There are a variety of personal and financial documents that your loan officer will need to complete your loan. To help you prepare and ensure that the process flows smoothly, here’s a checklist of the items you’ll need:
Signed initial loan disclosures
Tax returns from the two most recent years (all pages)
Bank statements from the two most recent months (all pages)
W-2s from the two most recent years
Paystubs showing the last 30 days of wages
Copy of driver’s license
Current mortgage statement(s)
Homeowners’ insurance policy and contact of homeowner’s agent
Most recent quarterly 401(k) statement or other asset statements (if applicable)
Autumn is officially here, and there is no shortage of things to do in Philadelphia this weekend! The area is celebrating 19 fall festivals and events this weekend. Here are the three that we’ll definitely be checking out:
Ambler will be home to the Ambler Oktoberfest this Saturday, complete with a beer garden, music, food and shopping! Stop by Butler Avenue for a full day of family-friendly fall fun!
Image via renewtheaters.org
If you’ve been looking for an excuse to get to Morris Arboretum like we have, be sure to stop by on Saturday or Sunday for their annual fall festival. Pumpkin painting, scarecrow making, and apple tasting are just three of the fun offerings at the University of Pennsylvania’s historic public garden.
Chestnut Hill’s Fall for the Arts Festival is hitting the streets on Sunday! The outdoor arts and crafts festival and marketplace will be showcasing the works of over 150 talented artists. Alfresco dining and children’s rides will also be offered. Located on Germantown Ave from Willow Grove Ave to Rex Ave Image via chestnuthillpa.com
For a full list and details on all 19 fall festivals, click here.
Thinking about becoming an investor? That’s probably not such a bad idea, according to some of the most recent real estate data. The most recent month reported, August, shows rental prices continue to outpace home prices. Home values climbed 3.3% year-over-year in the month of August, while rental prices jumped 3.8%.
While 0.5% may not sound like a big difference, consider that this is one of the bigger gaps in recent history. Additionally, more and more markets (including locally) are reporting that renters are getting squeezed out of their current home. A popular alternative to the traditional apartment complex is tiny living — and investors are recognizing this! Creative landlords are scooping up properties that can be easily transformed into multiple smaller (often under 500 sq ft) units, which offers each tenant complete privacy and greater affordability.
Looking to make the leap into investing? We’re proud to have EveryHome agents who offer great services for new landlords! Give us a call at (215) 699-5555.
Beer lovers, rejoice! Philadelphia was named one of the nation’s top cities for beer lovers by Travel & Leisure Magazine — and for good reason! The City of Brotherly Love is home to many prominent breweries, popular beer gardens, and seasonal Oktoberfests.
Image via visitphilly.com
Plus, did you know that Cory McDonald of 5 O’clock Brew Company is a proud EveryHome agent? Cory and his wife, Lauren, form the McDonald Team here at EveryHome. Not only can they help you purchase your next home, but they can also let you taste test some of their latest brews (and some are gluten-free!). Cheers to that!
Unfortunately, it’s no secret that you often have to shell out a pretty penny to live in one of the state’s top-performing districts. But did you know that there are quite a few local school districts that consistently rank among the top in the state and offer affordable home prices? It’s true!
Here are our favorite school districts for buyers on a budget:
Telford is located largely within Souderton Area School District, which was recently ranked 18th in the state — out of over 500 schools! The borough offers affordable, well-kept homes that often offer a nice backyard and walkability to town. Plus, the district enjoys a new state-of-the-art high school, impressive sports teams, and a ton of extracurriculars (like the award-winning SAVE environmental club!).
Royersford offers affordable living in one of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools” according US World & News Report! Spring-Ford Area School District is known for its impressive array of AP classes, and an award-winning marching band.
It doesn’t get much better than Central Bucks School District, which consistently ranks among the very best in state. Chalfont and Warminster are located within the district, and offer more affordable housing, including plenty of single-family homes for under $250,000 and twin/townhomes for less than $200,000
Downingtown Area School District was named to Newsweek’s list of America’s Top High Schools — and for good reason! The district is recognized for its commitment to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education, and offers plenty of affordable homes.
Mortgage rates have stabilized, after rates dipped last week following the Federal Reserve’s decision to defer a rate hike. While the Fed cannot directly affect the private mortgage market, it is a large indicator of mortgage rate movement. Without the Federal Reserve increasing the interest rate, mortgage rates are expected to remain largely stable for the remainder of 2015.
Zillow’s Mortgages currently sits at 3.73% for a 30-year fixed rate loan. It is important to note, however, that this average does not consider “points” which allow buyers to pay an upfront fee to lower their interest rate. The 15-year fixed rate loan is at 2.89%.
Even if you’re new to the world of real estate investing, you probably know that it’s not always easy to find a great new tenant. While there are a large number of renters, it can be difficult to sort through applications and determine who is a good fit.
Consider using a Realtor to help you find your next tenant!
1) Ask for references-– and then check them! Request the contact information for previous landlords, employers, or even family friends. You’ll want to get a clear picture of the person who will be living in your property, and we recommend calling multiple sources. Found a great new tenant but concerned that his or her income may be a bit too low for the monthly rent? Be sure to ask them if they may have a strong co-signer.
2) Consider allowing pets….with a few caveats. Did you know that big dogs actually have fewer “accidents” and are often quieter than small dogs? It’s true! However, the vast majority of rentals don’t allow dogs over 50lbs. While we always recommend considering pets, it’s also a good idea to meet the dog or cat, ask for references about their behavior, and ensure that the breed isn’t restricted by the homeowners’ association or insurance policy.
