Elena Langlois - CENTURY 21 Commonwealth



Posted by Elena Langlois on 7/12/2018

As a home seller, there is always a chance that you may receive a lowball offer on your house. When this happens, you might feel disappointed and frustrated and be ready to move on to the next offer. However, a lowball offer may set the table for a negotiation, particularly for a home seller who knows how to respond to this proposal properly.

Ultimately, it is important to assess any offer on your home, even if this proposal fails to meet your initial expectations. And even though it may be tough to take a lowball offer seriously, you'll want to consider the pros and cons of it before you make your next move.

What does it take to assess a lowball offer on your home and counter it accordingly? Here are three tips to help a home seller do just that.

1. Stay Focused on Your Goals

For home sellers, you want to sell your home, maximize its value and move through the home selling process as quickly as possible. As such, you'll want to keep these goals in mind any time you receive a lowball offer.

If you receive a lowball offer, remain focused on your goals, and try not to get too emotional about it. With this approach, you'll be able to remain calm, cool and collected and respond to the proposal without the risk of burning any bridges between you and a potential homebuyer.

2. Respond to the Homebuyer's Offer

What you might consider to be a lowball offer may be a fair proposal in the eyes of a homebuyer. Thus, you should respond to a homebuyer's proposal, regardless of whether you consider it to be a lowball offer. By doing so, you may be able to open the lines of communication and help the homebuyer better understand what you consider to be a fair price for your residence.

After you receive a lowball offer, you may choose to pass on it and can relay your decision through your real estate agent. In this scenario, you can let the homebuyer know that you appreciate his or her offer but are going to pass on it. That way, you can decline the proposal politely and await offers that fall in line with your expectations.

Comparatively, you might decide to counter a homebuyer's initial offer, and your real estate agent can pass along the information about what you would be willing to accept for your house. By countering a homebuyer's offer, you may be able to begin a negotiation that could help you accelerate the home selling process.

3. Establish Realistic Expectations

Pricing your home competitively from the get-go is paramount for any home seller. With a competitive price, you'll be able to set realistic expectations for homebuyers and may be able to avoid the risk of receiving a lowball offer entirely.

When it comes to determining a fair price for your house, consult with your real estate agent. Remember, your real estate agent possesses industry experience and can help you set a fair price for your house based on the current real estate market's conditions.




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Posted by Elena Langlois on 7/5/2018

A bathroom renovation represents a major decision, especially for those who plan to sell their homes in the near future.

Ultimately, there are many questions to consider before you embark on a bathroom renovation, including:

1. When do I plan to list my home?

Consider your home selling timeline – you'll be glad you did. If you understand when you'd like to list your residence, you can plan home improvement projects accordingly.

If you intend to list your home in the next few months, there is plenty of time to overhaul your bathroom if necessary. Or, if you want to sell your home as soon as possible, a bathroom renovation may slow you down.

2. Is a bathroom renovation necessary?

Although your bathroom may seem small and messy at times, only minor bathroom upgrades may be needed to transform your ordinary bathroom into an exceptional one.

Performing an extensive bathroom cleaning will enable you to eliminate shower scum, wipe down a bathroom countertop and enhance the bathroom floor. Plus, cleaning a bathroom often represents a fast, easy and cost-effective alternative to a major bathroom overhaul.

Furthermore, a home appraisal may help you better understand your house's strengths and weaknesses. After this appraisal is finished, you can identify problem areas in your home and determine whether a bathroom renovation is a priority.

3. How much will a bathroom renovation cost?

The cost of a bathroom renovation may range from hundreds to thousands of dollars based on the size of your bathroom, the renovations that are needed and other factors. As such, you'll want to evaluate the cost of a bathroom renovation to determine how the project may impact your property's value.

Meet with several bathroom renovation experts. That way, you can receive multiple bathroom renovation estimates to see what it will cost to enhance your bathroom's appearance.

Also, you may want to consider do-it-yourself (DIY) bathroom improvements. A DIY bathroom renovation can be rewarding because it will enable you to learn new skills and revamp your bathroom's appearance on your own. At the same time, you'll want to ensure that any bathroom upgrades you complete are done safely and effectively.

Still unsure about whether you should perform a bathroom renovation? Discuss your concerns and questions with a real estate agent, and you may be able to gain unparalleled insights into whether a bathroom renovation is worth your time.

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market. He or she can help you assess the pros and cons of a bathroom renovation. As a result, you can make informed decisions about a bathroom renovation and other home improvement projects.

In addition, a real estate agent can serve as an expert guide along the home selling journey. This housing market professional can help you get your home ready and ensure it will generate plenty of interest from property buyers as soon as it becomes available.

Take the guesswork out of a bathroom renovation – consider the aforementioned questions, and you can decide whether a bathroom renovation is right for you.




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Posted by Elena Langlois on 6/28/2018

It’s common knowledge that a 20% down payment is key when you buy a home, but is it absolutely necessary? With average home prices continuing to rise, it’s hard to actually save up that sizable of an amount of money. Thinking bout the numbers, buying a home may seem impossible. 


There’s good news: The 20% down requirement is actually a myth. If you put less than 20% down, you can still get a mortgage with most banks. There’s a reason why you hear that you need to put 20% down to buy a home. If you don’t put 20% down, you need to get either private mortgage insurance (PMI) or government insurance from the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). These types of mortgage insurance protect the lender if you don’t make your payments and the home is foreclosed on. 



Do PMI Payments Go On Forever?


