home financing

Home Buying in 2019

Buy in 2019? 7 Must-Do’s Before Homeownership

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Buying your first home can be an exhilarating but exhausting experience. Before you even worry about the ins and outs of finding a great plumber, you not only have to find the place you want, but you must get your financial life in order in a hurry if you haven’t done that already. Here are seven important things to do before you purchase your first home:

Get A Realtor to Represent You

buying your first home

Important technical point #1: Sellers pay all real estate commissions, including those of a buyer’s agent. You should find the best and most knowledgeable real estate professional in your area and sign them up to represent you. They will flood your inbox with listings, they will help you negotiate, and they will draft purchase offers. And you won’t have to pay a penny, so there is no reason to purchase a home without the help of a buyer’s agent.

Look at Your Budget

Understand what you can afford and what you can’t. Principal and interest aren’t the only components of a monthly payment. You have to add real estate taxes, property insurance and maybe even private mortgage insurance (PMI) to the equation. You can’t start the process of buying your first home without understanding exactly where to draw the affordability line as there is no sense in wasting time looking at properties you can’t afford.

Credit score

Buying Your First Home: Get Your Credit Score

A few years ago, you had to pay for your credit score, but not anymore. Today, there are many vendors and credit card companies that will provide your score in seconds. If you have a low score, research what you can do to improve it, as your credit score is the first thing lenders look at.

Seek Pre-approval

While pre-approval from a lender does not necessarily guarantee that you will get a loan, it does give sellers assurance that you are creditworthy. When a seller accepts your offer, they are tying up their property until the deal closes, and if you are not a good risk, sellers will look at other offers.

Gather Your Down Payment Resources

Down Payment Resources

Substantial down payments can work magic because:

  • They lower your monthly payment amount.
  • They show the lender you are committed and serious.
  • They show the seller that you have resources.

Yes, you can but a home with no down payment—a VA loan is one example—but your financing options may be limited, and your interest rate could be higher.

Don’t Fear the Inspection

When buying your first home, you will want to have the property inspected by an impartial third party after your offer is accepted. Many persons worry that the inspector will find something bad and the deal will die. Some deals need to be killed, however, especially if an inspector finds glaring defects and problems. Your dream home can quickly become your nightmare if you don’t have it properly inspected while you still can void your purchase contract.

Have a Contingency Plan

If a deal falls through, or if you are turned down for a mortgage, it’s not the end of the world. There are other homes out there and other financing methods available. MN contract for deed is a great way for those with some credit issues to participate in home ownership. Be sure to contact us if you need an alternative to traditional financing.

Life After Bankruptcy

Life After Bankruptcy: 6 Ways to Get Back on Track

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Bankruptcy used to be considered the financial death penalty, but times have changed. While many people worry about life after bankruptcy, the future after filing Chapter 7 is not necessarily bleak.

Life After BankruptcyBankruptcy – What Is It?

There are two types of commonly filed individual bankruptcies—Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 is a liquidation process where certain assets are given to a trustee that sells them in order to pay off creditors.

Chapter 13 was designed for those that wish to pay their debts but need time. A person that files for Chapter 13 bankruptcy works out a plan to make monthly payments to a trustee; the trustee then makes payments to creditors for a three or five-year period. After that time has passes and all payments have been made, certain remaining debt amounts may be cancelled.

Credit Score After Chapter 7

Credit Score after Bankruptcy

The better your credit score is, the more your credit score will decline. Credit scores average around 540 after bankruptcy, so if yours was 750, it will fall a lot further than if it was at 640 before bankruptcy. The good news is that many debts will be discharged—taxes, student loans, child support and some others won’t go away—and you will be able to start fresh. If you are still employed, or if you get a new job, your monthly expenses will be less, and you may even be able to start saving money, especially if you’re bringing in some money through passive income ideas.

Get a Secured Credit Card

If you declare Chapter 7, all of your credit cards may be cancelled regardless of their balances. Soon after your bankruptcy has been discharged, however, you will receive secured credit card offers. Put $500 in a secured account, and you will be rewarded with $500 of fresh credit.

*Note: although it might not be a ton of money, you can also check out using some apps that pay. You never know what a few extra dollars can do for a bank account each month.

