Blog

Windermere Offices Continue to Support Communities Through COVID-19 Pandemic

Windermere offices have continued to support their communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, raising money for the Windermere Foundation, which has provided over $43 million in funding to support low-income and homeless families throughout the Western U.S. since 1989. Here are some highlights from the past holiday season.

 

Windermere Whatcom Donates 84 Thanksgiving Boxes

 

For over 20 years, Windermere Whatcom has donated Thanksgiving boxes to local school districts and organizations. These boxes contain all the fixings for a Thanksgiving feast, from sparkling cider and pumpkin pie to turkey roaster pans and a recipe book. The meals benefit families in need of a warm Thanksgiving meal. Agents at Whatcom’s five offices select the recipient organizations, then agents and staff are assigned items to fulfill depending on the number of meals needed. Keeping COVID-19 guidelines in mind, agents worked in small groups/shifts to pack the boxes of food and supplies on the day of delivery. In total, 84 Thanksgiving meals were donated on November 23 and 24, 2020.

 

Picture L to R: Alex Stredicke & Ken Gustafson

 


 

Windermere Abode Supports Tacoma Rescue Mission

 

Every Friday since March of 2020, Windermere Abode in Tacoma, WA has helped the Tacoma Rescue Mission serve sandwiches and snacks. After speaking with Windermere agent Melo Hogan, Broker/Co-Owner of Windermere Abode Anne Jones learned that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization had been losing volunteers and needed to provide to-go meals for the community members they support. “The coolest thing about this program is we’ve invited our community to participate,” said Jones. “That’s how we’ve kept it going and literally have delivered thousands of sandwiches. We’ve had a few Fridays with two fully-loaded SUVs.”

 

A woman unpacks food donations from the back of a vehicle.

Pictured: Melo Hogan

 


 

Windermere Greenwood Donates $4,418 to WA-BLOC

 

In the summer of 2020, the agents and staff at Windermere Greenwood were looking for ways to support grassroots, Black-led organizations in underserved communities and youth. When they came across WA-BLOC (Building Leaders of Change), they jumped at the chance to support the organization. WA-BLOC works with students in South Seattle, igniting transformation and building leaders of change through revolutionary education and social justice leadership development. Understanding that the pandemic would impact students’ learning ability, the Greenwood office wanted to contribute to help make distanced learning more equitable. Totaling $4,418, their donations went towards purchasing laptops, wi-fi hotspots, school supplies, tutors, school lunches, and more.

 

A flyer showing Windermere Greenwood's $4,418 total raised for WA-BLOC.

Windermere Greenwood’s total amount raised in support of local organization WA-BLOC

 


 

Windermere Eastlake Gifts $5,000 to St. Francis House

 

Agents and staff at Windermere Eastlake in Seattle came together this holiday season to support low income and homeless families in their community through St. Francis House, an organization dedicated to serving the homeless population of King County. Eastlake donated $5,000 to the organization to distribute holiday gift packages to families including a new blanket, a new game, and a grocery gift card. Each child received a pair of socks, a new toy, and a book. So far, 375 families have received their gift.

 

 

A selection of toys distributed by St. Francis House through Windermere Eastlake’s donation

A selection of toys distributed by St. Francis House through Windermere Eastlake’s donation


To find out more about the Windermere Foundation or to make a donation, please visit the Foundation’s website here: Windermere Foundation

The post Windermere Offices Continue to Support Communities Through COVID-19 Pandemic appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

Windermere Acquires Sacramento’s Largest Independent Real Estate Company

The heads of Windermere Real Estate Geoff Wood, Jill Jacobi Wood, and OB Jacobi have announced that Windermere has acquired the largest independent real estate company in Sacramento, CA, Lyon Real Estate. Founded in 1946 by William L. Lyon, Lyon Real Estate has over 800 agents in 17 offices throughout the greater Sacramento area and generated $2.86 billion in sales last year. It is ranked 111 out of the top 500 independent brokerages in the US according to Real Trends.

