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First Time Buyer Tips

by Sandi Pressley

Are you looking to buy your first home? A large number of homes selling today are going to first time buyers. The low mortgage rates and great prices are making it a great market for home buyers, especially first time buyers It’s a good idea to start early, at least 4-6 months before you plan to purchase and before you call a lender. To best position yourself for a purchase, follow these tips.

Get your Credit Report and Score

The 3 credit bureaus offer an annual free check of your credit. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act they are required to provide you with a copy of your full credit report at no cost. You can also pay a small fee and see your credit score. Your credit score is what a lender will use to determine your creditworthiness. The higher your score, the better your interest rate will be. Lenders look at your average score and while they use a complex algorithm, having good credit can make a huge difference in your monthly payment. All three credit bureaus can take up to 90 days to correct errors on your report. Check it carefully for mistaken identities, signs of identity theft and payments that were incorrectly reported. Make sure to allow plenty of advance time for those corrections. This will make the pre-approval process smoother.

Keep Your Scores Up

You might think that opening a new credit account and then leaving it uncharged will help your credit score. This includes large purchases like furniture and cars. It also includes personal loans, major credit cards and even store credit cards like those offered at department and home improvement stores. Lenders look at your credit score but they also consider your debt to income ratio. The higher this number is, the more risk you pose. Rates rise or loans are denied. It is best to wait to open new accounts until after your home loan has closed.

Get Pre-approved

Know what you can afford AND what you can qualify for before you go shopping for a home. Your lender will want to see your credit reports, job history, income, loans, credit card balances and any alimony or child support you pay or receive. Once you apply for a loan and get a pre-approval letter, finding a home in your price range is easier and you don’t risk falling in love with a house that’s out of reach. Based on all the financial information you provided, your lender will provide a tentative commitment to your loan. You won’t lock your interest rate yet but your lender can give you an idea of what your monthly payment might be like and how much of a down payment you might need.

Make a List

Make a list of all the things you want and need in a home. Do you need a single story home? Do you want to include a pool or horse stables in your purchase? Before you call a real estate professional it’s a good idea to have your choices narrowed down. Looking at 20 houses in one day might sound like fun but you won’t enjoy it if none of those homes meet your needs. Communication is key when it comes to your agent helping you find a home. Tell them what you’re looking for and talk to them if your needs or wants change during the home search process.

Find a Broker

When you’re ready to go look at homes it’s important to hire the right broker to help you. It’s important to find someone who is experienced in negotiations and who knows the areas you’re shopping in. You should interview no less than 3 agents in this stage of the process. Look for a broker who has a positive track record and whose personality is a good fit for yours. You’re likely to be spending a lot of time together in the process of finding and purchasing your first home.

Check Your Expectations

Unless you’re having a home custom built, you’re unlikely to find a home that has everything you’re looking for. Make a list of the top 3-5 things that are deal breakers and be flexible on everything else. Cosmetic changes like paint and carpet are an easy fix compared to structural changes and major renovations. Some home improvements can be covered by your mortgage loan. Talk to your lender about programs that may be able to help.

Real Estate is NOT a Short Term Investment

Unless you buy cheap, do all the work yourself and then flip the home for an immediate profit, you should always think of real estate as a long term investment. The National Association of Realtors says that home equity in general beats out inflation by one or two percent annually. Add that to the tax benefits of home ownership and this is an investment that can really pay off if done right. It’s not just an investment though. If you focus completely on the financial aspects of your home purchase you might miss out on the joys of home ownership. Living in a great neighborhood, not worrying about rising rents and making your house a home, all easily outweigh the financial benefits of owning. When you’re ready to purchase your first home, contact The Sandi Pressley Team and let our buyer specialists help you find the home of your dreams.

Have An Awesome Week!

