Monthly Archives: April 2016

Home Search Checklist

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Gold Key With Welcome Home after using home search checklistHouse hunting? As much fun as house hunting might be, if you’re serious, a good home search checklist can shorten your home search, remove the emotional aspect from your home search, and make sure you get the best home with everything you REALLY want from house hunting (after all this is a BIG investment).

As long as our sample home search checklist might be, you’ll inevitably find yourself adding lines to your home search checklist as you house hunt.  The truth is that everyone’s home search checklist is different; once you determine what your ‘must have’ checklist items are, you can start checking them off at every home showing:

Property specifics

  • Listed price _______________
  • Location
  • Lot size ______________
  • Type of property (Townhouse, condo, single family) _______________
  • Garage size _______
  • Square footage _________
  • Number of bedrooms _______
  • Number of bathrooms ________
  • Room size
  • Kitchen
  • Master bathroom
  • Bedrooms
  • Any other specifics (i.e. Flooring type, counter top material, storage, etc.)
  • ___________________________________________________________
  • ___________________________________________________________
  • ___________________________________________________________

Property condition

  • Roof (any missing shingles, warping, etc.)
  • Siding (cracks, discoloration, etc.)
  • Concrete & Asphalt (cracks, etc.)
  • Dry wall (water stains, cracks, etc.)
  • Kitchen
  • Dining Room
  • Bedrooms
  • Bathroom
  • Office
  • Flooring (stains, cracks, etc.)
  • Doors (gaps, cracks, holes, etc.)
  • Windows (gaps, cracks, holes, broken panes, etc.)
  • ________________________________________
  • ________________________________________
  • ________________________________________
  • ________________________________________
  • ________________________________________

In addition to checking off the must haves you want in your new home, make sure to note all the important parts of a property, such as whether the home uses propane, natural gas, or electricity; whether there is a septic tank that needs to be pumped on-property; property taxes; home owners association fees; and any other factors that could impact your future home ownership.  To make sure you notice all those important factors, contact an experienced real estate agent that can guide you through the house hunting process to a successful ending.

10 Documents You’ll Need for Your Home Loan

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approved stamp after all the documents are gathered for a home loanSpring is an ideal time to buy a new home.  Not only is the weather nice and there are (usually) more homes listed for sale, but home buyers can also “nail two birds with one stone”: getting their taxes and the home loan approval process done.  Because you need to collect the same documents for both (and tax returns for your home loan approval), it makes sense to tackle both projects in spring.  We’ve compiled a list of document you’ll probably need for your home loan—and a list of tips for choosing the right mortgage lender for your home sale.

So what’s the “probably” in that last statement?  Requirements for a home loan can vary among mortgage lenders and the applicant’s circumstances.  For instance, an applicant who owns their own business is going to need to provide different documents for the home loan than an applicant employed by a company.  Here’s a general list of documents to compile for your home loan—or to keep out after you’ve finished your income taxes:

  • W-2’s
  • Pay stubs
  • Business profit and loss statements or 1099
  • Bank statements
  • Tax returns (1-3 years)
  • Investment statements
  • Titles (automobile, real estate, etc.)
  • Canceled rent checks (or proof of payment from landlord)
  • Gift documentation (if part or all of your down payment was gifted)
  • List of debts (your mortgage lender may be able to get this from your credit report)

There may be other documents you’ll need to provide, per your mortgage lender.  You’ll also need to give permission for your mortgage lender to pull your credit report.  Once pulled, check your credit report over for inaccuracies such as loans that are old or are not yours.

Once you’ve got your pre-approval amount for your new home, contact a real estate agent to get your home search started.  Compile a list of ‘must-haves’ for your home search, including the number of bedrooms, lot size, and any other aspects of your home you would like (for more tips on putting together a must have list, read our recent post).  Set a budget for your home search; your budget number does not have to be the same as your home approval number.  Once you have your pre-approval number, budget amount, list of must-haves, and an experienced real estate agent, it’s time to get out and enjoy the warm temperatures during your spring home search.