Tips for Millennials Who Want to Invest in Real Estate

Real Estate Tips for Millennials

If you’re among the generation of young people who reached adulthood around the year 2000, you’re considered a millennial. As a millennial, you’re likely to be well acquainted with financial challenges such as rising student loan debt, stagnant wages, and sky-high rent prices.

If you’re looking to get into real estate, then you’re wise to start young. You have time on your side and you can possibly see huge returns even before you reach 40.

Are you a young investor who’s looking tips on how to get started in real estate? Read on.

Work with Professionals

When it comes to making big decisions about your finances, ensure you have the right help on hand. Talk to a financial adviser before you decide to invest in real estate. While it’s a big responsibility, it can have equally big rewards. You’ll also need to work with a good mortgage lender who can help you find the right home loan for your needs.

Be Realistic About What You Can Afford

What may be good for you in your fifties may not a realistic prospect in your thirties. If you can’t realistically afford to take on an investment property right now, don’t force yourself to rush into it. Of course, when applying for a mortgage, your lender will examine your finances and take your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio into account when deciding whether to give you a loan and for how much.

Reduce Debt and Save

Sure, we can say you need to save money, but it’s easier said than done, right? Having proof of consistent saving will help your chances of getting approved for an investment property, and substantial savings will give you that all-important cushion to fall back on. Work on paying off your highest-interest debt first. Always pay more than the minimum balance if at all possible. If possible, avoid taking on any more debt like a new loan or adding payments to your credit cards.

Contact Dean Rathbun when you’re looking to secure the right mortgage for your needs. We work with your credit score and financial picture to ensure that you lock in the right home loan to land that house of your dreams. Give us a call to get started.

What to Fix Before Selling Your Home

Important Repairs to Make Before Selling a House

It’s easy to miss a lot of the wear and tear that happens to your house over the years. But when you start thinking about selling, the state of your home becomes much clearer. You know there are issues that need to be sorted out now before a professional home inspector shows them to the potential buyer.


Paint is one of the cheapest, easiest ways to update the look of your home before you list it. You don’t even need to be a professional painter to make this work for you, either. Lighter and neutral colors are preferred when selling because they tend to appeal to most people. Rooms with dark, chipped, or dirty paint are the ones that will benefit the most. If you have wallpaper, it’s a good idea to remove it and paint the walls instead.

Repair the Roof

The roof is the home’s main defense against the weather, so it’s important that it’s in good condition. If the buyer or home inspector sees that the roof is in poor condition or has been neglected, the sale could quickly spiral out of control. Take the time now to replace any missing tiles and patch up any leaks.

Replace Broken Window Glass

Even if one window has a crack or chip in it, potential buyers will see this as a home that’s been neglected. If you didn’t fix a broken window, what else has gone amiss? Replacing windows doesn’t have to be expensive, but it is a repair worth making.

Leaking Faucets

Not only will potential buyers see this, but they’ll hear a tap that is leaking. Fixing a dripping faucet can be as simple as tightening a few nuts and bolts!

Being prepared for a home sale or purchase is critical. Ensure that you know how to handle it by relying on the expertise of a professional mortgage corporation. Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

How to Buy a Home When You’re Self-Employed

How to Qualify for a Mortgage When Self-Employed

Buying a home is daunting for anyone, but it is notoriously hellish if you’re self-employed. While being your own boss has plenty of benefits, it can also bring periods of no work and unstable income. As a result, it can be hard to prove to a mortgage lender that you can pay back a loan for a home. The key to making it all easier is to plan ahead.

Make sure you can verify your income.

Lenders want to know how much money you earn before they decide whether or not to give you a loan. It makes sense – they want to know you’ll be able to pay them back. When you’re self-employed, you’ll have to hand over your last two tax returns. To do this, you’ll fill out IRS 4506-T, giving the lender access to your tax records. Lenders may also ask for your business license.

Be aware of large deposits.

