Two Truths and a Lie, Real Estate Style

Source: Kelsi Barr via Flickr Creative Commons

Source: Kelsi Barr via Flickr Creative Commons

Do people spend more time researching a new car or a new mortgage? If you guessed the former, you’re on to something. Zillow found the average American spends 10 hours researching a car, but only five hours researching their mortgage options.

“It’s amazing to think that many Americans spend weeks and months searching for the perfect home, but then devote almost no time to finding the right mortgage,” write Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff and Chief Economist Stan Humphries in their new book “Zillow Talk.”

And it’s not just mortgages. When it comes to selling and remodeling your home, it’s easy to assume you know the path to success — even if the data points elsewhere.

To test your real estate IQ, see if you can identify the two truths and a lie below:

  • If your listing description is longer, your home will sell for more.
  • It is never a good idea to get an adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM).
  • Midrange renovations (around $3,000) provide better bang for your buck than upscale renovations (around $12,000).

Take this quiz to find the answers.

Related:

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Hurry! This Phoenix Home Comes With Super Bowl Tickets

It’s tight, but there’s still time for cash buyers and those willing to waive contingencies to score a pair of Super Bowl XLIX tickets free — when they buy this home in Phoenix.

For a flat real estate market, the home has gotten “a ton” of attention, according to listing agent Kelly Cook of Kelly Cook Real Estate Group, part of Keller Williams.

“We’re getting three to four showings a day,” says Cook, who figures Phoenix listings around the same price — $359,900 — are doing well if they have three or four showings a week.

The remodeled 2,114-square-foot home between Scottsdale and Glendale has 4 bedrooms and 3 baths. The master suite includes a walk-in closet and a large bathroom with double sinks and an oversized shower.

And how about those tickets? “They’re upper level — not club or anything,” Cook says. Still, with entry-level tickets starting above $9,000, they’re quite a perk.

One bidder tried to negotiate a lower price on the house without the tickets — clearly not a football fan.

Neither Cook nor the home’s owner plans to attend the game if the right offer doesn’t materialize by Sunday. “I don’t think we’ll have trouble selling them,” he says.

Photos courtesy of Kelly Cook Real Estate Group

Related:

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10 Ways to Raise Your Credit Score 100 Points in 2015

Excellent Credit Score Approved(TNS)—It’s important to get your credit score as high as possible if you want to qualify for the best loans and credit. Many lenders don’t even look at your credit report; they stop at your credit score. FICO credit scores range between 350 and 850, with 850 being the very best score you can get. If you have below a 680 score, there is much room for improvement — and if your score is even lower than that, you might be feeling hopeless. It is, however, possible to raise your credit score to a much higher level by the end of the year — or sooner, in some cases.

What Goes into a Credit Score

MyFICO.com, the original developer of the commercial credit scoring model, has published basic guidelines of what goes into your score:

—35 percent of your score is your payment history

—30 percent of your score is your credit utilization, or how much of your available credit you use

—15 percent of your score considers the length of your credit history.

—10 percent of your score is the amount of new credit you’ve received.

—10 percent of your score is the type of credit you’ve used.

Now that you know what goes into your credit score, how can you take advantage of this knowledge? There are some things you can do to raise credit scores quickly, while other methods take time. We’ll break up our tips into quick fixes and longer-term goals.

Credit Score Quick Fixes

Pay Down Your Credit Card Balances
Since the amount of credit you use makes up such a large part of your credit score, paying down your balances will have a dramatic, positive effect. The credit-scoring model rewards those who have used less than 30 percent of their total credit limit. If you are maxed out on your credit cards, paying them down below 30 percent can easily see a dramatic increase on your score.

Refinance Your Home Equity Line of Credit into a Second or First Mortgage

Despite the fact that these loans are secured by your home, HELOCs are revolving lines of credit, and the percentage of the line you have used up can lower your score. If you have used more than 30 percent of your HELOC credit limit, you will be penalized as if you have used up too much of your credit on a credit card.

Refinancing can also help your score. This act rewards you for opening new credit (10 percent of your score) and opening up an installment loan. The credit scoring model likes to see a mix of credit, installment loans (mortgages, auto loans) and revolving loans (credit cards and HELOCs). Adding an installment loan to your mix can raise your credit score.

Pull Your Credit Report

The FTC did a survey in 2013 and reported that 1 in 5 Americans have errors on their credit report, with 1 in 20 having mistakes so grievous it negatively affected the credit score. Pulling your credit report to make sure there are no mistakes or problems with identity theft will help you make the right decisions to raise your credit score. You can get your TransUnion credit report and score from CreditRepair.com. If you don’t like what you see, the site offers credit repair and score improvement services to get your credit back in shape.

Fix Mistakes on Your Credit Report

Once you have identified mistakes, it’s time to take action on them. Write to the credit bureaus and explain why you think a listing is in error and needs to be corrected. Include any documentation you might have to back up your claim.

