Rachel Hillman Foy - Hillman Homes



Posted by Rachel Hillman Foy on 2/21/2018

Everyone knows that their credit score will affect the mortgage they qualify for and the interest rate they receive. The details of how exactly those numbers are arrived at, however, are a bit hazy for the average prospective homeowner.

This confusion is due to a number of reasons. Chief among them is the fact that your average person isnít well-versed in credit terminology or the variables that go into determining their credit scores.

In this article, Iím going to break down credit scores and credit bureaus, then discuss how each of them affects the mortgage rate you could receive. Then, weíll talk about some ways you can boost your score to qualify for a better rate.

Anatomy of a credit score

Credit scores are determined by five main variables. In order of importance, they are:

  • 35%: your payment history on loans, bills, credit cards, etc.

  • 30%: your total debt amount for all of your accounts

  • 15%: length of your credit history (how long youíve had open accounts for loans, credit cards, etc.)

  • 10%: types of credit you have used (auto loan, student loan, credit cardÖ diversity of loans matters)

  • 10%: recent credit inquiries (such as taking out new loans or opening new credit cards)

To have a ďgoodĒ (over 700) or ďexcellentĒ (over 750) credit score, youíll need to focus on each of these factors. For most people, paying their bills on time over a long enough timeline is enough to get them into the excellent range.

But things happen in life. People forget to pay an important bill, they have financial emergencies, or they have to take out a loan for an unforeseeable expense.

The credit bureaus

So, who are the people that determine your credit score?

There are three main credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Lenders will look at reports from all three bureaus to determine your rate. Due to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003, consumers are able to receive a free copy of their credit report from each bureau once per year.

Since then, companies like Credit Karma have made credit reports even more accessible. Users are able to check in on their credit as often as they want free of charge.

Since much of your credit score is out of your hands, at least in the short-term, what can you do to help boost your score over the next few months to increase your chances of getting a good interest rate on your loan? Two things.

Credit and mortgages

So, just how much of an impact does your credit score have on your mortgage rate? Having an excellent score can give you a full percentage point lower on your monthly interest rate.

One percent doesnít seem like much, but over the period of a 30-year loan that can amount to tens of thousands of dollars that you could have saved if you had a better credit score. As you can imagine, having an extra $2,000 per year can be quite helpful to a new homeowner.

So, what can you do to boost your score?

Make corrections

Since you have access to free credit reports be sure to go through your detailed report a few months before you plan to apply for a mortgage. Report any harmful errors to help you increase your score.

Donít apply for new credit

The period from now until you apply for a mortgage is an important one. If you make new credit inquiries (i.e., open up new credit cards, take out new loans, etc.), your score will temporarily decrease. Wait until after you sign on your mortgage to take out other loans.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Rachel Hillman Foy on 2/14/2018

Buying a vacation home is something that many dream of, but for some itís not just a dream. And itís certainly not something that is only for the rich and the famous. Maybe you have been saving for one your whole life, got a large bonus at work that you want to use as a down payment, or are just going out on a limb; there are several things to consider before taking the plunge and buying a vacation home. Cost: First and foremost, what kind of financial position are you in? Are you able to put down 20% and if not will you be able to afford the potential higher interest rate that goes along with less money done? If you are planning to buy farther away, can you afford the airfare cost for as often as youíd like to spend there? Can you afford the inevitable maintenance that will be necessary? You certainly do not have to be a millionaire to purchase a vacation home, but itís important to know what you can afford and cannot afford. Location: Do you want to buy a vacation home that is within a couple of hours from your home? Or would you rather buy one a plane ride away that may be in a location thatís warm year round? Or do you want to buy a home in another country? This is certainly something that should be determined before beginning your search. Condo vs. Single-Family: Do you want the privacy of a single-family home or do you want the amenities that come along with living in a condo? There is a level of privacy that comes with owning a single-family home versus a condo, as well as there are condo fees to consider. This decision may not matter much to you, but itís important that everyone involved agrees on the type of home they would like to buy. Rent It: Do you plan on renting out your vacation home when you are not there? Are you looking at homes in locations where renting is possible? Can you afford the home if you do not rent it out? If you canít afford the home without renting, how often do you need to rent to be able to afford it? Do you want the hassle of renting it? Itís important to consider this possibility even before you begin your house hunt. Buying a vacation home is extremely exciting, but itís a large investment. It should be well thought out and planned out. But, once you have those details worked outó go out and buy the vacation home of your dreams!





Posted by Rachel Hillman Foy on 2/7/2018

If youíre hunting for a new home and have come across one that fits all of your requirements and more, it can seem like the only thing you can do is make an offer and wait.

However, your first choice could also be another buyerís dream home. And, if a higher bid isnít feasible, you have to find other ways to win over the seller. One way this can be achieved is through writing a letter to the owner of the home.

If youíre bidding on your dream home, writing a letter the the owner can be anxiety inducing. Choosing what to reveal and finding the right words can be scary, even for the most seasoned writer.

So, in this article weíre going to walk you through writing a letter to a seller to give you the best possible chance of winning the bid for a new home.

Tell them why you love their home

If youíve fallen in love with certain aspects of the home, thereís a good chance the sellers did too. Be personal in your explanations. Rather than just say you love the location, mention that it is a perfect distance to walk to the playground with your children or pets. This will help buyers better understand you and your story.

If you have family who lives nearby, or if the home has features that can greatly improve the life of you, your family, or your pets, be sure to mention this in the letter as well.

