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Home Remodeling Projects With Top-Dollar Returns

by Sandi Pressley

Not all home improvements are created equal. These will reward you the most when it comes time to sell.

Your home is in the perfect location, came at the perfect price, with the perfect lot.

But the home itself? Perfect isn’t the adjective you’d use. But you knew that moving in, and now you’re ready to start making it just right.

But where to begin? How about with data? Data is that friend who tells you like it really is.

Because while any home improvement that brings you joy is priceless, not all add as much home equity as you might expect.

The “Remodeling Impact Report” from the National Association of REALTORS® has tons of data on how much improvements cost — and how much of those costs you can recoup.

Here are the best five home remodeling projects with equity-building might:

New Roof

If you find yourself sprinting for the buckets when it starts to sprinkle, getting a new roof should be your No. 1 to-do. Measuring rainfall from the indoors isn’t cool.

The cost: $7,500

The return: 109% at $8,150

Considering it’s what’s between you and the elements, it’s a no-brainer.

Not sure if you need a new roof? Signs you might include:

  • Shingles are missing, curling up, or covered in moss.
  • Gritty bits from the asphalt shingles are coming out the downspout.
  • The sun’s shining through your attic.
  • You notice stains on ceilings and walls.
  • Your energy bill is sky high.

Hardwood Floors

You flip on the TV to see that your fave home reno-ing duo is it at again, flipping a ranch that’s stuck in the ‘80s.

They make it to the living room, pull back the dingy carpet to reveal hardwood floors in great condition. They’re psyched — and for good reason.

Hardwood floors are a timeless classic. Refinishing is a no-brainer. Neither will you regret adding new hardwood floors if you have none.

The cost to refinish: $2,500

The return: 100% at $2,500

The cost to buy new: $5,500

The return: 91% at $5,000

New Garage Door

No surprise that a garage door replacement project made it onto this #winning list — a new garage door provides a big boost for your home’s curb appeal at a relatively modest cost.

The cost: $2,300 (for a two-door)

The return: 87% at $2,000

There are options galore, too. A host of factory-finish colors, wood-look embossed steel, and glass window insets are just some of the possibilities that’ll give your doors bankable personality.

Better Insulation

Insulation is tucked out of sight, so it’s often out of mind — that is, until you’re forced to wear your parka indoors because it’s sooo darn cold.

The cost: $2,100

The return: 76% at $1,600 (plus the added savings on heating and cooling costs!)

New Siding

In any color! And never paint again.

Those are two of the three benefits of vinyl siding. The third, of course, is your home’s value.

But if long-time homeowners look at you funny when you mention vinyl siding, just tell them that today’s vinyl is way better than what they remember because of fade-resistant finishes and transferable lifetime warranties.

The cost: $13,350

The return: 75% at $10,000

Want fiber-cement siding instead? It also shows a strong payback of 83%. Although it’s the pricier option — you’ll spend about $18,000 with a payback of about $15,000 — it has one thing vinyl still lacks — the perception of quality.

And quality matters. Quality is the one of the most important traits that home buyers focused on when house hunting.

Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.

HOT HOME LISTING OF THE WEEK!

231 Graceland Drive NE, Albuquerque, NM 87108  $189,000

2 Bedrooms / 2 Bathrooms (1 full, 1 partial) / 1530 Square Feet

Great Opportunity! Make this one your own or your investment property! Situated on a large corner lot, this gem features both formal and informal living areas; Recently re-finished hardwood floors; Cozy wood burning fireplace; separate dining room or perhaps office/hobby space; plus classic details throughout. Enjoy warm summer evenings under the ample covered patio. Close to shopping, UNM & UNMH, transporation!

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

Did You Know Dirty Light Bulbs Waste Energy?

by Sandi Pressley

You just never know where you're wasting energy. And the one place we don't really think about is dirty light bulbs and fixtures.

Having clean lighting not only can save energy and brighten your home, but is also a point to focus on when staging a home for sale.

Granted, cleaning light fixtures is a hassle that requires a stepladder and a steady hand. But it’s a necessary spring-cleaning chore that freshens your home and gives you the light you’re paying for. And you don't need to wait for spring to clean them. Winter is a perfect time to clean fixtures as well.

