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How to Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

A mortgage is a big commitment.

It’s likely one of, if not the, biggest investment you’ll ever make in your life but that doesn’t mean it has to weigh you down for decades to come. As long as your mortgage doesn’t have stipulations for an early pay-off penalty (and in some cases, even if it does) you could save yourself tens of thousands of dollars in interest by doing your best to make more payments.

Check this graphic out:

mortgage payments

 

Well…that sounds doable! We’re all about helping our clients save money everywhere they can. Call us today to talk about your best strategy for mortgaging your new home.

How to Know When It’s Time for a Bigger House

Knowing when to “upgrade” is half the battle in real estate. Over the last few years there’s been a lot of talk about downsizing and living smaller but the fact is, some growing families need more space, not less. The move-up buyer is one of the demographics spurning the real estate market comeback…home prices are currently at 2002/2003 levels but increasing every day. If you’ve been waiting out the market, now’s the perfect time to buy a larger home.

The average first home is around 1,500 square feet and most first-time buyers have a family size of about 2.7 people. Second homes, however, average 2,000+ square feet and are getting larger. Did you know that in 2010, the median size for a new-construction home in the US was almost 2,400 square feet?

So, how do you know when your family is ready for a bigger house? Here are a few signs the On the Move Charlotte team has noticed usually mean it’s time to “move up.”

Your Family is Growing

The number one reason people decide to buy a larger home is an increase in family size. Many people buy their first home before they have children and only realize they need more space once more kids come into the picture. Children aren’t the only way families grow, either. From a new pet to a live-in parent, families expand in all sorts of ways which means a need for more bedrooms, bathrooms, and even parking spaces.

You Want Your Amenities In-House

As cities spread out, more and more families find themselves choosing suburban life over urban dwelling. Larger homes slightly further out from retail and restaurants encourage homeowners to install much of what they need inside their houses. Home gyms are increasingly popular as are gourmet-style kitchens. Why join a neighborhood swim club when you can upgrade to a house that already has a pool in the backyard?

Your Needs Have Changed

Large homes simply aren’t appropriate for every stage of life. A single 27-year old man in Charlotte likely needs less space but more walkability, but his needs may change when he’s 35, married, and has two kids. Perhaps you’ve started an at-home business and you need an extra bedroom to use as an office. Maybe your kids are of an age where you’d like a finished basement for them to spread out. Whatever the case, shifting priorities are a fact of life and they’re often the motivating factor for a move up buyer.

You’ve Recouped Your Equity

If you purchased your current home before the real estate downturn five years ago you’ve likely been waiting to sell until the timing’s right. Well, the timing’s right. Mortgage rates are hitting record lows (some hovering around 2.5%) and in many parts of the country the “seller’s market” is back. The best time to buy a bigger home is when you can sell your current place for close to if not more than you bought it for and upgrade before prices begin to skyrocket. Many Charlotte neighborhoods are experiencing exactly these conditions making 2013 one of the best times to buy a bigger home in years.

You Can Afford It

If Americans learned anything from the real estate crisis of 2008, it’s never to buy a home they can’t afford. Before you know if you’re ready for a bigger home, spend some time researching mortgage rates and talk to a financial adviser to find out if taking on more debt is in your best interest. Real estate is and always has been a solid long-term financial investment and buying a bigger home when your family needs one can often be a savvy money move. If you determine you can comfortably afford the payment, manage the increased utility expenses, and furnish a larger house, you may be ready to upgrade.

 

Call the brokers at On the Move Charlotte today to talk about whether or not it’s time for your family to begin looking for a larger house. Buying a bigger home is an important decision, but one that most families find necessary and even rewarding at some point during home ownership. Leigh Bryant, John Elliott, and Michelle Duyck will work with you to find the best home for your current needs.

704.516.3318

 

Tips for Ensuring a Favorable Home Appraisal

Appraisals are big business in the real estate industry, referenced by both lenders and homebuyers as a benchmark for a property’s “true” value. Recently, however, as reported by Reuters, homeowners are having a difficult time obtaining what they believe to be a fair estimate for the value of their home from California to Florida.

A low appraisal can impact a homeowner in several ways. In many cases, homeowners seeking a refinance are denied when a bank-ordered appraisal comes up short. Other homeowners looking to sell find resistance from the market when they list their homes above its appraised value.

If you’re going to undergo an inspection by an official licensed appraiser in the near future, here are a few suggestions for ensuring you get the very best appraisal value possible for your home.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT APPRAISER

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when ordered to get an appraisal is to choose an appraiser who doesn’t have intimate knowledge of their specific neighborhood. If you’re able to choose your own appraiser, select one who’s based no more than 10-miles away from your home and preferably living in your community. If the bank is selecting the appraiser specifically request they send a local licensee.

KEEP GOOD RECORDS

Before the appraiser ever arrives at your home, take some time to pull records concerning every upgrade or renovation you’ve made to the house. Include receipts from home improvement stores and estimates for work done on the house and before-and-after pictures, if possible. It’s also smart to reference local comparables in the neighborhood you think the appraiser should be made aware of. Ask your real estate broker to help identify three solid comps near your home and be sure they find the right hands.

CLEAN UP AND BE CONFIDENT

Just like homebuyers, appraisers are human beings and often have a hard time seeing past a home that’s cluttered, dirty, or overgrown. Present your home to an appraiser the same way you would to the open market to get the best results. Never follow the appraiser around while they’re in your home unless specifically requested – appraisers say not being allowed space to properly inspect the home is a surefire sign the owner has something to hide.

GET YOUR OWN APPRAISAL

If you’re in a situation like as a refinance where you’re forced to work with an appraiser not of your choosing, shell out a few hundred dollars and get an appraisal of your own. You’ll likely have more control over the selected licensee and can lobby against a bad appraisal with a higher one if necessary.

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Don’t be afraid to get directly involved in your home appraisal. Many homeowners don’t understand that an appraisal happens with them, not to them, and may underestimate the impact pointed questions and suggestions can have on the appraisal outcome.

If you’re looking for a qualified appraiser in your area or just have questions about whether or not you need a home appraisal, call Leigh Bryant’s team at Keller Williams Southpark to speak about your options.