The Importance of Pre-Approval

To set yourself up for a smooth and successful home purchase, getting pre-approved is perhaps the most productive first step you can take. It strengthens your buying credibility, informs your home search, and speeds up the closing process.

The Pre-Approval Process 

There is an important distinction to made between two important steps of your mortgage application process: pre-qualification and pre-approval. They are similar in that they both help to inform your financial standing, but there are key differences between the two.

Pre-qualification

Pre-qualification is the first step in your mortgage application process. It will help you to understand the approximate loan amount you can expect to qualify for. You’ll begin by sharing your financial information—debt, income, assets, etc.—with you bank or lender. After reviewing the information, the bank or lender will give a loan estimate. The process is relatively simple, only taking a few business days to process.

Pre-approval

The pre-approval process is more involved than pre-qualification. After submitting a mortgage application, your lender will require all the necessary info to conduct a thorough credit history check and review of your financial health. Getting pre-approved will give you a better idea of how much you can borrow, estimated monthly costs, and what interest rates you can expect on your loans. Mortgage pre-approvals are typically valid for 60 to 90 days.

 

Benefits of Pre-Approval

Credibility

The truth is, each home on the market can only go to one buyer. To maximize the chance that your offer is accepted, sellers need to know that your offer is serious. Getting pre-approved shows that you are financially prepared and, in the event that your offer is accepted, there will be no hold ups in obtaining your mortgage. This assurance is what sellers want to know about their potential buyers, especially in a seller’s market.

Home search

Not only does pre-approval help to bolster your case as a buyer, but it also Indicates your affordable price range. By knowing your budget, you will be able to hone your home search and start preparing offers, eliminating any potential wasted time looking at houses you can’t afford.

Closing process

Once your offer is accepted, you’ll be counting down the days to move-in. Unfortunately, the closing process can often drag on, leaving buyers feeling like they’re in post-purchase limbo. Pre-approval will speed up the closing process, since the mortgage approvals have already been taken care of, allowing you to focus on next steps like appraisals and inspections.

 

When to Get Pre-Approved

Being financially prepared for a home purchase is a solid indicator that you’re ready to go about getting pre-approved, but what does that look like? Buying a house means taking on serious debt, so it’s important to either have your remaining debt paid off or have a clear path to becoming debt-free before getting pre-approved. Having adequate savings for a down payment is a sign that you’re ready to make your offer. For any questions about the pre-approval process and to get connected to a mortgage professional, contact your Windermere agent.

Writing

The post The Importance of Pre-Approval appeared first on Windermere Colorado REALTORS.

The Importance of Pre-Approval

To set yourself up for a smooth and successful home purchase, getting pre-approved is perhaps the most productive first step you can take. It strengthens your buying credibility, informs your home search, and speeds up the closing process.

The Pre-Approval Process 

There is an important distinction to made between two important steps of your mortgage application process: pre-qualification and pre-approval. They are similar in that they both help to inform your financial standing, but there are key differences between the two.

Pre-qualification

Pre-qualification is the first step in your mortgage application process. It will help you to understand the approximate loan amount you can expect to qualify for. You’ll begin by sharing your financial information—debt, income, assets, etc.—with you bank or lender. After reviewing the information, the bank or lender will give a loan estimate. The process is relatively simple, only taking a few business days to process.

Pre-approval

The pre-approval process is more involved than pre-qualification. After submitting a mortgage application, your lender will require all the necessary info to conduct a thorough credit history check and review of your financial health. Getting pre-approved will give you a better idea of how much you can borrow, estimated monthly costs, and what interest rates you can expect on your loans. Mortgage pre-approvals are typically valid for 60 to 90 days.

 

Benefits of Pre-Approval

Credibility

The truth is, each home on the market can only go to one buyer. To maximize the chance that your offer is accepted, sellers need to know that your offer is serious. Getting pre-approved shows that you are financially prepared and, in the event that your offer is accepted, there will be no hold ups in obtaining your mortgage. This assurance is what sellers want to know about their potential buyers, especially in a seller’s market.

Home search

Not only does pre-approval help to bolster your case as a buyer, but it also Indicates your affordable price range. By knowing your budget, you will be able to hone your home search and start preparing offers, eliminating any potential wasted time looking at houses you can’t afford.

