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Mortgages 101: Everything You Need to Know About This Home Buying Process

Purchasing a home is an exciting process. However, it can be intimidating when you consider all the decisions and details leading up to closing day. 

We want to help make the process just a little easier. To do so, we put together some of the most frequently asked questions about mortgages and the mortgage process – a Mortgage 101, if you will. By the end of this blog, you’ll be even closer to getting your dream home!

  1. How do I start the mortgage process?

Before submitting your mortgage application, you’ll need to have an idea of the type of mortgage loan you want, ensure your credit report is error-free, choose your lender, get pre-approved, and assemble your loan paperwork. 

If that sounds like a lot — just hold tight. We are going to break each of these down further in the following questions. 

  1. How do I know which type of mortgage loan is right for me?

There are many types of mortgages available to choose from based on requirements, interest rates, and availability. Some of the most common are conventional mortgages, government-insured mortgages, fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, and jumbo mortgages. 

To help you get an idea of the mortgage that’s right for you, we wrote a blog on each of these types (and more!) and broke them down into their characteristics and benefits. Read about them here!

  1. Can I get a mortgage loan without a credit score?

It is more challenging to get a mortgage loan without a credit score, but it’s not impossible. As we mentioned in the previous question, you can get an FHA loan with low or no credit. However, this can incur greater costs in the long run with fees and insurance. 

If you don’t have a credit score — the best process for you is finding a lender who does manual underwriting. Manual underwriting is a hands-on process that reviews your proof of income, rental history, and other documents to evaluate your ability to pay debts. In addition to documentation, you’ll need to have a sizable downpayment (20% if possible), allowing you to get a mortgage loan — suggest going for the 15-year conventional. 

  1. How should I choose a mortgage lender?

First and foremost, do your research. What are your options? Should you check out a credit union, mortgage banker, or smaller financial institution?

Come with the right questions. The more you know beforehand, the more you are positioned to ask the relevant questions to help you make your decisions. This guide can help! Start by figuring out what type of loan(s) you are interested in and what you can afford. 

  1. What is pre-approval? How do I get pre-approved?

A pre-approval determines how much money you can borrow to purchase your home. Lenders will analyze your income, assets, and credit score to determine the type of loan you can get approved for, how much you can borrow, and what the interest rate will be. 

Pre-approval is a practical step in the mortgage process, as you can show sellers that a lender is willing to loan you the money. It makes the searching process more straightforward and can make your offer on a home stronger. 

  1. Are pre-qualification and pre-approval the same?

While they ultimately aim to reach the same goal, a pre-qualification is not as accurate as a pre-approval because it is less in-depth. A prequalification is more of an estimate because you do not have to provide as much information, such as your credit report. However, both are beneficial in giving insight into your loan opportunities. 

  1. What information should I have available when applying for a loan?

You’re getting closer and closer to locking down that mortgage loan! First, you’ll need to submit the official mortgage application through your lender. You’ll also need your ID, proof of income, tax returns, bank statements, retirement or investment account statements, rent history, credit report, and possibly a few others if specified by your lender. You may even have most of these nearby if you have gone through the pre-approval process! 

  1. Do I need to do a home appraisal and inspection? Why?

Yes! Lenders require a home appraisal before issuing a mortgage. Although it’s a worst-case scenario, they want to make sure the home is valued high enough to recover the cost of the loan if the buyer defaults on the mortgage. 

Inspections, however, are optional — but highly beneficial. It can often be the deciding factor in finding the home right for you. Here are 10 things buyers should know about home inspections!

  1. What homes can I afford, and what will my mortgage payments cost?

One of the most important factors to consider before beginning the search for a new home is your budget. You have to consider the down payment necessary for your new home and the monthly cost of the mortgage. Your mortgage payment is affected by a few factors, including your credit, DTI (debt-to-income ratio), and current assets. It also depends on how many years you want to spread the payment over. 

Once you have an idea of how much your home will cost, try our mortgage calculator! It will provide a helpful estimate of what your mortgage payment will be each month. 