Sandi's Hot Home Listing

1412 Stagecoach Ln, Albuquerque

Price: $575,000 Beds:5 Baths: 4 Square Feet: 4,250

Check out this Private Dream Home! Nestled in desired Four Hills, this rare find 2.21 acre single level dream home offers Elegance and Tranquil living! With over 4200SF, PLUS attached Sunroom 267+SF (not incl in sqftg) the open floor plan offers 5 BDRMS/4 Baths/Huge 3 Car garage ,2 breathtaking living areas +formal dining. Lovely raised and T&G/Beamed ceilings with picturesque window which flood the home with natural light and views

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How to stay in love with your house.

by Sandi Pressley

How to fall in love with your home When you’re shopping for a new home, you’re likely to be emotional about the process. You may fall in love with a house that isn’t right for you. Here are some tips to help you make a smart decision.

  • Shop for the home you can afford
  • Being house poor is never fun. Even the most beautiful home, with all the special features, can seem like a burden if it’s not affordable. In a worst case scenario, you may end up losing that home to foreclosure! Make sure you know the difference between what you can afford and what you can qualify for and shop for affordability.
  • Work with a Realtor
  • Looking at homes online can be a dangerous game. Some websites might be posting outdated information and the home you fall in love with could be under contract or no longer for sale at all. Your real estate professional will ensure you’re getting the most up to date information and also help you negotiate the best deal possible when you do find the home of your dreams.
  • Shop for the home you need
  • You might be tempted to buy the biggest home you can get in your price range. However, just like the unaffordable home, having a home that is much bigger than you need can be just as frustrating in the long run. Heating and cooling a larger home can be costly. Maintenance, upkeep and cleaning a large home can also be daunting.
  • Buy a home that suits your lifestyle
  • Are you a frequent traveler? You’re probably not going to be interested in a home with a lot of landscape maintenance or a fixer-upper. Have kids? You’re less likely to be shopping for a condo. Make sure the home you choose fits the life you live.
  • Distance matters
  • If you’re currently driving less than half an hour to work or school, buying a house that significantly adds to your commute can be a very bad idea. Not only will the longer time away from home become a frustration, but the extra fuel and vehicle maintenance can be costly.

Falling in love with your new home is about more than getting the biggest and fanciest. It’s about finding the perfect fit, from lifestyle and commute to size and affordability. If you’re ready to start your new home search, call the Sandi Pressley team today!

Have An Awesome Week!

Sandi's Hot Home Listing

10805 Towne Park Dr, Albuquerque

Price: $145,000 Beds:3 Baths: 2 Square Feet: 1,308

This lovely single story Home in gated community offers a spacious & functional floor plan complete w/cathedral ceilings, laminate wood flooring & tile.This open concept floorplan showcases a spacious & sunny kitchen w/plenty of counters & cabinets w/ lovely dining area. Large Master bedroom is complete w/full Master Bath and access onto patio.Additional amenities include oversized 2 Car Garage,from backyard private gate access to tranquil walking path.Back yard is tastefully landscaped for low maintenance-This home is a must see!!Close to shopping,KAFB and Sandia Labs. This gated community has 2 pools,2 parks,club house,work out room & tennis courts..

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Staging Like the Pros

by Sandi Pressley

Selling your Albuquerque home for top dollar requires that your home be in prime condition, especially compared to other homes in the same area and price range. We can’t all afford to spring for a professional home stager but there are some tips and tricks we can offer to help your home have that staged look and feel.

