Janet Murray's Blog
You know when you buy a home that your credit score matters, but do you see all of the numbers that matter to your financial picture when you’re buying a home? Your debt-to-income ratio is one of the most critical figures that will influence if you can get a mortgage and what type of rate you can get.
What Is A Debt-To-Income Ratio?
This number is exactly what it states: the ratio of debt divided by your gross monthly income. Your credit report doesn't include any of this income information. This number is actually the best way to see if you’re living within your means or not. This way, your lender will know your monthly debt payments along with your monthly income.
If your ratio of debt is high, you may not get a loan or get less desirable interest rates than if you had lower amounts of debt. Even if you have a high credit score, your debt-to-income ratio could affect these things. In reality, a higher debt ratio will make it harder for you to pay back your debt, so it’s important to you.
How It’s Calculated
You can use an online tool to help you calculate your debt-to-income ratio. You can also use a simple formula if you’re up for doing some math yourself:
Divide your monthly debt payments by your monthly gross income then multiply that number by 100. For example:
Student loans: $400
Car loan: $300
1400/4000= 0.35 x 100= 35%
You should also be aware of something called your household ratio. The household is the amount of home-related expenses which includes property taxes, prospective mortgage, home insurance, and more. These costs are divided by your monthly income to get this ratio as well. Obviously, your household debt adds to your financial commitments and is also put into consideration by your lender.
What’s A Good Debt-To-Income Ratio?
It’s ideal that you keep your ratio less than 36%. Your household ratio should be even lower than this. It’s great to be debt free, but in the real world, that’s not always possible. Your best bet is to be responsible with your finances and work on paying your debt down as much as you can. Then, little by little all of the critical numbers that are required to get a mortgage will fall into place.
Once you have bought a new house, you may feel lost as to where to start. There’s a long checklist of things that you should do to get yourself established in a new space. Here, you'll find a plan on what to do next.
Get Recommendations On Local People You Can Work With
Your realtor is a good place to start in asking who they recommend for many types of workers including plumbers, electricians, contractors, and more. You may even want to talk to your next door neighbors and see who they have used in the past for these types of handy work jobs. Even if you don’t need any kind of work done immediately, it’s a good idea to have some names and numbers on hand for future reference.
Don’t Paint Right Away
Although it seems much more practical to paint an empty house, once you live in your new home for awhile, you’ll get a sense of where the light hits and what colors will complement your furniture. When you pick colors in a rush, you run the risk of choosing shades that you may not love in the long term. Focus on properly lighting your rooms before you even start to paint.
Don’t Forget The Housewarming Party!
If you plan a housewarming party for a date that’s not too far after you move in, it will give you motivation to get things done in the house. The housewarming party is your accountability partner to get you to unpack those boxes and get decorating. Try to plan the party somewhere between one and two months after your planned move-in date. This will give you time to get things done, just not too much time!
Meet The Neighbors
You should take some time very soon after you move in to meet your new neighbors. They can be a great resource for you as to what happens in your new neighborhood. Find out if any of your new neighbors have dogs that your own dog could meet for a friendly walk. Your new friends will even give you information about a neighborhood watch or important community activities as well.
You’ll want to check all of your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and alarm systems. Be sure that they work. Then, change the batteries in each system to start fresh. You should also equip your house with a fire extinguisher or two. You can never be too prepared for an emergency.
Next, you should check all of the door and window locks. Replace anything that used a key. You never know who had keys to the home before it was sold.
When you start small in a new home, things will begin to come together slowly but surely just like puzzle pieces.
That kitchen sink faucet needed replacing for a while, but between the cost of the new faucet and the cost of paying the hourly rate of the plumber and his helper, it is still the same old faucet. It works—sort-of—at least water comes out. Then, while watching one of those shows (that is either remodeling a house to live in or to flip and make some money), you see them change out the kitchen faucet, and you say to yourself, "I can do that.”
So, the adventure begins.
On the surface, changing out a faucet does not seem like such a challenging project. However, if you are not doing plumbing on a regular basis, it can get more complicated. The first step is that you have to buy the faucet you want that will look good. That seems simple enough, but there are holes already drilled in the sink or the countertop, so you must get a faucet that will fit those. There are two ways to size the holes: either remove the old fixture or get under the sink to measure the distance between the holes. (This is particularly important if this is an older home.)
Now to do the work.
Removing the faucet requires crawling under the sink.
- First, remove all of that stuff stored under there.
- Turn off the hot and cold water. If there are no valves under the sink, you need to find the master valve for the house. (If this is the situation, you might decide to install valves while you’re at it, but remember, you are not a plumber, so that might be biting off more than you can chew.)
- Now you find that the drain pipes are in your way of trying to get under the sink to reach the backside. So, you decide to remove them to get around under there. Seems logical right? Unfortunately, you find that someone else that is not a plumber replaced those drain lines and did not put them back correctly so now you are going to have to replace those.
- Back to the faucet you finally get the water lines removed and the nuts holding the faucet to the sink. (They're corroded—apparently, there had been a leak at some point).
