Cheryl Caldwell - William Raveis - The Dolores Person Group



Posted by Cheryl Caldwell on 11/1/2019

Thereís a lot of things to think about before buying a home--some financial, others personal. Most people tend to focus on one or the other. However, both are instrumental in choosing the right house and buying at the right time.

In this article, weíre going to talk about some of the ways you can determine if youíre ready for homeownership. Weíll discuss things like credit scores and down payments, but also important life factors like your career and future plans.

Getting your finances in order

There are a few simple things you can do right now that will help you understand if youíre financially secure enough to start looking at houses. First, youíll want to look up your credit score.

Lenders strongly consider your credit when determining how much risk is involved in lending to you. A higher credit score can not only get you approved for a mortgage, it can lower your interest rate and make you eligible to borrow without having to pay private mortgage insurance.

The amount of money this saves seems trivial in the short term, but over the lifespan of your loan it can save you tens of thousands of dollars. So, read a free credit report and if your credit is lower than 700 start finding ways to improve your credit.

In the meantime, youíll want to save for a down payment. While itís possible to buy a home with a small or no down payment, it can come back to haunt you in the form of interest as you pay off your loan. Furthermore, many lenders wonít pre-approve you unless you make a down payment of a minimum amount (often 20% of the loan).

If you have a high credit score and youíve saved for a down payment, another thing to check off your list would be proving your stable income. This can be difficult for the self-employed, contract workers, or people who have recently changed jobs.

Lenders want to see that you have a stable income history to ensure that youíll be able to pay your mortgage each month. If you recently changed jobs or are in between jobs, it could be to your benefit to wait 3-6 months before getting pre-approved. In that time, you can continue to raise your credit and save for a down payment, further increasing your chances of getting a low-interest loan.

Preparing for homeownership

While the financial aspects of homeownership are important, so are the personal aspects. Youíll want to consider several life factors before buying a home.

First, think about your longterm goals. Do you want to live in the same area for the next 10 to 30 years? Will your career bring you to different regions or will you attend school somewhere else? These questions will help you decide if itís a good time to buy or a better investment to save money while renting.

If you have a family (or plan on having one soon), youíll also have to find a way to balance all of your living needs.

Finally, ask yourself if you have time for homeownership. Many people who are used to renting arenít aware of the amount of time and money it takes to maintain a home. Youíll have more bills, youíll have to mow your own lawn, and youíll be responsible for maintenance of your home.





Posted by Cheryl Caldwell on 10/18/2019

When itís time to buy a new home, youíll hear a lot about the importance of location. How can you choose a place? Whether youíre moving around the corner or across the country, there are a few essential things that you should know in order to select the best place for you to live. Read on for some questions that you should ask yourself when trying to find a good fit for a  location to live. 


What Should Be Close?


Thereís more to a home than what schools are nearby or how close you are to work. While these things are essential, youíll need to understand more about our lifestyle to find an excellent location. Youíll have to look at your life and your familyís life on a day-to-day and weekly basis. What types of activities do you enjoy? How close do you want to be to a grocery store, a gym, or a shopping center? How close do you want to live to the city? The mountains? The beach? Does your family enjoy outdoor recreation like hiking or walking through the park? Making sure that the things that are important to you and your family are accessible will be a big part of choosing a location to move.


How Walkable Is The Neighborhood?


If your kids will be walking t school, or you enjoy daily strolls with the family dog, the walkability of a neighborhood is important. Many places allow you to walk everywhere right out your front door to the grocery store or the hair salon without ever setting foot in a car. You may even want to be able to walk to a bus or subway in order to get to work each day. Walkability is an important aspect to consider when looking at home locations. 


Who Lives Nearby?


You may want to consider who lives nearby when looking at different neighborhoods to move. If you wish to live near family or know some good friends who live close, this could be a good starting point for finding the right location to live. Itís always easier to make the transition to a new area when you know a few people.


How Quiet Is Too Quiet?


Some people love peace and quiet. Other people need a lively environment that allows them to access the hustle and bustle any time they choose. Knowing your want for peace is a big lifestyle choice and a large part of selecting a location to live in. The closer you move to a big city, the easier your access to the more exciting side of life will be. The further away you live from the city, the more likely you are to have more quiet.      





Posted by Cheryl Caldwell on 10/4/2019

If you want to acquire the best house at the lowest price, it pays to conduct an in-depth home search. In fact, there are many reasons why you should perform a comprehensive house search, and these include:

1. You can define your dream house.

For those who enter the housing market without a clear-cut definition of a "dream home," there is no need to worry. If you perform an extensive house search, you'll be better equipped than ever before to differentiate home must-haves from wants.

Ultimately, the definition of a dream home varies from buyer to buyer. As you map out your homebuying journey, it helps to put together a list of house must-haves and wants so you can tailor your home search accordingly.

Once you determine what you want to find in your dream house, you can assess the housing market and search for your ideal home. Then, when you locate your ideal residence, you should have no trouble submitting a competitive offer and moving one step closer to buying your dream house.

2. You can avoid the dangers associated with paying too much for a home.

Oftentimes, it is easy to attend a home showing and submit an offer on a home. But if you do so without performing housing market research, you risk overspending to purchase your ideal residence.

