Find the Right Focal Point for Your Room

Not sure what element to make the attention getter in your room? Find some great choices here.

Houzz Contributor, Gabrielle Di Stefano

Well-designed rooms often have a focal point — the first thing your eye sees when you enter. Choosing the right item to emphasize sets the tone and mood for a space. Whether it’s an architectural feature, a texture, a color or a light fixture, putting the spotlight on one of these elements will help create a visually interesting and pleasing interior. But what’s the best way to do this? Here are some ways to create a focal point that doesn’t dominate or compete with other objects in a space.

 

Architectural feature. A central element, like this fireplace, can help you position your furniture in a room. Notice how the furniture in this space revolves around the fireplace. The stone surround also sets the color tone for the sofa, chairs and drapes.

Getting the size of the architectural element right in the room is vital. If it’s too big, it can look and feel uncomfortable. If it’s too small, your furniture will become the focal point, taking away from the main feature.

Read more about scale

 

Artwork. This painting is positioned perfectly — centered between the two doors, above the console — to create an instant focal point that allows the rest of the room to shine.

The size and tone of your art are important. Choose a painting with the appropriate scale for your space, in tones that stand out and draw the eye in but don’t clash with the rest of the room. One large, bold piece of art looks fantastic against a neutral wall and furniture. A series of prints can make an impact too, whether they’re framed identically or have an eclectic mix of frames.

 

View. When you have a view like this, use your home’s architecture to emphasize it and make it as big and grand as possible. This oversize window instantly makes the forest view the best focal point this room could have.

Choose simple furniture to complement a dream view like this. The minimalist bed and furniture allow the window to truly shine.

Revamp your space with a new bed

 

Texture. Add texture to create a focal point in a monochromatic color scheme, giving your room character and depth. Smooth, shiny objects will give off a cool vibe, while soft, raised textures add more warmth. This kitchen’s neutral, minimalist palette immediately draws the eye to the texture and color of the counter-to-ceiling backsplash. The tile finish glistens against the stainless steel appliances.

Find new tile that makes a statement

 

Pattern. Pattern can be a striking focal point. If a room is lacking in architectural features, use a more permanent, patterned finish — like tile or stone — as a bold statement.

The organic, flowing pattern and subtle color of the granite feature wall carries this powder room — no need for other decorative elements. Clever backlighting highlights the stone and emphasizes the floating vanity top.

Highlighting the ceiling with wallpaper adds interest and character to a room. Directing the eye upward also makes the room look bigger.

 

 

Color. Narrow hallways can feel dull, but painting the doors a gutsy color and adding texture with studs created multiple focal points in this one.

Pay attention to how you can use color on your home’s architectural elements to draw the eye to or away from certain parts of your home. Notice how emphasizing the skirting in this hallway with bright turquoise leads the eye from door to door.

One bold item, such as a colorful striped rug, instantly sets a playful mood. This look works particularly well in contemporary rooms with little or no architectural detailing.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Posted on September 11, 2017 at 8:23 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: appliances, Buyers, buying, curb appeal, Homeowners, interior decorating, kitchens, Location, maximizing space, outdoors, projects, real estate, selling, staging, views | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Not Getting the Media Coverage You Want? 3 Tips on Getting Free Publicity in the News

If you were at a cocktail party, standing with a group of people, what is the one thing about your company that is going to make everyone want to know more?

<– Go back to the Real Advantages home page

Public relations was a hot topic at the recent Inman Connect San Francisco. And it’s no surprise why: PR can be a powerful promotional tool for a business to gain free exposure in their local news. Yet often real estate companies are not using PR in their marketing mix, give up after a few unsuccessful attempts of not getting coverage or confusing PR with advertising.

PR is earned media – not paid media. The core difference is that advertising is pay for play, where you are in control.  If you can afford to pay for the placement of an advertisement, you control the message, you control when its distributed, and you control how long it’s out in the marketplace. In PR, the control is in the hands of the media.  The reporter and media outlet control if and when it will run, how that story will be written or edited, and who else will participate in it.  In PR you have to “earn” your way in by “pitching” media on an idea and convincing them why a particular story is worthy of coverage and why you should be interviewed for that story.

