Reno Real Estate and Community News

Sept. 25, 2020

Self-Employed? What You Need to Know about Financing a Home in 2020

Self-employed borrowers have always had to jump through a few hoops to finance or refinance their homes. Without a traditional paycheck, lenders look for other ways to document income. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected many business owners and delayed tax return filings. As a result, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have enacted changes in the way the mortgage industry processes home loan applications (as of June 11, 2020).

Income Verification

Self-employed borrowers are typically verified by the most recent two years of income tax filings. As a result of the pandemic, those two years might not give a current or accurate picture of the borrower’s income. As the borrower is seeking to secure a loan before the next filing period, underwriters are now requiring a signed Profit and Loss Statement (P&L) from these borrowers.

Profit and Loss Statements

As part of the underwriting process, self-employed applicants must provide an audited or self-generated P&L statement for the current 2020 period. The statement must not be older than 60 days and must include:

• Expenses

• Net Income

• Business Depository Account Statements (two most recent)

• Business Revenue

In addition, the borrower must provide their most recent personal bank statements which should support the P&L statement.

Professional Advice

Self-employed loan applicants have always faced challenges when seeking a home loan. Now more than ever, it’s important to understand the requirements and work with a mortgage professional to ensure the loan application is packaged correctly with all the needed documentation. Lenders are still approving home loans, but with these changes put in place to minimize risk as the mortgage industry works through the challenges of this pandemic. 

Posted in Real Estate News
Sept. 18, 2020

All-Cash Offer – Should I Offer the Buyer a Discount?

Most parts of the country are seeing a strong seller’s market. This is the case in Reno-Sparks as well. Inventory is low and buyers want to take advantage of the low interest rates. As a result, sellers may be in the enviable position of a bidding war. Some buyers believe that presenting an all-cash offer to the seller can earn them a lower price by being more attractive.

But as a seller, should you accept a lower price from a buyer just because it’s all in cash? The short answer is, “it depends.”

• Do you need to close quickly?

• What are the terms of the offer?

The best advantage of an all-cash offer is the ability to close faster than traditional financing. Typically, loan processing will take several weeks from appraisal to underwriting. A cash offer can be completed in a matter of days; the monies need to transfer and the title needs to be recorded. If it’s important for you to get the money quickly, then accepting a slightly lower sales price in return for the speed of closing could be worth the cost.

Even if the offer is all-cash, that doesn’t guarantee it will close any sooner than another buyer. The most important consideration is the terms of the offer. Even though there is no lender involved, the offer might still be contingent upon an appraisal, a home inspection, and other standard contingencies. Simply paying in cash by itself does not guarantee that the sale will close any faster than a well-qualified buyer who will use financing.

The bottom line is that before discounting your home price for an all-cash buyer, compare all the offers. Your goal is to net as much profit from the sale as possible. If the speed of closing is important, then a small discount might be warranted; but if not, consider all the terms carefully before assuming an all-cash offer is better. 

Posted in Selling Your Home
Sept. 11, 2020

How to Hire the Right Service Professional

The popularity of home improvement television shows has increased the number of home projects. Unfortunately, not everyone is capable of knocking down walls and retiling their kitchen on their own. If you’re one of these non-DIY-ers, you will need to find service professionals to help, but choosing the right person for the job is critical. Here are a few simple tips to help ensure you hire the best person for your project.

• Check References and Reviews – One of the easiest ways to verify the experience and professionalism of a contractor is to read online reviews. If someone has been in the business for a few years or longer, you should expect to find plenty of reviews to read on Yelp, Angie’s List, and other sites. Asking for local references is also important. Call references and, if possible, go see completed projects in person.

• Confirm Licenses and Permits – Verify the contractor is licensed by the appropriate agency and that the license is in good standing. It’s also important to have any required permits for the project by your local city or county. Unpermitted work can result in loss of value, fines, and even forced removal of the work.

• Proof of Insurance – All contractors need insurance and most are bonded. Ask to see the proof of insurance before allowing anyone to work in your home.