Dirty bulbs shed 30% less light than clean ones, says the U.S. Department of Energy. Add a dusty, dead-bug riddled cover, and you’ve got an automatic dimmer, whether you want one or not.

Light Bulbs

Light bulbs have much longer lifespans than they used to, thanks to LED and CFL technology. So obviously they'll get dirtier and need cleaning from time to time.

Wipe bulbs with a dry cloth, not wet. Water can get into crevices and damage electronics. Also, don’t spray cleaning solutions directly onto the light bulb, which could damage the bulb. Turn off the electricity to the fixture before messing with the bulbs.

Ceiling Fixtures

Bugs and ceiling fixtures go together like PB&J and is just as messy (and far less tasty). Remove fixtures and soak in a sink with soapy water. Dry and shine with a microfiber cloth.

Don't put glass fixtures in the dishwasher. The glass is not designed to be dishwasher safe and can damage both the fixture and the dishwasher.

Recessed Lights

Dust with a long-handle duster, such as a Swiffer, that traps dust and cobwebs.  For a more thorough cleaning, wipe the insides of canisters and the bulbs with a microfiber cloth or a slightly damp rag.

Before cleaning, make sure the electricity is off and the bulb is cool.

Ceiling Fans

Dust the lights on ceiling fans when you clean the fan blades. When a bulb goes out and you have to climb a ladder anyway, clean globes and bulbs with a microfiber cloth. If the globes are really dirty, take them down and clean with soapy water or a cleaning solution.

When removing or returning globes or bulbs, be sure not to steady yourself by grabbing fan blades, which will turn if touched.

Tricks of the Trade

1.  Dryer sheets are low-cost alternatives to microfiber clothes. They’re great for dusting bulbs.

2.  Wear goggles when dusting or spritzing overhead fixtures to prevent dust or cleaning solution from hurting your eyes.

3.  If you’re having trouble removing the bulb in a recessed light, cut a 12-inch strip of duct tape, and fold it over the bulb so that the ends act like handles that are easier to grip than the glass.

Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.

HOT HOME LISTING OF THE WEEK!

231 Graceland Drive NE, Albuquerque, NM 87108  $189,000

2 Bedrooms / 2 Bathrooms (1 full, 1 partial) / 1530 Square Feet

Great Opportunity! Make this one your own or your investment property! Situated on a large corner lot, this gem features both formal and informal living areas; Recently re-finished hardwood floors; Cozy wood burning fireplace; separate dining room or perhaps office/hobby space; plus classic details throughout. Enjoy warm summer evenings under the ample covered patio. Close to shopping, UNM & UNMH, transporation!

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

How to Enhance Your Home With Lighting

by Sandi Pressley

Back in the "old days", all you could do to turn on a light was flip a switch or turn the dimmer knob.

Well, this is 2019 and times are changing. Now you can just tell the lights to come on, like on Star Trek. (Before you know it, we'll be able to tell our microwaves to heat up our Earl Grey tea.)

Smart lighting is becoming more a part of our lives, as it's increasingly more affordable. It's a household features that will let us use lighting to alter our moods, protect ourselves, and save a ton of energy and money.

Lighting Our Homes With a Purpose

Today's lighting designs are more about being a partner in your lifestyle than just turning on the lights. All of the lighting in your home can be on a single system that can be programmed in zones, each with it's own mood.  All of these zones can be controlled by wall units, a master panel, or an app.

So in addition to “Cooking” and “Romance” zones, you might have buttons for:

  • Outdoor Entertaining – patio and walkway lights illuminate.
  • Coming Home – triggered by a timer or a smart phone, the porch, entry hall, and kitchen lights come on.
  • Nighty-Night – lights in kids’ rooms slowly fade out as they fall asleep.
  • Vacation – lights turn on and off in random patterns.
  • Panic Mode – all lights in the house flash on and off.

All you need to do at the end of a long day is just call up an app, or talk to your smart home speaker, and change the mood. You don't even have to lift a finger.

Easing the Fear of Lighting Technology

"Oh no, not another hi-tech gadget in my life", some may say. Don't worry, smart zone lighting is easy to install. If you hire a pro, your home can be retrofitted in about a half day for around $1500.