3) Consider using a real estate agent to list your property on the MLS (the big database that may be used exclusively by licensed agents). The Realtor will be responsible for marketing and showing the property, accepting applications, and helping you organize prospective tenants. The typical fee is approximately one month’s rent, and it can save you a lot of time, enhance the pool of applications and have each tenant’s credentials nicely organized.
If you’re actively searching for a great new home, you’re probably submitting an offer soon. Here are four things to consider:
Communicate with your agent about any other offers on the home. This information can help you and your agent craft the best possible plan for submitting an offer and securing the home of your dreams. This may mean adding a price escalation clause, writing a letter to the seller, or increasing your offer price.
Consider your timeline. Due to TRID (which is due to take effect in early October), some mortgage companies are moving a bit more slowly than usual. Generally speaking, we recommend scheduling a settlement date no sooner than 45 days after going under contract. Ask your agent about the sellers’ timeline to ensure that the proposed settlement date works for them, too — after all, they’ll be more likely to accept your offer if it is convenient with their planned moving schedule!
Carefully consider how long to allow the sellers to respond. The offer stipulates how long the sellers have to respond, and most offers allow between 12-48 hours for the sellers to accept or refuse. Depending on the sellers’ personal situation (your agent can help you with this), and any other offers that may be on the table, you may want to move up the timeline to ensure that you have a firm answer sooner vs. later.
Prepare for a counteroffer! The majority of offers result in a counteroffer by the seller, and while the most common counteroffers are for higher sales prices, it’s not uncommon to find counter offers requesting different settlement dates, inspection terms, or deposit money amounts.
Looking for something fun to do this weekend? You’re in luck! Here is our list of the top three events in greater Philadelphia and the ‘burbs this weekend:
Image via Peddler’s Village
Get in the fall spirit at Peddler’s Village in Bucks County! The charming village is hosting its annual Scarecrow Festival this weekend, along with the family-friendly scarecrow competition and display. Bring the kids for pumpkin pie eating, pumpkin painting, and plenty of scarecrow making workshops.
It’s a foodie’s delight at Manayunk’s popular Restaurant Week! From now until September 25th, one of Philadelphia’s most exciting neighborhoods will be offering prix fixe meals at deeply discounted rates. Participating restaurants include Bourbon Blue, Derek’s, and Manayunk Brewing Company.
Brauhaus Schmitz will once again be offering their annual Oktoberfest! Philadelphia’s favorite German bierhall will be home to an exciting calendar of events from now until Sunday, October 20th. Be sure to stop by the 700 block of South Street on Saturday for their street festival featuring specialty beers, German dancers, Oompah bands, beer, games….and did we say beer?
Autumn is right around the corner! In order to keep your home in tip-top shape during the harsher winter months, we recommend the following autumn home maintenance checklist:
This is the best time to get your heater serviced and inspected! A properly serviced heater will run more efficiently (saving you big bucks!) and it will give you peace of mind that your home will stay cozy when the colder months arrive. To save even more on your heating bills, be sure to seal up any drafty windows with weather stripping and caulk any openings. Time to change those ceiling fans!
Change the direction of your ceiling fans. Easy and free! By switching the direction of each blade, you’ll create an upward draft that will distribute warm air more evenly around your home.
Test out your snow equipment. Is your snow blower working? Do you have a few good shovels? An extra bag of salt or two? It’s never fun to find out that your snow blower is broken during the first big snow of the year — especially when they’re often sold out in stores this time of year! This affordable snow blower is available at Home Depot for $269
Tidy up the exterior. Drain your garden hose and bring it indoors, store any gardening equipment, and take advantage of the last warm days by cleaning the exterior as much as possible — perhaps sweeping the deck, power washing, cleaning windows, and brushing off outdoor furniture.
If you read our post about the reasons your home isn’t selling, you’ve probably taken a closer look at your home’s listing photos, price, and cleanliness. But those aren’t the only reasons your home might not be selling! Here’s what you should consider:
Location, location, location! You’ve heard it a hundred times, so be sure to take a critical look at where your home is located. While you can’t change your home’s location, you can highlight its great features. Maybe it’s not located in a great school district, but it’s nearby award-winning private schools, parks, and restaurants. Or perhaps it’s located closer to the road than most buyers would like, but it has a backyard oasis and is walkable to town. Whatever your home’s situation, consider mentioning these great features that buyers may not otherwise see by including it in the listing description.
This home in Chalfont sold in just days!
Consider size and space. While there is a big movement towards downsizing and tiny living (which we love, by the way!), many buyers still want to ensure adequate space for their growing families. Square footage certainly isn’t everything, but be sure to highlight what you have by offering clean, open rooms and lots of storage opportunities. Get rid of excess clutter and pick up a few attractive bins and organizers from The Container Store. And if you got a basement, attic or shed, flaunt it!
Is your home very unique? Some “niche” homes have features that aren’t suitable for all buyers. Examples may include homes with over five bedrooms, homes with high-maintenance landscaping and/or a swimming pool, or architecturally unusual homes. While these homes may take a bit longer to sell, we recommend speaking with an experienced EveryHome agent about an individualized marketing plan to ensure that your special home is visible by all prospective buyers!
Mortgage rates remained relatively stable this week, despite continued global economic unrest. The average 30-year fixed rate loan increased slightly to 4.10% from 4.08% a week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). Jumbo loans remain a bit lower at 4.03%.
While rates remain historically low, mortgage applications dipped 6.2% this past week. The indecisive mortgage market may be spurned in part by the Federal Reserve’s upcoming meeting. Some industry insiders speculate that the Fed will raise interest rates, which may affect mortgage rates. Other experts believe that rates won’t rise significantly until December or later.