  • Consider Updates - Updating, especially in kitchens and bathrooms can make or break a deal. Potential buyer look at these rooms as major projects in general. If they’re outdated, a buyer may decide that your home is more work than they are willing to put in.
  • Declutter - Put it all away. From knick knacks to family photos, decluttering makes a big difference in the look of a home. Homes with a lot of clutter give the impression that a home might be lacking storage.
  • Smell It - Better yet, have someone else smell it. We get used to the smells in our home and often, we overlook unpleasant odors that can be a real turnoff to potential buyers. Invite an honest friend over to take a whiff and tell you what needs work.
  • Let the Sunshine In - Natural light can make a room look larger. Remove or replace heavy curtains or blinds with light and airy coverings that let the light in but still provide privacy. During showings, throw back the curtains and let the sunshine in.
  • Add Curb Appeal - Clean up the yard, clear cobwebs and peeling paint and add some color. The fastest way to scare off a potential buyer is to make a bad first impression.
  • Remove That Personal Touch - Buyers want to be able to picture themselves in your home. Removing family photos, religious relics and kid’s artwork allows buyers to see their own belongings in the home.
  • Make The Room A Room - One of the worst mistakes sellers often make is not giving a room a purpose. Putting bedroom and office furniture in the same room can confuse a room’s purpose and potential buyers. Decide what a room will be “staged” as and stick to that one thing.

If you need advice, call the Sandi Pressley Team. We’re here to help you get top dollar for your home.

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Sandi's Hot Home Listing

10128 Masters Drive NE, Albuquerque

Price: $525,000 Beds: 5 Baths: 4.5 Square Feet: 4,164

TANOAN LOT-Original owner designed & built this Exquisite home in the highly desired gated community-This Custom Home is situated in a PRIVATE area ON one of the Largest Lots. Check out this dream house w/your wish list met! With 4164 SF, this floorplan offers 5BDRMS/4.5BTHS, 2 breathtaking living areas. Stunning updated gourmet kitchen(2012):includes custom cabinets, exquisite granite counters, oversized island w/veggie sink,5-Burner Gas cooktop, Amazing Breakfast nook-Chefs delight.

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Downfalls of Obtaining a Home Loan

by Sandi Pressley

Unless you’re able to pay cash for your new home, getting a home loan will be part of your home buying process. Obtaining that mortgage can be complicated and being uneducated about the process can be a costly mistake up front and during the life of the loan. If a loan program seems too good to be true, it likely is and you should proceed with caution. Shop around and look for a great rate but beware if a rate seems to be much lower than average. If you’re shopping for a loan, you’re likely already working with a real estate professional. Along with your broker, friends and family can be a great resource for referrals.

Most of the financial issues you’ll encounter regarding a home purchase is not with the price of the home rather with the cost of the loan. Saving money on the purchase price may seem like a great idea but the cost of those savings in the long run could be great. Doing your homework can help with savings over the life of the loan, even if you don’t keep the home for the full term. Before you commit to purchasing a home, do you homework and

  • Learn about the credit rating system and what is needed to obtain the best terms and lowest interest rate.
  • Learn mortgage terminology and understand how the term of the loan, prepayment penalties and compounding interest can affect you.
  • Learn about making extra payments and how those payments can shorten the term of your loan and how much interest you will pay.

Rising interest rates get us in the mood to buy now. If you’re selling to move up or down, purchasing new home construction or buying your first home, you’re probably watching rates closely. Be careful what you find on the internet. There is a mix of good information and very bad information from refinancing to paying off your mortgage early.

One great resource for consumer information is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB was established in 2010 and is an agency that offers tons of information about financial markets and empowers consumers to make educated decisions about lending practices.

If you’re looking for a lender in the Albuquerque Metro area, contact the Sandi Pressley today. We have a list of reputable mortgage companies that can help you make smart decisions about your home finance options.

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Sandi's Hot Home Listing

4412 Woordrose Rd. NW, Albuquerque

Price: $309,000 Beds: 4 Baths: 3 Square Feet: 3,040

GORGEOUS UPDATED Popular Sivage Home featuring 4BDRMS + Loft AND Office/4 Baths (All updated 2010). With 3040 SQFT, this home showcases spacious and functional floorplan. NEW Carpet MAY/2015. TOTALLY REMODELED Gourmet Kitchen boasts updates with stunning granite counters/island(MAY 2015), stainless steel appliances-NEW OVEN & MICROWAVE 7/2015- and cozy breakfast nook.

