Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

Replace old kitchen cabinet hardware and gain an instant style update that’s simple to do and easy on the budget.

Like putting on a silk tie or diamond earrings, changing kitchen cabinet hardware is an easy way to freshen existing space without a lot of expense. Installing new knobs, pulls, and hinges is a project you can do in a weekend, too, once you’ve found cool replacements.

You’ll love the unlimited variety of shapes, sizes, and colors available: Every type of metal finish, colored glass, even hand-painted porcelain. You’ll find fun, custom-forged shapes—pulls that look like forks and spoons, or frogs, dogs, and even butterflies.

Expect to pay between $2 and $20 per knob or pull. For an average kitchen of 200 square feet with 30 lineal feet of cabinetry, you’ll need approximately 40 pulls/knobs, so you can expect to spend anywhere from $80 to $800.

Here’s what you need to know to dress up doors and drawers with new kitchen cabinet hardware.

Measuring for kitchen cabinet hardwareReplacing kitchen cabinet hardware is a job you can do yourself. But note there’s a wide range of sizes when it comes to the spans between screws on kitchen cabinet hardware. You’re in luck if your doors feature a knob with a single screw that secures to the door or drawer front, and you want to replace it with the same.

Otherwise, you’ll need to measure precisely the spread between screws. Use a measuring tape to measure from the center of one screw hole to the center of the other. Write the measurement down and count the number of pulls and/or knobs that you need. If you’re making your purchase at a home center, bring the handle and dimensions with you.

If you opt for handles that don’t match up with existing holes, fill holes with wood filler and camouflage the repair with fresh stain or paint. Or you can cover the fix with a backplate that fits behind the new handle.

Hinges can be trickyHinges can be difficult to switch out because there are so many different types and sizes. If your kitchen cabinet hinges match the finish on the new hardware or if the hinges are hidden anyway, you can keep the originals.

Otherwise, before removing all the hinges, remove just one and then shop around—online or at a home center—to make sure you can find one that will work for your installation.

Installation tips for kitchen cabinet hardwareIf you need to re-drill your cabinet drawers and doors, speed up the project either by making a jig or buying one. You can make a jig from scrap plywood following directions available online. Or purchase a plastic jig from a home center or online for about $7.

As you drill, keep the bit perpendicular to the door or drawer face. You can position an 8-inch tri-square next to your drill as a visual guide. If you’re inexperienced using a power drill, there are a number of drill guides available, starting at about $17.
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Jan Soults Walker wrote this copyrighted article that appeared on National Association of Realtors® web site and is used with permission. Nationally published home improvement writer Jan Soults Walker and her husband, Dave, once built a window seat with flanking bookcases into a kitchen. It remains one of their favorite storage projects to date.

Visit Houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.


Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Questions A Seller Needs To Ask – Himself

The real estate market is recovering. That said, market conditions still favor the buyer, and will for the foreseeable future. Every buyer needs a ready, willing and able seller or there is no transaction. Let’s examine a few questions a seller needs to consider before putting his house on the market. 

Why Do I Need To Sell – There is a reason why every property owner decides to sell a house. All the reasons boil down to two general categories. They either have to sell or they want to sell. There is some gray area too. This generally happens when a property owner wants to sell, buys something else and then realizes selling the present house is tougher and more challenging than originally anticipated. A seller that must sell a house within a specific and limited time frame is a highly motivated seller.

Is The House Ready To Sell – Are there any deferred maintenance issues? A room that needs painting or a dripping faucet seriously detracts on the buyer’s initial impression. A house that does not smell good, whether it be from tobacco, pets or human urine is at a distinct disadvantage when compared to the competition. Houses that appear small because of excessive clutter in rooms or closets do not bring top dollar.  A house that is dark because of insufficient lighting turns off many buyers.

It’s not so much the major remodeling jobs. Concentrate on paying attention to the little things mentioned above. They are the factors that separate and differentiate houses that sell and those that don’t.

