Linda A. Cappello. Broker, GRI, ABR's Blog
Going away on your vacation should be a time of relaxation and enjoyment. For some of us, however, we spend some of that time worrying about our homes, our pets, and all of the housework we have to catch up on when we get back.
One way to alleviate some of this anxiety is to employ a house-sitter while you’re away. In this article, we’re going to talk about getting your home ready for the sitter so that they can keep things running smoothly while you’re away.
Finding a house-sitter
There are three groups of people you should consult about finding a house-sitter for your home: friends, family, and neighbors. Many young people still living with their parents will be happy to get away for a week or two and have a house to themselves for a change.
An added benefit of asking an acquaintance or relative is that you can usually be assured that they’ll take good care of your home while you’re away.
In terms of payment, leaving them money for groceries and delivery is a good way to thank them for watching your house and pets while you were away.
Getting your house ready for the sitter
You might be at a loss of where to begin when it comes to leaving a note of things to do while you’re away. A good way to make sure you don’t miss anything is to keep a list in your phone and add to it throughout the day whenever you complete a task that you want the house-sitter to do.
You’ll also want to make sure you provide contact numbers for you and whoever else is away on vacation with you, and store the house-sitter’s number in your phones as well.
Next, make sure your home is emergency-ready. That includes checking the smoke detector and flashlight batteries. If you have a security system, it’s a good idea to let them know that someone will be watching your home while you’re away and provide their name in case your house-sitter accidentally sets off the alarm.
Finally, take care of anything you need to do before leaving, such as paying utility bills, putting fresh linens in the bedroom and bathroom, and parking your unused vehicles in a safe place.
Tip: It might be a good idea to lock or hide any alcohol, tobacco, etc. that’s in the house, especially if your house-sitter is underage.
Now, let’s talk about some things to include on your list to leave for the house-sitter:
Recycling information (sort or no-sort)
Which day to take out the garbage cans and recycling
Information about pets: when/how much to feed, treats, walks, when they need to go outside, which vet to call in case of emergency, etc.
Location of keys for shed, house, etc.
Garage door opener
Reminder to take in the mail
Pool filter and cleaning procedure
It’s hard to overstate the importance of credit scores when it comes to buying a home. Along with your down payment, your credit score is a deciding factor of getting approved and securing a low interest rate.
Credit can be complicated. And, if you want to buy a home in the near future, it can seem daunting to try and increase your score while saving for a down payment.
However, it is possible to significantly increase your score in the months leading up to applying for a loan.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about some ways to give your credit score a quick boost so that you can secure the best rate on your mortgage.
Should I focus on increasing my score or save for a down payment?
If you’re planning on buying a home, you might be faced with a difficult decision: to pay off old debt or to save a larger down payment.
As a general rule, it’s better to pay off smaller loans and debt before taking out larger loans. If you have multiple loans that you’re paying off that are around the same balance, focus on whichever one has the highest interest rate.
If you have low-interest loans that you can easily afford to continue paying while you save, then it’s often worth saving more for a down payment.
Remember that if you are able to save up 20% of your mortgage, you’ll be able to avoid paying PMI (private mortgage insurance). This will save you quite a bit over the span of your loan.
Starting with no credit
If you’ve avoided loans and credit cards thus far in your life but want to save for a home, you might run into the issue of not having a credit history.
To confront this issue, it’s often a good idea to open a credit card that has good rewards and use it for your everyday expenses like groceries. Then, set up the card to auto-pay the balance in full each month to avoid paying interest.
This method allows you to save money (you’d have to buy groceries and gas anyway) while building credit.
Correct credit report errors
Each of the main credit bureaus will have a slightly different method for calculating your credit score. Their information can also vary.
Each year, you’re entitled to one free report from each of the main bureaus. Take advantage of these free reports. They’re different from free credit checks that you can get from websites like Credit Karma because they’re much more detailed.
Go through the report line by line and make sure there aren’t any accounts you don’t recognize. It is not uncommon for people to find out that a scammer or even a family member has taken out a line of credit in their name.
Avoid opening several new accounts
Our final tip for boosting your credit score is to avoid opening up multiple accounts in the 6 months leading up to your mortgage application.
Opening multiple accounts is a red flag to lenders. It can show that you might be in a time of financial hardship and can temporarily lower your score.
The amount of time it takes to find the perfect residence varies from buyer to buyer. In some instances, a buyer may fall in love with the first residence that he or she views in person. Or, in other cases, a buyer may need to attend several home showings and open house events before he or she finds the right residence.
It ultimately may take more than a single day to find your dream residence. Lucky for you, we are here to help you streamline your quest for your dream house and ensure you can find the right home faster than ever before.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you accelerate your search for your ideal house.
1. Create a List of Homebuying Criteria
You know you want to buy a home as quickly as possible. With a list of homebuying criteria at your disposal, you'll be better equipped than ever before to discover a house that suits you perfectly.
Think about where you'd like to reside and the features you want in your dream house. Then, you can narrow your house search and move one step closer to finding a residence that matches or exceeds your expectations.
2. Get Your Finances in Order
Pre-approval for a mortgage can make a world of difference, particularly for a buyer who wants to speed up his or her home search. If you learn about all of your mortgage options, you can select a mortgage that complements your finances and enter the real estate market with a mortgage in hand.
Many banks and credit unions employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists. By meeting with various financial institutions, you can learn about a broad array of mortgage options. Plus, you can receive comprehensive insights into fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages and make an informed mortgage selection.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
For those who want to quickly and effortlessly find their dream residence, it may be beneficial to collaborate with a real estate agent. In fact, a real estate agent can help a homebuyer remove the guesswork commonly associated with searching for a residence.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to discover a great residence at a budget-friendly price. First, he or she will meet with you and learn about your homebuying goals. A real estate agent then will put together a personalized homebuying strategy. Next, a real estate agent will help you put your homebuying strategy into action. And when you discover your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to purchase this house.
As you get ready to conduct a house search, you may want to hire a real estate agent soon. If you have an expert real estate agent at your side, you can get the help you need to find your dream house. Best of all, a real estate agent will go the extra mile to ensure you can seamlessly navigate all stages of the property buying journey.