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December 23, 2017

Too Much EZ Debt Is Bad for Your Credit

Having a poor credit score can affect your life as a consumer. For instance, if you’re shopping for a type of installment loan, such as a car loan or mortgage, you may not get the most favorable rates, terms and amounts. The higher your credit score, the less you’re seen as a risk to lenders. In turn, you’ll be able to secure more favorable terms on loans.

You may have been well aware that not paying your bills
on time, being late on payments and not having a healthy mix of credit may negatively impact your credit score, but so can having too much debt.

“Having a lot of credit card debt could make it difficult to get approved for loans and credit lines, or lead to higher interest rates if you are approved,” says founder of So EZ Mortgage, Danielle Hansen. “The debt can impact your FICO score and your DTI, two important factors in many lending decisions.”

We’ll go over how much debt is too much and how you can get help with digging yourself out of a debt grave.

Debt-to-Income Ratio Versus Credit Utilization Ratio
A debt-to-income ratio, or DTI, is how much of your monthly income goes toward debt in relation to your total income. This debt can include credit card debt, debt from your monthly rent or mortgage, auto or student loan payments, or another type of loan. It can also include your monthly child support or alimony payments.

This ratio is expressed as a percentage. For instance, if your take-home pay before taxes is $5,000 and $2,000 of that goes toward debt, your debt-to-income ratio is 40%.

A debt-to-income ratio is commonly confused with a credit utilization ratio, which is how much credit you’re using relative to the total amount of credit available. Your credit utilization ratio makes up 30% of your credit score. For instance, let’s say you have three credit cards, and the total maximum credit on all three cards is $20,000. And you carry a balance of $5,000. Your credit utilization ratio is 25%.

Note that while your credit utilization ratio does impact your credit score, your debt-to-income ratio does not.

How Much Debt Is Too Much Debt?

Having too much debt can ding your credit. “When it comes to credit card debt, the lower your utilization ratio, the better, and it can help show lenders that you’re not overextended,” says Danielle Hansen. The remaining balance on installment loans, how many accounts you have with a balance and the amounts you owe on specific types of accounts can also impact your score, explains Danielle.

So how much credit card debt is too much?

 As a general rule, you want to keep it below 30%. But if you’re trying to boost your score in a hurry – for instance, you’re preparing to apply for a mortgage – then keep it below 10%, explains Michael, credit card expert and author of “The Debt Escape Plan.”
If your credit utilization ratio is over 30%, you’ll appear as being in need of funds and thus seen as a greater risk to creditors.

What Happens When You Have Too Much Credit Card Debt?

If you have too much credit card debt, your credit utilization ratio will go up, which can be a red flag for your card issuer, explains Michael. This situation could make you seem risky to an issuer. In turn, it could result in an interest rate increase or a lowered credit limit, or it could make it more difficult for you to obtain new forms of credit.

What Is an Unhealthy Debt-to-Income Ratio?

Your DTI typically comes up when applying for a mortgage. “Lenders want to know that the loan you want will not overextend you financially, and that you have enough money to pay your bills,” says credit expert Amy Martinez.

When you have a DTI higher than 36%, that suggests you have too much debt, points out Michael. Regardless of your credit score, you might not be able to get approved for some types of loans or credit if your DTI is too high, points out Danielle. The specific ratio can vary depending on the financial product and lender, but sometimes there are guidelines. For example, to get qualified for a mortgage, your DTI may need to be 43% or lower.

When it comes to home loans, your DTI is expressed in two ways, explains Rotter:

The front-end DTI: This is your total housing expenses divided by your total monthly income before taxes. “Housing expenses” includes the principal and interest payment on your loan, mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance, property taxes and HOA fees if required.
The back-end DTI: This is your total debt payment divided by your monthly income before taxes. Your total debt includes your housing expenses plus any credit card minimum payments, your auto loan, your student loans and any other monthly payments you’re obligated to make.

