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Your October Home Checklist

by Chris Wylie

Hello October!

Here is your October home checklist:

october

This time of year is warm. You start to feel holiday spirit coming along. Most people take to decorations to get their house in order for the season. Thanks to Laura Gaskill from Houzz, you now have a To-Do October Home Checklist that is sure to help you get settled into this wonderful time of year! Hello October, we welcome you! Now get started on this check list and make your home happy with the season. 

 

1. Rake Leaves.

2. Clean Gutters and downspouts.

3. Put up storm windows and doors.

4. Decorate outside spaces. 

5. Shut off exterior faucets and hoses for winter.

6. Sharpen knives.

7. Launder and iron holiday linens.

8. Decorate with layers of warmth.

9. Check safety devices.

10. Swap seasonal clothes. 

11. Start and art wall for school projects.

12. Start planning or making holiday gifts.

13. Savor your favorite fall traditions. 

 

For in-depth information on each task, click here.

Count On Chris!

Chris’s knowledge and experience, as well as her negotiating skills, have been instrumental in formulating the talents and beliefs of The CHRIS WYLIE TEAM. Chris takes great pride in being someone others can count on to be there. Keeping the clients’ needs at the forefront of the buying/selling process is the mind-set Chris used developing The CHRIS WYLIE TEAM into a diversified, reliable, well qualified  organization, capable of productively marketing, effectively negotiating, selling, buying, and efficiently closing real estate transactions.

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In today’s market, your credit score is more important than ever. A difference of just a few points can mean a lower interest rate over the life of a loan – saving you thousands – or the difference between the approval and denial of your loan application.

That is why it is important to do everything you can to boost your credit score in the months leading up to applying for a home loan.

Here are five things you can do to potentially boost your credit score.

Check the Accuracy of Your Credit Reports

By law you are allowed to request one free credit report each year, so go ahead and request your credit report several months before you intend to apply for a loan. According to an eight-year study released by the FTC, 25 percent of consumers identified errors when they reviewed their credit reports. That’s a staggering number when you consider that even a small error can have a significant impact on your credit score.

Fortunately, you are allowed to dispute inaccuracies in your credit report and credit monitoring agencies are required to address any disputes in a timely manner.

So, before doing anything, request your credit report from all three agencies and check that it is accurate.

Reduce Your Credit Card Balance

Lenders typically do not look favorably on large credit card balances. If you use credit cards regularly, reduce your balance to 10 to 30 percent of your limit a few months prior to applying for a loan.

Ask for Late Payment Forgiveness

At one time or another, most of us have been late paying a bill – especially during the recent economic downturn. What most people don’t know is that they can request a “goodwill deletion” from a company and remove the black mark from the credit report entirely. Many companies are willing to do this for their customers if the late payment was a one-time occurrence. It never hurts to ask.

Keep Your Accounts Open

Reducing credit card debt is good; closing credit card accounts is bad. Length of credit history is factored into your overall credit score and can account for as much as 15 percent of the total number. If you close old, established accounts your credit score could suffer even though you have less debt.

Pay All Bills on Time

Recent activity is often more important than what you did several years ago. If you have a few bad spots in your credit history, do your best to pay your bills on time and in full for several months before applying for a loan. This will demonstrate to lenders that you are not a credit risk as well as boosting your credit score a few points.

Repairing damaged credit takes time. It’s not something that can be done in a few weeks. So, get started early – at least three to six months before you plan to buy a home – to give your efforts time to bear fruit. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have and/or help you find your dream home.

Chris Wylie
The Chris Wylie Team
281-583-9393
www.ChrisHoustonRealEstate.com
www.CountOnChris.com

Throughout the Houston area including Spring, The Woodlands, Tomball, Cypress and Katy, Chris Wylie is known as a professional others can count on to guide them successfully through the real estate process. Her calm, friendly manner puts others at ease and makes the home buying and selling process a fun and memorable experience.

