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3 Ways Credit Plays Into Mortgage Refinancing

3 Ways Credit Plays In to Mortgage Refinancing

We found this article very informative and wanted to share it with you. Many people refinance their mortgage within the first 5-years and this information can help make the process go more smoothly.

If you’re thinking about refinancing your mortgage, there’s often a lot to consider. For instance, your decision to refinance may rely on current interest rates or your personal financial situation.

Your credit score also plays a role in the mortgage refinancing process. While it can certainly factor into your ability to refinance, the relationship between your mortgage and your credit score can be complicated. However, it doesn’t need to be.

What to Know About Credit Scores and Refinancing

Credit requirements can vary depending on the terms of your loan. But at the same time, many programs share similar traits. Here are a few you’ll want to know:

The Score You Need Can Depend On the Type of Loan You Have

According to NerdWallet, if you’re refinancing a VA or conventional loan, you’ll typically need a score between 620 and 720 to qualify. And if you have an FHA loan, you need a score between at least 500 and 580 to qualify.

Fortunately, lenders understand that life happens and are willing to work through different options if your credit score recently dropped below the requirements. For instance, there are different streamline financing options for VA loans, FHA loans and USDA loans that don’t require credit checks or score benchmarks.

A lot of people also choose to get home loans through Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, two of the largest home loan lenders in the country. Both typically require a minimum credit score of 620 to get approved.

Good Credit Isn’t the Only Thing You Need to Qualify

When you’re looking to refinance, having an excellent credit score can be beneficial. However, your score doesn’t automatically make you eligible. Lenders will look at a number of other things before they approve refinancing, such as your:

* Debt-to-income ratio (DTI): The amount of debt you have compared to how much money you make.

* Loan-to-value ratio (LTV): Allows lenders to assess the lending risk before approving a mortgage or a mortgage refinance. Loans that have a higher LTV are typically considered to be a higher risk.

If your lender says you have a high LTV ratio, that doesn’t automatically disqualify you. There are government-sponsored programs from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that are available for borrowers who have LTV ratios that are 97.01% or higher.

Refinancing Can Drop Your Score Temporarily

Like any changes to your installment accounts, refinancing your mortgage can lower your score. However, you don’t need to worry about this as much if your credit is already in good standing.

There are a couple of reasons why your score may drop. One is that lenders take what’s called a “hard inquiry,” or a detailed look, at your credit score. Such hard inquiries can cause your score to drop by a few points. The second is that the fact of refinancing itself can reduce your credit score. The third is a possible increase in your utilization ratio, which is calculated by comparing the amount you owe versus your total credit limit.

Start the Refinancing Process on the Right Foot

There’s a lot involved in the refinancing process. But when you know where your credit score is at before you begin, it can help you create a better plan for action.

With VantageScore’s latest scoring model, you can get an accurate and detailed picture of your credit scores so you can make the best refinancing decision for you. (BPT)

If you’re thinking about refinancing your mortgage, here’s some good information to help you along the way.

How to perfectly light a bathroom for beauty, function, and safety

Good lighting is important throughout a home, and each room has different lighting needs. Kitchens require overhead and task lighting, while bedrooms and dining rooms can benefit from variable illumination. However, no room in the house requires more layers and nuances of lighting than the bathroom, where lighting directly influences the room’s efficiency, utility, safety, and beauty.

bathroom lighting

Upgrading lighting in a bathroom can give the room a whole new look and improve its functionality for a fraction of the cost of a full renovation. As you’re planning your bathroom enlightenment, keep in mind the multiple purposes lighting plays in a bathroom, including:

* Safety — Bathrooms are a prime spot for falls and injuries. A well-lit room can decrease the risk of someone stumbling or slipping.

* Tasks — Whether you’re applying makeup or shaving, task lighting can provide the illumination you need to do the job well.

* Visibility — Ambient lighting provides whole-room illumination that makes the space usable at any time of day.

* Decorative — Lighting can minimize glare from shiny surfaces such as porcelain, glass, or ceramic tile, and enhance the appearance of colors, fixtures, and accessories.

Here are tips for creating effective, attractive lighting for the bathroom:

Safety
Bathroom lighting affects safety the most during nighttime hours. A completely dark bathroom could lead to falls, as could the temporary blindness caused by switching on a light when your eyes are acclimated for darkness. A brightly lit space can also make it difficult for you to go back to sleep after using the bathroom.

Dimmable bathroom lighting, which can be set for less illumination at night, and strategically positioned nightlights can help users safely navigate the room at night. Equip low-wattage light sources that turn on with a motion sensor, so that soft illumination comes on when you enter the dark bathroom.