  1. What does a lender look for when approving my mortgage loan?

As we have mentioned, your mortgage loan approval is affected significantly by your credit history, debt-to-income ratio, and current assets. When checking your credit history, lenders will look for:

  • Few to no recent credit applications
  • Positive payment history
  • Credit utilization (only using around 30% of your credit limit at once)
  • Being an authorized user on another account (their activity can reflect your credit)
  • Bankruptcies or other negative marks (delinquent account, charge-offs, etc.)

In addition to making sure you have a stable income, your lender will also assess how much of your current income goes to pay off debts. If this is a significant amount, the lender may determine that you are not well-suited to take on more debt, or your interest rate may be higher. 

Lastly, lenders will often want to see any bank statements or investments, as high-value assets will reflect positively on your ability to make a sizable down payment or pay your mortgage on time each month. 

Bonus Question: Can I Start Now?

Absolutely! At MortgageRight, we help people like you find the mortgage that’s right for you by securing your pre-approval letter and low rates. To start your home buying journey today, head over to our home page and click the quote or pre-approval button in the top right-hand corner. Just a few clicks will get you that much closer to the long-awaited move-in day! Do you have a question that’s not on this list? Feel free to email us at or give us a call at (205) 776-8401, and we will be happy to answer it for you!

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Which Type of Mortgage Loan Is Right For Me?

Getting a mortgage loan can be a daunting task. However, the greater understanding you have about these loans as you begin your home buying journey, the easier it will be. 

There are many types of mortgages available to choose from. They differ based on requirements, interest rates, and availability. In this blog, we list the most common types of mortgage loans, and for which type each homebuyer is best suited. 

Conventional Mortgages 

Conventional mortgages are home loans not insured by the federal government. This type is best suited for borrowers who have a strong credit score, stable employment history, and can make a down payment of at least 3% of the home’s cost. 

Read more about conventional mortgage loans here!

Government-Insured Mortgages

Although not a mortgage lender itself, three government agencies back mortgages: the Federal Housing Administration (FHA loans), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA loans), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA loans). 

  • FHA Loans are for borrowers who don’t have a large down payment saved up and do not have the highest credit. 
  • USDA Loans are for moderate and low-income borrowers. Borrowers must purchase a home in a USDA-eligible area but often are not required to make a down payment.
  • VA Loans are flexible, low-interest loans for those serving in the military, both active duty and veterans. These do not require a down payment. 

Fixed-Rate Mortgages 

As per the name, these mortgages keep the same interest rate over the life of your loan. They also provide a consistent monthly payment on your mortgage and come in 15-year, 20-year, or 30-year loans. 

Adjustable-Rate Mortgages

Adjustable-rate mortgages have flexible interest rates that change with market conditions. These come with a certain level of risk but are beneficial if the home is temporary. 

Jumbo Mortgages 

Jumbo mortgages are for when the home price exceeds the federal loan limits. These are best suited for affluent buyers with good credit, a high income, and who can offer a substantial down payment. 

Read more about jumbo mortgage loans here!

Making Mortgages Easy

If you have more questions about mortgages, don’t worry! We put together this helpful guide featuring frequently asked questions and their answers. Check out the blog here! 

We are in the business of ‘lending as it should be’! Check out our home page to get a quote or pre-approval letter, or email us at for any questions. 

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What Is Your Next Big Investment? These Budgeting Tips Will Help Make It Happen.

Budgeting seems such a daunting task. We start with our monthly income, then start carving it up into smaller and smaller pieces as we subtract expenses. Take another look, and you just might realize the process is really an empowering experience.  

That’s because budgeting gives us something akin to superpowers in helping us reach our goals. That said, we offer the following ideas on how to set up a budget, as well as a few tips on how to tackle debt, pay bills on time, and boost your credit score.  

What Is Your Budget?