Following the instructions that came with the faucet, you get it attached to the sink, and it looks GREAT! Unfortunately, you go to connect the waterlines, and the ends do not match the faucet. So, you remove the waterlines from the inlet valve and head to the DIY store to find new lines that will fit. You also remember to take all of that drain pipe with you because you are going to need to replace it and make it fit correctly.
Wrap it up!
Now you have the new parts you can get the water attached and the drain pipes reconnected. The drain pipes look a lot different, but they work, and they do not leak. Congratulations to you!
You have finally replaced that old faucet. It looks good, but bummer it took you all Saturday morning and then some. Maybe you should have paid that plumber for an hour. You could have done something more fun. Plumbing is one of those DIY things that when you do not do it all of the time, you NEVER have the correct pieces and you end up making several trips to the store. You are not alone.
The choice is yours: spend money or spend time. DIY can be satisfying or frustrating, so remember to start a project with your eyes open to what could be involved. Good luck!
For a referral to a qualified plumber, check with your real estate professional.
Every home seller wants to enjoy a positive property selling experience. Yet ensuring your home selling strategy goes according to plan may be difficult, particularly for a seller who lacks property selling expertise. Lucky for you, we're here to provide the help you need to achieve the optimal results at each stage of the home selling journey.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you reap the benefits of a positive home selling experience.
1. Set an Aggressive Initial Home Asking Price
How you price your home will have a significant impact on how quickly your residence sells. If you establish an aggressive initial home asking price, you should have no trouble stirring up plenty of interest in your residence as soon as your home becomes available.
Check out the prices of available houses in your area that are similar to your own residence. Then, you can establish a price range for homes in your area and price your house accordingly.
Furthermore, it often helps to evaluate the prices of recently sold houses in your city or town. With this housing market data at your disposal, you can find out whether you're getting ready to sell your home in a buyer's or seller's market.
2. Remove Clutter
Clutter is problematic, particularly for a home seller who wants to streamline the property selling cycle. Fortunately, home sellers who identify clutter now can eliminate this problem before they list their houses.
Antiques, paintings and other excess items inside your home should be removed. You can always rent a storage unit, which will enable you to keep these items safe until you sell your house. Or, you can host a yard sale or sell excess items online prior to listing your residence.
Don't forget to remove lawn decorations and other clutter from outside your house as well. By doing so, you can instantly improve your house's curb appeal and increase the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is prepared to do everything possible to ensure you can enjoy a positive house selling experience. In fact, this housing market professional will offer plenty of support at each stage of the home selling journey.
Usually, a real estate agent will meet with you before you list your house. He or she then will craft a home selling strategy designed to help you accomplish your home selling goals. Next, a real estate agent will promote your house to dozens of potential buyers, set up home showings and open house events and keep you up to date about any offers to purchase your residence. And if you decide to accept an homebuying proposal, a real estate agent will guide you through the home closing process.
Ready to reap the benefits of a positive home selling experience? Take advantage of the aforementioned tips, and you can seamlessly navigate the home selling journey.
Let's face it – buying a home in a hot housing market is no easy task. For example, if you wait too long to submit an offer on a house, you risk losing this residence to a rival buyer. On the other hand, if you rush to submit a home offer at or above a seller's initial asking price, you risk spending too much to acquire your dream residence.
Clearly, there's a lot to think about as you search for a home in a hot housing market. Lucky for you, we're here to help you overcome myriad homebuying hurdles and acquire your dream residence, even in a hot housing market.
Let's take a look at three tips to help you succeed as a homebuyer in a hot housing market.
1. Narrow Your Home Search
You know that you want to live in a specific city or town, but you still are uncertain about what type of house that you want to purchase. However, if you create a list of home must-haves and wants, you can narrow your house search and speed up the homebuying process.
Once you have a homebuying checklist in hand, you should have no trouble evaluating residences in a hot housing market. Then, you can check out these houses in person and move one step closer to submitting an offer to purchase your dream house.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
To acquire a home in a hot housing market, you'll likely need a mortgage. Thankfully, lenders are available that can teach you everything you need to know about a wide range of mortgage options.
Lenders can explain the differences between adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages, describe exactly how a mortgage works and much more. That way, you can assess many mortgage options and select one that matches your finances.
After you obtain a mortgage, you can enter a hot housing market with a homebuying budget. This will enable you to further accelerate your home search and ensure you can quickly submit an offer as soon as you discover your ideal residence.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
Navigating a hot housing market sometimes can be tricky, particularly for a homebuyer who is competing against dozens of rivals. But if you hire a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive support as you pursue a home in a hot housing market.
A real estate agent is ready to assist you in any way possible. This housing market professional will offer insights into the real estate conditions in a particular city or town and help you map out your homebuying journey accordingly.
In addition, a real estate agent understands exactly what it takes to buy a residence in a hot housing market. He or she will help you put together a competitive offer on any home, at any time. And if your offer is rejected, a real estate agent will help you regroup and reenter a hot housing market so you can find your dream home.
Ready to buy a home in a hot housing market? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can accomplish your homebuying goals faster than ever before.