Elisa Spence Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage



Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay

Understanding the type of loan you're getting matters, to protect your financial interests. You also need to know when to choose one type of loan over another. So, should you choose a bridge loan? When might that be the best choice for getting into the home of your dreams? Here's what you need to know about this particular loan type.

What Are Bridge Loans?

Bridge loans typically provide temporary home financing, and are designed for use for six to 12 months. They carry an interest rate that is approximately two percent higher than a standard mortgage. These loans can "bridge" the gap between buying one property and selling another, allowing the borrower to get into a different home before their original home is sold and closed.

Who Can Receive a Loan Like This?

Anyone who owns a home and is trying to buy another one could potentially get a bridge loan. Just as with a traditional mortgage, though, you would have to qualify. Income and equity requirements must be met. There is also usually a debt-to-income ratio that's very important, since you'll have to make loan payments for a few months.

Why Would Someone Want a Bridge Loan?

When you're selling your home but you haven't found a buyer yet, you might find another home you want to buy. Since you don't have the funds from the sale of your current home, you wouldn't normally qualify to buy the other home. If you can get a bridge loan, though, you can buy the second home while still trying to sell the first one. When the first one sells and you receive the proceeds, you can use that money to pay off the bridge loan. Bridging that gap between the financing for the two homes can be vital in markets where housing is very competitive, or where you need to move quickly to purchase a particular home.

How to Get This Type of Loan

Getting a bridge loan involves talking to your bank or other lender, just like you would with another type of loan. Not all lenders offer bridge loans, so it's important to shop around. Additionally, your real estate agent can be a great resource when it comes to finding a bridge loan. Some agents even partner with lenders for these kinds of loans, to give their clients more options.

If you're not sure whether a bridge loan is the right choice for your home buying and selling needs, talking to your lender and real estate agent can help. There are times when borrowing additional money isn't a good choice, but these kinds of loans can also be very beneficial in certain real estate circumstances.



 Photo by Viktor Birkus via Pixabay

Everyone covets the annual HGTV Dream Home that's given away each year as part of a sweepstake. But the sad reality is that few winners are ever really able to take possession of their grand home and actually live out their happily-ever-after. There are, however, ways to pick and choose which features of these elegant, over-the-top homes you'd like to try for yourself. That's why we've compiled a list of four luxury home features inspired by HGTV's 2020 Dream Home Sweepstakes. Which one will you try? 

1. Golf-Cart Parking Bay

Because it's located on Hilton Head Island, this year's dream home includes an extra bay built on to the detached garage. It's the perfect size and space to park a golf cart, which the locals use to get from place to place. According to Homeguide, the average cost to build garage space is $49 per square foot. To comfortably park a golf cart, plan on building a space that's at least 7-feet wide by 15-feet long. This should cost somewhere in the vicinity of $5,145.

2. Industrial-Sized Ceiling Fan

The dream home features a ceiling fan that's 10-feet wide to help keep the air circulating in a living space that features comfortable seating around a coffee table and fireplace. To purchase your own industrial-sized ceiling fan, you may first need to fortify your ceiling support and your wallet. Even a lightweight, aluminum version weighs a whopping 77 pounds and costs around $4,400. 

3. Multiple Porches on Each Level

Like outdoor space? Have you considered adding multiple porches to your existing home? This year's dream home has a porch that runs the length of a single level, completely screened in. There's a porch on the floor above, too. Each features dreamy sliding glass doors that allow guests to transition easily from inside to out. According to Improvenet, expect to spend around $30,000 to construct a wrap-around porch with full screening. 

4. Carriage House Garage Doors

They're made of insulated steel, but the double garage doors on the dream home are crafted to look like wooden carriage house doors of old. They're a perfect blend of beauty and energy-efficient construction that you're going to love if you value architectural appeal but don't want to sacrifice your energy bills. Doors such as these start at around $2,000. 

Small investments add up to big home improvements. And, over time, you can design your own dream home, using just the best and most functional features of this year's TV version -- features that work for you and your family to save you time or money. And if they also bring you joy and relaxation, that's a bonus. 

 

 

 



 


Every winter, your home faces harsh weather, and it may benefit you to examine your home during the warmer months for any areas that may need maintenance to avoid excessive and costly repairs to your home during or after the winter. Here are few things to check before the snow starts to fall.

1. The Roof: Excess snowfall on the roof during winter adds weight to the structure, which is why it's imperative to check its integrity often. Thoroughly examine it for leaks and erosion. Check the soffits and eaves for damage. Look on the ground for loose shingles. If you see any, have the roof inspected by a qualified roofer and schedule repairs as soon as possible. Correcting potential issues early could prevent any catastrophic emergencies later on.

2. The Garden: It is a known fact that the winter is unfavorable for most flowering plants. Check your garden for any plants that may need to be pruned or given any special attention before the cold months hit. Remove dead trees; add hardy hybrids and be sure to give your garden enough attention to watch it flourish even through the winter months.

3. The Garage: Even though your garage is well-secured and covered, you'll still want to maintain its upkeep during the winter. Your cars may bring in snow, mud, deicer, sand and debris. Be sure to keep the floors cleaned and check the walls and corners for any place that may house rodents or other pests.

