The OmahaRealEstate.com Omaha Real Estate Blog

What to do Before Contacting a Realtor

When it comes time to buy or sell a home, you might think that your first step is to contact a real estate agent. But don’t be hasty! There are some key things that will make your real estate transaction smoother if you accomplish them before sitting down with your Realtor.

  1. Get pre-approved

The best thing you can do before meeting with a real estate agent is to get pre-approved. Sit down with a mortgage lender and run your numbers. They’ll determine what you are pre-approved for a mortgage which will be helpful when deciding on a budget. Many real estate agents won’t meet with clients until they are pre-approved, so accomplishing this step will be helpful in the long run.

  1. Decide on what you want

You don’t have to know exactly what you want when it comes to your new home,...

Til’ Debt Do Us Part: How to Get a Mortgage If One Spouse Has A Poor Credit Score

A poor credit history is a reality for many people, but it can be particularly daunting when it comes to investing in a house. Fortunately, simply because you or yours have experienced bad credit doesn’t mean that you should be penalized in the future. If your spouse has struggled with bad credit in the past but you’re both preparing to move forward and invest in a home, here are some tips for getting it together financially.

Face The Music

Many people who have bad credit are too scared to take a look at their credit report and broach it honestly, but it’s important to come to terms with the problem so that it can be fixed. Instead of ignoring it, get a copy of the credit report and review it for any errors so that you can update these if needed and be aware of the issues impacting your credit score. While there may not be any inaccuracies on the report, knowing what you’re dealing with will give you a point to start from.

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3 ‘Hidden’ Costs You’ll Uncover Buying Your First Home – and How to Plan for Them

Are you about to become a first-time home buyer? If so, there’s a lot to get excited about. You’ll soon be a home owner, able to customize and improve your living space as you see fit.

Of course, buying a home is an investment unlike any other. To get the best deal on your home, you’ll need to be diligent. Let’s have a look at some of the hidden costs you may uncover when buying your first home.

#1: The Home Inspection (And What It Finds)

A major step before buying any home is the inspection. A licensed inspector will go over the home from top to bottom, looking for current or future issues. The inspection itself isn’t very costly. But any unresolved issues that come up may lead to expensive problems later.

If possible, try to ensure that the seller pays for any necessary repairs. When you take possession of the home, it should be in top condition.

#2: Taxes And Fees You’ve Never Even Heard Of...

Your Debt-To-Income Ratio and How It Affects Your Mortgage

When you’re delving into the market in the hopes of finding your dream home, it’s likely you’ll come across the term debt-to-income ratio. This may not seem important at first, but your DTI is the key to determining the amount of money you can put into your home and just how much you should spend on a monthly basis. If you’re curious about what this means for you, here’s how to calculate it and how it can impact your mortgage.

What’s Your DTI Ratio?

One of the best ways to determine whether or not a home is affordable for you is to first calculate your DTI ratio. To get this amount, add up all of your monthly payments including any credit card, loan and mortgage payments, and divide this amount by your gross monthly income. The amount you get is your DTI percentage and this will help to determine how much your monthly payment should be.

What Does Your DTI Mean?

Your DTI percentage helps to determine...

How Young Is ‘Too Young’ to Buy Your First Home? Getting Started Early Has Its Ups and Downs

Many millennials are expected to enter the housing market in the next year with the interest rates still low. However, while it may be a good time, it does not necessarily mean that it’s the right time for you to make the investment. If you’re currently weighing your options when it comes to home ownership, here are some things to consider before you decide put the money down.

Are You Struggling With Student Debt?

It’s possible to invest in a home when you’re still paying down student debt, but if you’re also struggling with a low-paying job and a high debt load, it may not be the right time to buy. Instead of trying to make ends meet to pay a monthly mortgage payment, it might be a better decision to pay off some of your debt, lower your interest costs and consider investing later on. This will also enable you to afford more home when you decide the time is right to buy.

Do You Have A Down Payment?

It can...

Going Tankless: The Pros and Cons of Installing an Energy-efficient Tankless Water Heater

There are so many ways in which you can green up your home and make it more sustainable these days that many people are considering tankless water heaters. While this can certainly be the right option depending on the space you have and the type of water you use, here are some things to consider before you decide to invest in the switch.