If you’re self-employed, your income may be irregular and unstable at times. When you have a large, irregular deposit during the mortgage process, it can be a problem. The deposit often has to be part of the borrower’s regular income, matching ‘common or usual activity’ in your account. Be prepared for this, as you may need to provide even more documentation.

Improve your credit score.

A good credit score is important for anyone applying for a mortgage, but it can be especially important for those who are self-employed. Typically, lenders like to see scores of 740, and higher. To keep your credit in check, don’t take out new loans or add more debt to your credit card, keep accounts in good standing open, and pay accounts on time.

When you need help obtaining a smart mortgage for your needs, contact Dean Rathbun. We can help you determine the right plan of action for your real estate needs.

What to Look for When Choosing a Loan

Are you shopping for a loan? Here’s what you should note.

Are you toying with the idea of becoming a homeowner? Perhaps you’re steadily saving for a down payment or you’re already looking into home loans. Before you do start comparing loans, there are a few things you need to keep an eye out for to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible for you.


It’s important to get a loan with a good APR (Annual Percentage Rate), especially if you’re looking for a longer repayment term. The longer you take to pay back a loan, the more interest you’re going to have to pay. Your credit score will largely impact how good of a rate you end up getting. Be sure to read the fine print, too, as lenders may lure you in with a great APR, but then pile on fees and charges.

No Repayment Penalty

If you believe you can repay your loan before the period ends, you’ll want to look for loan with no repayment penalty. If you don’t have a flexible payment option with your loan, early re-payments (or paying off your entire loan before the loan term is up) may result in a penalty fee.

Hidden Fees

Loans can often come with hidden fees, such as origination fees (fees for taking out the loan), loan application fees or disbursement fees (charges when you have received the loan). If you aren’t aware of the extra fees that you’re locked into paying, your loan may be a lot more expensive than you had desired.

Of course, with any form of borrowing, it’s crucial that you can afford it and make the required payments. Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

How to Protect Yourself When Buying a Home

Tips to help you stay safe when purchasing a property.  

Owning a home is the American dream, but for some people, the financial aspect is a daunting process. There is a lot to consider when purchasing a home, from the mortgage, to finding the right property, to predicting that you’ll have stable finances for years to come. Fortunately, there are some ways in which you can protect yourself when buying a home.

Research and understand the buying process.

Buying a home is such a unique investment. In fact, purchasing a home isn’t like any other purchase. Whether you’re planning to make the house your forever home or use real estate as an investment, you need to know how to buy. Along with securing a good real estate agent, you should know the process of home buying and the responsibilities that lie with you.

Perfect your credit score.

These three little numbers make a huge impact on your mortgage, so it’s worth taking the time to perfect your credit score. Having a good credit score could increase your chances of qualifying for the best mortgage rates. Work on paying all bills on time, not taking on any more debt, and paying off debts as much as you can afford.

Know before you sign.

Always ensure that you know what you’re signing. Understand all the terms of your loan – is it a fixed rate, adjustable rate, balloon rate, etc.? These terms all mean different things so it’s well worth to take the time to read through the papers before you agree to anything. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Work with the right professionals.

Working with the right mortgage corporation can help ease the process of buying your dream home. From start to finish, professionals can ensure that you understand all of your contracts and can help you get the best rate on your home loan.

When in doubt, ask a professional for advice. Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

How to Save Money for a Down Payment on a Home

With the rising cost of renting, you may consider saving up for your own mortgage.

Whether you have been considering the idea of getting a foot on the property ladder or if you check the new home listings daily, you’ll know that buying your own home is a big move. Not only is it a chance to put shelves where you want in a room, but it’s also a great way to get started in the property market. The catch is that you should have enough saved up to afford a sizable down payment on the home of your choice.

Saving up for a down payment to buy your first house can seem pretty daunting, especially if you’ve never had more than a few thousand dollars in the bank at any given time. Setting aside five figures or more may seem impossible – but it’s not! If you go about it the right way, it can be quite simple.

