A bad credit score makes it hard to get a reasonable loan term, which can be a major obstacle when it comes to buying a house. Here are five things you can do to improve yours.
1. Check your credit report
False information is sometimes reported, so it’s crucial that you regularly check your credit report for mistakes. These kinds of errors can have a considerable impact on your score.
2. Optimize your credit
3. Make payments on time
When sloughing off your debts, prioritize payments by the due date if possible. Late payments count for a lot when calculating your credit score.
4. Use dormant credit
You may have a preferred card, but it’s a good idea to regularly use all the sources of credit at your disposal. This contributes to improving your score because it speaks to your ability to properly manage multiple debts.
5. Strategize debt repayment
When tackling debt, having a strategy is paramount. One example often referred to as the snowball method, consists of making the same payment every month. This will speed up the process of eliminating your debts by increasing the proportion of the principal you pay off each month.
If you follow these tips, you’ll undoubtedly improve your credit score and become a more appealing candidate for mortgage lenders. Your dream of becoming a homeowner is almost within reach.
Multi-generational living: tips to make it work
Multi-generational living is making a comeback. As more retirees choose to stay in their homes as they age, and economic trends make homeownership less accessible, an increasing number of families are choosing to live together. Here are some tips if you’re considering living in a multi-generational household.
Everyone has the right to expect a certain degree of privacy in their home and respecting it is a matter of establishing ground rules and choosing a home with the right layout.
If you’re looking for a new property for your multi-generational family, make sure to discuss the situation with your realtor. A good agent will be able to help you find the right type of house. Properties with laneways are often a good idea, as they offer built-in privacy.
Chores and upkeep
It’s a good idea to ensure every member of your household is clear on what responsibilities they have in the home. The advantage of more people living under the same roof is that upkeep tends to be easier when the work is shared.
Financial matters should be discussed sooner rather than later. Whether grownup children are moving back in with their parents or the entire family is looking for a new home, there’s an opportunity to pool resources. However, conversations about money should be had prior to the move so that everyone’s on the same page.
With a little planning and compromise, a multi-generational household can fulfill your entire family’s needs.
Virginia’s September home sales surge 35% over 2019
According to the September 2020 Home Sales Report released by Virginia REALTORS®, statewide, September home sales saw a staggering rise of 35% over September 2019.
Sales were up strongly across the Commonwealth, with the Eastern Region seeing a surge of nearly 80% over last year’s sales, the Northern Region seeing a 37% rise, and the Hampton Roads Region seeing an increase of 33%. In the Central Region, sales rose by more than 24%.
While home sales typically slow down after the summer, once school begins and families return from summer vacations, the COVID-19 pandemic has made this fall an a-typical season. “As a result of the pandemic upending the typical market patterns, the strong summer housing market surged ahead into September,” says Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist Lisa Sturtevant, PhD. “Strong demand and low mortgage rates continue to fuel robust housing market activity.”
This strong demand has had a significant impact on home prices. In September, the median home sales price statewide was $329,900, nearly 13% higher than in September 2019. Homes are also selling much faster. Homes sold in an average of 37 days in September 2020, down from 48 days a year ago.
While demand for homes continues to be high, the lack of available inventory remains the biggest constraint on the performance of Virginia’s housing market. At the end of September, there were over 40% fewer listings than the same time last year.
The Virginia Home Sales Report is published by Virginia REALTORS®. Click here to view the full September 2020 Home Sales Report. Current and past reports are available to members, media, and real estate-related industries through the organization’s website.
A guide to virtual tours
The need to implement social distancing measures has driven many businesses to find new ways to serve their clients. Realtors are no different. Here’s what you should know about virtual property tours.
Different types of tours
The term “virtual tour” can refer to either a tour of a property done via video chat or one conducted using 3D-modeling software. In a best-case scenario, these two techniques will be used in tandem to provide homebuyers with the most complete experience possible.
Tips for buyers
Tips for sellers
Sellers should get their property mapped out in 3D if possible. The popularity of virtual tours is sure to keep climbing, even after the pandemic.