You’ll get an easy-to-understand central control unit that “talks” with new switches, light fixtures, and bulbs that are specially made to receive wireless signals. You decide on your zones and, once everything’s set up, have the light throughout your house change intensity and color on command.

DIYers Can Zone Out, Too

Relatively low-cost mini-systems are coming to market that’ll let you install your own zones, even if your geekability quotient is near zero.

The Hue is a $199 do-it-yourself starter kit from electronic manufacturer Philips. It includes a wireless hub that plugs into your home router, and three LED bulbs that respond to wireless signals.

Once the hub and bulbs are installed, you control everything from your smartphone, setting up zones (called “scenes” by Hue), and choosing color combos from millions of possible hues. You can even add tricks, such as having your lights flash when one of your tweets is re-tweeted.

If you get hooked on your Hue, you can expand — additional bulbs are $60 each. And because it’s linked to your internet router, your hub can be accessed from virtually anywhere using your smart phone, tablet, or laptop. Working late? Delay your “Coming Home” mode for an hour — and save energy.

Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.

HOT HOME LISTING OF THE WEEK!

2020 Mountaineer Drive SE, Albuquerque, NM 87123  $300,000

4 Bedrooms / 4 Bathrooms (2 full, 2 partial) / 2370 Square Feet

Casual elegance in this Incredible 4BDR/4BA with hard to find attached casita/guest suite/man cave or office!! Master Suite is on the main level!! Soaring wood beam ceilings, light, bright and open! An entertainer's floor plan with lots of space for family and friends! Fully landscaped beautiful backyard. Close to KAFB, Sandia Labs, UNM, Foothills!

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

Stay Warm in Albuquerque at these Top Coffee & Tea Houses

by Sandi Pressley

With that cool nip in the air, we all need something warm and revitalizing to start the day - or keep it going for that matter. And what better place to find the perfect cup of java or tea than in Albuquerque’s fine coffee houses? Here’s a list of some of the best coffee and tea houses in Albuquerque to warm up your day.

Pinon Coffee House

Pinon features coffee roasted locally by New Mexico Piñon Coffee. You can also enjoy pastries and breakfast burritos made in house, with new pastries flavors created every week.

Prismatic Coffee

If a great cup of espresso is all you need, then Prismatic is the place. They don’t feature food items, except for an outstanding stroopwafel made in house. Otherwise, you’ll just find superb coffee and a relaxing atmosphere to work or relax.

Satellite Coffee

As co-founder Jean Bernstein says “Coffeehouses are where we fuel up, exchange ideas, people watch, and hopefully get a little warmth. With coffee, all things are possible.” At Satellite Coffee you’ll find regular patrons hanging out, enjoying the outstanding coffee choices and relaxing vibe.

Humble Coffee Company

Humble Coffee is a craft coffee shop that specializes in single-origin espresso and brews. Located in the Nob Hill/University and Downtown neighborhoods of Albuquerque, you’ll also find a tasty supply of locally made breakfast burritos and pastries.

Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.

HOT HOME LISTING OF THE WEEK!

9300 Thornton Avenue NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109  $375,000

4 Bedrooms / 3 Bathrooms (2 full, 1 partial) / 2717 Square Feet

 Light, bright and open floor plan on this custom-built NE Heights beauty with 4 bedrooms and over-sized 3 car garage. Full pitched tile roof. Separate laundry room with W/D that stay! Close to schools, shopping and lovely park!

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

Common and Costly Remodeling Mistakes New Owners Make´╗┐

by Sandi Pressley

You've done it! You're the proud and happy owner of your very first home!

Now you can do all the things you've dreamed of doing to a home. You can install that huge patio, do some fancy landscaping - the sky is the limit. But this is also the time when you're most likely going to make some costly mistakes.

This is especially true in your first year, when your happiness, eagerness (and sometimes ignorance) might convince you to make one of these mistakes:

Going With the Lowest Bid

Things break. So what do you do when you need major repairs?

The smart thing to so is to get several contractor bids. But going with the cheapest bid is not always smart.

