real estate

Second Mortgage

A Second Mortgage: Should You Take It Out?

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We know from the economic meltdown that began in 2008 that using your house as an ATM may not be the best idea. A fat line of credit that can be accessed with a debit card or even checks can be quite tempting, but that doesn’t mean that you should automatically think about taking out a second mortgage loan to tap your equity—unless you have a good reason.

Taking Out a Second Mortgage: Not So Good Reasons

You should only borrow money if you need it. That may sound simple, but in some countries, people borrow money simply because they can. Even in the U.S. in the early 2000s, many people based their “wealth” upon the amount of money they could borrow. Some people with only $5000 in savings but with $100,000 of available credit thought they were well off because they had the ability to raise a substantial sum. Therefore, they acted upon any chance to borrow money and loaded up on credit lines. If you are borrowing money only because you can, that’s not a good reason.

Taking Out A Second Mortgage

Taking Out a Second Mortgage: Finances are Tight

This happens for a reason. If you spend more than you make, you will be cash-flow negative, and that will cause you to borrow. If you have amassed considerable credit card debt, it may be very tempting to take out a second mortgage at a lower combined interest rate and pay off those cards. Seven or eight percent is a lot better than 27.9 percent, but if you don’t cut up your cards after you have paid them off, you may not be able to resist the temptation to max them out again.

Finance are Tight

You Just Need Some Breathing Room

Breathing room is great, but if the forces that are suffocating you are not dealt with, you won’t make any progress. If your $800 monthly utility bill is killing you, turn down heat, turn up the A/C, quit watering your lawn or turn out the lights. If you don’t act, you’ll soon see another $800 energy bill, and you’ll have to figure out how to pay that. Borrowing against your home for monthly expenses that you can’t reduce is not a good idea. Instead of this, start looking for the best side hustles that allow for some extra income!

Economic Stimulus

Some Better Reasons for Taking Out a Second Mortgage

There are, however, some good reasons to borrow against your home:

  • You’re starting a business.
  • You want to go back to school and can’t get reasonable student aid or loans.
  • You want to help a family member.
  • You want to start a remodeling project that will increase your home’s value.
  • You want to assist your children with some expenses.
  • You found a great investment opportunity.

Like any other loan, make sure you shop around to get the best terms.

The Contract for Deed Crew

While we don’t do second mortgage loans, we at C4D can assist you with the purchase of your home. We are more flexible and understanding than a lot of banks, and we are experts at using the MN contract for deed as a path for true home ownership. If you have any questions, visit our site. We are here to help!

Minnesota Realtors: More Contract For Deed Deals

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Some Minnesota Realtors view the current economic situation as murky with darker clouds on the horizon. Interest rates are moving higher and some mortgage rates have crossed the psychological five percent barrier. Top luxury home prices in places like Austin, TX have begun to stagnate and actually drop. While unemployment is at record lows, inflation is starting to re-emerge as a threat, the price of oil just recently fell from a six-year record high, and of course there is geo-political chaos. None of these factors are good for the housing market.

Minnesota Realtors Change in Real GDP

The Comeback of No-Doc Type Loans

We are almost 11 years removed from the Great Recession that began in 2008. Some new to the real estate business may have been in their early teens when this occurred and may not remember, but no-interest and no-doc loans were part of the problems that ultimately crashed the economy.

One of our older CD4 clients tells us that they were able to get their original home mortgage with a one-page typewritten business profit and loss statement. The mortgage loan officer said, “Are you making money?” and when he got an affirmative answer, they were approved.

In the early and mid-2000s, people used their homes as ATMs, and loan officers aided by appraisers approved scores of loans. Some were no interest, some were adjustable rate, and many were made without any debt-to-income ratio verification. If someone showed that their business cash flowed significant dollars, profits and income were ignored.

Check Out CNN Lately?

Listen to CNN today and you will hear ads for a mortgage company that claims that profits don’t matter–only cash flow does. When companies can advertise nationally and get customers for low documentation mortgages—even in view of what happened in 2008—it’s time to take notice and get worried.