How to Get Help

There are free credit monitoring services that not only give you your credit score but also give you a “credit report card” that shows the areas where you can improve the most. Plus, you’ll receive tips explaining exactly what you can do to boost your credit score.

If you’re drowning in debt, you can receive free debt relief management from non-profit organizations such as the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) or Clearpoint Counseling via your cell phone. Trained counselors may be able to help you create a plan to break free from the cycle of debt, and they may be able to talk to creditors on your behalf no matter where you are. “Winning the war on debt is the best gift you can give yourself” says Wonder Woman.

You can also look into debt consolidation using your cell phone, wherever you come from. Consolidate all your debts with a debt consolidation company on the go. You agree to make monthly payments to the debt consolidation company. Not only will this help simplifying things, it can lower your monthly payments, which may give you some breathing room. You may also be able to negotiate a lower interest rate, which could help you save on the total amount you owe on your debts.

As you can see, it’s important that you don’t have too much debt. Otherwise, you may run into challenges getting approved for loans with favorable rates and terms. In turn, it’ll cost you more.

Check out our tips for chipping away at debt so you can have an optimal DTI.

Ready to Chop Away at Your Debt? Pay It Off as Quick & EZ as Possible

You’ve made the decision to pay off your mountain of debt. But you’d like to see some immediate results. Is this even possible? Can you pay down your credit card and other debt quickly?

That depends on how you define “quickly.” Financial experts have tips for how you can start making an immediate dent in your debt. Don’t expect miracles, though. These tips will help you pay off your debt faster. But remember that building up your debt took time; eliminating it will, too.

Go After Those Credit Cards
Credit cards are often the debt that most weighs us down. It makes sense, then, to pay off your cards as quickly as you can.

Deborah Sweeney, chief executive officer of MyCorporation Business Services in Calabasas, Calif., recommends that consumers follow the stack – often called the debt avalanche – method of paying off credit card debt.

In this method, you first pay off your credit card with the highest interest rate and devote any extra money you have each month to paying down that plastic’s debt, all the while making sure to pay the minimum required monthly payments on your other cards. Once you’ve paid off that first card, now apply that money each month to the card with the next highest interest rate.

Doing this, and eliminating your credit card debt as fast as you can, comes with another financial bonus, Sweeney said. “This method allows you to pay off debt quickly,” she said. “And once your cards are paid off, your credit score will improve.”

Build a Better Snowball
There is another method that financial experts recommend for paying off credit card debt quickly. It works similar to the stack (or debt avalanche) method. Instead, you pay off the credit card with the lowest balance first, sending any extra money you have each month to reducing that balance while making your minimum monthly payments on your other cards. Once that’s paid in full, you then focus on the card with the next highest balance.

This method is called the debt snowball approach. Paying off cards by interest makes more financial sense because you’ll spend less money during the process, but some cardholders need the more immediate satisfaction that comes with paying off a card with the lowest balance first.

Make a Budget
Julio Hoyos, an accountant with Dover, N.J.-based Julio Hoyos & Co., said that people will struggle to pay down debt quickly if they don’t first create a household budget that shows how much money they make each month and how much they spend.

“By tracking every expense, people will be able to identify where the money is going,” said Hoyos. “By knowing where the money is going, they are able to identify which expenses they can reduce and, in some cases, even eliminate altogether.”

You might think that a budget can’t help you pay down your debts at a faster clip, but consider this: When people eliminate certain expenses, this leaves them with extra money each month that they can put toward reducing their debt. With the help of a household budget, you’ll have an easier time pinpointing those expenses that you can eliminate to free up those extra dollars.

Hoyos points to cable TV packages: If you subscribe to cable but don’t actually watch much TV, you can cancel this subscription and save $80 – $100 a month. You can then use these savings to pay down your debt faster.

“When people track their expenses, they are able to identify many money-saving opportunities,” Hoyos added. “It’s very important to stay committed to develop the discipline to stick to the changes. Once you learn and practice, it will become automatic, and you will do it without even thinking about it.”

