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Roll the Repairs into the Mortgage

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

Roll the Repairs into the Mortgage

It's been said that if you can find a home that has most of what you want, you should go ahead and purchase it.  Many first-time buyers are using everything they have for a down payment and closing costs and would have to "live" with the less than perfect home until they can save the money to make the changes.

The FHA 203(k) mortgage allows a borrower to purchase a home and provides additional funds for improvements to be made.  These types of renovations can include kitchen and bathroom remodels, flooring, plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems, additions and other things.

The benefit to the buyer is that they have the opportunity to consider a home that needs repairs and might have been unacceptable without a program like this.  Being a FHA loan, a minimal down payment is required, fair interest rates and generous qualifying requirements.

The 203(k) Streamline can be used for cosmetic improvements, appliances and minor remodeling up to $35,000 in cost.

As you can imagine, this is a specialized program and not all lenders choose to make 203(k) loans.  They usually take longer to process and getting firm bids on the work to be done will be required.  It is important to find out how much experience a lender has with this particular type of loan.    

It will also be required that you work with a 203(k) consultant in addition to the mortgage officer.

For more information, go to Hud.gov FNMA has a similar conventional loan program called HomeStyle Mortgage Your real estate professional will be able to help with recommendations.  Call me at (907) 261-7632.

Can you own your dream house with student debt?

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

 

Did you know you can buy your dream home while paying off student loan debt? 

It’s true and even quite common. While student loans are factored into your debt-to-income ratio, they shouldn’t prevent you from becoming a homeowner. 

And fortunately, there are many programs and options available to prospective buyers, some you may not be familiar with. Here are four ways people with student loans achieve their homeownership goals: 

1. Co-buying With Friends or Family
Purchasing a home with a roommate, significant other or sibling allows you to combine multiple incomes to qualify for a better mortgage rate. This can help lower your monthly payment and make home maintenance more affordable.

2. Receiving Financial Gifts From Family 
You can also accept gift money from your parents, grandparents or other family members to put toward your home purchase. Some loan programs have a cap on how much gift money can be used, so make sure you know the limits first. 

3. Choosing Low (or No) Down Payment Loans 
There are many low down payment options, including FHA, HomeReady and Home Possible loans. For loans with no down payment, VA loans may be available to veterans and military members as well as USDA loans for those purchasing in rural areas. 

4. Using Assistance Programs 
Down payment assistance programs can cover some or all of your down payment costs if you qualify. These programs vary by location, so talk with a lender to learn about potential options. 

Working on your credit can also help you buy a home. Pay your credit card bills on time every month, aim to pay down your debts and never let an account go into collections. It also helps to get preapproved for a mortgage so you know how much you qualify for. 

If you’re ready to make homeownership a reality or would like a referral to a trusted lender, get in touch today.

3 Easy Mistakes to Avoid When You Buy a House

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

3 Easy Mistakes to Avoid When You Buy a House, Anchorage, Alaska

Whether you buy a house for the first time or want to upgrade your space, the process of qualifying for a mortgage, finding the right home, and closing with the seller can be complicated. Mehner Weiser Real Estate in Anchorage, AK, wants to help you avoid feeling stressed and confused. To make home buying smoother, here they share critical mistakes many potential homeowners make. 

Top 3 Missteps When You Buy a House 

1. Forgetting the Mortgage 

While shopping for a house is the most exciting part of the experience, you should qualify for a mortgage first. You may become disappointed if you discover the ideal home, only to find out you are in the wrong price range or can’t make a serious offer. Once you know how much you can borrow, you can bid on a beautiful home that fits your budget. 

2. Skipping the Inspection 

Anchorage-Buy-a-HouseSince home inspections take time and carry a fee, some buyers bypass them. Foregoing a professional review of a property you like is a costly mistake. Expensive, hidden damage could reveal itself after you close on the house. Avoid surprises about major repairs by getting an inspection first. 

3. Overlooking a Real Estate Agent 

Some home buyers choose not to hire their own real estate agent. Instead, they work with the seller’s Realtor®. These agents want to secure the best price and terms for the seller. If you don’t have an advocate, you could be outbid or pay too much. 

3 Methods to Organize Your Home and Life

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

 

We all have some level of attachment to our things. However, many of us feel as though we're drowning in stuff. Fortunately, there's been a growing movement toward minimalism, and there are numerous methods that can help. Below are three decluttering philosophies to help you clear out and clean up your home and life.

  1. Feng Shui -- The driving principle behind this Eastern philosophy is to create harmony and balance between an individual and his or her environment. Good feng shui invites prosperity and brings an overall sense of well-being into your space. From the front door to the bathroom, small changes to color, decor and furniture arrangement are believed to promote health, wealth, happiness and good energy.

