Your Tax Refund Can Get You One Step Closer to Homeownership

Saving money each month toward a long-term goal is increasingly difficult for most people. Even committed savers can get thrown off track when unexpected problems or opportunities arise. It can be difficult to envision how $200 a month can add up to a new home; the dream of homeownership continues to get pushed back in favor of more immediate needs. For many of these potential homebuyers, their tax refund can be a big step forward in their saving goals. Received in a lump sum, a tax refund is easier to see as a meaningful dollar amount. The average IRS refund in 2019 was almost $3,000. This, added to an already growing savings account, can be a great bonus. In addition to adding to your down payment fund, a tax refund can also be used to increase your credit score. Debt accumulation and use is the largest factor in determining a borrower’s credit score (FICO). A low FICO score can result in thousands of extra dollars in interest and origination fees when getting a home loan. Working with a lender, strategically reducing the debt ratio can add borrowing power to a potential buyer; lowering the cost of the loan and allowing more of the monthly payment to go toward the home itself instead of interest. It’s tax refund time. Before you head to the electronics store to put that money toward a bigger TV, consider how your tax refund can help you achieve your homeownership goals.

5 Questions Buyers Have During the Coronavirus Outbreak Answered

Everyone is being affected in some manner by the outbreak of Covid-19 coronavirus. During this time, buyers will have more questions than normal about the home buying process and their ability to buy a new home. While we can’t predict what the next few weeks and months will bring, the more we can educate ourselves, the better we can help buyers navigate the buying process smoothly during the pandemic. Here are a few common buyer questions as they related to the Coronavirus outbreak and real estate answered.

1. Can we still go see home listings in person? – This is the hardest question to answer and it will depend on the home, the seller, the agent and any fast-changing governmental policies put in place. Agents should be able to offer a Skype or Face Time home tour virtually. Talk to your agent to find out what they have available for the buyers to prescreen the home virtually before setting up the visit; they might have virtual tours already available which can help rule out those that don’t suit their needs.

2. How can I stay safe while visiting homes? – Everyone’s health has to be the priority; this includes the buyers, sellers, and agents. If you are going to see a home in person during this time, carry hand sanitizer and wipes to use before, during and after the tour. Drive separately from your agent meet at the homes. During the tour, designate one person to open doors, drawers, and closets and use disposable gloves during the showing.

3. What happens if I lose my job during the escrow period? –Most real estate contracts include a contingency that protects the buyer in the event they can’t get final loan approval and close the loan. Typically during the process, this contingency is removed after a set time frame, or after receiving the loan approval. Since every aspect of real estate is negotiable, consider asking for the contingency deadline to be extended and in place until the close; talk through this aspect with the seller and their agent in advance to set the right expectation.

4. Will I still have access to the home during the escrow period? – It’s very common for the buyer to have easy access to the home during the escrow period; home inspections, appraisals and just measuring are all common reasons to visit the home during escrow. Consider grouping these activities whenever possible.

5. Will I get a better deal if I wait to buy a new home? – We all know there’s no crystal ball, but with everything that’s going on, sellers on the market should be very motivated to sell. There are also historically low-interest rates on home loans. There is no way to predict the future, so if the right home comes along, it makes sense to consider it.

The Covid-19 outbreak is causing some uncertainty among home buyers, sellers, and even agents. However, with the use of technology and following best practices, you can still find the home you’ve been waiting for during this time.

5 Questions Sellers Have about the Market during the Coronavirus Outbreak Answered

There are so many questions and concerns amid the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. The real estate market is especially hard hit and sellers are concerned. Real estate at its core is a people business. It relies on person-to-person interaction and the coronavirus necessarily limits this contact. As the spring selling season gets started, home sellers will have questions and it’s important to acknowledge concerns and offer practical advice and concrete information to help sellers make the best decision for themselves and their families.

1.         Should I still try and sell my home? – Of course, there are many aspects to this question. First and foremost, the health concerns of the sellers’ family have to be taken into consideration. Unless absolutely necessary, the elderly and those with underlying health issues should not allow unnecessary people into their homes; including buyers and agents.

If the household is essentially healthy and not considered high-risk, then this could be a great time to sell. Consider the advantages of lower inventory coupled with low-interest rates; as listings become rarer, the remaining inventory will get more attention which could create better offers.

2.         Is it safe to have people through my home? – This is certainly a concern, but there are practical steps you can take to ensure safer home showings.

3.         What can I do to protect my family during showings? – Protect the home, family and visitors alike by taking the following precautions.

a.         Keep hand sanitizer at the front door to offer buyers and their agents when they enter the home.

b.         If there is a guest bathroom, keep disposable hand towels and soap for guests to use and make the request known to the showing agent.

c.         Offer disposable gloves for use with a receptacle for used gloves.

d.         Limit the showing days and hours so you can properly clean between showings.

e.         Have cleaning wipes handy. Request agents to wipe surfaces, door handles, and banisters which are touched during the showing.

f.          Ask your agent to offer virtual showings or host virtual open houses

4.         What happens if my buyer loses their job? – Most real estate contracts include a contingency for the buyer loan approval and funding. Now more than ever, it’s critical to keep that contingency in place. In the unfortunate event the buyer loses their job or can no longer qualify for the loan during the contingency deadline, the parties cancel typically cancel the contract.

5.         Will I get a higher price if I wait to list my home? – The truth is no one knows. We don’t know how long or short the crisis will be and we don’t know how the financial market will weather the outbreak. While this is a question the seller will ultimately need to decide, the old adage about a “bird in the hand” is important to remember.

This spring selling season has proven to have unique circumstances –please contact your real estate agent to learn more about the current outlook and opportunities in your local market.  

Sidewalk Chalk Art

Ready for a brain break? This is the best of both worlds! You get to be outdoors for some fresh air and use your creative minds. Check out my Pinterest Board for some creative sidewalk chalk ideas. Out of chalk? No problem! I have some links on the Board on how to make your own.

>>Pinterest Board <<

There is also a set on Target that can picked up on the same day or 2Day Shipping Option!

Target’s Creative Kids 50Ct .

Have fun getting your art on! 🙂

Virtual Field Trips – Animals

Happy Monday! Just a few video links to use during Distance Learning. Enjoy & Stay Well!

Animals
Amphibians & Reptiles
Alligators & Crocodiles
Komodo Dragons (Indonesia)
Rattlesnakes
Surrounded By Mammals
Walk With Bears
Swim With Bears
Elephants
Gorillas
Horses
Pandas
Rhinos
Tigers
White Lions
Wolf Pack
Under The Sea – Swim With Me!
Dolphins (Egypt)
Blue Whale (Mexico)
Great White Sharks
Hammerhead Sharks(Bahamas)
Sea Turtle (Cuba)
Jellyfish (Cuba)
Manta Rays
Bugs & Insects
Monarch Butterflies
Glow Worm Caves (New Zealand)