Photo courtesy of Simon Cunningham at Flickr.com.

Getting Ready for Your Final Walkthrough?

by Chris Wylie

For many homebuyers, the last step prior to sitting down at the closing attorney’s office is the final walkthrough. This is the last chance for you to view a home before it officially becomes yours, and it’s a time to make sure that everything is as it should be.

Typically you want to schedule a final walkthrough as close as possible to closing – normally within 24 hours – but some experts advise scheduling two walkthroughs if major repairs are to be made to the home. The first, about a week prior to closing, to establish that required repairs are completed or near completion and the second, within 24 hours of closing, to ensure that all items to remain are present and in good working order.

Things to Do on Your Final Walkthrough

  • Do bring your home inspection report, copy of contract and seller’s disclosure form so you know what items were to be repaired, what items are to remain with the home and any other items that you need to pay special attention to on your walkthrough.
  • Do check that all items (window treatments, appliances, pieces of furniture and fixtures) that are to remain are still present in the home. If not, and you have it in writing that they should remain, have your agent contact the seller immediately.
  • Do check that there are no unwanted items left behind. It’s the sellers’ responsibility to remove their unwanted furnishings – not yours.
  • Do check all appliances to ensure they are in working order.
  • Do check the HVAC unit to make sure it is still heating and cooling properly.
  • Do check outlets with a handheld tester (found in any hardware store) to ensure they are all in working order.

What If You Find a Problem?

First, it is important to understand that contracts typically stipulate that a home be “broom” or “vacuum” clean – neat but not immaculate. So, making a fuss over the cleanliness of a home likely isn’t worth it unless it is very dirty.

Second, minor things like a blown light bulb or light damage to the walls or doorframe as a couch was moved, probably are not worth delaying closing. In the long run, it’s cheaper and easier to just fix these minor problems yourself.

But if you find a major problem such as a missing item, leak or hidden defect that will negatively affect the value of the home, contact your real estate agent immediately to begin the process of coming to an agreement on repairing the problem.  The sooner you make that call, the better.

In the end, it is up to you to decide what is important enough to delay closing and what is not. Contact me if you would like to go over this information. I will be happy to discuss any questions you may about the home buying process.

Chris Wylie
The Chris Wylie Team
281-583-9393
www.ChrisHoustonRealEstate.com
www.CountOnChris.com

Throughout the Houston area including Spring, The Woodlands, Tomball, Cypress and Katy, Chris Wylie is known as a professional others can count on to guide them successfully through the real estate process. Her calm, friendly manner puts others at ease and makes the home buying and selling process a fun and memorable experience.

Photo courtesy of Jason Jones at Flickr.com.

5 Mistakes to Avoid Between Preapproval and Closing

by Chris Wylie

Real estate agents often advise their clients to go through the loan preapproval process before they even begin to look for a new home. For most, going through the preapproval process is well worth it. Once you are preapproved for a loan, you know how much a lender is willing to loan towards the purchase of your new home and that keeps you from wasting time looking at homes you simply cannot afford.

But a preapproval letter – even with a contract -- is not final approval. Unfortunately, inexperienced homebuyers often make the mistake of assuming that final approval of their loan is guaranteed, and make mistakes that could delay or prevent their loan being approved.

Here are five common mistakes you need to avoid while waiting to close on your home.

Taking on New Debt

If you are waiting to close on your new home, don’t finance items for your new home like a living room suit, lawnmower or washing machine, and it goes without saying that you should avoid financing any major purchases like a new car or boat.

In fact, even minor expenses can be problematic if there are too many charges to your credit cards, but, on the other hand, you do not want to stop using your credit cards altogether.

The key is to keep everything consistent. Try to not deviate too far from the spending patterns you established in the months leading up to your preapproval.