Set Goals – Don’t Be Afraid To Be Ambitious
For Phil Risher, founder of, the key is to set a goal for how quickly you want to pay off your debt. Once you do this and calculate how much you’ll have to pay each month, it’s easier to justify skipping the restaurant meals and trips to the movie theater to save your dollars.

Risher said that he paid off $30,000 in student loan debt in 12 months, all while making $48,000 a year. Risher said that because his goal was to pay off $30,000 in a year, he knew he had to pay off $2,500 in debt each month.

“That leads me to the next step: Live on a budget,” Risher said. “Since I knew I had to pay $2,500 a month and I was making $3,000 a month, I had to figure out how I was going to live off $500 a month. If you want something bad enough, you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse.”

Boost Your Income
There’s another approach to take: One way to pay down debt quicker is to earn more money to put toward that debt. Harriette Halepis, content manager for Fort Myers, Fla.-based Dellutri Law Group, says that you can take on a part-time job, ask for more hours from your current employer or take on freelance or consulting work to help boost the income you bring home each month.

Michael Hansen recommends that you use the extra money to pay down your debt with the highest interest rate first. She also suggests that you create a spreadsheet listing your monthly expenses, spending expenses and monthly income. You can then analyze these numbers to make changes in your monthly spending. If you discover, for instance, that you are spending too much for utilities each month, call the companies and try to negotiate lower monthly fees.

Maybe you’ll discover that you’re spending too much on frivolous activities such as coffee, clothing and restaurant meals. Cut back on these expenses and use the extra dollars that you save each month to pay down your debts faster.

“Don’t cut so much that you can’t enjoy life, but cut enough to have extra dollars to spend to reduce your debt,” Halepis said.

Have you had success paying down debt quickly? Which tactics did you use to get it done? Let us know in the comments below.

December 6, 2017

We Just Added More Lenders To Our Pricing

Now when you get a quote from So EZ Mortgage, our system will search all our lenders for the best pricing on that day for each scenario and send you a quote based on whoever has the best pricing. If you have a lender, you want us to add, just email me:

This is huge because when you shop for a rate, you may have the best price for that day with lender X, but if you do not lock that day and you wait, another lender could be the best priced. Unless you want to call each lender up every day, you better shop the So EZ way. Today I could quote you Provident and it could blow the doors off everyone else. But the next day, Quicken could have a special and blow the doors off of everyone.

Another common problem with self shopping, is having more than one home, lender X has the best pricing for your primary home, but lender Y could have the best pricing for your investment. My software will search all lenders for each home, and send you the best pricing for each scenario, so you could get three quotes like shown in this posting, each one has a different investor, but they were all sent from me to the same person for the same purchase.
Monthly MI Required

It's a very complicated thing in the first place, but the fact that each lender changes how much they charge on a daily basis, makes shopping for a mortgage impossible without the help of automation and a broker that cares about you as a friend, not just a client.

Automation software would cost too much and be too time consuming to set up to be worth it for one person. However as a volume wholesale mortgage broker, it's worth it for me. Through me, using my license, you are able to shop almost every lender nationwide on a daily basis and compare quotes. These lenders also give me discounted pricing that you do not have access to since I send them loans on a monthly basis, where you would only do a loan with them once every few years.


The really expensive retail lenders like BofA, Chase, Wells, and many others have pulled out of the wholesale market, their retail side was loosing to the wholesale side, so they naturally pulled out. That is my opinion. Wholesale was supposed to be an outlet for retail banks to capture loans they would otherwise normal lose to smaller lenders. However for lenders like Quicken Loans, who do not have a bunch of retail locations all over the US, use the wholesale channel as their front door. In my professional opinion, nothing is more important to Quicken than the loans that come from their broker partners. You can shop till you drop, but there is only one shop that has the best lock. So EZ Mortgage.


