Why Pre-approval is Key to Homebuyers in 2022

Two women in the office

You may have heard that it’s important to get pre-approved for a mortgage at the beginning of the homebuying process, but what does that really mean, and why is it so important? Especially in today’s market, with rising home prices and high buyer competition, it’s crucial to have a pre-approval letter prior to making an offer. Here’s why.

Being intentional and competitive are musts when buying a home this year. Pre-approval from a lender is the only way to know your true price range and how much money you can borrow for your loan. Just as important, being able to present a pre-approval letter shows sellers you’re a qualified buyer, something that can really help you land your dream home in an ultra-competitive market.

With limited housing inventory, there are many more buyers active in the market than there are sellers, and that’s creating some serious competition. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), homes today are receiving an average of 3.8 offers for sellers to consider. As a result, bidding wars are still common. Pre-approval gives you an advantage if you get into a multiple-offer scenario, and these days, it’s likely you will. When a seller knows you’re qualified to buy the home, you’re in a better position to potentially win the bidding war.

Freddie Mac explains:

“By having a pre-approval letter from your lender, you’re telling the seller that you’re a serious buyer, and you’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage by your lender for a specific dollar amount. In a true bidding war, your offer will likely get dropped if you don’t already have one.”

Every step you can take to gain an advantage as a buyer is crucial when today’s market is constantly changing. Interest rates are rising, prices are going up, and lending institutions are regularly updating their standards. You’re going to need guidance to navigate these waters, so it’s important to have a team of professionals such as a loan officer and a trusted real estate advisor making sure you take the right steps and can show your qualifications as a buyer when you find a home to purchase.

Bottom Line

In a competitive market with low inventory, a pre-approval letter is a game-changing piece of the homebuying process. Not only does being pre-approved bring clarity to your homebuying budget, but it shows sellers how serious you are about purchasing a home.  These are a few reasons Why Pre-approval is Key to Homebuyers in 2022

Blog Source: https://www.simplifyingthemarket.com/en/2022/01/24/why-pre-approval-is-key-for-homebuyers-in-2022/?a=800978-4fee89db2ceaecf851f9de41c34e6f3b

Key Things To Avoid After Applying for a Mortgage

Once you’ve found your dream home and applied for a mortgage, there are some key things to keep in mind before you close. It’s exciting to start thinking about moving in and decorating your new place, but before you make any large purchases, move your money around, or make any major life changes, be sure to consult your lender – someone who’s qualified to explain how your financial decisions may impact your home loan.

Here’s a list of things you shouldn’t do after applying for a mortgage. They’re all important to know – or simply just good reminders – for the process.

1. Don’t Deposit Cash into Your Bank Accounts Before Speaking with Your Bank or Lender.

Lenders need to source your money, and cash isn’t easily traceable. Before you deposit any amount of cash into your accounts, discuss the proper way to document your transactions with your loan officer.

2. Don’t Make Any Large Purchases Like a New Car or Furniture for Your Home.

New debt comes with new monthly obligations. New obligations create new qualifications. People with new debt have higher debt-to-income ratios. Since higher ratios make for riskier loans, qualified borrowers may end up no longer qualifying for their mortgage.

3. Don’t Co-Sign Other Loans for Anyone.

When you co-sign, you’re obligated. With that obligation comes higher debt-to-income ratios as well. Even if you promise you won’t be the one making the payments, your lender will have to count the payments against you.

4. Don’t Change Bank Accounts.

Remember, lenders need to source and track your assets. That task is much easier when there’s consistency among your accounts. Before you transfer any money, speak with your loan officer.

5. Don’t Apply for New Credit.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a new credit card or a new car. When you have your credit report run by organizations in multiple financial channels (mortgage, credit card, auto, etc.), your FICO® score will be impacted. Lower credit scores can determine your interest rate and possibly even your eligibility for approval.

6. Don’t Close Any Credit Accounts.

Many buyers believe having less available credit makes them less risky and more likely to be approved. This isn’t true. A major component of your score is your length and depth of credit history (as opposed to just your payment history) and your total usage of credit as a percentage of available credit. Closing accounts has a negative impact on both of those determinants of your score.