Coldwell Banker can help you navigate through the complexities of PR. Here are 3 tricks of the trade for generating media exposure in real estate:

IT’S A 24/7 NEWS WORLD. Take advantage of this by using your MLS data and packaging it up with the monthly National Association of Realtors (NAR) Existing Home Sales report. Around the third week of each month, NAR issues national real estate data.  Not only is this information of national interest, but you also can give it local appeal by adding those same data points from your MLS – things like average home price, inventory levels and time on market. When you compare the national numbers to the local numbers, ask yourself: Is your average sales price up or down compared to the nation? Are your days on market longer or shorter? These comparisons are a great way to “localize” the story.  There isn’t an easier way to position yourself and your company as the premier source of local real estate information to the media and its readers/viewers.

BREAK THROUGH THE NOISE. Reporters are inundated with story ideas, so make sure your pitch or press release stands out. For example, if you’re opening a new office somewhere in town, don’t write the traditional press release announcing the opening of this office. Why not paint a bigger picture? What’s happening in that area of town? Has there been recent construction for new commercial development? New home developments? Interstate/highway expansion? Population growth in this area? You will have to do a little research, but packaging up your new office opening with a larger story of city/neighborhood growth could increase your chances of actually getting coverage. Yes, the story won’t be exclusively about your new office (let’s be honest that story was never going to run anyway), but now you might get included in the larger story as a source and potentially getting your company mentioned as a part of that growth story.

TELL THE RIGHT STORY OF A HOME. Coldwell Banker Global Luxury represents some of the world’s most stunning homes that generate national media coverage. The key to getting the media’s attention when it comes to covering a luxury or notable listing is getting outside the listing description model for a press release. Is the owner someone notable? Use the first 50 words to tell that story. If the owner isn’t going to generate headlines, then use that headline and opening paragraph to tell the story of the uniqueness of the property. Does it have smart home or green features? Can you look out a window to see something no one else in town gets to see? Is there some historic element to the house waiting to be shared? Bottom line: If you were at a cocktail party and standing with a group of people, what is the one thing about this house that is going to make everyone want to know more? Use that element as your pitch to the media.

Looking for more tips on how to get the most of your real estate PR, visit CB Exchange and search “public relations.”

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Posted on September 5, 2017 at 8:28 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Buyers, community, Entertainment, Homeowners, market trends, media, organization, real estate, research, social media, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Tips to Selling an Inherited Property

Selling an inherited house can be draining. Coldwell Banker gives 4 tips on how to successfully prepare, organize and sell your inherited house.

One difficult topic real estate agents routinely have to discuss is about selling an inherited home from a parent when they pass away. It is a situation that is an overwhelming experience, one filled with emotions and many questions. While talking about it is difficult, it is smart to be prepared. This includes having conversations as a family to determine who will be included in the will to inherit the home, where the deed to the home is kept and where other paperwork is located.

After the estate has been settled and the home received as an inheritance, deciding to sell, rent or keep the home is the first step which will help determine what to do next. For those who decide to sell the home, it is a good idea to work with a team of professionals including a lawyer and a real estate agents who can offer advice and guidance throughout the process.

Although each situation is unique, the professionals at Coldwell Banker have provided the following four tips to help prepare to sell an inherited home:

Assemble a strong team of professionals. Working with a real estate agent, lawyer and potentially a tax specialist can help make the process of selling an inherited property go more smoothly. A team of professionals can give the guidance necessary to prepare the home for sale and get all of the affairs in order. A real estate agent can offer crucial, local market information that is especially helpful if the heir does not live nearby. Lawyers and tax specialists can help put all of the processes in order to ensure that selling the home is as easy on you and your family as possible.

Do a home walk through and get organized. Going from room to room and looking at everything from the condition of the floors to how fresh the paint looks can help determine what may need to be done to the home to help it sell more quickly. If the inherited property is older, a home inspection is important before making any decisions as there may be certain systems that need renovations. Equally important is to gather all of the necessary paperwork such as the deed to the home as well as researching whether there are any mortgages on the inherited property that need to be paid. Even if the original mortgage was paid off, a reverse mortgage may have been negotiated to help cover expenses. Also looking into local property taxes and when they were last paid is important.

