Mortgage Interest Rate vs. FICO Score


Mortgage Interest Rate vs. FICO Score

If you are thinking of buying a home in the near future, especially if this is your first home, it is critical that you find a REALTOR® who can guide you through the myriad of issues and documents you will be dealing with.

NOTE: THESE FICO SCORES AND INTEREST RATES ARE FOR ILLUSTRATION PURPOSES ONLY

One of the most common things that is critical to buying a home is finding a mortgage with a low interest rate. Mortgage companies will often times advertise “historically low interest rates” but they don’t advertise what FICO score is required to obtain that interest rates.

It is important to understand that the “historically low interest rates” go to those folks who have the highest FICO score. Knowing your FICO score is critical to understanding what mortgage interest rate you will qualify for.

For example: In the chart below you can see that the higher the FICO score is, the lower your interest rate is for a conventional loan. Most conventional loans require at least 10% down or more.

For those individuals who opt for an FHA loan (which the majority of homeowners select) there are options for lower FICO scores. A typical FHA loan will require a FICO score of 580 or above with only 3.5% down. FICO scores below 580 will require 10% down payment.

What is important to understand is that there is a large selection of options for mortgages that include a wide range of FICO score options. The FICO score and interest rates go hand in hand. You cannot know one without the other.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email      me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

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Buying a House During the Pandemic!


The real estate market has taken a dramatic drop in month-over-month sales since the beginning of the pandemic has begun.  A detailed posting will be published tomorrow regarding the real estate statistics, but for now I want to give some tips when you are looking to buy a house during the pandemic.

First of all you need to understand that the inventory is very low.  Therefore, it is critically important that you get pre-approved for a mortgage as soon as possible.  With the inventory low on homes, it is quite possible to get into a bidding war. Being pre-approved – with a letter on file with your REALTOR® – puts you in a a better position to convince the sellers that you are the best choice to buy the home.

My next bit of advice is to be realistic about the price of the home.  Most sellers are getting at – or near to – asking price.  A buyer who believes that they will “low-ball” the offer to get a good deal will most likely lose out.  Your REALTOR® should provide you with a realistic price of the home.  If its a good price, I would suggest that you get as close to asking or even asking price to get the home.

The last bit of advice I will mention in this post will be open houses.  There is nothing wrong with buyers going to open houses to look at homes that they may be interested.  Unfortunately, the pandemic has changed everything, including open houses.  In Maryland, we are allowed to have open houses – but can only allow two people into the house at a time.  They must wear a mask and should not open doors or cabinets that have not be opened by the seller or agent.  A popular house may have a line out the front door necessitating  a wait.  I would suggest that you contact your REALTOR® and ask for a virtual tour or to set up a private showing.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® – who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

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The Next Step is the Smart-Home


The Next Step is the Smart-Home

If you are one of the millions of people who have been enduring the “shelter in place” phenomenon or if your job will become a work-out of the house, you may be wondering what to do with all that extra time you have. Along with the gazillions of other projects that are being added to the list might be adding “smart stuff” to your home.

A few years ago, if you wanted to add value to your home, granite countertops were the big thing along with stainless steel appliances. Those two enhancements are still a big selling point, but now the trend is towards smart appliances. Smart stuff may include, smart thermostat, smart lights, smart locks and smart speakers. The smart home market is booming, and those younger home buyers that are buying know about smart homes and like what they see.

Although smart thermostats have been around for a while, they are getting smarter every day. And what makes them even more beneficial is when they are connected with smart speakers. A smart thermostat can help you track your energy usage and minimize heating and cooling costs.

Smart lights can be as simple as replacing your old-fashioned lights for smart LED bulbs that can save you money. And to add honey to the pot, connecting your lights to smart speakers will enable to turn on or off lights with a voice command, such as Alexa, turn off the lights, not the old command, “honey, you forgot to turn off a light.”

Smart locks can be big plus for homes that have the coming of going of family members. Whether you have a friend or family member who needs to take your dog out because you are working late, or a child who forgot their door key, smart locks can be locked or unlocked from your cell phone. Some doors can unlock simply by having the phone on you as you approach the door with your arms full. And, once again, door locks can be connected with smart speakers to enable you to lock or unlock doors with a voice command.