7.  Don’t change jobs or pay.

You may think changing jobs to where you make more money will be beneficial, but wait until you close on your home or it may mess with the underwriting process and the type of loan you get.  Also, do not change your hours at work until you close.  This could affect your debt to income ratio and your loan could be denied.

Bottom Line

Any blip in income, assets, or credit should be reviewed and executed in a way that ensures your home loan can still be approved. If your job or employment status has changed recently, share that with your lender as well. The best plan is to fully disclose and discuss your intentions with your loan officer before you do anything financial in

Blog Source: https://www.simplifyingthemarket.com/en/2021/12/27/key-things-to-avoid-after-applying-for-a-mortgage/?a=800978-4fee89db2ceaecf851f9de41c34e6f3b

5 Tips for Making Your Best Offer on a Home

An attractive blond overweight woman with laptop at home.

As a buyer in a sellers’ market, sometimes it can feel like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. When you’re ready to make an offer on a home, remember these five easy tips to help you rise above the competition.

1. Know Your Budget

Knowing your budget and what you can afford is critical to your success as a homebuyer. The best way to understand your numbers is to work with a lender so you can get pre-approved for a loan. As Freddie Mac puts it:

“This pre-approval allows you to look for a home with greater confidence and demonstrates to the seller that you are a serious buyer.”

Showing sellers you’re serious can give you a competitive edge, and it helps you act quickly when you’ve found your perfect home.

2. Be Ready To Move Fast

Homes are selling quickly in today’s competitive housing market. According to the Existing Home Sales Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR):

“Eighty-three percent of homes sold in November 2021 were on the market for less than a month.”

When houses are selling this fast, staying on top of the market and moving quickly are key. Your agent can help you put together and submit your best offer as soon as you find the home you want to buy.

3. Lean on a Real Estate Professional

No matter what the housing market looks like, rely on a trusted real estate advisor. As Freddie Mac also notes:

“The success of your homebuying journey largely depends on the company you keep. . . . Be sure to select experienced, trusted professionals who will help you make informed decisions and avoid any pitfalls.”

Agents are experts in the local real estate market. They have insight into what’s worked for other buyers in your area and what sellers may be looking for in an offer. It may seem simple, but catering to what a seller needs can help your offer stand out.

4. Make a Strong, but Fair Offer

According to the latest Realtors Confidence Index from NAR, 40% of offers today are above the list price. In such a competitive market, emotions and prices can run high. Having an agent to help you submit a strong, yet fair offer is critical in these situations. Your agent can help you understand the market value of the home and recent sales trends in the area.

5. Be a Flexible Negotiator

When putting together an offer, your trusted real estate advisor will help you consider which levers you can pull, including contract contingencies (conditions you set that the seller must meet for the purchase to be finalized). Of course, there are certain contingencies you don’t want to give up. Freddie Mac explains:

“Resist the temptation to waive the inspection contingency, especially in a hot market or if the home is being sold ‘as-is’, which means the seller won’t pay for repairs. Without an inspection contingency, you could be stuck with a contract on a house you can’t afford to fix.”

Bottom Line

Today’s competitive landscape makes it more important than ever to make a strong offer on a home. Let’s connect to make sure you rise to the top along the way.

Blog Source: https://www.simplifyingthemarket.com/en/2021/12/28/5-tips-for-making-your-best-offer-on-a-home/?a=800978-4fee89db2ceaecf851f9de41c34e6f3b

Keep your home cool when the temperature rises

Is your air conditioner just not quite cutting it? Here are some suggestions on how to help keep your home cool when the temperature rises.

Install ceiling fan

Install Ceiling Fans

By installing ceiling fans, you create air movement that helps cool down a room. This will help you avoid dropping the temperature on the thermostat and the costs associated with it. Also, in the summer months, make sure to have your ceiling fan going counterclockwise.

Close those Blinds

If you have windows that receive direct sunlight, you will benefit from closing those blinds and curtains during those times. Try turning your blinds upwards to help prevent the sun’s rays from sneaking through.

A Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat can really help keep your home cool and save money on energy costs too! If you plan on being out of the house all day, you can program your thermostat to reduce the temperature a few degrees before you come home. This way when you arrive it’s nice and cool without wasting energy all day.

Grill More

This is definitely one tip I can get behind. When the temperatures go up, step outside and grill your meals. This can cut the heat in your kitchen by not using the oven or stove.

Summer Maintenance Tasks To Tackle

Power wash (1)

Now that summer is here and we are trying to get back to our “normal” lives and enjoy all that summer has to offer, there are a few maintenance tasks from realtor.com you should check off your list. I know, WHO wants to do that? However, these will help you in the long run and possibly help with costly repairs.

1. Power-wash your house

Power washing your house doesn’t mean just the home itself. You can hit the driveway, patio, deck, and pool area. Just make sure you do your research before power washing. You don’t want to accidentally damage your property by using the wrong pressure on the wrong materials. 

If you are thinking about selling your home, power washing is a great way to freshen it up for potential buyers.

2. Give your air conditioner a checkup

Your air conditioner will be working overtime this summer. Be proactive and regularly switch out the filters and clean the condenser unit. You can tackle this yourself, or if you don’t feel comfortable you can call in a technician to do this for you. 

3. Spruce up your home’s exterior

Summer is a good time to inspect your siding and landscaping. Check your siding for previous storm damage, sap, wear and tear, and clean (See #1 above) and repair. Trim the shrubs and trees, especially if there is anything hanging over the home or rubbing the siding. Don’t forget the yard too. You can fertilize and dethatch your lawn to help promote circulation of air, water, and nutrients to the soil. 

4. Replace or fix up exterior doors

A little bit of wear and tear over time is expected, but if they are old, worn out, or you can’t clean them, it may be time to replace them. Check the weatherstripping to make sure it will be keeping the cool air in and the hot summer air out.

5. Check on ceiling fans and windows

Clean ceiling fans and change them to a counterclockwise rotation. This will help drive cool air toward the floor and cool your room’s temperature. As far as windows go, check to make sure there are no leaks where you might be letting your cool air escape. If your window needs to be resealed, you could do this yourself or call a professional to have this done.

6. Keep an eye on the roof and gutters after storms

Lastly, check the roof and gutters. Make sure there are no cracked, curled, or missing shingles. Replace if necessary. Then, while checking out the roof, inspect those gutters. Debris can quickly fill them up and possibly cause damage. Don’t forget to check out both the roof and gutters after storms as well.

Pool Safety

Pool Safety

The hot days have arrived and one of the best feelings is enjoying a nice pool. But the pleasure of swimming also comes with risks, especially for children. Below are some tips from HealthyChildren.org to help make sure you are practicing pool safety.

Pool Fences

Fences are good for above-ground (portable or permanent), inground pools, and even hot tubs.

Here are some different pool fence recommendations:

  • 4 feet, 4 sides. The pool fence should be at least 4 feet high and completely surround the pool, separating it from the house and the rest of the yard.
  • Climb-proof. The fence shouldn’t have any footholds, handholds, or objects such as lawn furniture or play equipment the child could use to climb over the fence. Chain-link fences are very easy to climb and are not recommended as pool fences. (If they are used, make sure openings are 1¾ inches or smaller in size).
  • Slat space. To ensure a small child can’t squeeze through the fence, make sure vertical slats have no more than 4 inches of space between them. This will also help keep small pets safe, too.
  • Latch height. The fence should have a self-closing and self-latching gate that only opens out, away from the pool area. The latch should be out of a child’s reach—at least 54 inches from the ground.
  • Gate locked, toy-free. When the pool is not in use, make sure the gate is locked. Keep toys out of the pool area when it is not in use.

Pool Alarm – A drowning child is rarely heard

Besides a fence, you can add additional protection such as a pool alarm or gate and door alarms.

  • Pool alarms. Children can drown within seconds, with barely a splash. Swimming pool alarms can detect waves on the water’s surface and sound off to attract attention when someone has fallen into the pool.
  • Consider alarms on the pool fence gate and house doors. Door and gate alarms can be equipped with touchpads to let adults pass through without setting them off. House doors should be locked if a child could get to the pool through them.
  • Window guards. These can be especially helpful for windows on the house that face the pool.

