Jill Finkelstein - Compass



Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 10/25/2020

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

The perfect home is not the only thing you'll need to shop for when you want to become a homeowner. In order to get the best terms, the lowest monthly payment and a reasonable interest rate, start doing some homework now -- before you even attend your first open house. 

1. Check Your Credit Score

Checking your credit score should be the first thing you do when you're considering the purchase of a home. Why? Because every lender you speak to will use it as a benchmark for determining the likelihood of you being able to pay off the debt. The better your credit score, the more favorable terms and interest rates a lender might offer you. The earlier you know your credit score, the more time you have to address any issues that might be contained in it. Remember, you're entitled to one free credit report from each of the three reporting agencies each year. Take advantage of this service and keep tabs on your credit score. 

2. Have Steady Employment 

Being able to demonstrate that you are gainfully employed will go a long way toward qualifying for a mortgage loan and being offered attractive interest rates. Aim for at least two years of unbroken employment. Be ready to back up your claims regarding the duration of your employment and the dollar amounts you bring home. 

3. Offer a Sizable Down Payment 

Come to the negotiating table with a lender and with a solid down payment, you'll be able to enjoy lower monthly payments. There's no fast rule regarding the amount of a down payment. That being said, most lenders like you to have at least 20 percent of the home's purchase price as the down payment. There are some lenders, however, who accept less than 20 percent. If your lender accepts down payments that are less than the standard 20 percent, expect to have to purchase private mortgage insurance. This can be anywhere from .05 percent to 1 percent. 

4. Know Your Debt To Income Ratio

The debt to income ratio demonstrates your ability to pay off the mortgage as agreed upon. Most lenders like to see that your monthly debt payments are equal to or less than 43 percent of your gross monthly income. 

In a seller's market, there might be several people vying for the same home. Addressing the items above can make you look more attractive compared to some of the other potential home buyers. 




Tags: buyer tips   credit score   Loan   planning  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 10/18/2020

If youíre in the market to buy a home, one of your worst fears may be that of getting into a bidding war. What if you knew it was possible to actually score a home without spending a penny more than your budget? Below, youíll find some tips that you should heed before you even put an offer in on a home. 


Know Your Budget


The first step is to know your budget. If you can spend a bit more than the asking price on a home in a sellerís market, you may want to do just that. Buying a home is an emotional roller coaster and itís easy to get sucked in. You need to think of all things practical before you even put a number on paper for an offer on a home. Work with your lender so that you know what you can spend. You can even consult your lender before you put an offer in if you know the circumstances of the home that youíre working with. The earlier you submit your offer the better.  


Make The Offer Personal


An offer should have some personality and drive attached to it. First, your agent needs to speak with the listing agent. Itís surprising just how many offers are placed where the agents never even speak. As a bonus, you can write a letter to the seller. Let them know how much you love the property, the neighborhood, or their wonderful herb garden that you plan on maintaining. Add some personal flair to your offer to give yourself a leg up as a buyer. 


Try To Close Sooner


Thereís nothing more attractive to a motivated seller than a shorter time frame for closing. If the seller knows that you can close a deal in a shorter period of time, you may be able to win the deal with your sweet incentive. You can close on a deal faster by doing the inspection quickly. If youíre pre-approved for a mortgage that also helps speed the process along. You could even go a step further and get a conditional approval from the lender. 


Give The Sellers What They Want


If the sellers happen to need more time in their home, give them space (unless of course youíre in a hurry to move.) By cooperating with the sellers and not being a high maintenance buyer you can certainly give yourself an advantage in the home buying process. If you really want to impress a seller, submit an ďas isĒ offer. A seller wonít turn down something thatís easier for them.    




Tags: offer   offer letter  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 10/11/2020

Photo by Bonnie Kittle on Unsplash

Tired of looking at a dated bathroom day after day but dread updating it knowing the average remodeled bathroom will set you back thousands of dollars? Even if you don’t have the budget for a complete makeover, there are several DIY ways you can update your bathroom.

1. Paint Tub & Tile

For many homeowners, the most outdated area of their bathrooms is the tub and shower. The good news is if your tub and tiles are in good shape, you don’t necessarily need to remove them—simply give them a refresh.

  • Thoroughly clean tub and tile.
  • Purchase a prepackaged tub and tile kit—it’ll give you a list of supplies and tools and the right epoxy, along with detailed instructions.
  • Sand down all tub and tile surfaces so you establish a good clean base for adhesion.
  • Use quality paint designed for this type of project.
  • Thoroughly ventilate your working area.
  • Give your tub a good amount of curing time before running a bath.

This project is a little trickier than simply painting walls, but with patience and know-how, you can give your old bathroom a completely brand-new look.

2. Refinish a Dated Vanity

If your bathroom vanity looks like it came straight out of the 1980s, you can easily remedy this by refinishing it.

  • Remove all hardware, drawers and the cabinet door; put them aside to paint separately.
  • Gently sand down the vanity's surface and then clean off any dirt, dust or grime.
  • Using smooth strokes with a brush or roller (you can test to see which looks better), paint the vanity’s surface and let it thoroughly dry.

Once your newly painted drawers and cabinet door are completely dry, reattach your hardware and add on some sparkling new knobs. Voila!

3. Update Your Lighting

Many homeowners find they can easily swap out old fixtures for new ones and see their bathrooms in a whole new light. Or you can get crafty and create your own. Popular styles include:

  • Pendant lights.
  • Mason jar sconces.
  • 3 or 4 bulb bath bar.
  • Lighting can make or break a room. If you're seeking a more modern look, look to change out your fixtures.