Here is a special summer time tip for Mississippi homeowners. Are wasps building nests somewhere near or on the house, like a doorjamb that the seller seldom uses? Are there low hanging tree limbs? There is a simple way to tell if a tree limb is too low – if a person can touch a tree leaf, the branch needs pruning. Are shrubs encroaching on the sidewalk, or hiding most of the house? Some buyers form an opinion based only on curb appeal.

A seller only gets one chance to make a good first impression on a buyer. There is simply too much competition to alienate a buyer over preventable issues. If the seller will not make simple repairs, ask – Do I really need to sell now?

Am I Prepared For An Upside Down Situation – There are two phases to this question. Am I financially prepared for an upside down situation? Am I emotionally prepared for an upside down situation? Don’t automatically rule out an offer rather than negotiate about the dollar amount. Let’s provide an example.

Suppose a property owner had to move in a hurry to accept a job promotion that is 500 miles away. They listed the house to basically break even. An offer came in quickly at $10,000 below the list price. A seller could reject the offer. What is six months later a second offer came in at $15,000 below the list price? They moved 500 miles away and paying on a vacant house.

Here is another aspect. One spouse has a great job promotion. What if the other spouse had to accept a job demotion or under employment position? Carefully evaluate the best case and every possible worst case scenario in advance. Maybe that relocation is not so good after all. That helps answer the question “Do I really need to sell now?”

What Is The Marketing Plan – This is an often overlooked aspect to selling a house. The sole purpose of the marketing plan is so that a buyer finds the house and writes an acceptable offer.

The marketing plan may be to simply stick a sign in the front yard. There are instances when that works. Some sellers realize that selling a house is a complicated transaction.  Those sellers recognize their limitations. That is why they hire a real estate professional.

A REALTOR® finds ways to differentiate every house to make it very appealing. A REALTOR® has the ability to prepare a market analysis so the seller has a clear understanding of current market conditions. A REALTOR® has the training and experience to consummate complicated real estate transactions.

Any marketing plan must have a certain amount of reality. As an example, set an advertising budget. Does that budget favor newspaper or internet advertising (or both)? Does the marketing plan include only still photos, movies or a combination?

A seller without a clearly defined marketing plan or has a plan without measurable or achievable goals is probably does not need to sell his house.
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Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Factors That Do Not Determine The Fair Market Value

A property owner selling real estate faces an interesting and challenging dilemma. They want to maximize their profit yet set the price low enough to attract a buyer. Factors such as property condition, location, competition, the local and national economy, mortgage interest rates and motivation all come together to form the fair market value. Let’s briefly discuss factors that have no bearing on the fair market value.

Previous Purchase Price – This is by far the toughest concept for a seller to grasp, especially if the owner purchased the house five to ten years ago. That is when real estate market activity peaked. Those were the boom years. The fair market value for real estate was high.

What is the peak of anything? It’s the high point. So after the peak, any produce is lower than at the peak. The local real estate market is strengthening. Reread the last word. Strengthening does not mean the peak. It’s below the peak.

So real estate prices today reflect today’s fair market value, not the fair market value five or ten years ago.

Mortgage Pay Off – The buyer has really no regard for the amount of money the seller owes. Let’s use two examples to illustrate the point.

Let’s assume the current owner purchased the house in 2004 (ten years ago). He made a 20 percent down payment. He obtained a 15-year mortgage. This owner has already repaid about two-thirds of the mortgage. Remember the mortgage was for just 80 percent of the purchase price. So in reality, this owned has a pay-off that is well under a third of the original purchase price. They now have a tremendous amount of equity. All equity really means is the difference between the fair market value and the amount of the unpaid mortgage.

Let’s look at the reverse, because this is where most of the largest misconception. Again the current owner purchased the house in 2004 (ten years ago). This owner made a down-payment of five percent or less of the purchase price. Then this owner saw a commercial advertisement for a home equity line of credit for 125 percent of the purchase price. That is a huge mistake. They now have negative equity, commonly known as being upside down. This property owner must repay the debt before legally transferring ownership.

