How Forbearance Can Change Your Credit Scores

How might deferred payments, missed payment allowances and other actions by credit card issuers be reflected on credit reports?

A: It’s important to remember that even one late or missed payment may impact credit scores and remain on credit reports for seven years. But generally, late payments don’t end up on credit reports for at least 30 days after you miss the payment. That means it’s possible to make up a late payment before it shows on credit reports. However, interest and late payment fees may still apply.

If you’re out of work or struggling due to the pandemic, contact your lenders and creditors to explain your situation and see if any accommodations can be made. In some situations like Covid-19, it’s possible that lenders and creditors may have special assistance available to reduce the risk of impacting your credit standing. Some creditors or lenders may waive late fees or offer short-term loans, and some may provide the opportunity to make reduced payments, interest-only payments, or no payments for some period of time — a practice known as forbearance. Keep in mind, however, that accounts in forbearance can still be reported as late or missed payments by lenders and creditors to the three nationwide credit bureaus.

If your asking for help, be sure to ask questions that protect your future.

Posted on May 31, 2020 at 6:20 pm
Sally Melby | Posted in Uncategorized |

Staging Strategies for Your Home

Staging your home is all about putting the best foot forward for potential buyers. By highlighting its most desirable features, you can draw more interest for your home and leave a lasting impression that is sure to help you sell it more quickly. Here’s what you should keep in mind as you prepare for your next open house or viewing!

Help them visualize it as their own. Make it easier for buyers to imagine themselves making your house their home by removing personal memorabilia, knick-knacks, and photos. Instead replace them with simple decor, such as paintings, nature images, and plants.
Think sleek instead of comfy. Modern-day buyers are leaning toward, crisp, clean interiors over comfy, homey looks. When staging your home, keep a minimalist mindset, and incorporate bright colors and metal accents.
Deep clean the small spaces. It’s obvious to say you should clean your home before viewing, but don’t forget to cover your bases by deep cleaning the small spots. Take time to scrub porous areas like grout that may hold on to stains and baseboards where small pet hairs and dust love to cling.
Spruce up your landscaping. The first impression your home gives to potential buyers is its exterior. Ensure you have a neat hedges and shrubbery, bright flowers, and a clean driveway.
Set the mood. A home is so much more than just the way it looks, so you need to appeal to the other senses. Prior to having potential buyers over, set the mood by burning delicious smelling candles and selecting an upbeat, happy music

Posted on May 12, 2020 at 8:31 pm
Sally Melby | Posted in Uncategorized |

The Difference Between Mortgage Deferment and Forbearance

More homeowners are in search of mortgage relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and options like mortgage deferment and mortgage forbearance are becoming readily available to those in need.

Mortgage deferment and mortgage forbearance allow borrowers to temporarily stop making their monthly payments, but they differ in what happens afterwards. At the end of a forbearance period, the amount of payments missed are due in a lump sum, however, lenders may choose to work with borrowers to structure a payment plan.

On the other hand, deferment is allowing borrowers to repay the money over time or add it to the end of their loan period.

Technically, a mortgage forbearance agreement is when you’ve possibly been late, and the lender agrees not to foreclosure during that forbearance period.

More homeowners are in search of mortgage relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Don’t just assume you can skip a payment. Call your lender now, let them know, and make arrangements.

Forbearance and deferment aren’t the only options. Some lenders are doing loan modifications, too. Additionally, these options may still affect your credit scores, so be sure to ask questions and that it’s right for you and your family.

The bottom line is that lenders want to remind consumers: Nothing is free. It does not necessarily pause the interest that is accruing, and it does mean that you’re going to have to make that principal and interest payment at a later date.

Posted on April 8, 2020 at 4:31 pm
Sally Melby | Posted in Uncategorized |


Organic food usually tastes better, and is better for you, but it can also be expensive compared to non-organic products. Organic food can cost nearly 50 percent more, thanks to the extra labor required to produce it and consumers’ demand exceeding supply.

So how do you get tasty organic food without spending a ton of extra money? Follow these tips to get more bang for your buck.

Shop at farmers’ markets: You can get fresh organic produce for far less at a farmers’ market than you’d pay at the grocery store. It’ll taste just as good, and you’re getting your food straight from the source.

Choose seasonal produce: Out-of-season produce usually has to be imported, and that can really drive up the price. Focus your meals on in-season fruits and vegetables so that you don’t end up paying $6.00 for a pound of organic asparagus.

Shop more frequently, and plan your meals around bulk sales: The trick here is to only buy what’s needed for your meals, and to only plan for a week of meals at most. That way you’re less likely to throw food away, because you can use leftover produce for more meals before it goes bad.

Grow your own: A home vegetable garden will provide some extremely cheap organic produce, and gardening can also be a fun and rewarding hobby.

