Wait! Before you Buy! – Buyers Checklist

Wait! Before you Buy! – Buyers Checklist


Are you ready to buy a home? First, you must be personally and financially prepared. Next, prepare yourself for the home buying process. It’s normal to have questions; you are about to make a big purchase. Use this checklist to help you complete every step of the home buying process. 

  • Know Your Budget

The first step in purchasing a home is determining your budget. Look at homes you are interested in and can afford. Identify a realistic budget. Determine your debt to income ratio (DTI). The obligation to income ratio is your monthly expenses versus your monthly cash intake. To find your balance, you will take all the bills you pay divided by your gross monthly income. Recurring bills like student loans, car payments, child support payments, and anything you pay every month are included in your debts. When you calculate your DTI, it should be no higher than 43%. Your budget should also include breathing room so you will not have to worry about additional stress.

  • Save Up For Down a Payment

It’s essential to have a sizable down payment when purchasing a home. If your down payment is 20% or more, you will be exempt from private mortgage insurance. Typically your lender would require you to have private mortgage insurance if your down payment was less than 20%. It makes sure you will not default on the loan. Another benefit of having a sizeable down payment is lower interest rates. That is because a lower loan to value ratio will decrease the lender’s risk. In other words, the bigger the down payment, the lower the interest rate.

  • Pre-Approved Mortgage and Choose a Lender

Before you start looking for a home, shop for a mortgage lender or a mortgage broker to shop for you. Home sellers want to have confidence that you can and can purchase their home. The first step to that is preapproval. Next, finding a lender will help you choose the best loan type for you. Look at various potential lenders and choose the best one that can get you the best loan.

  • Choose Your Home and Make a Smart Offer

It’s time to choose your home and make an intelligent offer. Selecting a home can be overwhelming, but your real estate agent will make things easier. Listen to your agent’s advice. For example, home locations and nearby school districts or homes that have been on the market for a while. Do not only listen to your real estate agent but also listen to yourself. Look at homes for yourself, look online, and visit them to better understand your tastes and needs. Once you find a home you like and want, make an intelligent offer on the house. Again, your real estate agent will shine at this moment. Consult with them to decide how much to offer on the home. Your bid will depend on the housing market, how long the house has been on the market, and whether there are other offers on the house. Remember that your submission is not just a number but includes terms such as when you can move in.

  • Home Inspection

Although you will bear the fee, it is worth inspecting the home. The home inspection will protect you from unforeseen costs and liabilities. While examining the house, you will know how much roof life is left, if the foundation is falling, or if the electrical system is updated. You will find a minor problem but don’t worry. All home inspections do. Remember to get general home inspections but also consider specialty inspections such as mold. 

  • Prepare and Close On Your Home

Once the inspection is over, prepare to close on the home. First, double-check your finances and be sure they are in order. Make sure your finances are ready to pay all costs due at closing. Avoid making purchasing or financial changes that can affect your credit score. During this time, your lender will have an independent third party make an appraisal of the property.  If the assessment is lower than the agreed-upon price, buyers can ask the seller to lower the price or assume cost due at closing. Once cost and payments are finalized, it is time to sign a lot of papers. Be sure to bring all documentation to your home closing. You will need identification, proof of insurance, checks, or a cashier’s check to cover closing costs, and bring your patience! Your real estate agent and mortgage lender will provide you with a specific list. Once papers are signed, and all expenses are paid, you will have the keys to your new home.


As you start purchasing a home, use this checklist as you go through the process. Know your budget, and don’t go over. Save at least 20% of a down payment. Next, get pre-approved for a mortgage loan and find a lender. Next, choose your dream home and make an offer. Finally, have a general and specialty home inspection; once you have completed the first five tasks on the checklist, prepare to close on your home. For more helpful real estate tips and blogs, go to nancyopensdoors.com.

5 Tips on Staging Your Home

5 Tips on Staging Your Home


There are many components to selling a home. One part of selling a home is staging. Home staging highlights a home’s assets and helps buyers imagine themselves living in the home. Many home buying agents believe that a staged home affects a buyer’s view of the home. Real estate agents also find it more accessible for homebuyers to visualize the home as their own. As a seller, home staging can increase the home’s value and decrease the amount of time the home is on the market. Use these five tips to help you stage your home.

  • De-personalize 

One objective of staging a home is to help prospective buyers visualize the home as their own. Your home should start as a blank canvas. You want your home to be stylish and comfortable but avoid personal touches. Remove private pictures, both framed pictures on the walls and surfaces. Store your clothes away and out of sight. Be sure to clean the bathroom counters of personal items, for example, toothbrushes and hair care products. Although de-personalizing your home may feel weird to live in, buyers need to connect with your home. 

