#4: Weird bonus tip that doesn't involve your credit score, income or bank statement.
by MIKE HALL Owner/Broker/Agent
You're set to close and then there's a hold-up with your mortgage approval. Who usually sits behind that hold up? An innocent underwriter who is paid to make sure the bank is getting a good loan (someone who will pay their mortgage and can afford it).
Yes, underwriters are often cast in the light of the "bad guys" when it comes to closing on a home loan, but I know a few and the last thing they want to do is reject your loan. So, how do you keep these chicks and dudes moving forward with your loan? It's as easy as counting to four.
1. Pay yo' bills. Underwriters love good credit as much as I love good barbeque. They don't want to see any 30-day-plus late payments, no collections and no charge-offs.
2. Don't job-hop. Okay, so your boss sucks. You don't get paid enough. You hate your co-workers. Keep your future in mind. Try to stay at a job at least a year so your underwriter isn't seeing red when underwriting your file.
3. Keep a straightforward bank statement. It's confusing when you've got deposits galore but they're not tied to your job.
4. Refinancing? Clean house. When you have your appraisal on a refi, make sure your house is clean or at least picked up. It doesn't affect the value, but it does make the underwriter wonder if your payments...
Rethink your yard to save money, time and reduce environmental impact.
by MIKE HALL Broker/Owner/Agent
The lush green lawn became popular after World War II. But now, it may be time to rethink your gameplan when it comes to grass and landscaping.
1. Let the grass grow a little longer. Mowing the yard too often is a drain on gas and the insects that need your yard to flourish.
2. Consider varying grasses. Aim for about 40 - 50 percent of your yard to be covered in grass. This cuts down on maintenance.
3. Enjoy your weeds. Stop the fight and let dandelions and clover do what they're supposed to do - feed the soil and provide natural aeration.
There's an art to finding your Louisville home. Let me culture you.
by MIKE HALL, Owner/Broker/Agent
People like the idea of steps. Of tackling a problem with a certain game plan in mind. Achieving a goal with a few guidelines thrown in. Finding a home is not only a great journey, but it can also be a chore. I'm here to help.
1. Budget. Instead of deciding what price range you want your home, work backwards. Start with your income. There are lots of great tools to help you calculate what mortgage payment you can afford. You can also start here.
2. Get pre-approved. I've got some great mortgage lenders who can get you pre-approved. It shows the seller you are very interested in buying a home and will get them to take offers more seriously.
3. Go online. Do yourself a favor and set your expectations. Browse the internet to look at homes in your price range and in your target areas.
4. Enlist an agent. When you do something every day, you are entrenched in it. I wouldn't expect to walk in and know your job. Buying a home is one of the biggest transactions you'll ever make. Get the help of someone who is in the know and will have your best interest at heart. Like me!
5. Drive around. Try it without...
by MIKE HALL, Broker/Owner/Realtor
Any window company will tell you that replacing your windows is a smart decision. I agree. But with timing in mind.
When NOT to replace your windows:
If you're listing your home, you're not going to realize the return on investment from windows. Sure, there are exceptions to this rule, but for the majority of sellers, leave the replacement up to the new owners.
When TO replace your windows:
If you've found your dream abode and you plan on living there for a decade or two, then replacement windows can be a big help on energy bills. They look nicer and they'll keep you and your family more comfortable. Drafty days will be a thing of the past. If next winter is anything like the winters Louisville has been having, new windows will be worth the expense.
One of my clients just had their windows replaced by Mengel Exteriors. They are looking forward to saving around 40 percent on their energy bills, plus the new windows are more attractive. They expect to save around $7,000 in energy bills over the next few years.