Jill Kelly - Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Westwood



Posted by Jill Kelly on 9/19/2017

Many Americans who purchased their home when they had lower credit, a shorter employment history, and less money stand to gain from refinancing their mortgages. However, most miss out on this opportunity or don’t realize it in time to save potentially thousands in interest payments.

According to recent data, 5.2 million Americans could save, on average, $215 per month if they refinanced their loan. But many homeowners are hesitant to refinance.

Whether it’s because of the inconvenience, the cost of refinancing, the worries about something going wrong, or uncertainty about whether they’ll actually save money if they go through the process, millions of homeowners are missing out.

So, in this article, we’re going to talk about some reasons it may be a good idea for you to refinance. If you’re one of the millions of Americans with a mortgage who are thinking about refinancing, this post is for you.

Riding the wave of the economy

Interest rates on home loans are historically low right now. As a result, homeowners can save by refinancing simply due to changing tides of the real estate market. Although mortgage rates have increased slightly over the past two years, they’re still on the low end, so this could be your last chance to save.

To consolidate your debt

Credit cards, auto loans, and other forms of debt can add up quickly. If you have a high-interest rate on your other debts, refinancing could be a good way to consolidate and save.

This can be achieved through a home equity loan or by refinancing with a cash-out option. This means you refinance your mortgage for more than you currently owe and take the remainder in cash to pay off your other debts with high-interest payments.

Typically, you need to have at least 20% equity (or have paid off 20% of your mortgage) to be eligible for this option.

Small percentages count for more now

It was once said that refinancing only made sense if you would receive a lower interest rate of at least 1-2%. However, with the prices of homes increasing over the years, sometimes even a small change, such as .75% is enough to save you substantial money on your repayment.

You’re able to repay early

One of the best ways to save on a home loan is by refinancing to a shorter term. Going from a 30-year loan to a 15-year loan can save you thousands. There are several calculators available for free online that will enable you to estimate how much you could save by refinancing to a 15-year mortgage.

You got a raise

One of the best times to refinance is when you can be certain that you can afford to pay off your loan sooner. As people progress in their career, it isn’t uncommon for them to refinance their loan so that they can spend more each month but save in the long run.

Since you have a higher income, and likely higher credit, you can also refinance a variable rate loan to lock in a lower fixed rate.





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Posted by Jill Kelly on 9/12/2017

For many families, the kitchen is the most important room in the house. With the exception of homes that have narrow galley kitchens, this living space is often thought of as the nerve center or heart of a home.

The kitchen is typically the focal point of everything from meal preparation and consumption to holiday parties and social gatherings . It's usually the first place families congregate in the morning and often the last place they see each other before going to bed. Choosing a kitchen that's a good match for your lifestyle and decorating tastes can have a major impact on your satisfaction with a new home.

Starting out your home search with a clear idea of what your ideal kitchen should look like will increase the likelihood of bringing that image into reality. Perusing kitchen design stores, websites, and magazines is often a good starting point for developing a clear mental picture of what you want There are dozens of features and characteristics to keep in mind when searching for the ideal house, but the most important ones can be boiled down to three categories:

Space: If you entertain a lot or have a big (or growing) family, a spacious kitchen is probably the best match for your needs. The same thing holds true if you want an eat-in kitchen or if you tend to have more than one person preparing meals at the same time. Without enough space to accommodate your family's habits and lifestyle needs, the kitchen can quickly become cramped quarters. Another vital aspect of kitchen space is cabinetry and storage. For most people, the ideal kitchen would include plenty of cabinets, shelves, drawers, and closets that would provide storage space for dishes, non-perishable food items, kitchen implements, pots and pans, and cookbooks. Last, but not least, having a sufficient amount of counter space and food preparation area can often make the difference between a great kitchen and a marginal one.

Design: When it comes to modern kitchen design, the choices are mind boggling and virtually limitless! Some of the more basic decisions, however, typically revolve around questions like cabinet color, countertop material, flooring, lighting, color choices, backsplash patterns, and the desirability of a kitchen island.

Functionality: Some kitchens are more functional than others, but a lot depends on the size of your family, the amount of time you and your spouse spend cooking and preparing food, and how often you entertain. The configuration of a kitchen should -- and usually does -- enable the "chef" to move around efficiently and quickly between various food preparation areas, including the refrigerator, stove, oven, microwave, sink, and counter areas. If you happen to do a lot of cooking, baking, and entertaining, a kitchen with a double oven may be the best option for your needs. A larger-than-standard refrigerator may also be a better fit for your lifestyle.

While there's never a one-size-fits-all approach to choosing the right kitchen design, forming a clear vision of what you want is always a good starting point for getting it!





Posted by Jill Kelly on 9/5/2017

Find the right home and you could enjoy years of living at a beautiful, peaceful property. You might even get married at your house and start and raise a family. By the time they are your current age, your children may feel and think of your home as one of the safest, most inviting places on earth.

Here are 3 things that could tank your mortgage

That's if everything goes right. Those or other housing advantages may not be possible if  you make the below three mortgage mistakes. A clear goal, discipline and focus could help you to stay free of these mortgage mistakes:

Hiding financials from potential lenders - Top mortgage lenders will vet your home loan application thoroughly. They will check your credit history, current credit rating, tax returns and income, including income from part-time or contractor jobs. Outstanding debts that you currently have will also be reviewed. Yet, those thorough financial checks may not reveal the full details of your financial portfolio. For example, money that you owe a relative or friend may not show up during the reviews, even if you owe a relative or friend thousands of dollars. The fact that you know that you're planning on taking out another loan after you get approved for a mortgage also won't show up. Keeping these types of financial details a secret could help you to secure a home loan. Hiding financials from lenders could also cause you to take on more debt than you can handle. When you first move into your new home it might feel like a win. Months or years later, it could feel like one of the worst decisions you've ever made, especially if you start falling two or more months  behind in your mortgage payments.