CNN Real Estate

The Next Time for Minnesota Realtors

The U.S. economy is cyclical, and after the second worst downturn in history, we have now seen the longest recovery. Even though there are those that say “Well, this time is different,” savvy Realtors know that is not true. The next recession–whether it’s almost here or won’t arrive for another year–will cause difficulties for Minnesota Realtors. When the GDP falls, the stock market retreats, and interest rates go up, money tightens and loans can be hard to get. And therefore, you need C4D.

Global Trade Contract For Deed

What We Do

We at C4D use MN contract for deed to help prospective homeowners that were rejected for traditional financing to realize the home ownership dream. We use our strength and knowledge as we buy homes and then resell them to your clients who were rejected for traditional financing or unable to obtain it. Yes, your clients need a job and provable income, but we can work with issues like divorce, tax liens, garnishments, bad credit and large student loan balances. We can help where others have failed.

Listen, we do not want to see an economic downturn, and we genuinely hope that one day all of our clients will be able to get traditional financing. Until that time comes, however, Minnesota Realtors can call us with rejected deals and we’ll see what we can make happen. We’ve helped a lot of people.

How to find a good minnesota realtor

How To Find A Great Minnesota Realtor

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How to find a good realtor? If you’ve tried, well, you’ve probably realized it’s not as easy as it sounds, right?

How to find a good realtorFirst, there is a difference between a Realtor and a real estate agent. You can be a real estate agent without becoming a Realtor. If you are licensed in your state, you can help people buy or sell commercial or residential property. The State of Minnesota publishes a detailed booklet that explains the real estate licensing process, and you can find it here:

http://mn.gov/commerce-stat/pdfs/re-license-guide.pdf

But don’t confuse licensed real estate agents with Realtors, because there is a difference. According to inman.com, “A Realtor is a trademarked term that refers to a real estate agent who is an active member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the largest trade association in the United States.” NAR has certain requirements and members must first agree to abide by its ethics code.

Finding a Great Realtor in MN

It doesn’t matter where you’re coming from; you might be moving from a small Cincinnati apartment to a Minneapolis single family home, but whether you contract with a real estate agent or a Realtor, it’s important that you know how to vet and find the person that best fits your needs. And bankrate.com says that these seven items are paramount.

Talk with agents’ recent clients.

At the first meeting, ask for a list of clients. If these are all relatives, beware, because your prospective agent may not be very experienced. Look for a track record of satisfied clients that are happy to provide referrals. While you may want to help a new agent break into the business, that may not be in your best interest.

Check for license and disciplinary actions.

Licensed real estate professionals are regulated, and if they have been disciplined, there will be a public record of this. Some ways agents get in trouble are:

  • Forgetting who they represent.
  • Co-mingling client funds.
  • Seeking kickbacks from lenders.
  • Showing incompetence.
  • Forgetting that the interests of the client should come first.

Ask about professional awards.

OK, so million-dollar club status is not that hard to obtain, but awards do show that agents or Realtors have sold some properties.

Here’s a rundown from another experienced professional:

Select an agent with the right credentials.

If agent Paul Johnson sold your wife’s office building, that doesn’t guarantee that he knows anything about residential real estate. Similarly, an upscale Realtor that specializes in the Milwaukee suburbs may have a tough time understanding how to sell an inner-city property.

Realtor Credentials

Find out how experienced an agent is.

How many clients? How many closings? How many accepted offers? How many failures? How many rejected deals? Ask these questions.

Look at the agent’s current listings.

If your prospective agent’s listings are all rural farmland, and you have a downtown condo to sell, you may have the wrong person.

Gauge the agent’s knowledge of the area.

Does your agent know the schools? The shopping areas? The crime rates? What the last 10 sales have been? A negative answer means you should look elsewhere.

