Stewart Woodward, REALTOR Selling Metro West Real Estate

Posted by Stewart Woodward on 3/22/2018

You know when you buy a home that your credit score matters, but do you see all of the numbers that matter to your financial picture when youíre buying a home? Your debt-to-income ratio is one of the most critical figures that will influence if you can get a mortgage and what type of rate you can get. 

What Is A Debt-To-Income Ratio?

This number is exactly what it states: the ratio of debt divided by your gross monthly income. Your credit report doesn't include any of this income information. This number is actually the best way to see if youíre living within your means or not. This way, your lender will know your monthly debt payments along with your monthly income.  

If your ratio of debt is high, you may not get a loan or get less desirable interest rates than if you had lower amounts of debt. Even if you have a high credit score, your debt-to-income ratio could affect these things. In reality, a higher debt ratio will make it harder for you to pay back your debt, so itís important to you. 

How Itís Calculated

You can use an online tool to help you calculate your debt-to-income ratio. You can also use a simple formula if youíre up for doing some math yourself:

Divide your monthly debt payments by your monthly gross income then multiply that number by 100. For example:

Student loans: $400

Car loan: $300

Rent: $700

Income: $4,000 

1400/4000= 0.35 x 100= 35%

Household Ratio

You should also be aware of something called your household ratio. The household is the amount of home-related expenses which includes property taxes, prospective mortgage, home insurance, and more. These costs are divided by your monthly income to get this ratio as well. Obviously, your household debt adds to your financial commitments and is also put into consideration by your lender.    

Whatís A Good Debt-To-Income Ratio?

Itís ideal that you keep your ratio less than 36%. Your household ratio should be even lower than this. Itís great to be debt free, but in the real world, thatís not always possible. Your best bet is to be responsible with your finances and work on paying your debt down as much as you can. Then, little by little all of the critical numbers that are required to get a mortgage will fall into place.  


Posted by Stewart Woodward on 3/15/2018

If you want to increase the value of your home there are certain things that you can do to make sure that you get the most for your money when it comes to the sale of your property. One barrier to activities that increase the value of your home is that you only have so much time and money that you can invest before the home goes on the market. Take a look at these tips to increase the value of your home by quite a lot. 

Clean Out Your Home And Stage It 

You donít need to make expensive changes to your home in order to make an appearance. If you take the time to clear out the clutter of your home and stage it, it will look like a brand new place. No one wants to see piles of papers, dog toys, and crumbs as they walk through a potential home that they might buy. The difference that cleanliness and a little maintaining of your home makes can be huge. 

Make A Great First Impression

Messy yards and exterior issues on your home can really cost you quite a bit when trying to sell your home. If things appear disarrayed and broken around the outside of the home, you need to clean it up before you sell it. To add some spice to your curb appeal, you can do things like add some potted plants to the front of the yard. This is so simple, yet can make such a huge difference.

Pay Special Attention To Your Kitchen And Bathroom

Doing something as simple as adding fresh paint to the bathroom and kitchen can really add a lot of charm to your home. While you may not have the funds to do a complete renovation of these rooms a simple ďcleanupĒ of the spaces can help.    

Hire Professionals

As much fun as DIY jobs are, sometimes hiring a professional can really make a huge difference. If youíre not too keen on the type of job that youíre undertaking you should really hire a professional.

Another professional that you may want to hire is a real estate agent to help you sell your home. Realtors are experienced in marketing homes and understand the complete process from home showings through the closing on the sale. While you may think that you can sell the home on your own, youíll get a much better return if you leave it to the experts.

As you can see, these simple actions are a great way to increase the value on your home when youíre ready to sell. Take your time, and get a better return on your property investment.

Categories: Uncategorized  

Posted by Stewart Woodward on 3/8/2018

When everything is online, itís hard to discern when getting up, leaving the house, and checking out a home can be helpful. Thereís so much information regarding real estate online; you probably want to pick and choose when and where you go to see a home. Even if youíre nowhere near being able to buy a home, you may want to check out open houses to help you in the future.

Looking at real estate is fun. You can dream of living in a neighborhood on the street you may never be able to afford. There are many advantages to checking out open houses. 

Youíll Understand How Far Your Dollar Will Stretch

The type of home that you can afford, and the type of home you want may not be in the same ballpark. If you take a look at different open houses, you may be able to see where your budget takes you. Even if the market changes, youíll be able to match your expectations with your wallet. As you know whatís out there, youíll be able to hone in on what you want in a home. 

From here, it will be easier to work with a real estate agent because youíll be able to give them a better idea of what you want when the time does come to buy a home. 

It Will Be Easier To Hire An Agent

As you go to open houses, youíll meet more real estate agents. These agents can become potential hires once you do get more serious about buying.

Youíll See The Market Firsthand

Besides understanding how much house you can get for your dollar, youíll be able to get an idea of how many buyers are actually out there. If youíre seeing many other potential buyers at open houses, you may be facing quite a bit of competition when you head out to buy a home of your own. When the competition is high, youíre looking at offering above asking price for houses. You could even get into bidding wars. A lot of other buyers doesnít mean you should back out of buying a home altogether, but just enter the market with caution. 

