Stockman Farrar Group's Blog
A moving checklist won't take all the stress out of moving, but it can relieve a lot of the pressure once you have everything accounted for. To give yourself a little extra sanity and peace of mind, we'll sketch out what a reasonable timeline should look like.
8 Weeks Before
Nearly two months before the move, you should begin going through each room and deciding what you're going to move and what you're going to throw away. You can start calling movers for quotes and ordering everything from bubble wrap to packaging tape.
It's important to keep the daily routine as-is, while still mentally preparing for the move. Start dropping off donation boxes of clothes or goods that won't be coming with you, and organize all of your correspondence in one place so it's easier to keep track of. We recommend having movers visit the home to give their quote as over-the-phone estimates may be unreliable.
4 Weeks Before
A month before the move is a good time to start packing up rarely used items, so they're ready to go when the time comes. This is also an opportunity to be even more ruthless with what you take versus what you leave behind. The more you get rid of now, the less you'll have to worry about organizing in the new home.
Start separating out valuables, measuring furniture, and filling out change-of-addresses with everyone from your credit card companies to the DMV. (Never assume a blanket change-of-address form will be valid for all organizations.) Store valuables in a safe, label boxes, and take a deep breath before the home stretch.
Last Few Days
Now is the time to get everything in a box besides the absolute necessities (e.g., toothbrushes, etc.) Refill any prescriptions so you aren't dependent on your new local pharmacy processing all of your paperwork immediately. Defrost the freezer now if you're taking it with you, and tune-up all vehicles so they're ready for the journey.
Create a manifest with everything you're taking and call the movers to confirm the final details. The final days are where things can really start to fall apart, and these are all preventative measures you can take so you're not dealing with a broken-down car filled with boxes on the side of the road.
Remember that moves rarely ever go according to plan. A moving schedule is dependent on everything from the weather to road conditions. This checklist is really just a way to curtail the possibilities of a major disaster. At the very least, it should help you feel more in control even during the most chaotic parts of the move.
The homebuying journey is exciting, particularly for an individual who is pursuing a residence for the first time. Ultimately, there are many questions that a buyer should consider before he or she searches for a house for the first time, and these include:
1. What is my "dream" home?
Perhaps the most enjoyable part of the homebuying journey involves defining your dream residence. Because once you define your dream residence, you'll be able to narrow your house search and move closer to purchasing your first home.
Think about what you absolutely require in a new home. For example, if you want to own a house in a region where the weather is hot and humid year-round, you may require a central air conditioning system. Or, if you want to enjoy a fast, easy commute to work, you may want to pursue residences close to your office.
2. How much can I afford to spend on a house?
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is essential. Because if you have a mortgage in hand when you begin your house search, you may be able to gain a competitive advantage over rival homebuyers.
To obtain a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you everything you need to know about fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages.
In addition, don't hesitate to get expert insights into assorted mortgage options. The longer you wait to get pre-approved for a mortgage, the longer you may need to wait to kick off your home search. Thus, you risk missing out on a potential dream house if you fail to get your home financing in order.
3. Do I need to hire a real estate agent?
Hiring a real estate agent is a must, especially if you plan to embark on the homebuying journey for the first time. In fact, a real estate agent can help you quickly and effortlessly navigate the housing market and discover your ideal residence in no time at all.
Typically, a real estate agent will offer comprehensive assistance at each stage of the homebuying journey. He or she first will meet with you, learn about your homebuying goals and help you craft a homebuying strategy. A real estate agent then will keep you up to date about houses that match your criteria and set up home showings. And when you find a home that you want to buy, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer and negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf.
Let's not forget about the advice that a real estate agent will provide, either. A real estate agent is unafraid to be honest with you and will provide feedback throughout the homebuying journey. Also, if you ever have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.
Take the guesswork out of finding and acquiring your first house – employ a real estate agent, and you can receive plenty of support as you move along the homebuying journey.
If you’re a first-time buyer, odds are you’ve never seen or heard much about mortgage applications. However, for something as important as buying a home, it pays off to go into the process knowing what to expect.
Mortgage applications aren’t all that complicated in and of themselves. Most of the time, your chosen lender will walk you through the process and answer any questions that arise. However, complications do arise when it comes time to provide documentation on things like your income.
To make things easier for your first application, I’ve put together this list of frequently asked questions that first-time buyers often have about their mortgage application process.
Will applying for a mortgage hurt my credit score?
Mortgage lenders will run a credit inquiry to help determine your lending eligibility. There are two types of credit inquiries: hard and soft. A soft inquiry is a quick credit check that doesn’t affect your credit score. A hard inquiry, on the other hand, does. This means your score will be lowered slightly for a few months and then will bounce back.
Mortgage lenders run both types of inquiries. For quick, pre-qualifications, lenders typically run a soft inquiry. Then, as you progress through the approval process, they’re run a detailed credit report (hard inquiry).
What information should I have available?
Lenders will ask you for various documents. The most common things they will ask for include proof of income in the form of W-2 forms from the previous year and your most recent pay stub. They will also require a record of your other debts, including student loans, auto loans, credit card debt, and any other outstanding debt that you owe. Finally, they will ask for an inventory of your assets. This could include investments, properties, auto titles, and more.