  • Clean, Clean, Clean

Get rid of clutter and clean your home. Removing clutter will make your home look significantly bigger and more desirable. Remember, you do not have to get rid of your things forever, just until the home selling process is over. Clean out your hall closets and show how spacious it is. While you get rid of the clutter, do not forget to clean your home. Every square inch of your home should be squeaky clean. From the floors to the baseboards to the ceiling fans, do not neglect cleaning anything. 

  • Lighten Up the Place

Dark lighting makes rooms feel sad and small. Open all the windows and let as much light in. Light will make the room feel bigger. When you open your house up for showings, turn on all the lights in addition to opening the blinds. By doing that, you make your home feel more welcoming and save prospective buyers the trouble of having to figure out how to turn on the lights. 

  • Go Neutral

  Bright colors are a great way to show your personality in a home, but not when selling your home. However, bright colors can distract buyers from the home’s assets and can be a turn-off. Although this staging tip can get costly, it can be beneficial for you in the end. Using neutral colors like gray, taupe, and white will allow the buyers to imagine decorating the home. 

  • Stage Where Necessary

Staging a home can be costly, so only stage where it is necessary. All rooms are not considered equal. Focus your efforts on rooms with the most significant potential to influence a buyer’s decision to buy your home. The main rooms buyers are most interested in are the living room, master bedroom, and kitchen. Focus on the rooms that matter and save money. 


Get ready for your home to sell fast by using the five staging tips. First, de-personalize your home, although it may feel weird to live in. Get rid of clutter and clean every square inch of your home. Next, open all the windows and turn on your lights to brighten up the house. Next, repaint your home with neutral colors to help buyers visualize the home as theirs. Finally, remember to only stage necessary rooms, like the kitchen, living room, and master bedroom. If you need more home selling and buying tips, go to nancyopensdoors.com. 

Is it Still a Seller’s Market

Is It Still a Seller’s Market?


In the past years, the home seller and buyer’s market has been affected. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, finding a home for sale is more challenging, which means it is a seller’s market. A seller’s market occurs when there is more interest in buying a home rather than selling. As a result, the demand for buying a home exceeds the home selling supply. The signs that tell us that it is a seller’s market are:


  • Homes/properties are selling quickly and are on the market for a short time.
  • Homes/properties are consistently selling above the asking price.
  • There are often bidding wars among interested home buyers. 


When it is a seller’s market, buyers tend to double down to get their offer accepted. Buyers submit offers quickly and will stretch to stay competitive. Many factors cause a seller’s market, such as low mortgage interest rates, job market growth, and development limits imposed by local governments that keep home supply low. If you are a home seller in the seller’s market, there are a few things to be aware of and keep in mind. First, do not slack off even though the market is on your side and buyers are interested in your home. Keep your home in proper shape for interest buyers. Although you may be in control, remember to price your home fairly. Usually, homes priced below fair market price can end up in a bidding war and go over the asking price. Finally, remember to vet your buyer; your highest offer may not be the most qualified offer. 

As a seller, be sure to know the signs of a seller’s market and be mindful of home buyers. Homes are selling quickly, so keep your home in selling shape. Homes are consistently selling above the asking price, so price your home reasonably to begin with. There are often bidding wars, so it is important to vet your interested home buyers. For more helpful real estate tips and blogs, go to www.nancyopensdoors.com.

Three Ways to Find the Perfect Home For You

Three Ways to Find the Perfect Home For You


Are you looking to find the perfect home for you? Three ways to help you find your ideal home are checking your home’s location, knowing your style, and knowing your finances. 

  •  Location, Location, Location!

Finding the perfect home for yourself can get a little tricky. You must do your research about the area. Ask yourself, is the house’s location in a safe place, is it near schools, is it near your job? If you can not answer those questions, drive around a 2-mile radius to see if the location best suits you. If you plan to sell your home in the future, it would be a brilliant idea to research the property value.

  •  Know Your Style

Do you know what style of home you are looking for? Do you like a rustic style home, or maybe a modern European style home? Knowing what type of home you are looking for will help you and your realtor find the perfect home for you. Consider maintenance. Do you want a big or small yard? Single-family homes offer more privacy if you have kids or pets, but that does mean you will have more maintenance. If you are looking into a condo-style home, you will have less maintenance and monthly dues to an association. 