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Understanding the Home Buying Process

by Sandi Pressley

Mortgage rates continue to hover at historically low levels and because of that, the number of people interested in purchasing a home continues to climb as well. If you’re one of the people ready to take advantage of low rates, here are some home buying tips.

Make a wish list – First decide the area you want to live in and the size of home you need. A single-family home will provide more privacy and room to move around and grow. A condo generally offers more amenities and less owner responsibility but also comes with association fees and less privacy. A distressed home is like a blank slate, ready for your creative ideas and can offer a reduced purchase price.

Get prequalified – There are sites on the web that can help you determine how much house you can afford but only a financial institution can give you a prequalification letter. A qualified lender will look at your credit reports and scores and your income and give you an idea of how much home you can qualify for. Be aware, the difference between what a bank will qualify you for and what you can afford might be very different. Look at the numbers, set a budget and stick to it.

Hire a Realtor – Working with a competent buyer broker will make a huge difference in your real estate experience. Look for a broker who does real estate full time, knows the areas you are searching in and has experience negotiating things like repairs and purchase price. If a broker tries to show you homes above your price range, find a new broker. This should be about your best interests, not their commission.

Find your dream home – No home on the market is going to have everything you want, unless you build it yourself. Make a list of needs, wants and things that would be nice to have in your new home. Don’t forget to look ahead. Are you planning to have kids? You might need more bedrooms. Will you reach retirement in the home? You may want to consider a single-story home. Cosmetic flaws can be easily fixed but a home that doesn’t fit your needs will quickly become a frustration.

Make an offer – Ask your Realtor to help you determine a fair price to offer. Your Realtor can tell you how long the home has been on the market and if there are any known issues that would have to be fixed or remedied before closing. Let your Realtor help you negotiate repairs and communicate to the seller how much you love the home.

Don’t skip inspections – Home inspections protect you in the event of any material defects the seller may or may not know about. An inspection company will inspect the home and provide a list of issues with the home. They will also give you an idea of issues that may come up in the near future. They aren’t necessarily looking for cosmetic issues but are more focused on major systems like the AC, roof and electrical systems. This list will help you and your Realtor negotiate repairs.

Get the home appraised – Your lender will require an appraisal to determine the market value of the home you’re about to purchase. The appraiser, a third-party company, will look at similar homes in the area that have sold in the recent past. They will compare the amenities of those homes to the one you’re considering and determine a market value. The lender will use this number to determine how much they will lend for the home.

Meet at the closing table – Once all negotiations have been completed, all parties to the deal will meet to sign documents and hand over keys. The title company will disperse funds to the appropriate people and the deal will close. If you’re ready to get started with the home buying process, call The Sandi Pressley Team today!

Have An Awesome Week!

Sandi's Hot Home Listing

23 Sage Hill Drive, Placitas

Price: $475,000 Beds: 3 Baths: 4 Square Feet: 3,623

Exquisite Placitas Property nestled on 1AC w/stunning views.Custom home showcases functional open floorplan w/radiant heat,Kiva FP,soaring T&G Beamed ceilings w/viga, latillas,nichos&adobe accents thru-out. Spacious Gourmet kitchen features stunning custom wood cabinetry,kitchen island,-chef's delight.

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Location, Condition and Price

by Sandi Pressley

Location, condition and price, these are the three biggest factors in a home’s ability to sell. While experts are advising sellers to move now, while rates are low, it’s important to understand how location, condition and price factor into that process.

Asking price is the first thing many buyers look at when they begin their home search. Knowing where to start when choosing an asking price begins with understanding if you’re in a buyer’s market, with 6+ months of inventory, or a seller’s market, with a low supply of homes for sale. Buyer brokers, lenders and the buyers you’re marketing too can all see the same data you can. If your home is priced too high for current conditions, buyers may skip looking at it, appraisers may value it lower than your asking price and lenders may choose not to lend the at asking price.

