What If My Spouse Can’t Qualify for A Mortgage?
Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that your credit score is a sparkly 790. And your spouse’s? 620. While 620 isn’t out of the question for purchasing a home, it can definitely negatively impact your rate and other fees. Plus, it can lower your overall approval amount. And unfortunately, lenders base your mortgage amount and rate on the lesser of the two credit scores.
So what are your options? Perhaps the most drastic option is for the spouse with the better credit score to apply for a mortgage on their own. Both people can still be homeowners and listed on the home’s title, but the mortgage will only reflect one name. However, be sure to consider that the debt-to-income ratio is an important component of qualifying for a mortgage. In other words, the qualifying spouse must have a high enough income.
Another option would be to rehabilitate your spouse’s credit by paying bills diligently on time and in full every month, or by seeking out a credit repair company. Credit repair companies are able to fix any credit-report errors, eliminate disputed accounts, and provide direction for clients looking to boost their scores fast. (Pssst…we love Credit Blueprint of King of Prussia)
Buying Next Season?
If you’re thinking about buying next season, then kudos to you for checking out Everyhome.com to see what’s out there! There are a few other easy ways that you can put yourself in the best possible position to purchase your new home:
1. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a local real estate agent for a little advice and suggestions on how to efficiently begin the home hunting process! A good agent will be flexible, trustworthy, patient , and will understand that you’d like to wait a bit to purchase a home (*cough cough* this describes our EveryHome agents!). Unless you sign a “Buyer’s Agency Agreement”, you’re not locked in to working with a specific agent, so feel free to call or email a few and get their advice!
Heather’s happy buyers!
2. Keep an eye on your finances, and check your credit scores to ensure that there are no errors. If your scores all appear as expected, the next step is to tackle any debt that you may have (new ability-to-repay requirements require a debt-to-income ratio of 43 percent or less).
3. Nail down your budget by mocking up your monthly expenses and considering the mortgage payment that you can comfortably afford. You’ll want to have a little extra set aside each month for household expenses—after all, you’ll be your own landlord!
4. If you currently own your home and will need to sell it, it’s a good idea to contact an agent to get a good sense of your home’s current value and any minor improvements that may help it to sell even quicker.
Selling A Home with A Dog
Hi! My name’s Alanna, and I’m an EveryHome agent. My 10 month-old Goldendoodle, Norman, is the love of my life — but I have to admit that sometimes selling a home with a dog can require a bit of extra attention! Here are three things that I always ask my sellers to consider:
1. Cleaning and deodorizing the home is an important step. Some pups are “hypoallergenic” and fully house-trained….and some aren’t! It might not be a bad idea to have your carpets professionally cleaned especially if your dog is prone to shedding. If Fido ever had an accident or two, be extra sure to spot clean accordingly (I love the two products below).
2. When your home is on the market and ready to be toured by prospective buyers, consider your pup’s temperament, stress level, and the buyers comfort. Some smaller, older dogs are fine to roam through the home as buyers visit, but be sure to consider any potential allergies. If one of the buyers has a serious allergy to pets, your home won’t be making a great first impression. Ultimately, we recommend taking your pup for a walk or on a car ride during showings. I understand this can be a bit of a nuisance (especially for longer showings!) but it usually results in the best showings. If this isn’t possible, some sellers opt to crate their dog.
Norman doesn’t mind a long walk during a showing!
3. On the Seller’s Property Disclosure, you will be asked to disclose that a dog lives in the home. Most buyers don’t mind this at all, but it’s worth keeping your dog’s area neat and tidy! If your selling a home with a dog that has a ton of toys (like Spoiled Norm), invest in a small bin for their belongings. Similarly, it may be worth stashing their food bowls during any showings or open houses.
Delicious Restaurants in Greater Philadelphia
There’s nothing that we love more than discovering a great new restaurant, and we’d like to share a few of our favorites:
19 Bella in Skippack is a quaint, tapas-style BYOB with a changing menu and friendly service.
19 Bella in Skippack, PA
Honey in Doylestown offers an eclectic, seasonal menu and a sophisticated, romantic ambiance.
Ooka in Montgomeryville & Doylestown for sushi in a chic environment with a killer drink menu. They also offer Hibachi.
Radice in Blue Bell for some of the best country-style Italian food we’ve ever tried. Great for a first date!
Ocean Prime in Philadelphia for a truly special steakhouse & seafood experience. (Dress up for this one!)
Nectar in Berwyn offers elegant Asian-fusion and an extensive collection of wines.
Bridget’s in Ambler is a modern steakhouse in a romantic setting– you won’t believe you’re in the suburbs!
Christopher’s in Wayne is a friendly, neighborhood restaurant with a menu for everyone.
Teca in West Chester offers Italian-style tapas with an award-winning wine list. Beautiful al fresco dining, too!