In its most basic sense, a budget is your income after taxes, minus all your monthly expenses. Some of the costs you want to be sure to account for are:

  • Mortgage (or rent, if you’ve yet to purchase your first home)
  • Utilities
  • Insurance (health, life, car, etc.)
  • Groceries
  • Phone bill
  • School/Childcare
  • Subscription services (lawn care, cable, gym memberships, etc.)
  • Vehicle (payments, maintenance, and gas)
  • In addition to making automobile payments, consider adding line items to pay down other debt (see below).
  • Lastly, if at all possible, add a line item for savings. This could be for unforeseen expenses, as well as for things like gifts, a child’s college fund, and retirement.

Write out your budget, and most importantly, track it. Your budget will probably change slightly from month to month, but it will still provide a good overview of your expenditures. Tracking allows you to analyze and make changes if needed in the future. 

Minimize Your Debt

Prioritize paying off any outstanding debt by including it in your budget as a “necessary” expense. While you can still buy a house if you have outstanding debt, eliminating or reducing it will allow you to do any number of things, not the least of which is raise your credit score and help you in the home loan approval process. 

Set Up Automatic Bill Pay

Late fees are the worst — especially when they’re the result of an unfortunate mix up about a due date or just plain old, ordinary forgetfulness. Automatic bill pay can help eliminate such mistakes by paying your bills on a schedule that you set up. 

One suggestion, however – before your start auto-pay, make sure your budgeting work doesn’t need adjustments by tracking it for a few months. A simple error in math or a forgotten bill could result in those very late fees you’re trying to avoid. For extra assurance, you might also set reminders for due dates, even with auto-pay, to remember how much money will come out of your account and when. 

Keep Yourself Accountable

It can be easy to lose sight of your budget goal if you’re the only one responsible for it. Share your expectations with a spouse, friend, or family member who is willing to check-in and make sure you’re on track. Let them know where you plan to cut back and ask them to help hold you to it. 

Set benchmarks for each month! Determine how much you want to save and celebrate each success along the way to your goal. You’ll soon realize your new home, special occasion/holiday gift, or home improvement project is within reach … 

Reach Your Goal With MortgageRight!

Whether you’re looking to purchase a new home or refinance your current home, MortgageRight is lending as it should be. We can help you apply your budget to a low-rate mortgage that is right for you. 

To learn more about how we can help you plan for tomorrow – including that all-important step of getting pre-approved — give us a call at 205-776-8401!

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What Does This Market Analysis Say About Mortgage Rates?

Mortgage rates are down, which can be an incentive for those looking to purchase or refinance a home. In fact, they’re some of the lowest rates we’ve seen in years! We talked to our resident expert employee, Jeff Angew, who provided some insight into how the current climate has impacted these opportunities for homeowners and homebuyers. 

Why Have Mortgage Rates Fallen?

With the onset of COVID-19 in March, part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was to allow consumers to skip or lower mortgage payments for up to six months, a concept called mortgage forbearance. While beneficial for consumers, this component of the CARES Act incited something close to panic in the mortgage market. 

Because many in the market believed that a reduction in mortgage payments meant a significantly lower return for investors, mortgage rates began to skyrocket and investors in mortgage-backed securities began to exit the space. 

Enter the Federal Reserve, which, to help financial markets, lowered the federal funds rate to 0%-.25%, causing interest to fall significantly. However, this still did not help liquidity in the markets. 

In April, the Federal Reserve again stepped in, this time to purchase mortgage-backed securities; thus, causing them to be the largest holder of these securities and return a level of security to the market. This resulted in the lowest rates seen in the mortgage market to-date, causing something of a refinance boom. 

What are the Current Rates?

The current 30-year rate, as reported by Bankrate, is at 3.08%. The last time it was this low was in September 2016, at 3.32%. 

Learn more about the rates and APR in your state here

What Will Future Mortgage Rates Look Like?

The Federal Reserve plans to keep the federal funds rate at or near 0% through 2021 and will continue to purchase mortgage-backed securities. However, the presidential election in November could cause a change in the market, depending on who is elected. 

Currently, there are an estimated 19 million highly qualified refinance candidates who could lower their rate by at least .75%, adding to the strain on mortgage originators and causing rates to stay in this range. 