You Still Have a Debit Card

Even if you have to open a new bank account, you can get a debit card. You can use it virtually anywhere you can use a credit card, so if you need to buy a plane ticket, you will be able to. Before debit cards became popular, people did have issues paying for items that required a card number, but that’s no longer the case.

You Can Even Get a Car

If you have file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy you cannot file again for eight years. Since you can’t file, you are actually somewhat of a better credit risk, and as time passes you will actually be able to borrow normally for items like appliances and autos.

Think Cosigner

FICO Score

If you have immediate financial needs and you have to borrow, try to get a cosigner. That person will be absolutely responsible for your debt, but if you make all of the payments on time, there will be no harm to the cosigner.

Life After Bankruptcy: Go Back to School

If you haven’t availed yourself of the Federal Student Loan program, you can go to a post-secondary institution for a bachelor or master’s degree or you could even go to law school or enter a PhD program. Federal student loans are available for all citizens—unless you are a drug offender—and there is no credit check required. If you take six credits at a major university, you can have all of your tuition paid and even receive some extra money you can use for expenses.

Back to School

Yes, there is life after bankruptcy. Borrowing for a home will be more difficult, but the financing pros at C4D can help with these types of issues. Be sure to contact us for more information.

7 Things New Homeowners Waste Money On

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Becoming new homeowners can mean a blur of expenses, but it’s really important to think about what you are spending money on so that you don’t make wasteful decisions, especially if you need money now

Here are seven things to consider:

Ditch the Lawn Service

Lawn Service for New Homeowners

New homeowners may think that they don’t have time for yard maintenance, but you can be assured that lawn services don’t do anything different that you could do. The same fertilizers they use are available at garden centers, and services like aeration are just not absolutely necessary. Garden centers will also give you free advice and will walk you through any lawn issues you have. Furthermore, they have the most professional equipment, like riding lawn tractor, it’s very expensive if you buy yourself.

Forget About the Pool

Pool for New Homeowners

If you buy a home with a pool, you have bought a place with lots of monthly maintenance needs. Every time the pool guy comes out, you will incur costs for cleaning, maintenance and pool chemicals. To be safe, your pool has to be regularly tested for proper chlorine levels, and don’t forget about the cost of water that can be very significant in dry southwestern states. While robotic pool cleaners are worth the money long term, the initial price range can set people off, so be sure to do your research first!

No Sun Room

Thinking of adding a sun room? Well think again, because even though new homeowners may hope to recoup their original sunroom investment, studies have shown that unlike kitchens or bathrooms, the addition of a sunroom very rarely even comes close to paying for itself.

Back Up Generator

New Homeowner Energy

ENERGY GENERATION BY SOURCE

A good one can cost thousands of dollars if you live in a non-hurricane prone area, so just trust the grid. And if you’re worried about losing a lot of frozen food, many freezers and homeowners’ insurance policies already protect against this occurrence.

Private Mortgage Insurance

If you don’t have 25 percent equity in your home, you may need to buy Private Mortgage Insurance or PMI. This can easily cost new homeowners up to $200 per month or more in premiums, and new homeowners never recoup this cost. If there is some way you can find a 25 percent down payment, by all means put that bigger amount down to avoid paying PMI. If you have been in your home for a while, a hot market may have increased your property’s value, and you can apply to have your PMI removed. Check with your lender about this.

Cheap Windows for New Homeowners

If you need new windows, don’t but cheap ones, because your HVAC costs will just increase. Spend more for a better product and your investment will pay off immediately.

New Homeowners & Extended Warranties

Insurance

According to our friends at BeerMoney, “Retailers are not going to sell anything that doesn’t make them money, and when they sell you an extended warranty they are getting extra revenue from you. For example, you purchase a $32 string trimmer.” The extended warranty is $8.00 per year. Sounds good, but after four years, you have doubled the cost of your garden tool. We suggest not paying anything extra, and just buying a new $32 trimmer when and if it breaks.

Also, there may be a convoluted and difficult repair process that could cause you to be trimmer-less for a period of time if you go the warranty route.

We’re really happy you are in your new home. Now, just be sure to carefully consider all of your home-related purchases so you don’t waste precious cash. And don’t forget, if you need to grab a few extra dollars, you can always sell things you currently own, such as totaled cars, old technology and other stuff laying around at home.