    4. Create a Unique Bathmat

    Sometimes it’s the simple touches that add flair to a room. One easy thing you can do is ditch the regular bathmat and create one out of cedar strips. Cedar is great since it’s water-resistant and it gives your bathroom a spa-like vibe. You’ll need a 1x6x10 cedar board, measuring tape, circular saw, table saw, wood glue and teak oil.

  • Cut your board into three pieces with your circular saw for the desired length.
  • Using the remaining wood, cut out three support pieces.
  • Thoroughly sand all pieces and then position them to your liking.
  • Glue pieces in the position you choose and then nail them together.
  • Once you’ve put your cedar bath mat together, allow it time to completely dry before using it.

    Giving your old bathroom a facelift, or even some new bling, can do wonders for its appearance. Identify your pain points, apply an update and see what a difference even the smallest changes can make.





    Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 10/4/2020


     Photo by bidvine via Pixabay

    Some home projects and improvements can't wait - a leaking hot water heater or a water damaged floor need to be replaced right away. Other, planned renovations and upgrades are optional. Consider not only your current needs, but the potential impact of any large planned upgrade on your home's value before you proceed. If you are upgrading your home to sell it soon, the improvements you make should add value to your home and be recouped when you are ready to sell. 

    4 Home Improvements that Add the Most Value to your Home (and 3 That Don't)

    Some upgrades enhance the overall value of your home, while others allow you to improve the look of your home, and recover the majority of your costs when you sell. According to Bankrate.com, the best places to invest your upgrade dollars include: 

    A new garage door: It may not be fancy or a feature you notice, but replacing a sagging, out of date or ailing garage door with a newer, more secure model is a money savvy upgrade. The average garage upgrade costs about $3,600 -- and adds about $3,500 to the selling price of the home, making this a renovation that (almost) pays for itself. 

    Kitchen Update: Bringing a dated or worn kitchen up to current day standards -- a makeover that usually costs about $22,000 for the average home -- can improve the selling price of your home by thousands of dollars. The average kitchen update boosts the value of a home by up to $18,000.

    Enhance your yard with a deck: According to the Balance, adding a deck in your backyard expands your living space and allows you to add value to your home. The average cost of a wood deck is $10,000 -- and that deck adds an average of $9000 to your home's value, making it easy to add space without a huge investment. 

    Replace siding: The curb appeal of your home has a significant impact on your ability to sell it and on the price you receive. According to the Balance, replacing aging siding with a similar quality new version allows you to recover about 75% of your investment. It will also make your home more appealing to buyers. 

    Projects that Don't Add Value to your Home

    You should not take on these projects if you truly want to enjoy the results for a while, as they won't have much of an impact on the selling price or value of your home. Some, like swimming pools, can even scare away buyers that would otherwise be interested in your property. According to the Balance, the worst home upgrades include swimming pools of all types, interior painting (because buyers may prefer different colors) and whole roof replacement (except in emergencies).  

     





    Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 9/27/2020

    Photo by Arka38 via Shutterstock

    After spending enough time researching real estate online, you probably think you can do just as good a job selling your home as a professional real estate agent. However, it's more difficult than it sounds. Even though you can access many of the same advertising venues as a professional, they have a wide network and breadth of experience that you canít leverage when trying to DIY. 

    Experience and Know-How

    Real estate agents are sales and advertising professionals. First, consider if your work experience and skill set falls in those same zones. Are you familiar with negotiating deals in the hundreds of thousands of dollars? Your real estate agent spends all day, every day working with other agents and negotiating deals in a variety of amounts. They know how to tell if the other party is willing to reduce or increase the amount, and what perks might push a deal through. They also know the best way to spend their advertising dollars to get interest in your property and often have standing arrangements with printing companies, an existing real estate website and membership in the local MLS board ó all of which give them deals on advertising whereas you would be paying full retail price to print postcards or mailers and may not have access to things like MLS listings at all.

    In addition to the actual sales process, real estate deals come with a ton of paperwork. Not only is this complex in any area, but it also varies from location to location and getting it wrong can cause the purchase or sale to fall through, or, worst of all, might cause you to incur high fines from your local governing bodies or the IRS. While you can look up the right process for your area, you may not be able to trust the information available online. It's not surprising that information listed by non-official sources may be incorrect or incomplete, but official government sources often take a while to get updated when rules or laws change. Your real estate agent, on the other hand, is required to be notified of any changes, and the MLS board they are a member of also keeps an ear to the ground and their agents informed.

    Local Area Information

    Real estate agents often have access to, and even pay extra for, information about the areas they work in. That means they know what properties sold for over an extended period of time, what features they have, and even how long they stayed on the market. A lot of this information is protected, and only licensed professionals have access. This makes them uniquely suited for pricing your home correctly for the market. If you price your home too high it may not sell at all, causing you frustration or costing you money. On the other hand, if you price it too low, you may get a quick sale, but youíll miss out on the additional income you could have made.

    Regardless, you may still think the agentís commission is not worth the price. Most buyers and sellers agents make a percentage of the purchase or sale price of your home. This is great for sellers, since the higher the selling price, the more everyone makes. However, it can be a downside for buyers if they think the agent is trying to talk them into higher prices or different homes just to make a larger commission. Many agents are willing to negotiate on this point and often agree to a flat rate in the beginning, regardless of the purchase price, as long as you talk to them about it upfront. This removes the worry that they are trying to find the highest amount youíll spend rather than the best deal in your market.

    Before making the decision to DIY your real estate purchase or sale, talk to a real estate agent in person to get a full understanding of the services they can offer you and how much control you have over the costs. Most often, you will find itís worth the comparatively small cost of the agent over the larger costs of self-advertising, lost sales price and time required to handle any interested parties. Talk to a professional today for the absolute best results.




    Tags: fsbo   buyers agent   diy   New Buyers   FAQs  
    Categories: Uncategorized  




    Jill Finkelstein