Posted by Competitive Edge Real Estate Services on 4/30/2019

Having a high credit score is one of the most important and helpful things you can achieve before buying a home. A solid credit history will give you a better chance of being approved for the home loan you want and getting a lower interest rate so that you know youíre getting a good deal on your first home.

But, as any renter can tell you, it can sometimes be difficult to lift your credit score when youíve got so many other things to worry about.

In todayís post, Iím going to cover the best ways to build credit while renting an apartment so you can lift your score to an amount that will help you achieve your goal of homeownership.

1. Take over the bills

If you live with roommates or with your family, one good way to start building your credit score is to simply put more bills in your name.

If youíre certain that youíll be able to make on-time payments on them each month, this can be a way to boost your score without much thought.

Keep in mind, however, that not all utility companies report your payments to credit bureaus, so itís a good idea to check that yours does before putting the bills in your name.

2. Become an authorized user

If taking out new credit isnít an option for you, becoming an authorized user on someone elseís credit account can help you increase your score.

Be sure to find out whether the credit issuer reports payments for authorized users before taking this step. And, once youíre sure that they do, you can be added to the account without changing anything about your spending.

3. Convince your landlord to report your rental payments

In most cases, rental payments arenít reported to the credit bureaus. However, it is becoming more common. Check to see if your landlord uses a service like PayYourRent or RentTrack. If not, consider asking them to try it out.

4. Solving the ďno creditĒ problem

Since we all start off with a blank slate in terms of credit history, some renters have the issues of not having enough credit information to start building their score.

If this is the case, it might be a good idea to open your first credit account. But, wait! Before you start racking up debt on your first credit card, take a minute to make a wise plan.

First, donít change your spending habits just because you have credit. Pick a card that offers rewards in the form of cash back, and only use your card for things like gas and groceries that will help you earn points.

Then, set your card to auto-pay in full each month so that you never start accruing interest. This way, youíll build your credit score and earn money (in the form of rewards or cash back), making it a win-win.





Posted by Competitive Edge Real Estate Services on 4/16/2019

Whether youíre shopping for your first house or your next house, finding a listing you love is exciting. You browse the pictures, check out the property facts, share the link to your significant other, and maybe even schedule a showing.

With the exciting prospect of owning a new home that has all or many of the features youíre looking for, it can be easy to forget about certain details that matter. Most of us look for similar things in a house--close proximity to work, enough bedrooms, an upgraded kitchen, and so on.

In this article, weíre going to give you a list of things to investigate about the house youíre looking at to get a better idea of whether or not itís the perfect match for you and your family.

1. Re-read the listing

If youíre like me and get lost in the photos of a home and forget to make note of the details, be sure to go back and check out the listing a second time. It will likely give you important details of the house that you overlooked on your initial visit.

Look for things like the year the house was built, information of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system, and the total acreage of the lot and square footage of the home. These things are hard to accurately represent in the listingís pictures, but will likely be important to your decision of whether or not you should view the home.

2. Do your online research

The number of things you can learn about a home and neighborhood on the internet is astounding. We suggest that before you go to visit a home, you spend 10-20 minutes on Google researching the following topics:

  • School district ratings. If you have or plan to have school-aged children, youíll want to know what your options are for your childís education. Itís often a good idea to check out the local schoolsí websites to see what

  • Commute times. With Google Maps and similar sites, you can plan out what your new commute will be and see how long it will take. You might find different routes that will save you time or avoid traffic (we could all use those extra few minutes in bed every morning). Google Maps isnít always accurate when it comes to morning traffic estimates, but itís a good place to start.

  • Amenities. Having moved into a neighborhood that has no grocery stores within a 20-minute drive, trust me--youíll want to know whatís in the area. Use Google Maps to find stores, gas, schools, parks and trails, hospitals, and other things youíll want close by.

  • Street view. While weíre on Google, use street view to take a remote look around the neighborhood. Youíll be able to see how the infrastructure looks--if the neighborhood is taken care of and if there are sidewalks that offer a safe place to walk or jog.

  • Crime ratings. Donít get too caught up in this section. Crimes happen everywhere, but this is a good way to see if the area youíre moving to is a safe place

3. Donít be afraid to ask questions

If, after all of your online research, you decide you want to go view a home, donít be shy when you arrive. Itís understandable that you wouldnít want to be a burden in someone elseís home. But remember--if youíre considering living there someday youíll want to know as much as possible before making an offer.

Test the plumbing, ask about average utilities, and donít be afraid to introduce yourself to neighbors and ask them questions about the community. The more you know, the better. Happy sleuthing!





Posted by Competitive Edge Real Estate Services on 1/22/2019

After you complete a condo inspection, you'll need to make a major decision: Should you move forward with your condo purchase or rescind your offer?

Ultimately, there are several important questions to assess before you finalize your decision on a condo, including:

1. What was discovered during the property inspection?

Study the results of a condo inspection closely. By doing so, you'll be able to learn about a condo's strengths and weaknesses and plan accordingly.

A property inspector will evaluate a condo both inside and out. He or she also will provide honest, unbiased feedback, enabling you to make an informed decision about how to proceed with a condo.

Take into account major and minor condo problems that a property inspector discovers. And if this inspector finds minor flaws associated with a condo, you may want to stay the course and move forward with your initial proposal.

On the other hand, if a property inspector finds significant problems with a condo, i.e. issues that may prove to be costly and time-consuming, you may want to consider rescinding your offer. Or, in this case, you can always ask the condo owner to complete property repairs before you finalize a condo purchase.

