JANUARY 2021 | WHAT’S IN THIS ISSUE?
» Getting pre-approved for a home loan in 4 easy steps
» 6 most popular house styles in America
» 3 mid-winter house chores Getting pre-approved for a home loan in 4 easy steps
Getting pre-approved for your mortgage is one of the best ways to ensure the home-buying process runs smoothly. Many sellers these days expect a pre-approval letter as part of an offer, so take care of it early in your search with these four easy steps.
- Check your credit – Request a free credit score or see if your bank automatically provides you one. Higher scores qualify for better loan rates, and most lenders want a score of at least 620. You should also look over your credit history report. Make certain none of your accounts are delinquent, and that your report is free of errors. You may dispute any errors you find.
- Determine your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) – This is the amount of money you owe every month vs. how much you earn. Lenders prefer a DTI of 36% or under, including your future mortgage payments.
- Collect your paperwork – You’ll need a lot of documentation for your application including your Social Security Number (or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number for foreign nationals), current addresses, employment records, bank account information and proof of income. You will also likely need tax documents, such as W-2s dating back at least two years.
- Contact at least three lenders – The only way to know you’re getting a good deal is to compare offers. This step can save you thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Once you’ve submitted your application, lenders are required to notify you if you’ve been pre-approved within 3 business days.
6 most popular house styles in America
America has always been home to a diverse range of house designs. To make sense of the variety, we’ve summarized six of the most popular styles.
Cape Cod: This style dates to the early colonists in Massachusetts and regained popularity in the 1950s. The homes are usually 1 and 1/2 stories, with strong symmetry and a central front entrance.
Colonial Revival: This style also originated with English colonists. These homes tend to be symmetrical with brick exteriors, dormer windows and at least 2 stories.
Rowhouse: Also called townhomes, rowhouses are built with shared walls between them. They’re common in populous cities, both in America and in parts of Europe.
Craftsman: The Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th century led to Craftsman style houses. These homes include luxe interior details like stained glass, built-in cabinetry and wooden archways.
Ranch: Ranch homes are usually one-story structures with front-facing garages. They have open floorplans, with easy access to the outdoors.
Contemporary: Many new homes are built in this style. Their floorplans emphasize a flow between interior and exterior design, with an emphasis on sustainability or energy savings. 3 mid-winter house chores
- Look for leaks. Fill your sinks then check for drips from the pipes underneath.
- Trim back plants. Brush is easier to clear before it thaws and starts growing again.
- Test smoke and CO detectors. Fires and CO buildup are more common in winter.