Talking Real Estate - January 2019

BHHS Stein & Summers Real Estate

MORTGAGE ADVICE

Co-borrowers and Mortgages

First-time homebuyers may face challenges when it comes to securing a mortgage loan. They may not have a long enough credit or work history, and they are often paying off student loans, among other reasons. Many turn to co-borrowers to make their dream homes come true.

Co-borrowers can be anyone, including a spouse, who is willing to be co-liable for repaying the mortgage loan. According to The Lenders Network, a co-borrower’s income, assets, and better debt-to-income ratio (DTI) can be equally considered with the main borrower’s, improving the chances of getting loan approval for more money and with a lower interest rate. Lenders will consider the credit scores of both the main borrower and co-borrower, but will use the lower of the two.

A co-borrower is equally liable on the loan documents regarding repayment, but they may not have ownership interest in the home. In this case, the co-borrower is called a co-signer and is not on the title of the property, meaning the co-signer can’t borrow against the home as an asset.

If the home is sold, the co-borrowers split the proceeds, while a co-signer is not entitled to split any profit. Because the co-borrower or co-signer risks their own DTI ratio and potentially their credit score, as well as liability for loan payments should the main borrower default, why would they participate?

It’s a matter of love, trust and the expectation that once the main borrower’s financial situation improves, they’ll refinance the home into their name only.

HOMESELLERS’ ADVICE

Don’t Deal with Unrepresented Homebuyers

To some people, the idea of paying third parties to find you a home, close the sale, and later, help you sell your home, seems like a formality they can live without. But there are many more jobs your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network real estate professional performs for you, and the most important is your protection.

When your home is listed with your real estate professional, it’s marketed worldwide, including to other real estate professionals.  The first place it’s listed is in the multiple listing service, which has compensation rules that allow other licensed professionals to bring their qualified homebuyers to see your home. If your home sells under contract, they’re compensated by your real estate professional.

The reason this system has worked so well for decades is that the only homebuyers who will see your home are motivated, understand the process, are willing to take the appropriate steps, and are ready to buy.

Unrepresented homebuyers may come to your door and ask to see your home, but beware. They think your listed home is an open invitation to look around. Other buyers simply aren’t quite ready to buy, or they’d have their own real estate professional. Whatever their reasons, they’re strangers who haven’t been vetted and shouldn’t cross your threshold.

It’s best not to discuss your home, your reasons for selling, or provide other information to unrepresented buyers. Instead, direct them to your Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network real estate professional. They’re trained to help both buyers and sellers.

HOMEOWNERS’ ADVICE

Get A Home Warranty

Whether you’re a homebuyer or seller, a home warranty can give you peace of mind. Also known as a home service contract, the home warranty typically covers mechanical systems and built-in appliances in the home.

Not to be confused with homeowner’s insurance, which covers damage from external forces, home warranties are designed to fill the gap between the original manufacturer’s warranty and normal wear and tear, according to HomeServiceContract.org.

Here’s how it works. If your AC goes out, or your dishwasher breaks, you contact the home service company and describe the problem. The dispatcher will send the appropriate licensed plumber, electrician, or appliance repair specialist to service the call. Expect to pay a service fee of about $50 or higher for each visit.

Remember that home warranties don’t provide blanket service. They don’t cover repairs or replacement for pre-existing conditions or for elderly mechanicals that are beyond their useful lifespan. But they are good for emergencies if your toddler clogs the toilet trying to “wash” his teddy bear.

For home sellers, home service contracts improve the home’s marketability to homebuyers and diminishes liability. For buyers, warranties can absorb the costs of unexpected repairs or replacements. Extended coverage for non-built-ins such as clothes washers, dryers, and stand-alone refrigerators is usually available.

When you think about the wide range of systems and appliances that it takes to operate your home, a home service contract is a bargain at approximately $400 to $500 and could pay for itself with one use.

HOME IMPROVEMENT ADVICE

Top Four Home Design Trends for 2019

An important benefit of homeownership is that you can design and decorate the property to your tastes, but sometimes you need a few ideas to get started.  Should you paint or wallpaper? Should you stay safe with neutrals or go wild with color? The answers may lie in trendspotting for 2019.

Color over neutrals. This is the year to embrace color – reds, blues, greens and yellows in tones that look terrific against a backdrop of black and white. Meanwhile, grays as neutrals have had their day.

Patterns. The global look of Ikat, Morrocan Trellis, and Shibori is giving way to large classical florals with a modern edge, including bohemian abstracts. Consider the lush wallpaper and fabric patterns of Timorous Beasties.

Style-mixing. Mid-century modern and minimalistic décor have been hugely popular over the last few years, but now the styles are looking dated. One reason why is that to be most effective, they’re rarely mixed with other styles making a home look more like a museum. Feel free to mix furniture and accessories of compatible eras.  

Comfort. While metal, acrylics and wood furniture look great, don’t be afraid to soften the edges. You’ll see sumptuous fabrics overlaying stuffed chairs and sofas.  Make your bedding inviting with plush duvets filled with lightweight down.

Other trends include one-of-a-kind artisan goods such as bronze sculpture, oil, acrylic and mixed media paintings; lighter than darker wood floors, and accents of brass, pewter and chrome. 

Whatever you choose, it’s your home, so enjoy!

©2019 BHH Affiliates, LLC. Real Estate Brokerage Services are offered through the network member franchisees of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Most franchisees are independently owned and operated. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Information not verified or guaranteed. If your property is currently listed with a Broker, this is not intended as a solicitation. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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