For example, one couple went with a contractor who bid half of what a previous contractor they had used in the past charged. He promised to complete the work in less time as well. The result? A year later, their house was still a construction zone.

What to do:

Make sure that ll the bids have the same scope of work. Cheaper bids may not include all the actual costs and project details. The less expensive contractor may also lack the experience needed to determine any additional steps and costs.

Submitting Small Insurance Claims

You may think it's a good idea to use your insurance for all claims. But if you file too many claims too close to each other, it can increase your premium. If a claim is less than your deductible, it's better to pay our of pocket and save your insurance for catastrophic issues.

An even better solution is to maintain your home so that small claims don't come up in the first place.

What to do:

Before you pick up a sledgehammer, check with an agent or appraiser, who usually are happy to share their knowledge about how much money an improvement will eventually deliver.

Throwing Away Receipts and Paperwork

Don't throw away receipts for items you replace in your home. Small improvements can actually boost the price of you home when you decide to sell it. And saving warranty information can save hundreds down the road.

What to do: Stow paperwork like receipts, contracts, and manuals in a three-ring binder with clear plastic sleeves, or photograph your documents and upload them to cloud storage.

Remodeling Without Doing the Research

No one wants to be a Debbie Downer, but there’s a benefit to knowing the worst-case scenario. One homeowner tells the time he hired roofers to remove box gutters from his 1880s home. Little did he know, more often than not aged box gutters come with more extensive rot damage, which his roofers weren’t qualified to handle.

Had he researched the problem, he could have saved money and anxiety by hiring a specialist from the start, he says.

What to do:

Before you begin a project, do thorough research. Ask detailed questions of contractors so you can get your timing, budget, and expectations in line.

Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.

HOT HOME LISTING OF THE WEEK!

2020 Mountaineer Drive SE, Albuquerque, NM 87123  $300,000

4 Bedrooms / 4 Bathrooms (2 full, 2 partial) / 2370 Square Feet

Casual elegance in this Incredible 4BDR/4BA with hard to find attached casita/guest suite/man cave or office!! Master Suite is on the main level!! Soaring wood beam ceilings, light, bright and open! An entertainer's floor plan with lots of space for family and friends! Fully landscaped beautiful backyard. Close to KAFB, Sandia Labs, UNM, Foothills!

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

Can You Afford That House in Albuquerque?

by Sandi Pressley

Are you planning on buying a home in Albuquerque? If so, you no doubt have already figured out how much money you need for your down payment, the mortgage payments, and so forth.

Yet how much will that home cost after you move in? Here are six life factors to consider when buying a home:

Green Thumb?

If you love landscaping and gardening, then buying a home with a lawn will be a fun adventure. But if you’re not into gardening, then buying a home with a lawn or landscaping can cost you about $100 or more a month for professional landscape maintenance. Are you willing to skip the lawn in favor of hardscaping to reduce costs.

Make sure to factor your hobbies and services into your monthly budget to see if the numbers still work out in the black.

Pool Time

It can get hot in the Southwest, so a pool might sound like a great idea to stay cool. Yet one truth remains – pools cost money maintain. You should add up the costs of pool maintenance and servicing, energy, and insurance (along with liability if you have small children).  After you take all that into consideration, you may decide you would be better off heading to the neighborhood swimming hole.

If you plan to add a pool, don't expect to get back more than 50% of the cost when you sell your home. Yes, pools are fun, but they are an investment. Factor time and money into your future plans when buying a home with this special feature and, once again, ask yourself if the numbers add up to support your other financial goals.

Children

If you’re buying a home and plan to start a family in the next few years, don’t just consider the amount of mortgage you can afford under your current expenses. Factor in daycare costs and then determine what your cash flow will look like. You may have to adjust the amount of home you’re looking to purchase.

Entertainment

Have you taken into account your entertainment costs? Most of us like to eat out, go see a concert or a movie, or go to a game. You should add up how much you normally spend on entertainment and see how you can balance those costs with owning a home. You may love your new home, but you may not want to feel trapped in it because you don't have the money left to have fun.

Retirement

If you’re in your 20s, you should try to save 10% of your income; in your 30s, you should be saving 15%. If you need to cut back on your retirement savings to make a home purchase work, think hard about when you’ll be able to get back to your ideal contribution levels and how much you may be losing out on during that time.