Don’t Unnecessarily Close Any Accounts
Length of credit history counts as 15 percent of your score; the older the accounts, the more points for you. In addition, if you close an account, your total credit utilization (30 percent of your score) will go up, lowering your credit score.

Long-Term Credit Score Fixes

Pay Your Bills on Time
As we saw, payment history makes up to 35 percent of your score. Positive payment history on your accounts can take up to a year to increase your score, so there’s no time like the present to start paying in a timely fashion. Make sure you don’t let any account go past the due date.

Make at Least the Minimum Payment on All Your Bills

Making partial payments actually counts as a late pay on your credit report, even if you make your payment by the due date. A payment is not considered made until the entire amount has been received. Even a single late payment can negatively affect your credit score.

Create a Budget
The No. 1 reason people get into trouble with paying their bills and consequently wind up with a negative payment history and crushing debt is a lack of money management. Carefully go over your income and expenses and see if you can find a way to cut down on your monthly outlay. When you find extra money, use it to pay down existing debts, which will lower your credit utilization and increase your credit score. Having a good budget will also ensure your bills are paid on time, which can improve your scores tremendously.

Open an Investment Account, Then Borrow against It
Many banks and credit unions have secured loan programs allowing you to borrow against an existing account. You can buy a CD for as little as $500 and use it as the basis for a loan. Adding new credit to your report will help improve your score, both from the positive payment history and the new credit line you will add.

Be Careful when Applying for New Credit

Any time you apply for new credit, your credit report is pulled and reviewed by lenders. To keep a record of this credit report review, an “inquiry” is placed on your credit report. The scoring model does not favor excessive inquiries — applying for numerous loans and lines of credit is a red flag for lenders and this is reflected in the credit score.

The good news is that if you apply for a new mortgage, auto loan or student loan, multiple inquiries within a certain period of time only count as one inquiry. For mortgages and auto loans, all inquiries placed within a 30-day period of time only count as one inquiry against your credit score. All student loan inquiries within a 14-day period of time count as one inquiry. There is no similar penalty-free “shopping period” for other types of loans and lines of credit, such as credit cards: All submitted credit applications will result in an inquiry being placed on your credit report. Inquiries stay on your credit report for up to two years.

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Regain Your Garage: Simple Tricks for Getting Organized

If your house is bursting at the seams, with every cabinet and closet filled to the brim, the solution to your storage woes may be as close as your garage. To make the best use of this space, however, you first need to corral its current chaos.

This is, fortunately, a relatively simple task if you incorporate a few good storage ideas. With careful planning and a little effort, you can transform your garage from a messy catchall to an efficient, well-organized household annex.

Source: Zillow Digs

Source: California Closets

Divide and conquer

First things first: Get rid of anything you no longer use. After you’ve winnowed down the contents of your garage, sort everything into groups. Keep garden tools with garden tools, and sports equipment with sports equipment. Items used together ought to be stored together.

Where possible, place like items into clear plastic containers with lids. It’s fine to use opaque bins, just be sure to label each one. Stackable containers are especially handy. They keep your belongings clean, protect against insects and rodents, increase the amount of usable floor space, and cut down on visual clutter.

What goes where?

The efficient use of space partly depends on positioning stored items in a thoughtful, strategic way. Are there certain items in the garage that you’re likely to need on a regular basis —for example, cleaning supplies? If so, locate these items near the door so that you can access them quickly and easily. Stash rarely used or seasonal items, such as sleds and skis, in harder-to-reach spots.

Off the wall

The key to garage storage and organization is getting things off the floor. Capitalizing on wall space enables you to fit the most into your garage, while keeping it all visible and easy to access. The type of wall storage you choose depends on your storage needs, project budget and personal preferences. Many homeowners opt for one or a combination of the following storage standbys:

  • Pegboard. A favorite for generations, pegboard is inexpensive and easy to install. Because it can be outfitted with an array of compatible hooks, clamps, bins, and shelves, pegboard can be used to store and organize just about anything, as long as the item to be stored isn’t especially heavy.
  • Open shelving. Whether a wall-mounted track system or a set of stand-alone units, open shelves are affordable, versatile, and user-friendly, and they keep everything in plain sight. Plus, depending on their construction, 12- or 16-inch-deep shelves are typically capable of holding heavier items.

    Source: Zillow Digs

    Source: Zillow Digs

  • Closed cabinetry. If you plan to park your car in the garage, cabinets with doors may be the most desirable option, because closed storage means not having to come face-to-face with paint cans and garbage bags every time you leave or arrive home. Cabinets are available in countless materials and styles, but generally speaking, they are more expensive than other solutions. And because they are unable to accommodate very large items, cabinets are most effective when used in conjunction with another storage system.