Donít press or plead, just be polite

It can seem desperate and off-putting to receive a letter pleading with you to sell your home to someone. So, when youíre writing your letter and you come to the end, simply thank the buyer for their time and for reading, compliment them once more, and wish them luck in their new home.

Revise and review

It can be tempting to send your letter immediately after writing it, especially if writing is you donít like writing in general. However, itís always a good idea to revise. I suggest writing your letter one night, then reading it again the next evening to give yourself time and distance from it--this way youíll be reading it with fresh eyes and will be able to find any wording that sounds strange or confusing.

Itís also a good idea to run your writing through a free proofreader like Grammarly. And, finally, there is no substitute for having an editor. Ask one of your friends or family members to read the letter and give you feedback.

Stand out from the crowd

There are a few things you can include in your letter to set you apart from other potential buyers. Including a family photo will help the sellers put a face to the names you mention in the letter.

It can also be helpful to print and mail the letter, rather than sending it electronically. Since we so rarely receive a physical copy of a letter these days (unless itís from a bill collector), it can be nice to receive something positive in the mail for a change.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Rachel Hillman Foy on 1/31/2018

The process of closing on a home can seem lengthy and complex if itís your first time buying or selling a house. There are several costs and fees required to close on a home, and while itís up to the individuals to decide who covers what costs, there are some conventions to follow.

In this article, weíre going to talk about closing costs for selling a house and signing on a mortgage. Weíll discuss who pays what, and whether there is room for negotiation within the various fees and expenses.

But first, letís talk a little bit about what closing costs are and what to expect when you start the process of buying or selling a home.

Closing costs, simplified

If youíre just now entering the real estate market, the good news is you can often estimate your closing costs based on the value of the property in question. You can ask your real estate agent relatively early on in the process for a ballpark figure of your costs.

Closing costs will vary depending on the circumstances of your sale and the area you live in. In some cases, closing costs can be bundled into your mortgage, such as in ďNo Closing Cost Mortgages.Ē However, avoiding having to deal with closing costs often comes at the expense of a slightly higher interest rate.

If you are planning to buy a house and have recently applied for a mortgage, laws require that your lender sends you an estimate of your closing costs within a few days of your application.

Now that we know how closing costs work, letís take a look at who plays what.

Buyer closing costs

In terms of the sheer number of closing costs, buyers tend to have the most to deal with. Fortunately, your real estate agent will help you navigate these costs and simplify the process.

They can range from two to five percent of the cost of the sale price of the home. However, be sure to check with your lender for the closest estimate of your closing costs. Itís a good idea to shop around for mortgage lenders based on interest rates as well as closing costs charged by the lender.

Here are some of the costs you might be asked to pay as a home buyer:

  • Appraisal fees

  • Attorney fees

  • Origination fees

  • Prepaid interest or discount points

  • Home inspection fee

  • Insurance and Escrow deposits

  • Recording fees

  • Underwriting fees

Seller Closing Costs

While the seller pays a larger amount of closing costs, sellers still have obligations at closing that can be just as expensive. The biggest expense for sellers is to pay the real estate commission. Commission usually falls in the vicinity of 6% of the sale price of the home. This covers the commission of both the sellerís and the buyerís real estate agents. 


The main takeaway? Buyers and sellers both share the burden of closing costs. While the buyer has more expenses to take care of, the seller pays for the largest costs.





Posted by Rachel Hillman Foy on 1/24/2018

Imagine what it will be like when you discover your dream house. In all likelihood, this residence will meet all of your needs, along with your budget. However, it is important to note that the final price of your home is unlikely to be what you'll wind up paying for your new residence. There are many hidden home costs that you should consider before you finalize your home purchase, including: 1. Property Taxes Property taxes are a necessary evil. And even though every homebuyer would like to avoid them, these taxes must be paid consistently. Typically, property taxes are billed annually as a percentage of your assessed home's value. They may total thousands of dollars that you'll be responsible for paying every year, and as such, should be considered when you budget for your home purchase. Although you cannot avoid property taxes, you can plan for them. Homebuyers who budget accordingly, meanwhile, will be able to ensure that they can pay these taxes on time for the length of their mortgage. 2. Utilities You've decided to buy a home, but how do you plan to pay for electricity for your new residence? Or how do you intend to pay to heat and cool your home? Utilities are paramount, and the costs associated with utilities need to be evaluated during the homebuying process. Fortunately, working with an experienced real estate agent ensures you'll be better equipped to understand the utilities costs you may encounter when you buy a new residence. A real estate professional may be able to provide insights into how much utilities will cost based on the size of your home and your individual needs. That way, you'll be able to get a better idea about how much you'll need to save each month for electricity, heat and other utilities. 3. Home Repairs and Maintenance Even a brand new house will require repairs and maintenance over time. And even though every room in a home looks like it is in great shape now, the same may not hold true even a week, month or year from now. Putting aside money each month enables you to prepare for any minor or major home repair or maintenance projects that could arise. Furthermore, those who are in dire need of extensive home repairs may be able to apply for a home improvement loan to ensure they can get any home improvement projects done as soon as possible. Remember, planning ahead usually is a good idea, particularly for homebuyers. Budgeting for the unforeseen costs associated with buying and owning a home is important, and doing so will ensure you're prepared for any challenges that may come your way. Creating a budget and sticking to it can help you find a great home that won't force you to stretch beyond your means. Plus, those who develop a budget that includes potential hidden homebuying and homeownership costs can avoid the risk of falling into debt. Prepare for the hidden costs of buying a new residence, and you'll be able to maximize the value of your purchase.







Rachel Hillman Foy