Getting It Done

Most of all, you need to find someone that can get the job done. We at C4D are like that, because we specialize in MN contract for deed financing. We love traditional mortgages, but if you can’t get one, tell your Realtor to contact us ASAP. We can help where others have failed!

Home Repair

The Surprising Ways Your House Costs You Money

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If you’re a current homeowner or a prospective buyer, saving money is surely on the top of your priority list, that’s a given, right? However, occasionally, there are instances where you may not realize that you’re leaking money (almost literally). Making sure that your property is running efficiently and that your home repair is on point are two of the most important money-saving tips around.

So, let’s take a look at some of ways we can help you save money in and around your home.

Home Repair Tip: Fix Your Drains

Ever hear your taps dripping in the night? Or, maybe you’ve turned off all the water after cleaning only to find that it’s still dripping away? Well, while it may not seem like a huge amount of water is being wasted at first glance, it can end up costing you a small fortune in the long run.

Let’s put this into perspective; let’s say your faucet leaks roughly 10 drops of water per minute, that equates to 3 liters of water a day, which is around 90 liters a month. This can mean wastes of 347 gallons of water every year. How much does this cost? Well, it depends on your water supplier, but a leaky faucet could be costing you far more than you think. Similarly, any blocked drains or damaged drains that are left untreated can result in nasty blockages, which may then require professional intervention.

Hidden Leakages and Water Damage

Another water-related issue comes in the form of hidden water storage. Checking for water build-up is crucial, especially if you’re looking to move into a new property. Water has a nasty way of hiding in places that are either difficult to reach or hidden. In most cases, this is caused by a fault in the property’s drainage system or a build-up of water deposits (usually on the roof or gutters) that do not drain properly.

Be sure to check for signs of this, as if it is left untreated, not only will it require a drain inspection, but you may find yourself having to redecorate your walls and/or ceilings.

Repair with Double-Pane Windows

The thought of installing brand new windows is never easy to digest as it’s known to be a fairly expensive practice. However, the reason why it’s so important isn’t just aesthetics. In fact, installing new windows actually saves you money in the long run.

So, why is this? To put it simply, single-pane windows are not efficient at keeping the heat inside your property, nor are they too good at keeping the heat out in the summer months! So, instead of constantly adjusting your heat and temperature, it might be worth considering installing double-pane UPVC windows that help retain heat.

Additionally, installing double-pane windows can save hundreds of dollars each year, so it’s definitely something to consider.

Insulation Issues

In a similar fashion to double-pane windows, a properly insulated home can save you a small fortune. The cost of installing effective insulation is low in contrast to the amount of money you’ll be saving in the long-run. Arguably the most important area to install insulation is in your walls, and while there are varying kinds of insulation, cavity insulation is one of the better options if you’re looking to save money.

Additionally, insulation is fairly low maintenance and usually lasts a life time.

Rising Energy Bills (Turn to Solar Energy?)

With the world relying more and more on green energy, many people are beginning to search for more efficient ways to power their homes.  This has lead them to solar power and the many benefits that come from this source of power.

Installing solar panels by yourself will cut some costs. However, it’s recommended that you hire a professional to install the wiring and metering, as this requires connecting the system to the electrical grid. This can be a seriously dangerous task for those who are inexperienced and in severe cases can lead to injury. According to Westline Professional Electricians founder and director Jordan Vellutini, make sure to contact a certified electrician if you’re looking to efficiently install your solar panels.

All in all, acting on these issues early is the key to saving money. Much like you’d hire a maid service to get your place cleaned. The longer you allow these problems to persist, the more damage they will inevitably cause. Many of the above tips are long-term investments, so while they may seem expensive to begin with, you’ll be glad of your investment as soon as you’ve committed!

Homebuying After Divorce

Buying A House After Divorce: Yes! It’s Possible.

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Buying a house after divorce is a huge issue for many people across the country. To start, divorce can cost you a fortune. What else you ask?

