There’s a world of difference between being pre-qualified for a loan and being pre-approved. Pre-approval means you’ve got skin in the game. It means you’re a boss. And it's proof that you can buy.
Besides being the grown-up thing to do, pre-approval puts you in a better position when you make an offer. Everyone takes you more seriously. Pre-approval also provides evidence to your real estate professional and the seller (or seller’s agent) that a trusted financial institution is willing to finance the purchase.
In most housing markets, sellers are going to expect you to be pre-approved when you make your offer. And when you’re pre-approved, you’re more likely to have your offer accepted — or at least, you won’t lose out on a bid because you have to go back to the bank to get approved for a loan.
As for pre-qualification, it’s an approximation and not necessary unless you have no clue about your creditworthiness and just want a snapshot.
By contrast, with a pre-approval, a lender typically goes deeper and tells you more specifically how big a loan you can get. Caution here: Just because the lender says you can take out a loan for an amount, doesn't mean you should! Consider your lifestyle and monthly budget to decide on the responsible loan amount for you.
To get pre-approved, you must also authorize a lender to pull your credit.
Here's how to deep clean your house without skimping, or pulling a muscle.
#1 Break Out the Drill on Your Bathtub
Cleaning a grungy tub can be back-breaking work. But here's a genius idea that'll save you time and sweat: Use your drill. Simply attach a scrubby (or a foam ball polishing attachment if you happen to have one) and use it to do the deep cleaning for you. Look in the automotive section for the attachment, which is made specially for tackling grime without scratching surfaces.
#2 Soak Stove Burners in Ammonia
Don't worry: No scrubbing involved. To clear the crud, combine your stove burners and 1/4 cup ammonia in a plastic bag and let sit overnight. They should come clean with a light sponge the next day.
#3 Run Floor Vents Through the Dishwasher
If your vents are made of aluminum or steel, there's a shortcut to spic-and-span: Just run them through the dishwasher on a water-only cycle.
#4 Iron Out Bad Carpet Stains
Spritz a solution of one part vinegar and three parts water on the stain, and lay a clean cotton cloth on top. Turn your iron to its highest steam setting and run it over the stain for about 10 seconds to transfer the stain to the cloth and off your carpet.
#5 Tie a Bag of Vinegar Around Your Showerhead
Mineral build-up on your showerhead can cause low-water pressure and wonky water streams. But deep cleaning them is easy without removing them. Using a rubber band, attach a bag of vinegar to your showerhead, making sure all the holes are submerged in the vinegar, and soak it overnight.
#6 Make Your Leaf Blower a Multi-Tasker
Forget the broom and rags when you're cleaning out the garage. Whip out your leaf blower and let it blow all the dust, debris, and dead bugs (yuck!) away from the floor and shelving. Just be sure to put away light-weight things could accidentally get blown out with the trash.
#7 Get Rid of Crayon Marks with Goo Gone
A little bit of Goo Gone (traditionally used to clean sticker residue) will remove the crayon and your headache. Spray it on, wait a moment, and wipe it off cleanly.
#8 Boil Your Range Filter
There's no need to scrub the grease and grime off your range filters. Use a bit of baking soda and your largest pot instead. Set the water to boil, slowly add 1/2 cup of baking soda, and submerge your filters for about five minutes. (Make sure to dump the water somewhere safe. Grease in the drain is even worse than grimy filters.)
#9 Sprinkle Your Mattress With Baking Soda
Use a kitchen strainer to sprinkle baking soda over its surface and let sit for an hour or longer. Longer is better. Then use your vacuum's upholstery attachment to suck up the odor-absorbing soda.
Avoid These Purchase Pitfalls
Many homebuyers—first-timers as well as seasoned pros—can make some
missteps when purchasing a home. Here’s a look a some common first-time home buyer mistakes that we want you to be sure to avoid.
1. They don’t ask enough questions of their lender and end up missing out on the best deal.
2. They don’t act quickly enough to make a decision and someone else buys the house.
3. They don’t find the right agent who’s willing to help them through the home-buying process. (Call us!)
4. They don’t do enough to make their offer look appealing to a seller.
5. They don’t think about resale before they buy. (The average first-time buyer stays in a home roughly nine or ten years.)
1. Your payment history. Did you pay your credit card obligations on time? If they were late, then how late? Bankruptcy filing, liens, and collection activity also impact your history.
2. How much you owe. If you owe a great deal of money on numerous accounts, it can indicate that you are overextended. However, it’s a good thing if you have a good proportion of balances to total credit limits.
3. The length of your credit history. In general, the longer you have had accounts opened, the better. The average consumer’s oldest obligation is 14 years old, indicating that he or she has been managing credit for some time, according to Fair Isaac Corp., and very few consumers have credit histories shorter than 2 years.
4. How much new credit you have. New credit, either installment payments or new credit cards, are considered more risky, even if you pay them promptly.
5. The types of credit you use. Generally, it’s desirable to have more than one type of credit history — installment loans, credit cards, and a mortgage, for example.
To learn more, seek a mortgage lender or financial advisor.
Owning vs Renting. What’s the difference?
There are dozens of reasons to own, but I’ve only listed 7 for your convenience!
1. Tax breaks. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, as well as some of the costs involved in buying
2. Appreciation. Real estate has long-term, stable growth in value. While some year-to-year fluctuations are normal, median existing-home sale prices have increased since the recession. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.
3. Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but
mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.
4. Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And
when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married
couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.
5. Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-mortgage payments don’t rise over the
years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer.
However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will increase.
6. Freedom. The home is yours. You can interior decorate any way you want and benefit from your investment for as long as you own the home.
7. Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years gives you a chance
to participate in community activities, lets you and your family establish lasting
friendships, and offers your children the benefit of educational continuity.
Online resources: To calculate whether buying is the best financial option for
you, use this “Buy vs. Rent” calculator:
Sometimes sellers are left aghast at a buyer’s low offer. Why is he/she asking so much off the price? Is my home listed for too much? Does the buyer not see the value of my home?
Sellers, here are some ways to improve the offers you receive. No need to feel anxious about putting your home on the market. Let the list below guide you through the process. It can make things a little easier!
1. Price it right. Set a price at the lower end or middle of your property’s realistic price range.
2. Prepare for visitors. Get your house market ready at least two weeks before you begin showing it. Be sure to tidy up and remove clutter.
3. Be flexible about showings. It’s often disruptive to have a house ready to show at the spur of the moment. But the more amenable you can be about letting people see your home, the sooner you’ll find a buyer.
4. Anticipate the offers. Decide in advance what price and terms you’ll find acceptable.
5. Don’t refuse to drop the price. If your home has been on the market for more than 30 days without an offer, you should be prepared to at least consider lowering your asking price.