Tasks
The bathroom vanity is a hub of activity, where people shave, brush their teeth, fix their hair, apply makeup, and generally get ready for the day. The lighting above your vanity or sink area is critical to how well the space functions.

Lights above the bathroom mirror, or to either side of it, can create glare and shadow. A better alternative can be to use a lighted mirror or medicine cabinet like the Verdera collection by Kohler. Lighted mirrors and medicine cabinets eliminate harsh shadows and light “hot spots” that can come from overhead lighting.

Visibility
Certain areas in the bathroom require basic visibility at all times, including showers and water closets. In these areas, overhead lighting can provide the ambient illumination you need. You can opt for a basic light fixture, a fan/light combination that also provides ventilation, or even a skylight for natural daylighting.

Uplighting is also becoming a popular form of ambient light in bathrooms. Lights set beneath countertops or around the base of shower stalls provide soft illumination and character.

Decorative
Decorative bathroom lighting is your chance to have some fun. These lights may enhance ambient lighting or support task lighting, but their ultimate purpose is to add visual interest to the bathroom. Depending on the size and style of your bathroom, you can choose decorative lighting options like chandeliers, wall sconces, pendant lights, recessed lighting, and more.

Finally, be sure that every layer of light in your bathroom is as energy-efficient as possible. Replace any incandescent bulbs with LEDs or CFLs, which use a fraction of the energy to produce a comparable amount of light, while lasting far longer.

Good information like this is something we want to share with our clients. If you enjoyed this article as we did, please be sure to share it with your family and friends so they too can enjoy it.

Have a Happy New Year!

5 Unique Gift Ideas To Give Instant Cheer

5 Unique Gift Ideas To Give Instant Cheer

Thank you for taking the time to read this informative article. We hope you enjoy it.

If you are one who, as a child, swore to live side-by-side with your best friend forever once you become real adults, I tell you you are not alone. We all went through that phase. Of course, we attended different colleges, moved to other cities and states, and ended up living in different worlds.

They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, and this is true for most. For the past few months, we have been separated from our loved ones. But this distance, and the uncertainties that come with it, taught us a lot about how a simple “thinking of you” gift can always bridge the gap.

So, if you are apart from families and friends this year, sending them a token of your love and thoughtfulness can be made more meaningful with these sentimental gift ideas.

1. Scented Candles

Whether homemade or bought from your local shop, scented candles are thoughtful gifts to share. Scents bring back memories so, sending one inspired by your hometown can surely spark nostalgia.

2. Custom Ornaments

Remember how, as kids, we are always fascinated by Christmas ornaments? How our faces light up when we start putting the tree together? If you won’t be home this year, add a special touch to your family tree with a custom ornament. You can add a photo or a simple message that says, “Love Knows No Distance.”

3. Make A Collage

A collage of candid shots can make you feel like everyone’s home. Fill your collage with photographs that you and your family have taken throughout the year. This is best to give to a family member who can’t be with you for the holidays.

4. Huge Blanket

If you can’t hug them personally, giving a huge statement blanket that sends warm hugs is a pretty close second. Find one made from quality cotton so you can send you all the warm fuzzy feelings even if you’re away.

5. Work Lunch Essentials

Nothing beats a fun gift set where you can find many useful items in one bundle. This gift idea is great for a former colleague or a work-from-home family member. This can also work as a care package where you put lunch items such as a salad container, a glass bottle, napkins, utensils, and a box full of motivational messages. You can personally pick the items or get a bundle from a local store. Whatever that is, you’re sure to instantly cheer up a workaholic loved one.

May we see the holidays as a season of merriment and giving and remember both the blessings and trials that we’re able to conquer. Let’s end the year with thankful spirits and welcome a new chapter with hopeful hearts.

Good information like this is something we want to share with our clients. If you enjoyed this article as we did, please be sure to share it with your family and friends so they too can enjoy it.

Season of Glad Tidings and Good Health

When the pandemic hit in the first quarter of 2020, we hoped it would be over by Easter, the Fourth of July, then Labor Day, and even Thanksgiving. However, it seems like we’re still facing the end of this year with uncertainties. We can only go through these challenging times by staying apart because reality is, we’ll never know when it will be over.

 

But, going this far despite everything that happened in the past few months is still worth celebrating. Here are some tips to have a healthy holiday season and new traditions for a joyful and meaningful celebration.

  1. Consider Staying at Home Instead of Travelling

Our big travel goals might have to be put on hold until another year or so. However, If the need to travel arises, consider going by car with family members you live with and make sure to wear a mask and always sanitize in public areas.