Keeping Up With Your Credit Score
|Checking your credit score can be nerve-wracking, especially for younger prospective home buyers who may not know where they stand. While it can be scary, Carl Scaramuzza of Credit Blueprint recommends checking your credit score every six months to get a sense of where you stand and ensure there are no discrepancies because unfortunately, if there’s a mix-up, it can take way longer to fix if it’s not spotted right away. That can potentially delay purchasing a home.We’ve all seen the catchy commercials and the glossy advertisements for websites claiming to get you your credit report for free. But which are the best? Carl weighs in:
|Annual Credit Report tends to be the most accurate according to Carl…and it’s free! You can check it once every year, and you can request it by phone if that’s easier at 1-877-322-8228.
|Already checked your credit report this year? Head over to www.privacyguard.com, a secure way to check your 3 bureau credit report. Plus, Privacy Guard offers credit monitoring if you’re interested.
Be sure to check out Carl’s easiest tips for achieving great credit here!
Top Festivals in Greater Philadelphia
As always, this weekend is buzzing with festivals, fairs, and specials events all throughout the city of Brotherly Love! Here are a few of our favorites:
-Philadelphia Zoo’s Summer Ale Festival on Saturday, July 19th. You heard right! Spoil the kids with a trip to the zoo while enjoying more than 40 craft beers along with live music, food specials, and more!
Summer Ale Fest. Image via philadelphiazoo.org
-Looking for some great deals or unique items? Head to the Franklin Flea, a popular flea market hosted in the schoolyard of the General Gorge A. McCall Elementary and Middle School on 7th Street between Spruce and Pine streets. Too many types of vendors to list
-This weekends marks the kickoff for the 10th annual University City Dining Days! More than two dozen restaurants will be hosting specials all week long. Be sure to call ahead for reservations, as tables fill up quickly during this popular event.
Know of any other local events that you’d like us to promote? Email firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
Why Have Mortgage Rates Remained Low?
Experts predicted mortgage rates to rise significantly in 2014, but instead they remain even lower than 2013. Why haven’t rates hit 5% as expected?
Supply and demand plays a big role. For starters, there have been fewer mortgages originated (largely due to lessened refinance activity), and fewer first-time home buyers in the market. Additionally, the low inventory of homes for sale have kept many buyers from finding their perfect new home. This relatively slow mortgage activity has helped to keep rates down.
Image via marketwatch.com and Bankrate
When the Federal Reserve announced last year that it would be tapering its purchase of mortgage backed securities, many industry professionals expected that this would cause interest rates to climb. While the Fed did begin purchasing fewer of these securities, it happened to occur at the same time that mortgage originations began to fall. This meant that fewer mortgage backed securities were being issued, creating a relative balance.
Other forces include weaker-than-expected economic reports and low inflation.
In the meantime, enjoy the process of home hunting knowing that rates remain affordable! Be on the lookout for economic reports, especially involving the job market or inflation. If either of those numbers jump markedly, we’ll know that higher rates are on their way!
Philadelphia and its surrounding counties saw a much-needed increase in inventory of homes for sale (an increase of 6.8% from this time last year), as well as a steady increase in median sale price.
Here’s what we’ve seen so far this year:
Philadelphia County Prices
Median Settled Price: $136,000 (Increase of 1.49% from 2013)
Avg Sale Price/Original Asking Price: 90.81% (Increase of .42% from 2013)
Bucks County Prices
Median settled price: $285,000 (+0.00%)
Avg Sale Price/Original Asking Price: 93.99% (+0.57%)
Chester County Prices
Median Settled Price: $314,000 (+3.29%)
Avg Sale Price/Original Asking Price: 95.08% (+0.97%)
Delaware County Prices
Median settled price: $200,000 (-5.15%)
Avg Sale Price/Original Asking Price: 91.42% (+0.46%)
Montgomery County Prices
Median settled price: $265,000 (+1.53%)
Avg Sale Price/Original Asking Price: 93.75% (+0.37%)
Inventory is increasing! Be sure to check out new listings everyday on EveryHome.com.
Information provided by Trend. Information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed.
Saving More On Homeowners Insurance
Homeowners insurance is intended to protect you against any physical damage to your home, often including the structures on your property (such as a shed, pool, or detached garage) as well as your legal liability for any injuries that may occur on your property.
If you’re shopping for homeowners insurance, be sure to take inventory of all of the features in your new home. Here are the top money-saving credits:
1. An alarm system is likely to help you save on insurance since they know your home will be more protected. If your new home has a system already installed, be sure to take note and mention it to your insurance agent. Similarly, gated communities and homeowners associations can also save you.
2. Nonsmokers will often enjoy lower rates than their smoking counterparts. Where there’s smoke, there may be fire.
3. Retired homeowners may also enjoy discounted rates, as they are likely to spend more time at home where they may notice any potential home hazards.
4. Got a sprinkler system? These often come standard in newer homes, and they can translate into lower rates, along with smoke detectors! In fact, new homes in general often result in discounted rates because they are less likely to suffer any major leaks, fires due to old wiring, and the like.
5. And last, but certainly not least, is bundling of rates! It often makes financial sense to bundle your homeowners insurance with your auto policy. Be sure to ask your insurance agent how they can save you money by bundling your rates.
