Category Archives: Tips & Advice

Are You Prepared to Deal with New Changes in the Mortgage Process?

iStock_000014023045LargeWhen the housing market collapsed in 2007, it was understandably necessary for the federal government to react by making a point to keep a tighter leash upon the financial industry.  Therefore, in response to the mortgage crisis, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was passed in 2011, which created a new government agency—the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

TRID

In an effort to avoid another housing disaster, the CFPB settled upon a set of stricter mortgage rules and regulations that recently went into effect on the 3rd of October.  Known as “TRID,” (which stands for: Truth-in-Lending Act (TILA) + Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) + Integrated + Disclosure) the goal was to:

  1. Overhaul and improve the abundance of archaic industry forms, which date back to the late sixties and mid-seventies, and
  2. To slow down the mortgage process in an effort to give the borrower more time to review their forms.

In short, these new rules are expressly geared towards improving the home-buying experience for consumers; however, it’s important to note that the overall mortgage process is going to be a lot longer and more challenging than it was in the past.

THE PROCESS

For starters, once the borrower completes the loan application and gives the sales contract to their lender, the lender must then return a loan estimate to the borrower within three business days; however, before the lender can take any steps to either require loan documentation, order a title search, or mandate an appraisal, the borrower must respond to the lender with “their intent to proceed.”  In other words, to keep things moving in a forward direction, it is imperative that the borrower respond to the lender as quickly as possible after receiving a loan estimate.

With that being said, once the seller has accepted the buyer’s offer and the closing process begins, it’s important to realize that the new regulations also slow down the end of the mortgage proceedings as well.  Basically, the loan cannot close until the lender has:

  1. Sent the borrower the final Closing Disclosure (CD)
  2. Confirmed that the borrower has received the CD
  3. Waited for the three-day waiting period to pass

STEPS FOR BUYERS

Therefore, if you’re a buyer, you may want to consider the following steps, which will help you complete the entire process with as little fuss as possible.

  1. Submit a pre-approval application before making an offer in order to minimize the processing delays that will occur if you don’t already have a loan lined up
  2. Don’t drag your feet. Make a point to give the sales contract to the lender as soon as it’s available
  3. Consider doing things electronically, such as signing the loan disclosures
  4. Provide the lender with your “Intent to Proceed” as soon as your able
  5. Make sure you have all of your loan docs ready for delivery to the lender within the first week of the process
  6. Confirm receipt of the CD immediately after receiving it so you can get the ball rolling on the three-day waiting period

CONCLUSION

In the end, while these new laws make things a bit more complicated—especially if you’re operating under a time crunch—their purpose is to give buyers the necessary time to make sure they’re closing on a deal that truly fits into their life.  No one wants to see another foreclosure crisis, so these types of laws will hopefully go a long way towards making sure buyers are absolutely sure before they sign on the final dotted line.

If you have any questions or you’re a seller and would like to know more about how these new regulations will impact your sale, please feel free to contact me.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

How to Decorate Your For-Sale Home at Halloween

decoracion-de-halloweenOne of the most important aspects of marketing your home involves the removal of clutter.  Plain and simple, buyers want to see a blank canvas of sorts, where they don’t have to look past piles of magazines and clusters of family photos to see your beautiful counters, etc.  Disorganization and chaos can be a deal breaker, so when it comes to working towards a sale during the Halloween “season,” you don’t want to put up an abundance of holiday decorations after you’ve spent time making your home as ordered and neat as possible.

That’s not to say that buyers don’t love the look of rich fall flowers and beautiful orange pumpkins.  Most will appreciate seasonal touches that bring warmth into your home; however, no matter how much you LOVE prepping for and celebrating Halloween, it’s important to temper the compulsion to turn your home into something akin to the Adams’ family manor.

When selecting the right decorations, don’t forget to factor safety into the equation.  Halloween means trick-or-treating children, so make a point to keep your walkway clean and well-lit.  From there, while you may pride yourself in the spooky graveyard that resides in your front lawn each year, you may want to hold off on adding the tombstones until next October—at your new home.

Remember, fall flowers, not zombies.  Hand-made wreathes, not cob webs.  Orange ribbons, not fake blood.  If you follow these rules, then you also won’t be stuck in a position where you have to scramble to take everything down on November 1st.  Fall flowers and pumpkins are suitable for Thanksgiving as well.

If, however, you find that you simply MUST put up scary decorations or go-all-out with the witches and ghosts, their time on display needs to be minimal at best—think October 30th-November 1st or 2nd.  Your goal this year is to attract buyers, so keep that in mind if you find yourself feeling a bit restrained.