Good luck!

Homeowner's Insurance Cost

Homeowner’s Insurance: A Guide to Your First Policy

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While homeowner’s insurance cost is always a major factor, there are other important things to look at as you purchase your first policy. In fact, many insurance and real estate professionals state that focusing only on homeowner’s insurance cost can cause trouble if a major disaster strikes and property insurance is to be relied upon for reimbursement. Let’s look at steps you can take to avoid future issues.

Get Enough Homeowners Insurance

homeowner's insurance costs

Being underinsured is a big problem. If you insure your home for $200,000 but it costs more than that amount to restore everything to pre-disaster status, you can find yourself with a costly problem. Work with your agent make sure that your home is totally covered for replacement cost. Sometimes the extra premium amount to do this is minimal, but if construction costs have risen since you first bought your insurance, a hurricane, tornado or fire can present you with a big bill to restore your premises, even after insurance has paid its share.

Deductibles: What Does That Really Mean?

Homeowners Insurance Deductibles

Your deductible is the amount of money you have to pay toward a claim before your insurance kicks in. Simply, if you have $5000 in roof damage due to a covered peril like hail, but you have a $1000 deductible, your insurance will pay only $4000 and you’re stuck with the rest of the bill.

Furthermore, deductibles used to be expressed in monetary terms like $250, $500, or $1000. Now, it is more common for deductible limits that are equal to a percentage of your home’s value. So, on a $300,000 home, a tiny-looking one percent deductible amount would actually be a whopping $3000.

Discounts on Homeowners Insurance Cost

Do check for discounts since the combination of auto and homeowner’s policies can get you a great break on homeowner’s insurance cost. There are also discounts available for fire protection, security systems, remote security solutions, and even wind-resistant shutters in some areas.

Customization of Your Policy

Customized Homeowner's Insurance

The flood damage experts at BMS CAT told us that, “there are some policies in some areas that do not cover every peril like floods. In fact, true flood damage is usually not covered, so if you live in a flood-prone area, you may be able to purchase FEMA flood insurance, although this isn’t cheap.” Also, watch out for stingy insurance company history. Sometimes insurance companies fight about water entering a home. They may consider it an uninsured flood event, while you may maintain that the water was wind-driven rain. Check with your agent on this.

Video for Proof

Finally, take a video of all of your belongings and upload the files to a cloud-based server. That way, your record of exactly what you own will be preserved. Also, make sure you disclose special possessions like jewelry and musical instruments as these may have to be “scheduled,” or you may even have to buy a separate personal articles policy in order to ensure coverage.

Insurance Claims for Home

Image source: ValuePenguin

If you thought that your days of carefully vetting documents were over when your purchase offer was accepted, think again, personal finance is more complicated than that. Your homeowner’s insurance policy is your lifeline to security, so remember to spend time choosing the proper policy, and don’t base your decision totally on homeowner’s insurance cost. Also, be sure to read up on the best personal finance books, so that you know exactly what you’re reading!

As always, feel free to contact us with any questions!

Contract for Deed Homes: What Realtors NEED To Know

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There are a number of reasons Minnesota residents looking to buy contract for deed homes have had success. But you might ask: why not just buy your home with a traditional mortgage from the bank? Let’s talk about that.

We’ve all had it happen. 

Loan Rejection

After a difficult and protracted negotiation period, you finally got both your buyer and the seller to agree on price, contingencies, and before-closing repairs. At the end, everyone came to their senses, gave a up a little, and all parties were looking forward to closing.

Then the bank stepped in and killed the deal. Even though your buyer was pre-qualified, they made a mistake, didn’t follow your instructions and decided to finance an expensive vehicle. As the bank did a final credit check, the new car loan appeared and skewed the buyer’s debt to income ratio. The deal was dead, but you could have brought it back to life.

Contract for Deed Homes

Image result for home buying process

Contract for deed is a widely accepted Minnesota financing tool where a seller finances the property purchase on an installment basis, and they buyer receives the deed upon making the final payment. Many think that for this to work they need to find free and clear properties where a seller agrees to be the bank.

Why free and clear?

