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From Big to Small: How to Downsize from a Large House to a Smaller, More Efficient HomeIf you're moving from a large home into a smaller house or condo, you're probably looking forward to enjoying a lower utility bill and not having to do as much cleaning. But before you move, you'll want to take certain precautions to ensure that you're not overwhelmed.

A smaller home won't have as much room for your belongings, which means you may need to get creative. Here's how you can downsize without losing your mind.

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Decide What You're Going To Keep

Before you do anything else, choose which of your belongings are coming with you. Unless you've habitually been getting rid of things you no longer need over the years, chances are you have a large stash of things you'll never use again. That's the kind of clutter you'll need to eliminate before moving into a smaller home.

The obvious exceptions would be anything of significant sentimental or monetary value, but you'll want to get rid of lots of your everyday objects - for instance, there's no reason why you need three soup ladles. Having trouble deciding what to throw out? Here's a simple rule of thumb: If you can't remember the last time you used it, you probably don't need it.

Have Anything In Storage? Find A Storage Solution Now

Most homeowners nowadays have the luxury of large storage spaces like basements or attics - but if you're moving into a condo or a small starter home, storage will be at a premium. And that means anything stored in your basement, garage, or attic will probably need to find a new home. You'll want to look for a storage solution earlier rather than later.

Perhaps you could rent a storage locker in your neighborhood, or let children or relatives hold onto your belongings until you decide what to do with them.

On Your Moving Day: Move Large Items First, And Put Away Stored Items Before Anything Else

When the day comes for you to move into your new home, you'll want to try to find the best configuration for the space right away - before your new home is filled with boxes stacked six feet high. Before you do anything else, move your furniture and other large items into the space first, and get them set up so they're out of the way.

Once all of your boxes are in your new home, put storage items away before anything else - it'll help you avoid unnecessary stress and sorting later.

Downsizing can be stressful, but with a solid plan and a great real estate agent, you can find a smaller home and move in without issues. Call your trusted real estate professional, Wayne Turner for more great tips on streamlining the moving process.

Five Required Mortgage Closing Costs And A Few Tips On How To Minimize ThemMortgages are expensive, and closing costs only add to the financial burden that homebuyers face. But with a little knowledge, you can pinpoint places to save on your mortgage closing costs and keep more money in your pocket. When you're negotiating your next mortgage, use these tips to reduce required closing costs and keep more of your hard-earned money.

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Title Insurance: Request The Simultaneous Issue Rate

Title insurance is an important add-on that no buyer should go without. At the time of closing, there may be a variety of title problems that could arise, such as like encroachments, easements, unpaid liens, and fraud. If a previous property owner wasn't properly discharged from the title, they may have a claim to the property.

In the event that title ownership challenges arise later on, your title insurance will compensate you for any losses and expenses you incur when trying to prove your ownership. Buying title insurance may help you to avoid the hourly fees you'd pay a lawyer or notary to investigate your title. Typically, when you receive title insurance, you and your lender will each have separate insurance policies on the title.

You can minimize the out-of-pocket expense by asking the insurance provider for their simultaneous issue rate. This is a highly discounted rate that applies when both the borrower and lender title insurance policies are issued at the same time.

Origination Fees: Negotiable If You Have Good Credit

An origination fee is a kind of prepaid interest fee that you surrender to your mortgage broker when you apply for a mortgage. It only applies when you use a mortgage broker.

However, it's not a mandatory fee for most buyers - even if they go through a broker. The purpose of an origination fee is to compensate the broker for the time and effort they need to invest to get your loan approved. If you have good credit and you can prove your income, then this fee isn't necessary - and you shouldn't have any trouble getting your broker to eliminate this fee.

Also note that an origination fee is the same thing as a broker fee. If your agreement includes both, you're getting charged for the same service twice. Ask for one of them to be removed.

Mortgage Application Fees: Typically A Money Grab

A mortgage application fee is another common fee that you can usually avoid. This fee - which typically runs about $50 or so - is something your lender charges you in order to cover the cost of running your credit report. However, since banks and brokers order hundreds of credit reports every day, they can pull your credit report for next to nothing.

The $50 fee they charge you is, essentially, free money for them - and you can usually get them to drop this fee if you ask.

