CENTURY 21 AAA North
Here at CENTURY 21 AAA North, we believe real estate is a people business. We also believe that all of our clients deserve to have the absolute best experience. Buying or selling your home should be an exciting time, and at CENTURY 21 AAA North, we are dedicated to making every step of the process easy for you and yours.
Welcome to our More Info page, where we have compiled more information about our Metro Detroit real estate company and the real estate industry as a whole. On this page you will find real estate infographics, financing/mortgage infographics, how-to guides, reasons why you should hire a CENTURY 21 AAA North Realtor®, and much much more.
6 Mortgage Questions for a First-Time Home Buyer
Q: What is required to get a mortgage?
A: To qualify for a mortgage, you need a decent credit score, employment, tax returns, and in a perfect world, not a lot of debt. A good way to build credit is to apply for a credit card and pay it back carefully. Paying back other loans, like car and college, are useful as well. You want to show that you are responsible with money. Don't buy big ticket items like boats or cars before buying a home.
Q: If you have bad credit, how do you improve it?
A: Many times, if you think your credit is bad, you're actually doing better than you think. Here's a tip: check your credit report. There are a few free services to do this, or you can download an official copy once a year. If your credit is bad, many times, there's an old bill or collection bringing you down. These errors can be easily fixed. If they are not errors, start correcting your habits and your score will improve gradually.
Q: What's the difference between a mortgage pre-approval and a pre-qualification?
A: Simply put, a pre-qualification is not going to hold the same weight as a pre-approval. You can go online and have someone print you a pre-qual letter. But with a pre-approval, lenders like Cross Country actually check your finances in a verifiable way, which requires time and effort, which is precisely why it carries more weight. If you're serious, getting pre-approved translates to "I mean business."
Q: How much down payment do you need for a mortgage?
A: The days of needing to save up for a 20% down payment are over. There are plenty of great mortgage options to fit every budget. One common type of loan, called an FHA loan, allows the borrower to purchase a home with 3% down. You will pay a small amount of Mortgage Insurance, but once you gain a bit of equity, you'll be in the clear and no longer required to pay it. Active, retired, and former military persons may be eligible for a VA loan, which requires $0 down payment. If you live outside the big city, ask about a Rural Development loan, which also qualifies for $0 down payment. Talk to our lenders to find out more!
Q: What kind of down payment assistance is available?
A: If you're looking for help to make a down payment, many experts say that the "Bank of Mom & Dad" isn't a bad place to start, if your parents have the means to pitch in. Gifted money helps many people qualify for a loan as well, although it is imperative that you disclose to your lender that it was a gift. Not doing so will send up red flags. If private assistance is not an option, or it isn't enough, have no fear -- there are over 2,000 down payment assistance programs across the country that can help, as long as you meet their requirements for income and credit.
Q: What types of home loans are available?
A: There are mainly two types of loans. First, there are loans with an adjustable rate, meaning the rate could change over a period of time. Second, there are loans that are "fixed" or "term," meaning the rate will stay the same for the length of the borrowing period. Generally, term or fixed-rate loans are more common and considered the safer option, but really, this depends on your circumstances, including how long you plan to stay in the home.
The 6 Most Important Tips For Homebuyers
#1 Before you begin house hunting, get pre-approved for a mortgage
#2 Come up with a realistic idea of what you want in terms of house size, neighborhood, amenities, etc.
#3 Let your real estate agent handle all communication with sellers.
#4 Include important contingencies, especially financing and property inspections, with your offer.
#5 Ask the seller to put every component of the deal and any verbal agreement into writing.
#6 Evaluate the safety and overall condition of your new home with a home inspection.
What We Learned in 2017 and What It Means For 2018
Buy: Be Prepared to Compete
The market is still hot for sellers, so get ready to compete with other buyers for the home. Put in your best offer from the get-go, even if that means going over asking price. Keep your contingencies to a minimum, make sure you have a home inspection, but don't haggle over small repairs. Make yourself the best buyer of all the buyers.
