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One important quality lenders look for when applying for a mortgage is your credit score. Typically, the better your credit score the better your monthly payments and interest will be for your new home. It's important to make note that repairing bad credit does take time and patience, as there is no quick fix to increasing your score. If you're interested in starting the home process soon but have low credit, don't fret. Practice these tips on boosting your credit, overall improving your score.  

Set Up Monthly Payment Reminders

The biggest contributing factor to maintaining good credit is ensuring you make your monthly payments on time. Depending on the bank, email or text message reminders can be set up to help remind you when it is time for a payment. If not, consider setting monthly reminders on your calendar. For those who prefer to not worry, consider setting up automatic billing for each month.

Limit Credit Card Use to Decrease the Amount of Debt

Practice getting into the habit of limiting your credit card use, which overall will decrease the amount of debt you owe. Once you have stopped using your credit card, check your credit report to compile a list of your accounts to see how much you owe on each account and at what interest rate. Use this information to determine a payment plan, paying off those with the highest interest first. Remember to continue to make minimum payments on other accounts as doing both can boost your credit score.

Tips on Maintaining Good Credit

  • Ensure you are paying all bills on time
  • If you have pissed payments, pay off months owed and get current on monthly payments
  • Contact a credit counselor if you are struggling to keep up with payments
  • Keep balances low and limit card use
  • Don't a number of open credit cards you don't need

Choice Properties offers you a chance to find the home of your dreams. We work with your budget and ideas in mind to support your ultimate vision. Call us if you are ready to check out the available inventory or to speak with a reputable agent who can assist you with your home buying needs.


Benefits of Attending an Open House

With spring around the corner the housing market is about to be booming. Warmer weather brings the peak season of buying and selling a home. Browsing online listings is a great start and allows you to get an idea of what you're seeking in a home. However, browsing online only goes so far! Taking time to walk through houses and view details in person will help make your final decision easier. At Choice Properties, we update our open houses daily on our website. Your award-winning real estate agent will keep you updated on new homes within the area, ensuring your never miss an opportunity. Explore the benefits of attending an open house and start the journey of finding your dream home!

Stress Free Environment

Searching for a new home can feel overwhelming and stressful, especially to those new in the homebuying process. An open house gives buyers and opportunity to browse through the home in a stress free environment, allowing them to take their time with no pressure. Since no appointment is required for an open house, buyers are free to come-and-go as they please, taking things at their own pace.

Browse Neighborhoods

Open houses are a great way to browse various neighborhoods. Taking time to learn more about the neighborhood such as schools, volunteer work, local clubs and more will help you find your preferred atmosphere. Learning the types of homes and neighbors can help you develop a better understanding of what you want in a home.

Get Home Design Ideas

Another benefit of browsing an open house is to get inspired. Keep tabs on design trends and color palettes, and make note on potential layouts that catch the eye. This is a great time to see what you like and dislike in a home. Using this opportunity to explore different styles and layouts of homes prepares you for making a final decision on what you find appealing.

Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.


A Beginner's Guide to Homeowners Insurance

Home insurance may not be the most interesting topic to discuss when buying a home, but it is essentials for new homeowners to understand the details that influence homeowners insurance. Virtually all mortgage lenders require insurance coverage, and for good reason! When shopping for insurance companies, understanding your policy options is key. Take time to view this beginner's guide to homeowners insurance to help understand what a basic homeowners policy provides.

Damage to the Interior or Exterior of Your House

There are a number of tragic events that could damage the interior or exterior of your home. A few to consider are:

  • House Fires
  • Hurricanes
  • Lightening
  • Vandalism
  • Other Natural Disasters

In the event of damage due to covered costs, your insurer will compensate you for repairing or rebuilding if necessary. However, damage caused by floods, earthquakes, or poor home maintenance are not covered and you may need to find an outside provider.

Loss or Damage to Personal Belongings

Clothing, furniture, appliances, and other valued items are often covered if they are destroyed in the insured disaster. However, there may be a limit amount depending on the company you choose to insure through. According to the Insurance Information Institute, most insurance companies will provide coverage for 50-70% of the amount of insurance you have structured in the home.  

How Much Does Homeowners Insurance Cost?

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average cost of homeowners insurance was $791, however this rate can easily fluctuate based on insurance companies and specific policies. The price is first determined by how much coverage you purchase which is a decision you must make after determining the value of your home and taking inventory. Other factors that can influence the cost are your zip code, the size of the house, proximity to fire hydrants, the condition of plumbing, and electrical systems.

Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.


4 Financial Tips Before Listing Your Home

As a homeowner looking to sell, it's crucial to research and do homework before listing your home. Finding a trusted agent, creating a list of must-haves in your new home, and touring open houses are important, but finances should not be overlooked. Consider these 4 financial tips before listing your home in the market.


  1. Get clear on your current credit status

Reviewing your credit and spotting any glitches along the way will save you a headache when waiting for loans or escrow accounts. Some credit rehabilitation projects may takes months to complete, making it crucial to get started right away. Even if you are sure your credit is top-notch and ready to go, it's worth double checking.