Securing a home loan with the wrong lender  - There are several drawbacks to securing a home loan with the wrong lender. The lender may not be solvent and you could lose money on court fees should you challenge the home loan contractual language. Employees at the company may also not get fully vetted, putting you at risk of identity theft. You could also get involved with a company that's involved with illegal money schemes like money laundering or Ponzi schemes. Worst, the company that gives you a home loan might not actually have the funds to cover the cost of the loan.

Paying more for property than it's worth - Admittedly, houses are one of the more expensive purchases that you will make. But, that doesn't mean that you should pay as much as a seller is asking for a house. Buy a house that's over valued and you could end up losing thousands, even if you are able to sell the house to another buyer.

Assess homeownership over the long term

Even if you're diligent during the house hunting, closing and house buying processes, you could still fall prey to one or more mortgage mistakes. It's one of the reasons why owning and maintaining a house smartly is an ongoing effort. The good news is that you don't have to stay in a house for decades to benefit from the type of forethought that puts you in position to avoid the three mortgage mistakes.




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Posted by Jill Kelly on 8/29/2017

Entering the housing market for the first time can be daunting, particularly for those who want to quickly and seamlessly buy a top-notch residence at an affordable price.

Lucky for you, we're here to help you streamline the process of navigating the homebuying process.

Now, let's take a look at three vital tips to help a first-time homebuyer acquire a residence that matches or exceeds his or her expectations.

1. Analyze the Housing Market

The housing market constantly changes, and as a result, differentiating between a buyer's market and a seller's market can be tough. Fortunately, a homebuyer who analyzes the real estate sector closely should have no trouble discovering a variety of outstanding houses at budget-friendly prices.

To assess the housing market, you'll first want to look at the prices of residences that are currently available. This will enable you to better understand the prices of homes in cities and towns where you'd like to live.

Next, you should analyze the prices of recently sold houses in your region. With this housing market data in hand, you can find out whether you're preparing to buy a home in a buyer's market or a seller's one.

2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage

A first-time homebuyer may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage. That way, you can prepare a homebuying budget and narrow your home search accordingly.

To obtain a mortgage, you'll want to meet with several banks and credit unions. This will allow you to learn about all of the mortgage options at your disposal and make an informed mortgage decision.

Furthermore, don't forget to share your mortgage concerns and questions with potential lenders. This will enable you to choose a mortgage that won't force you to overspend to acquire your ideal house.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

Let's face it – the homebuying journey can be long and arduous, particularly for a homebuyer who is exploring residences for the first time. But with a real estate agent at your side, you can remove the guesswork of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

A real estate agent is an expert of his or her craft, and as such, will do everything possible to help you achieve your homebuying goals.

Typically, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about your homebuying expectations. This housing market professional also will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new residences that fall within your price range and negotiate with home sellers on your behalf.

Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will help you alleviate stress throughout the homebuying cycle. A real estate agent understands the challenges of buying a house and will do whatever it takes to help you avoid or overcome potential homebuying hurdles.

Don't miss out on an opportunity to purchase your dream residence – use the aforementioned tips for first-time homebuyers, and you can boost your chances of acquiring a terrific house without breaking your budget.




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Posted by Jill Kelly on 8/22/2017

Ready to kick off your search for the perfect house? You may need to find an expert real estate agent first. By doing so, you can streamline the homebuying process and discover a house that meets or exceeds your expectations.

However, selecting a real estate agent can be tricky, especially for first-time homebuyers. And if you make the incorrect choice, the risk increases that you may encounter problems as you conduct your search for the ideal residence.

We're here to take the guesswork out of finding the right real estate agent to guide you along the homebuying journey.

Now, let's take a look at four questions that every homebuyer needs to ask a real estate agent.

1. What is your real estate experience?

Learn about a real estate agent's housing market experience – you'll be glad you did. With this information at your disposal, you can find out how a real estate professional has helped past homebuyers achieve their goals.

Also, ask a real estate agent about how he or she deals with homebuying challenges. This will enable you to find out whether a real estate agent can help homebuyers through tough times, or if a real estate professional struggles when he or she is faced with homebuying hurdles.

2. How do you communicate with clients?

As a homebuyer, it is essential to find a real estate agent who is readily available. This real estate professional will keep in touch with you at each stage of the homebuying journey and ensure you can make informed decisions along the way.

A real estate agent who prioritizes communication will keep you informed about open houses and new residences as they reach the housing market. As such, this real estate agent may help you accelerate the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

3. Can you provide client references?

Typically, an experienced real estate agent will be able to provide client references at any time. If you get in touch with these references, you can gain firsthand insights into what it might be like if you select a particular real estate agent.

If a real estate agent cannot provide client references, this is a surefire red flag. In this scenario, you may want to consider other real estate agents who have proven they know how to deal with potential roadblocks on the homebuying journey.

4. Why should I hire you?

When it comes to finding the right real estate agent, it is important to understand how a real estate professional stands out from the crowd. By asking a real estate agent why you should hire him or her, you're sure to receive a unique response that gives you a better idea about what this real estate professional is all about.

Spend some time reviewing multiple real estate agents in your city and town. And if you use the aforementioned questions, you can boost your chances of hiring a real estate agent who can help you discover your dream residence quickly and effortlessly.




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