2. How much will it cost to perform assorted condo repairs?

The costs associated with condo repairs will vary. However, if you allocate the time and resources to learn about condo problems and the costs associated to fix these issues, you may be able to avoid expensive, time-intensive mistakes.

For example, consider what might happen if a property inspector discovers a defective kitchen light switch in a condo. Although this light switch is a problem, the time and costs needed to repair or replace the faulty light switch likely are minimal. As such, a condo buyer may choose to ignore this problem, or a condo owner may be willing to complete the fix quickly.

Conversely, consider what could happen if a property inspector finds that a condo's furnace is defective. It may cost thousands of dollars to fix or replace a faulty furnace. As a result, a condo buyer may ask the property seller to repair or replace the defective furnace. And if the condo owner fails to do so, a buyer may choose to walk away from the condo purchase altogether.

3. Can I enjoy this condo both now and in the future?

It is essential to consider both the short- and long-term ramifications of a condo purchase. That way, a condo buyer can determine whether a property can serve him or her well for years to come.

A property inspection offers valuable information that a buyer can use to assess the pros and cons of purchasing a condo. Furthermore, a condo buyer who works with an experienced real estate agent can get the support needed to make the best decision possible.

Consider the aforementioned questions as you evaluate your options following a condo inspection, and you should have no trouble deciding whether a particular condo is right for you.




Tags: Condo   Buying a Home   buyer tips  
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Posted by Competitive Edge Real Estate Services on 11/13/2018

Personal financial in your twenties comes with a steep learning curve. One minute youíre studying for your finals and the next youíre expected to suddenly know about APR financing, 401(K)s, and fixed-rate mortgages.

If youíre in your twenties and are facing these new challenges, youíre probably equal parts terrified and excited for the future. And, although it can be anxiety-inducing to step into the world of personal finance, you have one tool to your advantage that your parents and grandparents didnít have: the internet.

So, in this article, weíre going to give you some tips about buying a home and managing your finances in your twenties.

Have an emergency fund

You probably have a lot of things you want to save for. Down payments on mortgages and auto loans, saving money for traveling, beginning your retirement funds, and maybe even starting a family; theyíre all important investments that will take time and financial planning to achieve.

However, one thing that many young people neglect when they first start saving is an emergency fund. There are any number of things that can throw a wrench in your plans in your twenties. You might lose a job and have to live off of savings while hunting for a new one. Maybe something goes wrong with your car and it costs hundreds to repair. Or, you could have unforeseen medical expenses that arenít covered by your insurance. Regardless of the reason, having an emergency fund will help you stay out of unnecessary debt.

Itís recommended to have at least 6 months of living expenses saved in your emergency fund. Once you have this amount saved, itís a good idea to keep it in a separate account to avoid spending it on things that arenít exactly an emergency.

Donít live above your means

We all know that buying a house, going to college, and even buying groceries are all exponentially more expensive than they used to be. However, itís still important to try to adjust your lifestyle to the things you can afford.

This includes the vehicle you drive, the first home you buy, and even smaller purchases you make.

Avoiding lifestyle creep

Related to our last point about living above your means, lifestyle creep is the phenomenon that occurs when you get a raise or a higher paying job: the more we make, the more we spend. However, itís possible to avoid this trend by keeping your finances in check.

The next time you get a raise, make sure that money is put to use in either your retirement fund or savings account. This method is based on the goal of ďgiving every dollar a job.Ē When every dollar you earn has a purpose, youíre less likely to spend it on new video game consoles every six months.





Posted by Competitive Edge Real Estate Services on 10/16/2018

The homebuying journey may prove to be difficult, and assorted challenges may arise that make it tough to quickly find and buy your dream house. Whether it's encountering problems during a home inspection or negotiating a house price with a property seller, there is no telling what may happen during your pursuit of your dream home. However, if you know how to handle homebuying challenges that come your way, you'll be better equipped than ever before to enjoy a seamless homebuying experience.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you tackle various homebuying challenges.

1. Stay Patient

When you are faced with a homebuying hurdle, it is important to remember that every problem has a solution. Thus, if you take a calm, cool and collected approach to a homebuying issue, you can find the best way to alleviate this problem.

A patient homebuyer usually is a successful homebuyer, and for good reason. If you maintain patience as you navigate the homebuying journey, you can analyze problems that come your way and allocate the necessary time and resources to solve them. And as a result, you may be able to speed up the homebuying journey and acquire your dream residence in no time at all.

2. Consider Your Options Closely

As you encounter homebuying hurdles, you should consider your options closely. That way, you can weigh the pros and cons of potential homebuying decisions and make informed choices as you try to buy your ideal residence.

Sometimes, it may be beneficial to consult with family members and friends too. If you reach out to loved ones for support, they may be able to help you make the best-possible decisions throughout the homebuying journey.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to purchasing a home, you may require expert assistance. Lucky for you, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can help you overcome property buying issues.

A real estate agent is committed to your homebuying success, and as such, will work with you to make your homeownership dream come true. Therefore, if you want to acquire a city residence as quickly as possible, a real estate agent can help you do just that. On the other hand, if you want to purchase a small town home at an affordable price, a real estate agent will help you accomplish your desired result.

Let's not forget about the comprehensive guidance a real estate agent can provide as you search for your dream residence, either. A real estate agent can teach you everything you need to know about the housing market. By doing so, he or she can help you identify and resolve homebuying problems before they escalate.

For those who want to streamline the homebuying journey, it helps to prepare. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can reduce or eliminate homebuying hurdles and purchase your dream house without delay.




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