Well, let’s face it, divorce is rarely stress free, and your recent interaction with the family court system is probably something you never want to go near again. You’ve spent time away from work, agonized about visitation rights, thought endlessly about money making ideas and paid some hefty legal bills, but the fun is just beginning because your spouse is occupying the residence and now you need to buy another one.

Buying A House After Divorce

Why Is That a Problem?

If your name is on the deed and the mortgage, even though you may not be living in the house, you are 100 percent responsible for that monthly payment according to potential mortgage lenders. If your ex has been making that payment, lenders will want proof that he or she has been able to handle the obligation for the past 12 months, and will ask for documentation. Yep—more bank statements, ACH confirmations and cancelled checks for you to dig up.

The bank may even want to see proof of your ex’s income to make sure that you are not making house payments in her name. Then they will probably ask for information about where you are living even if you are renting. Who is paying for that? Can you produce the proper documentation that shows you can handle your monthly rent without assistance?

Co-Sign Home Loan

Even if you can definitively prove that your ex has successfully made 12 months of payments, you could still be denied because you are, in effect, still a co-signer on the mortgage. This can also lead to MN bad credit as your credit score could be impacted.

Alimony and Child Support

Child Support

Not your favorite words, we know, and any court-ordered payment amounts will count against your income and injure your debt-to-income ratios. A $1500 monthly payment can cause outright rejection, or at the least, may cause you to qualify for a much smaller loan amount.

Have You Ever Been Sued?

If you were involved in a divorce you probably were, and must answer this question affirmatively. The answer will need lengthy explanation and can open the door for other queries from the lender.

Divorce Decree

Of course, the lender is going to want to see your fully executed decree; they are not going to take your word for anything.

Joint Accounts

Student loans, credit cards, autos, furniture purchases and more can be considered joint accounts. Even if your ex splits these with you, you will need to get your name off of the ones he or she is now responsible for. Again, if you name is on it, the lender will assume you are responsible for the debt, and you may qualify for nothing.

Joint Bank Account

The Answer: Buying A House After Divorce

When traditional financing brings you roadblocks instead of the key to a new home, there can be answers, and MN contract for deed can be an excellent way to become a homeowner—even if you are in the midst of a divorce. Our experts at C4D, a local Minnesota company, have, over the years, worked out a method to make you a homeowner.

Using MN contract for deed, a legitimate and recognized alternative financing method, we can look past things that traditional lenders can’t. Yes, we still want income proof, you have to have a job, and have to be able to afford your payment. We, however, view these requirements differently than traditional lenders, and we helped many recently divorced persons again purchase homes.

Contact us today to find out the details!

Self Employed Home Loan

Getting A Mortgage Loan If You’re Self Employed

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The age-old self employed mortgage loan issue. You took the plunge and started your own business away from your family and you’re having success. Awesome, right!? Now you are no longer relying on a W2, so there are some hugely important things you MUST know when it’s time to apply for a mortgage.

It was undoubtedly a serious challenge to drive your business from inception to true profitability. You had to find your location—or build your virtual store—find vendors, get permits and licenses, hire your first employees, consult with lawyers and accountants, and then find and retain customers. Now that you are successful and you’re finally feeling better about surviving, why is it so difficult to get a home loan?

Banks Don’t Like You

self employed mortgage loan

Many entrepreneurs report that the initial visit to the mortgage lender’s office isn’t pleasant. Bank officers often cast a wary eye toward small business owners because:

  • Stated income can be difficult to prove.
  • Accounting records may be incomplete.
  • Bankers think small business owners can be riskier borrowers.
  • There is a perception that owner/operators conceal income and avoid taxes.
  • Business owners commonly sign personally for business debt.

But does that mean you’ll never own a home?

Let’s take a look at this scenario: let’s say you’re a small business owner in Denver, Colorado. You might think that you’re stuck renting that one-bedroom Denver apartment forever, since you’re unable to prove income to the bank. So, what are the issues?