  • Financing and Budgeting

Money plays a significant factor in purchasing a home. It helps to be pre-approved and know what you qualify for before buying a home. Be careful not to take out a mortgage that is too big for you to handle. It can go downhill very fast. Using the 28/36 rule will help you create a budget. When you follow the 28/36 rule, your monthly housing expenses should not go over 28% of your monthly gross income. Expenses such as housing costs, car payments, etc., should not exceed 36% of your monthly gross income. If you stick with this rule, you will be able to afford your home comfortably.


To find the perfect home, you need to research the location of your home. Drive around and see if schools, stores, and your job is close by. Research the area to see if it is safe for you and your family. Know the style of home you want to purchase. Single-family homes or condos each bring different factors to consider when buying a home. The 28/36 rule will help you budget and finance your home comfortably. For more helpful real estate blogs, go to nancyopensdoors.com. 


Five Ways to Make a Strong Offer


The home buying process can get very competitive. To make a firm offer on a home, you need an aggressive realtor, offer above the asking price, pay with cash, determine your earnest money deposit, and set a budget. 


  • Realtor is Key

Your realtor is vital. Hiring an aggressive realtor and one that knows your goal and situation will help you purchase the house you want. A realtor that knows how to negotiate an offer will allow you to ease your mind and take some of the stress away during the home buying process. 


  • Offer Above Asking Price

Buying a home can get expensive. Low offers will not cut it in the selling and buying market. You need to make a solid offer to beat a possible multiple-bid situation. Don’t let the asking over offering price overwhelm you. Buying the house you want, you will most likely go above the asking price. Depending on the house and the market, you may only need $2,000 to $3,000 more to show the sellers you are serious and can be taken seriously as a potential buyer. 


  • Determine Your Earnest Money  Deposit Amount

Earnest money deposit ( EMD) is the money that goes along with your offer and shows the seller your seriousness. Earnest money deposit is also known as a good faith deposit. Traditionally the customary amount of EMD varies on the market. The amount can range from $500 to $1,000. It averages between 1% and 3% of the purchase price. If you want to be seen as a competitive buyer, offering a high earnest deposit will show the seller. 


  • Pay With Cash

Cash offers have an essential effect on keeping the deal primarily between the seller and the buyer. A financed deal usually comes with financing contingencies. Financing through a lender, you are at the mercy of the lender’s process. Paying with cash allows you to be in control instead of a lender.


  • Set Your Budget

Offering the above asking price and paying with cash when you buy a home means you need a budget. The first step in creating a budget is establishing a limit. Setting a limit will help create a budget that will help you determine how much you want to offer on the house. Be sure to only research and write offers for homes you can afford. 


To be competitive in the home buyer market, you need an agent that knows the market and can negotiate deals. Offering over the asking price, paying with cash, and setting your earnest money deposit will show the seller that you are a serious buyer. Remember to set your budget and only write offers that you can afford. For more helpful real estate blogs, go to nancyopensdoors.com. 


5 Tips to Help You Save For Your House

I understand saving up to purchase a house can be difficult. Setting your goals, budgeting, setting up a new savings account, cutting costs, and controlling your debt; will allow you to save money easily. Use these helpful tips to help you save for your house. 


  1. Set Goals

The first thing you need to determine is how much you will need to save to buy your home and set up goals to help you reach that amount. You will need a 20% down payment to purchase a house. That can be your first goal. Setting a money goal every month will ensure that you stay focused and reach your final money-saving goal. 


  1. Start Budgeting

Budget, budget, budget! Having a budget and sticking to it is the key to saving money quickly. It is not going to be easy, but it will all be worth it in the end. Every bit of extra money will need to go towards your savings fund. Everyone budgets differently; find a budgeting system that works for you. Finding a budgeting method that works for you will help you reach your goals. 


  1. Set Up a New Savings Account

Saving for a specific goal will be most successful if you put the saved funds in a separate bank account. You don’t want to be tempted to pull from the money you saved for unnecessary spending. When you put aside significant amounts of money when saving for your home, be sure to make your money inaccessible, but you also don’t want it tied up in stocks. Think about using a checking account in a separate bank to help save your money.


  1. Cut Unnecessary Costs

There are many ways to save money. Using a few of these tips will help you cut costs and save money. 

  • Cancel unused subscriptions
  • Meal Prep
  • Stop eating out
  • Cancel vacations and expensive outings
  • Have regular spending freezes
  • Learn to say no

Using a few of these cost-cutting tips will help you save faster and help you stay on task.