Moving Large Amounts of Money

Lenders like things to be nice and stable as far as your finances are concerned, and that includes your bank accounts. Lenders will review your bank statements during underwriting. Large deposits or withdrawals will send up a red flag and could delay the approval process.  This can be disastrous if you are attempting a simultaneous closing.

If you want to play it safe, let your down payment funds “age” for at least 90 days in your bank account. If you plan to use a gift or the proceeds from the sale of an item such as boat or car, make sure you have the paperwork to back up the sudden windfall.

Forgetting to Pay Your Bills on Time

There’s a lot going on when you are planning a move, and it’s easy to let things – like the bills – slip through the cracks. Make sure to keep track of your bills even as you pack away all your belongings. If you are moving to temporary housing while you continue to look for a new home, make sure to contact all your providers and verify all your bills are current and make them aware of your new address in the event there are any problems.

One way to avoid missing an important payment and taking a negative hit to your credit is by setting up online, automatic bill pay through your bank or with each provider individually.

Co-Signing for Anything

Some would say you should never cosign a loan. That’s debatable, but you should never cosign a loan while you are in the process of buying a home. Even if you are never required to make a payment, lenders will consider this new debt when calculating your debt-to-income ratio, and may be forced to reconsider approving your home loan.

Switching Jobs

Lenders love stability. If you are in the process of buying a home, you do not want to change jobs. You do not even want to change the way your pay is structured – say from salary to commission based. Remember, it’s only for a few months. After you close on your new home, you can change jobs that afternoon, just not before.

If you must change jobs, for example you are offered a dream job at twice your current salary and they need an answer by the end of the week, call your loan officer and let him know your situation. Keep him in the loop. A loan officer that knows your situation is much more likely to let some things slide than one who is surprised a week before closing.

If you can avoid these five mistakes, the process of buying a new home should go smoothly. Just remember, do your best to stay the same – on paper – as you were when the mortgage company preapproved your application. Don’t give them any reason to reconsider and you should be just fine.

If you have any questions about checking your credit score or getting a mortgage pre-approval, contact me to set up an appointment for a consultation. I’d be happy to offer you suggestions on how to improve your score and help you find the home of your dreams.

Chris Wylie
The Chris Wylie Team
281-583-9393
www.ChrisHoustonRealEstate.com
www.CountOnChris.com

Throughout the Houston area including Spring, The Woodlands, Tomball, Cypress and Katy, Chris Wylie is known as a professional others can count on to guide them successfully through the real estate process. Her calm, friendly manner puts others at ease and makes the home buying and selling process a fun and memorable experience.

Photo courtesy of am0903cass at Flickr.com.

Understanding a Uniform Residential Appraisal Report

by Chris Wylie

A residential real estate appraisal is a crucial step in the loan-making process. Without an appraisal, most lenders will not even consider making a loan. They need an expert opinion of value in order to feel comfortable allowing a piece of property to serve as collateral.

Most of the time, the lender will order the appraisal from an independent appraisal company, but it’s not unheard of for the homeowner to order an appraisal for a variety of reasons including insurance purposes.

The most common form of residential appraisal is the Fannie Mae Form 1004 or Uniform Residential Appraisal Report.  Typically, this form is used when the lender or homeowner requests a “full appraisal” since it requires an interior and exterior inspection.

Most of the time, the lender and homeowner are only concerned with the box labeled “market value”, but it pays to understand how to read an appraisal report so you understand how the appraiser arrived at his opinion of value.

The First Page

The first page of a Uniform Residential Appraisal Report will identify the property and detail any improvements on the property. There are a variety of ways to identify the property such as property address and legal description. Make sure the property identified is the correct one. If not, the entire appraisal is invalid.

In addition to identifying the property, there will be sections describing the neighborhood and your home in detail. This is how the appraiser identifies the characteristics of the appraised property so that comparable properties can be found and evaluated.

The Second Page

This is the most important page – and the most confusing for many homeowners. It’s on the second page that you will find the chart listing all the comparables and the adjustments. Essentially, the second page is a way for an appraiser to “show his work” and justify his opinion of market value.