• Get it in Writing – Get a written estimate with the scope of work and question any confusing terms. This should include clear expectations, deadlines, and pricing. Make sure you understand everything before signing any type of contract.

Hiring the right person for your home improvement or maintenance job can be time-consuming, but is well worth the effort. Do your homework upfront and you can avoid costly mistakes. 

Sept. 4, 2020

Getting Outbid? Strategies to Make Your Offer Stand Out and Get Accepted

Summer is traditionally a busy time for buyers and sellers. This year has been no exception—and with lower interest rates, many homebuyers are finding the competitive environment challenging. With multiple buyers competing for properties, even terrific offers are often being outbid.

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make your offer more attractive to the sellers and increase the chances of getting the property.

• Have Full Pre-Approval – A step beyond pre-qualification, a pre-approval involves submitting your full application to underwriting. Your lender will collect all your financial data and submit for review. This is stronger than a pre-qualification; a pre-approval requires the buyer to provide the proof of their ability to qualify for the loan.

• Increase the Earnest Money – Earnest money is the deposit held in escrow. While the contract will dictate how monies are disbursed in the event of a cancellation, increasing the amount offered can show the seller you’re serious.

• Add an Escalation Clause – In a bidding war, it can be difficult to know what to offer because you want to outbid the competition without going too high. An escalation clause is one way to automatically outbid the others. The clause typically offers an amount—$1,000 for example—higher than any verifiable offer up to a specific amount. This can ensure yours is the highest offer.

• Pay any Appraisal Shortage – When offering more than asking price, sellers become concerned about the appraisal coming in too low. If you are willing to pay over market value, include the amount of shortage you are willing to pay.

• Remove Inspection Contingency – This option can be tricky, but if you are planning a large remodel or are willing to tackle any defects found, then you can make your offer stronger by accepting the home as-is. 

Posted in Buying a Home
Aug. 28, 2020

Simple Ideas to Refresh Your Master Bedroom

We’re all spending more time at home these days. With the entire family stuck together, the home has been placed under a microscope. If your master bedroom is not the oasis you wish it were, here are a few simple ideas you can use to change the feel of the space without breaking the bank.

• Lighten Up – Setting the mood starts with lighting. Try a modern-industrial styled fixture or vintage chandelier to freshen your look. Consider the purpose of the lighting: do you want to soften the room with dimming lights or brighten a reading corner?

• Change Colors – Changing the color of the room can make a big difference in the feel of the space. Choose a soothing color and add fresh linens, floor rugs, or even paint or wallpaper to revitalize the room.

• Luxurious Carpet – Having a beautiful floor does not necessarily need to mean an expensive change. Add a luxurious area rug to add elegance to your bedroom.

• Create a Sitting Area – Most master bedrooms have unused space. Find a cozy corner and add a comfy chair to carve out a quiet area to relax or read.

• Try Some Wallpaper – Wallpaper is a great way to add interest and personality to décor. Today, there is a wide variety of temporary wallpaper products that are easily removable when you tire of them. Try a bold geometric or subtle textured pattern on one or more walls to add a modern spin to your room.

Bedrooms should be a place to relax—someplace to unwind and refresh after a long day. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to update your master bedroom this weekend with some simple, inexpensive changes. Try one or all of them and spruce up your bedroom. 

Aug. 21, 2020

Support Local Businesses!

2020 has been difficult for some of our local favorites. Here are some great ways to continue to support local businesses:

- Check out your favorite bar's Instagram/website to see the services they are currently offering. Rum, Sugar, Lime is doing to-go cocktails from 4-10pm Tuesday-Saturday.

- Grab to-go meals from some of my favorites - Sup, Great Full Gardens, and Food + Drink!

- Pop-up shops are another great way to show some local love. Chapel Tavern has been doing pop-up's at Von Bismarck. Ask if there are other merchandise or gift options you can buy to support.

Stay safe and healthy Reno, and don't forget to shop local!

Posted in Community News
Aug. 14, 2020

Let's Talk About Being Out-Priced...