“Windermere has been looking for the right opportunity to grow our network in Northern California and approached Lyon because of their strong, reputable brand and the commonalities between our two companies,” said Windermere co-president, OB Jacobi. “They’re a second-generation, family-owned organization. They’re agent-centric and customer-focused. And they care deeply about giving back to their community. We couldn’t think of a better fit for Windermere,” he added.

Jacobi shared that under the terms of the acquisition, Lyon Real Estate will continue to operate under their name and brand, and will maintain the current leadership team, including president and chief operating officer Pat Shea.

“This is the blending of two accomplished companies which will each maintain its own identity for the time being, and when the time is right, the Lyon brand will further immerse itself into our organization,” said Jacobi, adding, “Because of the strength of the Lyon brand, we want to be very thoughtful about this process.”

Shea said that over the years Lyon has been contacted by a number of suitors seeking a strategic growth opportunity, but the right fit didn’t come along until they were approached by Windermere, whose company leadership Shea has gotten to know over the past 10 years as fellow members of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World. “We picked Windermere because it is well suited to maintain Lyon’s legacy and grow it in the future,” said Shea, adding, “This also fits in with the Lyon family’s succession plan whose first priority was to leave the company they built and had run over the past 75 years in the best possible hands for the long term.”

Jacobi said that while Lyon is still operating under its existing brand, it is now a part of the greater Windermere network and will benefit from Windermere’s enhanced marketing resources, professional development, relocation and referral services, and in-house chief economist, Matthew Gardner.

The post Windermere Acquires Sacramento’s Largest Independent Real Estate Company appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

Renovating Your Vacation Home

Owning a vacation home comes with the reward of having your own slice of paradise, but it can also present some unique challenges if you need to make renovations. It’s important to understand how you will use your second home before diving into any renovation projects. This will help keep you organized and on track throughout the renovation process as you transform your space into a true vacation retreat.

 

Take Your Time

 

Before you start in on any renovations, take time to think about how you will use your second home. For example, if you plan on eventually retiring to your vacation home, you can prioritize projects that increase the quality of your time spent there over the years.

 

If your vacation home is intended to be a place for large family gatherings, you’ll want to consider bedroom and bathroom accommodations accordingly. Vacation homes often have greater flexibility when it comes to sleeping arrangements, just be sure to understand the code limitations of your property before proceeding.

 

If you are looking to sell in the future, you will likely prioritize renovations that help increase the home’s resale value. Keep in mind that the some renovation projects in a primary residence may not have the same effect on the value of a vacation home. Your best bet is to talk to your Windermere agent about how different renovation projects may affect the value of your property.

 

Renovating By Season

 

Is your vacation home primarily a summer getaway or a winter retreat? The seasonality of your stay will help to prioritize your projects as well, regardless of your local climate.

 

Winter – Early Spring

  • The early months of the new year are actually a great time to start additions to your home. Winter conditions are typically better for digging foundation and pouring concrete. Winter is also the perfect time to get started on any indoor painting projects you have in mind.

 

Spring – Early Summer

  • Always the busy season for builders and contractors, the spring-to-early-summer months are perfect for outdoor projects like patios and decks, knowing they’ll be completed just in time for summer. Depending on your local climate, you may want to start a deck or patio earlier in the year, giving the wood ample time to stabilize and avoid early damage from too much sun exposure.

 

Summer – Fall

  • A fresh coat of paint gives your home new life. Depending on the paint you’re using, temperatures need to remain above 40-50 degrees while your painting project is taking place. Accordingly, the summer—and depending on where you live, early fall—months are a safe bet for making your exterior paint project a success.

 

Fall – Winter

  • If you’re looking to get new appliances in your vacation home, look to the fall and early winter months for holiday deals. If your vacation home is the rendezvous for family holiday gatherings, you’ll want to make sure any large-scale renovations are finished before the holidays come around.