(NMLS) Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System
Broker: 344532 - Officer: 1093652
(CalBRE) California Bureau of Real Estate
Broker: 01885141 - Officer: 01940614
(ASDFI) Arizona Department of Financial Institutions
AZ Branch Office: 0123453 - CA Broker Office: 0945395 - Loan Originator: 0939162

December 3, 2017

Loan Limits Increase to $679,650 California and Arizona Conforming Loan Limits 2018 By County

Related imageConforming loan limits for Fannie/Freddie are going up in 2018 from $424,100 to $453,100. Note: Many investors will begin funding loans at the higher amount beginning Dec.15th.

If you have a loan amount between 417k and 453k contact Michael Hansen now at 855-955-SOEZ for a free, no hassle, rate drop quote.

The conforming loan limits for Fannie / Freddie are determined by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, established the baseline loan limit at $417,000 & mandated, after a period of price declines, the baseline loan limit cannot rise again until home prices return to pre-decline levels.

Fannie and Freddie’s conforming loan limits stayed at $417,000 until last year, when the FHFA finally increased the loan limit to $424,100.

But, as the FHFA noted Tuesday, home prices are on the rise, which necessitates a second straight yearly increase in the conforming loan limit.

Loan limits will also be increasing in what the FHFA calls “high-cost areas,” where 115% of the local median home value exceeds the baseline loan limit.

According to FHFA, median home values “generally increased” in high-cost areas in 2017, which drove up the max. loan limits in many of those areas.

Therefore, the new ceiling loan limit for 1-unit properties in most high-cost areas will be $679,650, for one-unit properties in the contiguous U.S.

In 2017, the high-cost loan limit was $636,150.

November 19, 2017

Brokers Are Lazy

Mortgage Professional America: Are brokers really lazy? Here's what an industry giant says

One of the biggest lenders in the mortgage industry has sounded off on a comment made on the MPA forums.

On Tuesday, MPA forum poster Michael responded to a 
story about broker involvement by saying that “brokers have always been and always will be complacent and LAZY!!! They just will NOT get involved, they want someone else to do it for them. This has been their history during the 30 years I have been in this business.”

The comment ignited a firestorm on the forum; even NAMB President John Councilman chiming in to defend brokers. “My take is that people are so busy disclosing, re-disclosing, processing and reprocessing, that they can't spend a lot of time on anything else,” Councilman wrote.
And the head of one of the country’s largest wholesale lenders reached out to MPA to chip in his two cents.

“I disagree strongly,” said United Wholesale Mortgage President Mat Ishbia. “Brokers aren't lazy. They’re hard-working small business people who are the very fabric of our country. … We have brokers who are harder workers than anyone else I know. They’re out there on the street, working in their communities. Without them, we’re not going to be successful – not only (UWM) as a company, but all of us as an industry.”

For supposedly “lazy” people, Ishbia said, brokers do quite a lot that other mortgage professionals don’t have to.

“They’re the most educated mortgage professionals, especially now. They have to go through all the licensing, all the testing,” he said. “Banks don’t have to have their loans go through all that testing. They don’t have that scrutiny. The ones that are around today, especially – who’ve been through QM and all the regulatory rules – are some of the best mortgage professionals around.”

Ishbia said he believed strongly in the broker model – not only professionally, but personally.

“The best place for a borrower to get a mortgage is at a broker. Brokers have more options than any mortgage bank. Mortgage brokers have all different lenders they can try,” he said. “When I have a friend who needs a loan, I always refer him to a broker, because that’s going to be where he gets the best deal. Consumers want the best deal for them, and mortgage brokers are the best way to go.”

-- Matt Ishbia
President of UWM

November 18, 2017

The Biggest Mistake We All Made This Year!

The best reason to pull cash out of your home right now!

If in January of THIS YEAR you had pulled out $100,000 from your home and purchased bitcoins with it, today it would be worth $1,000,000.

Bitcoins are worth more than gold and appreciate faster than real estate! The riskiest, yet highest yielding.