Video chat visits are fairly similar to in-person ones, with the important caveat that any staging will need to take the technology into account. Kick up the lighting a notch and make an extra effort to declutter. Image quality can vary between visits, and any busy or messy areas will look worse on camera.
In addition to virtual tours, some realtors are offering virtual closing as well, adding another level of safety and convenience.
Always ask these things before hiring a real estate agent
To find the right realtor, you need to look into your options. Before you make a decision, interview a few different agents and be sure to ask the following questions.
How many homes did you sell last year?
While they may simply lack experience, realtors with few sales should be avoided. Otherwise, you may run the risk of your property staying on the market for a long time. If they work for a brokerage, make sure they report their own sales and not those of the entire company.
How long does it typically take you to sell a home?
How will you market my home?
Good realtors know that marketing is key. Your agent should have a solid strategy in place to sell your home, one that takes into account the local market conditions and any trends in your area. If their plan seems too generic or unclear, you may want to look elsewhere.
How easily will I be able to reach you?
You’ll undoubtedly have questions about how the sale is going, and it’s reasonable to expect your realtor to provide you with answers. In addition to what they tell you about staying in touch, verify whether they have an administrative assistant. If they have someone helping them manage their priorities, it’s likely they can focus more on your needs.
Lastly, make sure to investigate the realtor’s credentials. Always look up the agent you’re thinking about hiring and get at least three recent references from them.
Tips for planning a major renovation
Do you want to remodel your home so it better suits the needs of your growing family? Or maybe you hope that a major upgrade will appeal to potential buyers? Regardless of your goals, here are a few things you should do to ensure your large-scale renovation is a success.
• Determine your needs and establish a list of priorities such as creating an open-concept living space or adding a second floor
• Settle on a maximum budget and reserve a portion of the amount for unexpected expenses
• Do some research to find out whether you qualify for any home renovation rebate programs
• Obtain all the necessary permits from your municipality before you begin any work
• Consult with and hire all needed professionals such as an architect, interior designer, general contractor, and electrician
• Set a realistic timeframe in which to complete the work
• If needed, make arrangements for your family to live elsewhere during the renovations
Remember, when properly planned and completed by experienced professionals, most major home renovations offer a great return on investment.
Virginia REALTORS celebrates 100-Year Anniversary
Virginia REALTORS® is celebrating its 100-year anniversary this month. One of the largest trade associations in the Commonwealth, Virginia REALTORS® currently represents 35,000 members engaged in the residential and commercial real estate business. Virginia REALTORS® is comprised of 28 local REALTOR® associations, representing all regions of the Commonwealth.
Founded at a meeting in Richmond on October 22, 1920, Virginia REALTORS®—then the Virginia Real Estate Association—was established to standardize the real estate business, cultivate and enforce fair dealing, and encourage the business of owning, buying, selling, renting, and managing real estate in the Commonwealth. At that initial meeting, Paul T. Collins of Norfolk was elected to be the first President.
Over the past century, Virginia REALTORS® has provided industry advocacy, training, and professional resources to real estate agents, brokers, and property managers. The association aims to protect the private property rights of Virginians, advocating for the rights of real estate professionals as well as homebuyers, sellers, and renters. An ardent advocate of Fair Housing legislation, Virginia REALTORS® strives to create housing opportunities for all Virginians.
“Over the past one-hundred years, the REALTORS® of Virginia have become one of the greatest contributors to the state economy while also striving to help ensure that the American dream of homeownership and housing opportunities are available to all Virginians,” says Virginia REALTORS® 2020 President Kemper Funkhouser of Harrisonburg. “The fact that wars, depressions, recessions, and now even a global pandemic have not stopped the progress of our association is a testament to the strong foundation we have established.”
Three Past Presidents of Virginia REALTORS® have gone on to serve as President of the National Association of REALTORS®, including Dorcas Helfant-Browning who, in 1992, became the national association’s first female President.
For the health and safety of its members and staff, Virginia REALTORS® has postponed its centennial convention until the fall of 2021, when the membership will gather in Richmond, the site of the association’s founding.
About Virginia REALTORS®
NOTE: The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.