Income Issues with Self Employed Mortgage Loan

If you work for someone else, your paycheck goes toward your rent or house payment, car payments, various insurance obligations, repairs, maintenance, etc. If you own a business, however, your business may provide you with a car, a computer, health insurance, life insurance, meals, travel and more.

Self Employed Home Loan

If you make $75,000 per year, for example, you can take your pay stubs to the bank and that will prove your gross income. If your business can produce $75,000 in gross profits, savvy business owners have their business make car and insurance payments directly, and by the time all owner benefits have been deducted, the business may show a much smaller profit, and the owner may legitimately report a smaller income amount. 

Explaining to the banker that your $20,000 income is really $75,000 because of all the benefits your business provides you is not always met with quick acceptance. 

Cold Hard Cash — Good For Self Employed Mortgage Loans?

Let’s face it, although some businesses are becoming cashless, there are usually opportunities for business owners to pocket cash without reporting it as income (make sure you know the rules). Unlikely that the bank will consider any unreported income as valid for the purposes of obtaining a loan.

Cash Money for Home Loan

Lots of Business Debt

While many think that entrepreneurs can obtain business loans without having to sign personally, this is usually not the case, and small business owners many times will have signed for substantial company loans. Banks typically treat these as personal obligations and can count them negatively when figuring debt to income ratios.

What Can You Do?

As you know, we agree that traditional mortgage financing is preferable, but when circumstances cause that route to be difficult, consider giving is a call at C4D. We are MN contract for deed experts and we understand that owning a small business should not be an obstacle to home ownership. We look beyond raw numbers to truly understand your financial situation, and we can work with a variety of circumstances. As our satisfied clients tell us, “Wow, you were able to help us when the bank said no!”

2018 Realtor Tips: Handle Rising Interest Rates

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Rising interest rates in real estate — sounds awful for both homebuyers and realtors, right? Well, you’re in the right place find out. Below, the C4D Crew will outline what factors influence interest rates and what rising interest rates mean for the real estate industry.

The 2008 housing crash was hard enough to deal with. Besides the record foreclosure numbers, Realtors had to deal with very tight lending conditions along with a new and stringent set of government banking regulations. Gone are the days of wild west type appraisals and easily obtained no income documentation loans. While this period has been replaced with a mortgage market some would call the “new normal,” there is an evolving twist MN Realtors now must deal with.

Rates Are Going Up

Mortgage rate predictions for 2018 and 2019

Agency

2018 Prediction

2019 Prediction

Mortgage Bankers Association 4.9% 5.4%
Freddie Mac 4.6% 5.1%
Fannie Mae 4.5% 4.5%
Realtor.com 5.0% No forecast
National Association of Realtors 4.5% 4.8%
Kiplinger 4.7% No forecast
National Association of Home Builders 4.5% 5.0%

Early in the recovery, nicely qualified buyers could actually get 30-year traditional mortgages at rates around 3.25 percent. Now, rates are nudging up to the psychological five percent barrier. Simple math shows us that a $200,000 mortgage at 3.25 percent costs $870.41 per month. At five percent, however, the payment jumps by $203.23 to $1073.64.

To get that payment close to $870.00 with a five percent interest rate, the mortgage amount needs to drop to $165,000. This is a significant 18 percent drop in purchasing power. In other words, a buyer that could have qualified for a $200,000 mortgage at 3.25 percent, now may only be able to finance $165,000.

What Do Rising Interest Rates Mean?

CNBC reported in February:

Sales of newly built homes are falling, and the culprit is clear. Homebuyers increasingly can’t afford what they want. Higher mortgage rates, combined with the loss of homeowner tax breaks in some of the nation’s most expensive markets, are taking away buying power.

Home Sales

Image source: Redfin

Sales fell in December, when the new tax law was signed, and then again in January, when mortgage rates moved higher. Sales are now at their lowest level since August of last year.

“It seems that the jump in mortgage rates in January had an immediate impact on contract signings,” wrote Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. “You can’t get more interest rate sensitive when it comes to homes and cars with the associated cost to finance.”