In most cases, the comparables will be sales from within the last six months and within a half-mile radius of the subject property. This prevents the need for the appraiser to make any significant adjustments based on time and neighborhood.

The values of the comparables begin as the listed sales prices, and those values will be adjusted based on how they compare to the subject property. The gross adjustments will then be added or subtracted from the sales prices to arrive at the adjusted values. If the gross adjustment is too high, a lender may not accept the appraisal.

The appraiser then uses these adjusted values to arrive at his opinion of the subject property’s market value.

In addition to market value an appraiser may provide a cost value and an income value. The cost approach is normally used to estimate replacement costs for insurance purposes. The income approach is used to evaluate the estimated value of income producing properties such as rental homes.

The Other Pages

There are other pages beyond the first two pages of the appraisal report. In these pages you will find supporting documents such as sketches of the subject property, photos of the subject property and surrounding neighborhood, any contracts that were considered during the appraisal process and copies of any other pertinent documents.

Appraisers are experts at evaluating properties. They are trained to do their jobs well, but they do occasionally make mistakes.  Everyone does. Understanding how to read a Uniform Residential Appraisal Report will help you to spot those mistakes and bring them to the lender’s attention before they become an issue or have the peace of mind that the appraisal is accurate.

Are you ready to buy a home?  If so, contact me for a consultation.  I’m happy to answer any questions you may have and help you get the process going.

Chris Wylie
The Chris Wylie Team
281-583-9393
www.ChrisHoustonRealEstate.com
www.CountOnChris.com

Throughout the Houston area including Spring, The Woodlands, Tomball, Cypress and Katy, Chris Wylie is known as a professional others can count on to guide them successfully through the real estate process. Her calm, friendly manner puts others at ease and makes the home buying and selling process a fun and memorable experience.

Photo courtesy of Fannie Mae.

Open House - 17423 Arbor Spring

by Chris Wylie

Open House - 17423 Arbor Spring
Sunday - August 3rd from 2-4 pm

Looking for a wonderful family home? Here is a little preview. Vacant & ready for move in. Custom on a cul-de-sac lot. Formals, awesome island kitchen overlooks breakfast room & family room. Slate floors and built-ins. Private study, master down, game room up, split staircase, large bedrooms, great storage. 9-12” ceilings throughout, crown molding & custom baseboards. Backyard is perfect for a pool or enjoy neighborhood pools. Roof replaced in 10/13. Very motivated seller, ready to sell. Do not miss out on this beauty! See Pam Franks at this open house and she can answer all your questions and get you started on the buying process. Read more here...

Chris Wylie
The Chris Wylie Team
281-583-9393
www.ChrisHoustonRealEstate.com
www.CountOnChris.com

Throughout the Houston area including Spring, The Woodlands, Tomball, Cypress and Katy, Chris Wylie is known as a professional others can count on to guide them successfully through the real estate process. Her calm, friendly manner puts others at ease and makes the home buying and selling process a fun and memorable experience.

Moving to a New City? Dont Stay on the Couch

by Chris Wylie

Some moves involve a couple of friends, a moving truck and a few short trips back and forth across the city. As stressful as these local moves can be, they pale in comparison to a cross-state or cross-country move. With a local move, there’s no need to find the best places to eat, the best route to work, or a new group of friends. You already know and have those things.

Big moves are different. It’s starting over, and the moving process continues even after the last box is unpacked. After you square away all your belongings, it’s time to focus on the biggest part of the move: building your new life.

Integrating into a new city is as easy or difficult as you make it. If you are willing to get out there and explore, it will be much easier, so get off the couch and get out there.

The Essentials

Depending on your age and interests, what you consider essential will vary, but I think just about everyone can agree that knowing where to shop for groceries, pick up a prescription and get a good meal is important.  Beyond those, it’s all up to you. So, how do you find these places?

