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Buying a New Home

Selling a Home with a Security System: Factors to Consider

By Eric Murrell

Selling a home can be a whirlwind. From finding the right real estate agent to getting your home ready for showings and presenting the most value to buyers, there are a number of things to think of as you go through the process of listing your home.

One thing you might not be thinking of is what role your security system can play in both your home’s selling value, as well as how it can add value to your next destination. Here are a few things to evaluate as you navigate the moving process and look at your security options for the future.

Use Your System as a Selling Point

Whether you’re selling your home yourself or working with an agent, one part of the process you don’t want to skip is making the most of your home’s perks and features to attract its next owner (and hopefully get you a higher selling price). If your home is pre-wired for a security system, don’t forget to highlight that feature among its selling points. Existing wiring can be a big perk for potential buyers who are looking to bring their own wired security products with them; no one wants to drill additional holes or open up walls in their pristine new abode.

If you have a WiFi-enabled system, potential buyers may find huge value in having the opportunity to create their own customized smart home, complete with security and automation. Make sure to demonstrate how the system works and highlight the potential for customization and remote access.

Talk to Your Security Provider

If your current security system relies on monitoring or a monthly subscription, contact your security provider early on in the moving process. Ask them about transferring services to a new owner, in addition to setting you up with the service in your new home. You might be surprised to find that these companies will often provide discounted or free security products for your next home if you don’t mind signing a reasonable service contract. Moving is always a great time to negotiate a cheaper monitoring rate or bundle it with other services, like TV and internet as your local service provider may offer home security and home automation solutions.

Take Portable Products with You

If you’ve outfitted your home with WiFi-connected smart cameras and smart lights, you’ll find that many of those products can easily make the move with you. Typically, all that’s involved is unplugging the gadget (or removing it from a wall mount) and finding a convenient spot for it in your new home. You may need to go through the setup process again in the product’s smartphone app and then add it to your smart home hub, but you’ll likely get back to a full security setup at your new home in no time.

If you do take your products with you, don’t forget to update the address in your products’ user accounts to reflect your new location. Many of these cameras and services offer one-tap emergency dialing as a feature, and you don’t want to send the police to the wrong location in the midst of an emergency.

Use Moving as an Opportunity to Upgrade

If you love the latest gadgets, moving may be a great opportunity to leave outdated (and expensive) security services behind and upgrade to the latest products and services which your local internet service provider may offer. The smart home revolution has seen a variety of compelling new security products enter the marketplace, and many companies have stepped up to the plate to offer security monitoring and cameras at a price that’s far more competitive than what the security stalwarts tend to offer. Shop around and look for a customized solution that’s the best fit for your family and easy to use.

Moving is a busy time, but don’t neglect to think through your security setup as part of the process. It’s an easy way to add value for potential buyers and upgrade your family’s safety at the same time.

Eric Murrell is a software developer and technology contributor to Xfinity Home. He enjoys sharing tips on how people can benefit from incorporating automation and security in their homes on his blog At Home in the Future.  

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Tips For Ensuring Your First Mortgage Gets Approved

mortgage

By Hollie Borland, Originally Posted on The Sun

From improving your credit score to getting a mortgage in principle, here are some of the ways you can boost your chances of getting the loan for your first home.

mortgageGetting the funds together for a deposit is one thing, but actually getting approved for a mortgage is another.

More than 76 percent of first-time buyers applied for a mortgage in the first quarter of 2018, up from just 48 percent two years before, according to Mortgage Lenders Association.

An empty application will be rejected which will damage your credit score and set you back months.

Jacqueline Dewey from credit report service Noddle says there’s more to it than just having a steady salary and a deposit.

There’s your credit score for one thing, but also you’ll need the extra funds to pay for stamp duty, solicitors fees and a broker.

“Mortgage lenders want to see that you have a history of being able to manage credit and pay it back on time,” she says.

“While you can’t change anything that has already happened, you can ensure that your financial behavior going forward makes you an attractive prospect for a mortgage.”

With help from the experts at Noddle and Trussle, here are nine tips to get you mortgage ready:

1. Work out how much you can afford

It’s all well and good spending hours searching on Rightmove for your dream home, but it’s a waste of time if the places you’re looking at are way out of your price range.

Lenders reject unrealistic mortgage applications and that, in turn, will damage your credit score and make you worse off.

The most you’ll be able to borrow is four and a half times your yearly salary, which will give you some idea of your budget.

 

2. Take advantage of schemes and always check the small print

You’ll need to put at least 5 percent of the property value as a down payment unless you’re boosting your savings with help from a scheme.

For those who are serious about owning a home, there are schemes out there that will boost your savings if you spend it on buying property. The government has certain programs for first-time buyers, but always read the small print to avoid extra costs or high interest rates.

3. Check your credit score

If you’ve got a bad credit history then you’re going to be rejected for a mortgage, which will only make your score worse.

Before you apply make sure you’ve got a healthy reading. You can carry out a soft credit check on yourself with one of the three main credit referencing agencies, Experian, Equifax, and Call credit.

The earlier you check, the more time you’ll have to fix it if it’s not looking great.

4. Improve your credit score

While it’s not impossible for you to get a mortgage with a poor credit score, you’ll be paying over the odds in interest.

You’re better off holding out for a few months while you try to improve it.

One way is to continue to use small amounts of credit, like on a credit card or your phone contract.

It might sound a bit backward but using small amounts of credit and paying it off in good time shows lenders that you are responsible with credit.

Pay off big debts because a mortgage lender may think that you won’t be able to take on more credit, as you might not be able to meet the repayments.