Preset Net Proceeds – How many times does a seller say, “I have to have $X so I can buy my next home.” Guess who doesn’t care? The buyer has zero concern for the seller’s future plans. The buyer has zero concern for seller’s bottom line.

The job of the listing agent is to represent the seller’s best interest. The job of the buyer’s agent is to represent the buyer’s best interest. This insures that everyone gets something they want.

If a seller has a concern about a specific dollar figure, it is best to talk plainly with the listing agent before putting the house on the market. But consider many different scenarios that include purchase price, seller concessions, closing date and so forth.

Improvements – Wise updating and modernization projects reap a good reward. Most kitchen and bathroom updates have a good return on investment. Let’s briefly consider some wise versus unwise improvements.

Before starting any project find out if comparably priced houses have that feature. Let’s use stereo surround sound as the specific feature. In some upscale subdivisions stereo surround sound is a standard feature. In low and middle income subdivisions, no one has stereo surround sound. Stereo surround sound is a wise improvement for the owner of a house in an upscale subdivision. Someone that installs stereo surround sound in a low or middle income subdivision house may not recoup the cost of that investment.

The House Next Door – Usually the best comparable houses are those that are nearest to the one on the market. Notice the word “usually.” Did the neighboring house sell in the last 60-90 days? Is the neighboring house maintained the same way? If the answer to both questions is “yes” then the sale price of a neighboring house is a reliable indicator.

Unfortunately there are no two pieces of identical real estate. Suppose the owner of the neighboring house failed to maintain it in prime conditions. It needs more than a fresh coat of paint. The kitchens and bathrooms date the house. In this case the house next door is not a good comparison. Be sure it’s an “apples to apples” comparison.

My Friend Know Best – Sometimes a family member, neighbor or friend has a layman’s opinion on the market value of a house. Realize what they are doing. They are telling you what you want to hear, which may or may not be accurate.

Talk to multiple real estate agents from different companies. Get their opinion on the market value. Can they back it up with facts and specific examples? If so, their opinion has higher credibility than a friend. Let each of those agents do something your friend cannot do. Let the agent explain the marketing plan to find the buyer at the price point.
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Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and  Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Purchase Price May Not Be The Purchase Price

Beware that houses selling for what seems like a bargain price might not be such a bargain. What looks like a great "deal" may really be a money pit. Let's discuss this.

Something For Nothing – Here is a real estate truth. Every seller wants top dollar. Every buyer wants a deal. There are times when a seller can actually make money by giving away a house. Buyers that use a dollar sign as the sole basis for buying a home are probably making a huge financial mistake. There's another old saying - "You get what you pay for."

Assume the house is selling for $50,000 but in need of major repairs. Assume the house requires $75,000 in repairs to make it inhabitable. Do not think of this house as a $50,000 purchase. The real cost of this house is $125,000 ($50,000 + $75,000).

Financing Options – Just because the house is priced at $50,000 does not mean it's a bargain. It may be in such bad repair no one can live in the house immediately. If the buyer wants to buy a fixer-upper, talk honestly about the overall goal with the REALTOR® and the mortgage lender. Listen to other alternatives that might be less expensive or less complicated.

Most mortgages require the buyer to be able to occupy the house immediately upon closing. A house needing repairs in excess of the purchase price may not appraise for that reason alone. It’s uninhabitable in its present condition. The job of the appraiser is to act as the eyes of the lender.

There are some mortgage packages available that allow a buyer to purchase a home needing repair. A Rehabilitation mortgage gives the buyer a certain amount of time to complete the repair. The purchase cost and repair costs become one loan at a very low interest rate.

Here is the problem for the buyer. We have a hypothetical house listing for $50,000. It needs $75,000 in repairs. That is a $125,000 house. Suppose the repairs take two months to complete. Where do you live for those two months? Weigh that against buying a house that is move-in ready today. The move-in ready house may cost less than $120,000. That means the $120,000 home is actually less expensive than the $50,000 home needing $75,000 in repairs.