There’s always next year!  If you have any questions or would like some information about listing your home during the autumn season, I would love to help.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

Strategies for Tackling Buyer’s Remorse

CLbqPpjXAAASWnqFor some, any major—or even small—purchase will elicit feelings of anxiety, regret, and even doom; however, even though you may be someone who is generally inclined to a bit of hand-wringing, when purchasing a home, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.

YOU CANNOT CONTROL EVERYTHING

For starters, let’s just address the obvious.  Yes, purchasing a home is a huge commitment, both in terms of finances and time.  Still, while a large part of that process may feel overwhelming and beyond your control, remember try to remember that it is often our need to feel like we must control everything that gets us into trouble.

Instead of fixating on everything that frightens you about owning your new home—or a home in general—remind yourself of all the reasons you made the decision to purchase in the first place.  Whether you were tired of landlords or simply loved the possibility of having a big backyard, chances are good that you put in a lot of time, effort, and money to get to where you are.

As with most things in life, if you spend more time focusing on the good instead of ruminating over the bad, you’re likely to be a much happier person.  Overcoming buyer’s remorse is no different.  Fixate on the possibilities, the potential, and the parts that simply feel like home.

STOP AND THINK

All-too-often, we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed without taking the time to assess what we’re truly feeling.  Where are those thoughts of buyer’s remorse coming from?  Are you afraid that you won’t be able to afford the mortgage?  Is there a lot of work that still needs to be done?  Do you feel like it may be smaller than you expected?

Instead of standing still and continuing to stress, make a list of your worries and start by addressing what you can, one thing at a time.  Take a Saturday to paint the guest room.  Replace the lighting in the kitchen.  By slowly crossing items off your list, you’re likely to feel that sense of dread lift, ever so slightly.

SHOW IT OFF

Hey!  You just bought a home!  That’s great!  …and let’s be honest, it really is great!  Not everyone is in a position to do that—no matter how much they’d like to be—so why not celebrate?

Throw a housewarming party, barbeque, or dinner and gather your loved ones for a celebration.  Chances are better than good that everyone will be more than excited for you, so let a little bit of those good vibes remind you of how fantastic your new place is.

TAKE SOME TIME TO CREATE YOUR SPOT

Part of learning to love something requires finding a bright spot in what may otherwise be somewhat dim.  When you take the time to appreciate one area of your home, chances are good that those warm feelings will spread.

Set aside a few spare moments to just sit in your new space—every day—and appreciate the things you love about your little corner of comfort.  Whether it’s soft light at sunrise or open French doors, let this part of your house feel like home and hopefully, the rest will follow.

If you’d like to find your dream home and want some assistance with the buying process, I’d love to offer my services.  Please feel free to contact me anytime.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

The Importance of Home Maintenance Records

July2015-Trulia-4-Reasons-You-Absolutely-Need-to-Save-Home-Maintenance-Records-girl-filing-away-papersWhen it comes to our cars, most of us understand that it’s important to save our service records—or at least shove them in the glove compartment—especially if we’re hoping to get top dollar when it comes time to sell.  While your latest oil change might not seem like big news, it may be to a potential buyer who will want to see how well the vehicle has been cared for.

On a larger scale, it’s important to think of your home in the same terms.  While it’s always tempting to throw that pink carbon receipt away from your latest HVAC tune-up or leak repair, consider utilizing a digital or standard filing system to keep track of these types of records.  Here’s why:

POTENTIAL BUYERS: Purchasing a home is a massive financial investment, which means some buyers will be more than meticulous when it comes to assessing the condition of your property.  Due diligence often pays off for buyers, so chances are good that if selling is in your future, you’ll want to be able to give dates for everything from when your gutters were installed to your last carpet cleaning.  You don’t want to get caught off guard with questions that you’re simply unable to answer, so let the receipts do the talking for you.

SAVE YOUR MONEY: Maintenance records are just that—records.  In short, they give you the opportunity to keep track of how often something is being worked on so you gain a better understanding of whether you should continue throwing money into repairs or should simply bite the bullet and purchase a new product.  If you notice that those pink slips are piling up, you might save more money with a replacement.

INSURANCE DISPUTES: Insurance companies make money off of the assumption that you’ll likely pay more for monthly coverage than they’ll ever have to pay in the case of an accident.  In essence, it’s a numbers game that makes them a good bit of money; however, it also creates an environment where their goal is to make sure they compensate you with just enough to cover your costs.

Therefore, if—for example—your insurance company pays for a new roof after damage from a massive storm, it’s possible for them to decide at a later date that they paid you too much money.  Should this happen, they will likely request a portion of their funds back, which means it’s extremely important to maintain control of your receipts and maintenance records in order to dispute their claims.

SETTING FUTURE BUDGETS: Following a set maintenance schedule is an important aspect of homeownership, especially if you’re looking to retain your property value.  While no one enjoys feeling like their constantly shelling out money for appliance checks and minor repairs, having an understanding of how much you’re spending each year can set the stage for the establishment of a yearly maintenance budget.

