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Why You Need Pre-Approval Before Home Shopping

July 29th, 2013 · No Comments

 Mortgage Application Approved Stamp Shows Home Loan Agreed

I get a number of calls each week from potential buyers wanting to see homes. One of the first things I ask is, “Have you talked to a lender?” Many times the buyer tells me they are waiting to find the house they like before they meet with the lenders. They may feel confident that the price range they want to see is what they can comfortably afford. With so many online mortgage calculators that is understandable that they feel that way. But, what if you don’t check your credit score every few months and what if you have had a recent job change or divorce? Just one situation can drastically change your ability to buy. On the other hand, with rates at historic lows you may qualify for more than you think!

So what does a lender do to get you pre-approved? Well, first the lender will ask you to bring them any documents that they ask for, such as a pay stub. Then, she will verify your income and assets and check your credit score. Once that is complete she will talk with you about how much you can afford for a mortgage payment and give you a pre-approval letter to share with your Realtor.  I always tell my buyers that I don’t care how much they can afford, I care about how much they are comfortable paying each month. There is a significant difference!

Once you find a house and have an accepted offer, the Realtor will give the lender a copy of the purchase agreement and you can start discussing interest rates. At that time the lender will order title work and an appraisal. They will also clear any conditions- for example they would verify the source of a large deposit in your checking. Was it a gift from a parent that wasn’t disclosed or a loan paid back?

You will lock in on your interest rate to make sure it doesn’t go up. Within 72 hours of doing that your lender will give you a Good Faith Estimate. That will tell you how much you need to close and what your monthly payments will be. Right before closing the lender will go through the final closing numbers with you. If the closing date has changed your taxes will change as well as they are prorated to the date of closing.

On the date of closing you will come to the Title office to sign the paperwork. Your lender and your Realtor will accompany you. The lender will have already told you that you need to bring a cashiers check for the amount they specify. From there you sign the paperwork and the Realtor hands you your keys! Always feel free to contact your lender or your Realtor any time after closing with questions. A good Realtor and Lender will always be willing to help.

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Get your house ready for spring!

March 4th, 2013 · No Comments

Spring Blog Pic

Even though we are in the midst of another snowstorm here in Southern Minnesota, spring will be here before we know it.  Spring will bring the melting of the snow, and everything will green up and blossom once again. Spring also means spring cleaning!

Here are some tips for getting your house ready this spring. Taking care of these small tasks will have a big impact in giving your house a face-lift:

Change Outdoor Light Bulbs

Clean out your light fixtures, and replace your burnt-out bulbs with energy-saving bulbs.

Upgrade your front door

Make your door look new again by polishing the hinges and knobs. Paint or stain the door with a color that stands out, but also complements the trim and siding. Put out a clean, new welcome mat…and make sure the doorbell works too.

Fix your front sidewalk

Snow and cold can really mess up your sidewalk. With warmer weather approaching, take this time to patch cracks and replace loose bricks. Rent a power washer or purchase a chemical treatment to clean up stains in concrete, stone or asphalt.

Plants

Strategically placed plants can conceal those undesired aspects of your house or yard. Place large pots or hanging baskets around your porch. Bushes or hedges can hide air-conditioners and flower beds and window boxes will add style.

Prune and Mulch

Prune those dead branches, trim back overgrown shrubbery and remove any plantings that are in the way. Spread mulch or bark around trees and flowers for a well-kept look.

Freshen Up Outdoor Furniture

Put a fresh coat of paint on furniture and replace the cushions. Fill up those empty spots on the porch with a bench or porch swing.  And get your yard ready for summer!

Keep It Clean

Sweep your sidewalk and clear away cobwebs. Also repaint your posts.

Clear Out Gutters

Inspect your downspouts and gutters to be sure they’re clear of leaves, tree limbs and other debris that might cause problems later on. Clogging usually occurs at the elbow in a drainage system, where the downspout connects to the gutter. Take off this elbow and inspect for any clogging.

 

 

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Fall 2012 Checklist

November 10th, 2012 · No Comments

 

  • Drain the gas from your lawn equipment before storing it for the off season to ward off the harmful effects that spoiled gas can have on engines and other parts. Make sure to refer to your owner’s manual for instructions and safety measures when draining any fluids.   Make sure you dispose the the fluids carefully.

 

  • Turn off all exterior faucets to avoid freezing and damage to pipes during those chilly winter days…Minnesota isnt the warmest place to live!

 

  • Schedule an inspection for your heating system with a local professional. You should make certain your furnace is in top-notch shape and that all of your ducts and air filters are clean before frigid temperatures set in. The last thing you want is a problem on a day with a record low temperature. By doing this you can make sure your furnace is in good shape to run and save you money!

 

  • Inspect all windows and doors for leaks. Replace any damaged weatherstripping and caulk leaky areas to keep the cold out and heat in.

 

  • Make sure gutters are clean of any debris as they tend to get clogged with falling leaves and branches during fall months.

 

  • Just as in spring, now is a good opportunity to check the batteries in all of your fire and carbon monoxide detectors to make certain they are in working order.

 

  • Check around the outside of your home and cover up or fill in any holes you discover to protect against rodents. Mice can squeeze into holes less than one inch, so play it safe and plug up any holes you find.  They want to stay warm too!!