Get Multiple Contracting Quotes – It is a common and unwise practice for buyers to estimate for themselves or have just one contractor to estimate the scope of work and the cost to repair a house.

Different people look at the same job in different ways. A buyer tries to minimize the repair cost. That could mean they ignore some major items. The easiest way to ignore a deficiency is by doing less than due diligence.

Suppose a buyer determined a house needed new floor covering. When they removed the existing covering they discovered a major structural deficiency hidden by that floor covering. That is an unpleasant and a complete surprise. The result is a repair cost that exceeds the original budget.

Get multiple licensed and bonded contractors to evaluate the house independently. Get written estimates.

I Can Do It Myself – Having basic home repairs skills is essential for homeowners. Sometimes major repair projects exceed basic skills. Compute other costs into the project.

One is the cost of tools. Perhaps one small project in the renovation is to install ceiling molding. What happens if you do not own a miter box? There is a cost involved in buying a miter box or renting one. Factor that amount into the rehabilitation project.

Someone possessing the technical ability and the tools might lack another very important item. It's time. No matter who you are, there are only 24 hours in a day. Working two jobs just to make ends meet might mean there is no time to complete the rehabilitation project, despite the technical ability and the tools.

Do not overlook another factor.  There are some repairs a homeowner cannot legally make. These mainly involve safety or building code repairs. Complicated projects such as heating and air-conditioning, plumbing or electrical work require a licensed repairman. Failure to hire licensed contractors could invalidate property insurance or even the mortgage itself. Talk to a lender beforehand to know the rules.

True Cost – Honestly evaluate every dollar sign in a repair project. Time is also money. Critically determine the most effective and least expensive option after talking to multiple professionals.
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Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Dog Days Of A Summer Weekend In Columbus, Mississippi

There are not a lot of days remaining to enjoy summer vacations. That explains why there are just a few activities in Columbus, Mississippi this weekend. Still, there are many different events here this weekend. Let’s take a peek and see what is happening.

Need some fresh vegetables? There is only one place to shop. Visit the Hitching Lot Farmers’ Market on the corner of Second Avenue North and 2nd Street. Local farmers sell the freshest tomatoes, peppers, squash, radishes, eggs, honey, fresh cut flowers, blackberries, blueberries and watermelons around. Plus there are baked goods and arts and crafts vendors. The Coffee House on 5th Street donates the coffee each Saturday morning for market shoppers. Try getting that from farmers selling along the roadside.

This Saturday is the annual bike parade. Also Melvin Mordecai performs classic Gospel and Praise music.  It’s a double treat. The market opens at 7:00 a.m. Saturday. It is also open after work on Monday and before work on Thursday.

The bike parade is one of two activities for the bicycles this weekend. Our good friends at Columbus Fire and Rescue have their summer bike safety session at Riverwalk Park Saturday starting at 8:00 a.m. Biking with your children is an ideal way to teach and practice bicycle safety skills, plus spend quality time with the children while getting great exercise too.
 
How about some lunch? The Golden Triangle Boys and Girls Club, Heroines of Jericho Court 405 and BGC Parents Advisory Council have a lunch time fish fry fund raiser on Saturday starting at 11:00 a.m. Choose from either pan trout or Southern style catfish plates. Stop by the BGC parking lot at 1815 14th Avenue North

What about Saturday night? What is going on? There are three events. One is a fund-raiser at the Princess Theater located on 5th Street South, between College Street and Third Avenue. All proceeds from the evening benefit the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society. The Princess was once a theater. Today it is a great restaurant and night spot to meet with friends over a beverage in the heart of the business district. The Princess always has live entertainment and a game room.

Gene Robertson and the Echo’s perform at the Community Center on Stadium Road in New Hope starting at 7:00 p.m.  Enjoy some great Country and Western dance music in a family setting.