When your loan-to-value ratio reaches 80 percent, you’re able to ask your lender to cancel the insurance. Once the loan-to-value ratio reaches 78 percent, the lender has a requirement to cancel the PMI. This type of insurance can be costly, averaging at least a few hundred dollars a month. 


Alternatives To 20 Percent Down


Look at financing before you find a house. There’s a few programs that can help you to buy a home without 20% down. There’s different ways to qualify for these programs, so your best bet is to talk to a lender well before you start your home search.


Government programs through places like the US Department of Agriculture and the Federal Housing Administration help people to buy a home with very little down- anywhere from 0-3.5%. Some of these programs can prove to be costly on the backend, due to extra insurance requirements, but they do provide an alternative path to home ownership.  


There’s also an option to actually finance the down payment with what's called a subordinate loan. his may make sense for some, however, you are taking out a loan in order to pay for another loan. The process may be counterintuitive for you and your financial situation. 


Different Paths To Homeownership


While there’s many different paths to owning a home, there’s no one right answer. Since everyone chooses different properties and has different financial situations, there’s a way for you. Even if saving up a 20% down payment is seemingly impossible, there’s way to get around it. Start with talking to your bank and other lenders to see what types of programs are available to you and discover what your path to homeownership is.




Tags: down payment   PMI  
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Posted by Elena Langlois on 6/21/2018

Do you know home selling lingo? If not, miscommunications may arise that prevent you from maximizing the value of your house. Perhaps even worse, you risk making poor home selling decisions due to the fact that you don't fully understand the real estate terms included in a home sale agreement.

Fortunately, we're here to bring clarity to assorted home selling terms that you may encounter as you proceed along the home selling journey.

Let's take a look at three common home selling terms that every property seller needs to know.

1. Depreciation

Over time, the value of your home may deteriorate due to age, wear and tear and other problems. This is referred to as "depreciation," and depreciation ultimately may impact your ability to get the best price for your house.

To find out how much your house's value has depreciated, it may be worthwhile to conduct a home appraisal before you list your residence. That way, you can analyze your house's strengths and weaknesses. You also can uncover innovative ways to boost your home's appearance both inside and out, thereby ensuring you can set the optimal initial asking price for your residence.

2. House Closing

A house closing refers to the final transfer of ownership from home seller to homebuyer. Thus, once you and a homebuyer are ready to dot the I's and cross the T's on a home sale agreement, you'll complete the house closing process.

During a house closing, all terms of a contract between a home seller and homebuyer must be met. Moreover, the home deed will be recorded, and the house will finally be sold.

The house closing is a key part of the home selling cycle. At this point, a home seller will receive final payment for a house and transfer ownership of the property to the buyer.

3. Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent plays a pivotal role in the home selling process, and for good reason. If you hire an expert real estate agent, you should have no trouble navigating the home selling journey.

Typically, a real estate agent handles all of the tasks associated with listing and selling a house. This housing market professional will help you promote your residence to potential homebuyers, host open houses and home showings and even negotiate with homebuyers on your behalf. Plus, if you receive an offer on a home, a real estate agent can offer honest, unbiased recommendations about whether to accept or reject the proposal.

You don't need to look far to find a qualified real estate agent in your area, either.

Real estate agents are employed across the United States. In fact, if you interview multiple real estate agents in your area, you can find a real estate agent who makes you feel comfortable and confident about selling your house.

Allocate the necessary time and resources to learn various home selling terms. With a clear understanding of home selling terms, you can avoid potential pitfalls throughout the home selling journey.




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Posted by Elena Langlois on 6/14/2018

While buying a home is a huge decision that should entail a lot of planning and preparation, applying for a mortgage can be surprisingly easy. Just like with other lenders and creditors, a mortgage lender will want to know that letting you borrow money will be a safe investment. Applying for a mortgage is all about ensuring just that.

In today’s post, we’re going to breakdown the home loan application process to help you have the best chances at a smooth and successful mortgage approval. We’ll also define some of the common terms used in mortgages that might leave you scratching your head so you have a better idea of what your options are.

Prequalification and Preapproval

Getting prequalified and preapproved for a mortgaged can both be helpful steps toward securing your home loan. The two terms mean two entirely different things, however.

In order to be prequalified for a mortgage, you typically need to only fill out a simple form (sometimes directly through a lender’s website). On this form, you won’t need to provide specifics or official documents.

Why is this process so simple? Well, that’s because getting prequalified for a loan doesn’t ensure that you’ll actually receive one. Rather, it is simply the first step toward finding out what type of mortgage and interest rates you could receive.

The next step after prequalification is preapproval. To get preapproved, you’ll have to fill out an official mortgage application. Your lender of choice will request a few pieces of information from you, including tax returns, proof of employment for the last two years, and a list of your debts. The lender will also perform a credit check to determine your loan eligibility.

Credit report

At this phase, lenders will also run your credit report. This is a type of “hard credit inquiry” that details your payment history, the number of accounts you have open, and other factors that help make up your credit score.

To secure the lowest interest rate possible, it helps to have a high credit score. So, in the years and months leading up to your mortgage application, focusing on building credit will pay off.

To increase your credit score, you’ll need to focus on paying your bills on time each month. You should also avoid opening new accounts within a few months of applying for a mortgage because this will count as a new credit inquiry. New credit inquiries--including applying for a mortgage--lower your score temporarily, so it’s best to avoid them when possible.

Additional paperwork required for mortgage applications

Not every mortgage application will be the same. Depending on the type of income you receive, you may need to provide different forms of income verification.

Each person will also have to claim different debts and assets. When buying a home with a spouse or partner, it’s important to consider your debts, assets, and credit scores to determine if it’s better to apply jointly or separately.