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How to Qualify for a Mortgage in Today's Credit Crunch

by The Mike Parker Team

There may have never been a better time to buy a home than right now. Earlier this month, interest rates dropped again -- the average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages decreased to 4.79% from 4.93%, according to -- and there is still plenty of inventory, keeping home prices relatively low in our area.

Those positive factors, however, are often offset by tighter lending standards, causing many to shy away from applying for a mortgage. As a Member of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®, however, I have learned that it really boils down to four main factors that will impact a lender's decision:

  • Your ability to make a downpayment - usually between 3% and 20% of the purchase price -- of course, the larger the downpayment, the better your odds of securing the mortgage.
  • Two years of steady employment - at the same job or in the same field.
  • Good (but not necessarily perfect) credit score - these days, around 660 may do it.
  • Monthly income between two and three times the estimated monthly mortgage payment.

I have had many clients, however, who have qualified for a mortgage without completely meeting the above criteria ... so don't rule yourself out too soon. There are several other steps you can take to secure a mortgage, such as these ideas from BusinessWeek:

  • Meet with a lender anyway. You may find out that you qualify after all, and if not, the lender can tell you exactly which areas to focus on in order to qualify in the near future.
  • Ask your real estate agent if they work with a particular lender or mortgage broker. An experienced agent works with many lenders and may even offer in-house mortgage services.
  • Get a co-signer. This isn't easy, because if you default on a loan, the co-signer will be responsible for paying it. But if you know someone with good credit who has great faith in your ability to pay, a co-signer could be a workable option.
  • Plan for the future. If it turns out you cannot qualify for a home loan right now, have your real estate agent help you map out a plan for improving your credit qualifications over the coming months. If you make homeownership a serious goal, you should be able to qualify in the not-too-distant future.

For more information about applying for a mortgage, please feel free to contact me. And be sure to share this email with family and friends who might also be considering a home purchase -- this market is just too good to miss out on!

Top 5 Tips for Tackling Home Improvement Projects

by The Mike Parker Team

In the do-it-yourself age we live in, many homeowners are ready and willing to take on home-improvement projects themselves. But while you may be ready and willing, the real question is, are you really "able?"

I have access to many great home-improvement resources thanks to being part of the Top 5 in Real Estate Network®. The following advice comes from HGTV's Carter Oosterhouse. Heed these suggestions before you embark on your next project:

  1. Focus on projects that will pay you back. For example, if you're dealing with hot or cold weather, try to lower heating and cooling bills by properly sealing your home. Look for drafts around windows, doors, and vents,and then use caulk or weather stripping to seal them. It may not be glamorous, but it will pay you back down the road.
  2. Know where to start. If you have never taken on a major project, start with spaces such as the living room, spare bedroom, or the garage -- rooms that won't limit your ability to function, says Oosterhouse.
  3. Closet reorganization. Many times, people have maxed out their closet and have no more room to add, let alone organize. That's when it’s time to evaluate. Donate clothes you no longer wear to a charity, store seasonal attire in a separate location, and separate his from hers.
  4. Break down a big project. Planning is essential. As Oosterhouse says, if you think you can just start up any big job without a plan, then you are in for a world of frustration. Know your capabilities and limitations.
  5. Know where the biggest ROI is. The improvements that will most add to the value of your home include, the kitchen, the master bedroom and bathroom. These can boost your resale value and attract buyers who want a space that’s move-in ready.

These are just some of many great suggestions for tackling home improvement projects. Feel free to contact me for more ideas and please forward this email on to your fellow DIY-ers!

Displaying blog entries 1-2 of 2




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Photo of Mike Parker - CRS Real Estate
Mike Parker - CRS
HUFF Realty
60 Cavalier Blvd.
Florence KY 41042