Have the home appraised and price it correctly. Property received as an inheritance is not considered to be income by the beneficiary. The adjusted basis of a home is its fair market value at the time it was inherited, so it is important to get an accurate appraisal of the home. A real estate agent can also provide counsel on an appropriate listing price to match market value. Out-of-town beneficiaries can also find it difficult to select competent appraisers, inspectors and other professionals to assist in the home selling process, all of which a real estate agent can assist with.

Consider staging or other cosmetic improvements. Although not necessary in all markets or price ranges, home staging can be the difference in getting a home sold in a price-competitive market. An inherited property may not be furnished in the style of other local homes on the market selling at a similar price. A real estate agent can help determine whether or not home staging is a good fit for a specific situation. They may also suggest making home design improvements such as repainting rooms and/or landscaping the yard or other parts of the property. Make sure the lawn and landscaping look good and that the exterior of the house is in good condition. Low curb appeal can keep potential buyers from researching a home they may otherwise love. Perhaps most importantly, having an experienced real estate agent to answer questions quickly and accurately frees up time to devote to other activities and events.

Find more information on selling your home on the Coldwell Banker Blue Matter blog.

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter blog

Posted on August 8, 2017 at 9:45 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: appraisal, Bidding, buying, Charity, closing, closing costs, curb appeal, distressed properties, Homeowners, investor, market trends, mortgage, open houses, real estate, Sellers Market, selling, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CBKG’s Guide to Best Ever 4th of July Family Fun Events!!!

 

Come check out CBKG’s guide to the BEST 4th of July Celebrations in our area.

Lots of fun to had here people!  Let’s Get out there and Celebrate!

 

 

Suisun City Independence Day Spectacular
Where: Suisun City, Harbor Plaza in the Waterfront District
When: July 4, 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.; Fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
>> Details

 

Picnic in the Park and Fireworks
Where: Benicia, Benicia City Park
When: July 4, noon – 7 p.m., Fireworks at 9 p.m.
>> Details
 

Six Flags Discovery Harbor July 4th Fest
Where: Vallejo, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
When: July 2, 3 & 4, 10:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Fireworks all 3 nights at 9:30 p.m.
>> Details

 

Vacaville 4th of July Fireworks & Creekside Concert
Where: Vacaville, Andrews Park
When: July 4, 6:30 p.m., Fireworks at dusk
>> Details
 

Fairfield Independence Day Parade
Where: Fairfield, Texas Street, downtown Fairfield
When: July 4, 10:00 a.m.
>> Details

 

Napa County Fair & Fireworks
Where: Calistoga, Napa County Fairgrounds
When: July 4, 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Parade at 11:00 a.m. Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
>> Details
 

Watch A’s Fireworks From the Field
Where: O.co Coliseum
When: July 2, after the A’s play the Pirates there will be a special “Salute to Armed Forces Fireworks.”
>> Details

 

Celebrate Concord 4th of July
Where: Downtown Concord, Todos Santos Plaza
When: July 4, 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.; 5K/Kids run at 8 a.m., parade at 10 a.m., festival at 4 p.m. and fireworks at 9 p.m.
>> Details
 

Alameda County Fair 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular
Where: Alameda County Fair, Pleasanton
When: July 4, Fireworks at 9:30 p.m. featuring the Oakland Symphony
>> Details

 

Vallejo 4th of July Parade
Where: Vallejo, Downtown Vallejo
When: July 4, 12:00 a.m.
>> Details
 

American Canyon 4th of July Festivities
Where: American Canyon, Community Park II
When: July 4, 10:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., Parade at 10:30 a.m. Fireworks at 9 p.m.
>> Details

 

Dixon’s Family 4th of July in Hall Park
Where: Dixon, Hall Park
When: July 4, 8:00 p.m., Fireworks at dusk
>> Details
 

Antioch’s An Old Fashioned Hometown 4th of July
Where: Antioch, Downtown Antioch & Contra Costa County Fairgrounds
When: July 4, 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., Parade at 11:00 a.m., Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
>> Details

West Sacramento Fourth on the Field
Where: West Sacramento, Rayley Field
When: July 4, 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m..
>> Details
 

Pleasant Hill Fourth of July Celebration
Where: Pleasant Hill, Downtown Pleasant Hill & PH Aquatic Park & College Park High School
When: July 4, 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., Firecracker 5k fun Run at 8:00 a.m. Parade at 9:30 a.m., Fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
>> Details

 