Instead of getting caught off-guard every time you’re forced to drop a couple hundred dollars on a maintenance issue, use your receipts to establish a yearly estimate of how much you spend on repairs so you never have to feel like your scraping to find the cash to cover them.

For more tips and tricks, please feel free to contact me.  Even if you’re not looking to sell your home or buy something new in the near future, I’m always here to offer advice.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

Home Showing Checklist: Overlooked Spaces

clean-and-welcoming-foyer-entrywayWhen it comes to staging your home for potential buyers, it’s easy to focus a large majority of your attention on the “money making” rooms in your home—i.e. kitchen, master bath, living room.  However, there’s something to be said for lavishing a bit of your attention on the understated supporting players in your home.

After all, buyers aren’t simply purchasing your kitchen—they’re purchasing the whole package, which means they’ll expect to see a fluid, clean concept throughout your home.  Therefore, pay close attention to the following “second-stringer” checklist.  It may just help you sell your home sooner rather than later.

MAKE AN ENTRANCE.  If your home has a foyer, make a point to show it off!  Feel free to include little touches such as coat hooks for visitors, a vase of flowers, or a table with bottles of water for potential buyers.  In essence, your entrance is for receiving guests, so your goal should be to create a welcoming atmosphere.

KEEP THE MUD OUT OF THE MUDROOM.  Yes, the ultimate purpose of a mudroom is to provide an area where you can remove items—such as shoes and rain coats—that may have gotten dirty in the great outdoors; however, while buyers will most likely understand this, they won’t want to see remnants of your last hiking venture.

Therefore, your goal is to show buyers how organized life can be in your home.  Add cubbies and shelves to hold things like running shoes and winter gloves, and make a point to install wall hooks for discarded coats and book bags.  Make a point to add a colorful rug that can catch dirt before it’s tracked into the house and don’t be afraid to play up the walls with a bright coat of paint.  Neutrals should be the goal throughout the rest of the house, but the mudroom is one area that will handle a bold color quite nicely.

SHOW OFF AN UNFINISHED BASEMENT’S POTENTIAL.  While you may not have taken the time to finish your basement, that doesn’t mean potential buyers won’t.  Plain and simple, an unfinished basement is a blank canvass and many buyers will see it for what it is—a vessel for increasing their home’s value.

Therefore, instead of shoving all of your spare clutter into a haphazard pile in the basement and assuming buyers will understand, make sure things are organized and consider utilizing the services of a good contractor who can provide an estimate for finishing the space.  Buyers like to know what they can expect, so they’ll likely appreciate a little knowledge on how much it will cost them if they decide to make a future renovation.

MAKE USE OF YOUR PORCH.  The front porch is back in style, so if you’re lucky enough to have more than just a front stoop, make a point to stage it for potential buyers.  Everyone loves a comfy porch chair, so consider adding some seating space next to a colorful outdoor rug and a small table with a pitcher of lemonade or apple cider (depending upon the season).  At the end of the day, buyers will remember the refreshment!

DECLUTTER THE GARAGE.  Yes, we know—you park your cars in there (or just use it for storage), which means we’re likely to find a host of oil stains, leaves, and dirt; however, while no one expects your garage to be a spotless vehicle showroom, it still needs to be accessible.  Make a point to organize any sports equipment, tools, and lawn care necessities, and spend a bit of time sweeping excess debris back outside.

CONCLUSION

It’s often said that success is in the details and selling your home is no different.  By assuming that buyers “will understand” or won’t care about accumulated dirt and clutter in certain areas of your home, you’re setting yourself up for a difficult real estate experience.  A quick sale requires a solid showing throughout your home, so make a point to target those oft-overlooked areas.

If you’d like some advice or assistance, I’d be more than happy to offer my expertise.

Marie Dinsmore | The Dinsmore Team | www.DinsmoreTeam.com | 770-712-7789

Community Resources

WELCOME

2019 Welcome Services

The Dinsmore Team has created this handy guide for both Buyers and Sellers. The guide lists trusted service providers that we use personally and professionally. The providers listed service the Forsyth and North Fulton County areas.

2014 Complete Guide to Moving

This 20-Page Guide will be your comprehensive source for selling your home and planning your move. It includes tips for getting ready to sell, planning your move, packing and transitioning into your new home.

2014 Home Owners Tip Guide

This 20-Page Guide will help you develop an annual maintenance schedule for your home's systems and appliances to help you avoid bigger problems by taking care of them while they are small. It's also a great resource for trouble shooting malfunctions on your own, saving you time and money.


utilities

Looking for a fast way to connect all of your utility services online? Try Connect Utilities.

Please let us know if there are other resources you'd like to see.

Marie@DinsmoreTeam.com

770-712-7789