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How to Reduce Your Interest Rate

If you’re currently in the market for a new home, you’re likely keeping a very close eye on interest rates. Interest rates are on the rise, which can impact how much you pay on your monthly mortgage payment. 

Today, I’ll share one way you can reduce your interest rate. Not many people know about interest rate buydowns, but they’re something you should be aware of as a buyer in our current market. 

An interest rate buydown is a way for a buyer to get a lower interest rate on their mortgage by paying for discount points during the closing process. Discount points are also known as mortgage points or prepaid interest points–it depends on which term your lender uses. 

To purchase discount points, a one-time fee is paid upfront, and the discount points will lower the interest rate for the term of the loan. As a result, the borrower pays less in interest with their monthly mortgage payment, making the home more affordable for the buyer. 

In most cases, the discount points are paid for by the seller. In a slower real estate market where homes are staying on the market for longer or are being reduced in price, the buyer can ask a seller to buy down their mortgage through discount points as an incentive to buy the home. 

As a buyer, interest rate buydowns are something you should keep in mind when negotiating, especially if you’re buying in a slower market where there isn’t much competition. 

Buydowns are also something to consider as a seller as it can be a selling point for potential buyers. If your home isn’t the hottest on the market, offering a buydown as an incentive can be a smart move. 

Interest rate buydowns and discount points are a unique tool that can be used to make a buyer’s monthly mortgage payment more affordable, which is useful to know whether you’re a buyer or a seller! 

Want to learn more about interest rate buydowns and other ways you can decrease your interest rate in this market? Feel free to contact me and can direct you to an amazing Mortgage Specialist.

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Can a Buyer and a Seller Have the Same Real Estate Agent?

Have you ever heard of the buyer of a home and the seller of the same home having the same real estate agent at the same time? This doesn’t happen often, and for good reason. In fact, I highly recommend staying away from this situation. 

When a real estate agent represents both the buyer and the seller for the same transaction, they’re called a dual agent. In some locations, dual agents are actually illegal, while in other areas, there aren’t any laws against them, but dual agents are frowned upon by the real estate community. 

This is because a dual agent cannot truly do their job. A real estate agent is supposed to fight for their client’s best interest and offer the best guidance and advice possible. But a seller and a buyer have opposite interests when it comes to purchase agreements and negotiations. The seller wants to get their house sold for the most money possible while the buyer wants to buy it for the least amount possible. 

But if an agent represents both the buyer and the seller for the same transaction, they cannot represent the best interest of the buyer and the seller at the same time. That means that in a dual agent situation, someone loses. A dual agent presents a clear conflict of interest. The agent can’t offer either party advice or guidance without breaking their promise to the other party.

When you hire a real estate agent, you expect to get full access to their knowledge, experience, and advice. But in a dual agent situation, you won’t be getting what you hired the agent for in the first place. My recommendation is to avoid this situation from the start. When you go to get your home ready to sell, find an agent who can guide you through the selling process. When you decide you want to buy or build a home, get an agent who can walk you through each step of the buying process and offer you the advice you need. 

Are you looking for an agent to represent you and give you the advice you need to make the best real estate decisions for your future? I’m currently accepting new clients, so feel free to reach out if you’d like to talk.

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Private mortgage insurance–or PMI for short–is one of those things that allows you to do something amazing like buy a house. But, at the same time, you don’t want to keep it around for any longer than you have to. 

If you’re currently paying PMI, you might be wondering how you can get rid of it more quickly. Canceling your PMI will allow you to put that money into your actual mortgage payment, rather than sending it to an insurance company each month. 

Lenders are required by law to automatically cancel your PMI after you’ve paid off 22% of the property’s original value.

I have some good news though: you might be able to cancel your PMI earlier than scheduled due to rising real estate values.

If you’re paying PMI right now, it’s pretty likely that you’ve bought your home in the past few years. We’ve seen some huge jumps in home values, which have likely increased your equity. 

In most cases, you need to have 20% equity in your home to cancel your PMI. If your home’s value has increased and boosted the equity you have in your home to 20% or more, you can get a new appraisal to show the increased property value. Then, you can take that appraisal to your lender to show that you now have 20% equity in your home and get your PMI canceled. 

Some lenders will require that you use their appraiser while others are more lax on who you use. You will need to pay an appraisal fee for this service, which can run $300-400. As such, you’ll want to make sure that the cost of the appraisal fee is less than the PMI you would pay. 

You will also need to ensure that your lender will accept a new appraisal on your home, because not all of them will. If your lender doesn’t accept new appraisals, don’t fret! Just continue to pay into your mortgage and request PMI cancellation when your mortgage’s principal is 80% of the property’s original value. 

PMI is helpful, but you don’t want it to hang around any longer than you need it to! If you have any questions about PMI, mortgages, refinances or anything else real estate, feel free to reach out, and I would be happy to chat.

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Increase Your Home’s Value with Home Improvements

As a homeowner, getting a high return on investment (or ROI) on the upgrades you do to your home is key to winning the real estate game when you sell. But some improvements can boost your home’s value more than others. These 5 home upgrades can seriously increase your home’s value, attract value, and return the money you spend on them when you sell your home. 

1. Add a home office. More people than ever are working from home, and it looks like remote and hybrid work situations are going to be standard in the future. Whether you convert a room in your home or build an office out, this is a high-ROI upgrade that will attract buyers.

2. Finish your basement. If your basement is unfinished, you have so much untapped potential (and profit!) at your fingertips. Finishing out your basement can increase your square footage, which is always a value-boost for buyers.

3. Open up your floor plan. Buyers love a nice open floor plan with good flow. You don’t have to take out all your walls either–just opening up the kitchen to the living room can go a long way to open up the flow of your home. 

4. Replace your garage door. Your garage door is constantly exposed to the elements, so it’s likely a little shabby. A new garage door is a selling point and will help your curb appeal.

5. Touch-up or redo your exterior paint. If your paint is looking a little worse for wear, touch it up to give it a fresh look. Or, to really boost your value, repaint your home in one of the year’s popular exterior paint colours to make your home look newer and more modern. 

Whether you’re planning to sell in the near future or way down the road, you can make improvements to your home that will attract buyers and help you make top dollar on your home. Want my professional opinion on what you can do to your Lloydminster home to boost your resale value? Let’s connect, and I would be happy to help.

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Data is supplied by Pillar 9™ MLS® System. Pillar 9™ is the owner of the copyright in its MLS®System. Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by Pillar 9™.
The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.