What Realtors Can Do

Savvy Realtors need to understand that while upward interest rate trends can be an issue, there are some ways this situation can be managed. Sellers can make things easier by offering to pay closing costs buyers certain remodeling credits, or of course lowering sale prices.

Rising Interest Rates Loan Rejection

Buyers may need to rethink their plans for an ultimate dream home and take an intermediary step instead of a final one. Maybe that $350,000 home will have to wait and a $240,000 will have to work for now.

Make It Happen Now

The upward interest rate trend is no secret, however, and Realtors should push both sides to get deals done before rates rise even more. Lock in today’s rates as soon as possible as each Federal Reserve interest rate hike will do more damage to the housing market.

Consumers Getting Priced Out?

Family Buying A Home

In a rising interest rate environment, more consumers are going to be priced out of traditional mortgage financing, and this is where we at C4D can help. Using MN contract for deed, we make deals happen that banks have refused. We understand bad credit issues, and we want to help ensure that good people that may have had some financial issues are able to become homeowners. Don’t give up on your rejected traditional mortgage deal; instead, bring it to C4D and we will see if we can help.

Buying A House Without A Realtor Is A Bad Idea

Buying A House Without A Realtor: Terrible Idea?

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Buying a house without a realtor. For some reason, this just doesn’t sound like one of your best ideas yet.

You may be the kind of person that wants to handle everything without assistance from brokers or agents. When you make a major purchase you always want to talk to the supervisor or store owner, and you may not like dealing with middlemen. When you are looking to buy a MN home, however, you really need to consider the use of a qualified Realtor, and here are some reasons why:

You May Have a Harder Time Finding Properties

Realtors have MLS access but you can’t just login online to view it. While Trulia, Redfin, and similar sites will eventually pick up MLS listings, there is nothing like going to the source and being able to view up-to-the-minute listed properties that are for sale. Your local real estate agent may also have a network where he or she is made quickly aware of any “coming soon” properties, and your Realtor can find out sooner if a house under contract may again become available because of failed financing or other issues. In addition, other Realtors may be more apt to divulge information to another Realtor than to you.

Buying A House and Knowing The Price

Area Knowledge

Especially if you are new to a city, you need a Realtor’s intrinsic neighborhood knowledge. Many of us know someone that recently moved to a city and chose a certain neighborhood only to realize a year later that they would have liked to have located in a different part of town.  A good Realtor can help guide you to the neighborhoods that match your lifestyle.

The Offer (When Buying A House Without A Realtor)

Do you offer 97 percent of the purchase price? 95 percent? Are you in a bidding war? Should you offer more than the asking price? Should you ask for paid closing costs? What does the inspection period mean? Do you realize, that in some states, you can lose your earnest money deposit even if your financing is not approved? Realtors are experts, and will guide you through the offer process. Take a look a standard offer to purchase form, and ask yourself if you really know how to fill in all of the blanks properly. A Realtor will have had lots of experience with contingencies, and will help you understand all fees involved in a purchase contract.

Buying A House Without A Realtor

Be Realistic About the Deal

While you may think it’s a good idea to haggle about the final $1000 of a $350,000 deal, your Realtor may tell you otherwise. Realtors have a good sense of what will be accepted and more, importantly, what may aggravate a seller. When you deal with sellers without a Realtor, you may be working blind.

Financing Issues When Buying Without A Realtor

If you have MN bad credit, or are having trouble buying a home because of massive student loan debt, a good Realtor can steer you to non-traditional financing sources. We at C4D are experts in MN contract for deed sales, and many Realtors come to us with deals that have been difficult to finance elsewhere. While we all know that traditional mortgage financing is preferable, many times we can help get you into your dream home when others have not been successful.

Actionable Tips For First Time Home Buyers in 2018

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Whew! It seems everything has accelerated in the past couple of years. You graduated from college, got married, landed a nice job, and now there is a child on the way. Your apartment in Chicago on the 32nd floor is just not going to do it anymore, so it’ s time to think about purchasing your first home. Where to even start? Well, how about starting right here. Here are some great tips for first time home buyers.