Lucky for you, you live in the internet age and have a wealth of information on just about everything – including your new city – right at our fingertips.

Use the Internet

Open up your browser of choice and go to Google Maps. Now, enter in your address. A map of your area will pop up. If you want to see everything of interest in the area, do a wildcard search by typing “*” into the search field. As cool as that is, most people like to narrow it down a bit. Typing “Thai restaurant”, “country bar”, “pharmacy” or “organic food” will display matching results on the map and sidebar. The side bar will also show a star rating and contain a link to written reviews and the business’s website.

Don’t forget to map out your route to your new job while you’re exploring.

Ask for Advice

As great as the internet is, it cannot compete with the recommendations of people you trust. You probably know a few people that live in your new town or city. Give them a call and ask all those questions the internet cannot answer. You might want to ask them to meet you for dinner or drinks at anywhere they recommend.

If you cannot get them on the phone, head back to the internet and put out a blast on Facebook and Twitter asking for recommendations and advice about your new city.

Meeting New People

You can discover all the great restaurants and night spots in the city, but what good is that if you don’t have a group of friends to share them with?

Making new friends is essential if you want to make your new city your home.

Use Your Hobbies

What are most friendships built upon? Shared interests. If you have a hobby, use it to meet new friends. It doesn’t matter if you love rock climbing or you love Spiderman; someone in your new city loves the same thing. A great way to connect with people in your area with the same interests is through local Facebook groups and the site Meetup.com. Take a look around, find a group of people that shares one of your hobbies and go to a meet up.

Help Out in the Community

Community service is an excellent way to meet some great, civic-minded people. When you take initiative and do some good within your community, it becomes your community. It’s no longer just a place you live and work. It’s your home.

Keep it Going

If you do the things mentioned here, you’ll meet new people and learn a lot about your new city, but don’t stop there. Once you meet a few people, meet their friends and become part of the group. Don’t suddenly become a homebody after that initial push.

Keep it going and, pretty soon, your dance card will be full and your new city will feel like home. Contact me today for a consultation. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have and/or help you find your dream home.

Chris Wylie
The Chris Wylie Team
281-583-9393
www.ChrisHoustonRealEstate.com
www.CountOnChris.com

Throughout the Houston area including Spring, The Woodlands, Tomball, Cypress and Katy, Chris Wylie is known as a professional others can count on to guide them successfully through the real estate process. Her calm, friendly manner puts others at ease and makes the home buying and selling process a fun and memorable experience.

Photo courtesy of Kurt Komoda at Flickr.com

5 Ways You Know it is Time to Move Up to a New Home

by Chris Wylie

Deciding to move to a new home is a big, important decision. It means listing your home, showing your home, selling your home, finding a new home, packing up and moving. It can be a long and stressful process. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right help and a commitment to seeing the process through to the end, the process of selling your home and buying another can be exciting and even fun.

Here are five signs that you are ready to move.

Is Your House Just Too Small?

That two-bedroom one bath was quaint and cozy when you first married. You turned that second bedroom into an office/storage space and, later, a nursery. It was the perfect size. Now, that your family has grown beyond three and you have acquired more things than you can easily store, the once cozy space feels more like a 10X6 cell.

Everyone needs their own space, and enough space is one of the keys to a happy life. Since it is difficult to make an existing home larger, buying a new home is the best way to have the space you and your family need.

Is the Neighborhood Just Not the Right Place Anymore?

When you bought your home, that neighborhood bistro was one of the best features. Now, your priorities have changed. You’ve had everything on the menu at that bistro and what was charming is now annoying. You are more concerned about safe streets and good schools rather than a vibrant nightlife.

Neighborhoods don’t change overnight. If you find that your priorities no longer match your neighborhood, it’s time to move to a new neighborhood.

Does the Thought of Renovating Make You Break Out in a Cold Sweat?