Napa 4th of July Festival & Fireworks
Where: Napa, Downtown Napa & Oxbow Commons & Veterans Park
When: July 4, 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Parade at 10:00 a.m., Festival at 1:00 p.m., Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
>> Details
 

Folsom Pro Rodeo
Where: Folsom, Dan Russell Rodeo Arena
When: July 1-3, 6:00 p.m. – midnight. Gates open at 6:00 p.m., Live music at 9:45 p.m.
>> Details

 

Sacramento Independence Day Celebration
Where: Sacramento, Cal Expo
When: July 4, 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Gates open at 5:00 p.m., Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
>> Details
   
Posted on June 28, 2017 at 1:19 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: 4th of July, BBQ, Celebrate, community, Dixon, Fairfield, Family Fun, Festivals, Fireworks, grill, Parades, real estate, Rodeo, Suisun City, Uncategorized, Vacaville | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Millennials Are All About the Online Experience—Except in Real Estate

There is just no doubt about it…the millennial generation is impacting real estate sales in a huge way. This generation prefers the tried and true method of one on one communication and trust building in person with their Realtor as opposed to an online agent. Read on!

When it comes to interacting with businesses, millennials are all about the online experience—except, a new survey shows, when in need of real estate services.

Seventy-five percent of millennials recently surveyed by CentSai, a financial wellness website, would prefer to enlist the help of a local real estate agent than an online agent. Seventy-one percent, in addition, would prefer to work with a local mortgage lender.

Why favor face-to-face collaboration? “Amount of hassle,” handholding,” “local knowledge,” “longstanding relationships” and “personal touch” were all given as reasons behind the desire to hire local.

“We were surprised to learn that online providers are not yet as big a disruptor in this sector as we first thought, despite purported cost savings,” says Doria Lavagnino, co-founder and president of CentSai. “We found that millennials place a high value on the personal touch and knowledge of a local agent. Buying a home for the first time is daunting, and working with a local agent—particularly an agent referred by a parent or friend—could provide peace of mind.”

The findings of the survey correspond with the results of a recent Ellie Mae survey that revealed mortgage borrowers—millennial and others—would benefit from a combination of in-person and online communication with a lender, and more seek out referrals for lenders, rather than find one online.

The internet is still an important part of the home-buying process for millennials, however, according to the CentSai survey. Ninety-one percent of those surveyed would look for prospective homes and neighborhoods online, either through an app or a site—in line with National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) research that shows 95 percent of homebuyers rely on the internet.

For real estate professionals, the survey’s findings emphasize the value of referral-based business in gaining millennial clients, as well a balanced, tech-and-touch approach to customer service. Fifty-six percent of the millennials surveyed, decidedly, plan to buy a home in the next two years.
Source: RisMedia

 

Posted on May 2, 2017 at 3:49 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: buying, first time buyers, Homeowners, Millennials, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

You’ve decided to go for it. You know mortgage rates are enticingly low. Buying a home can be thrilling and nerve-wracking at the same time, especially for first-time homebuyers. It’s difficult to know exactly what to expect.

Take these five steps to make the process go more smoothly.

Check Your Credit
Your credit score is among the most important factors when it comes to qualifying for a mortgage.

“In addition, the standards are higher in terms of what score you need and how it affects the cost of the loan,” says Mike Winesburg, formerly a mortgage planner in Wheeling, W. Va.

Scour your credit reports for mistakes, unpaid accounts or collection accounts.
Just because you pay everything on time every month doesn’t mean your credit is stellar. The amount of credit you’re using relative to your available credit limit, or your credit utilization ratio, can sink a credit score.

The lower the utilization rate, the higher your score will be. Ideally, first-time homebuyers would have a lot of credit available, with less than a third of it used.

Repairing damaged credit takes time. If you think your credit may need work, begin the repair process at least six months before shopping for a home.

Evaluate Assets and Liabilities
A first-time homebuyer should have a good idea of money they owe and money they have coming in.

“If I were a first-time homebuyer and I wanted to do everything right, I would probably try to track my spending for a couple of months to see where my money was going,” Winesburg says.

Additionally, buyers should have an idea of how lenders will view their income, and that requires becoming familiar with the basics of mortgage lending.

For instance, some professionals, such as the self-employed or straight-commission salesperson, may have a more difficult time getting a loan than others.