Tips for First Time Home Buyers: Your Realtor

First Time Homebuyer Broker

Establish a relationship with a buyer’s agent. You’re looking to your agent for tips for first time home buyers, so after you explain your needs and price range, this person will find properties for you to view, make the appointments, keep a record of what you have seen, negotiate deals and write up offers to purchase. And guess what, there is no cost to you, since the seller pays all commission expenses!

Next Tip: Clean Up Your Credit History

Bad MN credit can be a problem as it can injure your ability to get good bank financing at the lowest possible rate. Go to Credit Karma, look at your credit score, view your credit report, and dispute any errors you find.

Tip #3: Pay Down Those Cards

As any Minnesota mortgage lender will tell you, if you have a high credit utilization rate, your projected monthly mortgage payment will be higher. Savvy first time home buyers plan well in advance to reduce credit card balances.

Tip #4: Work on Those Student Loans

As Student Loan Hero tells us:

“Spending a few more years getting your student loans or other debts paid down could mean that you would qualify for a lower interest rate or a higher loan amount. Once you have a better credit history and more secure income history, you will have more options available when you finally are ready to take that leap into homeownership.”

Become aware of the many repayment options available to MN student loan holders, and strengthen your monthly cash flow.

Tips for First Time Home Buyers - Student Loans

First Time Home Buyer Tip #5: Save for that Down Payment

You will be asked to show that you have anywhere from three to ten percent or more down-payment money available. While some lenders allow you to accept this money as a gift from your relatives, others like to see that you have saved it. Few lenders, however, will accept a borrowed down payment.

Tip #6: Be Realistic and Discerning

Our friends at U.S. News tell us:

“When you look at houses, focus on the right things. Don’t be distracted by the owner’s odd décor, paint colors, dirty carpet or anything that is easy to change. Granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances are easy to add later. You can’t easily add another bedroom, a better location or a more functional floor plan.”

Tip #7: Be Serious and Ready to Go

Don’t casually look for houses without having a plan to move if you find your dream house. You could find a gem on day one, but be stuck for six months in an apartment lease. Great opportunities may present themselves fleetingly, and you need to be ready. But be prepared to take some time to shop around for home insurance — don’t forget about this!

Tip #8: Check Out the Neighborhood at Different Times of Day

That nice, quiet three-bedroom dream home may turn out to be a nightmare if you only saw it on a quiet Sunday afternoon. Check traffic patterns and activity at different times before you make an offer.

Tip #9: Talk to the Neighbors

Homebuying Neighbors

No one can give you a more realistic view of the area than someone that has lived there for years. Knock on doors, talk to people you see, and frankly ask them if the neighborhood is a good place to live. You’d be surprised at the genuine answers you will receive.

Be sure you check in on the home and neighborhood safety as well. You don’t want to become just “another statistic.”

Final First Time Home Buyer Tip: Don’t Give Up

If you have found your dream home, but have been turned down for conventional financing, there are alternatives. C4D, our company that specializes in helping those with bad credit in Minnesota, may be able to help you find your path to home ownership through a contract for deed. Go here to find out more about this legitimate and widely used method that can get you into a home even if you have credit issues.

And if you’re looking for even more tips for first time home buyers, you can check out some more great information from our friends over at Bankrate. They have a fantastic blog post which shares many more tips for first time home buyers. You can check it out here.

Tips to Become the Top Realtor in Your Area in 2018

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How to be successful in real estate? This is an extremely common question in the industry. Many real estate pros watch glamorous TV shows like Million Dollar Listing New York, House Hunters, Designed to Sell and many more. These same people would love to achieve the amount of success as many of the real estate superstars on TV. So what does it take? Is it luck? Right place and right time?

