Tag Archive: Home buyer


Down Payment Tips

Many people dream of owning a home but don’t think it’s possible because they lack the resources for a down payment and closing costs. Here are tips for securing that down payment.

1) Borrow from your retirement account: Many people have been investing in a 401(k) plan or traditional IRA for years and first-time homebuyers may borrow up to $10,000 for their down payment without incurring a penalty. For those self-employed or if your employer allows it, you also can borrow up to $50,000 from your current 401(k) and pay yourself back over five years at a low interest rate.

2) Ask family: Sure, you may be too proud to ask for money, but if relatives can help you and your family move into that dream home, isn’t it worth it? If you do get help from a family member, the lender will ask you to sign a gift-letter form, attesting to the relationship. The lender may also require your relatives to explain where they got the money and prove that they are financially able to make such a gift.

3) Look for down payment assistance grants: Down payment assistance and community redevelopment programs offer affordable housing opportunities to first-time homebuyers, low-income and moderate-income individuals and families who wish to own a home.

4) Come to a lease/purchase agreement: Homeowners who can’t sell their homes in this market may consider a lease/purchase agreement, where you rent the home you want to buy and a percentage of your rent is applied toward the down payment. If you go this route, make sure you get a contract outlining all the details so both parties are protected.

5) Add it to the wedding registry: Several mortgage companies allow those getting married to set up a down payment registry. This is a great way to celebrate the joining of two people in matrimony.

6) Cut back and save: If none of the other ways will work for you, there’s always the old-fashioned “saving for a rainy day.” Try putting aside 10% of each paycheck and make your meals instead of going out for them. If you’re married, save the money you would spend on birthday, anniversary and Christmas presents and put it toward your house. You also may need to forget that vacation this year.

These sacrifices may seem significant but they will be worth it once you’re inside your own home.

Prudential Showcase Properties is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential company. Equal Housing Opportunity.

Staging in Spring

Any home stager will tell you that “staging is staging” and the principles remain the same throughout the year—keep things clean, clutter free and colorful. But each season comes with its own brand of staging magic!

For spring, there are a number of things you can do both inside and outside to take advantage of the beautiful weather.

Barb Schwarz, creator of Homes Staging® and CEO of Stagedhomes.com, suggests adding splashes of color to your porch with potted flowers. She favors larger pots placed on each side of the front door bearing tulips or daisies with greenery in the middle.

Bringing spring colors into a home is just as easy, especially with accessories like throw pillows, area rugs, artwork, towels and bedspreads.

“Change accessories and the whole house changes,” Schwarz said. Swap-out decorative pillows on a sofa for a fresh, new look. “This year nature colors are really in; green is really big and hot orange is an accent that is strong.”

Designers recommend using other knickknacks that speak of spring, such as pears, eggs, sea shells, nature, leaf patterns in fabrics, wicker, real leather and rust metal as contrast.

Schwarz said it’s also a good idea to replace the drapery panels in a home or office. She recently changed a den from a daisy pattern in blue to cream plain panels that went from ceiling to the floor “and the whole room looked bigger and more elegant,” she said.

Of course, all rooms in the house are important and there are ways to liven up each one as the spring season blooms. You want the buyer to buy the whole house, not just one or two rooms staged, so it’s important to create a cohesive design.

Yet don’t forget your “great outdoors.” Clean up your yards, remove fallen leaves and dead plants, and trim bushes and hedges.

Indeed, spring brings more buyers so take advantage of all that the season has to offer.

Prudential Showcase Properties is an independently owned and operated broker member of BRER Affiliates, Inc. Prudential, the Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are registered service marks of Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Used under license with no other affiliation with Prudential. Equal Housing Opportunity.

The Smell of Success

Home sellers do everything they can to make their house look as beautiful as possible, yet appealing to home buyers’ other senses can be just as important —  especially when it comes to the sense of smell.

While you may not think your home has a smell to it, freshening the air and filling the home with sweet aromas can do wonders in making a favorable impression.

Most people know the old trick of baking bread or cookies to entice the noses of those looking around a home. That fresh bread smell is achieved by slicing open a large loaf of bread, dropping in vanilla essence and popping the loaf into the oven at medium heat for a half-hour before the showing.

REALTORS® also recommend the smell of cinnamon, French vanilla, butter cream or coffee filling the air to perk up those looking around.

“Scent impacts the atmosphere,” said Michelle Bardwell, an aroma therapist in Dallas, Texas. “You can create a delightful but subtle, aromatic space by using therapeutic grade essential oils.”

Bardwell recommends using cardamom essential oil in the kitchen to create a sense of warmth, lavender essential oil for the bedroom to evoke thoughts of relaxation, and a combination of eucalyptus and ravintsara for the bathroom.

“This will give the bathroom a fresh, clean aroma, and simultaneously kill bacteria and viruses on surfaces and in the air,” she said. “Put several drops directly on surfaces and wipe down, and you can even put a few drops on the shower floor and in the toilet.”

Scented candles are another way to achieve a fragrant aroma in the air, but there’s not always time to let them burn before a home showing. Electrical plug-in products with fragrance and potpourri pots also are effective.

Of course, pets odors must be addressed and be sure to check for smells coming from your refrigerator and garbage cans.

“You want to send a positive image about every aspect of your home,” Bardwell said. “Kitchen trash does not send a positive message.”

Scents register in our brain and frequently remind us of our own experiences. Create pleasant aromas throughout the house to help the homebuyer make a positive connection and a faster sale.

Prudential Showcase Properties is an independently owned and operated broker member of BRER Affiliates, Inc. Prudential, the Prudential logo and the Rock symbol are registered service marks of Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Used under license with no other affiliation with Prudential. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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