Archive for home buyer

Knocking down Obstacles in the Loan Application Process. Part 1

Posted in For Buyers, Real Estate Advice with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2009 by realtordebbie

No Credit My,.... So you think buying a home is easy these days?  For some, it may be, for most people however there are “glitches.” No one like “glitches,” but these days we stumble into more than ever before.  Believe me when I say, no one is perfect. Even the most savvy real estate investor has obstacles that prevent the smooth transactions we grew accustomed to in years past.

Preparing to buy a home involves more than making up  your mind that you want to move. There are certain steps of preparation that you must follow. The first and biggest obstacle that I run into with my customers is CREDIT ISSUES. Either Bad Credit, No credit, or someone else’s credit..on your credit report! Yes, it happens.

There will be some followup to this BLOG, but for now let’s get the credit issues our of the way. Let’s knock out a few credit score questions and answers.

What is a credit Score?

Good grades come from having done positive things, bad grades subtract points from your grade. Most scores range between 300 – 900 points, the higher is the better grade. A credit score is used to qualify you for loans. If you fall below 630 these days, it will will be a challenge to get your qualified. Lenders will delve into your credit scores, using the scores from three major reporting agencies, and sometimes one national agency. If you are monitoring your credit.. check all 3! The nuts and bolts is this:

What affects your Credit Positively?

  • Paying your bills on time and in full.
  • Having one or two credit cards used on occasion and paid each month.
  • The typical rule of thumb is to use 25 percent or less of your available credit. Ideally, carry a balance of no more than $2,500 if your credit limit is $10,000.
  • Steady employment. People who are steadily employed are viewed as being better able to pay their bills on time.
  • If you are self-employed, pay yourself a documented salary!

What damages your Credit Score:

  • Missing of Making Late Payments.
  • Using more than 80 percent of your total amount of available credit
  • Bankruptcy
  • Liens or foreclosures
  • Periods of unemployment
  • Repeated, multiple requests for new lines of credit ( i.e. store credit card applications will KILL your credit! Don’t do it to save 10%!)

The Major Factors that affect your credit score:

  • Your payment history. Are you paying on time? This is one of the biggest factors that lenders look at.
  • Your outstanding debt. Your debt to income levels are critical, your ability to pay back small sums is manageable, large balances are very difficult to manage.
  • How long have you been building credit. The longer your credit history, the higher your credit rating.
  • The number of inquiries on your credit report. The more times you’ve applied for credit cards or loans, the more credit report inquiries will show up on your credit report. When in trouble, in the fine print, your creditors can pull your credit when you are late, when you apply for loan extensions or modifications. This can kill your score because it indicates you are having trouble managing your debts.

What to do when you see a “cheater” on your credit report.

Sometimes there are debts on your credit report that do not belong to you. This happened recently to my 19 year old borrower as he discovered that his father had been using his social security number and had taken out credit cards in his name. They were good pays,.. but they were NOT his, in fact most were taken out when the 19 year old was 9 and 10 years old! Can someone say, “Credit card FRAUD?” Do us all a favor, report credit card fraud, let the credit companies investigate and prosecute those who committed the crime.  If you are one of those stealing from your kids.. thinking you won’t ever get caught… Think  Again!

Credit card fraud is on the rise. Access to social security numbers, telephone numbers, dates of birth are too easy to find, not to mention accessibility to your mailbox which is full of the “sign here” offers that can be stolen in a flash. Use a identity theft service. It’s the cheapest, best insurance you can own, and these days you need it!

CreditReport.com reports that the average credit score of Americans is “in the neighborhood of 680,..” and that, “while consumers have more debt than the year prior, and a quarter of the country has more debt than the national average – apparently we manage debt fairly well, as our average credit score is hanging in there.”

So, while you may look at your credit card debt and shriek,.. look at your score, do a little housecleaning once a year and relax.

Part II….Exercise Your Right To Choose the Right Lender!

Will Customers Hire Me from an Open House?