The post Renovating Your Vacation Home appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

Incorporate Pantone’s Color of 2021 Into Your Home

For the second time ever, Pantone’s Color of the Year is actually two colors: Ultimate Gray and Illuminating Yellow. Ultimate Gray is emblematic of natural elements that stand the test of time, while Illuminating Yellow is a cheerful sunshine yellow, symbolizing energy and clarity.

 

Here are some ways you can harness this color harmony in your home.

 

Brighten Your Bedroom

With a foundation of Ultimate Gray, Illuminating yellow will brighten your bedroom, livening up the space and radiating positivity. Mix and match different furniture and accent wall combinations to get the right balance of sunny yellow and solid gray.

 

Refresh Your Home Office

 

Home offices have become more important than ever. As working from home continues in 2021, your remote workspace is the perfect location to add in Pantone’s Color of the Year. We all could use some added stimulation to keep our workdays going smoothly and productively. Use Illuminating to add some colorful accents or to paint your wall, balance it out with some Ultimate Gray, and let the positivity fill your home office. A modern home office with a yellow wall.

 

 

Accents In Your Living Room

Pantone’s Illuminating is a perfect accent color for your home. Incorporate this energetic sunshine yellow in your living room in the form of decorative throw pillows, blankets, and accent décor pieces like vases and curtains. Ultimate Gray is a perfect color for large furniture items and will help to balance out the tone of your living room. It provides a neutral backdrop, which gives you the freedom to decorate brightly.

 

Make A Statement With Your Front Door

Your front entrance plays a significant role in the first impressions of your home. What better way to use Pantone’s striking yellow than a front door makeover? Illuminating yellow presents an opportunity to bring a little sunshine to your family and guests every time they approach. Ultimate Gray as both a wall color and an accent color will help to solidify your new, strikingly optimistic front door. Accent pieces like house numbers, your mailbox, and plant pots will help create harmony between the two colors. A yellow front door against a gray wall.

 

Read more about this year’s color trends and how you can incorporate them into your home here: 2021 Paint Color Trends

The post Incorporate Pantone’s Color of 2021 Into Your Home appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

Technology in Your Home

Every year there are more products that come out to automate your home. There are many reasons to add technology and to automate your home including safety, security, efficiency and convenience. Here are some reasons and products that are must have for your home.

 

For Safety

There are many products that will help keep your family and home safe and prevent disaster.

  • Water sensors – Water damage is a common issue within homes. There are many types of water sensors that will detect water from a burst pipe, a broken supply line or clogged toilet.  Water sensors will alert you if your home gets a leak so that you can act quickly to prevent any more damage.
  • Indoor room sensor – An indoor room sensor is like a smoke detector with many more functions. Most indoor room sensors can detect indoor air quality, temperature, and humidity to help you monitor your home.  You will receive alerts, and many are also voice activated.

 

For Security

Add these products to keep a close eye on your home and belongings while you’re away, or while you’re home

  • Security cameras – Now with home automation you will be able to keep a close eye on the inside and outside of your home. You can get security cameras that include audio recording, motion detection and allow you to view footage remotely using an app.
  • Door & window sensors – there are many types of door sensors that will fit your budget. Most are small and sleek so they are undetectable, when their magnetic field is broken by opening a door or window you will receive a notification of the exact window or door that was disturbed.
  • Smart lock – These are great not just for security but also for convenience. With smart locks you can lock and unlock your door from anywhere.

 

For Convenience

Take control of your home with automation and smart tech that is simple and convenient.

  • Smart blinds – smart blinds allow you to lower the blinds without ever getting up. There are few different options for smart blinds to control with a remote, your eye phone or connect them to your Alexa to make them voice activated.
  • Smart fridge – Smart fridge options can include a lot of different features depending on what you are looking for. Smart fridges can include touchscreen interface that connect to the internet, internal cameras, cooling options and a connection to your phone so that you can control it remotely.
  • Smart vacuums – smart vacuums are a great self-cleaning tool that you can activate while you are out of your home. These vacuums will clean your floors without any physical labor and can be controlled remotely.