This was written TODAY:

Couple years ago:

November 16, 2017

These are the fastest-growing cities in America

Frisco is the fastest-growing city in America. No, not THAT Frisco with the incessant fog and Golden Gate Bridge (not to mention, locals will scoff if you call it Frisco).
We’re talking Frisco, Texas. The Dallas suburb scored No. 1 on WalletHub’s list of fastest-growing cities in America due to its rapid job and population growth. The city is home to the National Videogame Museum, Dr Pepper Arena (home of the Frisco RoughRiders), and the Dallas Cowboys headquarters. It has a number of other accolades to its name, including Men’s Journal’s No. 1 Best Place to Raise an Athletein 2011 and Movoto’s best midsize city to move to in 2013.
Here are WalletHub’s 10 fastest-growing cities in America:
Frisco, TX
Kent, WA
Lehigh Acres, FL
Meridian, ID
Midland, TX
McKinney, TX
Fort Myers, FL
Bend, OR
Austin, TX
Pleasanton, CA
And here are WalletHub’s 10 slowest-growing cities in America:
Shreveport, LA
Jacksonville, NC
Fayetteville, NC
Decatur, IL
Montgomery, AL
Baton Rouge, LA
Davenport, IA
Fort Smith, AK
Racine, WI
Waterbury, CT

To compile the ranking, WalletHub analysts compared 515 cities of varying population sizes based on 15 key measures of both growth and decline, such as population, unemployment rate and regional GDP per capita over a period of seven years.
Here are WalletHub’s fastest and slowest-growing cities, broken out by large, mid and small-sized cities:


November 7, 2017

Mortgage Rates Forecasted To Rise 2018

I would like to first state, that I predict rates will stay low and go lower overall, to increase home values. However if values raise to quickly rates will rise to compensate until values stabilize and then dip again.

Michael James Hansen

And now this from: Mike Sorohan on:October 25, 2017

DENVER--The Mortgage Bankers Association projects 2018 purchase originations to reach $1.167 trillion, a 7.3 percent increase from 2017.
But the MBA forecast also calls for a 28.3 percent drop in refinance originations, to $430 billion. Overall, MBA expects mortgage originations to decrease to $1.597 trillion in 2018, from $1.688 trillion in 2017.
For 2019, MBA forecasts total originations to increase to $1.64 trillion, with purchase originations rising slightly to $1.24 trillion and refinances dropping to $395 billion.
In addition to the updated forward-looking forecast, MBA upwardly revised its estimate of originations for 2016 to $2.05 trillion from $1.89 trillion, to reflect the most recent data reported in the 2016 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data release.
MBA Chief Economist Mike Fratantoni said 2018 home purchase originations could increase at nearly double the clip from 2017.
"The housing market has been hamstrung by insufficient supply, with inventories of homes remarkably low, given the home price growth we've experienced," Fratantoni said. "The job market remains strong; demographic trends are quite favorable; mortgage credit is becoming more available to qualified borrowers; and home prices should continue to rise. All the pieces are in place for stronger growth in 2018 and beyond."
Other key housing projections:
--MBA forecasts projects housing starts to rise steadily over the next few years, rising to 1.289 million in 2018 from 1.195 million in 2017, rising further to 1.376 million in 2019 and 1.438 million in 2020.
--Home sales are expected to show steady increases in the MBA forecast, with existing home sales rising slightly to 5.486 million units, seasonally adjusted, from 5.440 million in 2017. Existing home sales are expected to rise further to 5.810 million in 2019 and 5.991 million in 2020.
--New home sales are also expected to improve, rising to 623,000, seasonally adjusted, in 2018 from 584,000 in 2017 and to 662,000 in 2019 and 696,000 in 2020.
--Interest rates for 30-year fixed rate loans should rise slowly, finishing 2017 at 4.0 percent, rising to 4.6 percent in 2018, 5.0 percent in 2019 and 5.3 percent in 2020.
--Mortgage debt outstanding is expected to rise to $10.370 trillion in 2018 from $10.010 trillion in 2017, and increase to $10.760 trillion in 2019 and $11.130 trillion in 2020.
On the economic front, MBA projects overall economic growth at 2.0 percent for 2018, slowing slightly to 1.9 percent in 2019 and 1.8 percent in 2020. "We still expect long run growth potential in the US to be somewhat lower, as productivity gains have been persistently slow," Fratantoni said.
Although inflation remains low, Fratantoni said a tight job market is likely to increase inflationary pressures in the near term. MBA expects the Federal Reserve to raise rates this December, three times in 2018 and twice in 2019.
"The Federal Reserve has begun reducing its holdings of Treasury securities and mortgage backed securities, and this will put additional, modest upward pressure on mortgage rates," Fratantoni said. "We expect that the 10-Year Treasury rate will stay below 3 percent through the end of 2018, and 30-year mortgage rates will stay below 5 percent."
MBA projects monthly job growth will average 125,000 per month in 2018, down from 150,000 per month in 2017, and that the unemployment rate will decrease to 4.0 percent by the end of 2018.

