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Wednesday, October 16, 2019   /   by Shaun Radcliffe

What FICO® Score Do You Need to Qualify for a Mortgage?

While a recent announcement from CNBC shares that the average national FICO® score has reached an all-time high of 706, the good news for potential buyers is that you don’t need a score that high to qualify for a mortgage. Let’s unpack the credit score myth so you can to become a homeowner sooner than you may think.
With today’s low interest rates, many believe now is a great time to buy – and rightfully so! Fannie Mae recently noted that 58% of Americans surveyed say it is a good time to buy. Similarly, the Q3 2019 HOME Survey by the National Association of Realtors said 63% of people believe now is a good time to buy a home. Unfortunately, fear and misinformation often hold qualified and motivated buyers back from taking the leap into homeownership.
According to the same CNBC article,

“For the first time, the average national credit score has reached 706, according to FICO® ...

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Thursday, October 10, 2019   /   by Shaun Radcliffe

Homeownership is the Top Contributor to Your Net Worth

Many people plan to build their net worth by buying CDs or stocks, or just having a savings account. Recently, however, Economist Jonathan Eggleston and Survey Statistician Donald Hays, both of the U.S. Census Bureau, shared the biggest determinants of wealth,

“The biggest determinants of household wealth [are] owning a home and having a retirement account.” (Shown in the graph below):

This does not come as a surprise, as we often mention that homeownership can help you to increase your family’s wealth. This study reinforces that idea,

“Net worth is an important indicator of economic well-being and provides insights into a household’s economic health.”

Having equity in your home can help your family move in that direction, building toward substantial financial growth. According to the report noted above, people are not only creating net worth in the homes they live i ...

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Thursday, October 3, 2019   /   by Shaun Radcliffe

3 Signs the Housing Market Is on the Rebound

The residential real estate market has been plodding along for most of the year. However, three recent reports show the market may be on the verge of a rebound:
1. Existing Home Sales (closed sales) are up, marking two consecutive months of growth.
2. Pending Home Sales (contracts signed) are up with each of the four major regions reporting both month-over-month growth and year-over-year gains in contract activity. Here is the month-over-month growth:


The Northeast rose 0.7%




The Midwest increased 0.6%




The South increased 1.4%




The West grew 3.1%


3. Buyer Traffic (the number of people shopping for a home) is up compared to the same time last year, and for the first time in 13 months.


The Northeast is up 5.9%




The Midwest increased 1.3%




The South is up 2.7%




The West grew 2.2%


In their most recent report, ShowingTime Chief Analytics Officer, Daniil Cherkasskiy explained:

&ldq ...

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Tuesday, October 1, 2019   /   by Shaun Radcliffe

What to Expect from Your Home Inspection

You made an offer and it was accepted. Your next task is to have the home inspected prior to closing. Agents often recommend you make your offer contingent upon a clean home inspection.
This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price you offered for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or in some cases, walk away if challenges arise. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed.
How to Choose an Inspector
Your agent will most likely have a short list of inspectors they’ve worked with in the past to recommend to you. HGTV suggests you consider the following five areas when choosing the right home inspector for you:
1. Qualifications – Find out what’s included in your inspection and if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.
2. Sample Reports – Ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your d ...

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Thursday, September 26, 2019   /   by Shaun Radcliffe

Homeowners Are Happy! Renters? Not So Much.

When people talk about homeownership and the American Dream, much of the conversation revolves around the financial benefits of owning a home. However, two recent studies show that the non-financial benefits might be even more valuable.
In a recent survey, Bank of America asked homeowners: “Does owning a home make you happier than renting?” 93% of the respondents answered yes, while only 7% said no. The survey also revealed:


More than 80% said they wouldn’t go back to renting




88% agreed that buying a home is the “best decision they have ever made”




79% believed owning a home has changed them for the better


Those surveyed talked about the “emotional equity” that is built through homeownership. The study says more than half of current homeowners define a home as a place to make memories, compared to 42% who view a home as a financial investment. Besides building wealth, the su ...

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