BUYERS: Why You Should Get Pre-Approved For a Mortgage Loan

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Buying a home is most likely the largest purchases you will ever make. Before you hire a realtor and before you make an offer on a home, you should get pre-approved for a mortgage loan by the lender first.

Here’s why:

#1     A pre-approval will tell you exactly what you can afford.  You don’t want to waste time looking at homes you don’t qualify to purchase.

To receive a pre-approval from a lender you are required to provide specific information regarding your income, assets and debts.  The lender will ask to see paycheck stubs, sometimes two years tax returns, and they will call your employer to verify employment and the stability of your employment.  The lender will require bank statements, any investments, and other assets to verify your ability to pay your debts and to verify where the money will come from for your down payment.  Your credit will be pulled so the lender can view your monthly minimum payments on all your credit debts to factor your debt to income ratio, and determine at what loan amount you will qualify. 

#2     A pre-approval tells your realtor and the sellers you are a serious buyer. 

Not only can your realtor fine tune the search based on your qualified purchase price and better guide and advise you through the home buying process, but the sellers will feel confident in accepting your offer.  They know you have met the criteria and are approved to purchase their home. A seller is most likely to accept the offer from a pre-approved buyer then one that is not pre-approved.

#3      A pre-approval helps you understand what monthly mortgage payment you will be comfortable with once you factor in property taxes, homeowners insurance, private mortgage insurance (if applicable) and possible HOA dues in some communities.

I’ve shown homes at the same price point in various communities but the property taxes and HOA fees have varied enough that it made a difference in the monthly payment and affected whether or not my buyers felt comfortable with the monthly debt.

#4      Letting a lender pull your credit sooner then later in your home buying process can help you reduce your debt and increase your disposable income.

If you haven’t yet looked at your credit report, asking a lender to prequalify you for a home loan may reveal items on your report you never knew were there and there may be items negatively affecting your ability to qualifying for a home loan.  You may have outstanding liens or late payments that are bringing your overall credit score down and/or the monthly minimum payments on your credit debts may be exceeding the acceptable ratio for purchasing in your desired price point.  Looking at your credit history with an expert may uncover areas in which you can reduce debt, increase disposable income and qualify for a better interest rate (which affects your overall monthly payments on your home loan).  The lender can educate and advise you on how the above items are impacting your credit and assist you with how to reach your goal of home ownership

Please note, you can’t rely on the “free” credit reports advertised and the calculators online to determine your qualification.  Free credit report sites do not use the same algorithm as the lenders use to determine your overall credit average and different loan programs have different criteria.

Have you ever seen any surprises on your credit report when you applied for a pre-approval?  Or, have you ever adjusted your home search price point, either up or down, after receiving a pre-approval?

Shawna O’Brien
F.C. Tucker Geist
The Tumbarello Group



Why Your Home Isn’t Selling

Why your home isn't sellingWe’ve all been talking about how it’s a “Seller’s Market” and homes are getting multiple offers within days of the listing.  But, what if yours isn’t selling or worse, not getting any showings?

Here’s a few reasons why your home isn’t selling:

1. The Price isn’t Right.  There’s never a second chance to make a first impression.  Pricing the home correctly from day one is important because your home is never going to get as much attention in one swoop like the day it goes live.  No matter what you have done to improve the property the sales price should be carefully chosen by analyzing what is selling in your market.  The value of your home is determined by what a buyer is willing to pay for it. If it is too high, you won’t get any offers. A real estate agent will help you set the right price based on data (real numbers) of homes similar to yours in the area.

2. There’s too many items in disrepair or areas that need updating.  Perception is reality.  Make the home sparkle.  Paint, pay attention to baseboards, clean the windows, fix what’s broken = simple as that.  If the carpet is worn, please get new carpet in a nice neutral shade.  Don’t worry what the potential buyer might prefer. It’s best to have new carpet the new homeowner can change eventually then to let potential buyers walk through your home and be distracted by dirty, worn, stained carpet and think to themselves – “darn, we love the house but we’d have to replace all this carpet before we can move in”.  We live increasingly busy lives and most people do not want to work on projects the second they get keys to their new home.  Same thing goes for appliances = update them.  I’ve held numerous open houses in which I’ve asked for feedback from my visitors and many of them will comment that they liked least that the home needed new appliances.  I’m realizing it’s kinda a big deal to new homeowners.  Make it easy for them to picture themselves moving in and enjoying the home right away without having to work on projects, shop for items and fix up unkempt areas.

