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Paying a mortgage after job loss

Paying a Mortgage After Job Loss

It’s the scenario that every homeowner, new and experienced, dreads – a significant loss of income due to layoff or some other change in financial circumstance. Most financial planners advise homeowners to pack away at least six months of expenses in savings, but this money dries up quickly when your family’s income is severely reduced or, more drastically, cut off entirely. So what can you do? Taking some preventative steps before a layoff and making some changes after can help you hang onto your home and hopefully avoid short sale or foreclosure.

Before a Layoff

Before you purchase a home, ask about job-loss mortgage insurance. This is insurance that will cover part of your mortgage payment in the event of an unexpected job loss. It’s available through some banks and lenders, realty groups, and state and local programs. It’s not a fool-proof safety net, however; job-loss mortgage insurance often covers only the PITI (principle, interest, taxes, and insurance) for a limited amount of time. Job-loss mortgage insurance plans differ, and any payments made are considered taxable income.

After a Layoff

But what if you’ve already been laid off? First, take a hard look at your finances. Determine where you can realistically cut costs and calculate how long you can survive without a paycheck. Then, contact your lender’s hardship department with your information in hand. Explain your circumstances and ask if you qualify for a loan modification. Some lenders require that you miss a payment before qualifying, but others are more willing to help you before you fall behind. A foreclosure or a short sale hurts the lender as well, and a smart lender will want to help you avoid these scenarios.

Another option available to some homeowners is mortgage forbearance – a temporary suspension or reduction of mortgage payments. In order to qualify for loan forbearance, you must not have missed any previous payments, and your financial hardship must have an end in sight. Unfortunately, this last requirement often disqualifies the recently unemployed. You may still be eligible for the Home Affordable Unemployment Program, a government program intended to help you keep your home through your period of unemployment. Read more about this program and find out if you are eligible on the Making Home Affordable website.

Other Options

If it makes sense for you financially, start working with a real estate agent to place your home up for sale or lease. Your agent can advise you on the current market conditions and the demand for rentals in your area. With either option, be prepared to go several months without income as you search for the perfect buyer or tenant.

If you find yourself in need of an agent to handle your home sale or rental after a job loss, I can help. Contact Alex Reedy at 717-286-9607.

Selling a Home Over Holidays

Selling a Home During the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us once again! That means hanging the lights, trimming the tree . . . or does it? If you’re selling your home over the holidays, you might have to adjust your usual holiday routine to appeal to a wider audience during your open houses.

Christmas Tree

Nothing symbolizes the holiday season like a Christmas tree. For some families, the bigger the tree, the better. If you’re selling your home over the holidays, however, a smaller, tastefully decorated tree is a better bet. A general rule of thumb when staging a home is to put away personal touches, like family photos or children’s crafts, that might prevent a buyer from picturing himself in the home. The same applies to the tree; rather than using personalized ornaments and family heirlooms, use bows, beads, dried flowers, or strings of cranberries and popcorn to beautify your tree. Put any wrapped gifts out of sight until Christmas morning.

Outdoors

Outdoor lights can add a subtle glow to your home during the holidays. Too many lights, however, can make for a garish display that will discourage buyers before they even get in the door. If it’s just not Christmas for your family without bundling up and stringing lights in the eaves, opt for small white lights that accent the outlines of your home. Avoid colored lights, “icicle” lights, or twinkling lights.

In general, steer clear of using lawn decorations or window stickers. You do not want buyers to remember your home as the one with the giant blow-up Santa or the blinking red Rudolph window statue! A small wreath on the door or in the front window is appropriate and inviting.

Indoors

How else can you add holiday flair to your home without going overboard? If you have a fireplace, keep it lit during your open house. Set the table as you would for a holiday feast — it will help buyers to imagine themselves entertaining in the space. If at all possible, avoid using religious decorations in order to appeal to a wider audience. Instead, use more general seasonal decorations like pine boughs or dried pomegranates.

Selling a home over the holiday season can be a challenge. I can help with staging, photos, marketing, or anything else you may need. Call Alex Reedy at 717-286-9607, and give yourself the gift of a sold home!

Selling Your Manufactured (Mobile) Home

Selling Your Manufactured (Mobile) Home

Looking to sell your mobile home? You might be tempted to try selling it yourself, without an agent, but selling a mobile home requires more than just sticking a For Sale sign in the yard.

Selling by Owner

In many ways, selling a mobile home (often called a manufactured home) is similar to selling a traditional affixed home. Buyers look for homes that are clean, well maintained and priced correctly. Many buyers in the market for a manufactured home look to websites like mhbo.com (Mobile Homes by Owner) or mhbay.com. For Sale by Owner sites such as these list facts about the home such as the list price, year built, and square footage. What these websites lack, however, is the ability to attract the perfect buyer for your home – something only an experienced agent can do for you. A good agent will have broad knowledge of the market, as well as an extensive network of local buyers and other real estate contacts. Anyone can peruse photos on a website, but an agent can get serious buyers in the door.

Marketing

Just like in a traditional home sale, marketing is everything when selling your mobile home. How will you get the word out? Because visual appeal is often the first thing buyers look for, take clear photos of the most attractive features of your home. Use media and the internet to your advantage – post your photos and some details about your home on social media sites like Facebook, or put a video tour of your mobile home on YouTube. Also, take out an ad in your local paper to let people in your community know that you are selling and when you will be holding an open house. Have full-color fliers printed with all of the information about your home, and place them in a high-traffic area during your open house.

Don’t forget to consider your target audience. Is your home in a retirement community? If so, internet and social media marketing might miss the buyers that would be interested in your home. A real estate agent can determine who will be most interested in your property and take the steps needed to reach these buyers.