Closing process

Once your offer is accepted, you’ll be counting down the days to move-in. Unfortunately, the closing process can often drag on, leaving buyers feeling like they’re in post-purchase limbo. Pre-approval will speed up the closing process, since the mortgage approvals have already been taken care of, allowing you to focus on next steps like appraisals and inspections.

 

When to Get Pre-Approved

Being financially prepared for a home purchase is a solid indicator that you’re ready to go about getting pre-approved, but what does that look like? Buying a house means taking on serious debt, so it’s important to either have your remaining debt paid off or have a clear path to becoming debt-free before getting pre-approved. Having adequate savings for a down payment is a sign that you’re ready to make your offer. For any questions about the pre-approval process and to get connected to a mortgage professional, contact your Windermere agent.

Writing

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DIY Remodeling vs Professional Remodeling

Deciding whether to DIY a remodeling project or leave it to a professional is a matter of weighing the risks and rewards, time, and budget. Before you start applying a new coat of paint or go about knocking down a wall, create a plan for your remodel to help you decide which projects you can handle, and which ones belong in the hands of a pro.

Create Your Remodeling Plan

Knowing your plans for your remodel will help to determine your timeline and budget, which will inform your DIY-vs-Pro decision-making. Set specific goals for each project so you’ll know when you’re getting off track but remain flexible in your planning to leave room for any unexpected hurdles that will inevitably pop up in the remodeling process. Your budget will also help you decide who should execute certain projects. For example, if you’re budgeting more for a kitchen remodel than any other project, that is a likely candidate for professional help.

If you’re having trouble deciding the best route to take with your remodeling projects, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What risks am I comfortable taking on?
  • How much time am I willing to dedicate to this project?
  • Does this project require a permit?
  • Do I have any experience with this kind of remodel?
  • Am I comfortable giving up control of this project?

 

DIY Remodeling Pros and Cons

Pros: Taking a DIY approach to remodeling projects pays dividends in many ways. Without having to pay labor costs, you stand to save significant money by tackling a project on your own. Going DIY also allows you to set your own schedule for the project. And of course, the sense of ownership and pride you will feel knowing you completed the project on your own is a priceless feeling for a homeowner.

Cons: DIY projects can be consequential. Mistakes at any point in the renovation process can lead to greater costs and sometimes, hiring a professional to fix the mistake. Unfortunately, this can result in the loss of significant time and money.

 

Professional Remodeling Pros and Cons

Pros: Professionals are inherently more experienced, bringing their specialization to the table on every home renovation project, so you can expect them to perform high-quality work that will increase the value of your home.

Cons: Getting professional quality work means paying for it. When budgeting, expect higher costs for any project you’re thinking of outsourcing to a pro. Bear in mind that, especially for large-scale renovation projects, your home will become a construction site. Accordingly, you may need a back-up plan, such as a temporary kitchen set-up or a short-term rental home .

 

DIY Remodeling vs Professional Remodeling: Around the House

The following list breaks down which projects are typical DIY candidates and which ones homeowners commonly opt for professional help to complete. However, the decision is ultimately up to you. If you have your heart on tackling a project on your own, gather your tools and make it happen!

Kitchen

  • Professional: Any large-scale structural changes, new gas lines, or new plumbing projects should be handled by a professional.
  • DIY: Simpler kitchen projects like a backsplash or faucet replacement and any cabinet finishing tasks are perfect DIY candidates.

Bathroom

  • Professional: Plumbing installation, running electricity, or any projects involving an expansion or alteration to your bathroom structure.
  • DIY: If your bathroom is simply in need of some new tile work, basic medicine cabinet restoration, or minor flooring improvements, roll up your sleeves and DIY.

Backyard

  • Professional: Consider hiring a professional for any significant outdoor projects like concrete builds, in-ground pools, and technical deck work.
  • DIY: Common backyard DIY projects include building a garden tool shed, building a fence, and refinishing a deck.

General

  • Professional: It is best to hire pros for new roofing, any foundation work, and extensive demolition projects. For asbestos and drywall finishing, it’s easiest, and safest, to go with the pros.
  • DIY: Any interior painting projects, basic electrical work, or simple trim and door upgrades.

If you’re planning on going through a remodel while you live at home, read this first. For more information on how certain renovations may impact the value of your home, talk to your Windermere agent.