 

For Efficiency

Smart technology can help make your home run more efficiently & save you money.

  • Smart Home lighting – with smart home lighting you can control lights in your home remotely. Set a schedule or turn off and on and dim to save energy powering your lighting.
  • Smart fan – With a smart fan you can control the speed and how long your fan is running. This allows you to turn on the fan at optimal times while also shutting it off when the energy it uses is no longer benefiting you.
  • Temperature control – For controlling temperatures within your home look for a smart thermostat. Features for smart thermostats include Wi-Fi capabilities, scheduling when your heating and cooling systems start and stop.  Most include energy reports so you can adjust how you use the system.

The post Technology in Your Home appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

Ways to Save Money by Going Green

Contrary to popular belief, going green does not have to be hard or cost money, in fact it can even save you money.  There are many small things that you and your family can do within your home to save money while reducing landfill waste and the use of natural resources. Discover a few ways to go green and save some money by choosing a green home.

 

Compost Bin

Composting is free and can provide you with rich soil to garden with. You will never have to buy soil and can easily grow plants and vegetables.  To create your own bin, get a large trashcan with a locking lid, then drill about 25 holes all around the bin and attach the bin to small platform (allows it to drain).  Once you start putting approved items in the bin go outside and roll it around in the grass every few days.

 

Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

You can save approximately $75 dollars a year by replacing your traditional incandescent with energy efficient light bulbs.  On average energy efficient light bulbs typically use way less energy and can last much longer, not needing to be replaced as much.

 

Laundry

There are quite a few options to save money and energy when it comes to laundry.  Here are a few: wait till you have a full load of laundry to wash, line dry your clothes, wash your clothes in cold water and when it comes time to get a new washer and dryer buy an energy efficient one.

 

Weather-Strip & Caulk

One of the main ways we use a lot of energy, especially in hot and cold climates, is through air-conditioning and heating. One way to reduce the use of heating and air-conditioning is to properly weather strip and caulk all windows and doors keeping your home cool and warm when needed.

 

Reuse and Reduce

Use items more than once when you can to avoid throwing them out; this might mean buying quantity over quality.  Another way is to join The Freecycle Network or Buy Nothing group on Facebook you can swap used goods with neighbors for free and also keeping more waste out of landfills.

 

DIY Cleaning

Start making your own cleaning products.  Not only can you customize, make them eco-friendlier but you will also save money buying products.  On average, most DIY cleaners cost less than a $1 to make per bottle compared to $5-$15 per store bought bottle.

 

Unplug & Turn Off

Put all your major electronics on a power strip and shut off when they are not in use.  Even if your electronics are shut off, they still will continue to draw electricity thought out the day.  Another tip is to make sure you unplug your cellphone when completely charged and always power everything down while not in use to save on battery life.

 

Toilet

There is an extremely easy way to make your toilet a low flow toilet.  Simply add a brick, wrapped in a waterproof bag or take a plastic water bottle and fill it with sand putting it into your tank.  This will reduce the amount of water with every flush. Once you are ready for a new toilet purchase a low-flush toilet.

 

Shower

Change up your shower head with an energy-efficient shower head that will use half the amount of water.  These shower heads are low flow but will significantly cut your water bill down.  Another option is to install a tap aerator which will also cut down water usage without changing the water pressure.

The post Ways to Save Money by Going Green appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

Your Winter Home Maintenance Checklist

Winter is a magical season to spend at home. We all want to be able to enjoy the shorter days and longer nights from the comfort of our homes while we watch the season change.

 

To truly enjoy this winter at home with peace of mind, you’ll want to complete a home maintenance checklist to prevent unexpected costs, ensure your family’s safety and warmth, and keep your home in the best shape for the winter season ahead.