  1. Share Recipes With Family Members

While you can’t be together for one big dinner, you can have a virtual family meeting to plan meals and share traditional recipes. Food always connects.

  1. Entertain Outside

If you wish to gather with people outside your household, do it outdoors for better ventilation. Be mindful of important safety precautions and potential hazards, especially for young children and seniors.

  1. Get Closer to Nature

Take your immediate family out for an early walk, or hit the beach to relax. Enjoying nature is one of the best ways to combat stress and soothe your mind.

  1. Be Creative With Gift Giving

Since health experts recommend avoiding crowds, shop, or go to stores after peak hours. You can also shop online or call local shops and ask if they can deliver gifts to recipients. Prepare meals, start a donation drive, or send your creations to families, friends, and others. Often, the most creative and personalized gifts are the most meaningful ones.

  1. Host A Virtual Dinner

Again, the only way to go through this year’s challenge is to stay apart. But, technology is here to connect us with loved ones from afar. Spice up your virtual celebration with fun contests like “best holiday decorations,” “most creative recipes,” or “most unique desserts.”

  1. Check In On Loved Ones And Others

Everyone is going through challenging times. We may not see it on their social media posts or might not have heard from them for a while. No matter how you do it, check on them. Call your family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and acquaintances. We never know how they’re struggling through this tough time and that a simple “How are you” can impact their lives in so many ways.

  1. Never Stop Giving Thanks

We all are struggling but counting our blessings gives us hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel. We never know what lies ahead, but we know we are still here living, surviving, and being a blessing to others.

This season is a season of hope, love, and joy. A season to gather with families, share stories, and create fond memories.

Sincerely,

Michael Myers

On your bus and in your business

On Your Bus and In Your Business
by Denise Lones, The Lones Group
www.thelonesgroup.com

Whether you run your own real estate business, work for a company, or are part of a real estate team, there are people who you rely on day to day to help the business run smoothly. These are the people I call “on your bus”. In an ideal world, the bus runs smoothly. This means that the right people are on board, in the right seats, and the bus continues to move forward towards its destination.

But what happens when you have the wrong people on the bus? Have you ever worked somewhere and there was a person who was obviously not good for the team? Perhaps that person oozed negativity, gossiped about, never took responsibility, didn’t get tasks finished, didn’t communicate well, or just did not produce? When the wrong person is on the bus, the bus cannot move efficiently towards its destination.


Having the wrong person on the bus doesn’t just affect that particular person’s job. Having the wrong person can impact everyone on the bus. Imagine a bus with ten people on it. Nine of them are doing their job, are positive and productive, but the tenth person is negative, shows up late, leaves early, and misses deadlines about 20% of the time. If that 10th person is allowed to continue their bad behavior, what do you think that is going to do to the other nine people on the bus? Do you think their attitudes will sour and they will be less assured that the bus is going where they collectively want to go and begin to look for another bus? Do you think they will lose confidence that the bus driver as their leader is going to get them to their destination? Absolutely. It happens all the time.

Sometimes you have a situation in which the right person was on the bus, but something happened. It could be something personal. It could be that person was passed up for some recognition. It could be an idea or two that was not implemented and that has caused some workplace angst. Whatever the reason, if someone was definitely the right person for most of their journey but all of a sudden they weren’t, what do you do? Or if you have the wrong person, what do you do?

If you are that person’s manager or supervisor, or if you are working with them in a vendor relationship, honesty is usually the best policy. However, I recommend approaching the situation in a conflict-resolution style manner (to recap, that means sticking to the facts, keeping emotion out of the discussion, asking questions, and stating your truth). For example:

“Jim, I want to talk with you about something that has me concerned.” (If you start with “I want to talk to you about your job performance,” that could put up the defenses which is what you don’t want). “It seems that you haven’t been happy here the last few months.” (Fact). “Your co-workers have noticed and are concerned.” (Fact). “Obviously we would like to be working as a harmonious team so can you talk about what is going on?” (Question).

By setting up the conversation this way and by not beginning by berating them with their lousy job performance, you might actually get to the crux of the problem because you have set this up as a problem-solving conversation. You might be surprised at what you find out!

In fact, this leads me to another bus challenge. Sometimes you have the right person on your bus but they are sitting in the wrong seat! You might have someone answering phones, but they are bored and have the talent to be a transaction coordinator with some training. Perhaps you have someone on your team who is working as a buyer’s agent who should be sending out marketing materials to your database and farm each month instead of draining their energy by expecting them to interact with people. Don’t lose the right person just because they are in the wrong seat. Don’t be afraid to move people into the right seats!