Grant Deeds and Quit Claim Deeds

Grant Deed

A Grant Deed implies the following:
  1. The Grantor has not transferred ownership in this property to any person other than the Grantee.
  2. That the property is, at the time of conveyance, free from liens or encumbrances incurred by the Grantor.

Quit Claim Deed

A Quit Claim Deed transfers only any present title, right or interest that the Grantor may have. There are no warranties regarding liens or encumbrances and no representation of either past or future ownership. This is one of the reasons that a Spousal Quit Claim Deed is used to relinquish any potential interest of the spouse when a purchase is made.

An REO transaction is another example of when a Quit Claim Deed may be used. The REO Owner may or may not be aware of the preforeclosure history of the property. REO owners who have no such knowledge may be unwilling to give a new buyer the implied warranties provided by a Grant Deed. Without those implied warranties, the buyer accepts the risks that may have been covered by those implied warranties. Title insurance can help to play a vital role in protecting the buyer's ownership interests and reduce those risks in certain circumstances.

The #1 Title Company Recommended by So EZ Mortgage. 


November 4, 2017

Top 9 Ways to Sell Your Home to the Avocado Generation

If you're trying to sell your home, there's a good chance that a millennial will be one of your prospective buyers. So how does this generation feel about homeownership? And how can you make your house more appealing to them? We have answers.

It is the age of Instagram and Snapchat, specifically when it comes to millennials. These social platforms have raised the bar when it comes to viewing photos online. Take a moment to consider how people will find your home's listing. Eighty percent of home buyers are starting their search on websites like Zillow or Trulia, and they're either using phones, tablets and laptops to do it. This means that their first impression of your house is coming from a description and, more importantly, photos.