Smart thermostats, smart lights and smart locks are all a big plus, but to really make your home smart, connect them all with a smart speaker.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

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It’s Not to Early to Start the Home Search


It’s Not to Early to Start the Home Search

 If 2020 is the year you are thinking of buying your first home, or your tenth home, it is not too early to start the process now.  Buying and selling real estate takes longer than most people think and if they do not allow enough time, they wind up staying where they are.

A couple of months ago I received a call from a couple that decided they were going to buy their first home.  “Great”, I said and started running through the list in my head of what we needed to look into to start the search.  Everything was going fine until I asked when they were planning on making the move.  The response was just over two weeks.

 

If this were a cash transaction, that maybe could have been a reality.  This couple had not contacted a mortgage officer yet and it was not possible to arrange financing, schedule a closing and get to the closing table in that period of time – forget home inspections, appraisals etc.

 

My advice to a home buyer or seller is to plan about six months to a year.  A year is a long time, but all too often, especially first-time home buyers, they start the process of getting a mortgage and find that there is a blemish on their credit bureau.  Quite often it will take a few months to clear up a blemish.

 

On average, first-time home buyers will look at 10-19 homes before deciding to make an offer.  That obviously takes time as does arranging for a mortgage (hint: start the mortgage process as soon as you think about buying a home).  Add a couple more weeks for home inspection, radon inspection, negotiating repairs or price adjustments, appraisal and you can see where the time goes.  I think you can see why I say that if you are thinking of buying or selling, this is the time to start the process.

 

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

 

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

 

Roland

 

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The Benefits of Working with a REALTOR®


The Benefits of Working with a REALTOR®

 Buying and selling a home is a very major financial process for most people and not one that can be taken lightly.  Fortunately, and unfortunately, there is a lot of information on the web that can both help and confuse buyers and sellers.  That is why it is critical to have a REALTOR® working for you to help navigate through the complicated maze of real estate.

First-time home buyers are particularly vulnerable.  Before they talk to a REALTOR® they begin the process by searching the internet and visiting open houses.  There is nothing wrong with that, but it is critically important that when visiting an open house and a conversation ensues with the agent, you are actually sharing information with the agent who represents the seller – not you!  My recommendation is as soon as you are considering buying or selling, talk to a REALTOR® who can look out for your best interests.

REALTORS® have access to critical data bases in helping to determine a listing or buying price of a home. All too often when talking to potential sellers I will hear them refer to someone down the street who sold their home for a certain dollar amount and the potential sellers are convinced that their home is worth more.  The information they may be overlooking is that the sellers down the street provided seller contributions of $15,000 toward closing.  Without that information, people cannot get a clear picture of the sale price of a home.

Whether you are thinking of buying or selling or both, consider the value – not the cost – of utilizing a REALTOR® to work on your behalf.

  1. Years of Experience: REALTORS® can provide detailed information of what homes in your area are selling for and what will get you to the closing table.  I will also note, that even REALTORS® who are new in the profession, will have the strength and knowledge of many agents around them and a wealth of information from the broker.
  2. Access of Critical Data Bases: Understanding what the driving force for property prices is a complicated equation. REALTORS® have access and the know-how to search those data bases to determine the value of a property. Listing a property for the amount that a seller wants to get out of it will generally result in a missed opportunity.
  3. Negotiating skills: Once an offer – or even interest – is made the negotiating skills of a REALTOR® are critical to getting you to the closing table. All too often, simple issues become a major stumbling block to the sale of a property.  Knowing how to navigate through the issues and find resolution is an essential step to the selling of real estate.
  4. Network of professionals: As with any home – both new construction and existing homes – there are always issues that need to be addressed.  Most are minor and can be remedied, but there are also those issues that need to be addressed before we can ratify a contract.  Whether it is recommending a home inspector or a septic system professional who can conduct a perc test, REALTORS® have access to the professionals they have worked with in the past and can get you in touch with them ASAP.
  5. Knowledge of Market Conditions: Understanding the local market conditions is a critical step to representing a client. Determining the listing price of a home should equate to the selling price of a home.  In order to understand the selling price of a home you must understand the market conditions.  Listing a home in the spring of the year is different that listing the same house the first of December.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

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USAA To End the Real Estate Portion of their Business


USAA To End the Real Estate Portion of their Business

USAA has just announced that they will discontinue the real estate portion of the USAA business model.