    Source: Zillow Digs

    Source: Zillow Digs

  • Panelized systems. Here, entire walls are covered with specially designed panels that hold any number of companion add-ons, such as hooks and shelves. Unlike pegboard, panelized systems can handle heavier items. But that strength and utility comes at a cost, especially since some proprietary products must be installed by licensed professionals.

    Source: Remodeling Guys

    Source: Remodeling Guys

Look up

For certain infrequently used belongings, the ceiling provides ideal, out-of-the-way storage space. Ladders and seasonal gear can be kept here, hung by clips or straps fastened to the ceiling joists. Or you can take advantage of hoist pulley systems, which cleverly operate like the cords on window blinds. Bear in mind, however, that ceiling storage must be oriented so that it doesn’t interfere with the operation of the garage door.

Safety steps

As you’re organizing your garage, it’s important to keep safety in mind. It’s unsafe to store gasoline and propane in the garage; a single spark could lead to tragedy.

Likewise, if you have children or pets, you should store hazardous materials like fertilizer and pesticides far out of reach. Locked cabinets are a good solution for these toxic materials, and they’re also a smart place to store power tools and sharp implements.

Related:

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ZillowBlog/~3/cOjdou9HBxY/

Regain Your Garage: Simple Tricks for Getting Organized

If your house is bursting at the seams, with every cabinet and closet filled to the brim, the solution to your storage woes may be as close as your garage. To make the best use of this space, however, you first need to corral its current chaos.

This is, fortunately, a relatively simple task if you incorporate a few good storage ideas. With careful planning and a little effort, you can transform your garage from a messy catchall to an efficient, well-organized household annex.

Source: Zillow Digs

Source: California Closets

Divide and conquer

First things first: Get rid of anything you no longer use. After you’ve winnowed down the contents of your garage, sort everything into groups. Keep garden tools with garden tools, and sports equipment with sports equipment. Items used together ought to be stored together.

Where possible, place like items into clear plastic containers with lids. It’s fine to use opaque bins, just be sure to label each one. Stackable containers are especially handy. They keep your belongings clean, protect against insects and rodents, increase the amount of usable floor space, and cut down on visual clutter.

What goes where?

The efficient use of space partly depends on positioning stored items in a thoughtful, strategic way. Are there certain items in the garage that you’re likely to need on a regular basis —for example, cleaning supplies? If so, locate these items near the door so that you can access them quickly and easily. Stash rarely used or seasonal items, such as sleds and skis, in harder-to-reach spots.

Off the wall

The key to garage storage and organization is getting things off the floor. Capitalizing on wall space enables you to fit the most into your garage, while keeping it all visible and easy to access. The type of wall storage you choose depends on your storage needs, project budget and personal preferences. Many homeowners opt for one or a combination of the following storage standbys:

  • Pegboard. A favorite for generations, pegboard is inexpensive and easy to install. Because it can be outfitted with an array of compatible hooks, clamps, bins, and shelves, pegboard can be used to store and organize just about anything, as long as the item to be stored isn’t especially heavy.
  • Open shelving. Whether a wall-mounted track system or a set of stand-alone units, open shelves are affordable, versatile, and user-friendly, and they keep everything in plain sight. Plus, depending on their construction, 12- or 16-inch-deep shelves are typically capable of holding heavier items.

    Source: Zillow Digs

    Source: Zillow Digs

  • Closed cabinetry. If you plan to park your car in the garage, cabinets with doors may be the most desirable option, because closed storage means not having to come face-to-face with paint cans and garbage bags every time you leave or arrive home. Cabinets are available in countless materials and styles, but generally speaking, they are more expensive than other solutions. And because they are unable to accommodate very large items, cabinets are most effective when used in conjunction with another storage system.

    Source: Zillow Digs

    Source: Zillow Digs

  • Panelized systems. Here, entire walls are covered with specially designed panels that hold any number of companion add-ons, such as hooks and shelves. Unlike pegboard, panelized systems can handle heavier items. But that strength and utility comes at a cost, especially since some proprietary products must be installed by licensed professionals.

    Source: Remodeling Guys

    Source: Remodeling Guys

Look up

For certain infrequently used belongings, the ceiling provides ideal, out-of-the-way storage space. Ladders and seasonal gear can be kept here, hung by clips or straps fastened to the ceiling joists. Or you can take advantage of hoist pulley systems, which cleverly operate like the cords on window blinds. Bear in mind, however, that ceiling storage must be oriented so that it doesn’t interfere with the operation of the garage door.

Safety steps

As you’re organizing your garage, it’s important to keep safety in mind. It’s unsafe to store gasoline and propane in the garage; a single spark could lead to tragedy.

Likewise, if you have children or pets, you should store hazardous materials like fertilizer and pesticides far out of reach. Locked cabinets are a good solution for these toxic materials, and they’re also a smart place to store power tools and sharp implements.

Related:

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

Article source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/ZillowBlog/~3/cOjdou9HBxY/