What Else Can You Do

Even with fences and alarms, you should take some additional precautions.

Here are some that may help:

  • Assign a water watcher. His or her job is to watch all children swimming or playing in or NEAR water―such as on a backyard swing set―even if they know how to swim. This person should:
    • not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol
    • put down his or her cell phone
    • avoid other activities
    • supervise even if there are lifeguards
    • switch off with another adult for breaks
  • Life jackets: Put your child in a properly fitted US Coast Guard approved life jacket when around or near water, such as when visiting a home with a pool.
  • Swim lessons. The AAP recommends swim lessons as a layer of protection against drowning that can begin for many children starting at age 1. Learn more here.
  • CPR training. Parents, caregivers, and pool owners should know CPR and how to get emergency help. Keep equipment approved by the U.S. Coast Guard, such as life preservers and life jackets at poolside.
  • Check the water first. If a child is missing, look for him or her in the pool or spa first. This is especially important if your child is prone to wandering.

Have Fun!

Even though this list does not include the thousands of possible recommendations for pool safety, we hope it will remind you to stay vigilant around the pool. Knowing you have done everything you can do to keep everyone safe, remember to enjoy and have fun!


4 Bedroom Improvements That Will Help You Sell Your Home Faster—and for More Money

Are you ready to sell your home, but you feel it may need some improvements?

Buyers today are looking for spaces that versatile, open, and clean.

1. Change lighting

Brighten up any space by adding new light fixtures and light bulbs.

By adding bright, white, LED lights, you can make a room seem much bigger than before. LED lights are also more energy efficient.

Another option, if it is within your budget, is smart lighting.  Voice control lightning is a great option.


2. Organize your closet

A simple task like cleaning out your closet and adding a closet organizer will bring instant value to your home. Decluttering your closet will make it seem larger than before as well.

It is also a visual of how the new home owners can neatly store their own clothes in the future without it seeming cluttered and a forgotten space hidden behind a door.


3. Make a versatile space

Home offices are a must-have these days.

You can easily stage spare bedrooms and other unused spaces in the home to appear as an office space. This will appeal to buyers and how they will be able to use the space and work from home as well.

Beings people may be spending more time in their homes, versatile rooms are important. Consider a small home gym or home theater.


4. Clean up the master bath

Cleaning up the master bathroom can add much value to your home. Make sure your master is neutral and clean. Adding simple decor and decluttering is a simple way to have your buyer sold.

High-cost flourishes are not necessary. Jetted tubs and huge walk-in showers are not the only way to add value.

Tips for Moving Long Distance

Moving across country

Moving long distance can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. There is so much preparation that needs to be done. Read some of the tips below from MyMovingReviews to help make your move a little more stress free.


  1. Take full control of your preparation time

CREATE a personal moving checklist to guide you throughout the preparation stage.

POPULATE that moving calendar with personalized tasks – to-do things that relate to your specific relocation circumstances.

SORT OUT those move-related tasks in order of importance – that is, write first the jobs you must finish no matter what.

GET good ideas about what your moving timeline should contain by accessing the greatest moving checklist ever created, offered for free.


  1. Get in-home long distance moving estimates

REQUEST multiple in-home moving estimates from top-rated long distance movers in your town or city.

SAY NO! to moving companies that try to give you quotes over the phone.

SHOW the moving experts the items you have for moving and have them calculate the moving price precisely. Ask the moving experts for accurate binding estimates in writing.


  1. Hire the best long distance movers

COMPARE the received cost estimates in terms of pricing, additional moving services, and general conditions.

READ moving companies reviews to check how reputable those movers are in the eyes of their former customers.

CHECK their active membership and standing with the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) and their proper accreditation by the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

PICK the long distance mover that best fits your budget and fulfills your expectations.


  1. Inventory your home and sort your items

INVENTORY your entire home by going from room to room and writing down all the household items found in each one.