The post DIY Remodeling vs Professional Remodeling appeared first on Windermere Colorado REALTORS.

DIY Remodeling vs Professional Remodeling

Deciding whether to DIY a remodeling project or leave it to a professional is a matter of weighing the risks and rewards, time, and budget. Before you start applying a new coat of paint or go about knocking down a wall, create a plan for your remodel to help you decide which projects you can handle, and which ones belong in the hands of a pro.

Create Your Remodeling Plan

Knowing your plans for your remodel will help to determine your timeline and budget, which will inform your DIY-vs-Pro decision-making. Set specific goals for each project so you’ll know when you’re getting off track but remain flexible in your planning to leave room for any unexpected hurdles that will inevitably pop up in the remodeling process. Your budget will also help you decide who should execute certain projects. For example, if you’re budgeting more for a kitchen remodel than any other project, that is a likely candidate for professional help.

If you’re having trouble deciding the best route to take with your remodeling projects, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What risks am I comfortable taking on?
  • How much time am I willing to dedicate to this project?
  • Does this project require a permit?
  • Do I have any experience with this kind of remodel?
  • Am I comfortable giving up control of this project?

 

DIY Remodeling Pros and Cons

Pros: Taking a DIY approach to remodeling projects pays dividends in many ways. Without having to pay labor costs, you stand to save significant money by tackling a project on your own. Going DIY also allows you to set your own schedule for the project. And of course, the sense of ownership and pride you will feel knowing you completed the project on your own is a priceless feeling for a homeowner.

Cons: DIY projects can be consequential. Mistakes at any point in the renovation process can lead to greater costs and sometimes, hiring a professional to fix the mistake. Unfortunately, this can result in the loss of significant time and money.

 

Professional Remodeling Pros and Cons

Pros: Professionals are inherently more experienced, bringing their specialization to the table on every home renovation project, so you can expect them to perform high-quality work that will increase the value of your home.

Cons: Getting professional quality work means paying for it. When budgeting, expect higher costs for any project you’re thinking of outsourcing to a pro. Bear in mind that, especially for large-scale renovation projects, your home will become a construction site. Accordingly, you may need a back-up plan, such as a temporary kitchen set-up or a short-term rental home .

 

DIY Remodeling vs Professional Remodeling: Around the House

The following list breaks down which projects are typical DIY candidates and which ones homeowners commonly opt for professional help to complete. However, the decision is ultimately up to you. If you have your heart on tackling a project on your own, gather your tools and make it happen!

Kitchen

  • Professional: Any large-scale structural changes, new gas lines, or new plumbing projects should be handled by a professional.
  • DIY: Simpler kitchen projects like a backsplash or faucet replacement and any cabinet finishing tasks are perfect DIY candidates.

Bathroom

  • Professional: Plumbing installation, running electricity, or any projects involving an expansion or alteration to your bathroom structure.
  • DIY: If your bathroom is simply in need of some new tile work, basic medicine cabinet restoration, or minor flooring improvements, roll up your sleeves and DIY.

Backyard

  • Professional: Consider hiring a professional for any significant outdoor projects like concrete builds, in-ground pools, and technical deck work.
  • DIY: Common backyard DIY projects include building a garden tool shed, building a fence, and refinishing a deck.

General

  • Professional: It is best to hire pros for new roofing, any foundation work, and extensive demolition projects. For asbestos and drywall finishing, it’s easiest, and safest, to go with the pros.
  • DIY: Any interior painting projects, basic electrical work, or simple trim and door upgrades.

If you’re planning on going through a remodel while you live at home, read this first. For more information on how certain renovations may impact the value of your home, talk to your Windermere agent.

The post DIY Remodeling vs Professional Remodeling appeared first on Windermere Colorado REALTORS.

10 Costs Associated with Selling Your Home

Sellers

Selling a home is an exciting time for homeowners. Once you and your household have decided that you’ll hit the market, it’s easy to think solely about the revenue that comes with the sale. However, selling a home comes with its own set of costs. Knowing what these costs are will help you budget throughout the selling process.

Here are 10 most of the most common costs that come with selling a home:

1. Commission fees

Of all the expenses that come with the sale of a home, agent commission fees are usually the largest and for good reason. Real estate agents are professionals, wielding their industry knowledge and local expertise to get the job done and save countless hours of work for the homeowner. The commission is split by the agents representing both buyer and seller, typically totaling between five and six percent of the sale price.