Those buyers or sellers who are already actively buying or selling with USAA will continue as planned. Military active personnel or veterans who are considering real estate should contact a broker, such as Coldwell Banker, to sign on to a new program through CARTUS that specializes in military clients.  The ending of USAA Real Estate Network does not affect NFCU referrals.

I encourage potential clients to contact a REALTOR® to discuss the various options, such as a mortgage broker for buyers and listing commissions for sellers.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

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What in The World is Going On in The World of Real Estate??


What in The World is Going On in The World of Real Estate??

 The real estate market in Maryland and throughout the nation has “tanked” so far in 2019 and the reason for the dilemma may be more serious that most people realize.

The number of units sold in Maryland has declined every month in 2019 compared to 2018. The decline in the number of units sold have ranged from a decrease of 1.8% in May 2019 to a decrease of 16.8% in January 2019.

Frederick County has also had a decrease in the number of units sold every month in 2019.  Washington county has had a decline of 3 months but an increase in 3 months.

Typically, when buyers remain on the sidelines, home prices fall in response to lower demand, but this is not the case in 2019.  In Maryland this year, the average sale price of homes has increased every month this year except for March of this year when the average home price declined 0.1% – a reduction of $305 off the average price.

Mortgage interest rates have remained low and should be a good incentive for first-time homebuyers’; unemployment is low; and mortgage companies are vying for business, yet the real estate market has been stagnant for the last four years.

Although mortgages have become cheaper, the cost of homes has not.  The Standard and Poor’s / Case-Shiller US National Home Price Index shows that home prices have climbed steadily over the past seven years.  Since 2012, home prices have increased about three times the pace of wages.  This then is the problem that is negatively impacting the real estate market. According to Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist of MUFG, “Homes are going to move out of the range of many buyers in terms of affordability, and maybe that is what we are seeing already.”

 Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of REALTORS®,  stated “Either a strong pent-up demand (for homes) will show in the upcoming months, or there is a lack of confidence that is keeping buyers from major expenditures.”

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

 

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One of the driving forces to a strong economy is the housing market.  When people buy a home, they undoubtedly buy those necessities that go along with home ownership, such as a lawn mower, furniture, washer and dryer, window treatments and on and on.

Steps You Can Take to Be a Good Neighbor


Steps You Can Take to Be a Good Neighbor

Whether you rent a city apartment or own a family home in the countryside, live miles away from your nearest neighbor or are situated close enough to chat from your own back patio—you can make small changes in your community every day by quite simply just acting in a neighborly way.

The importance of being a good neighbor extends far beyond improving bonds with those you live closest to. In fact, Harvard professor and author Robert D. Putnam says, “Communities work better (students perform better, crime rates are lower, kids are safer, people live longer) when neighbors know one another better. Knowing your neighbors on a first-name basis, as National Neighborhood Day suggests, is a surprisingly effective first step toward a better America.”

So, to help inspire the practice of neighborly ways in your own community, here is a list of top things good neighbors do.

Take the time to establish good terms and build relationships with all neighbors.

Great neighbors make their communities friendlier and safer, while improving the overall quality of life for themselves and those who surround them.

Pay it forward.
Every time a neighbor does something nice, he or she pays it forward to at least two other neighbors. Even simple things—like clearing a neighbor’s driveway before he or she gets the chance to, offering up a piece of lawn equipment to save a neighbor valuable time, or bringing along an extra latte on your morning walk to work—can have a huge impact on a neighborly relationship.

Do your part.
Keeping the neighborhood looking beautiful is a community effort, and good neighbors keep all spaces that are visible by others clean and well maintained. They keep up with basic yard work, making sure that the lawn is mowed, hedges are trimmed, and weeds are kept at bay; they understand that these tasks not only impact the value of their house, but also the homes around it.