USE modern technology to your aid. Save precious inventorying time with MoveAdvisor – a powerful moving app that features a state-of-the-art home inventory checklist tool.

SORT OUT your possessions into four categories: MOVE, SELL, DONATE, RECYCLE.


  1. Decide what to with your furniture

ASSESS the furniture pieces you have in your home. Do you REALLY have to move them all the way to another part of the country?

BEAR in mind that most pieces of furniture are heavy, and the long distance moving cost is calculated based on the total shipment weight.

DO the math – unless you own antique furniture or priceless sets, it’ll be cheaper to leave the majority of your furniture behind and buy new after the move.


  1. Get rid of all unwanted items

CUT your moving costs drastically by taking only the things you will need in the future. More stuff to move means more money out of your own pocket.

DECIDE whether to take or leave something by following the 1-year rule: if you haven’t used an item for more than 12 months, then you don’t really need it.

SELL the things that still have any commercial value, either online or at a garage sale before the move.

GIFT to friends or DONATE to charity the lightly-used items you’re not taking with you.


  1. Get hold of packing supplies, including free moving boxes

BE mindful that you can’t pack up your things safely without the proper packing supplies: cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, stretch wrap, packing paper, and tape.

GET hold of the packing materials in advance to prevent time-wasting interruptions when packing for a move.

SAVE money by getting your hands on free moving boxes – cardboard boxes of various sizes obtained for free from friends, local businesses, recycling centers, or online.


  1. Use a good packing timeline

ORGANIZE the packing job perfectly by following a detailed packing timeline – the only way to use your packing time effectively.

BREAK the home packing process into more manageable and meaningful mini-tasks so that you can keep your packing motivation fairly high.

ASSIGN deadlines to each packing job so that you can monitor your packing process more accurately.

GET good ideas for your own packing calendar from our super-detailed PACKING TIMELINE.


  1. Start packing without delay

START packing your things as soon your move to another part of the country becomes just a matter of time.

FOLLOW your packing timeline closely because each completed mini-task will reduce the buildup of additional stress as Moving day approaches.

INITIATE the packing job from the rooms and areas that are the hardest ones to sort and pack. In most cases, those will be the storage areas in your home – garage, basement, attic, closet.


  1. Get professional or non-professional packing help

REACH OUT to your friends and ask them to help you pack, especially if you know you’ve fallen behind your packing schedule.

CALL OUT for friendly packing backup as early as possible to minimize the disruption of your pals’ previous plans.

HIRE professional packers if time is running dangerously short and you’re unable to gather up your loyal friends to help you out.


  1. Prepare essentials boxes

PACK a few boxes with absolute essentials – useful things to have with you while you’re separated from the rest of your belongings.

HAVE each family member pack their own Survival Kit with their set of essential items inside.

KEEP all essentials boxes with you – make sure they don’t get loaded into the movers’ truck by mistake.


  1. Do not pack items forbidden for transport

DO NOT pack any household items that are hazardous in nature – flammable (combustible), corrosive, or explosive. Also, interstate moving companies are not allowed to transport perishable foods, plants, pets, and irreplaceable items.

REQUEST the list of non-allowed items from your chosen long distance mover before you start packing up.

CONSULT with the complete list of things movers won’t move so that you know what not to pack when moving across the country.


  1. Observe safety when packing

CHECK carefully your cardboard boxes for any signs of damage. All your moving boxes should be strong, clean, dry and infestation-free.

TAPE the bottom and sides of each cardboard box before filling it up, even if the box looks sturdy enough.

STAY below the maximum weight capacity for each cardboard box. As a rule of thumb, you should not make your boxes heavier than 50 pounds.


  1. Label all your moving boxes

DO NOT underestimate the importance of labeling your boxes. If you do, you will lose precious time locating and identifying all unmarked boxes after the move.

LABEL each box on at least two of its sides as soon as you’re done packing it. Write down its contents, destination room, and special handling instructions, if any.

DESIGNATE a different color for each destination room, either through the use of color markers or multicolor labels.


  1. Save money on your long distance move

FIND affordable cross-country movers by requesting free long distance moving quotes and comparing their moving rates and services.