2. Pre-sale home inspection

Pre-sale home inspections are not mandatory, however, if a seller does not conduct one, it could lead to major costs down the road. The inspection allows the seller to find any issues with the home and properly disclose them to the buyer. If the buyer’s home inspector finds repairs that need to be made, they can ask the seller for a price reduction or require that they be fixed in order for the sale to go through.

3. Home repairs

There are varying degrees of home repairs that can increase the value of your home. Cosmetic fixes like improving your landscaping will do wonders for your curb appeal. Painting and decluttering help to present the home in the best light for buyers. Larger projects like replacing appliances, roofing, plumbing, and full-scale upgrades are a more significant investment but can increase your home’s value.

4. Staging costs

During the selling process, it pays to put effort into the presentation of your home. Staging helps buyers to visualize living in the home. Professional stagers will enhance your home’s qualities while minimizing its deficiencies. Their cost will depend on the level of staging your home requires.

5. Utilities

In the interim period between when you move out and the buyers move in, you’ll want to continue paying utilities. Without running water, electricity, and heat, your home could be difficult to show to buyers.

6. Remaining mortgage

Another cost of selling your home is the remaining loan balance on your mortgage. If you have been steadily paying your mortgage, your home sale will greatly aid in paying back the remaining amount, if not cover it completely.

7. Escrow fees

In a home sale, there’s always the question: Who handles the cash? That’s where escrow comes in. It’s common for buyers and sellers to split the cost of escrow services. Be mindful of additional costs during escrow such as transfer fees and notary services.

8. Capital gains tax

The capital gains tax is assessed by taking the difference between what you paid for your house and what you sold it for. There are common exclusions for the tax, but there are situations where the exclusions may not apply. For example, if the home was not your primary residence, you could end up paying taxes on the whole gain. Talk to your Windermere agent for more information.

9. Property tax

If your home sale takes place after you’ve paid taxes for the year, you may get a rebate at closing. In this case, the buyer reimburses the seller for the applicable taxes paid. Otherwise, the seller should pay the prorated share of property tax until the sale closes, placing the money in escrow.

10. Moving costs

Finally, the home sale is final, and you’re ready to move. Whether you’re moving locally or across the country, moving costs can add up quickly. Moving as many of your items yourself can save money, but for larger, more difficult to transport items, you’ll likely need to incur the cost of hiring professional movers to ensure your items arrive at your new home safely.

 These are just some of the costs associated with selling your home. Each home sale is different, and the costs vary accordingly. Knowing what you can expect to spend throughout the selling process will help you budget accordingly.

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Empty Nesters: Remodel or Sell?

Empty Nesters

Your kids have moved out and now you’re living in a big house with way more space than you need. You have two choices – remodel your existing home or move. Here are some things to consider about each option.

Choice No. 1: Remodel your existing home to better fit your current needs.

  • Remodeling gives you lots of options, but some choices can reduce the value of your home. You can combine two bedrooms into a master suite or change another bedroom into a spa area. But reducing the number of bedrooms can dramatically decrease the value of your house when you go to sell, making it much less desirable to a typical buyer with a family.
  • The ROI on remodeling is generally poor. You should remodel because it’s something that makes your home more appealing for you, not because you want to increase the value of your home. According to a recent study, on average you’ll recoup just 64 percent of a remodeling project’s investment when you go to sell.
  • Remodeling is stressful. Living in a construction zone is no fun, and an extensive remodel may mean that you have to move out of your home for a while. Staying on budget is also challenging. Remodels often end up taking much more time and much more money than homeowners expect.

Choice No. 2: Sell your existing home and buy your empty nest dream home.

  • You can downsize to a single-level residence and upsize your lifestyle. Many people planning for their later years prefer a home that is all on one level and has less square footage. But downsizing doesn’t mean scrimping. You may be able to funnel the proceeds of the sale of your existing home into a great view or high-end amenities.
  • A “lock-and-leave” home offers more freedom. As your time becomes more flexible, you may want to travel more. Or maybe you’d like to spend winters in a sunnier climate. You may want to trade your existing home for the security and low maintenance of condominium living.
  • There has never been a better time to sell. Our area is one of the top in the country for sellers to get the greatest return on investment. Real estate is cyclical, so the current boom is bound to moderate at some point. If you’re thinking about selling, take advantage of this strong seller’s market and do it now.