You Can Discover New Areas

By exploring open houses, you may find a neighborhood that you love that wasnít on your list before. How can you get to know an area if you have never spent time there before? 

Youíll Learn Where You Need To Compromise

By looking at different houses, you can see the potential (or lack thereof) in many homes. If you can see where youíd be willing to compromise long before the home search is on, your search will be that much smoother   

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Posted by Stewart Woodward on 3/1/2018

One of the most used rooms in the house is the bathroom. You do spend a lot of time in there. You want your bathroom to be an oasis of sorts. Making changes and renovations to your bathroom will not only make you happy but make potential buyers for your home happy as well. Below, youíll find some trends to keep your bathroom stylish and a place that everyone wants to spend (at least some) time in. 

Beware Of Design Trends

Thereís a lot of trendy designs that just arenít timeless. They donít look very good in a bathroom after the initial install and tend to give the bathroom a drab feeling after awhile. Whether itís a crazy color scheme or something bland that lacks texture, you need to think about the longevity of a look before you go after it in your bathroom. Some trends to look out for:

  • Too much white
  • Too little in the bathroom
  • Funky color schemes
  • Gigantic bathtubs
  • Certain kinds of tile and finishes
  • Hardware accents

Really, the bathroom needs to be about balance. There are trends that come and go. Some people are more receptive to certain designs than others. This is because their needs are suited. Take the his and her sink as an example. Many designers are shying away from this trend. For your routines and needs, this could be exactly what your bathroom needs. No hotlist can tell you whatís best for you.

Storage Is A Necessity

If you do only one thing in your bathroom, make sure that you have enough storage. Thereís quite a bit that needs to go in the bathroom like toilet paper, towels, cleaners, medicines, as well as bath products like soap and shampoo. 

Add Pops Of Color

If your bathroom has all white tile and you donít have the time or the resources to actually change the tile, you should try and add pops of color where you can. Itís simple to do this with towels, floral rugs, curtains, and even bath accessories. You can really vary the color in the room and make it special. This is one renovation that doesnít cost much to do but can make a big difference.       


Remember What Sells

More neutral colors tend to sell better no matter what room of the house weíre talking about. Itís fine to mix neutral colors with pops of something bolder, but donít go overboard. Remember that when someone goes to buy your home, they want to make it their own as well. They probably canít achieve that with a lime green bathroom.

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Posted by Stewart Woodward on 2/22/2018

If there's one thing more stressful than moving it's moving over long distances. Moving far away often means new jobs, new friends, and a new way of life. It's a big change that doesn't need to be made any more difficult by a complicated moving process. In this article, we'll cover some ways to prepare yourself for a long distance move so that you can rest easy knowing you're ready for this new chapter of your life.

A new home, a new lifestyle

If you're moving across the country you probably don't know where to begin when it comes to preparing yourself. A good place to start is with the basics of daily life. Ask yourself these questions before you start packing:
  • Do I have the right clothes? You don't need a whole new wardrobe before you move, but you don't want to brave a Northeast winter with just a sweatshirt either.
  • What can I get rid of? Think about all of the items you have and how much you use them. If you haven't used something in a year there's a good chance it's not worth hauling across the country.
  • How much space will I have? If you're moving into a house bigger than the one you have now you might not need to part with many bulky items. If not, consider having a yard sale before you move.
  • Do I know enough about†where I'm moving?† When moving to a new place, you'll want to know where the closest hospitals, gas stations, and grocery stores are. Explore Google Maps and websites for the area you're moving to to get to know the place beforehand. Write down important addresses and telephone numbers.

Create a timeline

With all of the changes that are about to happen in your life, odds are you'll get overwhelmed with many of the details of moving. Create a moving timeline, whether it's in an app on your smartphone or on a piece of paper. On this timeline, write in†dates you'll need to accomplish certain items by. Here are some sample items for your timeline:
  • Pick a move-in/move-out date by today
  • Choose a moving company by today
  • Sell or donate unwanted items†by today
  • Sign paperwork and exchange keys today
  • Donate clothes†by today
  • Going away party†by today
  • Pack up office†by today
  • Pack up living room†by today

Packing your belongings

When packing for a long distance move there is more pressure to do it right and not forget anything. Follow these packing tips to ensure a safe travel:
  • Take inventory.†Use an app that helps you categorize your belongings. Check off important items as they're packed and cross them off as they're unpacked at your new home.
  • Pack one room at a time.†This will help you keep everything together and ensure you don't forget anything. It will make unpacking much easier.
  • Don't forget to label all your boxes.†Keep that Sharpie in your back pocket at all times.
  • Communicate.†Make sure everyone who is moving with you and helping you move are all on the same page when it comes to packing so that no details are overlooked.
  • Use extra padding.†A longer drive means more opportunities for something to get broken along the way. Pack boxes full and put fragile items on the bottom of the truck.

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