Follow up with seasonal maintenance.
This includes sweeping up leaves in the fall, shoveling sidewalks and driveways in the winter, and cleaning up lawn clippings during warmer months. The neighbors that brighten up their outdoor space with flowers and other landscaping set the precedent for the rest of the street.

Be tidy.
Good neighbors take care to put their trash out on the right night, and in proper receptacles, so that the whole street doesn’t see (or smell) what they’ve tossed.

Be conscientious about outdoor decor.
Decorating for the holidays is a great way to spruce up an outdoor space, but make it a house rule that your haunted houses and lights come down within a few weeks of the holiday passing.

Don’t fight for the right to party.
When having additional people over, the noise level can go up very quickly. The most courteous neighbors inform others of get-togethers, and ask to let them know if the gathering has gotten too loud. Better yet, they invite all the neighbors to the party!

Take an active presence in change and community decisions.
Caring neighbors stay informed on community issues and make it a point to vote. It’s likely that you and your neighbors have busy lives and schedules, but if the community comes together as a group, change can happen more efficiently, and issues can be resolved more quickly. Plus, just showing up at community meetings and offering input shows that they care about the community and the people who share it.

Show respect.
Good neighbors teach their kids what both literal and figurative boundaries mean by explaining where their property ends and the neighbor’s begins, and any rules that go along with that. They also reinforce the concept that being on one side of the property line doesn’t mean noise levels can be ignored.

Know how to bring people together.
If their community doesn’t already have a method of sharing news, good neighbors would start a neighborhood e-mail list as a means of staying in communication with all of the neighbors in one fell swoop; and the best part is, once it is started, they don’t have to be the only one who keeps the momentum going. Any participating neighbor can spread the word about news, events, crimes, special garbage pickups, special event parking restrictions, weather hazards, school closings, and even the awesome weekly deal at the local market.

Eventually, the positive energy that these good neighbors spread will create a ripple effect of random acts of kindness and make the community a happier place to live. The next time new neighbors move in, consider welcoming the newcomers with a friendly hello and some local insider tips to quickly become the favorite neighbor on the block. Or choose from our collection of bright and cheerful neighborly greetings for anytime-gratitude that really stands out.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

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Homebuying Tips for Military Families


Home Buying Tips for Military Families

Among the many changes that joining the military brings, a frequent change in location is sometimes part of the territory. For families, moving often can make it difficult to feel settled in a home, or to even make the commitment associated with homebuying.
But if you’ve made the decision to buy a home, you deserve to feel confident in your choice. These tips can help!

Consider the likelihood of selling.
One of the most important things to keep in mind is that, because of the risk of deployment, you may not be in your new house for long. While some families will stay in a house for over thirty years, this prospect isn’t as likely for active military members.
While searching for a house, look for points that can influence selling price down the line. Is the house in a good school district? Are there modern appliances? Are there any structural issues? These are all qualifications you would want to look at anyway, but are particularly important if you’ll eventually need to sell.

Get familiar with the neighborhood.
If you will be away from your family for long periods of time, you’ll want to make sure the neighborhood is warm and welcoming, and a place that the rest of your family will feel supported by while you’re gone.
Looking for a home near base could be beneficial in that there will probably be other military families nearby that you will be able to relate to and rely on. Some communities even offer special resources through programs like Joining Community Forces, which brings local businesses and services together in support of military families.

Use your resources.
There are a number of special resources available to military families interested in buying a home. VA loans, while not always feasible, can be extremely beneficial when used properly. A real estate agent familiar with the system can help military homebuyers work through the VA’s requirements process.
You will have to work with a VA appraiser, and not all homes meet the VA loan requirements, but it is absolutely worth it to look into and understand the resources available to you as a service member.

Ask around.
This is especially important if this will be your first homebuying experience, but it’s always beneficial to talk to families who have been through the process before. If you know of anyone who has bought a home previously, using a VA loan or other type of military assistance, ask them about their experience. What did they do right? What do they wish they did different?
Previous homebuyers can be a wealth of knowledge and guide you through your own journey, helping you avoid pitfalls and make decisions that will benefit you greatly down the road.

REALTOR®
Find a REALTOR® that you are comfortable with and that knows the market and the military life. Be careful of advertising companies who claim to serve military families. Their business strategy is for sales, not necessarily what is best for military families.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

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You Found Your Dream Home – Now What?