Bottom Line

If your current home no longer works for you, consider looking at homes that would meet your lifestyle needs before taking on the cost and hassle of remodeling. Get in touch with a Windermere Real Estate broker to discuss the best option for you.

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Kick-Starting a Kitchen Remodel

Ask a homeowner which room they would most like to improve, and most will point to the kitchen – the starting point for every meal and the heart of the home.

Ask those same people why they don’t move forward with a kitchen remodel, and many will say the project seems so overwhelming they don’t know where to start. If your kitchen needs an upgrade, here are some step-by-step suggestions to get you started.

 

Gather your thoughts

The steps that follow will all progress much easier if you take time beforehand to form a strong opinion about the desired look and layout of your new kitchen.

 

Start by reviewing kitchen magazines and photo-heavy kitchen remodeling guides and/or websites. Compiling clippings and printouts in a notebook helps you refine your vision. Clip or print the photos that capture your imagination, add notes, and draw circles and arrows around the things you like most.

 

Once you have a clearer vision of what you want, search online for better examples and new solutions, if necessary. If you live with a significant other, share your ideas with them and don’t allow yourself to become too committed before getting buy-in from them. Contractors and sales associates will expect a unified front.

 

Focus on the flow

Another major factor you’ll want to consider is how your new kitchen will be used, and by whom:

 

  • Do you want to cook with others?
  • Do you want family and guests to gather in the space while you cook?
  • Do you want to serve meals in the kitchen?
  • Do you want to display your dishware?
  • Where would you like things stored for maximum efficiency?

 

Imagine yourself happily cooking and entertaining in your new kitchen, then note the key elements necessary to make those dreams a reality. Having a list of your desired kitchen features and storage needs will help ensure your plan meets your vision.

 

Determine your budget

According to the annual Remodeling Magazine survey of costs, a “midrange,” “minor” kitchen remodel will cost homeowners living on the West Coast about $23,000. Those same folks can expect to pay about $70,000 for a midrange “major” kitchen remodel. Determine what you can afford before you start work to ensure that your vision is within reach, or to help prioritize what’s most critical.

 

What to do with the cabinets

Replacing the cabinets is one of the most expensive improvements you can make in a kitchen remodel (typically consuming 20 to 40 percent of the overall budget, according to Architectural Digest).

 

Consider refacing instead. This can include one of the following: 1) Installing completely new cabinet doors and drawer fronts or 2) installing new wood or laminate veneer over the existing cabinet and drawer fronts or 3) simply refinishing the existing cabinet and drawer fronts.
Shopping for contractors

The contractor you choose will determine much of the cost, the pace of your project, the amount of disruption, the final results, and your level of satisfaction. So be thorough in your search:

 

  • Ask friends and family for referrals and advice.
  • Interview at least three of the leading prospects in-person.
  • Ask to see samples of past work.
  • Look for someone who complements your operating style (similar personality and communication style).
  • Once you’ve narrowed your choice to one or two, ask to speak with a few past clients.

 

You’ll be tempted to latch onto the first contractor who gets rave reviews from a friend or family member. But remember: You and your project are unique, and it’s worth the time and effort to be rigorous in your search.

 

Selecting appliances

If you’re planning to replace appliances, here are three factors you’ll want to consider:

 

Finish – Stainless steel is still the most popular option, but beware: smudges, fingerprints, water spots, and streaks will be obvious. Black stainless steel has a warmer feel and is better at hiding spots.

 

Extended warranty – According to Consumer Reports, extended warranties are hardly ever worth it because today’s appliances are so reliable. And if something does fail, it’s often less expensive to just pay for the repair.

 

Unbiased testing and reviews – Before making an appliance purchase, use the information resources available through Consumer Reports.

 

A final note

Moving walls and extending your home’s foundation are both very expensive options. If your kitchen plans call for these architectural renovations, perhaps you’ve outgrown your home and need something larger (with an already-improved kitchen).

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Practical Resolutions: Prepare for the Best in 2019

The transition from the holidays and 2018 is behind us now, and we are well into the first month of the new year. Once 2019 officially started, I believe I heard a collective sigh of relief echoing throughout the following days.  2018 was a good year, much better than we had anticipated it being–for most of us anyway. 2019 feels like a beacon of light, illuminating the path to an auspicious year ahead; a new year, a new decade and what seems to be the worst is behind us.