Watch racers compete for the 11th Annual Governor’s Cup at the Magnolia Motor Speedway Saturday night. Besides the honor of winning the Governor’s cup, the Southern All Stars Super Late Models battle for a $4,000-to-win prize in the main event. Also on the evening's card are NeSmith Late Models, Street Stocks and Mini Stocks. The driver’s meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. with racing an hour later. There is open practice on Friday starting at 7:00 p.m.

Anyone have a housing need this weekend? Please make a private preview appointment least 24-hours in advance. Your REALTOR® knows how to do that.
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Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Choosing an Exterior Door

You should understand the pros and cons of steel, fiberglass, and wood exterior doors before choosing the one that’s right for you.

Replacing your front door can pay for itself by increasing your home’s value. In fact, installing a steel door is the No. 1 home improvement project with a 96.6% return on investment, according “Remodeling” magazine’s annual “Cost vs Value Report.”


What’s more, if you choose an energy-efficient exterior door, you may trim up to 10% off your energy bills. (With utility bills averaging $2,200 annually, that’s a savings of as much as $220.)

But how do you know which door is right for you? Make your decision by comparing the three main materials available for exterior doors: steel, fiberglass, and wood.

SteelIf you’re looking to save money, a steel door may be a good choice, particularly if you have the skills to hang it yourself. A simple, unadorned steel door can sell for as little as $150 (not including hardware, lock set, paint, or labor) and typically runs as much as $400 at big-box retailers. Steel offers the strongest barrier against intruders, although its advantage over fiberglass and wood in this area is slight.

Still, the attractive cost of a steel door comes with an important caveat: Its typical life span under duress is shorter than both fiberglass and wood. A steel door exposed to salt air or heavy rains may last only five to seven years. Despite steel’s reputation for toughness, it actually didn’t perform well in “Consumer Report’s” testing against wood and fiberglass for normal wear and tear.

With heavy use, it may dent, and the damage can be difficult and expensive to repair. If your door will be heavily exposed to traffic or the elements, you may be better off choosing a different material.


FiberglassFiberglass doors come in an immense variety of styles, many of which accurately mimic the look of real wood. And if limited upkeep is your ideal, fiberglass may be your best bet.

Fiberglass doesn’t expand or contract appreciably as the weather changes. Therefore, in a reasonably protected location, a fiberglass entry door can go for years without needing a paint or stain touch-up and can last 15 to 20 years. Although it feels light to the touch, fiberglass has a very stout coating that’s difficult for an intruder to breach; and its foam core offers considerable insulation.

Fiberglass generally falls between steel and wood in price; models sold at big-box stores range from about $150 to $600. “Remodeling” magazine lists the cost of a fiberglass entry-door replacement project at around $2,800. Although a fiberglass door doesn’t generate as high a return as a steel door, it recoups about 71% in home value.

WoodWood is considered the go-to choice for high-end projects; its luxe look and substantial weight can’t be flawlessly duplicated by fiberglass or steel — though high-end fiberglass products are getting close. If your home calls for a stunning entry statement with a handcrafted touch, wood may be the best material for you.

Wood is usually the most expensive choice of the three — roughly $500 to $2,000, excluding custom jobs — and requires the most maintenance, although it’s easier to repair scratches on a wood door than dents in steel or fiberglass. Wood doors should be repainted or refinished every year or two to prevent splitting and warping. (“Remodeling” magazine’s “Cost vs Value Report” doesn’t include a wood entry-door replacement project.)

If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of your door as well as its energy efficiency, you can purchase a solid wood door certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which assures you that the wood was sustainably grown and harvested.

Tracing the environmental impact of a particular door — from manufacturing process to shipping distance to how much recycled/recyclable content it contains — is quite complicated and probably beyond the ken of the average homeowner, notes LEED-certified green designer Victoria Schomer. But FSC-certified wood and an Energy Star rating are an excellent start.

A final note on choosing a door based on energy efficiency: Because efficiency depends on a number of factors besides the material a door is made of — including its framework and whether it has windows — look for the Energy Star label to help you compare doors.