  1. Control Your Debt

It is essential to control your debt when saving for a home. Carrying a lot of debt can make it difficult for you to save. Having a lot of debt means a big part of your income goes toward the payments. Controlling and lowering your debt will help you qualify for a mortgage. Do whatever you can to reduce your debt. 


Don’t get discouraged if you have a hard time saving money. Remember to set goals, budget, create a new savings account, cut costs, and lower your debt. All of these tips will help you save and purchase your home. For more helpful information, go to www.nancyopensdoors.com.

The Importance of Good Customer Service

The Importance of Good Customer Service


Why is customer service important? Building a new business a customer’s happiness is one of your top priorities. Happy customers mean more money, growth, and sustainability. Good customer service is beneficial to your business, and here are some reasons why.


  1. Revenue Increase

Revenue determines every business decision that needs to be made. Customer service is important because it correlates to income. The more satisfied the customer is with your service, the more they will want to continue doing business with you. 


  1. Better Reputation

Reputation goes a long way in business. Having a positive reputation leads to higher growth. It can attract customers, partnerships, and investors. Buying a house can be overwhelming; a recommendation from a friend can often tip the scales. Improving your reputation starts with excellent customer service. 


  1. CLTV Improvements

What is CLTV? CLTV stands for Customer Lifetime Value. CLTV can reveal the potential amount of money a customer brings to your business over time working together. CLTV also correlates with revenue. Good customer service means higher engagement which leads to more money. 


  1. Brand Awareness

Whether it is positive or negative, a customer’s experience plays a significant role in brand awareness. These experiences often lead to word-of-mouth advertising. You must build a brand awareness strategy around customer loyalty. By creating brand awareness, the approach can help you provide a positive experience for your existing customers and have them raving about your brand. 


  1. Business Longevity

As a business owner, you take a huge risk when starting a business. Providing excellent customer service helps keep your business moving and minimize losses. Your business longevity depends on your customers, and your customer service will always determine the number of customers you have. 


It is vital to remember: happy customers spend more, satisfied customers advocate on your behalf, and focus on your customer, and your work will be more efficient. Remembering the tips given, you can improve your customer service and understand why it is essential to your business.

Top 5 Features to Look for When Buying a Home

Top 5 Features to Look for When Buying a Home

Location of the House

Location! Location! Location! Yes, the site of your house is essential. You want to find a location that allows easy access to the places you frequent the most, such as work, school, grocery store, etc. You want to make sure you investigate how accessible the main roads are and the traffic flow. These things will help you determine which location is best suited for you. Whether it is near a busy city or a small town, be sure to ask your realtor about your preferences. Your preferences in location will determine how much you will pay for your new home.

The Size of the Lot

People tend to give little thought to the size the shape of the lot, the length of the driveway. Take into condition whether you want a corner or an interior lot. If you ever have questions about where one lot begins and one ends. Look up the lot description and dimensions with the realtor.

Number of Bedrooms

Whether you are single or have a family, you should know the number of bedrooms you would like to have. Why, may you ask? Most home buyers want at least two bedrooms. Families with children would need to accommodate them. Think about your lifestyle. Extra rooms can be used for several things—for example, a guest room, exercise room, home office, or a playroom. Your lifestyle is a significant influence in the home buying process, so you need to find ways to enhance it.

Number of Bathrooms

Do you know how many bathrooms you will need? Keep in mind older homes may only have one bathroom. Many home buyers would look for ways to add another bathroom. Consider if that is feasible for you. Newer home models may have two or more bathrooms, but they may not have a shower or have a tub. It is essential to know your preferences and do your research before purchasing a home.


Age of the House

Suppose you are on the hunt for homes that meet your requirements and are in your price range. You may run into homes that are on the older side. Older homes have tons of character, but they may need upgrades and repairs. You want to make sure you are prepared to perform those repairs. Research is always essential when it comes to the age of a home. You want to make sure you have the time and the budget to purchase an older home. Remember, building codes change every year. Have a good understanding of code changes. Whether you are looking for a vintage or modern style home, age does matter.

Signs You Should Purchase A House

1.You’ve Got Your Debt Under Control

Do you have your debt under control? Before you purchase a house be sure you are debt free. The extra cash flow will allow you the flexibility to spend more on a home rather than on your debt. 


2. Your Credit Score Is On The Rise

Credit is important. Your credit score will play a major role in your ability to get a home loan. Your credit score is usually lower when you are younger, and at the start of your career. As you prove yourself to be a dependable borrower as you pay down your debt, your credit score with go up. With a credit score of at least 620 you can qualify for most mortgages. 


