Lighting 101: How The Right (Or Wrong) Lighting Can Affect Whether Or Not Your Home Sells, As Well as How Quickly

So you have decided to sell your home. You’ve hired the best real estate agent you can, you’ve done all necessary repairs or replacements. You’ve decluttered, de-personalized, and thoroughly cleaned the home. Now that you’re ready to put your home on the market, you’ve got one more thing to do. That is make sure that the lighting is correct. A poorly lit home makes for an automatic disadvantage. Darkness can make a home feel small, uninviting and dirty, even when it isn’t. Worse, a potential buyer may wonder what flaws are lurking in the shadows Below are some basic tips to help you make a bright, energizing impression at your next viewing.

Open all the curtains and blinds, turn on all the lights and look at each space through the eyes of a buyer. Use your camera if it helps you make note of any areas that need help. Keep in mind that showings may happen at different times of day, so it’s good to repeat the exercise in the evening, when there’s less natural light.

Sometimes, lighting problems are due to bad design. Dark furnishings, wall colors, flooring and even ceiling colors can make a room seem dark no matter how much light you pour into them. Use light colored bedding, throws, slip covers, drapes, area rugs and other room-appropriate accessories to brighten the space. Mirrors can reflect available light and make a room feel larger and more open. Try adding them to rooms with inadequate windows.

Add light sources that can wash across dark walls. The diffused light can add to the ambient illumination and give the eye a little help when assessing the room’s true dimensions. Also consider replacing some light fixtures and bulbs. Dated fixtures may not be a deal-breaker, they certainly won’t do your selling your home task any favors.

Also be sure to add more lamps and fixtures if needed. If your existing lights still aren’t getting the job done, you may need to call for some reinforcements. Bedside lamps, desk lamps and under-cabinet lighting can all add to your overall light profile while also highlighting attractive details, like your backsplash or countertops.

Vanity lighting in the bathrooms should be bright and consistent, with no drastic shadows and glare. Adding sconces beside the mirrors may help you achieve this.
Attractive table lamps may offer visual interest, as well as much-needed light in a living room, den or game room. No surfaces for lamps? Consider torchieres or other floor lamps.

Accent lighting can draw attention to a room’s focal points, such as the mantle or built-in shelving. Tread lighting can help brighten a staircase; and provide added safety benefits. Keep in mind that curb appeal is just as important at night as it is during the day. Potential buyers may drive by at any hour to check out your home and neighborhood.

A well lit exterior not only invites buyers, it also discourages burglars. Your buyers may not be consciously thinking about it, but they will probably feel safer in your neighborhood, the more light they see. Path lighting creates a welcoming impression and, like tread lighting, helps decrease tripping hazards.

Can You Get Out Of Paying a Deficiency Judgment? Read On To Find Out What To Do If You’re Facing The Possibility Of Losing Your Home


Will You Have to Pay Deficiency Judgment After Foreclosure?

When a foreclosure is finished and the home is sold or assessed by an appraisal, for the loss on the mortgage, the deficit amount the bank will not get back from the mortgage balance and expenses due, is called a deficiency. In most states, the lender has an option to get a judgment in this amount against the borrower and this is called a “deficiency judgment”. In addition to the loss of the homeowner’s home he also has the potential of having to repay this judgment in the future.

Even if the bank accepts a deed in lieu of foreclosure they can still get a deficiency judgment against the borrower. The borrower is the one responsible for the mortgage or deed of trust payments and he may or may not be the homeowner.

If the homeowner has a co-signer, the co-signer will be as legally responsible as the borrower to pay back the deficit due. Depending on whether the foreclosure is judicial or non-judicial, and the specific terms of the mortgage, the bank may not be able to seek a deficiency judgment. These laws vary state-by-state and should be reviewed carefully to determine which applies to the reader.

The bank doesn’t just have the amount of the unpaid loan balance due but also legal fees, accelerated interest payments, back principal payments, in some cases pre-payment penalties, and other expenses as part of the judgment amount. This is why a homeowner who has had his mortgage a couple of years could owe more than he borrowed originally.