  2. The KonMari Method -- Famed Japanese organizer Marie Kondo promises that you can drastically improve your life by tidying up. In her book, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing," she explains a two-step approach. First, you take all of your possessions and lay them out categorically (clothes first and sentimental pieces last). Then, you hold each item in your hand and decide whether or not it brings you joy. If it doesn't, you let it go.

  3. The 90/90 Rule (Minimalism) -- This home organization concept also relies on a two-part process. When implementing the 90/90 rule, assess each belonging based on two simple questions: Have I used it within the last 90 days, and will I use it in the next 90 days? If not, it's time to say goodbye.

Ultimately, there's no shortage of ways to declutter and simplify your life. The important thing is to be willing to let go of the items that no longer serve you and make way for new experiences.

Preparing Your Home for an Emergency

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

Emergency situations such as fire, extreme weather and power outages can happen without warning. By taking the time to prepare for a possible disaster now, you and your family will be equipped to handle a crisis if one ever occurs. 

Fire Escape Route and Meeting Spot
It can take a mere five minutes for a fire to engulf your entire home. This is one reason having an escape plan is so important. Include at least two exit routes in your plan in case one is blocked, and designate a safe location for everyone in your household to meet. Identifying a secondary location outside your neighborhood is good to have in the event it's not safe to return or you're asked to evacuate.

List of Emergency Contacts
Make laminated cards with a list of important phone numbers for each family member. This might include contact information for the local authorities and emergency services as well as your nearest relatives.

Home Safety Items
Be prepared in case an emergency does occur by having these home safety items

  • Fire Extinguisher -- Keep one on each floor, and check them annually to make sure they're functioning properly.
  • First-Aid Kit -- Store it in a central location, such as the kitchen, and make sure everyone knows where it is.
  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors -- Install detectors in each room and test them once a month. Use long-life lithium batteries to cut back on replacements.
  • Food and Water -- Put together a three-day supply of nonperishable foods and at least three gallons of water for each member of your household.

 

There's often very little time to react in a crisis. But with a little planning and prep work, you can be well-equipped and ready to respond accordingly.

7 Tips for Energy Awareness Month

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

October isn't just about pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween celebrations; it's also Energy Awareness Month. Find out how you can reduce your household's energy consumption this fall while preparing for the seasons ahead.

Reducing Home Energy Use

The average U.S. household consumes tens of thousands of kilowatt hours of electricity each year, and much of it is completely unnecessary. Making changes as simple as adding a few energy-efficient appliances and turning off gadgets when you're not using them can save you a significant amount of money while also reducing your carbon footprint.

Don't fret if new Energy Star-labeled appliances aren't in the budget. Instead, try working in a few small changes from this Home Energy Checklist to help you save throughout the year. Here are a few more ideas:

  • Unplug electronics, gaming consoles and chargers when not in use.
  • Insulate your water heater with a blanket and turn the temperature down to at least 120 degrees.
  • Replace bulbs with LED or CFL bulbs and turn them off anytime you leave a room.
  • Schedule an energy audit and replace your thermostat with a programmable unit.

 

Prepping Your Home for the Cold

During cooler months you can save additional money and energy with simple, inexpensive fixes like:

  • Using insulating drapes to help diffuse winter chill. Just make sure to open any south-facing drapes to take advantage of the sun's natural heating capabilities.
  • Finding and sealing air leaks. Check your windows, doors and pipes, and use weather stripping or caulk to stop cool air from seeping in.
  • Closing fireplace dampers when not in use. You can also have the entire flume completely sealed off if you use your home's heating system exclusively.

 

Reducing your energy consumption not only makes a positive contribution to our planet, it also leaves money on the table for fun fall pastimes. With just a few of these small changes, you can get more from your energy budget.

How Agents Help During Home Sales

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

 

Just because you can buy and sell property on your own, it doesn't mean you should. Real estate agents remain essential when making these pivotal financial transactions. 