3.You Have A Down Payment

How much do you have saved? You can save thousands of dollars in insurance costs over time with a strong down payment. Most of the time you will find that there are few benefits when bring a large down payment to the table. You can avoid paying for private mortgage insurance by putting a 20% down payment (PMI). PMI is a type of insurance that protects the lender if you default on your loan. Lenders require that you PMI if you do not have a 20% down payment. If you have not already, it may be time to start saving your money. 


4.You Are Steady In Your Lifestyle

If you are ready to settle down, stay in one place for at least a few years, may be purchasing a home might be a smart move. Yes, buying a home is a big commitment so is a mortgage. If you do not plan on staying in your home for long or do not know where you career is going then reconsider buying a home. 


5.You Need More Space

Everyone needs space. If you are thinking about starting a family, you might want to consider expanding your space. Having an extra room can make a enormous difference. 


6.You Have Considered The Cost Of Homeownership

Being a homeowner goes far beyond monthly payments. Here are some costs of owning a home:

  • Insurance: Legally you are not required to carry homeowner’s insurance, unlike car insurance. Mortgage lenders require you to have adequate insurance as one of the conditions of the loan. Homeowners pay on average $100 a month for homeowners’ insurance. 
  • Property Taxes: No matter where you live you must pay property taxes. Property taxes go to your local governments and pays for fire department public schools, ect. Property tax is calculated by local government as a percentage of your home’s value. The more your home is worth, the more you’ll pay.
  • Closing Costs: Closing costs are expenses you pay to close on your loan one-time only. Usually you can expect to pay between 3% to 6% of your total loan value. Closing costs may include title insurance, lender fees, attorney fees and more.
  • Utilities: Owning a home is different from renting one. Your landlord might cover some of your utilities when you rent but when you own your home you have extra expenses. You need to make sure you can cover your water, trash collection, electricity, and sewage bills every month. 


10 Questions to Ask Your Real Estate Agent Before Hiring Them


  1. Years of Experience – How long have you been a licensed agent?
    • Knowing the years of experience of your Real Estate Agent is important because it gives you an insight to their track record. Agents that have renewed their licenses multiple times usually have a higher and more consistent rate of closing deals.
  2. What’s your specialty? Is your specialty commercial or residential?
    • Knowing the difference between Real Estate Agent specialties can help you determine which agent is right for you. Residential Real Estate Agents focus on single family homes and one to four-unit rental residences. Commercial Real Estate Agents focus on business properties, anything with five or more units.
  3. Are you full time or part time?
    • Is your realtor part time or full time? If your realtor is part time, they may not have time to focus on your wants and needs. Your realtor needs to know the real estate market. The real estate market can be demanding and time consuming. A Real Estate Agent that is full time has more time to focus on your needs. Full time realtors also have more experience since their time allows them to work more hours. 
  4. Do you work alone or with a team?
    • Hiring a realtor that works with a team or works solo comes down to what you prefer. If you prefer working with one realtor, it could provide less stress and less people you have to communicate with. If you prefer working with a team of agents, you will have more people to communicate with. 
  5. How many homes did you close in the past year?
    • You should know how many homes your realtor has sold in the past year. Ask if you can see a listing from a past transaction. It can provide comfort to see if the realtor has a high closing rate. It also helps to know how many homes similar to your own they have sold. Experience plays a factor in the number of homes that your realtor has closed.
  6. How long does it typically take buyers you’ve worked with to find and purchase a home?
    • The time it takes to find and buy a house is different for each client. On average a home buyer can spend a few weeks or months to pick and close on a home.
  7. How do you determine what homes match my interest?
    • Your realtor should ask you what you are looking for. Your realtor should know what area you want to live in, the budget and specifics that you are looking for in a home. Knowing that information allows your realtor to find the right home for you.
  8. How will you keep in contact with me during the buying process?
    • There are many ways for a realtor to contact you during the buying process. It is important to have parameters set up with your realtor in terms of communication. Providing your primary contact information to help contacting you is easy.
  9. How often will you contact me during the buying process?
    • There are many ways for a realtor to contact you during the buying process. You can ask your realtor to provide weekly or daily updates. Communicating with your realtor in the beginning of the buying process and telling them how and when you want to be updated is important.
  10. What percentage of your business is home buyers?
    • Knowing the percentage of your realtor’s business is important because you want to know if they are working with home buyers like yourself. To find this information you can ask you realtor or search via internet for your realtor’s statistics.