REDUCE the number of items you’re moving to a minimum – no need to pay for the transportation of things you’ll never use again.

PACK UP your things on your own to save from not having to pay professional packers. Ask friends to help you pack if you’re running short on time.


  1. Prepare your pets for a long distance move

TAKE your pet to the veterinary office for a thorough checkup. You need to know that your pet is ready for the long journey ahead.

MOVE your cat, dog, bird or another pet animal you may have in your own car – that’s the best transportation method for your animal friend. If that’s not a viable option, then take your pet on a flight with you or hire specialized pet movers for the job.


  1. Change your home utilities

THINK about whether you’ll need all of the utilities you’re enjoying at the moment – electricity, water and sewage, gas, Internet, cable TV, telephone, waste removal, etc.

CONTACT your utility companies to arrange for the disconnection of your current utilities. Do it roughly 3 weeks prior to your move-out date.

GET IN TOUCH with the new utility providers in the destination town or city and schedule the timely activation of your new-home utilities.


  1. Change your postal address

CHANGE your address with the United States Postal Service (USPS) so that you can continue to receive your mail.

START the Change of Address (COA) procedure approximately 2 weeks prior to Moving day. You can also change your address after the move.

CHOOSE the change of address method that’s most convenient for you: online, in person, by phone, or by mail.


  1. Obtain medical and school records

VISIT your family doctor and request all the necessary medical records (incl. vaccination records) and documents that you will need to register yourself and the other members of your family with a new primary care physician in the new town or city.

CONTACT the school that your school-age child attends and ask for the school records of your son or daughter. Alternatively, you can arrange for the direct transfer of those records between the two schools.


  1. Keep your valuables with you

PACK your high-value items such as jewelry pieces, important documents, portable electronic devices, collector’s items, etc. separately from the rest of your belongings.

KEEP such valuables by your side throughout the move and never let them out of your sight.

PURCHASE additional insurance for the valuable items you can’t move on your own due to their large size and weight – your brand-new 50-inch flat screen TV, for example.


  1. Guarantee moving day safety

LET professional movers do all the heavy lifting – that’s why you’re paying them, right? If you do need to lift and carry a heavy object, then use the proper lifting techniques to avoid injuries.

KEEP children and pets away from the whirlwind of dangerous activities on Moving day.

KEEP all exit paths clear of obstacles and free from excessive dust, mud, water, snow or ice.

WEAR comfortable clothes that are appropriate for the occasion and closed shoes with good ankle support and anti-slip soles.


  1. Hire a long distance car shipping company

REQUEST car shipping estimates from several reputable auto shippers with years of experience in the vehicle transportation business.

PICK one of the best long distance car shipping companies in your area. Base your decision on the cost estimates and the moving reviews of those long distance car shipping companies.

USE this car shipping checklist to prepare your car for shipping across the country.


  1. Be ready for your long distance movers

BE present in your home at the prearranged time and date to welcome your interstate movers.

SHOW the moving experts around your home and give them any specific instructions you may have. Otherwise, just let them do their job.

PROVIDE your hired workers with refreshments (non-alcoholic beverages), snacks and access to a bathroom.

PREPARE tips for your movers in case you’re satisfied with their work. How much to tip movers for a long distance move?


  1. Say goodbye to your friends

INFORM your friends of your long distance move as soon as possible to give them enough time to process the news. Do this in person, whenever possible.

ORGANIZE a goodbye party for your closest friends – don’t miss the chance to spend some quality time with the people you care about one last time before you move out.

PROMISE to keep in touch with your best friends after the move, and then make sure that you keep that promise.


  1. Prepare mentally for your long distance move

FOCUS on the positive aspects of your cross-country move rather than its negatives. Think about all the great things awaiting you at your destination.

GET familiar with the top 10 emotions when moving house so that you can be ready for those emotional stages when they come around.

STAY optimistic throughout the tough transitional period and never lose hope, even when things get really tough.

Remember that A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Fun Ideas To Add Color to Your Space (Without Painting Your Walls)

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No Paint, No Problem!

