Category Archives: Home Selling Tips

Loans for Home Renovation: Do or Don’t?

Hammer on Stack of MoneyMany homeowners that need to complete a home renovation debate taking out a loan or using their savings to cover renovation expenses. Two popular options for those not wanting to tap into their savings are a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC).

What’s the difference? A home equity loan is similar to a mortgage in that you are given a specific amount that you must repay over time in fixed monthly payments. A HELOC is a line of credit that you can use when needed as long as you don’t exceed the credit limit. There are monthly payments with a HELOC, but you may be able to make interest-only payments for a period of time.

A home equity loan or HELOC can be a good route for some people, but first you should ask yourself the following five questions that the finance experts at Equifax discuss in the recent article, “Paying for Home Renovations: Tapping Home Equity vs. Using Savings,” to find out if you are in a situation where taking out a home equity loan or a HELOC would be a smart financial move for you.

  1. How much debt do you already have?

If you already have a great deal of debt, especially debt that has a high interest rate, you should evaluate whether you can take on any additional debt at this time.

  1. How much equity do you have in your home?

If you have less than 20 percent equity in your home, it might not be a great idea to borrow against it for three reasons. First, if you are paying private mortgage insurance, it is good to eliminate that payment first. Second, many lenders want you to have some stake in your home and will not let you borrow if you have less than 20 percent equity in your home. Third, you could potentially lose a significant amount of money if you put yourself in a financially unstable situation and your home value drops.

  1. How much are you thinking about borrowing?

Getting a home equity loan is similar to getting a mortgage and involves similar start-up costs such as an appraisal, an application fee and closing costs. Be prepared to pay these costs and also be aware that home equity loans can carry adjustable rates and your monthly payments could go up over time.

  1. How much cash do you have?

If you don’t have enough in savings and do have a significant amount of equity in your home, a loan or HELOC would be a good option for you, especially since interest rates are so low right now. If you have a lot of cash in savings, it is probably not worth borrowing money that you will have to pay back with interest, unless the home renovation would eat up all of your savings and leave you with no emergency funds.

  1. How long do you plan to stay in the house?

Keep in mind, if you are doing a home renovation with the intent of selling before you have a chance to pay off the loan, you should consider having another means of paying off the loan. This is because when you choose to tap into your home equity, you are using your home as collateral, and if you sell your home, that collateral disappears.

In the end, whether you decide to use savings or borrow money with an equity loan or HELOC for your home renovation, keep your return on investment in mind and make sure the investment is worthwhile.

For more tips, visit the Equifax Personal Finance blog.



How Long Does a Late Payment Stay on Your Credit?

LAte payment hurts credit report

LAte payment hurts credit report

Ever made a late payment on a bill? Maybe forgot about your credit card bill? Or have you ever been a few weeks late on your car note when money got tight? Are you looking now at a big purchase that’s going to require credit and you’re wondering how that late payment is going to look?

The Equifax Finance blog answers these questions and more in the recent post “

FAQ: How Long Do Late Payments Stay On My Credit Report.”

The article explains that positive information (like early payments and on-time payments) can stay on your credit report forever; but negative information (like that late payment) could stick around for seven years. Bankruptcies will generally stay for 10 years.

If you are concerned about what may be in your credit report, the Equifax experts recommend checking your credit report. This will tell you what you need to know about your credit now and where you will stand in terms of getting new credit; and will be starting board for building or repairing your credit, if necessary.

Check out the Equifax Finance blog to get more answers to your credit questions, and other topics like finance,

identity theft insurance, real estate, taxes and more.

New Housing Market Predictions Paint Rosy 2013

Housing market predictions up from lower inventory

Housing market predictions up from lower inventory

The recovery is alive and well, and is painting some good 

housing market predictions for spring 2013. This change is the result of a number of factors, which the Equifax Finance Blog explains in the new article, “

One Million Homeowners Are Back in the Black.”

The 20 percent less inventory than the same time last year has made homes more valuable, and that rise in value has accounted for an overall $457.1 billion rise in home equity, or 7.4 percent increase from the fourth quarter of 2011. Hundreds of thousands of homeowners will rise above owing more than their home is worth if prices continue to rise, and many who have delayed selling their home will have a chance to re-enter the market.

These homeowners rejoining the market as home sellers will add inventory to give buyers more choices on where to spend their money, and that additional inventory may either cause prices to normalize or to rise as homes are quickly taken off of the market. This presents a bonus for both buying and 

selling a home, in addition to a big boost for the housing market recovery.

For more personal finance tips and tricks, as well as real estate analysis and predictions, direct your browser to the Equifax Finance Blog.

Carolina Real Estate Agents Can Attend Specialized Training Course for Distressed Homeowners

ToolsThe Charfen Institute is offering a Certified Distressed Property Designation course to provide agents the perfect tools, processes and education to help distressed homeowners avoid foreclosure. Due to a high demand for property education courses, North and South Carolina local area REALTOR® Associations will offer industry-leading Real Estate Short Sale courses.

The North Carolina Association of REALTORS® and Greensboro Regional REALTORS® Association will meet June 14 and 15 in Greensboro, N.C.. If you are in the Cary, area, the Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS® will meet August and August 2. In addition, the Coastal Carolina Association of REALTORS® will meet in Myrte Beach, S.C. on August 7 and August 8.

This is an excellent opportunity for local real estate professionals to learn how to help homeowners facing financial hardships, while also earning their Certified Distressed Property Expert® (CDPE) Designation. Agents with this certification better understand homeowners’ circumstances and can better navigate foreclosure alternatives.

Since 2008, unemployment, underemployment figures and mortgage delinquency have been at a record high. Recent estimates show that more than one in five homeowners nationwide owe more on their home than it is currently worth.

To find out more about these events in the Carolinas and nationwide visit

Struggling homeowners can get free assistance from a CDPE-designed rate estate agent in their area by visiting For more information on Carolina real estate, visit our website.

New Strategies for Carolina Real Estate Investors

real estate investing

Before the housing market crashed, it seemed like real estate investors could just buy a home, fix it up a little, then flip it for a nice profit. The demand for homes was high, and the amount of loans being given out was even higher. This cycle was enhanced by the large amount of people transitioning from renting to owning.

Today, things look vastly different.

On the

Equifax Personal Finance Blog, real estate investor and co-founder Andy Heller describes the new world of investing. His article, “

Prepare Your Real Estate Strategy Before You Buy,” explains how Carolina real estate investors must adapt to the new market in order to be profitable.

According to Heller, the market has basically gone in reverse from where it was before the collapse. Now, more and more people are moving away from homeownership and focusing on renting. In fact, Heller reports seeing projections of up to 5 million new renters within five years.

But what does this shift mean for investors? It means that becoming a landlord just became much more appealing. Of course, not everyone wants to think about midnight calls for a leaky roof or arguing with tenants who refuse to pay rent on time. Heller discusses a compromise in the form of a lease option, where in specified amount of time, the renter will have a chance to buy the home.

The advantages of a lease option stem from the responsibilities of upkeep and repairs that are placed on the renter. Plus, since renters know that the house may be theirs one day, they will generally take those responsibilities seriously.

Visit the

Equifax Personal Finance Blog to learn more about what you can do to take advantage of low prices and invest in Carolina real estate.