Our Future is Now: The Coldwell Banker Brand Anthem

The power of the Coldwell Banker brand – in one customizable video (and downloadable eCards). View the brand anthem video and get your very own now.

From the CB Zap platform, award-winning CBx Listing Experience App, smart home initiative and record breaking ad campaigns, Coldwell Banker Real Estate has the resources that can help you lead your market and exceed your goals.

Watch above as we show exactly why Coldwell Banker is the real estate brand with real advantages.  And the best part is you can customize this video and download an eCard for promotional use in your local market!

The Coldwell Banker network is filled with trailblazers, trendsetters and doers.  By affiliating with the brand, your business demonstrates a power, reach and recognition of a global brand where we make a difference in the lives of others.

 

Source: Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blig

Posted on August 14, 2017 at 8:58 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: community, equity, family, Homeowners, neighborhood, real estate, Smart Homes, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Alexa: Open Gen Blue News”

Thanks to Amazon, “Alexa” has become a household name. Now, Coldwell Banker is turning up the volume with a Skill for agents and brokers to get real estate news on-the-fly. We’re calling it Coldwell Banker Gen Blue News. Want to learn more? Let us break it down for you.

What’s a Skill? An Amazon Alexa Skill is an app for the voice-controlled Amazon Echo speakers.

How does it work? Once you enable the skill, just prompt Alexa with, “Alexa, open Gen Blue News.” In less than 90 seconds, Gen Blue News delivers best practices, industry insights and quick challenges to help you grow your business.

Why develop the Skill? Coldwell Banker surveyed its brokers and agents and found that 79 percent of respondents would be interested in a smart home speaker, like an Amazon Echo or Dot, that was equipped with real estate news and industry insights. Your wish is our command!

What can I expect from the Gen Blue News Skill? Episodes will feature quick tips and useful info to stay ahead in the market, challenges to act on immediately to drive business and agent success stories that offer an important dose of inspiration.

Who can I expect to hear from in the Gen Blue News Skill? You’ll hear the voices of brand leadership, industry insiders and the brokers and agents who make up the Coldwell Banker network. The first episode of the Skill features Brad Inman, founder and owner of Inman News, the leading source for real estate industry news. This episode is all about how agents can suit up for change with the innovative technology available in the real estate business.

How can I try this out for myself? You can search for the Coldwell Banker Gen Blue News Skill in the Amazon Alexa smartphone app, or using your Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, you can ask Alexa, “Enable Coldwell Banker Gen Blue News.”

Don’t have an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot? Don’t worry, the Echo Dot is available as part of the Smart Home Staging Kit alongside products from Nest, August and Lutron. Or you can buy on the Amazon Marketplace. If you’re with Coldwell Banker please log-in to Coldwell Banker Exchange to get your exclusive discount code.

Learn more about the Coldwell Banker “Home of the Week Skill” here!

*Article from Coldwell Banker Blue Matter Blog

Posted on August 3, 2017 at 2:46 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Alexa, appliances, Apps, Buyers, buying, community, Entertainment, financing, gadgets, real estate, Smart Homes, technology | 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 , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Be a Detective: Google the Address When House Hunting

Here are some GREAT tips to get the skinny on houses that have made it to your hot list. Fire up your Google!

Search-engine sleuthing is worth the effort to unearth the niceties — and perhaps negatives — when searching for your new home.

There’s probably not a day that goes by that you don’t Google something — the weather, a foreign phrase, directions, or news, just to name a few. With all the information Google can provide through its bird’s eye view, not Googling your address is practically a crime — especially when you’re searching for a new home (whether you’re house-hunting for a waterfront home in Benicia, or looking for a ranch house in Vacaville). Here’s what you could find.

  1.  Get a sense of the neighborhood using Google’s Street View

    We can’t transport ourselves Star Trek–style to other places … yet, so the next best experience may be Google’s Street View, sort of a pre-virtual-reality experience. Simply type in an address, and if there’s an image of the property in the results, click on it. Other factors to note while on your Google stroll?  Scope out yard size, proximity to neighbors, how many trees are on the property and the privacy provided by them, a view of the front of the home, a view of the neighbors’ homes (such as any nearby eyesores or hoarders), and the size of nearby roads. Don’t forget to use the aerial view while you’re at it, because it might let you know the condition of the roof (but keep in mind the image could be old.)

    A caveat: Google Street View can be outdated, so it’s possible you could be looking at old news. The house you’re interested in might have been newly renovated, but you wouldn’t know that if the remodel happened after Google was there.

    2. Map the proximity of the house to potential health hazards

    The last thing anyone wants is to find out their dream home is located near a former meth lab or directly under a busy flight path. These aren’t just concerns for comfort; in unfortunate (and rare) cases, homes can be health hazards. When house hunting, be sure to search for whether or not that Los Angeles home for sale is in a safe area. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration maintains a database of homes that have been identified as drug labs, and some of these properties require intensive, expensive cleanup before they can be healthfully inhabited. Radon and industrial and airport zones are also pretty easily discoverable with a Google search and, in most states, via disclosures that most sellers will provide. (Some people find living near an airport or other noisy zone impacts their sleep, even if there is no chemical concern.)