Because sellers can’t usually sell encumbered properties without breaching the lender’s mortgage contract. Therefore, those interested in contract for deed financing look specifically for contract for deed homes. There is another way, however.

Companies Like the Contract for Deed Crew (Yes, that’s us!)

There are quality companies out there like C4D, and it works like this: You bring a deal to C4D. Like a bank, C4D analyzes the deal to ensure that the seller can make the required monthly payments.

Unlike a bank, however, C4D can look past problems like the vehicle purchase mentioned above. With a good contract for deed homes company, you will be dealing with the company owner—not a bureaucratic bank loan officer. If C4D approves the deal, they will buy the property.

They do this with a bank loan, but the company’s bank does not include a due-upon-sale clause in its mortgage to C4D. Therefore, C4D legally and ethically buys the home, and with the bank’s blessing, C4D sells it on a contract for deed to the buyer.

Contract for Deed Homes

Benefits to the Realtor using Contract for Deed

  • You can explain difficult situations to C4D and they will understand. A debt to income ratio that has recently changed can be worked with if the buyers can legitimately afford the home.
  • Contract for deed revives dead deals. Banks can be arbitrary and unforgiving, but with a contract for deed transaction, the seller has more leeway to analyze what really makes the buyer worthy.
  • While a down payment is needed, the actual percentage is not necessarily set, and there are even ways the contract for deed companies can facilitate payment assistance.
  • Buyers can look at any home—not just contract for deed homes. With a MN contract for deed sale, the seller is unaffected since a company like C4D is the only purchaser they need to deal with.
  • All real estate commissions are protected.
  • Sellers can move their homes more expediently because companies like C4D have lots of buyers waiting for their dream homes.

Also, if you’re looking to understand property value event more, check out this presentation:

Presentation courtesy of LoseTheAgent, a listing platform for homes for sale by owner.

Don’t let loan officers and finicky banks get in your way. Consider using MN contract for deed for any deal where the lender is causing you trouble. It’s worth an email!

saving for a minnesota house

10 Tips to Start Saving for a House in Minnesota

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Unless you can get a VA no-down payment loan, you are going to work on saving money for a house for a first home deposit. Conventional mortgages usually require at least five percent down, and FHA loans will ask for three percent. If you are buying a second home or if you have compromised credit, you will have to come up with more cash. Let’s look at some ways to accumulate that elusive down payment when you are saving money for a house, including those awesome side gigs.

Saving for a house

Image via bankrate.com

Treat Money Wisely

You don’t necessarily have to go on the peanut butter only diet to save cash, but with some commodities like milk, the bottom of the shelf brand that the stores try to hide is probably the same product as the more expensive nationally branded milk. Try it, and if it tastes the same, buy the cheaper brand and you’ll save money every week.

Pay Yourself

According to SavingLoop, “it’s important to set up a bi-weekly direct deposit to a savings account—same as a deduction taken from your check. You won’t feel it, and you will accumulate dollars fast.”

Ditch the Corvette

Saving Money with Kia

*Save money with a Kia lease

Get a sensible car that is reliable. Think KIA Soul, and if you can drive a manual transmission, you can lease one of these for under $200 per month.

Become a Landlord

Rent your garage or an extra bedroom and pick up cash monthly. This strategy really helps saving for a house. Let’s say you have an apartment in an area like Uptown, well, maybe you have a money-making opportunity on your hands. Rent it out!

Sell It to Start Saving for a House

Old cards, vintage guitars and collectibles that you never will use can sometimes fetch great prices. If you are not using it, turn it into cash.

Don’t Be a Walmart Snob

Stuff is cheaper there and you can really save some money at Costco. It really is. That $4.50 two-ounce tube of cortisone cream you just bought at CVS is probably sold at Walmart for two bucks. Check out dollar stores as good retail alternatives also, and saving for a house will be less of a hassle.

Saving for a house with Costco

Get a Side-Hustle to Start Saving for a House

This means a second income stream. Cut lawns, wash cars, walk dogs, babysit, work catering gigs; just find out what else you are good at beside your regular job and work a few extra hours.

Locate Your Rich Uncle

Your family may include someone that will loan you down payment cash. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Buy a Smaller House

If your dream home is out of reach, go intermediate and buy a smaller or starter home. Treat it nicely and in a few years, you can sell it and move on up.