You Found Your Dream Home – Now What?

Home buying is a lot of work and once you find the home of your dreams it’s important to make the right steps to be sure you get to the closing table. Nothing is more painful than making an offer on a home and then hearing that the home has been sold to someone else. Here are a few tips to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.

The first rule of thumb is to know your finances: Know how much you can afford and when you need to walk away from the deal. Also, be very cognizant of your monthly living expenses. There is one truism in real estate: The sellers’ want to receive the most money, and the buyers’ want to pay the least money.

Knowing how much to offer for a home has a lot of factors involved. Is this the home of your dreams? Do you plan on living here for several years or is it a stepping stone? Is the market such that it is difficult to buy a home? I advise my clients that when they find the house they want to buy, offer enough money so that you don’t regret it if you don’t get the offer, but low enough that you don’t regret it if you get it. Low-balling an offer and not getting the house you wanted is a painful experience.

There is another rule of thumb that I think is very important and that is the time it takes you to respond. I have seen clients who put in an offer on a house and receive a counter offer and then wait to think about it. The whole time the seller is beginning to wonder if the buyers are serious about buying the house. I think it is a good idea to respond as quickly as possible to let the seller know you are serious about buying the house.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

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Major Factors Determining Your Homes Worth


Major Factors Determining Your Homes Worth

All homeowners have a preconceived notion of what their home is worth but can be shocked to learn the actual value based on the market and other factors. There is no replacement for a professional’s calculation, but it can be helpful to understand some of the factors they may consider.

Location

There is perhaps no greater factor in determining your home’s value than location. The area surrounding your home can significantly increase or decrease your asking price, but so can factors like living in a flood plain or in close proximity to a highway.

Structural Concerns

The leaky roof you’ve been worried about. That’s a concern for potential buyers, too. Major structural problems, both internal and external, can play a large role in your home’s perceived value. And although routine maintenance may not be a structural concern it does lead the buyer to believe whether the house is in “good shape” or not.

Quality of Schools

Believe it or not, the quality of local schools is a huge factor in determining home value. A beautiful home with incredible features may sell for significantly less if the school district is poor.

The Market

Last but not least, the state of the real estate market can ultimately make or break your asking price. If the market is strong, you’ll likely be able to ask more for a home than you would in weaker economic times, and vice versa.

A professional will utilize all of this information and more to determine the value of your home, but be sure to keep up with this information so that you can better understand the process yourself!

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

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The Butcher, The Baker, and the Candlestick Maker – in the World of Real Estate


The Butcher, The Baker, and the Candlestick Maker –
in the World of Real Estate

Whether you’re buying or selling your first home or your tenth, a real estate transaction is a complex, convoluted ordeal. Your real estate agent is the one person who will be at the center of everything going on.

The process of buying or selling will seem like it is dragging on forever, and in the next instance be moving at warp speed. This is why having the necessary things in place is so critically important, especially for the home buyers.

Most homebuyers start the process by looking for a home on-line or by visiting open houses. Those are OK approaches; however, the problem is that if they find a house they would like to make an offer, they are instantly trying to find an agent or worse, they simply sign-on with the first licensed agent who passes the mirror test. Or even worse yet, they sign on with the listing agent who is contractually obligated to represent the best interests of the seller.

At the same time, the buyers are frantically looking for a mortgage officer who will put together a package they can afford and be approved for. All the time other potential buyers are looking at the same house and may want to buy it. There is a saying in real estate: The house you looked at today, and want to think about until tomorrow, may be the same house someone looked at yesterday, and wanted to think about until today.

When buying or selling real estate, you don’t just have a real estate agent, you have the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker -you will need a whole team to get you to the closing table. Having at least the beginnings of that team is critical.

To start, it’s a good idea to select a REALTOR® with whom you feel comfortable and can communicate with. The number one complaint that clients have about their real estate agent is communication. The number one complaint that agents have about clients – you guessed it – communication.

Next you need to have a mortgage officer who can put together a mortgage that works for you. Shop around for a mortgage just as you did for the real estate agent.

