Posted in Buying Homes, Credit Score, Home Buyers, home ownership, Midland Saginaw Real Estate, real estate, Real Estate Bay Midland Saginaw, Uncategorized

Don’t Get Sidelined by Your Credit!

You can’t have good credit unless you have debt. Sound like an oxymoron? It always has to me, but nevertheless it is a fact.  As a Realtor, I am often in the position of raising awareness about repairing credit and even the importance of how the system works and what your current score is.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people who have a 20% down payment on hand (in their mattress) but have no credit and are shocked when they can’t get a mortgage. Then there are those who have 15 different credit cards, bankruptcies,  or repossessions, who are also amazed when they have their credit pulled and find it is rated poorly and they’re unable to secure a mortgage.

You should always know your credit score. Not only does it give you a sense of accomplishment when you see it go higher, but it will also alert you if something is happening that you’re not aware of, such as identity theft or erroneous reporting.  There are various companies online that will allow you to check your score and some credit card companies also offer it.

Just be sure you’re looking at your FICO score; as this is what the majority of lenders/creditors will be looking at.  FICO stands for Fair Isaac Corporation which created the system back in 1960.  In order to even have a FICO score, you have to have an account of some type, whether revolving (credit card)  or a set monthly installment (car loan) and it needs to have been reported to the credit bureau for at least six months.

People are often under the impression that paying off a card is a good way to raise your credit score – – Nope! Or that they should close an account to raise it – – No Sir! Paying down a credit card and maintaining it to around a 30% balance will raise your score more than paying it off. Also, the longer an account is open, the longer your history is and that is also advantageous.

It does not have to be a mystery. Keep in mind these simple steps:

  1. Paying your credit accounts on time has the more significant impact on your credit score.
  2. Don’t use more than 30% of your available credit on any one card – if you do, be sure to pay it down to that 30% at the end of that billing month.
  3. Don’t close out all your old accounts. Having an account open for a long period of time scores you credit score benefits.
  4. Use more than one type of credit, combining installment and revolving. Be sure you don’t get carried away. If you can’t pay it off in 30 days (revolving) you probably shouldn’t purchase it.

Most lenders require a credit score of 640 in order to purchase a home; though there are a few who have programs for scores less than that. It is pretty amazing though, because at 640 you’re only in the “Poor” rating for credit.  If you want to secure a lower interest rate on a home, increasing your credit score is a great way to do that.

A simple way to look at it is this: Bad = 550 & below/ Poor 550-649/ Fair 650-699/ Good 700-749/Excellent 750+

If you have questions about mortgages and/or credit scores, please feel free to contact me. I work with some great lenders who are willing to help you raise that credit score and create a plan specifically for you. Purchasing a house is a great investment. Don’t get sidelined because of a surprise or non-existent credit score.

 

Posted in Best Time to Sell, Buying Homes, community, Home Buyers, home ownership, Home Selling Tips, real estate, Real Estate Market Statistics, Realtor, saginaw, Selling Homes, Selling Your Home, Tips for selling your home faster

It Is NOT Too Late!

Spring, spring! It’s gotta be Spring or it’s too late! That’s what sellers often think of in regard to home sales. Reality says, it isn’t so. Sure, the highest peak months might be May and June, but looking at the graphs you will most likely be surprised that the only two really low months for closed sales are January and February.

Sales in Saginaw & Midland Counties are up in general this year (yay!) Looking at the graphic below; you can see two things. First you’ll see the difference between the 5 year average and 2016.  Most importantly if you’re thinking of selling, you will see there is not a huge drop-off. Homes are being sold EVERY month.

There is always a market for good inventory.  I would love to give you a free market analysis on your home if you’re thinking of selling or be your buyer agent for those of you looking for that new home of your dreams. Call me today! 989-475-2958!

Graph

Posted in community, home ownership, Midland Saginaw Real Estate, Uncategorized

NIGHTMARE NEIGHBOR

Is there anything worse than having a “Nightmare Neighbor”? I can think of one thing – being one! For any of you who might read my blog regularly, this topic might not seem to fit the norm of MoniqueKnowsRealEstate.com where most of my posts are topical issues about real estate stats, design ideas, & buyer or seller tips. A recent confrontation with a neighbor of my own prompted this article.

A typical Michigan Spring means anything goes. This year was no different with random snow flurries, cold temps, and a whole lot of rain. The rain played the instigator in my Nightmare Neighbor scene. My yard is just over an acre. It is quite long and narrow, with the house being situated about half the distance back.  Last year I had a professional landscaping service do my weekly lawn maintenance. This year however, because my college daughter was going to be home and the fact I have 4 investment properties to maintain – I thought it would be a perfect time to get a rider and give my daughter a little extra cash. It so happened I had a client whose home I had for sale was moving out of the area and I purchased her mower. I brought it home, was able to get the front yard mowed, but the back was way too wet. A week passed, I had to get that back mowed! I went out to discover that my “new” used mower was broken. Ugh!! I couldn’t get anyone out right away to repair it and the landscaping company had already started their new season of routes and couldn’t fit me in.