Maybe you bought that fixer upper with the honest intention of rehabbing it back to its former glory. You were going to redo the kitchen, retile the bathroom, and bring that scuffed hardwood floor back to shining glory. Unfortunately, life got in the way, or you realized the cost in both time and money would just be too much. Now, you look around at all the half-completed projects and down at that still scuffed up floor and shudder.

If you have discovered that you do not like the idea of renovating your home, moving to a finished, up-to-date home is your best option.

Are You Spending Too Much Time in the Car?

Time spent in the car going to and from work is time not spent doing things you would rather do – like spending time with family and doing your favorite hobbies.

If you are spending more than an hour each way commuting to and from work, that is too much time in the car. We all change jobs over the years, and our new jobs are not always convenient to our homes.

Moving to a home that is closer to your work is one way to reduce your commute time.

Have Your Priorities Changed?

Are you just ready for a change? Do you find that what you once loved about your house isn’t that great anymore? Are there a hundred little things that you just don’t like about where you live?

People change over time, and if you are no longer happy where you live, that’s reason enough to make a change and buy a new house.

Moving to a new home can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Make sure you have the help you need, contact me today and I will guide you through the process of selling your home and buying a new one.

Chris Wylie
The Chris Wylie Team
281-583-9393
www.ChrisHoustonRealEstate.com
www.CountOnChris.com

Throughout the Houston area including Spring, The Woodlands, Tomball, Cypress and Katy, Chris Wylie is known as a professional others can count on to guide them successfully through the real estate process. Her calm, friendly manner puts others at ease and makes the home buying and selling process a fun and memorable experience.

Photo courtesy of Geoffrey Kehrig at Flickr.com.

Why You Should Choose Chris Wylie

by Chris Wylie

Chris’s knowledge and experience, as well as her negotiating skills, have been instrumental in formulating the talents and beliefs of The CHRIS WYLIE TEAM. Chris takes great pride in being someone others can count on to be there. Keeping the clients’ needs at the forefront of the buying/selling process is the mind-set Chris used developing The CHRIS WYLIE TEAM into a diversified, reliable, well qualified  organization, capable of productively marketing, effectively negotiating, selling, buying, and efficiently closing real estate transactions. Read more here...

Chris Wylie
The Chris Wylie Team
281-583-9393
www.ChrisHoustonRealEstate.com
www.CountOnChris.com

Throughout the Houston area including Spring, The Woodlands, Tomball, Cypress and Katy, Chris Wylie is known as a professional others can count on to guide them successfully through the real estate process. Her calm, friendly manner puts others at ease and makes the home buying and selling process a fun and memorable experience.

Home Maintenance for First Time Home Buyers

by Chris Wylie

When it comes to buying a home, especially for a first-time home buyer, the most important thing to them to is the layout, space, comfort, detail and design, and location. Most first-time home buyers get so excited about owning a home that they overlook the important aspects of the home: what lies within and underneath that could cause messy issues that require high amounts of maintenance and could be costly to your wallet. Thanks to Christine Tusher at Houzz, here is “A First-Time Buyer’s Guide to Home Maintenance” for those who are just getting started. Let me break down what she says a first-time home buyer should be looking for after buying a home. This is a list of maintenance that should be done on your home within the first year of owning:

  •     Check your furnace and HVAC filters
  •     Recaulk your windows

Read more here...

Chris Wylie
The Chris Wylie Team
281-583-9393
www.ChrisHoustonRealEstate.com
www.CountOnChris.com

Throughout the Houston area including Spring, The Woodlands, Tomball, Cypress and Katy, Chris Wylie is known as a professional others can count on to guide them successfully through the real estate process. Her calm, friendly manner puts others at ease and makes the home buying and selling process a fun and memorable experience.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 25

Contact Information

Photo of The Chris Wylie Team Real Estate
The Chris Wylie Team
RE/MAX Partners
14202 Champion Forest Drive
Houston TX 77069
281-583-9393
Fax: 281-583-9494