Sell: Price It Right the First Time
Get a comparative market analysis (CMA) done by one of our CENTURY 21 AAA North Realtors®. Heed their advice. If you price your home too high, it will sit on the market and become stale, even when the market is hot. If you price it too low, you will lose profits.
Buy: Get Pre-Approved
The first step in buying a house is getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Gone are the days of looking for homes without one. In fact, many sellers require one to even see their home! Our mortgage reps at Cross Country Mortgage are top notch and will help you throughout the entire process.
Sell: Why Are You Selling This Home?
This question is tricky. It's almost like being asked "What is your greatest weakness" in a job interview with 99 out of 100 answers being the wrong one. You don't want to answer it the wrong way because buyers and their agents can and will use anything you say to negotiate against you. Letting the buyer know your situation and why you're moving could cost you thousands.
Sell: Appeal Designs to Buyers
A lot of times, buyers are looking for a certain type of design within the home. Some styles of interior design are more appealing to buyers than others. Go for clean and elegant, and if possible, update your kitchen and bath. Make your home attractive to the majority of buyers if you want to sell quickly and for top dollar!
Buy: Be Prepared to Compromise
In this market, you may have to make some compromises. You may not get the basement or the third bedroom you're looking for, but you will be a homeowner building equity from the day you close. There's nothing better than your home making you money while you live in it!
Sell: Maintenance & Curb Appeal
Buyers love a home that's maintenance-free and looks great inside and out. Get the furnace, electrical system, plumbing, and roof checked out prior to listing. It will help you avoid any surprises during the buyer's inspection. Keep that lawn and exterior neat and tidy! First impressions are everything!
Buy: Hold Your Tongue
The deal is not over until the deal is over. Keep any negative comments to yourself until you have signed on the dotted line. You want the seller to want you to buy the home. Don't give them any reason not to negotiate with you. And be careful about video surveillance. Many sellers have internet cameras installed, allowing them to hear everything you say.
Home-Buying Questions for Pet Owners
What are the local pet laws?
Even if you own the property, there may be laws regarding pets. Number of pets and breed types can have an impact. Check with the homeowner's association (HOA) or condo development.
Yard & fencing?
If your new home does not have a fence, it is likely that you'll have to build one. Again, check with the HOA or condo development to get a better idea.
Is the neighborhood good for pets?
With dogs, you want to be able to go on walks. Consider areas close to parks, dog runs, trails or other green spaces, or make sure your home is in an area of the neighborhood with sidewalks.
Solid hardwood floors are good for pets because they can be refinished if they get scratched or dirty. Wall-to-wall carpet is not so great, as cats will claw it and dogs track in mud and dirt.
Pet-friendly floor plan?
Size and layout are things to be considered if you have a dog (or several dogs)! A funny thing to think about: do you want to be tripping over your dogs all the time? If not, then consider a roomier floor plan!
Consider the stairs
As dogs age, they begin to have joint problems and the stairs can become a dilemma. Consider getting a place that has a carpet runner on the stairs, or be ready to install one.
Dancing for Treats
Trick-or-treating as we know it today originated in the Middle Ages when men and boys would dress up and dance and sing at their neighbors' doors, begging for coins and food. The practice was known as "mumming."
Irish in Origin
Halloween's origins come from a Celtic festival for the dead called "Samhain." People believed that ghosts of the dead roamed the earth on the holiday, so they dressed in costumes and left out treats to appease the spirits.
They come from an old Irish tale about Stingy Jack, who died and was not allowed into Heaven. Instead, he was sent off to roam the Earth with only a burning coal for a light. He put the light into a turnip (not a pumpkin) as a lantern and became the "Jack of Lanterns."
The black cat superstition began with the Puritans, who lived a Protestant way of life. Legend has it that witches, who were believed to worship the devil, would protect their identities by turning themselves into black cats. Thus, black cats gained the reputation of actually being witches.