Find a Duplex

Duplex

If you have only saved a minimum down payment, find a duplex where you can rent the other side. While this falls into the starter home category, think of the advantages that having someone else paying half of your mortgage will afford you.

All in all, there are a ton of ways to save money; we’re not saying one is better than the other. A lot of people use really cool apps like Digit, but there are a ton of ways you can do it, too.

As you know we, at C4D really hope you can get traditional financing. But if you can’t, be sure to let us know. Yes, we also require down payments, but our innovative use of MN Contract for Deed has allowed us to help many that had previously thought home ownership was impossible. Be sure to contact us!

First Time Minnesota Home Buyer Programs

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While you may think that you are at a disadvantage being a first time home buyer, there are Minnesota first time home buyer programs that can assist you. First, let’s talk about the difference between being a first-time buyer and a multiple-time home buyer.

The U.S. government and the State of Minnesota both want everyone to be able to participate in the American Dream of home ownership, but they realize that there are barriers to entry. One of the biggest problems is the ability to accumulate a large enough down-payment. Initial down-payment requirements can range from zero to 10 percent or more. Ten percent on a $200,000 home is $20,000, and that can be difficult for a new buyer to come up with.

What Do You Know About Closing Costs

Another issue is closing costs, even with Minnesota first time home buyer programs. If you have good credit (yes, you can still buy with bad credit), and you are offered a credit card, there are usually no fees involved. Even with some personal and auto loans, there can be very in fees required to complete the transaction. Look, however, at this list of closing costs for a residential home loan:

Item

Fee

Loan Origination Fee

$2,500 (1%)

Discount Fee $625 (0.25%)
Processing Fee $450
Underwriting Fee $500
Wire Transfer $25-$50

Credit Report

$35

Tax Service $50
Flood Certification $20
Title Insurance $550
Escrow/Signing $450
Courier Fee $20
Appraisal $450
Recording $110

Homeowner’s Insurance first year premium

$700
6 Months’ Property Tax Reserves

$1,500

Those are a substantial amount of potential fees, and closing costs can easily rise to almost $10,000 in some transactions. Yes, you can try and get the seller to pay for some of these, but again, closing costs can be a problem to overcome. Luckily, there are Minnesota first-time home buyer programs in place to help.

National First Time Home Buyer Programs

First let’s talk about national programs. VA loans are available for veterans and they require no minimum credit score, low down-payment requirements, and do not require PMI or private mortgage insurance. There usually is a VA funding fee, however. If you are a veteran, first look to the VA, as this is one of the most advantageous programs out there.

If you’re not a veteran, you can investigate FHA Minnesota first-time home buyer programs. FHA loans can usually be done with only a three percent down-payment requirement. Even if you have a very low credit score, you still can possibly get a loan with a higher down-payment rate however.

Minnesota First Time Home Buyer Programs

Minnesota First Time Home Buyer Programs

According to our friends a www.nerdwallet.com, “As a [Minnesota] first-time home buyer, you may benefit from loan programs offered by the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, or Minnesota Housing. If you’re eligible for these programs, you’ll also have access to down payment and closing cost assistance. Minnesota Housing defines a first-time home buyer as anyone who hasn’t owned a home in the past three years; however, certain programs are available to repeat buyers as well.”

Check out this site for further information.

What Are The Alternatives?

As we have consistently mentioned, we like traditional financing and hope that you are approved for it. But even if some of the available Minnesota first-time home buyer programs don’t work for you, please contact us at C4D. We are Minnesota contract for deed experts, and we have ways to provide the path for home ownership that others do not.

Tips to Find Money for Your Down Payment

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Buying a home sometimes seems impossible. For starters, how do you come up with money for a down payment? Should you get first time home buyer down payment assistance? And what does that even mean? Well, let’s get into the details.

If you don’t own your own home now, let’s say you’re leasing an expensive place in the ever-popular Austin, Texas, then you’re probably paying rent to someone. In many cases, that rent payment would probably be the same as a home mortgage payment; the only problem is, you usually need a down payment in order to qualify for a mortgage. Some reasons for this are:

  • It protects the lender. If you default, at least they have received some cash.
  • It shows you will be motivated to pay the mortgage because you have skin in the game.
  • It shows that you can save money while at the same time paying your bills.

