and these include:

1. How did I feel as I walked through a home?

Oftentimes, homebuyers try to envision what life may be like if they purchase a residence. As these buyers walk through a house during a showing, it sometimes can be simple to imagine the possibilities if you buy this residence. On the other hand, it may be tough to envision a future in a particular home if a house fails to match or exceed your expectations.

Think about how you felt as you explored each room in a house during a showing. If you left a home showing with a good feeling about a residence, it may be beneficial to submit an offer or set up a follow-up showing. Conversely, if a home showing left you feeling uncomfortable with a residence, you may want to continue your search for your dream house.

2. Are there any major issues with a home?

Generally, it is a good idea to ask lots of questions about a house during a showing. This will enable you to learn about the condition of a home and determine whether major repairs are necessary.

A home in need of significant upgrades offers opportunities for homebuyers who are looking for a "fixer-upper" house. In fact, if you submit an offer on a fixer-upper home, you may be able to perform assorted repairs to enhance a house's condition and value.

Comparatively, if you are unwilling to perform substantial home upgrades, there is no need to worry. You can always forego submitting an offer on a house after a showing, and by doing so, continue your pursuit for your ideal home.

3. Is a home a viable long-term investment?

As a homebuyer, it is important to find a house that will serve you well both now and in the future. Because if you fail to do so, you risk purchasing a house that will only decline in value in the years to come.

If you feel that a home is a viable long-term investment following a showing, you may want to submit an offer to acquire this residence. Then, if a seller accepts your offer, you can conduct a home inspection and move forward in the homebuying process.

Lastly, as you consider what to do after a home showing, you may want to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can help you evaluate the pros and cons of submitting an offer on a particular residence. Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will offer expert tips to ensure you can find your dream residence in no time at all.




Tags: Buying a home   showing  
Categories: Buying a Home   showing  


Posted by Ellen McLaughlin on 3/22/2020

When you want to buy a home, you know that good credit will be necessary. You may have heard some things about your credit score that just arenít true. Read on to set the record straight on some of the most significant misconceptions about credit. 


Checking Your Credit Only Gives You Knowledge


Checking your credit score or report will not lower your score. The only way checking a score is damaging to a credit score is in the form of credit inquiries. This is when a lender, employer, or other merchant checks your credit in order for you to either gain employment or open a new line of credit. You have the right to review your score without it being impacted. 


You Shouldnít Carry Balances


The best way to keep a high credit score is to use a credit card and pay the balance off in full each month. Itís a false belief that carrying a balance is an excellent way to increase your credit score. You need a low debt level to maintain a good credit score. 


Your Age And Income Have Nothing To Do With Your Score


Itís natural that older people who have a longer credit history have a better shot a good credit score, but your age has nothing to do with your score. It all depends on when you established credit. Some people started their credit histories early because their parents opened accounts for them. Others needed to wait awhile before opening their first credit card account. 


Your income also is not a factor in determining your credit score. It may be true that if you have a higher income, itís easier to stay out of debt, but the amount of money you make has no direct impact on your score. 


You Cannot Access Your Credit Score For Free


You have a legal right to obtain a free copy of your credit report once a year but, your credit score isn't included in this report. There are free services that are outside of your credit report that will give you your credit rating, but you need to search for them. Itís a good idea to check your credit report periodically, but you should also know your score especially if you're getting ready to make a big purchase such as buying a home.


Your Credit Matters More Than You Think


While you know your credit score matters when you head to get a home loan, you may not know just how many entities take your credit into account when you apply for them. Some things you may do where your credit score matters:


Apply for a job

Apply for a credit card

Rent an apartment

Sign up for phone and Internet services

Get other utilities in your home


Your credit history gives a picture to the world to let them know if youíre financially stressed. If you have gone through rough patches, there are always ways to bring your score up. If you had a judgment ruled against you in a lawsuit, for example, that would only appear on your credit report for a certain number of years. Lenders will often allow you to explain bumps in your credit report as well. Understanding credit is half the battle to a good score!      




Categories: Buying a Home