Lynn D'Avolio
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage | 801-597-2857 | lynn1@soldbylynn.com


Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 4/17/2018

Applying for your first home loan can seem scary or daunting to many first-time homeowners. However, this process, if done correctly, can save you thousands or tens of thousands of dollars on interest over the lifetime of your loan.

Before you apply for a loan, there are several documents you’ll want to gather and steps you’ll want to take to ensure the application process goes smoothly. In today’s post, we’ll talk about one specific aspect of the mortgage application process--credit scores.

Credit scores may seem confusing. However, since they can so drastically affect your home loan interest rate, it’s important to understand their implications.

Credit checks and mortgages

One of the things that all lenders will want to see before approving you for a home loan is your credit score. If you’re thinking of applying for a mortgage, odds are that you’ve been working to build credit by paying off loans and credit cards on time each month.

The three main credit bureaus in the U.S. are all required to give you a yearly free credit report. This is a detailed document that outlines your lines of credit, payment dates, and amounts. It’s a good idea to get a detailed credit report and check for errors before applying for a loan.

Unlike a hard “credit inquiry,” a free report does not affect your credit score, so you don’t have to worry about dropping a few points by requesting one of these reports.

When applying for a mortgage, however, lenders will perform a hard credit inquiry to determine your borrowing eligibility. This is a part of the pre-approval process and is typically unavoidable.

This is important to note if you are planning on applying to multiple lenders. Be aware that each “prequalification” and “preapproval” may come with a temporary drop in your credit score.

Since credit inquiries make up a total of about 10% of your credit score, these inquiries can make a difference in the short term. For this reason, it’s a good idea to avoid opening new cards or taking out other loans (such as an auto loan or student loan) within six months of your mortgage application.

If you aren’t sure of your current score, you can always check for free from websites like Credit Karma and Mint.

One last thing to note about credit scores and their relationship to mortgages is that most lenders use a specific type of score known as a FICO score. In fact, every adult in the United States with a credit score will have three FICO scores, one from each major credit bureau.

So, when checking up on your credit score, it’s good to remember that each score will be slightly different and your lender’s score may not reflect what you see online.




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Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 4/10/2018

In a competitive selling market, it’s vital to make sure you take advantage of any way to give your home an edge over the competition.

Many sellers make expensive home improvements in the hopes of attracting buyers. But, even if you’re on a budget, there are ways to boost curb appeal and increase the value of your home to make your home competitive in today’s seller’s market.

In today’s post, I’m going to cover eight low-cost upgrades you can make to your home today. We tried to keep all of the upgrades under $100 so that you can stick to your budget while still making a big difference in your home.

1. Paint the front door ($30)

One of the first things a potential buyer will notice about your home is the front door. Putting on a fresh coat of paint, especially one that pops and contrasts with the color of your home, will help to make it stand out on the block.

2. Paint your interior trim and baseboards ($75 - $100)

Baseboards often get dirty or scuffed up over the years. Putting a fresh coat of paint will make the entire room look like new. Stick with white for most rooms--it will brighten them up and make them feel clean.

3. Replace your outlet and light switch plates ($20)

They get dirty, they crack, and they get covered in messy paint every time you repaint your walls. Outlet and switch plates see a lot of wear and tear, and a dirty one can be off-putting for potential buyers.

For just a few dollars each or less, replace them all to give the rooms of your home a facelift.

4. Replace fixtures ($50 - $100)

Whether it’s the knobs of your kitchen cabinets or faucet fixtures, there are a number of small items in the kitchen and bathrooms that can be upgraded.

Stainless steel is now out of style, with homeowners choosing brushed nickel and bronze over the traditional stainless.

5. Choose a new shower head ($30 - $50)

Installing a shower head is a lot easier than it looks. Plus, luxurious looking shower heads can be purchased for less than $50 on Amazon, making them a great choice to add a touch of indulgence to the shower.

6. Add new bright, energy efficient lighting ($30 - $50)

Bright LEDs can make a room feel more spacious and modern, and it can save you a few dollars on the electric bill. Installing new lights throughout the home is a good way to show off what lies within.

7. Paint or replace your mailbox ($20 - $80)

Mailboxes can easily get dirty and dented over the years and most of us pay little mind to them. But prospective buyers likely will be on the lookout for any signs of neglect when they view your home. Having a freshly painted mailbox will leave a good first impression.

8. Rent a pressure washer for a day ($50 - $100)

Pressure washing the exterior of your home can make a huge difference when it comes to upgrading curb appeal. Vinyl siding gets dirty quickly and isn’t all that easy to clean.

You can rent a pressure washer from The Home Depot or your local hardware store for typically less than $100 a day.





Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 4/3/2018

Once you start the process of buying a home, you may begin to feel as if you know everything there is to know about real estate. There’s so much house hunting, researching and negotiating that the process can be dizzying. Once you get into a contract and start the home inspection process, a whole new host of questions comes to the table. Now, you need to know the nitty gritty of what you’re about to buy. 


Once you hire a home inspector, it could seem like they are speaking an entirely different language. These inspectors will be looking for any and all potential problems with your new dream home. In order to get the most out of your home inspection, you’ll want to ask smart questions.


How Much Of An Impact Does This Have?


Home inspectors cannot legally tell you whether a property is “good” or not. They can only tell you the things they find wrong with the property, or where they see a need for improvement. These inspectors will seem pretty even keeled when you meet them, so they can be hard to read. They’re all about facts. Asking them what kind of an impact a certain problem will have can help you to make a more informed decision. 