Currently we are in a rising market climate. This means that housing prices are climbing and are doing so at a rapid pace. If you're looking to buy a single family home in a neighborhood between the $350-450k mark in the Reno or Sparks regions, you are on the cusp of being "out-priced," as these homes will soon be valued outside of your budget!

My advice? Get into the market now. It might not be the exact home you had initially envisioned, but it's better to hop in when you can and gain wealth over time. You'll be able to use the equity you have built to climb the property ladder within a few years. Trust me, you'll be glad you bought when you did!

Questions? I'm only a DM, phone call, text, or email away! I can help you navigate the current Reno-Sparks market. 

Posted in Market Updates
Aug. 7, 2020

7 Carpet Cleaning Hacks

Carpet is making a comeback. While the last couple of decades have trended toward hardwood floors and tiles, 2020 has seen a resurgence of wall-to-wall carpet in interior design. With bold designs and colors that have modernized an old tradition, carpet has once again taken center stage. Whether you have wall-to-wall carpet or just a few rooms of it, keeping carpet clean and stain-free is always desirable.

Of course, you can always call in a professional carpet cleaner, but it’s not that scary to tackle carpet dirt and stains on your own. You can save on professional cleaning services with these do-it-yourself carpet cleaning hacks.

1. Try a Lint Roller – Dirt, crumbs, pet hair, and spills like flour, rice, glitter, and other tiny particles can be pulled from the carpet with a good old lint roller.

2. Use a Squeegee – A damp squeegee will remove even stubborn pet hair from carpets.

3. Blot, Don’t Rub – Carefully and gently blot stains with your cleaning solution to keep them from spreading and soaking deeper into the fiber.

4. Deep Clean with DIY Cleaning Solutions – White vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, dish soap, and more can be used to safely and cost-effectively clean your carpet. Consider these eco-friendly solutions the next time you clean.

5. Bring the Heat – Carefully heating a stain with a blow dryer will help loosen the stain and make removal easier.

6. Shaving Cream – This budget-friendly solution is an excellent cleaning solution for small spaces and leaves carpet fresh and clean.

7. DIY Deodorizer – Keep carpets smelling clean by mixing Borax, baking soda, and a few drops of essential oil; sprinkle and vacuum after a few minutes.

Whatever your opinion about carpet, it’s here to stay. Keep yours clean and long-lasting by using these carpet cleaning hacks in your home. 

July 31, 2020

Two Sold's in One Weekend!

The housing demand in Reno is booming! I sold two homes in one weekend of showings, with multiple offers. It takes a high level of determination, integrity, and knowledge to get this done. I know what makes buyers' eyes light up! My 15 Step Guide will get you the most amount of money in the least amount of time. Give me a call or text to find out how you can prep for a showing that SELLS.

775.742.4796 Direct.

Posted in Market Updates
July 24, 2020

Tips for Buying a Home Unseen

It may come as a shock that many people purchase a home before ever setting foot inside. These buyers may be moving to a new country or city far away, or they may not have the time or resources to visit for a home search before the big move. Not everyone has the option (or the desire) to rent for a few months while they find a permanent home in their new location. Most homebuyers would prefer to purchase a house before they arrive, so they can move their belongings and quickly get settled into their home.

There are a few things you can do to make the process more manageable if you've considered buying a house unseen. The first step is to find a realtor in the area that you can trust. Let them know your circumstances and that you'll need them to help vet potential properties for you. They'll be able to provide you with a link to a virtual tour if it's offered, or schedule a meeting where they can walk you through the house via FaceTime or another video-based app. This will help you feel like you're there in person and give you the chance to ask your realtor about any potential issues that may pose a problem in the future. You'll also be able to see any features that you love, which will help you make your final decision.

Another great option is to have a family member or friend who lives in the area stop by a few open houses or take a tour with your realtor of any homes that you're interested in. It's a great idea to involve someone that you know and trust to help spot any red flags or deal-breakers you should be made aware of before signing.

When the time comes for you to move in, be prepared for the unexpected. There will always be a few things that you didn't expect when you've purchased a home unseen. However, make the best out of the situation and stay positive. It really is possible to find your dream home, even if you can't see it before closing. 

Posted in Buying a Home