The old tradition of wearing animal heads and skins to commune with the dead continued into Samhain, the festival that inspired what we know as Halloween today.
Top 5 Tips for Prepping Your Home to Sell
Google Your Address
Find out everything the internet is revealing about your property, including tax records. Make sure that what the internet says about square footage, number of beds and baths, etc. is correct.
Gather all your home improvement and repairs records you have made over the years. You'll be asked to disclose everything about your home when you put it up for sale anyway, so make sure you're on top of it.
Vet the real estate agents you're talking to. Ask for concrete examples of how they're marketing their current properties, and don't be afraid to ask for referrals.
Deep Clean Everything
And we mean everything. Leave no square inch untouched. We're talking about getting down and dirty in the bathroom, cleaning every crevice in the kitchen, and even getting the carpets cleaned.
People always judge a book by its cover, but prepping the exterior of your home doesn't have to be a chore. Pulling the weeds, planting flowers, mowing the lawn, and power washing if needed will make the hard work worth it when your doorbell starts getting some action!
5 Things Keeping Millennials From Buying a Home
1. Student Loan Debt
Perhaps refinancing federal loans into a private loan could help.
2. Bad Credit
Most likely at the hands of someone else, i.e. parents.
3. Rising Rent
Which means less money for a down payment.
4. "Cash" Competition
Putting down 20% when investors in the same area are putting down 100%.
5. "Avocado Toast"
And $4 coffees at that.
Selling with a Realtor® versus FSBO'ing
WHY YOU SHOULDN'T SELL WITHOUT A REALTOR®
1. Real estate is complicated. A Realtor®'s knowledge is priceless, and Realtors® have insight that the internet doesn't have.
2. Spend your time enjoying life and let your Realtor® handle the buyers' questions, showings, and all the other time-consuming business.
3. Image is everything. You only get one chance to make a first impression. With a Realtor®, you get top notch presentation of your home.
4. A Realtor® knows about predictive analytics, buyer demographics and marketing. Trust one today with selling your home!
1. If you list the house, it's just you. With a Realtor®, you're also getting the brokerage, their resources, and so much more.
2. Realtors time to devote to you and your home. Remember, you have to show the house and handle buyers and their demands.
3. If you plan on selling your home on your own, simply ask yourself this: "Do I know how to properly prepare and market it?"
4. What is your plan for marketing your home, keeping an eye on market trends, strategic promotion, which agents are most likely to have buyers for the home, and so on? Come on, put your home in good hands -- hire a Realtor® today!
Why Choose CENTURY 21 AAA North
When you choose to work with a CENTURY 21 AAA North agent, you put your faith and trust in an agent who will manage your time effectively. Your time is important, and we always do our best to make every minute count.
Our company conducts ongoing education for our agents, keeping them up-to-date on all the latest and greatest business practices. Choose to work with one of our agents and you'll have one of the most informed and capable agents possible.
Our team of CENTURY 21 AAA North agents have some of the most experience in the metro Detroit area when compared with agents from competing companies. We pride ourselves on our experience and dedication to you and your needs.
Our broker/owner has been in the business for over 40 years. To say his experience makes him a highly valuable resource would be an understatement. As a Century 21 firm, we have many corporate resources at our disposal.
We are a team of Realtors® and when you hire one of us, you get our entire experienced team of agents working for you. We support each other, we answer each other's questions, and we work together to ensure you get the best possible experience.
The Century 21 brand is the household name in real estate. When you think of real estate, you think of Century 21. Our brand has been recognized by J.D. Power as the best in four major categories for three years in a row.
You work hard for your money. Your money is important to you. Choose CENTURY 21 AAA North and we will make sure you get the most bang for your buck. Our agents work around the clock to make sure you get more for your money. Whether you are buying or selling, it is our mission to make sure you have the absolute best possible transaction.