Maximizing Your Space

One of the biggest issues with a traditional water heater is the amount of space it takes up, whether it’s a side closet or a closed-off area in the basement. Fortunately, one of the benefits of tankless water heaters is that they can be wall-mounted almost anywhere in your house so they won’t need their own separate space. The traditional water heater may be bulky and require an area of its own, but your tankless water heater will not have to work around the needs of the rest of the house!

Heating What’s Needed

While a traditional water heater stores water and will...

Five New Uses for WD-40

Yes, this miracle product does more than fix squeaky hinges on doors! Most of us have a can of WD-40 laying around the house, but don’t know some of the incredible things that it can do. Here are our five favorite uses for this product.

Five New Uses for WD-40 | CBSHOME

  1. Clean off chewing gum

Next time you have gum stuck to the bottom of your shoe, or heaven forbid, in someone’s hair, you can clean it off with a little bit of WD-40. Just spray the gum liberally and it should slide right out. No bad haircut necessary!

  1. Remove crayon from walls

Is your little artist getting a little carried away with their artwork? You can remove crayon from walls and other surfaces with WD-40!

  1. Wipe away stains

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Renovating on a Budget? Check Out These Equity-boosting Inexpensive Home Upgrades

The idea of embarking on home renovations may strike many homeowners as an expensive one, but there are plenty of ways that you can easily upgrade your home without spending a lot of money. If you’re looking for improvements that will truly (and frugally) improve the value of your home, here are a few do-it-yourself options you may want to consider.

Change The Lighting

There are few small fixes that will improve the look of your home like lighting, so one of the best things you can do for the overall look of your house is change out some of your bulbs. Instead of going for a light that will look dingy or orange, choose a tone that’s not too bright but will still illuminate your rooms and highlight their best features naturally. Much like a coat of paint, the right light can change everything about the way a visitor will view your home.

Consider A Cabinet Makeover

One of the most outdated features in a kitchen is the kitchen cabinets,...

Fun Omaha Events for March

3/01 – 6/04: Black Holes: Space Warps & Time Twists Exhibit | Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum

3/01 – 5/15: Nature Connects: Art with LEGO® Bricks | Lauritzen Gardens

3/03: First Friday at the Old Market | The Old Market – Omaha

3/03 – 4/2: Rock of Ages | Omaha Community Playhouse

3/03 – 3/05: Monster Jam | Mid-America Center – Council Bluffs

3/03 – 3/05: ...

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 27, 2017

Last week’s readings on new and existing home sales provided further evidence of strengthening housing markets. Both categories of home sales exceeded December’s readings. Consumer sentiment was lower in February than for January and average rates were mixed with fixed rates higher and the rate for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages lower. Consumer sentiment lower in February.

New and Previouslyowned Home Sales Higher in January

Home sales volume rose in January regardless of obstacles including higher mortgage rates and rising home prices. The National Association of Realtors® reported more sales of pre-owned homes in January. 5.69 million homes were sold on a seasonally-adjusted annual basis in January, which surpassed expectations of 5.57 million sales and December’s reading of 5.51 million sales of previously-owned homes.

New home sales also rose in January. 555,000 new home sales were reported, which fell short of 586,000 new...

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The 2017 Mortgage Rate Outlook: Here’s What the Experts Are Saying

The post-election period is often one of uncertainty, and the time since the 2016 election has been no different with regards to market force and the financial world. With a new administration taking office, there are many questions regarding how Donald Trump’s presidency will impact the market and your mortgage. If you’re wondering what the predictions are for the coming year, here are a few things the experts are considering.

An Increase In Rates

Due to an expected hike in rates by the Federal Reserve, it’s unlikely that potential homebuyers will be able to get the low interest rates of previous years. While higher rates are likely, the proposed tax plan and budget of Donald Trump may lead to increased inflation and could also have an impact on rates down the road. The low rates of previous years certainly made homeownership a more feasible option, but it’s still a good time to get into a home before they rise even more.

Less Red Tape...

Trying to Sell Your Home Without a Real Estate Agent Is a Big Mistake — Here’s Why

Whether you’re new to the real estate game or you’ve bought and sold a home before, there are many details involved in selling. It can be enticing to think about taking on the responsibility yourself and going it alone, but there are a number of reasons it’s wise to use a real estate agent. Before you make a decision on selling your home, ensure you consider all the details you’ll have to deal with.