The next weekend I took an entire Sunday off of work (which is a real rare thing) so I could spend the day mowing, weed-whacking, planting flowers and my vegetable garden. I was super excited because I love to work outdoors. I had gone to Lowe’s the previous Friday to purchase a new John Deere and it was to be delivered on Sunday. Let’s just say they had to make 3 deliveries on Sunday but I did end up with my mower.  I hopped on with a smile on my face a vroomed right out to the back yard. I made it just around the back corner when I noticed a neighbor waving his arms frantically. I thought there was an emergency so I stopped and shut the mower down.  He began screaming at me. What a disrespectful neighbor I was to have that long grass, my dandelions were blowing in his yard, my trees dropped sticks in his yard, I had a dead tree that needed to be cut… Which then escalated into “all the neighbors hate you” and a train of yells, shouts of obscenities, and criticisms which had absolutely nothing to do with the back part of my lawn being long. I was dumbfounded. I really just wanted to run, hide, and cry. Who was this person? What on earth prompted such rage? Never before in the almost 3 years I’ve lived there has my lawn been overdue for a cut – ever.

I thought about it long and hard. It was easy to decide my neighbor was a “Nightmare”. Who would get so crazy about a lawn? And why, I thought, if he had an issue – didn’t he just say something to me. Back came memories of growing up in a farming community, where when something needed to be done like a barn raising, a fencepost, or even a wedding reception – the neighbors all came! We were all friends or at least very friendly. We knew each other. I reckon if our lawn suddenly looked shabby – someone would have shown up with a casserole – on their lawnmower – dropped it off and cut the grass knowing something had to be wrong. That’s the life I grew up with.

What’s my point in sharing this story? Certainly not to trash my neighbor. I think however, that we need to remember “the old days” and apply them to today. Do you know your neighbors? You should. I imagine if I knew this neighbor a little bit better, he may have approached me that my dandelion seeds were bothering him. Or I may have known that something crazy was going on in his life that caused him to be extra stressed. Most of all though, it made me stop and think about what my neighbors might think. Just because it doesn’t bother me to have a random dandelion in my backyard doesn’t mean my neighbor doesn’t despise it. When I set my trash out on to the street on the day before trash pick-up, my neighbor might think it is horrible. When I drive my lawn tractor around the trees that are along the property line, which means the blade is facing out and it blows a bit of grass in their yard, I might think it is ok – they have a 5 acre yard after all and how else am I going to go around the tree closely? They might think it is rude. So, the crux of it all is as with many things; communication. Talk to your neighbors, ask them what they think. Find out what’s important to them, even though you might think it is ridiculous. Gee, kind of sounds like any relationship, right? And, I think a nice plate of homemade chocolate chip cookies goes a long way! Make your neighborhood a special place to be. 🙂

Thanks for reading my story – Feel free to check out my other blog posts, videos, and website for all kinds of real estate information – They’re all available on my website. http://www.homesofmidmichigan.com

 

Posted in goal setting, home ownership

ShaBoom! Goal Achieved!

Why, you might ask, is Monique – the Real Estate Matchmaker, writing a blog on her site about goals? Well, there are a few reasons and I think they’re super-uber important so I hope you’ll indulge in 2 minutes that could have a huge impact on your life. And yes, I threw that “uber” word in there just for you “Under 25” crowd. 🙂 Twice your age means I have the potential to be twice as cool, right?

…..anyway….. Here’s the thing. I have been a Realtor for 9 years. I hold 2 bachelor degrees, and have worked in Broadcasting, Sales, & Management since 1990. In the spring of 2014 I had an “encounter” that changed my life in many ways. So much so, that by January 2015 I was on the prowl for a business coach, marketing firm, and lots of answers about how to be a real estate guru. It started pretty simply, actually. A client asked me a question. He asked me if I could make him money in real estate. He entrusted me with a pretty nice sum of money. At that same luncheon, he made a statement something like, If you’re the best (and I know he truly believed I was) – why aren’t you number #1. Hmmm….

Here’s what I learned. You achieve what you expect to achieve; what you plan to achieve, and even what you believe you have already achieved. That last part sounds a little funky, I know. But, as I studied, and worked, and read, I realized that I needed to believe I was already #1. I had to act in a way that would bring my dreams into reality. But, the first step is to have that goal. You can’t achieve something that doesn’t exist! I started working – really diligently. I became goal specific. I learned systems.(Thanks, Gary) I began doing motivational talks – not just to help others, but myself too. I hired that business coach to hold me accountable, and the marketing firm to wrap it all up into a great package. I hired an assistant for the overload of tasks I knew was going to come. It was a TON of work. Learning about myself, my personality traits, strengths,weaknesses (yup, I have a few), market demographics, psycho-graphics of my audience… it went on and on – and still is.

So, I set my goals and started implementing everything. I made my goals public in my agent motivational speech. It is much more difficult to forget about a goal if no one else knows about it! One of my goals was that I wanted a new Dodge Charger. That my friends, is where this blog comes about! Last Friday, I went out and bought one. I’m super excited. and I’m loving it! Now, maybe you could care less if I have my new Charger. That’s ok. 🙂 But here’s what I think is important: A. You know I’m a person following and achieving my dreams. B. You should have a dream too!

Keep in mind that goals can change. This year I wanted my beautiful new Charger. But, that’s not to say that next year I won’t desire something else, like a new cabin, or adding exponentially to my mission work. Our reality changes and so can our goals. The point is that we need one in order to achieve one. Home ownership is a huge American dream! There are a lot of factors involved in being able to achieve that goal in itself. Maybe your dream is to have a great home and be mortgage free. Maybe it is buying up, or perhaps it has nothing to do with real estate. Take a moment today and jot down your dream. Imagine it being reality and figuring out how to get there will happen. You’ll be creative. Don’t think for a second that it isn’t tough work though. But gee…. when you hit that goal – you’ll be able to take a silly picture on the day you achieve it too! I’d love to see it!!!