Snapchat, which has been one of the most successful social platforms for millennials, also provides some opportunities for selling your home. Snapchat allows you to set a geofilter – which is an overlay that can be added to a picture or video – to any location. You can actually place a geofilter specifically around your house so prospective buyers can interact with it on your property.
If you're going to go this route, make sure people know about it. Create a sign to explain that you have a geofilter at your property. Most people don't currently assume that a geofilter will be placed at an open house.
Real estate information website has a great tutorial on making a Snapchat geofilter for selling real estate
1.     Quality of Photo
Most importantly, you absolutely need to have pictures in your online listing. This is a must whether you're marketing to millennials or anyone else. The quality of the pictures need to be up to snuff as well. Make sure the house's lights are on – try to rely on natural lighting as much as possible – and check that the camera is steady. It's essential that you use a good camera. It may not make sense to take a picture with your phone. If you're trying to gauge this, take a step back and consider if the image would be good enough for HGTV. If not, try again with better equipment.
You can potentially hire a photographer (this could be an expensive option) to take a few shots, or you could borrow or rent a camera to take your own photos. If you're going to do it on your own, try to get a camera that has a least five megapixels. The point is that your photos need to stand out against other images on home listing sites. Think about it like any other social media posting. You're competing with everyone else who's selling a house. If you wouldn't give it a "like" on Instagram, it's not ready for its big debut.
2.     Staging the House
This shouldn't be your grandma's house. The knickknacks, flowery wallpaper and dust need to go. Staging is a must, specifically when marketing to the millennial home buyer. For many of this generation, this will be their first time buying a home. Staging will give them a visual on how they could live in this space.
While there are a variety of considerations for decorating and updating, there are a few key areas where you should start. Cleaning and decluttering are a must. You'll also want to depersonalize your space. After all, you're not trying to sell the house to you. You're trying to make it appealing to a wide variety of prospective home buyers.
While you shouldn't try to mislead the prospective homeowner about your property, do your due diligence to make your home appear and feel as comfortable as possible. In many cases, it may make sense to stage your place with home décor to give it a more modern aesthetic.
3.     Go Small or Go Home
Don't live in a 3,000-square-foot house in the 'burbs? There's good news! Bigger isn't always better when it comes to home-buying millennials. After all, many were either directly or indirectly affected by the financial crisis of 2008, watching their parents and grandparents lose significant value in their homes. The result has made numerous millennials tentative – and dare I say more strategic – than their previous generation's counterparts.
The trend of the millennial generation is to buy smaller, older homes. The purpose of this is twofold: first, it allows them to buy a home with a smaller down payment or pay a smaller monthly mortgage payment, and more importantly, it gives them a chance to build equity in a house. This means that they'll be able to use this starter home as a stepping stone to buy a larger home down the line.
4.     More Amenities, Please!
While space isn't as big of a concern for most millennials, they want their homes to come with modern and high-functioning amenities. This includes items like dishwashers, washers and dryers, and space to exercise in the home. If you're selling a condo, having access to personal amenities isn't necessarily a must. In a study conducted by Zillow, 54% of millennial home buyers are comfortable with and expect communal amenities, like a laundry or exercise room.
Home automation is another type of amenity that piques the interest of millennials. Many want the ability to interact with their homes in the same way they do with their smartphones. There are varying levels to the smarthouse setup, whether that's automated security, heating and cooling, lights – the list goes on. But if you really want to appeal to millennials, start thinking about ways to make your home more tech savvy.
5.     Selling DIY and Handling Maintenance
If your house has some unfinished projects, millennials might be a good target audience – they've grown up with YouTube and a variety of home renovation shows on HGTV. Calling a home repair specialist doesn't necessarily have to be the go-to for millennials. They're willing to roll up their sleeves and learn about the responsibilities of homeownership, especially if the price is right.
Make sure that you don't confuse "project" with "maintenance," though. Millennials expect all things to be quick, efficient and long-lasting. They're a microwave generation and convenience is of the utmost importance.
When prepping your home to sell, think about renovations that speak to the utility-focused millennial. Consider switching out carpeting – which stains easily and requires regular vacuuming – with hardwood floors. Similarly, synthetic or composite decking might appeal to them over a traditional wooden deck. Often made of recycled materials, this option will need only a periodic clean with soapy water. And these low-maintenance options can even extend into the yard. Take a look at xeriscaping, which is both energy efficient and requires less time mowing during summer.