Posted in Debbie Kirkland, For Realtors, Real Estate Advice, Realtor, Tallahassee with tags , , , , , , on March 15, 2009 by realtordebbie
 

200187506-001 Nearly every Sunday I sit open houses for my sellers here in Tallahassee, FL.  While the goals of open houses are to expose a home to potential buyers, often times it is an opportunity for buyers to meet hardworking, professional and educated Realtors. It’s the perfect time to engage perfect strangers.  It’s also a time to let your personality shine through. When I am working with newer agents I try to remind them, not only must you be the most educated “kid” in the industry, but the most animated, exuberant and genuine Realtor they will see during their open house tour day.  It’s often your one shot to shine above the rest of your competition.

 Buyers have more homes to look at today than ever before. They are also going to meet more Realtors than ever. How are you going to stand out? Do you need a wiener-mobile, (although I have asked my kids for years to submit me for “Pimp My Ride” – I wouldn’t refuse!), a musical business card, or top hat and tap shoes? It’s really not that hard. Being prepared, and being able to recognize 3 simple kinds of open house visitors are all you really need. (That and a good breakfast!)

 

 I pretty much think you can classify open house buyers in three categories:

 

 First, Buyer’s who are just looking, we know them as the “tire-kickers”, not to be insulting, but basically, they are just “kicking” around thoughts in their heads. TireKickerPerhaps they are looking for ideas from new construction on how to fix up their homes, perhaps they are weighing their options of up-sizing or down-sizing. I love these folks! They are the ones that often enter with closed minds. not intentionally of course, but hopefully leave with something of value. In this instance, I provide a simple service whether a summation of industry news, market conditions, or at the very least a free valuation of their home. I believe in “remembrances, some call them freebies. I want these folks to remember me for taking the time to provide them with a service. A list of your services is a necessity for these folks. A perfect Brochure: “My Full-Time Realtor Service Portfolio.”

 

 Secondly, I see telmer-bugsstandoffhe standoffs. They rush in, pull back at “hello,” and rush out.  These will be the hardest customers for someone to deal with.  They do not understand Realtors, they are misinformed and often have pre-conceived notions whether from a bad experience or a predatory salesperson from the past, or they simply know it all anyway. Best to let these folks pass through and continue to call on every sign, they do not value your services or your time. A perfect flyer for these customers on the fly: “Why Use a Realtor and on the back, “How Realtors Get Paid.”  

 

 Thirdly, there are the wide-eyed wonders. Generally, these folks are excited, easily enamored and also easily disappointed. They want a new home, but perhaps bungee-jumper1have not been introduced to Realtors properly. They don’t have a clue how to begin a transaction or how to work with a Realtor. These folks are also your Easter eggs. These brightly shining, colorful folks are the ones you want to collect in your basket and watch over. With proper guidance, they will hatch into to happy, grateful customers who will produce more happy, grateful customers. For these folks, it is all about subtlety and education.  Have the tools they need on hand. The perfect package for these folks: An appointment card (for your Buyer Orientation), Why use a Realtor and how a Realtor Get’s Paid, A Buyer’s guide to FLORIDA Real estate (what to know about your state’s insurance, how your State Association is working to protect homeowner’s real estate interests), a first time home-owners package, and give them as much information as possible on a frequent basis. Register them to your website, your blogs; put them in an automated listing notification system. Call them when they get these notifications, review the listing that was sent and give them feedback before your ever show it. Let them know you know about this property even if you have to call the other agent to discuss it ahead of time. These are the customers that will eagerly research on their own, weed out the listings that are not of interest, and take your cards to other Realtors when they visit open houses, because… you will have trained them to do so! After all, it is great for customers to hear from other agents that their Realtor is a great Realtor! (I hope you reciprocate this!)

 

So, organize your thoughts and materials prior to your open house. Put your game face on for the kickers, bring the shield for the darts flying around the standoffs, and be ready to dance with the wide-eyed wonders! Ask yourself, “Would I pick me?” If not, well, that’s another article.