Location is the next big search option when buying a home. While you can’t do anything about your home’s location, there are things you can do to offset a home in a less than desirable location. Updating your landscaping, adding privacy barriers for sound and unsightly neighbor’s yards and making your home the best on the market in its area, can go a long way toward swaying a buyer’s attention away from the location. This leads us to the condition of the home.

The condition of your home will be a large determination on your final sales price. Having your home it its best condition possible can help you beat out the competition that doesn’t take the extra steps when listing their home for sale. Consider adding fresh paint, inside and out, cleaning or replacing carpets, updating kitchens and bathrooms, adding curb appeal and cleaning your home from top to bottom. Staging is also a great way to set your home apart. Most importantly, make any small repairs that are likely to catch the eyes of a discerning buyer.

If your home sits on the market for several weeks without much traffic and no offers, it’s a pretty sure bet it’s got something to do with the location, condition or price. Re-evaluate these factors and make changes accordingly.

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Sandi's Hot Home Listing

226 San Andres Road, Corrales

Price: $509,000 Beds: 3 Baths: 3 Square Feet: 2,725

Exquisite Custom Corrales Home nestled on .80 acres w/BREATHTAKING GROUNDS & VIEWS! This beautiful home offers a functional open floor plan w/radiant heat, 2 fireplaces, soaring ceilings, vigas, latillas, bancos & nichos. Lovely Open Kitchen is a Chef's delight w/upgraded appliances, ample countertop space, & kitchen island.

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August 2015 Market Activity

by Sandi Pressley

Home sales are up again nationally for August. In fact, they are far above the 2014 numbers for the same time period. Prices for homes also continued their climb nationwide. The summer real estate market looks strong. Will it last? Maybe. If you are considering selling your Albuquerque home, this might be the best time. It may be a few years before we see sales at the top of the market again.

If you're considering selling but you're not sure now is the right time, call the Sandi Pressley team and let us take the time to show you what your home is worth. If you want to get an idea on your own, visit our home valuation site for a free, no-obligation estimate.

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Sandi's Hot Home Listing

6246 Iris Rd NE, Rio Rancho

Price: $375,000 Beds: 3 Baths: 2 Square Feet: 2,690

Incredible custom, private courtyard, half acre lot, high end finishes, master bedroom split floor plan! Huge windows, great room with vigas, custom kiva, tile flooring, radiant heat AND furnace, refrigerated air, water softener, skylights, nichos. Featuring a raised dining room with stacked stone fireplace!

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Looking for an Accurate Home Valuation?

by Sandi Pressley

Are you looking for a home valuation and wondering where you can get accurate information? A lot of home owners in today's market look to third party sites like Zillow to find what they're looking for. In fact, Zillow's Zestimate is ranked as the number one consumer tool used to determine a property's value. Zestimates are easy to use but in truth, they can be grossly inaccurate. The sad truth is, many home owners take the Zestimate as the full picture of their home's value. These values can often be off by as much as 20% or more. When you're looking to make an important decision, like a selling price or whether or not to refinance, this disparity can be a game changer.

Here is our advice. Zillow is great as a tool to get a ballpark idea of your home’s value but, there are many factors that go into determining your home's value Many of these factors are hyper-local and require in-depth knowledge of the area in which your home is located. Zillow estimates also don't take into account the condition of your home or amenities in your community. Only a real estate professional who is familiar with your area can really give you specifics like this.

Value My Albuquerque Home has everything you need to find out the value of your home. This website will provide you with an instant home valuation. If you need an extremely accurate look at your home's value, say for a refinance or to prepare to list your home, The Sandi Pressley Team can give you a no-obligation home valuation based on the local information that applies directly to your home. Call us today for your free home valuation.