How Can You Take Advantage of These Low Rates!

While these rates are near historic lows, they won’t last forever. Whether you’re looking to purchase a house or refinance your current home, we’re here to help! Call us at 205.776.8401 to lock in your low rate today!

If you’re ready for a quote or a pre-approval, click the buttons in the top right corner of our home page

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Buying a Vacation Property? What to Consider When Investing in Your Home-Away-From-Home.

As the number of people purchasing vacation homes is on the rise – many a result of the social limitations caused by the coronavirus pandemic – we offer this helpful guide for those looking to buy a getaway property of their very own. 

Benefits of a Vacation Home

If you’re a frequent traveler and enjoy escaping to one very special spot each year, investing in a vacation home can save you money in the long run. Even better, properties in popular vacation areas often increase in value over time. 

Making such a purchase all the more attractive, you may also be eligible for a tax break from the mortgage on your second home. 

And should you choose to move when you retire, your vacation home could become your primary residence in that special location you already know and love. 

Simply put, vacation homes are a great idea. But what should you consider before investing in one? 

What’s Your Budget?

We aren’t saying it’s all about the money, but, of course, the cost of a second home is one of the most important factors to consider. In addition to a second mortgage, you will also need to factor in the cost of taxes, insurance, utilities, possible HOA fees, and furnishings for the home. 

And that’s just the beginning. As you maintain your vacation home, you may want to consider how it will be cared for when you’re away. Will you need landscaping services? Will you want a security system to protect your unattended home? And don’t forget the cost of traveling there and back. 

While these costs aren’t supposed to discourage you from investing in a vacation home, they are essential considerations when looking for the home that’s right for you and your budget. 

To get a better idea of what your payments will look like, check out our mortgage calculator

Where Do You Want to Rest and Relax?

Location is another essential part of finding the perfect vacation home. Where do you picture yourself escaping for a week away? Where do you want to spend your weekends? You may love the beach, or the city, or the mountains, but do you like that locale enough to spend the majority of your vacations there? You want to choose a place that won’t lose its appeal after a visit or two. 

The second consideration with the location regards distance – in addition to how much it costs to get there, consider travel time. You may choose a vacation home in your DREAM location, but if it takes a half day’s drive to get there, or you need to catch a flight every time you want to visit, then you may not end up spending as much time there as you intended. So, the takeaway here? Decide on a getaway that’s not too far from home!

Is Rental Income a Must?

Many people consider buying a vacation home and then look to rent it out when they aren’t using it. While renting can bring in extra income, it does offer a few challenges. For instance, sometimes renting out your property can have implications for financing and taxes, or homeowner associations may have rules and limitations for renters. 

Also, if you plan to occupy the home during the typical vacation months, consider that there may be fewer available renters during the “off-season.” Renting your property also comes with additional considerations, like how to advertise and who will take care of any significant issues that occur while guests are present. 

If consistent rental income is a must, then do your research on what to expect given your budget and vacation schedule. 

Finding the Vacation Home That’s Right for You

Purchasing a vacation property is an exciting venture, and the professionals at MortgageRight are dedicated to making the home-buying process an easy one – whether it’s for your primary residence or that perfect vacation getaway. Whether you’ve just started looking or you’re ready for a quote, we can help!

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Buying a Home? 10 Things You Should Know About a Home Inspection

Home inspections can be intimidating. While the seller is worried about unexpected issues, the buyer is worried that these issues may make their dream home not so “dreamy.” But worry not! We talked to expert home inspectors to gather tips on how to ensure your home inspection is a success. Read more from a home inspector’s perspective on this recent post from guest blogger and Certified Home Inspector, George Sadwoski.

1. Inspections Are Optional

Home inspections are not a requirement. However, having one can give you greater insight into issues you may not have considered. Sometimes, an inspection can even be the deciding factor for whether the home is right for you.

2. Find the Right Home Inspector

Home inspectors examine the property and inform you of potential issues. As the homebuyer, choosing the home inspector is your decision. Your real estate agent can be the best resource, but make sure the inspector’s company is insured and does not also sell home repair services, as that may present a conflict of interest.

