Category: Mortgage + Real Estate Tips

Want to Buy Your First Home This Year? 4 Easy To-Do’s to Check Off Your List First

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

Buying a home is a big financial (and life!) step, and if you’ve never done it before, it can feel overwhelming. Diving straight into the murky waters of mortgage rates and median home prices can be scary, so doing a few little steps can help you rack up some easy wins and put you in a positive homebuyer headspace. Here are four super simple tasks that you can easily check off your list.

Read the source article at Apartment Therapy

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating an Emergency Binder

When an emergency strikes, you usually don’t have the time to go around the house and find what you need. Having your most important documents in one easy to grab binder and save you time in an emergency and hassle later on.

What you should include:

  • Birth certificates
  • Social Security cards
  • Immigration and naturalization paperwork
  • The deed to your house
  • Pink slips and car registration information
  • Phone numbers and addresses for your children’s schools and daycares
  • Copies of your insurance policies
  • Passports
  • Cash
  • Copies of prescriptions
  • Will, power of attorney, advance directive
  • A written plan of where to meet your family members in case of an emergency
  • Anything else that might be hard to replace

Where you should store your emergency binder:

Keep your binder in a fireproof safe or a lockbox. Make sure your binder is hidden but is still easily accessible and close to an exit. Your emergency binder can even have a misleading title so that it’s not a target for theft.

Yes, it can be risky to keep all this sensitive information together, but the costs of not having some of these documents and essentials in an emergency can be even greater. You never know when an emergency will strike and how much time you’ll have to gather necessities. Having an emergency binder will help you feel more secure and organized, no matter what happens.

Source: Ventura County Star, Jan 14, 2017

30 Tips for Increasing Your Home’s Value

The road to selling a home can be a long one. Learn to improve the value of your home based on your budget with these 30 tips.

Home Improvements: Under $100

Tip 1: Spend an Hour With a pro

Invite a realtor or interior designer over to check out your home. Many realtors will do this as a courtesy, but you will probably have to pay a consultation fee to a designer. Check with several designers in your area; a standard hourly fee is normally less than $100, and in an hour they can give you lots of ideas for needed improvements. Even small suggested improvements, such as paint colors or furniture placement, can go a long way toward improving the look and feel of your home.

Read the source article at

Will 2017’s Color of the Year Help Sell Your Home?

For the past 17 years, Pantone – the world-renowned authority on color – has unveiled what they believe to be the color of the year. Their selection historically influences all facets of design, including home décor.

2017’s Color of the Year is Greenery. According to Pantone, Greenery signifies beginnings: a fresh New Year; healthier food resolutions and growing vegetarian trends; grass and the outdoors during spring and summer. But most prominently, the yellow-green hue (specifically, Pantone 15-0343) reflects on the concept of “environment.”

So, should you head straight to the paint store to update your home to this newest trend before putting it on the market?

According to Market Watch and their analysis of what colors attract homebuyers, maybe a hint of Greenery will help you quite a bit.

Read on for what Market Watch says are the colors to use (and to avoid) for the biggest bang for your painting buck. 

Housing Predictions for 2017

Throughout 2016 home prices were on the rise and interest rates remained low. What do experts predict for 2017?

National Mortgage News reports the following 5 housing market predictions as analyzed by for the coming year:

Boomers and Millennials Top Buyers

Millennials and baby boomers are predicted to be the biggest groups of home purchasers over the next year.

Millennials in Midwest

Midwestern cities are expected to draw more millennials because homes are more affordable and interest rates are growing.

Price Growth Shrinks

Home prices have been growing, but growth is expected to be less robust than last year. Only about a quarter of the top metropolitan cities are expected to see home prices grow by more than 1%.

Homes Move Fast

Housing inventory will likely not rise because inventory constraints may continue. This can mean that homes can sell quicker in competitive markets.

The West Will Win

The West may very well have the most impressive home sale statistics and prices. Both home prices and sales are expected to rise by nearly 5%.

National Mortgage News

How Credit Card Payments May Predict Mortgage Payments

A new report being generated by Fannie Mae – the organization that provides financial products and services to increase the availability and affordability of housing for low-, moderate- and middle-income Americans – may now help lenders understand how you’ll manage your mortgage payments.

To learn more about the trended data and what is it being used for, check out this article from