 

1. Weatherproof Windows & Doors

 

One of the best preparatory measures you can take to keep the cold from infiltrating your home is to weatherproof your windows and doors. Any leaks or cracks could lead to a chilly household and increased heating costs. Either weatherstripping or caulking will do the trick for minor leakage issues, but for any severe problems you may want to consider a replacement.

 

2. Protect Your Pipes from Freezing

 

Burst pipes can be disastrous regardless of the season, but winter temperatures pose a greater risk than any other time of the year. Be sure to wrap interior pipes to provide them some insulation against the change in temperature. You’ll want to bring all hoses inside but remember to turn off your exterior water source before you do.

 

3. Prepare for a Winter Storm

 

Being fully prepared for the winter ahead includes completing both preventative home maintenance and disaster preparedness tasks. Keep a supply of flashlights and batteries handy in case a power outage should occur. If you have a fireplace, stock up on firewood so you’ll have plenty of fuel for your heat source. It’s best for your family to put together an emergency kit and evacuation plan so you’re prepared for any local weather emergencies.

 

4. Chimney Sweep and Fireplace Maintenance

 

We become more reliant on fireplaces, wood burning stoves, and chimneys to heat our homes during the winter. Accordingly, it’s crucial to prepare for the uptick in their usage. Clear out your air vents before your daily fires begin. When your fireplace is not in use, be sure to close the damper to save energy. Clogged chimneys can lead to house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Investing in a chimney sweep can save you money in the long run, while avoiding health scares.

 

5. Clean Out Your Gutters

 

After all the leaves, pinecones, pine needles, and other autumnal debris have fallen, it’s best to clean out your gutters in preparation for winter. By keeping your gutters clean you’ll avoid gutter damage from melted snow draining improperly. Make sure your downspouts are pointing away from your home’s foundation to prevent basement leaks and flooding.

 

6. Heating System Maintenance

 

Keeping up on your heating system’s efficiency is an integral part of winter home maintenance. If you use a furnace, be sure to clean out your air filters and ducts, making replacements as needed. Covering your HVAC system can help to prevent damage from any debris or moisture getting in. To protect against heat loss, seal your ducts with mastic tape or foil tape.

 

7. Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

 

If you have ceilings fans in your home, there is a handy trick you can use to improve your home’s heating efficiency. By reversing the direction of your ceiling fan—running the blades in a clockwise direction—you’ll create a slight updraft, forcing warm air near the ceiling downward.

 

8. Bring Your Plants Inside

 

The winter season usually spells trouble for your potted plants. However, there are methods to keep them alive indoors through the winter months. You’ll want to provide continual air circulation, so keep a fan blowing in the direction of the plants. It’s best to mirror the conditions the plants will face outdoors, so you can afford to keep watering to a minimum. Since it is a harsher season, keep a close eye on your plants as the winter progresses.

 

After your checklist is completely crossed off, you’ll be able to kick back, relax, and enjoy your winter at home in comfort knowing your home is primed and ready for the winter season ahead.

The post Your Winter Home Maintenance Checklist appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

#AskAnAgent Wrap-Up

On our “#AskAnAgent” Instagram Live series, radio personality and Windermere client Carla Marie goes live with our agents, answering viewer questions about how to buy and sell a home.

 

After our first three episodes with Jessica James, Ashley Abolafia, and Gervon Simon, Carla Marie sat down with the following agents to round out the #AskAnAgent conversations for 2020.

 

Episode 4: Jen BowmanWatch it here

 

The second half of our #AskAnAgent series began with an informative conversation between Carla Marie and Jen Bowman, a Windermere agent based in Lynnwood, Washington. Drawing on her experience working with mostly sellers in recent years, Bowman discussed what it’s like to work with sellers while inventory is low. On the topic of bidding wars, Jen stressed the importance of timing for sellers when they hit the market, so they know they have exposed their home to the greatest number of interested buyers. Wrapping up, Jen touched on the recent trend of buyers moving to rural areas from her perspective in Snohomish County.

