Tag: real estate

How to Compete with Cash Buyers

Don’t have stacks of cash lying around to spend on a new home? Don’t worry; you can still compete with these kinds of buyers.

“Money talks” is a phrase that rings true in almost every corner of the world, from sports to real estate. All-cash means that there will be no mortgage, and that means that you won’t have to rely on lenders for anything. The housing market is firing up again, and bidding wars are the new normal. Unfortunately, sellers tend to favor an all-cash offer than those that depend on a mortgage approval. But not everyone has hundreds of thousands of dollars in between their sofa cushions, so what is one to do? Worry not, for here are three ways in which you can compete with cash buyers in a seller’s market.

  1. Bid higher – The highest offer doesn’t always guarantee a sale, but it can’t hurt to hike your offer up a bit. In order to beat the competition and temptation of cash, you’re going to have to make your offer more attractive. Sometimes the extra $1,000 on top of the listing price can be the determining factor in the seller’s eyes.
  2. Know what the seller needs – What are the terms the seller is seeking? Does the seller need extra time in the property to find a new home? Looking for a quick close? Having a real estate agent who can handle this early on will only increase your chances.
  3. “As is” can be the magical words – What can be more attractive to a seller than a buyer taking the home “as is”? They won’t have to spend any money on repairs or even lower their price.

Not having cash doesn’t put you out the game; you just have to find a new way to play it. Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

Stage Your Home for Selling Season

Selling your home is an art form that works well if done correctly. Staging your home is an important part of this process.

Open houses are a great way for many people to look at your home and consider buying it from you. One of the key ways they decide if your home is the home for them is to imagine themselves in it. This is where staging can make or break the potential sale. If potential buyers can’t imagine themselves in your home, they likely won’t make an offer. If you want to sell your home, here are a few tips that can help you make the sale.

Clean the Exterior

First impressions are important. If your house looks like the Addams Family’s home from the outside, you can bet clients will run from your home faster than the pace at which Cousin Itt’s hair grows! Trim the shrubs, mow the lawn, wash and paint the walls, and add a new doormat.

Use Natural Light

Natural light is something that homebuyers always look for when buying a home. Clean the windows and open the curtains to let the light flood the room. Natural light also makes any room look bigger, which will play to your advantage.

Feature the Home’s Best

Do you have a walk-in closet? Marble countertops, a breath-taking view from your dining room? Don’t be shy and flaunt the best things your home has to offer from the get-go. Anything that may hinder the appearance of such a feature, we suggest you move or remove it to better represent the quality of your home.

 Leave Your Pets Elsewhere

Your pet is a part of your family, not the buyers’. Make sure to deep clean any carpets and upholstery to get rid of that pet odor you have gotten used to. Additionally, leave your pets with a sitter when you show your home. A home that pleases the noses of your buyers puts you one step closer to selling your home.

Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to sell your home. We are happy to help you!

The Mortgage Strategy for Millennials, Gen X-ers, and Baby Boomers

Buying a home is a big decision for everyone, no matter the age, but each generation faces its own set of unique challenges.

Millennials are just coming to their own and living independently and tend to be light on cash. Gen X-ers are in the midst of saving up for retirement as social security is all but secure. And Baby boomers are now facing less income. Each of these generational home-buying differences requires different mortgage strategies to clear the hurdle presented to them. No matter your age, here are a few tips on how you can make smart life decision when it comes to your mortgage strategy.


Millennials have not been in the workforce that long and so many of them tend to be short on cash. If you can’t wait to live in a house AND you don’t have enough money for a 20 percent down payment, worry not because you still have options. The trade-off comes in your monthly payment. The lower your down payment, the more you will have to pay every month. Before you decide to go with a cash to close, make sure you can afford the monthly costs of owning a home.

Gen X-ers

Gen X-ers typically balance spending and saving. On average, they make more than Millennials, but they have other costs to consider like their children and their future, that is, retirement. Do they save up the entire 20 percent down payment or pay more monthly, while also funding retirement and children’s future? A mortgage financial advisor can help run different scenarios and run the numbers for you.

Baby Boomers

Retirees are living on less income, which is their primary concern. If you are a baby boomer with equity in your home but have less income, there are a few options for you.

  • Get a reverse mortgage
  • Get a home equity loan

Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you!

Mortgage-Shopping Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to something as important and expensive as your home, it is in your best interest to avoid any potential mistakes. 

Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your entire life, and it is also the largest investment you will make. With something this important, a simple mistake may prove to be extremely costly. Getting a mortgage is more than just getting approved and signing on the many dotted lines that freckle mortgage contracts. So whether this is your first or your eleventh home, here are the most common mortgage mistakes you need avoid when it comes to buying a new home.

  1. Not checking your credit before applying. 
    Not checking your credit before you see a lender is not unlike going to a job interview for a position for which you know nothing about. Lenders comb through your credit and make decisions based on how creditworthy you appear to be. Saying you don’t know anything about your credit can be the nail in the coffin you don’t want.
  2. Skipping the pre-approval process. 
    The pre-approval process essentially approves you for a home within a certain price range without actually selecting a home. During this process, you will go through all the tedious paperwork with a lender and get an idea of what types of homes you should be looking into.
  3. Signing loan documents you don’t fully understand.
    Even if there’s one legal word you do not understand, you should not sign any document. That word may seem harmless but could put you into a heap of trouble. Your agent needs to be able to tell you every little nuance about the contract before you sign it.