Although home ownership can help build long-term wealth, it’s important to also maintain retirement savings for future security.

Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.

HOT HOME LISTING OF THE WEEK!

2020 Mountaineer Drive SE, Albuquerque, NM 87123  $300,000

4 Bedrooms / 4 Bathrooms (2 full, 2 partial) / 2370 Square Feet

Casual elegance in this Incredible 4BDR/4BA with hard to find attached casita/guest suite/man cave or office!! Master Suite is on the main level!! Soaring wood beam ceilings, light, bright and open! An entertainer's floor plan with lots of space for family and friends! Fully landscaped beautiful backyard. Close to KAFB, Sandia Labs, UNM, Foothills!

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

Lesser-Known Fees That Factor Into the True Cost of Home Buying

by Sandi Pressley

Buying a home can be a tricky process, and there are plenty of little costs that can add up. How can you prepare to cover these costs?

Since most people focus on the larger costs, such as the down payment and mortgage payments, they tend to overlook the smaller fees that come with buying a home.

Here are a few of these lesser known fees and what they could cost you.

Home Inspection

A home inspection is critical to protecting you from buying a home with hidden issues that could ruin your finances. The inspector looks for structural and general issues with the home. Inspections cost between $300 and $500, and whether or not you end up purchasing the property, you still need to pay this fee. You may also have to hire a specialist if specific issues are found, such as foundation issues or termites.

Appraisal Fee

This appraisal report goes to your lender to assure it that the property is worth what you’re paying for it. If you’re selling, review the appraisal thoroughly for any oddball numbers or descriptions that could affect the value of your home. An appraisal can take about 2 hours and costs between $200 and $425.

Application Fees

Before ever approving you for a loan, the lender is going to run your credit report and charge you an application fee, often lumping the credit report fee in with the application fee. This can run $75 to $300. Be sure to ask for a breakdown of the application fees to understand all costs.

Title Services

These fees cover a title search of the public records for the property you’re buying, notary fees for the person witnessing your signature on documents, government filing fees, and more. These can cost between $150 and $400, and it’s important to get a line item for each cost.

Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)

When you put down less than 20% on your new home, the lender requires that you purchase PMI once you reach 78% of your loan-to-value ratio or you have 22% equity. So PMI is a policy that you have to buy to protect the lender from you. PMI rates can vary from 0.3% to 1.5% of your original loan amount annually.

Tax Service Fee

This is the cost (about $50) to ensure that all property tax payments are up to date and that the payments you make are appropriately credited to the right home.

Always ask questions when it comes to understanding the fees you’re paying. If possible, print out documents and go through them with a highlighter to indicate any areas you have concerns about. Discuss them with your lender or real estate agent and determine if you can negotiate any of them down.

Don’t be afraid to price shop to ensure you’re getting the best value. Just because you’re spending hundreds of thousands on a home doesn’t mean you should be comfortable throwing thousands of dollars at fees.

Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.

HOT HOME LISTING OF THE WEEK!

8309 Rancho Paraiso NW, Albuquerque, NM 87120  $269,000

4 Bedrooms / 3 Bathrooms (2 full, 1 partial) / 2276 Square Feet

You don't want to miss this picturesque almost 1/4 acre with backyard access. This is a fabulous 4 bedrooms home. Master is on the first floor. Spacious, well appointed kitchen. Light, bright wonderful family home. Pride of ownership is apparent. Balcony with fantastic views upstairs. Sought after neighborhood with easy access to all amenities. Don't wait to see this sensational home!

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

How to Seal the Deal When Closing Your Home

by Sandi Pressley

The time has finally come. You're about to seal the deal on your new home! The keys are nearly in your hands.

As you cross the finish line, what are some things to consider?

What Does "Closing" Mean?

Closing simply means that you sign the final paperwork that gets you the keys to your new home.

The process really begins when you sign a purchase and sale agreement, which specifies the closing date. It usually takes about 4 - 6 weeks from the signing date to closing date. During this time, purchasing funds are held in escrow, where your money is safe until the deal is officially done.

What's a Closing Disclosure?