 

Episode 5: Genevieve StollWatch it here

 

New Jersey natives Carla Marie and Windermere agent Genevieve Stoll continued the #AskAnAgent conversations with an instructive discussion, examining the real estate process from multiple angles. For Stoll, one of the first thing she tells her buyers looking to strengthen their offers is to speak with a reputable lender right away to get the pre-approval process started. The conversation shifted to how buyers’ needs are shifting during the pandemic and the resurgence of vacation home purchases.

 

Episode 6: Derrik ShockmanWatch it here

 

For the final #AskAnAgent episode of 2020, Carla Marie chatted with Derrik Shockman, a former business owner and agent with Windermere Abode in Tacoma, Washington. For Shockman, being an entrepreneur and real estate agent are similar in that both require staying calm through the ups and downs of the market. Derrik also shared his expert knowledge on the similarities and differences between single-family houses, townhouses, and condos, and the different needs they satisfy for buyers.

 

Follow our Instagram page (@windermere) for updates on future episodes and follow Carla Marie (@thecarlamarie) to watch all the #AskAnAgent episodes from this year.

The post #AskAnAgent Wrap-Up appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

2021 Paint Color Trends

Each new year brings a fresh perspective on the latest design trends, home décor, and popular colors for homeowners to incorporate in their homes. This year has greatly impacted the way we depend on the places we live.

 

This shift in responsibilities has changed homeowners’ needs, which are reflected in the upcoming year’s most sought-after paint colors. Here are some of the color trends you can expect to see in 2021 and how you can incorporate them into your home.

 

2021 Paint Color Trends

 

Embrace neutral colors

After a weary 2020, expect to see a return to prominence for nostalgic, neutral colors. The resurgence of neutrals signals a focus on simple comfort, healing, a return towards wellness, and is representative of a lifestyle with a slower pace. Colors to look for include oatmeal hues, cerulean and Aegean blues, and earthy tones.

 

Comforting colors

More than ever we are looking to our homes to provide us the chance to relax and recharge. Accordingly, serene, warm colors and soft pastels are making a strong comeback. They set the mood by providing a calm foundation, leaving room to add colorful decorations. Keep your eye out for rejuvenating colors including soft reds and creamy off-whites.

 

Add vibrance

To build upon your neutral palette, add touches of vibrant colors for an exciting contrast. This coming spring, you can expect to see nature-based hues on the rise. In 2021, these nature colors will reflect a return to vibrance after homeowners have spent most of 2020—and, in some places, remain—cooped up due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Colors to look for include rust tones and hues in the gold-to-orange range.

 

Color trends in your home

The calm, soothing presence of neutrals is best delivered when given ample space, so look to use the neutral palette on large surface areas. Good use cases in your home include painting whole walls, as well as furniture and carpeting choices. For vibrant colors, sprinkle them throughout the home in your décor and through smaller accents.

 

60-30-10 Rule

After you’ve chosen your colors, follow the 60-30-10 color design rule. It states that 60% of a room’s color should be the dominant color, 30% should be the secondary color, and 10% should be the accent color.

 

2021 Paint Colors

 

Here are three 2021 paint colors that will deliver the serene home environment you’re looking for while providing a solid foundation to add decorations.

 

Aegean Teal

Benjamin Moore’s 2021 color of the year is Aegean Teal. It combines a calming blue, a natural green, and a soothing grey. Its qualities make it a sound choice for bedroom or living room walls, as well as cabinets and other large surface areas. Aegean Teal is the perfect choice for homeowners looking to incorporate a bluish hue into their home without the melancholy undertones that come with blue.

 

Urbane Bronze

Say hello to Urbane Bronze—Sherwin Williams’ 2021 color of the year. Their selection is founded in the desire to create a sense of calm at home. Urbane Bronze helps to deliver the sense of a sanctuary at home, given its organic appeal. Use this color to give your home a relaxed feel by painting your trim or accent walls. Urbane Bronze pairs nicely with greys and modern greens.