To round out the team, you will most likely need a home inspector, appraiser (mortgage company selects the appraiser), moving company , etc. A good REALTOR® will be able to help you fulfill your team as needed.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

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Home Security Tips You Should Already Be Doing


Home Security Tips You Should Already Be Doing

By the time you read this paragraph, another preventable break in will occur in the United States. Every 18 seconds, adding up to 200 an hour, home invaders successfully strike. Home security shouldn’t have to cost thousands of dollars with complicated devices. There are simple steps you can take to improve home security and peace of mind before leaving your home.

 

Lock your door and windows
This seems like an obvious tip, but 30 percent of burglars report breaking into a home through an unlocked window or door. Life gets busy and we rush to work, school, and activities. Take a few minutes before you leave to check the doors and recently opened windows on the first level. If you believe you’ll forget to, stick a note on your door to remind yourself before stepping out.

Get a dog
If you’ve always wanted a dog, here’s your excuse. Properly trained dogs are effective at deterring a burglar. Barking loudly will panic the intruder that they may bite or alert someone of their presence.

Speak to neighbors before going away on a trip
Before departing for a trip, set up security measures. Home intruders look for mail piling up, overgrown lawns, and dark houses as signs you’re not around. Ask a neighbor to bring in your mail for you, even if they just grab it and bring it to their house. Consider paying to cut your lawn while you’re away. If you’re comfortable, leave a dim porch light on. Timed lights are also relatively inexpensive to install.

Give the illusion you have an expensive system
Ever seen those home security signs in lawns? Those are effective at letting an intruder know that they will experience resistance in trying to break in, and they don’t want to deal with resistance. Stick a sign near your mailbox and porch that says something generic like, “security cameras in use” even if you don’t have any. Don’t be specific about brand of system, because they may try to disarm it if they know how. A home intruder will likely see the decoy sign and skip your house.

Close your blinds and curtains
Before entering a home, a burglar wants to know what they’re going to grab. The average home break in only lasts between 6-12 minutes, and this is because it is often planned. They will scope out a home’s valuable items through windows prior to the break in. An easy solution to this is closing blinds and curtains prior to departure. They won’t know what is in the house. If you don’t have blinds or curtains in a certain room, put valuable items out of sight.

Leave a radio playing near the window
Television and radio playing are typically a sign that someone is home. Since leaving your TV on can run up a cable bill, consider investing in a cheap radio to play near a window close to the front and back doors. Bonus: if you have pets, they love having music on while you’re away. Sounds of people are comforting when they’re alone.

Don’t leave an electronic trail of your whereabouts
In a growing age of digital footprints, we forget that you can’t always trust everyone around you. Refrain from posting about a big trip before or during it. If you have Snapchat, turn off your location in settings so no one can track in real time where you’re going. Only tell trusted neighbors, family, and friends when and where you’re going during the day and on trips. Give only two people access at any time to your home with spare keys. It is not advisable to give away a garage code, as that can be shared. Keys are a way to know only the people you trust know your whereabouts and have access to the home during your absence.

Motion sensor lights
Home invaders typically try to hide their identity. They’ll avoid lit up areas and attempt to cover most of their body. Budget friendly motion sensor lights on the porch, in the backyard, and near the garage are great, not only to deter burglars by revealing them but also to let you and neighbors know there is someone outside the home. These are also practical to light your path safely at night coming into the house.

Stay up to date on crime trends
Take a few minutes out of your week to check in on local crime trends. Using crime mapping websites allows you to see what neighborhoods are at risk and when home invaders are striking.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

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Non-Traditional Home Sales


Non-Traditional Home Sales

Home ownership is part of the American dream, but if you experience financial hardship, it can become a nightmare. Options are available, however, if you find yourself in less-than-ideal conditions—including short sales, deeds in lieu, and foreclosures—knowing what they are can help you make an informed decision.

Short Sale:
It’s a situation in which homeowners ask their lender to sell their house for less than their outstanding mortgage.
Pros: You could minimize having your credit rating affected. The lender may lose less money than the costlier foreclosure option. Plus, you’re still living in the home, so it’s probably still in good shape—making it a more attractive home to buyers.
Cons: The process can take several months, which may not be ideal for you or potential buyers. Also, the lender (usually a bank) has final say, so you and a potential buyer can agree to terms, but the bank can balk.