A Closing Disclosure, or CD, is provided by the lender at least three days before settlement. The CD discloses you final loan terms and closing costs.

The reason for this step is to make sure there's no surprises during the final closing. You should let your lender and title company know right away if there's a significant discrepancy between the Loan Estimate and CD. Depending on what the underlying issue is, the closing has to stop and a new closing disclosure must be sent out with a new three-day review period.

The main things that can't change between by the time you get the Closing Disclosure is the interest rate and lender fees. Some items can change by only 10% (fees paid to local government to record the mortgage might be one); and others can change without limit, like prepaid interest, because it can’t be predicted at the start of the loan process.

When Will the Final Walk-Through Happen?

Usually within 24 hours of the settlement, you and your agent will do a walk-through of the home, making sure any repair work that the seller agreed to make has been completed.

If any repair work is missed, your agent will contact the listing agent and, in most cases, negotiate to get the seller to compensate you at closing, This will usually be in the form of a personal check for the costs of fixing the problems yourself.

Worst-case scenario: You have to delay closing to resolve problems. In the unlikely event that happens, your agent will help you address the issue.

How Much Will I Pay for Closing Costs?

Closing costs can be frustrating for home buyers, as there can be unexpected surprises.

Costs are split between you and the seller, but as the buyer you’ll cover the lion’s share. You can generally expect your closing costs to be 3% to 4% of the home’s sales price. So, on a $300,000 home, you can pay anywhere from $9,000 to $12,000 in closing costs. (Meanwhile, the seller typically pays closing costs of 1% to 3% of the sales price.)

You can try to predict closing costs with calculators which lets you plug in your mortgage details to get a rough estimate of what your costs will be.

Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.

HOT HOME LISTING OF THE WEEK!

8309 Rancho Paraiso NW, Albuquerque, NM 87120  $269,000

4 Bedrooms / 3 Bathrooms (2 full, 1 partial) / 2276 Square Feet

You don't want to miss this picturesque almost 1/4 acre with backyard access. This is a fabulous 4 bedrooms home. Master is on the first floor. Spacious, well appointed kitchen. Light, bright wonderful family home. Pride of ownership is apparent. Balcony with fantastic views upstairs. Sought after neighborhood with easy access to all amenities. Don't wait to see this sensational home!

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

Getting a Mortgage With a Low Credit Score

by Sandi Pressley

Here's a fact many people don't know. The credit score to buy a house can be as low as 580!

Having a low credit score doesn't mean that owning a home is impossible. It will mean, however, that a mortgage will cost you more than if you had perfect credit. But there are still many lenders that will work with you.

Here’s what you need to know about low-credit score mortgages:

What Counts as "Low Credit"?

We first need to get past the myth that you have to have amazing credit to buy a house. Lenders will take into account your entire financial picture. If you have a stable income, regular payment history, and cash in hand, this will all help if your credit isn't so stellar.

Here’s how FICO generally categorizes credit scores:

  • 800+ = Excellent credit score
  • 740-799 = Very good credit score
  • 670-739 = Good credit score
  • 580-669 = Fair credit score
  • Below 580 = Poor credit score

Having a credit score below 669 usually makes you what is called a  “subprime” borrower, according to FICO. This means that a loan will cost more, since you're a bigger risk. You will also have fewer options.

Your primary low-credit-score mortgage option will be FHA , which sometimes give loans with credit scores as low as 580. But the lower your score, the more it will cost you.

How Does Your Credit Score Affect Interest Rates?

Having a lower score means you will usually pay more of a down payment, higher interest rates, and private mortgage insurance.

Buy Now Or Work On My Credit?

If you pay a ton for rent, then buying now might be better, then you can refinance when your credit improves. For others, it may be smart to how promptly you pay your bills; it accounts for 35% of your score. A lender can help you decide. Or you can use an online tool to estimate the cost of different scenarios.

If you’re going to apply for a low-credit-score mortgage, more cash in the form of a bigger down payment helps. Plus, it can reduce your interest rate, which reduces your monthly payment.

How Do I Boost My Credit Score?