It’s amazing how painting a room a certain color can spruce up a room or create a distinct feeling you want to feel while you are in there. But it is a pretty big commitment. After you paint, you have a couple of choices… either live with it or, go through the time and expense of repainting it. But what if you could do the same thing without painting? There are lots of ways to add color without the paint (or commitment)! 

 A recent article from realtor.com outlines some ideas to add color to a room or space without the commitment of painting. Here are a few of the ideas:



Change your lighting

Something as simple as changing to a different light bulb can change things. Bulbs 2,000K to 3,000K light bulbs will cast a warmer glow making your color scheme feel cozier and inviting. Bulbs from 6,000K to 100,000K will cast a cool glow and can make a space read a little more on the blue side.


Put down a colorful rug

Adding color and patterns to a space using an area rug is a great way to incorporate new colors into an existing palette. This can have a huge impact on your room.



This is a simple yet great and cost-effective way to switch up the feel and color of your room. New or different throw pillows or blankets with bold colors can reinvigorate the space. Or try using soft florals or colors to make it feel more serene and relaxing.


Grab a bold piece of furniture

Don’t be afraid to go bold with a chair or sofa. Even if you have a vintage-looking piece with a more modern bold fabric, the mix can be eye-catching and beautiful.

If you have any questions about the home buying or selling process, reach out to any of our knowledgeable NextHome At The Lakes agents. 712-336-9999. 

How to Improve Your Credit for a Home Loan

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Improving Your Credit Score

To get the best mortgage interest rate, you will need to have good credit. If your credit is not so good, cleaning up your credit report and increasing your credit score will greatly improve your chances of getting a good rate for a home loan. If your credit score is already good, you will need to maintain it.

Check Your Credit Report

There are three things a mortgage lender will look for when you apply for a home loan.

  1. You (and your spouse) have steady income.
  2. How much are you able to put down.
  3. Do you have a good solid credit history

You can check your credit report by requesting a report from one the three credit reporting bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Federal law allows you to request one free credit report each year from each agency. You can do this by visiting annualcreditreport.com

Check Your FICO Score

Your FICO score can affect the interest rate on your loan. The lower the score, the higher your rate which can possibly cost you tens of thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.

In addition to your credit report, you can order your FICO scores from myFICO.com to get an idea of where your credit stands. You can also be able to see your scores from other sources such as credit card companies.

Dispute Inaccurate Information

Once you have your credit report, search it for any errors. Any errors or incorrect information can hurt your credit score and may cause your home loan to be denied. If any errors or incorrect information is found you can dispute it with the credit bureau. Providing documentation to support your claim of the error or incorrect information will help ensure it is removed from your report.

Pay Off Delinquent Accounts

Delinquent accounts are any late accounts, bills in collection, charge-offs, or judgments. If any of these accounts show up on your credit report, this will severely harm your chances of getting a mortgage. These accounts affect the payment history section of your credit score, which is the largest component of your score. You will need to start paying off and repairing these accounts.

Timely Payments Help Bury Delinquencies

Did you know that late payments can stay on your credit history for a whopping seven years? The damage to your credit is the worst when they first occur. If you have made a late payment, or just paid off your delinquencies, wait at least six months before applying for a mortgage. Six months of on-time payments can help your credit score start to build back up again.

Reducing Your Debt-To-Income Ratio

Your bank will look at your debt relative to your income. This is known as your debt-to-income ratio. This will compare the amount of money you have going out for debt to the money you have coming in (your income). Your bank and lender will want to see this ratio as low as possible. You will need to speak to your bank and lender to see what ratios they require to qualify for a mortgage.

There are a couple different ways to reduce your debt-to-income ratio. You can either increase your income, or the easier way is to pay down any outstanding debt you currently have. 

Don’t Incur Any New Debt

Don’t take on any new debt even if your debt-to-income ratio stays low. This includes applying for anything that can affect your credit score like credit cards, auto loans, or personal loans. You will also need to make sure you are not making any large purchases that can increase your debt. If you have any questions, always contact your mortgage lender first.

If you have any questions about the home buying or selling process, reach out to any of our knowledgeable NextHome At The Lakes agents. 712-336-9999