You’ve spotted a home you’ve fallen truly, madly, deeply in love with online but – oh, no!
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After four years of living in the same apartment, and shortly after welcoming their second child, Brittany and her husband knew that it was time to start thinking about purchasing a home. “We knew that we would not be able to stay in that space for much longer,” Brittany says. “We just had limited storage space…two bedrooms and one bath.” Her family was quickly outgrowing the space.
Brittany and her husband began their mortgage journey working with another lender, and made the switch to Stockton Mortgage after they heard about our Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) program.
“I knew I would have to switch lenders and so I asked my realtor if he had heard anything about [the MCC] – he had not, but I had given him a list of the lending agencies and Stockton was on it and he knew Sherri Sampson.” Brittany says that her realtor assured her that while he did not know about the MCC program, Sherri Sampson would.
“She really seemed to know her stuff,” Brittany says, referring to Sherri. “I just felt more confident with her than the original person we were dealing with.”
“She very much walked us through the process – answered all of our questions.”
Before even officially switching to Stockton, Brittany says that Sherri was able to find an issue with the current asking price that would have caused Brittany and her family to lose money when purchasing the home. “She recommended to our realtor that we change what we were asking…she suggested that before we even switched to her officially.” Brittany says that at the time, she was very impressed with the suggestion, “[I thought] wow, that’s awesome.”
“And so we switched,” she says, “…we ended up not qualifying for the [MCC] credit at the end of everything, but I’m still glad we switched lenders...”
Brittany says that once her family started their home buying journey with Sherri, it was simple. “The whole process was pretty simple – it really wasn’t complicated.” While many who have gone through the mortgage process will list extensive paperwork and documentation as a large obstacle, Brittany says that, for her and her family, finding the area of town that would best suit them was the biggest obstacle. “Paperwork wise we really didn’t have any obstacles – which was nice.”
Brittany and her family are now living in their new home; they are working on organizing their new space, and painting their walls – for the first time. “For four years we just had white walls – it was actually really depressing. Now I look around and have color…it’s more cheerful.”
“It is nice knowing that I own it and it’s not somebody else’s walls or stuff.”
She says that she feels a sense of accomplishment now, “we’ve been getting our ducks in a row for the last five years, so it was nice to get to…what we were trying to accomplish. Not that our apartment wasn’t a home for our children, but, [our home is] a better home environment for our family.”
“We enjoyed the whole process.” Brittany says that, originally, she believed that it would be more stressful. “It was just pretty seamless.”
Spring has sprung – and so has the housing market. According to a recent report from The National Association of Realtors, the pending home sale index rose 3.1% in February. Even more impressive is the explosion in housing contract signings. The Midwest and Southern regions of the U.S. have currently hit the highest level of contract signings in two years.
"Pending sales showed solid gains last month, driven by a steadily-improving labor market, mortgage rates hovering around 4 percent and the likelihood of more renters looking to hedge against increasing rents,” said Lawrence Yun, a chief economist with The National Realtors Association.
Yun went on to note that though the market is strengthening, there is still an issue with the number of homes that are available for sale. However, The National Realtors Association is projecting a 6.4% increase of homes available in 2015.
Are you thinking about buying your first home? Check out our First Time Home Buyer’s Study Guide to learn how to buy with confidence.
Kitchen remodels are often one of the most expensive in the realm of home DIY projects, but having a dreamy kitchen is also one of the quickest ways to boost your home’s value. For many home buyers, this presents a dilemma. But what if you could make a big difference in the look of your kitchen for under $100?
One of the main features of your kitchen is your counter top. You can have all of the shiny stainless appliances and fabulously expensive imported flooring you want, but people will notice your counter top. If you’re looking to give your counters a face lift, without spending a fortune, check out these three alternatives for the traditional counter top:
- Concrete – Seriously, concrete. Not sidewalk concrete, but actually a specific type of concrete that is actually a mixture of concrete and PVC. But the best part is…it costs $15. Check out the steps here.
- Wood – Shiny, finished, butcher’s block style wood. I know what you’re thinking, there’s no way that this one is under $100. Well, it is. Try $56. Check out how to do it here.
- Formica or laminate – These sneaky little materials give the same appearance as granite but for a fraction of the cost – usually around $15 a sq. ft. Here’s the how-to.
With 73 million distinctive visitors in December, Zillow is the most popular real estate information site out there. But questions about the accuracy of its “Zestimates,” or housing estimates, have been growing among critics.
With such a well-publicized and trusted platform, many Americans utilize Zillow Zestimates when buying or selling their homes. According Dilbeck Real Estate agent Tim Freund, clients not willing to budge from a Zestimate will quickly “kill a deal.”
Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff recently appeared on CBS This Morning, where co-host Norah O’Donnell asked him to talk about the accuracy of Zestimates. Rascoff referred to Zestimates as a “good starting point,” but said that nationwide Zestimates had a median error rate of about 8%.
However, while Rascoff admitted that the median error rate was about 8%, he did not delve into the issue of localized error rates, which in some cases – like in Somerset County, Md. – are up to an incredible 42%, according to the LA Times.
Zillow is a great site for viewing listings, but ultimately a home’s price is based on an up-to-date appraisal.