 

Big Cypress

PPG has selected Big Cypress as part of their “Be Well” 2021 Palette of the Year. This ginger orange pairs well with cherry and mahogany woods, as well as touches of gold. Homeowners looking to create a soothing feeling without missing a sense of warmth can depend on Big Cypress to do the job. Another earthy tone, this color is the perfect choice to create what PPG calls a “huggable” room.

 

2020 has been a unique year, changing how we perceive and live in our homes. The new year presents an opportunity for a fresh start, so consider exploring these colors and trends to find the right combination for your home in 2021.

The post 2021 Paint Color Trends appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.

How to Increase Your Buying Power

One of the best ways prospective home buyers can empower themselves when purchasing a home is to improve their buying power. The numbers may seem daunting but identifying ways to strengthen your financial standing will help you each step of the way.

 

When visualizing your dream home, it’s common for buyers to focus on the physical characteristics. But to mortgage lenders, a home is a numbers game. The following categories related to your buying power demonstrate how lenders identify your financial standing and determine your eligibility for a home purchase. Improvements in these areas will increase your buying power, propelling the strength of your offer when you’re ready to put it on the table.

 

How to Increase Your Buying Power

 

Increase savings for your down payment

 

As the saying goes, cash is king. The down payment—often 20% of the home’s sale price—can sometimes be the deciding factor between competing offers for a particular home.

 

Try stashing away a little of each paycheck to build up your savings over time. Set a savings goal, commit a dedicated amount to each pay period, and watch the savings build as time goes on. If you prefer to keep your money separate, open a new account to which you can dedicate the added savings. Another way to save for your down payment is to generate additional income. If you have interest or experience in an area outside of your current job, explore opportunities for part-time work and dedicate the income earned to your down payment savings.

 

There are numerous benefits to offering a serious down payment. Putting 20% or more down can help your offer stand out, it may allow you to negotiate a lower interest rate on your mortgage and could remove the need for private mortgage insurance (PMI).

 

Improve your credit score

 

Plain and simple—a better credit score leads to better interest rate on your mortgage. Your payment history, amounts owed, length of credit history, credit mix, and new credit all factor into your credit score. Although improving it will not happen overnight, a higher credit score will pay dividends in the long run.

 

To improve your credit score, focus on paying down your credit cards, especially those with high interest. Refrain from opening new lines of credit that aren’t necessary and stay away from large purchases leading up to the time when you are preparing to make an offer. Keep in mind that student loans factor into your financial picture. Paying them off consistently will improve your financial standing in the eyes of lenders.

 

Stabilize your debt to increase buying power

 

When assessing what you can afford, banks will examine your debt-to-income ratio. Lenders want to know that you’ll be able to pay your mortgage on top of your remaining debt.

 

They do this by looking at your housing ratio, or front-end ratio, to determine what portion of your income will go to paying your mortgage. Your front-end ratio is calculated by taking your monthly mortgage payment and dividing by your monthly gross income. The higher the ratio, the higher risk of default.

 

Next, your back-end ratio, or debt-to-income ratio, is used to determine how much of your monthly income goes toward paying your debts. Your back-end ratio is calculated by taking your monthly debt expense (the principal, interest, taxes, and insurance of your mortgage payments, credit card payments, student loans, and any other loan payments), and dividing it by your gross monthly income.

 

Similar to your credit score, paying off credit cards, and making steady, consistent progress on your loans will help to decrease your debt and improve your debt-to-income ratios, which will increase your buying power.

 

Although these aspects of your finances don’t cover everything that goes into the purchase of a home, they do play a significant role in how lenders assess your financial standing and thereby eligibility for approval. Increasing your buying power takes time and strategy. Plan accordingly so that when you find your dream home, you’re in the best position possible to buy it.

The post How to Increase Your Buying Power appeared first on Windermere Real Estate.