Underwriting Fees: Your Broker Shouldn't Charge You For Underwriting

Brokers don't underwrite loans - lenders do. That means if you're getting your loan through a broker, you shouldn't have to pay any kind of underwriting fee - it should already be included in the loan terms the bank set. It's perfectly valid for a bank to charge you an underwriting fee, but ask your broker to take underwriting fees out of your agreement.

 

3 Reasons to Avoid Giving Wrong Information on Your Mortgage ApplicationA mortgage application is typically several pages in length, and it requires you to provide a considerable amount of information about your personal, professional and financial life. Some mortgage applicants may not have access to all of the information when completing the application, and others may simply skim over the form and provide incomplete answers. These are only a few of the reasons why information on the mortgage application may not be accurate, but there are several key reasons why applicants should avoid giving inaccurate information.

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Loan Approval is Based on It

The initial loan application will usually serve as a basis for the pre-qualification of the mortgage request. The applicant may make a decision to move forward with an offer to purchase a home based on this pre-qualification, but the pre-qualification is based on the accuracy of the information that is initially provided to the lender in the loan application. If the information is incorrect then an applicant may not be able to qualify for the loan and the deal could fall through.

Information Will Be Verified

The majority of the information that is provided by the applicant in the loan application will be verified at various points throughout the loan process. For example, a credit report may be pulled very early on in the loan process, and it may be used to document the accuracy of the debts and monthly payments that the applicant wrote on the loan application. Tax returns, pay stubs and other related documentation may also be required. Essentially, the lender will eventually have access the accurate data, so there is little benefit to provide inaccurate information up-front on the loan application.

It Is Against the Law

A final reason why it is not advisable to provide inaccurate information on the application is because this is illegal. There is a disclaimer on the standard mortgage application that goes into detail about the law regarding providing false information on a loan application. There are also disclosures that are signed before and during closing that relate to this.

Completing a loan application is an important step buyers go through when buying a home, and it is easy to overlook the importance of providing accurate and detailed information at this stage in the process. It is best to take time complete the loan application as thoroughly and accurately as possible since it is a legal requirement and because of many other negative consequences. Those who have questions about buying a home or buyers who are ready to begin the loan application process who don't have a mortgage expert to work with can reach out to their trusted real estate professional, Wayne Turner for guidance 985-237-2517.

Thinking About Selling Your Home Without A Real Estate Agent?

by Wayne Turner

Thinking About Selling Your Home Without A Real Estate Agent Dont Here is WhyIf you're considering selling your home in the near future, you may be tempted to simply cut out the middleman and opt for an FSBO sale. However, selling a home is a major undertaking, and most "For Sale By Owner" home sales run into obstacles.

So why is an FSBO sale such a problem for most homeowners? Here are three reasons why you'll want an agent to represent you instead of going it alone.

Click here to read my tips for FSBOs.  

An FSBO Puts You At Risk Of A Lawsuit

Selling a home involves mountains of paperwork, and in order to make the transfer of ownership legal and above board, there is a large amount of minutiae that need to be considered. For instance, as a seller, you are legally obligated to disclose certain facts about the property: Some jurisdictions require you to disclose whether a death occurred in the home, for example, or if the home is located in a historical district.

Even one seemingly minor mistake could open you up to legal action. An experienced real estate agent already knows everything that needs to be disclosed, and although agents can make mistakes, they have errors and omissions insurance to protect them. Most homeowners don't have that protection in place.

Buyers' Agents May Discourage Buyers From Viewing Your Home

When it comes to FSBO deals, most buyers' agents anticipate the deal being a challenge at best. Buyers' agents typically only show FSBO properties in one of two cases: Either the price is extremely low or there aren't any other homes available.

But according to Atlanta real estate agent Bruce Ailion, most experienced agents have had an FSBO transaction go poorly at some point and are now wary of them. Without a real estate agent to represent you, sellers' agents will be hesitant to deal with you – and you won't get as many offers on your home as you'd like.

You'll Need To Discern Qualified Buyers From Dreamers

One thing that most homeowners don't know is that not everyone who views your home is actively interested in buying it in the near future. Showing your home may mean taking time off work or away from activities you care about, and if the prospect doesn't end up buying, you've wasted your time.

A real estate agent knows what questions to ask in order to weed out the merely curious and find motivated buyers, so you'll sell your home much faster.