3. Benefits Outweigh the Costs

Most home inspections will cost you a few hundred dollars. While you can compare the costs between different inspection companies, purchasing a home is a major investment  so making sure you have a thorough and expert inspector may be worth a higher price.

4. Bring a Notepad, Pen, and Camera

Attend the inspection, even though it’s optional. Not only can you hear the insight firsthand, but you’ll be able to ask questions on anything you are unsure about. You also have the opportunity to make notes on areas that you would like to focus on after buying your home.

5. Not Everything Is Included

Since every property is different, each home inspection varies slightly. Generally, as suggested by the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), qualified inspectors will check the home’s:

  • Foundation and structural components
  • Basement, attic, and insulation
  • Heating and cooling system
  • Interior electrical system
  • Interior plumbing system
  • Condition of windows, doors, door frames, walls, and floors

Additional structures (ex. sheds), inside the walls, chimneys, and roofs are not always included in the home inspection.

6. Ask About the Roof

Many home inspections do not include checking the roof, sometimes due to its height and steepness, or bad weather conditions. However, it is worth the extra time and money to hire a certified roof inspector. One-third of real estate inspection claims and almost 40% of homeowner’s insurance claims relate to problems with the roof.

7. Asbestos? No Thank You

If you are purchasing a home that was built before 1980, you want to have it checked for asbestos. Checking for that, as well as radon, lead paint, and other hazards will likely need to be done by a specialized inspector, or may come at an additional cost. Even if your home is newer, checking for these hazards is a smart preventative measure.

8. Get an Inspection Report

After the inspection, the home inspector is required to provide you with a report. In this report, they should detail their findings from the walkthrough and provide any relevant photos. Review the report to make sure you have a good understanding of the home.

9. Negotiate, Reasonably

Because you have made an offer on the house but have not yet closed the deal, you can use findings from the home inspection to negotiate. You can request the seller have the repairs done, or can ask for a price reduction and do them yourself. Make sure to highlight the main issues, and aim for what is fair for both parties.

10. Don’t Be Afraid to Walk Away

If you aren’t satisfied with the results, do not feel pressured to close on a home that’s not right for you. Officially, the seller has the right to refuse to make any repairs. If they refuse or you are unsatisfied with the deal, you can rescind your offer on the home.

Whether it is your first home or your fifth, homebuying is an exciting process. Home inspections are just one important part of this journey. No matter what surprises were thrown in along the way, we want to make sure you’re ready for your home inspection, so your home is ready for you.

Got questions about matters involved in purchasing a home? We can help. Contact us at or call 205-776-8401.


Celebrating MortgageRight’s 15th Anniversary

On July 29, 2020, MortgageRight celebrates its 15th Anniversary as a company! As we approach this milestone, we wanted to take some time and reflect on fifteen years of growth and amazing support from the communities we serve. 

TJC Mortgage, Founded in 2005

In the summer of 2005, three friends created a local business focused on making the mortgage process faster, more efficient, and as easy as possible for homebuyers in Birmingham, AL. Tanner Allen, Joe Meadow, and Chris Carter combined their industry expertise and work ethic to build TJC Mortgage. The Birmingham community welcomed TJC with open arms and helped the company grow, encouraging these partners to seek out what was next for the company. 

Introducing Mortgage Right

Fast-forward to 2018, after opening more offices in the southeast, the TJC Mortgage team saw the opportunity to take the company a step further. Based on our desire to establish a national appeal for the company, we changed the company name to MortgageRight and launched a new brand. With this new name and the same exceptional service, MortgageRight continued to grow, adding new markets and customers. 

Just 2 Years Later. . . 

MortgageRight now has 30 branches with licenses in 34 states. One of our most significant accomplishments is helping 3,989 veterans access resources and programs to pursue the dream of homeownership since 2014. Joe Meadow, a veteran who served our country as a US Army paratrooper in Iraq, has spearheaded this effort based on his passion for helping soldiers acclimate back into society.