Misunderstanding Of The Market

It’s entirely possible for a home seller to look at the MLS listings and determine a price range for their home, but the right real estate agent will have a wealth of knowledge to draw from. In all likelihood, they will be familiar with the neighborhood and may even have sold a few homes in it. This means they’ll be able to determine the right offer for your home and ensure it’s feasible on the market, which may mean a higher price and a shorter selling time.

It Takes Time

While a real...

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – February 13, 2017

Last week’s scheduled economic readings were limited and included new jobless claims and Freddie Mac’s mortgage rates survey. In other news, all types of mortgage applications rose by 2.30 percent this week as compared to the prior week.

Mortgage Rates Lower, Home Loan Applications Rise

Freddie Mac reported lower mortgage rates for fixed rate and 5/1 adjustable mortgages; the average rate for 30-year fixed rate mortgages dropped two basis points to 4.17 percent. Average rates for 15-year mortgages also dropped two basis points to 3.39 percent. 5/1 adjustable mortgage rates averaged 3.21 percent, which was also two basis points lower than the previous week. Discount points averaged 0.40 percent for the three types of mortgages tracked in Freddie Mac’s weekly Primary Mortgage Market Survey.

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, this small drop in mortgage rates caused all types of mortgage applications to rise by 2.30 percent on a seasonally-adjusted basis....

How to: Protect Your Pets from the Cold

Winter may be almost over, but that doesn’t mean that it still isn’t cold out! We know that we have to take care of ourselves in inclement weather, but we often forget about our furry friends. Here’s how to protect our pets from the cold until spring arrives.

How to: Protect Your Pets from the Cold | CBSHOME

  1. Don’t Leave Them Outside

When the temperatures are extremely cold, be kind to your animals and bring them inside. No matter how fluffy your pet’s coat is, after a while they will get cold. Try to limit your pet’s time outside to only bathroom breaks and a quick exercising playtime.

  1. Put Paw Balm on Their Feet

Consider purchasing a ...

Take the Plunge: Why Installing an In-ground Pool Will Boost Your Home’s Resale Value

Whether you’re planning to sell or not, if you can afford to upgrade your home it’s almost always worth it. But the question is: which renovations add value to your life, as well as your house? Let’s explore how adding an in-ground pool to your backyard can boost your home’s value.

The Ultimate In Functional Luxury

It’s true that there are many home upgrades that add a ton of value. Kitchen renovations, home solar panels and other long-term investments tend to pay off. But few are as luxurious and fun as installing your own in-ground pool.

Not only will you get to enjoy having a swim whenever you feel like it. But some studies show that having a pool improves your health and quality of life. Of course, you’ll actually need to use your pool to gain its benefits. But once you have one… why wouldn’t you?

A Huge Draw For Families

As you might imagine, in-ground pools are very popular with home buyers that have...

Worried About Future Mortgage Rate Increases? Here’s How to ‘Stress Test’ Your Finances

When it comes to real estate, there are always going to be upswings in the market that will have an impact on your mortgage payment and overall financial health. However, with a fluctuating market here to stay, you may be wondering how you can guard your biggest investment and your finances against rate increases. If you’re concerned about rates on the rise, here are a few tips to test out you’re fiscal well-being.

Calculate Your Debt-To-Income Ratio

It’s beneficial to determine your DTI ratio prior to purchasing a home, but since debt and housing costs are always fluctuating, calculating this number again can be a wakeup call. By adding up your monthly expenditures (including any debt), and dividing that number by your pre-tax income, you’ll be able to determine your DTI percentage. While it’s ideal to have a percentage of less than 28%, if your expenditures have risen above this number, it may be time to take a look at your monthly budget and see what you can cut...

Buyer’s Remorse: 3 Things You Should Never Say When You’re Negotiating to Buy a Home

The prospect of finding the home you’ve always dreamed of can be such an exciting prospect that it’s easy to forget all about the process of negotiating. However, it’s important to keep a few things to yourself when it comes to the art of making the deal. If you’re currently searching for the right place and are preparing to sign on the dotted line, here are a few phrases it’s best to avoid.

Declaring It Your Dream Home

There’s nothing wrong with finding the ideal home and getting enthusiastic about the prospect of owning it, but it’s very important not to say too much to the homeowner or the homeowner’s agent. While it’s certainly welcome to be a polite home viewer and mention some of the features you like, giving away too much will inform the homeowner of just how much leverage they have with you. This can mean they may request a higher price since they know how interested you are.

What You’re Willing To Pay

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