4. The Pipes: Your water pipes are another essential thing to check after winter. During winter, pipes are prone to freezing and can split, crack, or burst, which becomes a hard problem to fix. Ensure they are in good condition before winter and recheck them after the season to fix any issues as soon as possible.

5. Chimney: Take a cursory look at your chimney after winter. There's a good chance it may have been damaged during the season. Ice can be very destructive, especially to your chimney's mortar and flashing where the chimney joins the roof, and may cause problems in the long run. Check your fireplace to ensure proper ventilation and cleanliness to avoid fire and smoke damage. Make sure to clean the creosote from the fireplace after seasonal use to promote your fireplace's longevity and maintain safety standards.

6. Garden Shed: For people that have a separate building for their garden tools, it is vital that you check this place after winter. Ensure that the ice and excessive wind haven't caused damage, and just as you did for your primary home, check the roof, eaves and flashing for damage.


Check all these places after each winter season and before the summer heat drives it from the forefront of your mind. You may want to dedicate at least one day to checking your home for early signs of damage or for areas that may need to be updated and reinforced. Your Realtor® may have a few other suggestions for maintaining your home or preparing for any regional hardships that may arise during the winter.


If you believe you are coming close to the time to buy your first home, you'll want to be informed. It’s never too early to begin preparing for a home purchase. The more organized you are, and the better you have your financial situation in order the better off you’ll be when it comes to the home search. Where should you start? Below, you’ll find some key things that you can do to maximize your chances of finding and securing your first home.


Check Your Credit


Your credit score is one of the most critical pieces of your financial picture. A FICO score ranges from 300 to 850. The higher the number, the better off you are. When you’re getting a mortgage, you want to have good credit. If your credit score is above 740, you’ll be eligible for the best interest rates. If your credit score needs help, a higher score will get you the best interest rates available. Once you get your credit score, (It’s free to get through a variety of services.) aim to improve your score. Pay your bills on time. Use less of your available credit (target to use 30 percent or less of your total available credit.) The bottom line is that a low-interest rate will save you a significant amount of money over the life of your loan. 


Refrain From Opening New Accounts


If you’re in the market to buy a home, it’s probably best for you to stay away from opening new accounts. Every store has their credit card and offers deals to open an account in store. While it could save you some money on your purchase, opening new accounts has a negative impact on your credit score in the short term. A car loan, for example, will also affect your credit score because it brings your debt-to-income ratio up, which can put a damper on your chances of getting a mortgage for a low-interest rate.


Save, Save, Save


If you want to buy a home soon, you’ll need to save up a significant amount of money. These savings will go towards a downpayment, closing costs, and furnishing your new place. Every chance you get, you should be putting money away. Include gifts, bonuses, and any other income that’s outside of your average take-home pay. 


It’s also a good idea to set up a second bank account dedicated to saving for the home. Set up an automatic transfer each month that will go into that account from your primary earnings. You can d this based on how your employer pays you.


Look For A Real Estate Agent


Your real estate agent will be a crucial part of your home search. They will help in everything from finding the property of your dreams to negotiating the deal to sitting by your side at closing. You should do a bit of research to help you find a real estate agent who can assist you in finding the right property for you. 


Ask family and friends for recommendations of agents. You can search for the real estate agent’s name online and see what kind of reviews the agent has and contact different agents. From there. You can make a decision.          


Now, good luck with your home search! 



If you own lots of items and plan to buy a house in the foreseeable future, now may be a good time to list any unwanted items online. That way, you can simultaneously eliminate clutter and earn extra cash for your excess items.

Ultimately, selling items online before you pursue a home can be simple – here are three tips to help you showcase your unwanted items online to dozens of potential buyers.

1. Provide Relevant Information in Your Item Listings

Find out as much as you can about any items you decide to list online. Because the more information you can provide to prospective buyers, the easier it becomes for a buyer to determine whether a particular item is the right choice.

There is no need to stretch the truth in your online item listings, either. If you provide accurate, relevant information, you can help a buyer make an informed decision.

2. Add High-Quality Photos

A picture is worth a thousand words, particularly for those who list items online. Thus, if you add high-quality photos to complement your online listings, you can instantly show off your items to large groups of prospective buyers.

You don't need to be an expert photographer to take high-quality photographs of your items. If you use a smartphone, tablet or digital camera, you should have no trouble capturing top-notch images that you can upload onto a computer without delay. Then, you can add these photos to your item listings and help buyers see exactly what you have to offer.

3. Be Ready to Respond to Concerns and Questions

If a buyer has a concern or question about an online item listing, you should be ready to quickly connect with this individual and provide him or her with the requested information. By doing so, you may be able to speed up the process of getting rid of unwanted items.

As you start selling items online and get ready to search for a house, you may want to find a real estate agent as well. If you hire a real estate agent, you can receive expert housing market assistance as you prepare to pursue your dream residence.

A real estate agent is happy to guide you along each stage of the homebuying journey. First, he or she will help you craft an effective homebuying strategy. A real estate agent next will keep you up to date about houses that fall within your price range and meet your desired criteria. Furthermore, if you find a home you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase. And if your offer is approved, a real estate agent will do everything possible to ensure you can finalize your home purchase as soon as possible.

Don't wait to get started on the homebuying journey – reach out to a real estate agent today, and you can begin your quest for your dream house.




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