Did you know that some lenders will help you several months to a year before you’re ready to buy a house? It’s all about finding the right mortgage lender for you.
When you’re ready to start, you’ll look at either working with a bank or a mortgage broker. Many people don’t know there are options other than going down to the bank. Let’s discuss the differences.
Working directly with the bank.
When dealing directly with the bank there are some things to be aware of. This option can be influenced by your relationship with your bank (Realtor.com), which can be an advantage. If you’re like me, you don’t have a relationship with your bank. I am not someone who goes into my nearest branch and they know my name. On the other hand, if you do have that relationship, sit down with them and talk about your needs. Just talking doesn’t mean you’re committed, but it will give you information and insight on options your bank offers. Banks typically only offer a certain number of mortgage types, so it’s important to speak to more than just your bank. It can be time consuming and confusing, so be prepared to have questions.
Working with a Broker.
Another option is a mortgage broker. To me working with a mortgage broker seems more flexible. First it’s important to understand that mortgage brokers are mortgage experts (Realtor.com). They will take your information, analyze it, and then find your best options. Your broker will handle all of the paperwork and communicate with lenders on your behalf.
Both options have pros and cons, so do your homework and have conversations before committing to any one person or institution. It’s worth the time spent to find the right mortgage lender!
Use your resources.
Now that we’ve covered your options, let’s talk using your lender or broker as a resource. The mortgage lending industry does not look at your credit in the same way as a credit card company or a car dealership. You might not know this unless you or someone you’re very close with is in this industry. I didn’t learn it until I got my real estate license and even now I don’t pretend to be an expert because I’m not.
What I do know is that a good lender or broker will work with you for a decent amount of time before you’re ready to buy. Finding a lender or broker that is wiling to take the time to come up with a plan of attack so you can get your dream home is an invaluable resource and one, I fear, that is under utilized.
I encourage people to start working with a lender 6 months to 1 year before buying a home. This helps bring to light any potential issues that need to be addressed and gives you a solid foundation of information for when you go to actually buy.
And just as with an Agent, interview your broker or lender. You’re going to be working with this person during an important part of your life and there is a lot of confidential information they are handling, so it’s a good idea to find the person you work well with and feel comfortable with.
You are the buyer, so you create the team you want to work with to get your new home!
Source: Realtor.com – Mortgage Broker vs. Banks
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Before the Coronavirus pandemic last year in 2020, 4.7 million people worked from home. That’s only 3.4% of the U.S. Workforce (Flexjobs). When the pandemic hit hard around March however, 88% of organizations worldwide either encouraged or made it mandatory to work from home (Gartner). So how exactly do you go about making a home office space that is both functional and comfortable? You want your home office to be an extension of you. What makes you comfortable, happy, and keeps you productive.
The Space: The best place for your home office is going to be in a room away from distractions. For me, that’s in an upstairs bedroom we have specifically designated as our office. Don’t have the space to do that? Clear out a corner in a guest room, bonus room, or even an unused closet that’s big enough.
The stuff: You will need the basics first. Somewhere to put your computer, somewhere to put your work materials, and somewhere to put yourself.
Desk – I didn’t want a bulky desk that took up half the room. My dogs also enjoy being able to walk through under my desk.
Filing cabinet – Gives me space to keep important papers, while also utilizing the top as extra desk space.
Storage cabinet – This is technically an entertainment center my grandfather built me when we first got married. When we moved into our house, we didn’t have a need for it as an entertainment center anymore. So I repurposed it as my storage cabinet. Underneath I have things like other laptops, the shredder, and cable storage. The extra-large drawer holds things I might need in my day to day. Notecards, sheet protectors, extra ink for the printer, etc.
Chair – With us having carpet in all the bedrooms, a cool and pretty rolling chair wasn’t ideal for this room. I found this padded dining chair that was pretty and comfortable and looked good with my desk. I do catch myself wishing I could spin around while I’m thinking though.
After that, incorporate the little things.
Bookends – What Realtor® doesn’t have at least one house related décor item in their office?
Paper storage – My husband and I still share this office during the week, so paper holders keep his grad school work organized when I’m using the office and then vice versa.
Printer – Between printing buyer questionnaires, MLS sheets, and my husband’s grad-school papers, our HP printer has been AH-MAZING. It’s a scanner and printer in one which has become super helpful when I can’t get into the office to scan/fax something.
TIP: Try to Keep everything within arm’s reach. It get daunting walking across the room to get something off the printer, or plug your computer in. Remember, functionality is key.
77% of remote workers say they are more productive when at home, (CoSo Cloud) and 80% said they experienced less work related stress (Amerisleep). Part of that is surrounding yourself with stuff that is comfortable, but not distracting.
A few of my favorite things in my office and on my desk:
Plants in pretty pots – they don’t just look pretty. Its proven that immersing yourself in nature reduces stress and anxiety. Plants also remove toxins in the air which leads to a healthy clear mind.
Rae Dunn coffee cup I use as a pen holder -I love Rae Dunn. What modern southern American woman doesn’t? So when I saw this coffee cup that happened to be turquoise inside, I knew it was meant to be placed on my desk.
Pictures on the wall – Real estate can be HARD. Your offer didn’t get accepted. Your buyer wants this SPECIFIC house type. The house they wanted is already under contract. The bank is being slow approving the loan. No one came to your open house. Especially, like me, when you’re first starting out, real estate can seem overwhelming. So when I saw this picture in my local Old Time Pottery, I knew I wanted it in my office where I would see it every day and remind myself why I do what I do.
I also have a blanket because I am ALWAYS cold upstairs. Also, its a comfort thing.
So there it is! My home office. Its may not be fancy, but its functional. It may not be magazine worthy decorated, but its comfortable, and its me. I get excited to go upstairs and work, which in turn will make me more productive in the long run.