Set a Savings Plan

Once you know how much you need to save, the next step is to figure out how much you can set aside each month. For example, if you plan to save $45,000 for a down payment, setting a time frame of five years to save $45,000 means you’ll need to save about $9,000 per year, or $750 per month, to make it happen.

Look at your total monthly earnings and outgoings so that you can set up a budget – and stick to it! Find out where you’re splurging every month and aim to cut back, whether this means you eat fewer meals in restaurants, cancel your TV subscription, or pause your housecleaning services.

Check Your Credit

Your ability to borrow, and the rate you pay, are closely dependent on your credit score. Lenders may be willing to originate a mortgage for you with a smaller down payment if you have a strong credit score. Based on how much you’ve borrowed, your total debt, and any missing payments, your credit score is a financial snapshot. Get a copy of your report and scan it for errors, correcting any immediately. Even though you are on a tight budget, ensure that you still make debt payments on time every month.

Review Interest Rates

Interest rates on your credit cards, savings accounts, and car loans can fluctuate readily. Go through every bill and account and check the interest rate. If you’ve been making full and prompt credit card payments, call up the credit card company and tell them you want a lower rate. You may get a lower interest rate simply by asking!

When you need help obtaining a smart mortgage, contact Dean Rathbun. We can help you determine the right plan of action for your real estate needs.

Questions to Ask When Viewing a Property

These questions allow you better insight into the home you’re viewing.

If you’re looking for a new home, you may have a couple of home viewings booked. As soon as you step into a house, it’s easy to forget everything and soak in the property. However, it’s important to remember that you’re looking for the good and the bad. After all, you want to know what you’re getting into if you decide to buy it. Be sure to ask these questions when you view a property.

How long has it been on the market?

You should know how long the property has been on the market. If it’s a new listing, don’t expect sellers to make a bargain with you. However, if it’s been sitting on the market for some time, the seller may be willing to negotiate their asking price. It’s also worth noting if a good-looking home in a good location hasn’t sold in some time, there could be an issue that you aren’t aware of.

Are there any repairs needed?

This is always important to ask! Look past the beautiful kitchen and crown moldings to assess the overall condition of the home. The sellers will disclose all of the known issues about the home after you’ve reached an agreement on the price and terms of your offer. They may disclose these issues in advance. Either way, it’s best to know what work is needed on the home before you get in too deep.

What are the boundaries of the property?

You may fall in love with the backyard, and you may be disappointed to realize that part of it is the neighbors’. Don’t land yourself in a boundary dispute. Ensure that you know what would belong to you.

What is the age of the roof?

Putting on a new roof is expensive. Depending on the type of roof, it could last from 15 to 50 years. In general, asphalt shingles last 20 years, wood shingle roofs last between 20 and 40 years, and tile roofs can last over 50 years.

Being prepared for a home sale or purchase is critical. Ensure that you know how to handle it by relying on the expertise of a professional mortgage corporation. Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

How to Sell Your Home Over the Holidays

Selling your property during the holiday season isn’t impossible – here’s how to get started.

It’s always in debate over when homeowners should put their property on the market for the best chance that it will sell. In reality, there is no bad season to do this. While summer is a great time to list your home, so is winter! People need to sell homes year-round and the best time for them is to sell when they have to. 

Although inclement weather and the looming holidays may put off some homeowners, if you need to list your home, there are some tricks to help you sell before the New Year.

Festive Appearance

Stay relevant (and festive!) by decorating your home for the holidays. It’s important to note that it is easy to go overboard, but aim to keep decorations neat and tasteful. After all, you want the potential buyer to focus on your home rather than the light up Frosty in the yard. A simple string of lights that compliment your house will go a long way.

Take Welcoming Photos

Ideally, you want to take photos of your home before the holiday decorations go up. Although your beautifully decorated tree is stunning to look at, buyers may miss your panoramic windows or wooden floors. It is only natural to have your eyes drawn to a large image in a picture.