Posted on March 28, 2020 at 7:53 pm
Sally Melby | Posted in Uncategorized |

Getting Ready to List Your Home For Sale?

Before you list your home this summer, here are a few the projects that can up your home’s selling value while ensuring it sells faster.

Project 1: Front Door and Entryway

The first project on your homeowner’s checklist is to address your front door and entryway. Beyond your front yard, your door and entry will be the very first impression on a potential buyer. Literally look at everything from the ceiling right down to the floor and draw up your list of to-do’s. Here are some common areas you can spruce up to make this area truly shine:

  • Door finish or paint: Is your door dull or drab? Consider repainting, re-staining, or adding another level of varnish to erase aging.
  • Door hardware: How do your hinges and handles look? If they are a bit dull, try to shine them up using the right type of chemical for the metal type. If they’re banged up or in truly bad shape, now is the time to spend a few dollars to replace.
  • Entry flooring: What type of flooring does your entry have: rug, wood, tile? No matter the type, clean it vigorously, fix any issues, or consider replacing it entirely.
  • Floorboards: Floorboards show aging in your home. They get banged up, accumulate dust and dirt, and just sometimes look awful. Clean these and possibly repaint.
  • Lighting: Look at the lights both right outside your front door and in your entry. Replace light bulbs, clean out light surrounds (bugs . . . ew!), and add additional lighting if necessary.
  • Furniture and belongings: While your entry might serve as the area in your home where things are dumped as you come in the door, your prospective buyers don’t want to see this. De-clutter, start packing. Clean up and clean out to provide spacious and inviting areas.

Project 2: Painting

Painting is one of the lowest cost ways to totally transform your house, and it’s also one of the easiest and fastest DIY projects you can undertake. Go through every room of your house with a brutal eye. Is the paint dingy or peeling? Are the colors of some spaces more likely to scare off buyers than reel them in? Consider using very neutral colors that will allow buyers to picture their own furnishings in your space.

Project 3: Landscaping

Although this is listed last, it’s actually one of the best ways you can entice buyers into loving your property. Cut back overgrowth, prune trees judiciously, plant attractive annuals, put down seeding or sod for missing patches of grass.

Painting is one of the first things buyers tackle after moving in, so your return on investment is 100% or more! You might be comfortable accepting a lower selling price rather than risk not getting your money back in the form of a higher sale price, but small enhancements can dramatically change a room, bringing in a faster offer for the price you want.

Posted on March 20, 2020 at 6:36 pm
Sally Melby | Posted in Uncategorized |

What Are Contingencies?

In real estate, a “contingency” refers to a condition of the Purchase Agreement that needs to occur in order for the transaction to keep moving forward. As the buyer, there are many contingencies that you can choose to include in your contract. Here are five most common.

Inspection Contingencies

Inspections are for the benefit of the buyer. The home inspection covers a general examination of the interior and exterior of the home, as well as its systems. However, there are several other inspections that fall under this contingency, such as ones for mold or damage from wood-destroying insects. Once you’ve completed all your inspections, you’ll receive reports for all the inspections you’ve elected, as well as recommendations on how to remediate the home’s problems. You’ll then have the opportunity to negotiate with the seller on repairs. If you can’t reach an agreement, or if you simply feel that the home needs too much work for you to handle, you can walk away from the sale.

Financing Contingency

This contingency gives you time to apply for and receive a loan in order to purchase the home. It says that, if for some reason you’re unable to receive financing, you have the right to look for alternative sources or to back out of the sale. Your financing is not set in stone, a pre-approval is not a guarantee of a loan.  From there, you still have to go through the underwriting process.

Appraisal Contingency

The appraisal contingency goes hand-in-hand with the financing contingency. In fact, receiving a satisfactory appraisal is usually one of the conditions that the mortgage company has for granting you a loan. An appraisal determines the fair market value of the home. The appraisal contingency ensures that you’re protected if the sale price doesn’t fall in line with whatever the fair market value is determined to be. If there’s a difference you’ll be able to renegotiate the sale price with the seller or to find additional financing. However, if both those options fall through, the appraisal contingency allows you to back away from the deal, unscathed.

Title Contingency 

In real estate, the title to a home is the record of its ownership. It’s a legal document that shows who has owned the home, past and present. It’s also a record of any liens or judgments that have been made against the property.  In a typical scenario, a title company or your attorney will review the title on your new home before closing and resolve any issues so that the title can be transferred to you free and clear.

Home Sale Contingency

As a buyer this contingency allows you a specified amount of time to find a buyer for your current home. If you can’t find a buyer within that time, you have the freedom to walk away from the sale with your earnest money still intact.