Who Can Fix This?


In many states, home inspectors cannot legally make repair recommendations. They can however give you an idea of how easy or how complicated it may be to fix something. You may find that you’ll be able to make simple repairs on your own rather than hire someone for a big price. The only drawback is that home inspectors cannot actually “fix” anything for you. They can only give advice.  


What’s A Priority?


Your home inspector can give you an idea of what issues in the home you are about to buy need to be fixed first. Since the inspector's job is to point out absolutely everything- both big and small- you’ll want to know what has the biggest priority so that you can plan accordingly. If things are at the “end of their lifetime” rather than in need of a simple repair, you’ll understand as a homebuyer how much money you’ll need to shell out for repairs sooner rather than later.   


Where Is That?


Many times as home inspectors as heading through the property, mentioning things that need repairs and attention, you may have no idea what they are referring to. It’s a good idea to have a notepad and and a camera so that you can refer back to what the inspector was talking about. Some inspectors even insert digital pictures into their reports, so you can ask about that when you’re hiring an inspector.   

How Does That Work?


Inspectors can often give you an idea of how different moving parts of the home operate. If you’re new to homeownership, or come across something that you have never seen before, your inspector will be happy to help you figure it all out. It can be a lifesaver once you move in since you’ll already know how much of the house operates.





Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 3/27/2018

The home selling journey sometimes can be complicated. Lucky for you, we're here to remove the guesswork commonly associated with selling a house.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you enjoy a fast, successful home selling experience.

1. Identify Your Home's Strengths and Weaknesses

You may have taken great care of your house over the years, and now, your hard work is about to pay off. In fact, if you assess your home's strengths and weaknesses, you may be better equipped than ever before to transform your residence's weaknesses into strengths.

Sometimes, it helps to conduct a home inspection before you list your residence. An inspection enables a property expert to evaluate your residence both inside and out. Then, you can receive an inspection report that details any underlying problems with your house and correct these issues prior to adding your home to the real estate market.

2. Set an Aggressive Initial Home Asking Price

Establishing an aggressive initial home asking price is paramount. Because if you set a competitive initial home asking price, you likely won't have to wait long before you start to receive offers to purchase your house.

To determine how to price your house, you should review the prices of recently sold houses in your area and other real estate market data. Plus, it may be beneficial to perform a home appraisal to receive a property valuation that accounts for your house's condition and the current state of the real estate sector.

3. Hire an Expert Real Estate Agent

Navigating the house selling journey often is tricky, particularly for sellers who choose to work alone. Fortunately, real estate agents are available in cities and towns nationwide, and these housing market professionals can offer expert guidance throughout the property selling journey.

A real estate agent understands the home selling journey varies from seller to seller. As such, this housing market professional will craft a custom home selling strategy to help a seller achieve his or her desired results. A real estate agent also will do everything possible to promote a residence to potential buyers and ensure a seller can optimize the value of his or her house.

Furthermore, a real estate agent is happy to provide a recommendation about how a seller should proceed with an offer to purchase a house. He or she can help a seller determine whether to accept, reject or counter a property buying proposal. And if a seller has any questions about an offer to purchase, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.

When it comes to selling a house, it is crucial to get as much help as possible. If you collaborate with an expert real estate agent, you can gain deep insights into all aspects of the home selling journey. Perhaps most important, you can receive comprehensive assistance throughout the property selling journey and increase your chances of enjoying a fast, successful home selling experience.




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Posted by Lynn D'Avolio on 3/20/2018

With 24 hours before you finalize your home purchase, you might feel a mix of anxiety and excitement.

What will it be like to finally own a home? How will the home closing process go? And what will I need to do to ensure everything goes seamlessly as you wrap up your home purchase? These are just some of the common questions that homebuyers consider in the hours leading up to a home closing.

It is important to prepare as much as possible before you complete a home purchase. Lucky for you, we're here to help you do just that.

Let's take a look at three tips that you can use to get ready to finish a home purchase.

1. Get Your Paperwork in Order

You may need multiple forms of identification and other essential documents when you close on a home. Thus, you should put together a folder of any must-have documents at least a day in advance.

If you find that documents are missing, retrieve them as quickly as possible. Also, try to get multiple copies of important documents if you can.

When it comes to getting ready for a home closing, it usually is better to over-prepare. Therefore, if you plan ahead as much as you can, you'll have all of the documents you need to complete the home closing process without delay.

2. Finish Any Last-Minute Packing

After you finalize a home purchase, you'll be ready to move in to your new home. As such, you should ensure that all of your belongings are packed up and ready to go.

If you're vacating an apartment, ensure that you've notified your landlord and provided sufficient notice about your upcoming move. That way, you'll be able to finish your rental agreement on good terms with your landlord.

Also, if you need extra help for your move, be sure to reach out to a moving company or family members and friends. And if you require a moving truck, don't forget to rent one in the days leading up to your move.

3. Consult with Your Real Estate Agent

The day before a home closing can be stressful, particularly for first-time homebuyers. If you have any concerns about the home closing process, be sure to consult with your real estate agent.

Your real estate agent likely has been a life-saver throughout the homebuying process thus far and will continue to assist you in any way possible. If you have questions about the home closing cycle, your real estate agent will respond to your queries immediately.

In addition, your real estate agent can teach you the ins and outs about what will happen before, during and after a home closing. He or she will explain what to look for during a final home walk-through, what home closing forms that you'll need to sign and what to expect after a home purchase.

Streamline the home closing process – use these tips, and you can get take the guesswork out of finalizing a home purchase.




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