Well, there’s lots of competition in the Minnesota and Minneapolis real estate space but by following some proven business practices, you can rise to the top. From client/customer service to quality networking, let’s look at the things that can make you a top MN realtor.

How To Become Successful In Real Estate

The “t” word—transparency—has almost become a cliché, but beginning with the first Minnesota Realtor client meeting you need to be honest and forthright about expectations and costs. If the stats show that it may take 47 days to move a client’s property, don’t give then the impression that you can sell it in a week, unless, of course, you really can.

New sellers may not fully understand the commission process, and you should take some time to explain it. There may be confusion about how you share your commission and who you share it with. With median housing prices rising, the standard six percent commission can easily reach $20,000 or more, and if you have to split your commission with another broker and/or you company, your clients should understand that you don’t pocket the entire amount.

Look Like a Professional

While business casual may be sufficient in your area, showing up at a client meeting in cutoffs and a t-shirt is probably not the way to go. Then again, some will advise to dress how your clients dress. Either way, you know if you have a huge prospecting meeting that you should probably throw on your business suit and dress as professionally as possible. Projecting a professional image is critically important for real estate professionals.

Return Calls and Emails Promptly

As you undoubtedly understand, great Realtors are always working, and their clients want immediate answers. When there is a pending offer, clients on either side can get extremely hyper, and they probably won’t adhere to “normal business hours.” Have a thorough voicemail message that explains exactly when your clients can expect a return call:

“Hi – it’s Maryann. You have reached my voicemail because I’m speaking with another client or in a meeting. If you are calling before 7:00 p.m., I will return your call today. Otherwise, expect a call from me tomorrow. Please do not hesitate to text as I may be able to respond quicker that way. Also, feel free to email me at maryann@gmail.com. Regardless, I guarantee a response within 18 hours.”

This may seem basic and academic but it’s very important to do correctly.

Real Estate & Digital Media

You need a website, but a bad site with a terrible user experience and functionality may be worse than having none at all. As commonplaces.com says,

“Your website is no longer a URL at which you park the existence of your online business. It’s often the first and most powerful presentation of your business – who you are as a company, what you offer, and why your products and services are better than all the rest.”

Make sure that you find a quality developer, especially one that has experience with Realtor websites. And if you need more advice on the big picture of real estate digital media, below is a video from Million Dollar Listing star Ryan Serhant and social media influencer Gary Vaynerchuk on the state of real estate in 2018.

Social Media Presence & Brand Building

Gone are the days when a home buyer just opens up a newspaper, looks for properties, calls an agent from a phonebook and makes an offer. Buyers today are looking online more than ever. From review websites like Yelp to social media profiles like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube it is imperative that Realtors use social media to communicate with potential buyers. For example, if you worked at PlateJoy, you’d want positive platejoy reviews, right? The same goes for Realtors.

Digital Media For Real Estate

Some tips include:

  • Posting photos on Instagram to generate leads
  • Creating a content presence on Facebook
  • Tweeting to promote listings to your audience
  • Guest posting to collaborate with other local real estate pros
  • Sharing your content on LinkedIn with your industry connections
  • Reply to everyone and create a sense of community

Monthly Newsletter

It’s critically important for clients and potential clients to know how to find you. Start compiling an email list from day one, and send out a carefully crafted and informational newsletter. Again, you may think that this is Realtor 101, but you might be surprised at the number of your colleagues that fail to do this, start and then stop, or send out junk. A great monthly blog sent out in your newsletter will keep your name fresh.

Monthly Real Estate Newsletter

How To Be Successful In Real Estate: Financing

Of course, you know the deal isn’t done until funds have been wired. Savvy Realtors immediately begin building their financing network, and they know who will work hard to get marginal MN bad credit loans approved. You need to assemble your financing team, and have a go-to lender available for each particular situation, and here’s where we can help. We at C4D are MN contract for deed specialists, and every day we work with clients to make the home ownership dreams a reality. If you have difficult or even rejected financing deals, let us take a look and see if we can help. Please contact us for further information.