Five Ways to Build Home Equity
Whether you own a home or are considering purchasing one, you may be looking for ways to build equity. Home equity is the overall difference between the amount you owe on your mortgage loan and your home's market value. Home equity can be used to take out a loan, invest, build long-term wealth, or sell your home for more than you owe and keep the profit. 

The equity you have access to will increase as you make payments that pay off your mortgage balance. It can also grow when your home's value increases. The following details five of the quickest ways to build home equity. 

1. Make a Larger Down Payment
The simplest and quickest way to build equity in a home is to make a large down payment when you first buy the property. The down payment you make is immediate equity. Let's say that you're buying a home for $200,000. With a $10,000 down payment, you'll owe $190,000 on the mortgage and have $10,000 in equity. 

If you can afford it, you could instead choose to make a down payment of $40,000, meaning you would owe $160,000 on the mortgage and have $40,000 in equity when you first move in. Remember that a 20% down payment will also remove the private mortgage insurance requirements for conventional loans, which is an added benefit. 

2. Make Mortgage Payments More Often
Only a percentage of the mortgage payment you make each month is put towards the principal of your house. The remainder of the payment goes towards interest and taxes. When you make additional payments or provide a payment that's higher than the minimum amount, you are putting more money toward the principal and increasing your equity. 

3. Consider a 15-year Mortgage
If you take out a 15-year mortgage as opposed to a 30-year one, your monthly mortgage payments will be significantly larger. When you take this approach, you’ll be paying off more of the principal each month, which will help you build equity quicker. You'll also pay less interest over the course of the loan. 

If you've already purchased your home, you could decide to refinance the mortgage loan, which would allow you to switch from a 30-year loan to a 15-year option and build equity faster. Make sure that you can afford the higher monthly payments before choosing this solution, and make sure you take current interest rates into account as well. 

4. Invest in Home Improvement and Remodeling Projects
You can also build equity in your home by investing in home improvement and remodeling projects that will increase the home's value. The most popular renovations include kitchen and bathroom remodels. Make sure that you select projects that will get you the best return on investment (ROI). Reach out if you want to discuss projects with the highest ROI in our area. 

5. Use Gifts and Windfalls
Consider building equity by using any gifts or windfalls you receive to pay down the balance of the loan. Do you receive birthday or holiday gift cards? If so, these can be converted to cash and added to your mortgage payment. The same is true of any inheritance you receive. 

Building home equity gives you financial security and allows you to prepare for your future. By making a large down payment, paying more money each month, and improving the quality of your home, you can build equity relatively quickly.

How to Prepare for Spring Selling Season

How to Prepare for Spring Selling Season


Spring is believed to be the year's busiest season in the real estate market. For sellers, listing in the spring provides an opportunity to take advantage of the notable increase in buyer demand. As for buyers, there's much more inventory to select from in the spring. Here are a few tips on preparing for the spring selling season. 


How to Prepare as a Buyer
Once the spring season rolls around, you'll discover more homes to choose from, increasing your chances of finding your dream home. However, the competition among other buyers will also be stronger, so preparation is necessary. 

First, find out how much you can afford and get pre-approved. Your lender can run the numbers and help you determine what you can afford. Don’t have a lender? Ask your real estate agent for a referral. Having a pre-approval letter ready when you start looking for homes means you are prepared to make an offer when you find the right home. 

Next up, figure out your requirements. Before the spring season arrives, research local neighborhoods, schools, and amenities to determine your areas of interest. Then make your wish list. Start browsing homes online, and pay attention to the details, so you can make a list of all the features you do and don’t like. By narrowing your search early on, you'll have a better idea of what you’re looking for, and you can avoid wasting time and energy visiting properties that don’t meet your needs. 

How to Prepare as a Seller
If you've decided to sell your home, your main goal when preparing for the spring season is to prepare everything for the listing and home-selling process. 

First up, price it right. You should work with a realtor to discuss your selling timeline and determine the right price for your home so that your home doesn’t sit on the market too long or sell for too little. 

You should also professionally photograph your home to attract more buyers to the listing. Make sure it’s clean and tidy before those photos are taken. Nothing is more unappealing to buyers than a cluttered and messy property. Cleaning and decluttering your home now will prepare you for showings later. Minimizing the number of photos, toys, and other personal items in your home also makes it easier for buyers to envision themselves living there. 

Consider cleaning the exterior as well. Your home's exterior is the main source of its curb appeal. You can boost your home's curb appeal by planting flowers, trimming shrubs, and removing leaves and debris. 

How to Prepare if You're on the Fence
If you're on the fence about buying or selling a home, you should conduct ample research before the spring selling season arrives. Even though spring is busy, it's not the only time you can buy or sell a home. Consider your financial situation and think more about what you want in the near future. Reach out, and we can discuss what makes the most sense for your situation. 

Once the temperatures warm up and the scenery becomes more picturesque, the real estate market also begins to heat up. Whether you want to buy/sell or are currently on the fence, preparing for the selling season now should help you avoid feeling rushed when it gets here.