The self-employed or independent contractor will need a solid two years’ earnings history to show, according to Winesburg.

Organize Documents
When applying for mortgages, you must document income and taxes.

Typically, mortgage lenders will request two recent pay stubs, the previous two years’ W-2s, tax returns and the past two months of bank statements—every page, even the blank ones.

“Why it has to be every single last page, I don’t know. But that is what they want to see. I think they look for nonsufficient funds or odd money in or out,” says Floyd Walters, owner of a mortgage company in La Canada Flintridge, Calif.

Qualify Yourself
Ideally, you already know how much you can afford to spend before the mortgage lender tells you how much you qualify for.

By calculating debt-to-income ratio and factoring in a down payment, you will have a good idea of what you can afford, both upfront and monthly.

Though there’s not a fixed debt-to-income ratio that lenders require, the standard dictates that no more than 28 percent of your gross monthly income be devoted to housing costs. This percentage is called the front-end ratio.

The back-end ratio shows what portion of income covers all monthly debt obligations. Lenders prefer the back-end ratio to be 36 percent or less, but some borrowers get approved with back-end ratios of 45 percent or higher.

Figure Out Your Down Payment
It takes effort to scrape together the down payment.

There are programs that can assist buyers with qualifying incomes and situations.

“I’ve helped arrange assistance loans for $10,000, which are interest- and payment-free, and forgivable after five years. Although considered a loan, they’re more like grants. Other programs can provide up to $40,000 interest-free,” Winesburg says.

Finally, speak with mortgage lenders when you’re starting the process. Check with friends, co-workers and neighbors to find out which lenders they enjoyed working with and ask them questions about the process and what other steps first-time homebuyers should take.

Posted on March 6, 2017 at 7:09 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: buying, credit score, financing, first time buyers, mortgage, real estate, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Boost Curb Appeal in a Day…

 

Sometimes when planning to sell a house, in the name of renovating interior living spaces, updating bathrooms, replacing appliances and adding decorative touches throughout the bedrooms, homeowners leave outdoor curb appeal as a last priority. While of course the inside of a home is important, sellers make a big mistake when they neglect the exterior. Why is a home’s exterior so important? Consider this: Curb appeal is often a potential buyer’s first impression of a home, the very thing that helps him/her decide whether or not to come inside. Whether they’re shopping online or by cruising through neighborhoods, the outside of your property is the first thing they’ll notice. If you’re selling your home or about to, how can you quickly and effectively tackle the outdoor appeal? Here are some key tips for boosting the curb appeal in a way that means quick turnaround and increased home value:

1. Start with the Front Door. Believe it or not, your home’s front door can be one of its most important assets. A new steel entry door consistently ranks as one of the most rewarding projects in home repairs, yielding an increase in home value that’s greater than the costs to install one. Likewise, to make the door especially captivating, consider painting it a bold, pleasing color that will grab attention and add charm. When buyers see a new door that looks attractive, they see another asset that makes your home the one to buy.

2. Make Any Necessary Repairs. Is the driveway cracked or the front doorbell busted? Now is the time to call a repair company or get out your own toolbox to make repairs. Buyers want turnkey, move-in-properties, and that means they want properties with repairs already done. Do the work now to get your home in ship-shape condition.

3. Keep Up with Landscaping. From mowing the lawn to pulling weeds, make sure you’re keeping up with your outdoor landscaping so that your home looks presentable and well cared for at all times. Overgrown bushes and dying plants are a surefire signal to potential buyers that you’re not caring for your home and leaving more maintenance for them to handle.

4. Add Lighting. While most buyers will come visit your home during the daytime, it’s not at all unusual for the most interested ones to also drive by at night to see what nighttime curb appeal is like. Landscape lighting can make all the difference in terms of how a home looks, so make an investment in attractive lighting options that illuminate and add interest to your property. “Solar landscaping lights are a great addition to any yard because they don’t require complicated and expensive wiring,” says Bob Vila. “Remember, though, you get what you pay for—cheap lights won’t last as long and simply won’t look as good.”

5. Touch Up Paint. A fresh coat of paint is just as powerful outside as it is inside, so to update your home’s look, repaint the exterior or at least touch up problem areas. Another idea is to paint the trim a new color that creates either a nice complement or contrast to your home’s overall look.