FSBO sales don't always end in disaster, but they're considerably difficult to do well. An experienced real estate agent can help you sell your home faster and for more money than you can on your own. Contact your local real estate professional today to learn more. Wayne Turner 985-626-1313

To potential homebuyers, a bedroom is more than just a place to lay your head at night. It's a place to relax, retreat, and recover, a place where the demands of the busy world are locked out. And with a properly staged bedroom, you can tap into potential buyers' desire for relaxation and make your home their number one pick.

So how can you stage your bedroom in a way that buyers will love? Here are three strategies you can use to make your bedroom look like a modern oasis - without spending a fortune.

Click here to find more of my, "Selling Secrets" if your considering listing your home! 

Position The Bed In The Right Place

One easy-to-change yet often overlooked detail in staging the perfect bedroom is the location of the bed. The bed is the focal point of the room, so position it accordingly. If your bedroom has French doors or a large window, positioning your bed directly opposite that amenity will create balance.

Ideally, your bed should have space to walk around it on both sides. If that's not possible, place it against the longest wall in the room.

Use Neutral Colors And Ample Lighting To Boost Appeal

As a highly personal and intimate space, the bedroom is one area of the home where potential buyers are likely to try to imagine themselves in the space. If your bedroom incorporates loud colors, unique patterns, or poor lighting, it'll be harder for potential buyers to envision themselves there. What you want is a neutral color and lighting scheme.

Take out any dark curtains and heavy drapes, as they can make the room seem dirty. Swap out your bed sheets with white duvets and covers, and use some solid-colored throw pillows for contrast. Add a lamp to give the room a cozy feel.

Remove Everything That Screams "You"

The point of staging a home is to help potential buyers see themselves living in it - if you can get buyers to picture themselves actually living in your home, they'll form an emotional connection to it and will be more likely not just to buy, but to bid at or above asking price.

But in order to help buyers see themselves living in your home, you have to make it look as if you were never there. That means the family photographs, books on the nightstand, and exercise equipment has to go.

Home staging is a highly effective way to make your home sell faster - and for more money. And although it may seem like quite the undertaking, an experience real estate agent can make it a breeze. Contact your trusted real estate professional, Wayne Turner, today to learn more about home staging. 985-626-1313

What's Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week - August 10, 2015

by Wayne Turner

Whats Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week August 10 2015This week's scheduled economic news includes reports on construction spending, a survey of senior loan officers, and reports on labor markets including ADP private sector jobs, the federal government's reports on non-farm payrolls, core inflation and the national unemployment rate.

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Construction Spending Slows, Loan Officers Survey Suggests Growing Confidence

Construction spending fell in June after the May reading was revised upward to 1.89 percent from the original reading of 0.90 percent. Spending for residential construction rose by 0.40 percent, while non-residential construction spending remained flat. The seasonally-adjusted annual outlay for construction was $1.06 billion in June.

Analysts continue to note a trend toward construction of smaller residential units including condominiums and apartments, with an emphasis on rental properties. This supports reports that would-be homebuyers are taking a wait-and-see stance to see how factors including rising home prices, fluctuating mortgage rates and labor market conditions perform.

According to a survey of senior loan officers conducted by the Federal Reserve, mortgage lenders reported that mortgage applications increased during the second quarter and indicating that financial constraints on consumers may be easing. According to the survey of 71 domestic banks and 23 foreign-owned banks, 44 percent of respondents reported moderate increases in loan applications, while only 5 percent of survey participants reported fewer loan applications.

Some banks surveyed reported easing mortgage approval standards, but fewer lenders eased standards than in the first quarter. Further supporting growing confidence among lenders, the Fed survey also reported that large banks were easing consumer credit standards for auto loans and credit cards.

Mortgage Rates Fall, Jobless Claims Rise

Freddie Mac reported that average mortgage rates fell across the board last week with the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage lower by seven basis points to 3.91 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage fell by four basis points to 3.13 percent, and the average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage was unchanged at 2.95 percent. Discount points for all loan types were unchanged at 0.60 percent for 30 and 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 0.40 percent for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Weekly jobless claims rose from the prior week's reading of 268,000 new claims to 270,000 new claims, which matched analysts' expectations. In other labor-related news, the government reported a national unemployment rate of 5.30 percent in July; this was unchanged from June's reading.

The ADP employment report for July showed fewer jobs were available in the private sector. June's reading showed that private sector jobs grew by 229,000 jobs; July's reading fell to 185,000 private sector jobs. According to July's Non-farm Payrolls report, 215,000 new jobs were added in July as compared to expectations of 220,000 jobs added and June's reading of 231,000 new jobs added.

The Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is closely monitoring job growth and inflation rates as it contemplates raising the target federal funds rate. Core inflation grew by 0.10 percent in June; which was consistent with May's reading and expectations. The FOMC recently cited the committee's concerns about labor markets and lagging inflation. The Fed has set an annual growth rate of 1.65 percent for inflation for the medium term; this benchmark is part of what the Fed will consider in any decision to raise rates.

What's Ahead

This week's scheduled economic reports include reports on retail sales and consumer sentiment in addition to usual weekly reports on mortgage rates and new jobless claims.

 

Understanding Home Appraisals and Why You Want a Real Estate Agent to Value Your HomeWhile there may be instances when a homeowner must sell a property and move regardless of market conditions, there are other times when the value of the property will be a deciding factor in whether a homeowner moves or remains in the home for a longer period of time.

Some homeowners will attempt to determine the current value of their home on their own or order an appraisal, but these values are not always an accurate representation of a realistic listing price. There are a few good reasons why it is best to request valuation services from a real estate agent to determine a listing price rather than to refer to an appraiser or estimate value through personal market research.

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Appraisals Use Older Comparable Data

Some homeowners will contact a real estate appraiser for a valuation, but these valuations will not always  reflect a listing price that a real estate agent would recommend. One of the reasons for this is due to the fact that appraisals can sometimes use older comparable data, and some of these comps may even be six months old or older. In many areas, market conditions can change dramatically within a few months, so older comparable data will not provide a reasonable listing price.

Consumer Preference Is Important In Valuation

Appraisals are generally objective, and they take into account property age, size, room layout, and other physical factors. However, consumers who are in the market to purchase a new home will also take into account other factors like how desirable the location is, the style of the home and smaller designer touches that the appraiser will not typically take into account. This can all affect the actual listing price, and these are all factors that a real estate agent will take into account.

Properties May Have Special Features That Affect Valuation

Appraisers only have access to specific information when reviewing comps, and they therefore cannot take into account special features that a property has that may affect value. For example, upgraded appliances, a security system, a new HVAC system and other features may increase value, but the appraiser may not take these into consideration. A real estate agent will review all aspects of the home to help determine a fair and reasonable asking price for the home.

Valuation is an important factor in many homeowners' decisions about whether to sell now or sell later. Those who are interested in learning about the value of their property should reach out to their trusted real estate broker, Wayne turner at 985-626-1313, for assistance.

Did You Know? The Location of Your Home Plays a Role in Your Selling Price - Here's Why One of the most common questions homeowners have before listing their home for sale relates to the selling price. Understanding the value of the home is about far more than just comparing the square footage of the space with other homes that have recently sold in the area. While there are many factors that will play a part in a selling price, location is an important factor for several different reasons.

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Neighboring Properties

The properties that are located next to the home for sale are critical to the property value. For example, a home that is located next to a park or a beautifully maintained home may have more appeal than a home located next to a strip center or a gas station. Even with homes that are located just a block or two apart, this difference in adjacent properties can have a dramatic impact on properties values.

Safety Concerns

When a home is located in an unsafe area or an area that is riddled with crime, safety concerns can lower property values. Many home buyers will review crime statistics about a location before making a buying decision, and high crime areas are far less appealing to buyers. Properties are ultimately only worth what someone will pay for them, and buyers may overwhelming opt to purchase homes in safer locations unless the sales price is lowered.

Vehicular and Pedestrian Traffic

There are some advantages to being in an area with heavy vehicular or pedestrian traffic, such as if you live in an urban area and are searching for a property that offers this lifestyle. When a home is located in heavily trafficked areas in a suburban or rural location where a quieter way of life is desired, these can be drawbacks that impact the selling price. If one home is located on a busy street corner and another similar home is located a few blocks away removed from traffic, the home with a more desirable location will typically have a higher selling price.

Desirability is often directly related to property location, and homes in more desirable locations will therefore have a higher selling price than those in an undesirable location. For those who are thinking about selling a property soon and who want to learn more about its value, a consultation with your trusted real estate agent can provide you with helpful information.

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Turner Real Estate Group - 111 N. Causeway Blvd., Suite 101, Mandeville, LA 70448.  985-626-1313. 
Broker licensed in Louisiana and Tennessee. Sales Associates licensed in Louisiana.
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