Your mortgage process needs to be error-free. Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you!

Mortgage Issue: What to Do If Your Partner Has Bad Credit

If your partner has bad credit and the two of you have decided to buy a home, it may be possible, but may not be the best course of action for your first big purchase together. 

In terms of credit score, you are the Eddie van Halen of the world: you pay all of your bills on time, you work hard to earn more and so you earn more, thus, save more. A true rock star! Your partner? Eh. Not so much. Maybe they were too lax on their bills and debt earlier in life and now suffer those consequences. What’s a serious couple to do in this situation?

Understand why the credit score is low

Before you plead to your lender for that mortgage approval, you have to understand why your partner’s score is terrible. Buying a home should not be done simply because society demands it, it should be done because you and your partner want it. Once you understand why it is bad, you can work on fixing it. Once

Take the mortgage under your name

If you truly want a house now, you can always apply for the loan under your name only. Before you take this route, make sure that your finances and budget are ready for this commitment. Thinking of worst-case scenarios are often avoided by most people, but it is important to remember that it is your name on the dotted line and will be responsible for getting the bank its money back.

Before you and your partner commit to any of these options, you have to be one-hundred percent sure that this is the best course of action right now. 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 Stage Your Home (While You Live There)

Selling your home is an art. To stage your home is an art that you must master to give your home the best chance at being sold.

Trying to sell your home while you are still living in it can be quite the challenge. Prospective home buyers expect the home they will be looking at to be spotless because it gives them a better ability to imagine themselves living in the home. So, you can imagine that if you live in the house, it may be hard to sell due to your presence. But it’s not impossible. Here are a few tips on how you can stage your home while you live there.

  1. Put Away Your Junk
    Before you list your home on the market, go through all of your stuff and only keep what is most valuable. You do not have to throw it away–you can put it into storage–but it does have to leave your home.
  2. Go Neutral
    If you have rooms painted in bright and popping colors, consider repainting them back to their neutral colors. Whites and beiges may be dull and boring to live in, but they present your potential buyers to imagine whatever color they may think goes best with their personality and feel.
  3. Make Rooms Seem Bigger
    You can make small rooms look big by removing large pieces of furniture if, that is, you don’t need them. Placing a mirror opposite the window will also allow more light to reflect around the room which will make it look much bigger.

Staging your home while you live in it may be a bit hard to do, but you will be glad you did it when it sells quickly! Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

3 (More) Questions to ask Your Mortgage Lender

A little research to compare your options for a mortgage, and a few questions in your artillery, will help you get the best one when you work with your mortgage lender.

Previously, we wrote about three questions to ask your mortgage lender before you secure your mortgage–we now have three more questions you should ask to give you even more knowledge and help to secure the best mortgage that you can get. When you are ready to get the best potential mortgage, here are three (more) questions you should ask your mortgage lender.

  1. What are the closing costs that go with this loan? Closing costs usually fall between 2 and 5 percent of the total loan. This range, when factored in with hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars, is big enough to make this question an important one.
  2. Is it an adjustable-rate or fixed-rate mortgage? An adjustable-rate mortgage locks your mortgage for a specific amount of time, and at the end may increase your monthly mortgage rate. A fixed mortgage keeps your interest rates and mortgage payment locked for the duration of the loan but is a bit more expensive than the adjustable-rate mortgage.
  3. What is the down payment that’s required? There exist many kinds of loan types, and not all of them require the same down payment. Make sure to ask what your down payment will be–if it’s less than 20 percent, ask if attaching private mortgage insurance (PMI) will be an additional requirement.

It’s best to put your pride aside and ask as many questions as you possibly can when it comes to something as vital to your life as your mortgage. This thing is going to be with you, potentially, for the next thirty years! Contact  Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

What You Should Never Overlook at an Open House

You don’t have to be a professional to know what you should look for in an open house—especially after reading this article.

When you’re in the hunt for a new house, weekends spent touring the town in which you want to live can turn from fun to a terrible daunting experience by house number three. Keeping track of which home had the great island kitchen versus the home with a terrible backyard but great flooring can be tough. While no home is perfect, some renovations are harder to squeeze into the budget than others. There are some issues that should give you pause because the cost of some renovations greatly outweighs the cost of others, and renovations are something all homeowners have to deal with at some point.

Questions to ask when attending an open house.

  1. Are there issues with the home’s foundation?

You wouldn’t stand on a ladder being supported by old moldy wood, right? Well, if you purchase a home with a poor foundation you are actually going a step further. If there are cracks in the foundation of the home you are likely going to be spending thousands to fix everything.

  1. How old is the roof?

Look beyond the superficial and consider the bones of your home. A bone you can’t ignore in your potential future home is the roof. (You know, that thing that keeps you safe from the elements.) The typical lifespan of a roof is 20 years, but the average cost to replace the thing runs deep into the five-figure range.

  1. What’s the sewer system life?

You don’t want biohazardous waste in your home; that’s simply unhygienic. When it comes to sewer and septic tanks, many people are left in the dark. If something goes wrong it’s up to the owner, not the city, to cover damages (normally through homeowners insurance).

Open houses are a great way to find the house that’s right, or completely wrong, for you. Contact United American Mortgage Corporation when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you find the home that’s right for you.