6. Make Over the Mailbox. You might not think a mailbox matters much, but it’s yet another one of those little details that can add up together to make a strong impression on a buyer.

7. Add Outdoor Furniture. From rocking chairs on the front porch to an outdoor patio set on the back deck, outdoor furniture creates outdoor living spaces that expand your home’s appeal. Look for attractive, durable pieces that will endure weather damage and look good for years to come — whether or not you include these pieces with the home sale, setting them up is a great way to stage your home for greater resale value.

The bottom line when it comes to curb appeal is that a little investment today can add up to big rewards tomorrow. Take the time to update, clean, repair and add value to your property’s exterior now and you will make it more attractive to buyers, not to mention more beautiful to come home to. Use the tips above to get started now.

Source: Rismedia

Posted on March 4, 2017 at 11:58 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: curb appeal, maintenance, real estate, selling, staging | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Get Your Credit Score Ready for Homebuying Season!

Getting ready to buy a home this spring? Make sure there aren’t any cracks in your credit. A good credit score is essential when it comes to securing a mortgage.

“If (your score is) below 600, you’re probably not going to buy a home in the short term,” says Mike Sullivan, director of education at nonprofit credit and debt counseling agency Take Charge America.

Given the slew of stringent regulation introduced following the housing crisis, most lenders simply won’t risk extending this demographic credit. In fact, even consumers with good scores should polish up the ol’ credit report.

Qualifying for the best mortgage rates starts at a 740 credit score. Scores below that threshold will likely have higher interest on their home loans.

So if you plan on hitting up the housing market this April, make sure to pull a copy of your credit report and check to see where your score stands.

Check Your Status

Under the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, or Credit CARD Act, everyone is entitled to one free credit report from each credit bureau every year.

Obtain a copy of this report from AnnualCreditReport.com. It won’t come with your score—you can purchase that for a nominal fee. But there also are websites that offer free versions of your score year-round.

A recent version of your credit report will show you where you stand in terms of creditworthiness. The report should also spell out what you need to do to improve your score.

“You don’t have to entirely guess,” Sullivan says. “You simply look at what (the score) takes into account and you deal with those issues.”

Get Current

You’ll definitely want to address any delinquent accounts on your record.

“If you are behind, you want to bring those up to date as soon as possible,” says Kathryn Moore, a certified consumer credit counselor with GreenPath Debt Solutions. Delinquent accounts are a huge red flag to mortgage lenders because they demonstrate a lack of ability to repay debts.

They’re also the quickest way to tank your credit score. A missed payment—particularly following an extended period of good credit behavior—can cause a drop of 70 to 90 points.

Sadly, you won’t immediately recoup all those points once the account is reported as up to date.

Instead, “you need to be patient and make all of your payments on time and slowly build your score up” again, says Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Consumer Federation of America.

The role that time plays in building stellar credit is why it’s ideally “a good idea to look at your credit at least a year out” of shopping for a mortgage, says Bruce McClary, a spokesman for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.

Getting a Quick Boost

If you are behind this timeline, there are a few steps you can take to potentially give your score a quick boost.

For starters, scan your credit report for accuracy. An error—such as an old, bad debt; incorrect account balance; or worse yet, a phantom foreclosure—could be needlessly weighing down your score. Have these errors corrected by contacting the credit bureau in question.

“There’s a link (on your credit report) to dispute any inaccurate information,” Moore says. “The credit bureau from there will have to resolve that dispute within 30 days.” Once a negative error is removed, your score should improve.

You can also engineer a quick boost by paying down existing debts, particularly high credit card balances. This move improves your credit utilization rate—essentially how much debt you are carrying versus how much credit has been extended to you — and should bolster your score.

Experts generally say to keep your credit utilization below 20 to 30 percent of your collective credit. However, “you really want to get that ratio down to rock bottom if you’re looking for a house,” McClary says.

Clearing out existing balances will also improve your debt-to-income ratio, which a “lender looks at” closely during their mortgage decision process, Moore says.

Lenders typically say the “back-end” debt-to-income ratio—or the amount of your income that is needed to cover all your monthly debt obligations, including credit card bills and other loans—should be 36 percent or lower.

Finally, if you recently missed a loan payment because you, say, didn’t know about the bill, try calling up the issuer (or lender) to see if they will refrain from letting the credit bureaus know about your faux pas.