For some people the New Year is just a party or another day, for others it is a time of reflection and resolutions, and for others it is a benchmark–a way to remember annual projects. I am not really a resolutions person myself; I figure if I do not make it, I cannot break it. I do, however, remind myself to up the ante on what I should be doing anyway and to plan for goals and projects ahead.

The hard part is sticking to the plan after the luster of the New Year starts to fade. For the rest of January we will be offering resources on making and keeping home resolutions, whether you want to update your current home, start saving and shopping for your first house or sell the home you have. Here are some tips to get you started making your home resolutions:

BluePrint2Resolutions 101

Everyone’s list of things to accomplish in the upcoming year is different, but one thing is pretty universal: most of us are too ambitious for our own good. The best thing to do is make reasonable goals for yourself and work towards accomplishing them one at a time. So be realistic. You may not renovate your entire home, but in all likelihood you can finish your kitchen remodel.  You may start the year with plenty of momentum; just remember to pace yourself when it comes to big goals–it’s a marathon, not a sprint.  Here are some tips to keep your goals in check:

Set a goal: I find it useful to create a bucket list of all the things I want to do and prioritize the most important, most time consuming and most expensive. Your goals and what you do to accomplish them will differ whether you are making your home more your style, saving to buy or preparing to sell. From this list you can prioritize the goals in order by urgency, seasonality, and difficulty. If you cannot fit all your projects in this year, move them to the rolling 2012 bucket list.

Make a budget: Do your research and make an informed budget. If you are looking to renovate, you will want to make a plan, check resources and make an informed budget. If you are looking to save up for your down payment on a home, you will want to assess how much you need to have saved in order to have enough to put down, and create a budget plan. Creating a budget is a great way to keep your finances in check and keep your projects as affordable as possible.

Set benchmarks: If you have a big goal, breaking it up into smaller bites is the best way to stay motivated. If you can do a little bit every week to keep your home clean and tackle an organization project, you are more likely to sustain the momentum than if you attempt a complete overhaul. Also, there’s one great thing about goal setting, budget making and project planning: the more you practice, the better you become!

Stay motivated: Your resolutions may already be going by the wayside now that we are caught back up in life-as-always. It may help to write out your resolutions in a central place–a document on your computer desktop, a list on your fridge, or benchmark reminders in your mobile calendar. The key is to keep your resolutions at the top of your mind so you can work towards them a little bit every day/week. For more advice on how to keep your momentum, go here.

The post Practical Resolutions: Prepare for the Best in 2019 appeared first on Windermere Colorado REALTORS.

Practical Resolutions: Prepare for the Best in 2019

The transition from the holidays and 2018 is behind us now, and we are well into the first month of the new year. Once 2019 officially started, I believe I heard a collective sigh of relief echoing throughout the following days.  2018 was a good year, much better than we had anticipated it being–for most of us anyway. 2019 feels like a beacon of light, illuminating the path to an auspicious year ahead; a new year, a new decade and what seems to be the worst is behind us.

For some people the New Year is just a party or another day, for others it is a time of reflection and resolutions, and for others it is a benchmark–a way to remember annual projects. I am not really a resolutions person myself; I figure if I do not make it, I cannot break it. I do, however, remind myself to up the ante on what I should be doing anyway and to plan for goals and projects ahead.

The hard part is sticking to the plan after the luster of the New Year starts to fade. For the rest of January we will be offering resources on making and keeping home resolutions, whether you want to update your current home, start saving and shopping for your first house or sell the home you have. Here are some tips to get you started making your home resolutions:

BluePrint2Resolutions 101

Everyone’s list of things to accomplish in the upcoming year is different, but one thing is pretty universal: most of us are too ambitious for our own good. The best thing to do is make reasonable goals for yourself and work towards accomplishing them one at a time. So be realistic. You may not renovate your entire home, but in all likelihood you can finish your kitchen remodel.  You may start the year with plenty of momentum; just remember to pace yourself when it comes to big goals–it’s a marathon, not a sprint.  Here are some tips to keep your goals in check:

Set a goal: I find it useful to create a bucket list of all the things I want to do and prioritize the most important, most time consuming and most expensive. Your goals and what you do to accomplish them will differ whether you are making your home more your style, saving to buy or preparing to sell. From this list you can prioritize the goals in order by urgency, seasonality, and difficulty. If you cannot fit all your projects in this year, move them to the rolling 2012 bucket list.