If you opt to work on your credit before getting a mortgage, here are a few ways to do it:

  • Look into rapid rescoring. You’ll work through your lender to fix errors and update information with the credit bureaus quickly, sometimes within days or weeks, rather than months. This isn’t credit repair, but a way to accelerate getting updated information through the system and into your report. Discuss with your lender whether this is a worthwhile pursuit for your circumstances.
  • Find a reputable credit counselor to guide you as the industry is fraught with scams.
    • Check your credit report for errors.
    • Pay off credit card balances.
    • Pay off other outstanding collections.
    • If you don’t have credit, get a credit card or small loan and establish a good payment history. (No credit is low credit.)

Even if you have a low credit score, a mortgage isn’t out of reach. While it may cost you more to buy now, in the end, it may be less expensive than waiting. And you’ll get the joy of owning a home to call your own.

Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.

HOT HOME LISTING OF THE WEEK!

1133 Santa Ana Avenue SE, Albuquerque, NM 87123  $499,000

4 Bedrooms / 3 Bathrooms (2 full, 1 partial) / 3550 Square Feet

 Oversized .46 Acre Corner Lot! Incredible backyard for entertaining family & friends with the great room & game room opening on to the covered patio, pool area and beautiful landscaping! Conveniently located close to the golf course, shopping, easy access to KAFB, Sandia Labs, downtown ABQ!!

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

If you have your home on the market, you'll soon be getting offers. When that happens, you'll need to decide which offers are best for you.

Your real estate agent will be a huge help with this. Agents know how to determine the pros and cons of an offer, since there's more to it than just dollar signs. They have a sense of your financial and personal goals, so they can help you decide if the offer being made matches those goals.

Before the first offer rolls in, here’s what you need to know about the offer evaluation process, including the main factors that should go into making a decision with your agent.

When vetting offers, evaluate these areas in addition to price:

The earnest money deposit.

An earnest money deposit, or EMD, is the amount of cash a buyer will pay when the agreement is signed to show they're serious about buying your home. This money is usually held by the title company and goes toward the down payment at closing.

A standard EMD is 1% to 3% of the cost of the home. If a buyer tries to back out of an offer for no good reason, the seller typically keeps the EMD. Therefore, the higher the earnest money, the stronger the offer.

The down payment. 

In most cases, a mortgage requires some down payment. The size of a down payment can determine the strength of an offer. As a seller, your main concern is for the transaction to close. And for that to happen, the buyer’s mortgage has be approved.

In most cases, a larger down payment indicates that a buyer has the cash to make sure the sale goes through. This means that if the appraisal comes in higher than your contract’s sale price, the buyer with a higher down payment would more likely be able to cover the difference with the large amount of cash they have available.

The closing date. 

Closing is when the final paperwork is signed and the sale is final. The entire process, from accepting an offer to closing, takes between 30 and 60 days.

Three days before closing, the buyer receives a closing disclosure from the lender, which he compares with the loan estimate he received when he applied for the loan. If there are material differences between the buyer’s loan estimate and closing disclosure, the closing can’t happen until those amounts are reviewed and approved. But this is rare.

Some transactions can take more time, depending on the buyer’s financing. For example, the average closing time for a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan is 43 days, according to Ellie Mae.

Whether you want a slow or quick settlement will depend on your circumstances. If you’ve already purchased your next home, for instance, you probably want to close as soon as possible. On the other hand, you may want a longer closing period if you need the proceeds from the sale to purchase your new home.

Check back on our blog every week for more real estate advice and local articles about living in Albuquerque. And make sure to follow us on Facebook for up to date real estate news for Albuquerque and surrounding areas.

HOT HOME LISTING OF THE WEEK!

1133 Santa Ana Avenue SE, Albuquerque, NM 87123  $499,000

4 Bedrooms / 3 Bathrooms (2 full, 1 partial) / 3550 Square Feet

 Oversized .46 Acre Corner Lot! Incredible backyard for entertaining family & friends with the great room & game room opening on to the covered patio, pool area and beautiful landscaping! Conveniently located close to the golf course, shopping, easy access to KAFB, Sandia Labs, downtown ABQ!!

Contact the Sandi Pressley team for additional details! 

Get your Morning Inspiration with the Sandi Pressley Team

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