Add Holiday Charm

It’s important to remember what the holidays are all about. Make your home a warm and inviting place and buyers may fall in love on the spot. You can even go a step further and whip up some cinnamon cookies or serve hot cider. Not only does it make a huge impression on homebuyers, but it will also make your kitchen smell fantastic and festive!

Buying and selling a home is no small feat, so it pays to have a trusted, experienced professional on your side! Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

Steps on How to Improve Your Credit Before You Buy

Improve those three figures to better position yourself for securing a home loan.

Although you may have saved up for a down payment on a new house, if you have an average credit score, you may have a hard time qualifying for a mortgage and buying the home of your dreams. The good news is that there is a lot that you can do to improve your score. Check out these tips for a much better chance of getting approved and locking in an affordable interest rate.

Pay Off Your Credit Cards

Think about it. You’re trying to prove to a lender that you can have a reasonable amount of debt, but pay it off in time. If you miss a payment, even if it was an honest mistake, it could significantly impact your credit score. Ensure that you pay bills as soon as they come in the mail, or set up an auto charge on your account so that the money is always deducted from your account before the deadline. Don’t forget to do this on all of your debt, including credit cards, student loans, and auto loans.

Review Your Credit Report

Get a free credit report, observing each report closely for any mistakes or discrepancies. Mistakes do happen and you don’t want to be the last to know. If you do spot a mistake, resolve it right away.

Don’t Take on Any More Debt

Even though you may want new furniture for your new home and a sparkling new car for the driveway, it’s best to hold off on acquiring any more debt until you’ve landed a mortgage. You want your credit report to look as clean as possible when you send in your application, and many new inquiries may raise red flags for lenders.

Contact Dean Rathbun when you’re looking to secure the right mortgage for your needs. We work with your credit score and financial picture to ensure that you lock in the right home loan to land that house of your dreams. Give us a call to get started.

Home Features Buyers Will Pay More For

Is it worth investing in features that could land your home a ‘Sold’ sign?

Homeowners are sometimes hesitant to upgrade when it’s time to sell. It’s understandable, since they don’t intend to live there much longer, and the home remodeling efforts only increase home values by 64 percent of the average project’s costs. But it’s time for sellers to think again. The cost of a few simple upgrades isn’t necessarily wasted money.

To make the most of your remodeling budget, focus on features that more buyers really want to see and may even pay more for.

Exterior Lighting

Illuminating a well-manicured lawn with warm exterior lighting can help to grab potential buyers’ attention before they even set foot in the front door. What’s more, exterior lighting also serves as an added safety feature for your home, especially if lights above entryways are motion-sensor lights.

Energy Efficiencies

These days, everyone is eco-conscious, and many are looking for ‘green’ homes that have energy efficient appliances and windows. Buyers are most impressed with Energy-Star qualified choices that in no way limit their comfort. Energy-Star qualified windows have unique properties that reduce undesirable heat gain and loss in the home.

Fresh Carpet

Few things are as vile as an old carpet that is worn, has strong odors, and is peeling away from the floorboards. In a busy home, it doesn’t take long for a new carpet to look shabby. While more and more buyers prefer wood floors throughout, carpeting in the bedroom is great as long as it is in good condition. If not, it’s a deal breaker.

Eat-In Kitchen

An eat-in kitchen is a must-have for many buyers, especially families with children. It’s a space that’s ideal for families rushed in the morning and relaxed in the evening. To create this, you may need to remove a wall for a small table, but this can be relatively inexpensive.

 Smarter Storage

While open floor plans are getting more popular, the amount of storage needed becomes ever more important. It’s critical to have the right amount of out-of-sight storage for kitchen items, along with flexible spaces that homeowners can adapt to their needs, such as wine storage or a workstation.

When you need help obtaining a smart mortgage, contact Dean Rathbun. We can help you determine the right plan of action for your real estate needs.