Related:
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Karin Beuerlein wrote this copyrighted article that appeared on National Association of Realtors® web site and is used with permission. She has covered home improvement and green living topics for HGTV.com, FineLiving.com, and FrontDoor.com. She has also written for dozens of national and regional publications in more than a decade of freelancing.

Visit Houselogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.


Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Meaning Of Low Mortgage Interest Rates

Conditions for buying a home seldom reach the present market conditions. Mortgage interest rates for an FHA loan are under 4 percent. Money is very affordable to borrow. There is a large supply of houses available for sale. Serious sellers negotiate with pre-approved buyers. But there is a question many real estate and mortgage professionals ask. Why do some prospective buyers remain on the sideline? Why are they unwilling to pull the trigger and contact a REALTOR® or even visit with a mortgage lender? Let’s consider some facts.

History – In 2009 and 2010 there was a program that offered a tax credit to first time homebuyers. At that time most lenders offered a 5½ percent fixed interest rate for 30 years.  A person that purchased a $100,000 home then probably has a $548 monthly mortgage payment, before adding taxes and insurance.

Today’s home buyer has a 3¾ percent fixed interest rate for the same 30-year period. A comparable $100,000 home today has a $463 a month payment. That is an $85 a month savings. Today, there are nearly 60 houses in Lowndes County priced between $85,000 and $115,000.

Let’s slice the pie another way but with the same results. Let’s look at a $175,000 house. In 2008 a household needed a $36,500 annual income to buy that house. Today, the qualifying income is about $30,000, because of the lower interest rates.  Once again, there are about than 40 houses in Lowndes County priced between $155,000 and $175,000.

Fact versus Fact – There is one final way to analyze these numbers.  There is house within a two minute drive of most the heart of the Columbus retail and restaurant district. This particular home has a tenant paying $1200 a month with a two year lease. The tenant did not want to buy the house.

The tenant could have purchased it and paid under $900 a month, which includes taxes and insurance. They are voluntarily spending $300 a month extra each month. Meanwhile the property owners continue building equity in their house and realize a positive cash flow because of the difference in the mortgage payment versus the rent payment. That is how money works to build wealth in real estate.

Obstacles To Buying – There are some obstacles to buying a home. One of those is having enough money for a down payment. There are solutions such as a no down payment mortgage or obtaining down payment assistance with an almost miniscule down payment.

Another obstacle is a low credit score. The first step seems to be the toughest. That seemingly tough step is really a four-letter word – FEAR. Many refuse to face reality. They fear the reality of knowing their credit score.

There is an easy way to improve a credit score. Start paying your bills on time. No excuses. Pay your bills on time. That in itself will raise a credit score. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.

An unacceptable income to debt ratio is another obstacle. There is good news to overcoming this obstacle. As a potential borrower faithfully repays existing debt, the debt itself gets smaller. That improves the debt-to-income ratio.  Again there is no overnight fix, but it will happen.

I personally sold houses to people that did the hard work described above. It took some more than two years before obtaining a pre-approval letter. In every instance, the house they eventually purchased far exceeded the features of the house they first inquired about and previewed. Those are the first people to tell anyone that the reward far exceeds the work and the wait.

The Solution – Take action. It’s simple. Pick up a phone and contact your REALTOR®. Get the facts about the benefits of home ownership versus renting. There are multiple tax advantages in addition to the real cash savings each month.

Then visit a local bank for mortgage pre-approval. Mortgage pre-approval does a lot more than set the financial limit for your purchase. You have the assurance that when you find the house you’ve always wanted, you have the money available to buy it.

Home ownership is achieving the American Dream. Make the dream become real. Turn realty into reality. The time is more than right. It’s perfect.
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Andy Kalinowski is a REALTOR®, an Accredited Buyer’s Representative®, a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource® and a Military Relocation Professional with CENTURY 21 Doris Hardy and Associates, LLC in Columbus, Mississippi. He has a Mississippi Real Estate license. Andy is also a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Contact him by cell (or text) phone – 662.549.3421 or by e-mail – andyk@dorishardy.com.  He is also available for web video chat.