What if I don’t work a conventional job?
People who are self-employed or have unconventional income can still qualify for a loan and will still be required to show proof of income. Lenders may ask for Form 1099 records, tax returns, or any other record or proof of income you have available.
How long does it take to complete an application?
Mortgage applications can be completed as quickly as you gather the required documentation. However, there’s more to getting approved for a mortgage than filling out an application. There will be time needed to process the application, and underwrite your mortgage. This entire process typically takes between 30 and 45 days.
Is it safe to apply for a mortgage online?
Most lenders allow you to start the application process online and their online portals are typically secure. Make sure you check your browser window to ensure that the connection to the site is secured, and you should have nothing to worry about.
Keep in mind that most online applications are designed to get you prequalified and on your way to getting a mortgage. So, if you want to avoid getting calls from the lender, you might not want to enter any data until you know you’re interested in borrowing at this time.
A showing enables a buyer to walk through a residence and envision what life may be like if he or she purchases it. And if a buyer crafts a home showing strategy, he or she can make the most of this opportunity.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you plan ahead for a house showing.
1. Review the Home Listing
A home listing may include details about a house, as well as images that depict different areas of a residence. It also may feature information about various attractions and landmarks near a house.
By reviewing a listing prior to a showing, you can double-check to ensure a home falls in line with your homebuying goals. Plus, you can use a listing to understand what you may see during a showing and establish realistic expectations for a residence.
2. Make a List of Questions
There is no reason to enter a showing without a list of questions about a residence. Because if you attend a showing without questions in hand, you risk missing out on valuable insights about a house that otherwise could help you determine if a home is right for you.
As you create a list of home showing questions, consider what you want to know about a house that you were unable to learn from the residence's listing. For instance, you may want to ask why a seller has decided to list his or her house. Or, you can craft questions about utility expenses and other home costs so you can get the information you need to analyze a house.
3. Prepare Your Home Showing Essentials
A home showing is a learning experience unlike any other, so it often helps to put together a bag of must-have items for the event.
For example, you may want to bring a pen and paper so you can take notes during a house showing. Meanwhile, some buyers carry a camera with them so they can capture photos of a house and review them after a showing.
As you prepare to attend a home showing, you may want to consult with a real estate agent as well. This housing market professional can take the guesswork out of planning for a showing and help you gain the insights you need to assess all aspects of a residence.
Typically, a real estate agent will meet with a buyer prior to a showing and offer insights into a house. A real estate agent and buyer then will attend a showing together and walk through a house. After a showing is complete, a real estate agent and buyer next will discuss the house and weigh its advantages and disadvantages. At this point, if a buyer wants to submit an offer to purchase a particular home, a real estate agent will help him or her craft a competitive homebuying proposal.
Want to maximize the value of a house showing? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can plan ahead for any home showing, at any time.
A home inspection is a key part of the property buying process. If you fail to allocate the necessary time and resources to conduct an in-depth inspection, you may struggle to identify various home problems before you finalize your property purchase. And if you cannot identify such issues, you risk buying a home that may require costly, time-intensive upgrades in the foreseeable future.
Ultimately, there are many things that you can do to ensure that a home inspection provides you with the insights you need to determine whether to proceed with a home purchase. These include:
1. Hire an Expert Home Inspector
A home likely is one of the biggest purchases you'll make in your lifetime. As such, there is no need to leave anything to chance, especially when it comes to conducting a house inspection. But if you hire an expert home inspector, you can get the support you need to conduct a comprehensive property inspection.
Look for a home inspector who possesses extensive experience. Also, you may want to ask a home inspector for client referrals before you make your final hiring decision. If you get in touch with a home inspector's past clients, you can find out what it's like to work with this professional and proceed accordingly.
2. Attend Your Home Inspection
You are under no obligation to attend your home inspection. But in most instances, it is beneficial to attend an inspection.
A home inspection usually requires just a few hours to complete, but the benefits of attending an inspection may last a lifetime.
For example, during an inspection, a home inspector may be able to provide you with property repair insights that otherwise won't be included in your inspection report. Meanwhile, attending a home inspection allows you to ask questions and gain the insights you need to make an informed decision about a home purchase.
3. Analyze Your Home Inspection Results
Spend some time reviewing a home inspection report – you'll be happy you did. If you assess a home inspection report closely, you can use all of the information at your disposal to decide whether to continue with a house purchase.
Furthermore, if you have questions about a home inspection report, don't hesitate to reach out to the inspector who conducted the evaluation. This inspector can respond to any report questions that you may have and provide you with information that could prove to be exceedingly valuable as you make your final decision about a house.
As you get ready to buy a home, it certainly helps to have a best-in-class real estate agent at your side too. This housing market professional can offer recommendations and suggestions about what to do following a home inspection. Plus, he or she can provide plenty of guidance at each stage of the property buying journey.
Take the guesswork out of a home inspection – use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost the likelihood of completing a successful property inspection before you finalize a home purchase.