Make a budget: Do your research and make an informed budget. If you are looking to renovate, you will want to make a plan, check resources and make an informed budget. If you are looking to save up for your down payment on a home, you will want to assess how much you need to have saved in order to have enough to put down, and create a budget plan. Creating a budget is a great way to keep your finances in check and keep your projects as affordable as possible.

Set benchmarks: If you have a big goal, breaking it up into smaller bites is the best way to stay motivated. If you can do a little bit every week to keep your home clean and tackle an organization project, you are more likely to sustain the momentum than if you attempt a complete overhaul. Also, there’s one great thing about goal setting, budget making and project planning: the more you practice, the better you become!

Stay motivated: Your resolutions may already be going by the wayside now that we are caught back up in life-as-always. It may help to write out your resolutions in a central place–a document on your computer desktop, a list on your fridge, or benchmark reminders in your mobile calendar. The key is to keep your resolutions at the top of your mind so you can work towards them a little bit every day/week. For more advice on how to keep your momentum, go here.

The post Practical Resolutions: Prepare for the Best in 2019 appeared first on Windermere Colorado REALTORS.

A Beginner’s Guide to Securing a Mortgage Loan

Entering into debt is a concept I grew up diametrically opposed to. I was raised, like many with frugal family members, to understand that anything you couldn’t pay for on the spot was something you couldn’t afford. But as we age we learn the pathway to financial growth requires a commitment beyond what many of us can deliver up front. Building and stabilizing wealth is, for many families, tied to home ownership. To reach that initial threshold, most aspiring homeowners will need to apply for a mortgage loan. That process can be daunting, but the long-term rewards of securing your home are worth it.

Step One – Break down your budget

A major financial decision like this can’t be made lightly. Many experts recommend a 50-20-30 style plan for finances, particularly for first-time homeowners. That means 50% of your budget is committed to core, unavoidable, monthly expenses like rent, groceries, loan payments, utilities, insurance, etc. The 20% segment is savings, placed in reserve towards a general or specific future financial goal. The final 30% (at maximum) is left as a remainder for personal spending, however, is most desired. Once this is set, you’re ready to evaluate the rate at which you can repay your loan and adjust accordingly.

Step Two – Take the time to get it right

It’s exciting to be in a position to purchase your first home, but if you find the right spot and realize the funds aren’t there yet it can be a huge disappointment. That’s what makes seeking pre-approval for a loan a must – particularly if it’s your first time. Having your credit in order, along with all key financial documentation (bank statements, tax returns, debt copies, prior records of significant ownership). If your credit isn’t in a great place, it’s likely worth taking the time to amend it before applying for your mortgage loan. When you earn lower interest rates and more manageable monthly payments you’ll be thankful for your prudence.

Step Three – The bigger the down payment the better

It’s rare that first-time homebuyers have significant cash on hand, but whatever you can muster makes a difference. Typically, the greater a down payment you can muster, the lower your subsequent interest rates will be. For many, there’s only so much that’s tenable as a bulk sum up front, of course. If that fits your situation, seeking a loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) can earn you a healthy loan for a down payment of just 3.5% of your home’s total value. To calculate the limitations of your target home’s loan options, you can input your information on the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website here.

Step Four – Stick to the plan!

After all the effort you’ll go through to secure a mortgage loan, you’ve earned the home it’s helped you purchase. That loan, like any loan, is contingent on your continued monthly payments. It can feel daunting and dispiriting after a time to continually be paying for a home you’re already living in, but maintaining your financial balance is vital. You’ll never be able to predict every expense that comes up but maintaining your budget towards paying off your mortgage loans will set you up to be more financially flexible in the future. Should you ever hope to purchase a second home or other major investments requiring of loans, having a record of consistent mortgage loan payment can help you secure far more favorable interest rates in the future.

A mortgage loan, like any loan, is a major commitment, but entering into homeownership is a massive step towards financial stability and future life-planning. With proper patience and focus, you can get the loan you need at the rate you can afford.

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