  1. Determine how much you can afford

If your lender is able to offer a higher amount, that doesn't always mean you should accept the maximum payment. Take time to calculate cost of monthly utilities, home insurance, property taxes, and other home-related expenses once you move. When determining how much you can afford, consider speaking with:

  • Your agent, so they can prepare to show you homes in your price range.
  • Your mortgage broker, to help you understand various financial scenarios.
  • Your tax advisor, to keep you informed on what will affect your tax situations.
  • Your financial planner, to help you get clarify on your current income and expenses.
  1. Get inspections and key reports in advance

When selling your home, unplanned surprises such as property issues, unknown taxes, and liens can complicate the sale. The safest option is to have this information before you have an interested buyer. Choosing to be upfront with current issues may result in a lower bid, but will minimize the likelihood of tense negotiations.

  1. Consider Updates and Remodeling

It may be hard to justify spending money on a home you are looking to move out of, but doing small renovations will add value while updating to current trends. Completing projects, such as updating hardware in the kitchen and bathroom or installing new lighting fixtures are sure to gain the attention from home buyers.


Choice Properties offers you a chance to find the home of your dreams. We work with your budget and ideas in mind to support your ultimate vision. Call us if you are ready to check out the available inventory or to speak with a reputable agent who can assist you with your home buying needs.


Have You Been Wondering if you Qualify for Refinancing?

If you identify as a homeowner or make monthly payments on your car then you may be aware of the option to refinance your loan. Refinancing your house or car loan simply means to finance your investment again on different loan terms, usually with a lower interest rate. This is a good idea for most homeowners when rates significantly lower than what they currently are. Depending on the loan term, choosing to refinance can save individuals hundreds of dollars per month. However, this loan option is not an to everyone. Have you been wondering if you quality for refinancing? Consider asking yourself these questions to see if you meet the criteria.

Do you have 20% stake in equity?

Lenders seek a high percentage invested into your equity, usually around 20%. To estimate your equity, divide the amount you are wanting to borrow by the value of your home. Take your amount and subtract 100 to find your equity percentage. If your percentage is around or over 20%, this increases your chances of refinancing.

Do you have a good credit score?

Aside from holding 20% equity stake, good credit score is another key factor lenders seek before the approval of the loan. The minimum most lenders require is a score of 600-650, while some lenders seek credit scores of 720 or above. If your credit score is low, focus on changes you can make to gradually increase the number. Your credit score comes from five different factors:

  • Payment history
  • Utilization
  • Length of credit history
  • New credit lines
  • Type of credit you obtain

How much debt do you have?

Lenders study your monthly payments including mortgage, credit cards, and car loans that are relative to your income. Ensuring your payment history is correct with no missed payments will increase your approval of a refinance loan. Lenders seek ratios no higher than 38% when analyzing your debt-to-income.

If you are looking to reduce your monthly mortgage payment, refinancing your home is a great option! Upon going through the process you will be saving cash each month, allowing you to invest in other expenses.

Choice Properties understands your needs and desires when it comes to the home search. We are here to help you define what you want, seek the best property and move forward feeling educated and able to make good decisions throughout the process. You can trust us to help you navigate it with the best real estate agents working for you. Call us to get started on your dream home search today.




A refinance could cut the monthly mortgage payment but whether it is the right move or not depends on some factors. Learn more about some things to consider prior to refinancing a home mortgage that could save time and money.


Refinancing Costs Money

A free finance does not exist as there are closing costs associated with any closing no matter what house a person buys. Anywhere from 2 to 5 percent of the loan amount will be added on and need to be paid upfront. Some options can also include:

  • Cover the closing costs using a no-closing cost refinance which can come with a slightly higher interest rate

  • Look at closing costs and how those will be covered prior to calculating how long it will take to make monthly payments to repay the closing costs

  • If the closing costs will only be covered in four years and the plan is to stay two years in a home, refinancing may not make sense



Refinancing makes sense when the interest rate on a mortgage is more than 100 basis points above current interest rates. There is no hard and fast rule on how much to save but costs should be recouped in two years or less. A 30-year fixed loan of $200,000 loan might see a rate of 4.83 percent in March 2011. The rate today may vary from that slightly. In six months past the two-year mark, it may take awhile to recoup costs if the loan is considered at a different rate in a different period of time. Doing homework on comparing refinance rates will save lots of time and money in the long run, which requires research on multiple lenders to come to a final conclusion.


Refi and PMI

Private mortgage insurance (PMI) on a loan on a home that has substantial equity could enable a person to cancel mortgage insurance. To do this, the following must be in place:

  • Loan balance of 80 percent or less of home's appraised value

  • New loan could replace the loan with PMI when appraised and cancel PMI obligations


Equity and Cash

A cash-out refinance lets a person take out a new mortgage for more than the amount owed on the current loan and pocket the difference - typically up to 80 percent of loan-to-value ratio. This may be a good move depending on where the money goes. If this money goes to put an addition on the home, this will increase the property value but come at a higher rate than non-cash-out-refinances. Discretionary spending like vacations or other spending may not be advisable as it does not put equity back into the home. One thing to keep in mind is that if a home's value may decrease in a certain neighborhood where values are going down, it may not be a good time to tap the equity. Weighing costs and benefits is part of the process and requires forward thinking to save money in the long run.


When looking to buy or sell a home in Logan County, Choice Properties Real Estate is the premier company with award winning agents available to assist you in the search. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.