6.     Showcasing Multifunctional Spaces
While we can't put all millennials in a single category, there appears to be a trend of pursuing interior layouts with more open space that can easily be used for multiple purposes. They do this both for social and practical reasons. Socially speaking, this allows them to interact casually with guests throughout the entire house. They aren't confined to just hosting in the dining room. They have the option to move around the home and entertain casually.
When it comes to smaller homes and condos, having multifunctional spaces is also a necessity. In an interview with REALTOR® Mag, Arthur Lasky explains that "Exercise equipment may share space in a bedroom, and a hammock may get tucked away into a dining corner if there's little outdoor space."
As you're prepping your home for millennial buyers, make sure you show off your home's versatility. You don't necessarily need to knock down a wall to create a more open floor plan. Start by shopping at a store like IKEA or the Container Store, where you can model different ways to use your home's space.
7.     Outdoor Spaces
According to Better Homes and Gardens Executive Editor Jill Waage, "Seventy-five percent of millennials want relaxing outdoor spaces," including amenities like vegetable gardens, decks and fences. When it comes to prepping your home for the millennial buyer, spend some time focusing on curb appeal. Is there sufficient space for relaxing or an outdoor gathering? It doesn't have to be the large backyard with a white-picket fence, but make sure it's a space that prospective home buyers could feel comfortable in with their friends (or a good book). There are plenty of great landscaping ideas that you can do with a small backyard.
You should also think about outdoor extras that you could throw in with the purchase. Could you include a grill? How about the riding lawn mower? A perk can do wonders when it comes to any potential home buyer.
8.     Green, Value-Driven Millennials
Think about the advertisements you've seen in the last month. As you've probably noticed, millennials are marketed to differently than previous generations. Now, it's not just about the quality of the product or even the celebrity who's enjoying the product. Advertisers are now – more than ever – promoting causes and charities in their commercials and ads. Millennials want to know that their money is going to more than just a product; they want to attach their spending to something that will make the world a better place.
The same is true for buying a home. Millennials are focused on their home's impact on the environment and their overall energy consumption. When marketing your home to the millennial buyer, consider how your house can follow that narrative. There are a wide variety of ways to make your home more energy efficient, many of which can be quickly implemented. Not only will these changes appeal to their values, but it also helps them save money.
9.     Infographics
That said, if you want to go the extra mile, there are some other options to market your home. One often underutilized way are infographics. Infographics are illustrated images that take a lot of information and simplify it through easy-to-understand pictures. This allows you to highlight how your home stands out above the rest, including the improvements you recently made. And you don't have to be an artist to have this done. There are websites like Fiverr that will team you up with infographic specialists. For around $25, you can send in some facts about your home, and an artist will generate an easy-to-understand – and aesthetically pleasing – infographic. You can then either upload that infographic to places like Zillow and Trulia, or you can provide a physical copy at an open house.
Selling Your Home
When preparing your home to sell, it's important to consider the buyer. And millennials are making up more of that prospective home buyer audience. You shouldn't market your home to millennials the same way you would to baby boomers or Gen X-ers. Having a listing in the local newspaper probably isn't going to pique their interest (or even be seen).
Instead, play to the millennial aesthetic, their pursuit of philanthropy and their desire to be relationally connected to the thing they're buying.
Using these tips, you'll be better equipped to prep your home to sell. Millennials are the up and coming generation. Make sure your home is ready.

November 3, 2017

Watch This Video Before Ordering An Appraisal

We utilized the expertise of Gina Birkholtz, Owner of Birkholtz Appraisals, when constructing this 58 second video, to help you save money and get the optimum opinion of your home on your appraisal report.

If you would like to order an appraisal from Birkholtz Appraisals, visit her website:

Loan Estimate Explained by Michael James Hansen with So EZ Mortgage

It's So EZ Version

October 24, 2017

Calling All Realtors! Need A Purchase Pick-Me-Up?

When Clients Run Into Problems, We Make Changes To Make Life EZ

Earnest Money Deposit

Beginning 11/1 we will require a copy of the EMD check for all purchase loans before the loan will move to underwriting, allowing the UW to condition the loan the best way. The client may have extra assets which would eliminate a condition for proof of where the EMD check came from.

Enhanced Closing Disclosure Process

Closing Disclosures are now released automatically instead of manually, meaning clients may be able to acknowledge their CD sooner and close faster! The CD
may be delivered to the clients prior to the clearing of all client and vendor conditions, expediting the acknowledgment process.

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