3. The pictures online are of low quality.  This is SOOOOO important (did I include enough “O’s”?!)  Please, please, please, do NOT let your realtor post foggy, dark pictures taken with an iPhone on the MLS listing.  Everyone pre-qualifies your home online before they look at it in person.  The pictures are as important as pricing it right.  Trust a professional to take them, please.  I have a professional photographer that will photograph your home from the best angles, in the best light, highlighting the best features and it won’t cost you a penny!

4. Your home is unkempt or cluttered (too much furniture, knick knacks, dirty floors & surfaces, odors).  You want the individuals looking at your home online or in person to see the space and the function of your home.  Sometimes when you are living in a space you don’t realize that items have piled up and you have too many “decorations” OR that it has pet odor and there are cob webs in the corners.  Professionally clean the interior to help remove pet odors from floors and furniture.  It’s worth it to get a small storage unit to tuck away beloved décor items and the extra favorite furniture while your home is on the market. Clear off the countertops in the kitchen and store your small appliances like the toaster, the mixer, the knives, etc.  Once you store away the extras, it will be much easier to keep the floors and surfaces clean and tidy.  If you need a helping hand, I have partnerships with home stagers that will assess your home and provide a report suggesting what you should do to make your home “show ready” at NO CHARGE to you.

5. Your home is lacking curb appeal.  Same with the tip #2 above – perception is reality.  Mow and edge the lawn, trim your hedges, fix the gutters, paint the front door, add some potted plants, replace the exterior lights if needed and make the home look cared for and loved before the buyers cross the threshold.  Have YOU ever gone to look at a home that’s holding an open house and after seeing the façade decided not to go in?  I bet you have.  Don’t let it happen to you!

6. Your home is unique or uncommon for the area.  Keep in mind that it takes longer to find the right buyer who will love your unique home as much as you do. Especially if your home has unique features regarding the floorplan and the size of the land; or it’s in a mixed zoning area or in a flood zone.  You may be on the market longer but again, price the home well and choose an agent who will creatively market the home well and you will attract a buyer who appreciates the unique-ness as much as you did when you bought your home.

7. Your home appeals to a smaller buyer pool.  We see this mostly with homes over 400K.  The average home sale in Indiana in June is $213,339.  Less then 1% of active homebuyers are looking to buy homes at 500K or more.

If you’ve looked online or in person at homes for sale this summer, what are some of the reasons you would not be interested in purchasing the home?  Keep in mind the same criteria you look for as a buyer in your next home is the same criteria you should be considering when making your existing home desirable and marketable to a buyer when you list it for sale.

Shawna O’Brien
F.C. Tucker Geist
The Tumbarello Group

Welcome to My Blog

Welcome to My Blog

cropped-chair1.jpgWelcome!  I created this blog because I enjoying sharing what I’ve learned and documenting my experiences.  And, I’m hoping if you don’t know me well, you’ll get to know me through my posts.

A little about me:  I’m passionate about real estate and equally passionate about helping others. My background is in banking, lending, sales and marketing. I grew up on the east side of Indianapolis was an athlete and continue to be an avid exerciser today.

Volunteering in my church and helping my community is important to me and through service to others I’ve met amazing people with diverse backgrounds and experiences.

It’s my competitive nature and can-do spirit coupled with patience and understanding that have helped me succeed in my professional life. I take pride in all I do, especially my ability to effectively communicate, time manage, organize and pay attention to details.

Whether you choose me to help you sell your home or buy your home or BOTH, I will be your partner during the journey through every step of the process.

I’m devoted to my husband and two children and I know that buying or selling a home is a big decision for an individual/family. My goal is that you always feel heard, informed, and comfortable during our working relationship and, that we have fun!

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton