Friday, September 11, 2015

Buying a New Car Can Sabatoge You Buying a New Home

It seems like buying a shiny new car and purchasing a home go together. Wrong!  Buying a car may feel like a necessity, but if you are planning to buy a home, wait until after.

Buying a big ticket item on credit before buying or refinancing a house can make the difference between qualifying and not.  It will ding your credit score, lowering it 40 to 60 points.  It will increase your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, and may knock you out of the park.

According to Kenneth Harney, Nation's Housing, "auto debt accounted for 81% of the increase in non-mortgage debt a month mortgage holders over the past 4 years".

While buying a new car makes you feel financially successful, in reality owning a home is one of the best financial decision you can make. You have to have somewhere to live and the benefits of owning your home usually include tax deductions that you don't get with a car. 

Before buying a car, know that your DTI ratios are an important part of mortgage underwriting and are stricter and less flexible than they were a decade ago.   Keeping your DTI ratios below 45%, with a maximum 50% for FHA,  is important for obtaining a home loan.

So before buying a car or big ticket items on credit, consider what it will do to your DTI ratio and credit scores.  

Virginia Hall
Keller Williams Realty

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Monster in the Room: 4 Tips to Rid Your Home of Odors Before Putting it on the Market

Buying a home involves all your senses, including your sense of smell, which is one of strongest. Buyers want to smell clean or simple scents.  However, when a seller puts their home on the market, they have grown accustom to many of the stale odors that inhabit their homes. Telling someone that their home smells can be one of the hardest problems to address.

However, a 2013 Canadian Study showed that Smoking in the home can reduce the home value up to 29%.  Most odors arise from bacteria attaching themselves to walls, carpets, draperies, and ceilings.  Before putting your home on the market, here are 4 Tips to rid your home of odors:

  • GENERALLY. Clean, Clean, Clean.  Identify the source of the odor and eliminate it.  Open windows.  Change air filters regularly.   Lemon peels in the garage disposal.  Simple scents, like fabric softeners between clothes.  Plug-in deodorizers on mild. Overwhelming fragrances can be just as pungent.  Do laundry often to avoid dirty clothes piling up.  You may want to invest in a air purifier or try a do-it-yourself nontoxic fogger like DynoFresh.   
  • SMOKE.   While smoke attaches itself to almost everything, you will need to professionally clean all surfaces, drapes, walls, and paint with a sealing paint such as Kilzs.   Smokers need to smoke outside in an open area away from the house, and don't forget to empty ashtrays.   Some other tips can be found at 6 Tips to Get Rid of the Cigarette Smoke Smell.                                                               
  • PET ODORS.  Bathe pets at least weekly while your home is for sale. Anywhere a pet sits needs to be cleaned.  Professionally shampoo the carpet and fabric furniture using a pet odor treatment. Clean the cat litter box and pick up dog mess daily using an air tight bags in the outside trash.  Throw out those old raggedy pet toys.                                                                       
  • FOOD.  Empty trash every morning.  Avoid cooking strong-smelling foods such as fish, broccoli, garlic, etc.  Clean refrigerator out often.  Open a window and use the stove fan when cooking.     

The most important thing is to remember is that buyers want to smell CLEAN.  Breath new life into your home.  Get rid of the Monster in the room.