Getting on the electoral register, canceling old cards and never missing a payment will also help your score.

5. Get the paperwork together

You’ll need to provide evidence of the deposit for the affordability checks.

They’ll want to know how regularly you’ve been able to save and how much, including at least three months worth of bank statements.

Your documents will need to be up-to-date so make sure that the address on your driver’s license matches up with the one on the electoral register.

If you’ve been given part of the deposit as a gift, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a letter from the donor.

Be aware that if your parents have lent you the money and you’re going to pay them back then the bank will treat this as a loan.

6. Get a mortgage in principle

This is an agreement in theory that the lender will give you a set amount, which makes you a more attractive buyer.

You’ll still need to actually secure the money and the bank will also have to take into consideration any financial changes.

They’ll also need to know more about the specific property you want to buy, which can also impact your application.

7. Consider using a broker

More than a third of all first-time buyers go directly to a bank or building society for their first mortgage, according to Trussle, but doing so could severely limit your options.

A broker will be able to review a wider range of products and advise you on the right one for your circumstances, as well as assess any hidden costs which can sometimes be difficult to find.

Remember though, they’ll take a fee for their services so you’ll need to factor that into your costs.

Digital mortgage brokers like Trussle and Habito are free to use though because they take a cut from the lender, not the borrower.

They use sophisticated algorithms to scan thousands of products from over a range of lenders to find the right deal for you, quickly and without charging a fee.

8. Save for a larger deposit if you can

The more money you have, the less money you’ll need to borrow and the more attractive you are to a lender.

This is because the loan to value ration is smaller and makes you less of a risk to lenders.

So if you’ve managed to save more money than expected, stick to your budget rather than taking out a bigger mortgage.

Also, taking time to save for longer will give you time to repair your credit rating and improve your financial footprint.

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Sell Your Home In The Quickest Way Possible

sell your home fast

Originally posted on Dave Ramsey’s Blog

You decided to sell your house, and you can’t wait to buy a new place. There’s just one thing standing in your way: You’ve got to close the deal on your current one first. You just hope it doesn’t take months to get an offer. You want to sell your house fast!

Well, there’s one tried-and-true trick that’s proven to reduce your home’s time on the market. A study by the Real Estate Staging Association found that homes staged before listing received an offer in just 23 days on average. That’s 90% faster than those who waited months after listing to bother staging.

If your budget’s tight, you may think you can’t afford to stage your home. But Dawn Kirkland, a real estate agent in Birmingham, AL, offers five free tricks to help you sell your house quickly.

Selling your home can be stressful, especially if you need to do it quickly. With a little bit of work and the correct approach, your house can sell in record time if you do these several things.

sell your home fastChannel Your Inner Neat Freak

You always knew your tidying tendencies would come in handy one day. Now it’s time to clutter-bust your way to buyers’ hearts!

Dawn admits decluttering isn’t rocket science—but it is the key to creating a pleasing environment. Pay particular attention to common junk magnets like:

Kitchen and bathroom counters
Fireplace mantels
Laundry room shelves
Tabletops
Magazine racks

No decluttering advice would be complete without a call to streamline your closets. “If your closet is crowded, I’m going to think my stuff won’t fit,” Dawn says. Wow buyers by showing them how much space there is for stuff—not how much stuff there is in the space.

Rearrange the Furniture

Once all the clutter’s out of the way, take a step back and look at the big picture. Does your home invite buyers to sit and stay a while? Can buyers flow freely through your home without bumping into things? If not, you’ve got work to do!

Start by putting bulky pieces in storage and moving furniture away from the walls. “Oftentimes, the room is arranged so the children can play in the middle of the room or the TV can be seen easily from every chair and sofa,” Dawn says. Buyers want to walk in and see an open—yet intimate—space that inspires conversation, not channel-surfing.

An experienced agent can lend a fresh eye and help you reimagine your home. “Go to different rooms and see if there are pieces that you can repurpose for the living room to get the effect you want,” Dawn suggests.

Think Like a Buyer

Cleaning your home for home showings is common sense. But many folks underestimate just how clean it needs to be.

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill weekend tidy-up. Think of it as spring cleaning on steroids. You’ve got to think about what buyers look for and get down to the nitty-gritty so that even the smallest details shine. From ceiling fans and window blinds to baseboards and tile grout, no surface goes unscrubbed!

Don’t forget to get your windows squeaky-clean. “There needs to be as much light coming in as possible,” Dawn says.

Set the Table

Staging paints a picture for potential buyers so they can envision life in your home. “If I see that a family can live here, I will think my family can live here too,” Dawn explains.

And nothing represents family life quite like the dinner table.

That’s why Dawn recommends giving the dining room some staging attention. Bring your good china, flatware and linens out of hiding. Or add seasonal flair with a dash of bold colors. You don’t have to go over the top with every piece of dinnerware you own. Keep things simple by setting just two places at the table or arranging a decorative centerpiece on top of a neutral table runner. You can find loads of inspiration on Pinterest and Houzz.

Bring the Outside In

Make your house feel like home by taking advantage of what’s in full bloom right outside your door. “[Fresh flowers] are so inviting,” Dawn says. “They warm up a room and send the message that this is a really nice space to be in.” If plucking decorations from your yard isn’t an option, stop by your local grocery store and pick out a fresh bouquet that’s already been prearranged. If you run short on vases, display your finds in an antique pitcher or Mason jar for a touch of vintage charm.

And flowers don’t have to be the only star of the show. If you grow your own fruits and veggies, entice buyers with a bowl of fresh produce on the kitchen counter.

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