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Sandi's Hot Home Listing

7000 Fairfield Greens Ct. NE, Albuquerque

Price: $598,000 Beds: 4 Baths: 4 Square Feet: 4,905

Exquisitely Appointed Custom Home in Tanoan community-Dream home offers Elegance,Luxury & Lush Landscaped Bkyrd! With over 4900SF, the open floorplan offers 4BDRMS+Private Suite 1st floor, offers access to private single garage, ¾ BATH & access to kitchen. 2 breathtaking living areas w/wet bar & cozy FP, formal dining & LOFT used an upstairs living area which opens up to a deck to relax or entertain.View This Listing


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Are We Heading for Another Housing Bubble?

by Sandi Pressley

We are asked often if the state of the market in real estate today is setting us up for another housing bubble like that of recent years. The answer is not an easy one. A NAR economist recently addressed that question and you might be surprised at what he had to say.

So far in 2015, the spring buying season is performing well. Prices are rising faster than at the beginning of the year or this time last year. Does that mean we're in a bubble? Not necessarily. This is a common occurrence when demand increases at a faster rate than supply.

Existing home sales were up 9% this March compared to the same time last year. We're also seeing more homes hit the market but not quite enough to answer the increase in demand for those homes.

According to the article, "An equilibrium level of supply on the market is considered to be six to seven months; supply has been under five months since December. Looking at every quarter since 1988, when supply was under five months, prices rose 8% year over year on average. When supply was in the equilibrium range, prices went up only 4% on average."

So why isn't this a bubble? The biggest reason is that loosened lending practices made it much easier for buyers to get a loan during the bubble. While rates are still at historic lows, those lending standards have tightened back up. We saw a record number of new loans during the bubble and that's definitely not repeating this time.

This in turn means we are seeing fewer abandoned homes and less flipping of homes. We are also seeing the return of those important first-time buyers. As the economy continues to slowly improve, it is completely normal, even expected, for home prices to improve. Owners will start seeing the benefit of selling and list their homes and will also encourage new home builders to get into the market again.

If you want to know more about the home sales activity in your area, contact a member of the Sandi Pressley team today.

Have An Awesome Week!

Sandi's Hot Home Listing

13804 Spirit Trail Place NE, Albuquerque

Price: $629,000 Beds: 5 Baths: 4 Square Feet: 4,935

Exquisitely Feng Shui Home built by ULTIMA HOMES. This Custom home showcases dramatic DOUBLE spiral staircase. With over 4900 SQFT, this dream home offers sophistication & Luxury! Meticulously built-this home features stunning raised ceilings, arched accents, gleaming oak hardwood flooring are but a few. Huge gourmet kitchen w/just installed Hi end granite counter/kitchen island thru-out & stainless steel appl-chefs delight! View This Listing


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Mobile Home Search Made Easy

by Sandi Pressley

A recent NAR study reveals something most people probably already suspected, 85% of home searches online are done on a mobile device. What does that mean exactly? Most home searchers are looking for their next home purchase from a smart phone or tablet. This fact makes it far more important than in recent years, for a real estate broker to have a website that is optimized for mobile devices. Sadly, a significant number of real estate professionals have yet to make that change, leaving visitors frustrated by size distortions, cumbersome pages and sites that simply do not work.

When you're ready to search for Albuquerque real estate, including the surrounding areas, you can rest assured that the Sandi Pressley Team website is ready for you! Our search pages are fully optimized for mobile devices and designed with our customers in mind. From our website search page AlbuquerqueHomeSolutions.com you can perform a basic search by area, price or number of bedrooms or bathroom. You can also dig deeper and perform an advanced search for things like high school district, year built, whether or not a home is bank owned or has a pool. If you have questions about a specific home or area you search on our mobile website, give our team a call and we'll help you set up a custom search to find exactly what you're looking for.

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Sandi's Hot Home Listing

41 Cienega Canyon Road, Placitas

Price: $325,000 Beds: 3 Baths: 2 Square Feet: 3,110

Fantastic Passive Solar Home offering Bright, Light & Open Floorplan. Spacious Kitchen w/ample counter & cabinet space opening to Greatroom. Passive Solar features include Trombe Wall allowing maximum passive solar benefits. View This Listing


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