When it comes to determining the best price for a house, it helps to look closely at real estate market data. This information can help you differentiate a buyer's market from a seller's market, analyze the prices of houses in your city and town and much more. Perhaps most important, reviewing housing market data may enable you to avoid the temptation to spend too much to acquire your dream home.

3. You can reduce the risk of purchasing a home that fails to meet your expectations.

An in-depth home search reduces the risk that you'll be forced to "settle" for a home that fails to meet your expectations. Instead, you can allocate plenty of time and resources to search far and wide for your ideal residence. And if you find your dream home, you can rest assured that you'll be able to purchase this residence and enjoy it for years to come.

Clearly, there is a lot to think about if you intend to buy a house in the foreseeable future. But if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can receive expert support at each stage of the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent will learn about you and your homebuying goals. Next, this housing market professional will keep you informed about available houses in your preferred cities and towns and set up home showings. A real estate agent will even help you submit offers on houses and ensure you can get the best price on any residence, at any time.

Take the guesswork out of buying a house Ė consult with a real estate agent today, and you can get the help you need to make your homeownership dream come true.





Posted by Cheryl Caldwell on 9/20/2019

When buying a house, especially your first home, it's all too easy to make impulsive decisions and fail to "see the forest for the trees."

Although it's impossible to ignore your emotional reactions to a house for sale, it's vital to look at the big picture and make sure there are no red flags being ignored or glossed over.

For example, if the foundation of the house looks unstable or the surrounding neighborhood is showing signs of deterioration, it's ultimately not going to matter how much you love the layout of the kitchen or the convenience of a first floor laundry room. Major problems can overshadow the desirable features of a home and have long-term implications on your finances (and sanity).

Even though the future marketability of a house may be the last thing on your mind when you're searching for your next home, it's a factor worth giving some serious thought to. When that aspect of home ownership is overlooked, it could result in headaches and possible financial loss down the road. While real estate generally has a tendency to appreciate in value over time, there are exceptions.

The good news is that many potential problems can be prevented by combining common sense with the advice of qualified professionals, such as an experienced, certified property inspector. If you're wondering what's covered in a typical home inspection, the American Society of Home Inspectors offers this overview: "The standard home inspectorís report will cover the condition of the homeís heating system; central air conditioning system (temperature permitting); interior plumbing and electrical systems; the roof, attic and visible insulation; walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors; the foundation, basement and structural components."

So while inspectors can't look behind every wall or accurately predict the remaining lifespan of an existing HVAC system, they can provide you with a lot of valuable tips, recommendations, and insights into the condition of a house for sale. Working with a top-notch real estate (buyer's) agent will also help you avoid many of the potential pitfalls of buying a home.

While nobody wants to move into a "money pit," the likelihood of finding a home that's absolutely perfect and doesn't need any repairs, updates, or improvements is extremely low. Home buyers who are too focused on perfection may eventually realize that their standards are unattainable. A successful search for a new home hinges on the ability to distinguish between a minor cosmetic problem, such as an unappealing paint color, and a major problem, like a basement that floods regularly or a roof that's been compromised by storms, falling branches, or long-term neglect.

Although home buyers have differing expectations when it comes to repairs, remodeling, decorating, and renovations, one thing's for sure: Everyone wants to add their own personal touches to a new home and make it feel and look like their own!





Posted by Cheryl Caldwell on 9/13/2019

Buying your first home is a big decision; one that involves a lengthy process of saving money, building credit, and planning the next phase of your life. However, owning a home comes with one major payoff: home equity.

Simply put, home equity is the amount of your home that youíve paid off. However, it does get more complicated when we bring in factors like the market value of your home and how it shifts over the years.

In this article, weíll discuss home equity and what it means for you as a homeowner. This way, youíll have a better idea of what to expect when you finally make that last payment on your home or when you decide to sell.

Home equity and market value

As I mentioned earlier, home equity is more than just the amount youíve paid toward your mortgage. Like most markets, the housing market shifts over time.

Most homes slowly increase in value over time. In the real estate world, this increase in value is called appreciation.

However, that doesnít mean that your home is simply going to increase in value indefinitely until you decide to sell. As you will find out (if you havenít yet already), owning a home can be expensive. Houses age and require upgrades. If you fail to keep up with the maintenance of your home, its value can diminish.

How to build equity

The most important thing you can do to build equity is to make on-time payments to your mortgage. Making extra mortgage payments will help you build equity even faster.

One method of paying extra on your mortgage that many people are adopting is to make bi-weekly payments. Twenty-six bi-weekly payments comes out to 13 full payments per year, the equivalent of making one full extra monthly payment.

The second method of building equity is something that you have less control over: appreciation. However, if you stick to a maintenance schedule for your home and keep it in good repair, youíll most likely benefit from appreciation over the lifespan of your mortgage.

What can I use home equity for?

The most common way to use home equity is as a down payment or full payment on your next home. First-time buyers who donít have a 20% down payment saved often buy a starter home and then later upgrade as their family grows and their needs change. In the years that they own their first home, they build enough equity to make a full down payment on their second home, avoiding fees like mortgage insurance.

Many homeowners planning on retiring in the near future use their equity toward their retirement home, often turning a profit in the process. If you plan on downgrading for retirement and have fully paid off your mortgage, you can often use your equity to pay for your next home in cash.