Thank You

We are filled with gratitude when we consider how far we have come over the last 15 years. We couldn’t have traveled this remarkable path from our first branch in Birmingham to a nationally recognized business without our incredible team and our wonderful clients. Thank you!

We look forward to many more years of serving you! 

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An Inside Look Into Home Inspections

Home inspections are an important part of both buying and selling a home. We are featuring guest blogger George Sadwoski from By George Inspections to get an expert perspective on everything you need to know about home inspections.  

Introducing: George Sadwoski

I am a member of InterNACHI, AHIO, the Birmingham Association of Realtors, BNI, and the BBB. By George Inspections has been in business for almost five years. In that time, I have completed thousands of inspections for clients, all with 5-star reviews on my website and Facebook.

Introducing: Home Inspections

It is important to pick a reputable inspector. Use a home inspector certified as a licensed inspector with the state. Make sure your inspector is insured with E&O and Liability Insurance.

It is also important to clarify what your inspection includes. A home inspection is not a warranty for the home. It is an agreement to provide a client with a written report identifying issues the inspector observed, and problems deemed defects. These comments will not comprise the report. They are supplementary to the seller’s disclosure. 

An inspection is a non-invasive and issues fall into four categories:

  • Major defects, such as structural failure
  • Issues that can lead to major defects, such as a small leak on the roof
  • Things that may hinder your ability to finance, legally occupy, or insure the home if not immediately rectified
  • Safety hazards, such as exposed or live bus bars

Most sellers are honest and are often surprised to learn of defects uncovered during an inspection. It is important to realize that sellers are under no obligation to repair everything mentioned in an inspection report. No house is perfect, so keep this in perspective as you move into your new home.

Safety First

When performing an inspection, the inspector must first look out for his or her safety. If they see or detect mold, they are required to back out of the area and inform the client of the situation, as it can be very serious to them and the homeowner. If a roof is too steep or wet, I use binoculars to visually check the roof from a window. We also use drones to inspect hard to reach areas. This also avoids causing additional damage to the roof by walking on the shingles and abrading the sand from the shingles.

Crawl spaces and areas of confinement are tough to inspect, but I have a self-propelled robot crawler with cameras and lights to get into tight and confined areas. We have to look out for spiders, rodents, especially in these areas. Attics can be tough due to potential hazards like low headroom, deep insulation, and faulty wiring. 

An inspection is supposed to be non-invasive, meaning a lot of inspectors do not pull panels from electrical panels, but I always do a visual inspection to assess the gauge of the wiring, breaker amperage, and to see the amperage rating of the service.

A home purchase is one of the biggest investments most people make in their lifetime, and it is important to have an inspector that is certified. 

Remember my tag line, “Anyone else is just looking around.”

By George Sadowski

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Tips For Moving in a Time of Social Distancing

Tips For Moving in a Time of Social Distancing

Moving is never easy. Whether you are a DIY mover or hiring a crew, moving up the street or across the country, packing up a family or flying solo, re-locating is a difficult process. And let’s just say this pandemic isn’t making things any easier. 

So, how can you protect yourself and your family if you are planning on moving during the time of physical distancing? A little preparation can keep COVID-19 from wreaking too much havoc to your moving plans. Your moving checklist is going to be a tiny bit longer, but the good news is you can safely relocate with just a few precautions. 

Here are a few tips from the American Moving Association and the CDC to make sure your move is safe and simple.

Using Moving Services

Moving services, self-storage facilities, and moving truck rentals are all considered essential services and are available at this time. Many of these businesses have already implemented CDC-recommended guidelines including sanitization procedures and PPEs for staff. If you use a moving service, many businesses offer virtual consultations to provide a quote, lowering the risk of exposure. Make sure you communicate fully with your moving company about the protocols of physical distancing when you schedule your moving date

Packing ahead of time will protect everyone involved with your move…including you! Pack, seal, and sanitize your boxes at least 24 hours before your moving team arrives to ensure they are fully disinfected. Prepare a sink with soap and water that your movers can access. If this isn’t possible, have a supply of hand sanitizer for yourself and your movers. 