 

  • Prune trees and shrubs that are growing near your home, roof, deck or patio to avoid damage to the exterior. 

  • Have your fireplace inspected… Make sure it is ready to go for those cold nights. Along with the furnace! 

  • Make sure you get the snow blower, shovels, boots, mittens, and hats ready! Before long you will be using them daily! 


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Fall 2012

November 10th, 2012 · No Comments

I hope you all are keeping up with your housekeeping inside and out!

You may have some unexpected company this month, and we’re not talking about crazy Uncle Harry and Aunt Prudence. We’re talking, gulp, mice and rats who will be looking for home in your garage and house. Seal holes in the foundation-especially those around pipes and wires- and look for places where they might sneak in. An easy way is to plug holes with steel wool. Make sure doors fit at the bottom. Have your fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned before lighting fires. Test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and replace batteries. Clean your gutters, trims the shrubs, and mow that lawn for one last time. Have yourself ready for the first sign of our friend here in southeast Minnesota Mr. Snow!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!!

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Cool air is here… Leaves are turning!

September 18th, 2012 · No Comments

Hi all,

I hope you enjoyed your HOT summer.  Now its onto another season here in Southeast Minnesota.  I encourage each of you to get out and go on the nice trails around the area take your family and enjoy the views.  Southeast Minnesota offers some breath taking views.  Schools are back in full swing and football is back on TV!! Go Packers!! (:

Make sure you are maintaing your home this fall so you don’t have as much to do when the snow hits.  A few things you can get started on is putting away the garden hose and shutting off the valves.  Bagging your leaves and getting your grass ready for all the white stuff.  Cleaning out the gutters, sealing cracks.  Don’t forget to put the lawn mower away and get out the snow blower and shovels!!

Look back next week for a whole fall cleaning checklist!

SJR

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Golf Course Grass

August 27th, 2012 · No Comments

Pamper Your LAWN!!

As a home owner you  can’t successfully contain the tightly trimmed golf-course look because you don’t have a golf course’s budget (If you do- you probably have someone that takes care of your lawn!!) and a bunch of college kids working on your lawn all summer to make sure that it looks GREAT.   The next best thing you can do to achieve a good-looking lawn is to mow frequently and keep the blades high.  If you mow frequently and at the highest height it discourages weeds and trains the grass to grow in THICK!

We all know in Southeast Minnesota our weather can vary from day to day even hour tohour.  Maintaining a beautiful lawn is hard work but hopefully with these tips you can have your lawn looking like hole 9 on your favorite golf course.

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BIG Mistakes Home Buyers Make

July 19th, 2012 · No Comments

5 Biggest Mistakes Home Buyers Make

1. Trying to fix credit scores before buying a home.

2. Not considering the future enough in their purchase.

3. Failing to research financing enough.

4. Making the assumption that the Good Faith Estimate is always what you pay at closing.

5. Failing to budget for home expenses.

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10 Steps to get ready for warm weather!

May 31st, 2012 · No Comments

The sun is peeking out and the plants are starting to blossom, so it must be about time for spring chores again. Here is a small checklist to help you get moving! Make sure they are all in working order and in great summer shape!!!

1. Roofing repairs.  

2. Check gutters and downspouts.

3. Fences and gates.

4. Clear yard debris.

5. Fans and air conditioners.

6. Check and adjust sprinklers.

7.  Check vent blocks and faucet covers.

8. Prepare yard tools.

9. Change furnace filters.

10. Check smoke detectors.

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Hello!!!!!!

May 31st, 2012 · No Comments

Here Comes Summer! We have already had some records set both in weather and in real estate sales. Our market has made a tremendous turn around over the last few months. Our sold market is up 14% compared to last May and our pending listings are up 17% compared with last May.  Interest rates continue to drive our market. Rates remain well below 5% and in most cases remain below 4%. I can’t help but smile when I remember being thrilled to get our first home 25 years ago at a rate of 13%. Even then we bought down 2 points!

We have a couple of great upcoming events this summer.  Our first is the Fellowship of Christian Athletes FCA banquet and golf tourney. This year in a dramatic change we are foregoing a speaker and instead having Super Bowl champion Ben Utecht and his beautiful wife Karyn entertain us with an evening of romantic music July 15 at Somerby Golf Club followed the next day with a golf tournament also at Somerby on July 16th. Feel free to contact me for details.

I have also reserved the patio at a Rochester Honkers baseball game this summer. I have reserved the fireworks night which is the second to last home game on August 11. Please let me know as soon as possible if you would like to go. The patio only holds 25 people and I had to turn away clients last year.  This year there will be wine options as well this year. Again, we will have free food.

Thank you again for all of your wonderful referrals as they continue to be my main source of business,

Happy Summer Everyone!

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Selling Your Home Checklist- Step 2

May 18th, 2012 · No Comments

Price your property:

Here are a few things you should ask your agent:

  • A realistic selling price
  • A realistic listing price
  • Comparable homes that have been listed and sold in the last few months
  • Comparable homes that are currently listed.  Make sure you ask how long they have been for sale.
  • Comparable  homes that were taken off the market.  WHY?
  • What the agent thinks you should do to get your home ready to sell.

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