What to Avoid

Once you have your score in the upper echelon, make sure it stays there. Avoid running up your credit card balances again, which will help keep your credit utilization in check.

Also avoid applying for other loans, including store credit cards, particularly in an attempt to improve this aforementioned credit utilization rate. Applying for new credit generates hard inquiries on your credit report, which could ding your score.

And “if those inquiries don’t necessarily show up as approved accounts, that sends up a red flag” to lenders because it could look like you were turned down for a credit line, McClary says.

Not to mention that you’re more likely to miss a payment when you have multiple cards at your disposal, Brobeck says.

Conversely, don’t close any accounts while you are looking for a mortgage, as the closure could send your credit utilization skyrocketing in the wrong direction.

Source: RisMedia/Bankrate.com

Posted on March 4, 2017 at 11:50 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: buying, credit score, financing, first time buyers, investor, mortgage, real estate | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

MUST DO’s Before you move into your new home!

The moving frenzy never ends: Even after you close, the to-do lists drag on and on—endless pages of bullet points that keep you up at night when all you want is to begin your new life. Some of them are fun, like redecorating and buying new furniture.

 Others, not so much.

“When you move into a new house, you’re more concerned with decorating and taking stuff out you don’t like,” says Kevin Minto, president of Signet Home Inspections in Grass Valley, CA. “But let’s not forget about the less romantic things that are mundane—but more important in the long run.”

Once you’ve got the keys, feel free to give yourself a break. You deserve it! But don’t rest on your laurels too long—and make sure to do these eight things right away.

1. Change the locks

Before moving even one tiny piece of furniture into your new home, change the locks—or at least have them rekeyed. It’s not that you don’t trust the sellers (who are, we’re sure, perfectly respectable and upstanding citizens). It’s that you shouldn’t trust everyone who’s had contact with those keys over the years, any of whom could have copied the keys for some unsavory purpose.

2. Change the alarm batteries

Making sure your fire and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries may not seemlike a pressing issue while you’re in the middle of a stressful move (and aren’t they all), but it’s the kind of thing that gets ignored and then forgotten. Better to deal with it now, when the home is empty and you can make a quick sweep of the house—without lugging a ladder around furniture.

3. Review your home inspector’s report

Can’t find your inspector’s report? Minto says reports are often filed with the escrow papers—but don’t wait until something goes wrong to pull them out. A good home inspector will outline the most important issues in their report, so use their expertise as a guide for your first few days of ownership. If they’ve marked anything as particularly pressing, make sure to handle it before moving in.

4. Find the circuit breaker

If you were there during inspection, you should know where your junction box is, but if you don’t, finding it “should be the first and foremost thing that should be attended to,” Minto says. During a move, when you’re plugging all sorts of electrical doodads into the wall, you don’t want to be lost in the dark hunting for that elusive metal box. (While you’re there, find the water shut-off, too.)

Then, get familiar: If it’s not already well-marked, have your spouse or another family member stand in different parts of the house while you flip different switches, and make a note of which ones handle different rooms.

5. Deal with any water problems

Looking at that inspector’s report? Deal with water-related issues immediately, says Minto. These tend to be troublesome because they’re so easily ignored—”out of sight, out of mind,” he says. A leaky toilet might seem minor, but the steady drip can damage internal structural components.

Check your roof, too: If the rubber vent boots on your roof are leaking, you might not know it for a while.

“By the time they see it in a ceiling, there’s been a fair amount of water,” Minto says.

6. Caulk everything

This one isn’t mandatory, but caulking is a whole lot easier if you do it when the house is empty, letting you see all the nooks and crannies that might need a little sealing—and don’t forget the exterior. Minto says he sees caulking issues on “every home,” and while they might seem minor, it doesn’t take long before cracking gives way to leaks and even more water issues.

7. Plan your emergency exits

Before you begin bringing in furniture, walk through every room and decide how you would escape in an emergency. This can help

Posted on March 4, 2017 at 11:47 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: buying, first time buyers, inspections, insurance, maintenance, move up buyer, real estate, security | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Buyers Offer More for a Staged Home

Posted on February 28, 2017 at 8:10 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: buying, emptynester, first time buyers, maintenance, move up buyer, real estate, selling, Smart Homes, staging, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,