Since every policy is a bit different, it’s important to do a little comparison shopping. Best of luck!
Choosing the Price for Your Next Home
Consider this checklist before choosing the price for your next home:
1. How much are you comfortable paying? Using EveryHome’s helpful Closing Cost calculator is one way to determine your monthly payment, and your lender would be happy to provide a Good Faith Estimate (GFE) for you as well. An easy rule of thumb is that an extra $1,000 in sale price translates into approximately a $5 increase in monthly payment (with the current interest rates). Remember, taxes and homeowners’ association fees will often dictate the monthly payment more than a modest price difference.
2. How long has the home been on the market and has it dropped significantly in asking price? Typically, if a home just recently hit the market, it’s less likely that a seller will accept a low offer. Similarly, a buyer may have a bit more wiggle room if the home has been on the market longer.
3. Is the seller expecting any other offers to come in soon? Your EveryHome agent can help provide the answers for this one, and another factor to consider is how many showings the home has had lately. In “hot” markets, the average offer price is quite a bit higher than in slower markets where homes may spend more time on the market.
As always, your EveryHome agent would love to be of assistance. He or she can scout out any other interest in the home, as well as provide you the statistics for average offer price over original asking price. Best of luck in your home search!
Active Adult Communities in Greater Philadelphia
Active Adult Communities (or “55+ Communities”) are prevalent in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and for good reason! These communities are designed with their residents needs in mind, and they typically offer convenient, low-maintenance housing in a peaceful neighborhood with plenty of activities and things to do! Most active adult communities offer a clubhouse with a schedule of games, exercise classes, lessons, and social events, as well as a pool, tennis courts, bocce games, and more.
Many communities offer a clubhouse, seen above
Typically, the community is gated and only guests with the PIN will be allowed entry
While the vast majority of residents living in active adult communities must be over the age of 55, every neighborhood has slightly different guidelines. Many neighborhoods do allow adult children to live at home, as well as a spouse who may be a bit under 55 years old. Your EveryHome agent would be happy to help you find a community that works for your needs!
Pricing varies significantly. Communities with manufactured homes may begin around $60,000, and luxury active adult communities can exceed $500,000.
If you’re interested in an active adult community, be sure to give us a call! We have many local agents who would love to be of assistance.
Why Home Warranty’s Are Worth It
Home warranties are an easy and affordable way to preserve peace of mind. Different from homeowner’s insurance, a home warranty is a service contract that covers the repair or replacement of most appliances and system components in your home.
The way that they work is simple. When you have a home warranty and something in your home goes awry (say, a hot water heater, stove, or plumbing), you give the home warranty company a call and a contractor will arrive shortly. The contractor will diagnose the problem and repair or replace your equipment. It’s that easy!
Typically, a home warranty will cost anywhere between $300-550 for one year, although pricing may vary by coverage and size of home. Not such a bad price for peace of mind!
If you’re selling your home, it’s a nice idea to advertise a home warranty with purchase of the home (you would pay for this home warranty on behalf of the new buyers). Buyers typically prefer to purchase a home with a warranty, and it’s a great incentive that helps your home stand out.
If you’re purchasing a home and the sellers are not providing a warranty, you have the option to purchase one for yourself. Be sure to ask your EveryHome agent for details!
July 4th Festivities!
Head to America’s birthplace for July 4th festivities! The popular parade will begin at 11am at 5th & Chestnut Streets, and conclude at Front & Market Streets.
Fireworks will be held over the Philadelphia Museum of Art on July 4th beginning around 10:30pm.
Image via G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia
On July 5th, the United States Army Band will be performing at the Adventure Aquarium Waterfront and they will also be featuring a fireworks celebration beginning at 8am.
The 238th Anniversary of the Reading of the Constitution will be held at Independence Hall on July 8th. Come commemorate the first public reading in the place it actually happened! This event is free, and will begin at 11:50am.
Moving and Selling At The Same Time
It’s not uncommon for EveryHome clients to be moving and selling a new home in the same day or week. Since many homeowners must sell their home in order to purchase a new one (as required by their mortgage lender), there are many options for families in such a position.
There’s a nifty idea called “Pre-Settlement Possession,” in which the seller of your new home allows you to move your belongings into the home and/or physically occupy the home prior to settlement (typically no longer than 14 days prior). Similarly, “Post-Settlement Possession” can allow you to live in your old home for up to 14 days after the settlement. This can help many clients bridge the gap between the settlement dates without having to make other potentially chaotic arrangements!
EveryHome Agent Jenna Winston is selling & buying this week– just take a look at her car!
If Pre- or Post-Settlement Possession isn’t possible in your situation, there are a few options:
If you’re moving and selling your home in the same day that you’re buying, many moving companies will offer you the option of holding your belongings on their truck for much of the day (for a fee, of course!).
If you’re selling your home a few days before you’re buying, some clients choose to stay with family or friends or in a hotel. The moving company may be able to store your belongings, or a short-term storage facility is another option. If it is going to be more than a few days, consider Korman furnished residential suites & apartments!