Even if you are buying a home using an FHA mortgage, you’ll still have to come up with at least three percent of the purchase price, and with a $350,000 home, this can still be over $10,000. So how do you go from zero to $10,000 relatively quickly? What first time homebuyer down payment assistance is available?

first time home buyer down payment assistance

First Time Home Buyer Down Payment Assistance Gifts

It is completely legal for someone to gift you your down payment assistance for first time home buyers, and the way tax laws work, relatives can give you up to $15,000 tax free. They could also give that amount to your spouse, so taxes are not an issue. If you do use gift money for a down payment, the lender is going to want to track it, so make sure that this transaction is completely transparent.

Consistently Save and Start Early

Just as interest compounds on credit cards and student loans (advice here if you need help with those overbearing student loans), the magic of compounding works the other way also. Save $100 per month at an average rate of four percent, and you will have $14,983.62 at the end of ten years. So, if you start saving when you are 16 years old, you’ll have a nice down payment at age 26 and you won’t be looking for first time homebuyer down payment assistance.

There are also many sites out there, much like our friends at the Saving Expert, that will help you get your finances on track. And don’t forget about that side hustle; online jobs can be a huge help!

Compound Interest

Loans

Check out what the State of Minnesota has to say about first time homebuyer down payment assistance:

“When you get a Minnesota Housing mortgage, you can also receive an optional down payment and closing cost loan up to $15,000. Down payment and closing cost loans are only available when you get a Minnesota Housing first mortgage loan and additional eligibility requirements may apply, including income limits.”

Other states have similar programs also.

Tap Your IRA

If you have a substantial IRA, it may be worth it to withdraw funds. Our friends at nerdwallet.com tell us:

“IRA withdrawals for home purchases are allowed, up to $10,000. Roth withdrawals are tax-free and without penalty if you’ve had the account for at least five years. Tapping a traditional IRA will trigger income taxes.”

Crowdfund It

Have a good story? Set up a Kickstarter or GoFundMe site and see if you can reach your goal. Again, the lender will of course want to track your down payment dollars, so make sure everything is easily documentable.

Real Estate Crowdfunding

Down payments may seem daunting, but with planning and diligence, you should be able to raise the funds to get you on the path toward home ownership.

Mortgage Loan Denial: Is This A Racial Problem?

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So, you need a down payment on a house, but you do not have handfuls and handfuls of cash to make it happen. A mortgage loan can help with that, but what if you can’t get one?

Well, many persons think that race and ethnicity are major factors in mortgage loan denials, and the following chart backs this up:

Down Payment on a House - Mortgage Denial

Others, however, feel that observed denial rates do not give the true picture, and that what is called “real” denial rates paint a truer picture:

Mortgage Denial Reporting

According to Urban Wire, “the real denial rate is still a blunt tool, because it requires the simplification of complex data and trends. It considers credit scores, loan-to-value ratios, debt-to-income ratios (DTI), and product and documentation types, but it does not consider income or income variability (we only have access to DTI; the lender will have more detailed financial information).”

Mortgage Loan Denial: Racial Profiling?

Statistics can be molded to show whatever authors want them to show, and both charts seem to portray that more minorities are denied mortgages than whites. Of course, there could be many reasons for this, and the raw data just does not tell us what that is.

Some think, however, that if a person of color walks into a mortgage lender’s office—even if they have a down payment on a house–the would-be borrower is automatically subjected to a higher level of scrutiny that then causes them to become credit denied. While this can be possible, these anomalies don’t guide the way we do business at C4D.

Down Payment on a House: We Can Help

Whether you are Asian, white, black, Hispanic or a Native American, we just don’t care. We know that good people can simply have bad credit problems. We understand that your credit rating may have been injured because:

  • You lost a job within the last year.
  • You have a lot of student loan debt.
  • Your credit cards are maxed out.
  • You got a divorce.
  • You owe taxes to the state.
  • You have legal judgments against you.
  • You declared Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • You defaulted on a personal loan.
  • You faced foreclosure.
  • You don’t have a large enough down payment on a house.