    3. Imagine your life in this home and its neighborhood

    One of the deciding factors for saying “yes” to a house is if you can imagine yourself living there. Seeing listing photos and stats can let you know whether the house meets your specifications, but sometimes — especially with a long-distance home search — but to really imagine yourself living in that neighborhood could be difficult. Googling can help).

    Kids can scope out their potential new school and spot signs of other kids living nearby, you might map your drive to the office, learn whether there’s a local farmer’s market nearby, or look to see whether the house is in a danger zone.

    4. Get valuable details about the HOA

    When you buy a home that is part of a homeowners’ association (HOA), you should receive the bylaws in advance of your purchase. But if you dig a little deeper by Googling the association’s name, you could find out that your new HOA is one of a surprisingly large number of HOAs that have been reviewed online. Grab your popcorn, because you’ll most likely find a variety of rants (and raves) about the subdivision, complex managers, neighbors, and amenities.

    5. Scope out the neighborhood’s potential growth

    Will you jump for joy to learn that Whole Foods is coming to town? Or is that just the sort of growth you’re trying to escape? Google your potential new neighborhood’s nearest major street or intersection for permit applications that have been filed recently. You might get lucky. If not, try searching the city or county planning departments. This can help you discover community plans for expansion in that area. Reading the online applications — and any notes from city council meetings discussing the permits — might help you understand the landscape of community-development issues at hand.

What surprising information has Google revealed during your house hunt?

Source: Trulia Blog

 

Posted on May 16, 2017 at 4:03 pm
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: buying, first time buyers, Google, HOA, neighborhood, Privacy, real estate, research, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Celebrating 60 Years of Brilliance! Vacaville’s Fiesta Days Coming Up Soon!

When?

History

Vacaville residents seem to get in the mood for pageants and festivals once spring rolls around. For the past 101 years, they have turned out for many different spring and summer celebrations. Vacaville Pageant Day on April 30, 1916 was a grand production, “a poetic idea successfully carried out by the united efforts of the community,” noted The Reporter in its edition of May 5, 1916.

Main Street was draped with flags and 1,500 lined the street to watch the parade of 300 pageant participants pass from High School Hill down to Main. The pageant depicted the history of California and Vacaville.

Chief Solano led the parade followed by American Indians native to the Vacaville area. Next followed the Spanish with descendants of the city’s founding families, the Vaca’s and the Pena’s. A chorus sang “La Paloma.” Next came the Fansciscan fathers, the gold rush miners, cowboys, farmers, the Japanese and Chinese, Gypsies and singing schoolchildren. Bringing up the rear were decorated automobiles – still a new sight in 1916.

Wells Fargo Co. lent an old ’49er stagecoach, just as it does now in the Fiesta Days Parade.

Next Year…

But when spring rolled around the next year, there was no Vacaville Pageant Day II. Not a word about it in the local paper. Although the newspaper would print about Dixon and their May Fair and the Solano County Fair. Vacaville wanted it’s own fair.

So what did we do?

We created Fiesta Days in July 1957. We called it Western Fiesta, the week was more akin to a cowboy roundup and rodeo. There was plenty of square dancing and the rodeo ran for two days. Everybody seemed to be involved. Most of our events were started that year: Parade, Queen Contest and the Jail and Beard-growing Contest. The parade was on Saturday. It’s route began at West and Merchant streets, heading up to Main street and turning west to Buck Avenue. The parade was run by the Fire Department.

A big barbecue was held in Andrew’s Park. It was on Sunday that the first Whiskerino Contest was held. It seems that all the men in town were challenged to grow a beard. A jail was set up to incarcerate any man who hadn’t grown a beard. Even the town’s distinguished Judge S.M. Dobbins was made a “jailbird.”

The City Council members dressed up in long black coats with top hats and Lincoln-style beards for their meeting during Fiesta week. All five men took part in the parade in costume and riding donkeys. Western Fiesta became Fiesta Days and the community’s Spanish and Mexican heritage has been given more attention over the years. Events changed and committee members disagreed, battled, quit and rejoined, but somehow, Fiesta Days has endured for 60 years.

The Parade is the Highlight of the Fiesta!

Click HERE for the Parade Line Up

Marching Bands!

Celebrating Mexican Heritage!

Drumlines!

Horses! (and MORE Horses!  Who Doesn’t LOVE Horses!)

The Fiesta Has So Much More to Offer!

Click HERE for the Fiesta Schedule

Dancing!

Concerts!

Carnival Rides!

Food!

Don’t Even THINK about missing this HUGE Celebration of Vacaville History!

 

Posted on May 10, 2017 at 3:46 am
Kappel Gateway Realty | Category: Family Fun, Festivals, Fiesta Days, real estate, Vacaville | 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
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Buyers Offer More for a Staged Home

Posted on February 28, 2017 at 8:10 pm
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