How Can You Improve Your Financial Health Now?

If your financial health isn’t great at the moment, here are a few ways you can improve it.

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Want to improve your finances but aren’t quite sure how to do so? Here are five tips to help you become more financially responsible:

1. Develop a budget. It’s boring, but it’s the cornerstone of financial responsibility. Instead of asking where all your money went at the end of the month, you’ll have peace of mind if you work on a budget. 

Transfer a bit into savings before you pay monthly bills.

2. Use credit cards correctly. When used correctly, credit cards can be a valuable financial tool. Avoid getting caught in a bad cycle by only buying the things that you can afford. Period.

3. Pay yourself first. Before you take care of your monthly bills, transfer a little bit of money into savings. It’s always important to have savings accounts.

4. Invest wisely. Whether you invest in stocks, business, or real estate, learning how to invest properly is a keystone of financial health and wealth.

5. Live within your means. Don’t compare yourself to others. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.

By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to financial responsibility. If you have any questions for us about real estate, don’t hesitate to reach out via phone or email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Tips for a Successful Alaska Home Purchase

What are the five Ps of buying an Alaskan home? Find out today.

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So you’ve either decided to move to Fairbanks or North Pole from another location, or you’re already living here and you just want to move to a different house—what do you need to do to be successful buying a home? Today we’ll share the five Ps that will bring about your success:

1. Choose a professional. Here at Madden Real Estate, we’re trained professionals who engage in about 600 transactions a year, which is more than anyone else in the state. In fact, we’re among the top 50 in the nation in terms of both size and number of transactions. We have all the experience, resources, and tools you need to win.
2. Know your price. You need to know what you want to spend so you can get enough cash or a home loan to be able to buy. If you’re not paying in cash, speak with your lender to find out how much you’ll qualify for so you can have an idea of what kind of home you can buy and how much you’ll pay each month once you buy it.
3. Know your preferences. Figure out what it is you want in a home. One way to do this is to visit and take a look at all the homes currently available. How many bedrooms do you need? Do you need an acreage along with the property? Do you need a garage that fits one or three cars? Where is your ideal location? 
4. Find perspective. During the buyer’s consultation with us, we can help you pin down available homes that meet your criteria, like your desired price, school districts, and so on.
5. Put your plan in play. When you’re ready to pull the trigger, our experts will be ready to help.

If you’re in the market to move to Fairbanks, North Pole, or the surrounding areas, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Madden Real Estate for any needs or questions you may have. We’re here to help you.

6 Blunders Homebuyers Make After Pre-Approval

Here are six common mistakes we see homebuyers do that can cost them the home of their dreams.

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If you’ve gotten pre-approved for a mortgage and are ready to start seriously shopping, here are some things we suggest you avoid doing in that time between pre-approval and recording on your house: 

1. Don’t quit your job. If you’re forced to leave your job, let us know right away and talk to your lender. Few things will raise your lender’s eyebrows faster than finding out that you no longer have employment or a steady stream of income. 

2. Don’t buy or lease a vehicle. I lost a house for a guy one time because he was stationed in the lower 48, had to move up to Alaska, and thought it a perfect time to buy a new Dodge Ram pick-up; his loan-to-value ratio spiked, disqualifying him for the loan. We still found him a home, but he missed out on the one he really wanted. 

3. Don’t increase the balances on your credit cards. During this period, it’d be better to just put the cards in a drawer and forget they’re even there.

Keep your Realtor and lender informed about what you’re doing every step of the way.

4. Don’t use money you’ve set aside for your closing cost or your down payment. To avoid temptation, put those funds in an entirely separate account. 

5. Don’t omit any liabilities. Accurately report loan debts and things like child support. Not doing so will only come back to bite you. 

6. Don’t buy furniture or appliances. Prior to moving, it’s easy to become antsy and go out and buy stuff for your new house—focus on actually getting the house first, though. Other large purchases can impact your loan-to-value ratings. 

Keep your Realtor and lender informed about what you’re doing every step of the way. Communication is key. Speaking of which, if you have any questions about the information covered in today’s message, feel free to call or email us. We’d love to help you.

What Should You Know About Online Lenders?

For those of you who are buying a home, you might be tempted to work with an online lender. Here are the pros and cons of doing so.

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We’re so busy these days that a lot of us prefer the simplified version of everything. We’d rather text than call and shop online than go to a store, so it makes sense that the next big trend is to use full-service, online mortgage companies.

However, is that the best decision? Here are some pros and cons when it comes to online mortgages:

Con: There’s an increased risk of fraud and scams. Remember, you never need to pay money for a quote or pre-approval. You may have to pay an application fee later on in the process, but be careful who you’re giving your money to.

Pro: Faster and cheaper. Online lenders generally dumb down the process, which is why they’re so popular. They’re fast, easy, and often offer lower interest rates to attract buyers.

Rates with online lenders can be extremely high.

Con: If you use an online lender, you have to be careful with the online forms. Since there is nobody there to answer your questions, it can be easy to misunderstand the questions and the payments you will be making. It could also affect your approval later on.

Pro: They can usually help people with lower credit scores. You might be able to qualify for a loan with an online lender that you couldn’t qualify for with a big bank.

Con: Although they approve lower credit scores, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can afford to buy a home. Their interest rates can be extremely high. 

One thing an online lender can’t do is give you the same advice that an in-person lender can. That’s why we suggest that all of our clients work with one. A lender can help you improve your credit score, understand your budget, and more. We’d be happy to connect you with a lender that we trust.

If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out via phone or email. We look forward to hearing from you.