DIY Moving

Sadly, it may not be possible to bribe your friends with pizza and beer to help you move during this time. Utilize all the resources available with a moving truck to protect yourself when lifting heavy boxes or furniture. Don’t use recycled or free cardboard boxes! While it may be tempting, these are hotbeds for bacteria and viruses. Determine what supplies are needed to pack for your move and so that you can make one trip to the store to get what you need. 

Clean as you pack! Take this opportunity to dust, clean, and disinfect any items in your home that don’t often get scrubbed. If you don’t have disinfectant, one tablespoon of bleach in one gallon of water will do the trick. 

How to Protect Your New Home

Don’t bring anything into your new home that shouldn’t be there! Throw out or donate old furniture and household items you never use. Why move something that will just collect dust in a new space? 

Speaking of dust, clean and sanitize your new home thoroughly once the movers are gone. Immunocompromised individuals may also want to wait 72 hours before spending time in your house. Communicate health concerns to your moving team so that a plan can be made for your move. If your health is a serious concern, consider postponing or canceling your move for a later date.

With a little extra preparation and a little more time, it is still possible to safely move in the time of physical distancing.

Comprehensive Moving Guide

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Silver Linings: How to Make the Best of Buying a Home During a Recession

We are seeing the economic effects of COVID-19 in real-time. This “new normal” is going to be far-reaching, long-lasting, and will likely result in a lengthy recession. It’s not all gloom and doom, though. Markets fluctuate, but they are resilient. There are great ways to make the best of this bad situation, particularly if you plan on buying a home. 

If you have been patiently waiting for housing prices to go down, boy do we have news for you. There has never been a better time to buy. Historically low mortgage rates combined with motivated sellers make this a great buyer’s market. Job instability is a concern, but if you have a stable job situation and a little bit of money saved right now, it could be an opportune time to purchase a home. With less competition from other homebuyers and sellers willing to negotiate, this could be your chance to find your dream home. 

Here are some tips to put you in the best position to buy a home during a recession:

  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Homebuyers who already have financing in place are in a better negotiating position. Having savings is always a bonus, but go ahead and get pre-approved before you start shopping so you can enter every conversation with confidence.
  2. Organize your finances. Don’t get too excited – just because a house is a good deal doesn’t mean you can afford it. Work on your budget. Make sure you take stock of all your assets and debts before you make any big decisions. 
  3. Do your research. With unstable markets, housing prices can fluctuate and give a false sense of value. Make sure you research your neighborhoods well! Knowing historic pricing for an area can give you a sense of objectivity when evaluating an offer.
  4. Get a home inspection. In uncertain times, sellers may be trying to offload homes with problems that are costly to repair. Be very thorough and make sure you’re not buying the home equivalent of a lemon! 
  5. Clear the title. Start with a clean slate. Sometimes the home of your dreams can be the property of your nightmares. Make sure that the property doesn’t have any liens from a contractor or a lending institution. Have a lawyer run the title of your new home to verify it will be transferred without risk.
  6. Use your bargaining power. Watch for motivated sellers. If the price has been reduced on the home several times over the last few months, it may be a signal that they have already moved and are holding the mortgage on two properties. In this situation, the seller may be willing to negotiate to cover closing costs and other fees in order to quickly complete the sale. 
  7. Avoid unnecessary fees. It’s your market right now! When houses move slowly, realtors will sometimes take a few percentage points off of a commission in order to get the deal signed. Negotiating these fees down before closing can benefit both the buyer and the seller, leaving everyone happy.
  8. Use logic. Have the emotional stability to walk away if it’s not the right deal for you. Wait until the right opportunity comes along before you commit.

Even with all these tips in mind, there is no such thing as a foolproof approach to the housing market. An unstable economy means there is risk involved in major purchases like a home, but fortune favors the bold. If you pay attention to these 8 tips, you may be able to find a tremendous deal by acting decisively while others are afraid to move.