Deed in Lieu:
Also known as a mortgage release, a deed in lieu is a situation in which you transfer the title to your home to your lender so that you can be freed from your mortgage.
Pros: Your mortgage debt is erased. You may be able to stay in the house for several months or can possibly obtain relocation assistance. You’ll avoid being in foreclosure, which helps your credit rating.
Cons: Your credit rating is still impacted. The lender, having the upper hand, may offer tough conditions for accepting the deed in lieu, including the right to ask you to pay for financial shortfalls.

Foreclosure:
Because of mortgage payments not being made, the lender takes control of the property from the people living in it.
Pros: The house is usually sold as quickly as possible, which could benefit a potential buyer and the lender, who could recoup more money because of it.
Cons: You’ll likely have hundreds of points slashed from your credit score. There’s boom-or-bust potential for buyers because they usually can’t see the interior before it’s sold.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

PLEASE VISIT AND SHARE MY BLOGS AT
WWW.ROLANDLOW.WORDPRESS.COM
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Simple Tips to Upgrade Your Bedroom


Simple Tips to Upgrade Your Bedroom

Has your bedroom stayed the same the entire time you’ve lived in your home? Does your bedroom fail to match your personality? Or does your bedroom simply lack the relaxing atmosphere you crave? If your bedroom is in need of a change, follow this guide for how to combat any of these problems without spending a fortune.
If your bedroom has looked the same for the past ten (or twenty, or more) years…

Ditch your clutter.
We know, fashion moves in a circle. Everything comes back in style. Still, it’s time to get rid of those pants you haven’t worn in years. Take no prisoners and go through everything in your room. You’ll have to really commit to this. Go through decorations, clothes, health and beauty products, and any little knick-knacks you may have lying around. Make a pile to keep, a pile to donate or sell, and a pile of sentimental objects that you’d like to keep in a storage room in your home. Often, old items that no longer represent you can prevent you from making your bedroom feel like your space.

Get in the right frame of mind.
Of course, it’s wonderful to keep around old photos from your childhood, but if you’re a fan of keeping pictures around, make sure you keep current photos of your loved ones around as well. Old photos provide a happy nostalgia, while new photos can remind you of everything you have to be grateful for right here, right now. Shop around for a couple frames and choose favorite photos of you’ve taken with friends, family members, or a significant other. These are sure to make your bedroom feel more personal. To keep from overcrowding your bedroom with photos, be selective. Choose photos that evoke the best memories and save the rest for a photo album.
If your bedroom doesn’t represent your personality…

Decorate for you.
A family member or friend should be able to step into your bedroom and know it’s yours without you telling them. Your bedroom should radiate you because it’s your space. Go out and find a few favorite art pieces, wall hangings, or decorative objects that make you happy and that represent your personality. If you share your bedroom with a partner, spouse, or roommate, make sure to include them in this process so that you can decorate the room with objects that reflect both of you.
If your bedroom isn’t exactly a relaxing space…

Chill out.
Your bedroom should be a place where you can relax. After all, you’re supposed to fall asleep there every night. While you’re changing things up, make sure to search for objects that help you wind down and relax. This can range from anything like a lamp with warm lighting, to candles, to a weighted blanket, to an essential oil diffuser. Items that make your space feel cozy will make your bedroom a place you look forward to retreating to at the end of the day.
Your bedroom should reflect your essence and should serve as a place where you can relax. With these simple tips, you’ll be more excited to turn in for the night than ever before.

If you are thinking of buying or selling, talk to a real estate professional – talk to a REALTOR® who can give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

As always, if I can help with any of your real estate needs, please feel free to text or call me at 301-712-8808 or email me at RolandLow1@gmail.com.

Roland

PLEASE VISIT AND SHARE MY BLOGS AT
WWW.ROLANDLOW.WORDPRESS.COM
WWW.ALWAYSWANTEDTOKNOW.WORDPRESS.COM
WWW.SPIRITUALCHALLENGES.WORDPRESS.COM

Whether you are a first time home buyer, moving up, scaling down or an investor in real estate, this blog has something for you!

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