Posted on February 24, 2020 at 4:55 pm
Sally Melby | Posted in Uncategorized |

Documents You Need For a Home Loan

Depending on your unique situation, there are several documents you’ll need when you apply for a home loan. The exact forms you need for a home loan depend on your situation. For example, someone who is self-employed will likely have to provide different forms than someone who is employed by a company.

Although the exact forms might vary, a lender can get a good sense of your approval odds by reviewing the following and running a credit check.

  • 2 years of tax returns and W2’s
  • Most recent bank statements, all accounts
  • Most recent pay stub (minimum 30 days)
  • If self-employed, 1099s and copy of business license
  • Rental history or mortgage statement
  • Divorce Decree or separation agreement
  • Explanation of any inquires on credit report
  • Drivers License

Posted on February 13, 2020 at 7:47 pm
Sally Melby | Posted in Uncategorized |

How You Can Finance Your Home Renovation

Outdated kitchen. Overrun backyard. Unusable basement space. If you have a home renovation project on the mind, the first thing you have to consider is how you are going to finance it. Here are the most common options to make your dreams become a reality.

Cash. Paying in cash is the most straightforward financing option, just save until you have enough money to cover the expenses. This will help eliminate spending outside your budget; however, it can also extend your timeline.

Mortgage Refinance. If you’ve been making payments on your home for a few years and your interest rate is higher than current market rates, you may be eligible for a mortgage refinance, reducing your payments and freeing up some money.

Cash-Out Refinance. You can tap into your home equity and borrow up to 80 percent of your home’s value to pay off your current mortgage plus take out more cash to cover the renovations. This option is encouraged only when you’re making improvements that will increase the value of your home, as it can add a lot of interest and fees.

Home Equity. Getting a home equity line of credit allows you to borrow money against the value of your home. You receive usually up to 80 percent of your home’s value, minus the amount of your loan.

Retirement Funds. Homeowners can consider pulling money from a 401K or IRA account, even though they aren’t specifically meant to cover a home renovation. This option might incur additional penalties or tax payments, but may be worth it when making improvements that will benefit them financially in the long run.

Posted on February 4, 2020 at 8:33 pm
Sally Melby | Posted in Uncategorized |

What Do Closing Costs Cover?

The costs of the home purchase is more than just the sale price. For example, closing costs, which make up about 2% to 5% of the home’s purchase price, are an added expense.

Your Lenders provide a Closing Disclosure (CD) at least three business days prior to closing on a mortgage. But as a buyer you’ll need to budget for these added costs ahead of time.

Origination fees. This is the fee charged by lenders for processing the application and underwriting it. The fee typically ranges from about 0.5% to 1% of the borrower’s mortgage.

Service charges. These include items such as the appraisal, credit report, flood determination and certificate, tax status, pest inspection, title search and insurance, and survey fees. Appraisals and surveys can cost anywhere between $300 to $500 each.

Transfer taxes and recording fees. Transfer taxes vary by state. It does not matter if the buyer or seller pays, as long as the transfer tax is paid to the government, so transfer taxes can be negotiated between the buyer and seller.

Escrow items. Homeowners insurance, property taxes, and primary mortgage insurance (if applicable) also are added fees. Buyers moving into a homeowners association may need to pay monthly dues for the upkeep of the community.

Example: A buyer purchasing a $275,100 home with a 5% down payment makes the loan amount $261,345. Closing costs are estimated at 2.5% of the loan value, so $6,533. The buyer made a $2,000 earnest money deposit at the time of the initial purchase offer so the remainder needed is $4,533 in cash at the time of closing. A Total of approximately $20,288.00 in cash to pay for the down payment and closing cost.

Posted on January 27, 2020 at 5:34 pm
Sally Melby | Posted in Uncategorized |

Your Guide to Home Appraisal

You’ve found your dream home and now it’s time to cross all your T’s and dot all your I’s before it’s all your own. And one of the first items on your closing checklist the home appraisal. So, what exactly is that?

The home appraisal is essentially a value assessment of the home and property. It is conducted by a certified third party and is used to determine whether the home is priced appropriately.

During a home appraisal, the appraiser conducts a complete visual inspection of the interior and exterior of the home. He or she factors in a variety of things, including the home’s floor plan functionality, condition, location, school district, fixtures, lot size, and more. An upward adjustment is generally made if the home has a deck, a view, or a large yard. The appraiser will also compare the home to several similar homes that were sold within the last six months in the area.

The final report must include a street map showing the property and the ones’ compared, photographs of the interior and exterior, an explanation on how the square footage was calculated, market sales data, public land records, and more.

After it is complete, the lender uses the information found to ensure that the property is worth the amount they are investing. This is a safe-guard for the lender as the home acts as collateral for the mortgage. If the buyer defaults on the mortgage and goes into foreclosure, the lender generally sells the home to recover the money borrowed.

Posted on January 20, 2020 at 1:36 am
Sally Melby | Posted in Uncategorized |