There can be many other reasons that you may not qualify for traditional financing, but we at C4D are here to help you. We utilize a very innovative program called MN contract for deed. It works like this:

  • You find a house.
  • We buy it.
  • We sell it to you on a MN contract for deed basis.
  • We keep the deed until you make all of your payments.

Yes, you still will need a down payment on a home, but we consider things that a bank does not.

Our Process to Help with Your Down Payment on a House

Down Payment Assistance

Fill out our online application, and we will evaluate your situation. If there is any way we can help you, we will first talk on the phone, and then we will get together personally. We do work with a local bank, and the bank respects our judgment. If we can make a good case that you have a down payment on a house and that you will be able to make the payments, we do everything possible to get the deal done.

We have said it before:  We love traditional financing and wish that everyone could get a standard mortgage. If you can’t, however, don’t give up. Talk to us today!

Signs of a bad realtor

7 Things Real Estate Agents Must Do For Sellers

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You need to be able to spot the signs of a bad Realtor when you see them. It’s a must!

Signs of a bad realtor

You can be paying big money to your listing broker when your home sells. If your property goes for $400,000, brokers could get $24,000. Sure, the listing broker will share commissions with the buyer’s agent, but still, that’s a lot of money. Because your Realtor is going to handsomely profit from his or her work, you can expect your agent to do the following.

Signs of a Bad Realtor #1: Doesn’t Correctly Price the Home

Your agent needs to have total local market knowledge and needs to know the price range where your home will sell. There is nothing worse than riding down the market as buyers wait for you to continually lower the listing amount of your over-priced home. Don’t think that Joe Smith—the guy that sold grandma’s condo in the suburbs—is automatically going to know how much your downtown unit is worth, unless he can prove that he understands your local market.

Signs of a Bad Realtor #2: Doesn’t Do A Great Marketing Job

Your expert should not be showing signs of a bad Realtor. Instead, they should use every available too to sell your home. Facebook, MLS of course, Craigslist, his or her network of brokers, Pinterest and any other Internet based platforms need to be used. Any postings and listings must be accompanied by great photos and excellent descriptions. If you have already moved, and your property is vacant, your agent needs to help you with staging. Signs of a bad realtor would include an agent that seems lazy and not Internet savvy.

Signs of a Bad Realtor #3: Does NOT Properly Communicate

Sellers are naturally hyper, and a good Realtor will inform them of his or her availability and communication preferences. If you aren’t presented with something like this right away, you maybe should look for another agent:

“I am available seven days a week by email, phone and/or text. If you contact me before 4:00 p.m., I promise to return your inquiry within four hours. If you contact me after 4:00 p.m., I will be in touch by noon the next day.”

Signs of a bad Realtor would be an agent that doesn’t return calls for days.

Signs of a Bad Realtor #4: Doesn’t Ensure That the Buyer is Qualified

DIY home sellers often make the rookie mistake of taking an offer without vetting the buyer. This can tie up a property for 30 days or more. Your agent needs to make sure that all offers to be considered are from bank pre-qualified buyers, or those that can show they have cash.

For Sale Sign

Signs of a Bad Realtor #5: Poor Negotiation Skills

Think about it — if you and the buyer are $5000 apart on a $400,000 transaction, that $5000 only means an additional $300 in commission for the brokers. The brokers, at that point, may just want to get the deal done and collect their $24,000 commission, and they would probably sacrifice $300 to be able to move on. You, on the other hand, may need that $5000, and a good broker will represent your interest, not his or hers.

Commission Breakdown

Signs of a bad Realtor would be an agent that puts pressure on you to quickly agree to a lower offer.

Signs of a Bad Realtor #6: Doesn’t Attend the Home Inspection

The home inspection carries a lot of weight, and you need to be represented at the inspection. That way, you’ll know what the inspector sees as problems before he sends his report to the buyer. It is better to be surprised early than at the last minute.

Signs of a Bad Realtor #7: Can’t Finalize Loose Ends for Closing

Hearing the words “clear to close” is a great thing, and your agent should be with you every step of the way to help make this happen. He or she needs to be in constant contact with the buyer’s broker, the title company, the bank, and the inspector.

Closing on your house

You’ve made a wise decision if you have hired a Realtor during the home buying process —just make sure you and your broker agree upon expectations.