There are many ways agents add value during the purchase or sale of a home:

  • Handle the technical nuances -- Whether you're the buyer or the seller, a home sale includes a dizzying amount of paperwork. Skilled agents know how to fill out what documents and when, saving you time and helping you avoid mistakes.
  • Speak the lingo -- The industry uses an astonishing number of acronyms. Working with a real estate agent gives you the opportunity to better understand the conversation. 
  • Can negotiate without emotion -- It's easy to get triggered when a potential buyer picks apart your home. Let the agent handle criticisms or requests that could set you off or scare away an interested party. 
  • Help you look beyond the property's walls -- Agents have expertise beyond the sale, including insight on everything from utilities to neighborhoods to quality schools. 
  • Are well connected -- It takes a village to complete a home sale. Whether you need a trustworthy home inspector, an efficient mortgage broker or a creative interior designer, turn to your agent for credible recommendations. 
  • Keep up with the most recent laws and regulations -- You may only complete a few real estate deals in your lifetime, whereas an agent often signs off on several each year. Experienced real estate agents know as soon as something in the industry changes and can save you from a liability headache

Whether your aim is to net money from the sale of your home or spend wisely on a new one, a real estate agent has your best interests in mind and can make the process as seamless as possible.

Credit Score: What It Means and How to Improve It

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

 

Are you considering making a major purchase, like buying a home, this year? If so, your credit score will likely come into play. An understanding of the basics can help you effectively monitor and manage it. 

Credit Score 101
Your credit score will usually range from 300 to 850. It's derived from an algorithm that takes into account several factors, including payment history, the total debt owed and length of credit history.

Lenders use this three-digit number to predict risk and the likelihood that you'll repay your debt on time. The higher your credit score, the less risk you are and the lower your loan terms will be. For example, a person with a "good" credit score of 700 may have a lower interest rate and smaller required down payment than someone with a "poor" credit score of 400.

How to Improve Your Score
If you don't have much credit history or you have a few negatives on your report, consider these strategies to increase your score.

  • Pay all of your bills on time. Late payments can negatively impact your score.
  • Pay off debt where you can. The less debt you have, the lower your debt-to-income ratio.
  • Keep your credit card balances as low as possible, aiming to use no more than 30 percent of your available credit. And pay off as much as you can each month since higher balances can sink your score.
  • Review your credit report at least annually, and keep an eye out for mistakes and identity theft.

3 Strategies to Make 2017 Your Most Organized Year Yet

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

 

 

The new year represents a clean slate and the chance to begin again. It's also the ideal time to clear out unwanted items and organize your home for the year ahead. If you want a fresh start to 2017, let these decluttering approaches inspire you. 

Organizational Apps
Decluttering apps are plentiful, and they provide an effective way to complete the purging process. Some, like Snupps, let you digitize your belongings and organize them into simple categories or "shelves." From there, you decide what to keep, sell or give away. You can also reach out to other users for organizational inspiration, discover items you may be interested in acquiring or show off your personal collection. 

Room-by-Room Schedule
To systematically remove clutter over time, try monthly organization that's broken down by room. For example, you can tackle the kitchen in January and give the home office a deep clean in February. Make a schedule that works for you. This method may feel less overwhelming and rushed.

Single Purge 
Prefer to declutter your entire home all at once? Designate a few days or a weekend to devote to the process. The secret is to stay focused on one task at a time and avoid getting sidetracked. Work your way through each room one by one until you've cleared out all areas of your home. 

The new year is fast approaching and now's the time to eliminate your clutter. Whether it's an app, a 12-month schedule or one big purge, there's no shortage of methods to help you have a more organized 2017.

Cleaning Tips for Your Hard-Working Appliances

by Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC.

 

Occasionally cleaning household appliances like stoves and refrigerators may seem obvious, but what about equipment that does the cleaning, like the dishwasher and washing machine? Give these often overlooked appliances a deep clean with the following tips before the holidays have them working overtime.

Unclog the dishwasher. The cleaner the dishwasher, the cleaner your dishes will turn out after going through a wash cycle. Take a moment to clean the dishwasher's filter, usually located on the inside bottom of the machine. This detachable filter becomes clogged with food and debris over time, so empty it out regularly to keep it working efficiently. 

De-gunk your garbage disposal. Use a natural abrasive combo of ice and salt to loosen grime from the blades. Though it will be loud, run the disposal until the ice is gone. When finished, you can grind up a lemon or lime wedge to deodorize the drain. 

Give your washing machine a wash. Hosting out-of-towners during the holiday season? Avoid musty bedding and towels by sanitizing the machine and removing mildew buildup every few months. To do this, run a hot wash cycle without a load and add one cup of bleach to the soap dispenser or directly into the machine.

Give your vacuum more power. Increased foot traffic could have this tool working harder over the holidays. Keep your vacuum maintained with simple fixes like unclogging hoses, cleaning the rotating brush and replacing the filter.

Want to keep your appliances working hard for you? Give them regular attention and their own cleaning now and then.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 20

Contact Information

Photo of Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC Real Estate
Mehner Weiser Real Estate, LLC
RE/MAX Dynamic Properties
3350 Midtown Place
Anchorage AK 99503
Bethany (907) 223-1632
Bonnie (907) 223-0005