However, sometimes even with all your efforts, it is time to let someone off the bus whether that be an employee, team member, or a vendor. If that is the case, do it graciously via the conflict resolution formula I have outlined above by stating the facts and your truth in a positive manner. They usually know it is coming and they know it is no longer a fit. And that is the fact of the matter – it is not a fit. The way you want to do business is not a match for how they want to do business. They need to join another bus going in another direction and both parties will be better off as a result.

I encourage you to think about your bus. Can you count on everyone who is in those seats? Are they all doing what they need to keep the bus moving forward to its destination? Are they in the right seats? If you are the bus driver, those people in the seats are relying on you to get them to their destination. There may be flat tires and engine problems along the way, but if you have the right people, they will all hop out and help get it fixed. If you think about the bus in these terms and know that there will be someone who stays on the bus, complaining about the heat and the lack of maintenance instead of hopping out and helping get the bus back on track, there’s your sign that it may be time to make a change.

If you enjoyed this information, be sure to share it with your fellow realtors.

A little information about Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI —The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings over two decades of experience in the real estate industry. With expertise in strategic marketing, business analysis, branding, new home project planning, product development, and agent/broker training. Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things “real estate”. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.

Disclaimer: All information, views, and experiences presented here are distributed by an actual Real Estate Coach and shared with proper consent as additional noteworthy information. The above-stated material does not necessarily reflect the opinions of our company. If you wish to use and distribute this copyrighted material for purposes beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Creating a Small Backyard Garden

No matter how small your backyard happens to be, you can find a place for a garden. Even homeowners with considerable outdoor space may want to limit the size of their gardens for a wide range of practical and aesthetic reasons.
 
When it comes to gardening, bigger is certainly not always better. Here are just a few tips for creating the small backyard garden that is right for you!
Save Space with Square Foot Gardening
Developed by master gardener Mel Bartholomew, the Square Foot Gardening recently got a revamp with the release of the 2nd edition of his All New Square Foot Gardening. However, the basics of this highly efficient gardening method have remained popular for nearly four decades. The framework of Bartholomew’s garden is a 4-foot square raised wooden bed that is divided into a grid of 16 square boxes. In each of these square foot boxes, a gardener can plant and grow a specific vegetable, herbs, or flower species.
 
Try Tiers
If you want to maximize your ground space while keeping your garden eye-catching and well-organized, tiered planters allow you to expand upward rather than outward. You can also stack herbs and other small plants upwards by using tin cans attached to a wood trellis.
 
Leave Your Plants Hanging Around
Tomato vines can occupy a lot of space, but they grow perfectly well hanging inverted from your porch ceiling or any other overhead structure. You can easily transform 2-liter plastic bottles into hanging tomato planters. But of course, tomatoes aren’t the only plant that grows great while suspended. For a sharper DIY look, consider wrapping cheap plastic hanging planters in vintage scarves or transforming colorful colanders into charming ad-hoc planters.
 
Mount Planters for Additional Growing Space
You can also maximize garden space by mounting planters on your backyard fence or exterior walls. Think of these surfaces as a blank canvass that can benefit from any number of stylish and fun planters. For an easy but effective repurposed planter, try mounting a hanging file organizer and planting herbs within its vertical pockets.
 
Get Creative with Storage
Less storage space means more growing space. Think about purchasing or making a bench that doubles as a storage unit. This is a great way to keep your gardening tools out of sight while simultaneously giving you a place to relax and enjoy your yard. Need to store larger items such as hoes and brooms? Consider making a mini storage shed out of old doors and/or windows. This is an inexpensive way to keep things organized while gracing your yard with a bit of rustic charm.
 
Other Ideas for Creating a Beautiful Garden & Sharing It with Others
Do you have an old tree stump in your backyard taking up space in your backyard? Turn lemons into lemonade by transforming it into an all-natural flower planter. Do you have an outdoor potting workstation? Consider using it as a bar for your next party. With a bit of organization and cleaning, it makes a great place to serve drinks and snacks.
If you enjoyed this information, be sure to share it with your friends and family.
 
P.S.
Do you know someone who needs Home Inspection? We’d appreciate it if you tell them about us and how we can help them.
 

Conveying Your Competitive Advantage in Prospect Presentations

Here is good information from Dirk Zeller who is the President of Real Estate Champions. He is recognized as the premier coach for the real estate industry. Dirk has developed a system that takes “regular” Agents and “regular” Managers and transforms them into Champion Agents and Managers.

Conveying Your Competitive Advantage in Prospect Presentations

by Dirk Zeller

Let’s start with the bottom line first: The whole purpose of a prospect presentation is to establish your competitive advantage. In the least time possible you want to communicate what makes you different from the more than 1.2 million other licensed Realtors in the United States. You want your prospects to see exactly why they should hire you, what’s in it for them, and why they should proceed with confidence to sign your listing agreement.

Most agents spend the presentation explaining what they will do for the client rather than focusing on the results the client can expect the agent to deliver. Newspaper ads, website pages, home magazines, dazzling flyers, and a lineup of other marketing items are tactics that, in truth, nearly all agents use in the normal course of business. They are not competitive advantages. In fact, you must assume before a listing presentation that every agent will promise a near-identical marketing plan.

So why will they hire you over the others? They’ll hire you because they see what’s in it for them. And what’s in it for them is the set of benefits they will receive as a result of your proven competitive position.

Home Inspections Pinellas County

Defining your unique competitive position

To differentiate yourself in the field of real estate sales you need to create, define, and consistently convey a competitive position that positively distinguishes you from your competition.

By knowing and exploiting the difference between your products and services and those of your competitors you will attract more prospects, win more clients, grow your market share, increase your revenue, expand your profits, and, eventually, weaken your competitors.

To pinpoint your unique competitive position, answer these questions:

1) Are there key statistics that set you apart from your competitors and provide you with a clear point of difference?

2) Do any of your BIG THREE statistics create a unique competitive position?

– Average list price to sale price

– Days on the market

– Listings sold versus listings taken

3) What benefits or values do consumers receive only when they deal with you?

4) Do you have dominant or strong market share in a geographic region?

5) Do you specialize in a particular property type, such as small plexes or a certain style of home?

6) Is your market share success tied to a particular price point?

7) When representing sellers, do you achieve quantifiably higher sale prices?

8) When representing buyers, do you achieve quantifiable savings in sales price, down payment, monthly payment, or interest rate?

Your answers don’t need to lead to 20 unique competitive positions. You only need half a dozen reasons why the consumer — whether you’re presenting to a buyer or a seller — should choose over everyone else. Focus only on advantages that will matter to your prospect.

Keep in mind the old sales adage: “It’s easier to sell someone what they want to buy than what you have to sell them.”

Proving your excellence: You don’t get paid for second place

A Fortune 500 CEO who doesn’t increase revenue will watch the stock price plummet. A quarterback who throws for lots of yards but doesn’t win games will be benched or traded. A Realtor who doesn’t get listings sold or find and secure the right home for buyers will leave the business.

In the real estate world, results are the name of the game. Anyone can make money in a marketplace where everyone wants to buy and sell, but only the excellent agents will thrive in a competitive marketplace.

We hope you find this information helpful and will be useful in your day to day real estate endeavors.

Laundry Room

Utility rooms, multipurpose rooms or laundry rooms, used to be tucked away in an unseen corner of the house, or a dark basement if that was possible. Today, rooms for washing and drying clothes, are moving in to more high-traffic areas, including, in some cases, the master bedroom closet.

Having a utility room closer to the kitchen or bedrooms is a convenience and means that whoever’s job it is to do the laundry can be multitasking with the family instead of being a world and a flight of stairs away. Built-in storage, counter space for cleaning spots and ironing boards are other often-requested amenities.

All of this storage is nice, but it is important to remember that large appliances must be accessible for repairs and inspections. That includes the electrical panel and the water heater which are sometimes found in utility rooms. Because electrical panels are generally gray boxes set close to the wall, it may be tempting to cover them with removable shelving. This is a bad idea and does not meet the requirements for easy-access.

Of course, just because people shouldn’t do something, doesn’t mean it never happens. Dryer vents are often overlooked and should be cleaned out every year to prevent a fire in the duct system and to save $$$ by having it clean means it will dry more efficiently. I have seen these things total plugged!

Fun Facts

1. The Beatles were once known as “Johnny and the Moondogs.”
2. It is estimated that 14 new words are added to the English language every day.
3. The equator lies across 14 different nations.

Until next time, have a AAA Day!

Welcome

 

Welcome to the AAA Advanced Home Inspections, Inc. blog.  We plan to use this space to educate our readers on all things regarding home inspections, problems, solutions, etc.  Here you’ll find all kinds of useful and pertinent information.  And if you’d like to be informed of new content, please subscribe and you’ll automatically be added to our readers list.  Welcome! We’re glad you’re here.

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