Legal Considerations

While selling a mobile home may sometimes require less paperwork than in a traditional home sale, a seller will still have to draw up legal documents that can be complicated and confusing. If you have never generated a sales contract or closing documents, you may have no idea what exactly should be included. You will need to hire an attorney to look over your documents and ensure that they are fair and legal. In most states, a qualified real estate agent can draw up these documents for you and explain their contents.

Financing a mobile home purchase can be tricky, as many banks won’t finance a loan for a manufactured home unless land is included in the sale. Mobile home parks lease the land to the homeowner, so specify in the sale documents what steps are needed to transfer the lease to the new owner. If your mobile home park provides amenities such as a pool, fitness center or clubhouse, you must disclose any dues that the buyer may be responsible for.

Selling your home is one of the most strenuous (but ultimately rewarding!) things you can do. Don’t go it alone! Call me at 717-286-9607, and I’ll be happy to advise you on your next steps.

 

Landlord Quick Tips

Owning rental properties within Lancaster County can be a very stable investment. I really don’t focus on the get rich quick stuff I look for  the long term  returns.  Properly setting up your rental property is key.  It would be good to talk to an accountant, take the time to figure out where it will fit into the rest of your income, debt to income ratios, and overall investment portfolio. If you already have a strong income, you may want to set these up separately to avoid or lessen costly taxes.  I would also suggest speaking with an attorney on how to structure the investment, LLC, Corporation, or just leave it in your own name. Much of this will depend more on your tolerance for risk.

Something I’m seeing more of is local municipalities cracking down on landlords, in regards to licenses and yearly inspections. If you have disruptive tenants, the city may see that you evict them if they are a nuisance. I don’t totally disagree with this, but it can make  land lording difficult.

That’s it for today’s Landlord quick tips!

Manheim Township Commercial Properties

If you’re looking to  sell commercial property along Fruitville Pike, Oregon Pike or Lititz Pike or any other main route  in Lancaster County Pennsylvania within Manheim Township,  please call me. I have been looking for a specific type of property for very long time.  All inquiries will be kept strictly confidential and will be handled quickly. * Must have good visibility

 

717-538-3910 or alexreedy@gmail.com

 

Alex

Year Round Gardening

I can’t really put my finger on why I’m writing about this on my real estate blog but, I’ve seen a lot of cold boxes and wintertime gardening lately and it’s really got my interest up. I’ve never been interested in gardening before but the idea of growing food year-round has really caught my attention. I guess I’m writing this on here to maybe grab the attention of people who do have suggestions on ways to get started . I’m really just looking for a hobby for something to do with my kids that’s productive. The other thing that’s interested me is aquaponics. If you know of any in Lancaster County – I would be interested to seeing it. Maybe it’s the whole homesteading thing that’s got me interested the idea of producing enough food from your own property without owning a large farm. We own some Lancaster City properties, which are an urban environment where you don’t necessarily have a large amount of space. I’d really like to maximize the space we already have maybe as a community out reach..who knows!?. I think this is going to be more popular in the future with growing cost of land and resources natural resources dwindling, please don’t hesitate to e-mail or call Alexreedy@gmail.com or 717-538-3910 with any suggestions or places in Lancaster County or city that may be of interest.

Expired Listing? How to sell your Home FASTER

Expired Listing? How to Sell Your Home Faster

Selling a home is an emotional process. You love your home and know its value, so how could it go so long without a sale? Or in some cases, without even an offer? The first step is to take the emotion out of the equation and look at the four factors that determine if and when a home sells.

If the supply of homes increases without a corresponding increase in demand, the time your home stays on market will increase.

The more competition your home has, the harder you have to work to attract the right buyer. This is the situation that so many sellers have faced in the past few years as the housing market has fallen off. This is unfortunately beyond the control of any individual seller. Things are looking up, though—with interest rates at historic lows and more buyers entering the market, selling a home is no longer as daunting as it was just one year ago.

If you increase the price, the time on market will increase. If you decrease it, the time on market will decrease.

No explanation needed here—a lower price will attract more buyers. This is not to say that you should give your home away or leave the transaction feeling cheated. Work with your agent, look at comps (listing or sale prices of similar homes in the neighborhood), and arrive at an appropriate number. Your agent is really your best resource here, because he is not as emotionally invested in the home as you are. An agent should be able to objectively and fairly price your home so that it will appeal to the right buyer in a reasonable amount of time.

If the quality of your home increases, the time on market will decrease.

Cosmetic upgrades like a fresh coat of paint, a crisply made bed, or a well-kept lawn will get buyers in the door, and your home’s fabulous features (and reasonable price!) will get them to the closing table.

If the quality of marketing increases, the time on market will decrease.

This last point is really key, because the quality of marketing is dependent upon the work of the agent. Choosing an agent who understands how to appropriately present your home to the right buyer will get your home sold. If your listing has expired despite being priced well and attractively maintained, look to your agent’s work. How has he marketed the listing? Does he have the necessary networking ability to get the word out about your home? If the agent has worked hard to get your home sold, consider sticking with him—he’s as much at the mercy of the market as you are. However, if you find your agent’s efforts lacking, consider choosing a new agent who can inject a fresh perspective (and a new list of contacts!) into the situation. Ask how the agent plans to market your listing and why he thinks that he will succeed in selling your home.

Finally, don’t get discouraged—help is out there! I am a Lancaster native with extensive local knowledge that has proven invaluable to many sellers faced with expired listings. For professional real estate services you can depend on, please call me @ 717-286-9607.