The major factors in deciding whether the lender will pursue a deficiency judgment are whether the lender feels he can collect the judgment and the cost to collect it. In the process of working with the homeowner, the lender pulls his credit and can see what other outstanding bills he has and whether they are being paid timely. The lender can not see what assets the homeowner has but can sometimes see where he works.

The homeowner will be asked to fill out a Net Worth Statement (“NWS”) which will disclose these assets to the lender. This document is a major part of the decision to pursue the judgment or not. If the lender has no reason to believe the homeowner has extensive assets, they will issue the IRS Form instead. A note of caution – falsifying the NWS can be bank fraud in some states so be careful if you intend to return the NWS to the lender.

The deficiency judgment is determined by the court-approved “Final Judgment” amount in most states. However, in some states, the property must be sold or an appraisal done to determine the “expected” net loss. If your state does this procedure by appraisal, contest the appraisal and have the judgment lowered if you believe it was not correct.

Carefully weigh your rights and options when you make a decision to allow your home to be lost to foreclosure, as there are solutions besides foreclosure and deed transfer to the lender. Do not be paralyzed with fear that the lender will follow you forever to collect the deficiency judgment, as you have a number of options to fight this including attacking the validity of the original loan.


What Happens When The Mortgage That You Co-signed Gets Defaulted On? Read Here To Find Out


You Asked, We Answered: What, Exactly, Happens When the Mortgage You Cosigned Is Defaulted?

Co-signers get few rights and a large amount of responsibility when it comes to mortgage loans. You have no rights to the property but all the responsibility for the bill. When the primary borrower fails to pay, the mortgage loan goes into default.

At this point, credit scores decline, collection calls begin and the co-signer is notified. In most cases, the lender will allow you to bring the account current before the foreclosures process begins.

Late Payments

When a mortgage goes into default, the lender calls you and the primary borrower to collect on the past due payment. Once the account becomes 30 days past due, it appears as a negative mark on your credit report and subsequently drops your credit score. After the primary borrower miss several payments, the lender makes a final demand for payment before foreclosing on the house.

The exact number of payments missed before foreclosure varies among lenders. Of course, you can rectify the situation by paying the past due amount as soon as you learn about it.

Types of Foreclosure

Your lender has two avenues for foreclosure: non-judicial and judicial. A non-judicial foreclosure occurs when the mortgage loan contains a power-of-sale clause. This allows the trustee, or lender, to sell the home to recover the balance of the loan in the event the primary borrower defaults. 

Cancellation of Debt

If the lender pursues a non-judicial foreclosure, you’ll receive a form at the beginning of the following year. When a lender writes off debt, you must claim that amount as taxable income on your taxes. The increase in income could increase your total tax liability for the year.

Deficiency Judgment

A deficiency judgment is issued by the court for the leftover balance on the mortgage note after the home is auctioned off. As the co-signer, you are responsible for paying the remaining balance even after the sale if the court orders a judgment. With a judgment in hand, the mortgage lender can pursue garnishments against your wages or bank account. A judgment appears on your credit report for seven years.

Options

Even though the primary borrower has the property rights and the ultimate say in solving the problem, as co-signer, you have few options to rectify the situation short of paying the bill. The primary borrower could pursue a short sale, where he sells the house for the balance due, without your input. In the absence of a remedy, however, the best option is to set up a repayment plan to bring the account current.

Check out this article that will explain more about What to Do When the Loan You Cosigned Gets Defaulted On

If You Want To Get The Best Mortgage, With The Best Rate, Be Sure To Follow This Advice And You’ll Be Right On Track

Not checking your credit. You should know where you stand in the credit score department before you look for a mortgage. After all, a bad credit score can raise your mortgage interest rate several percentage points or leave you with no approval at all. Be sure you check your credit early in case any changes need to be made.

Applying for other credit lines simultaneously. Definitely be sure to avoid applying for any other type of credit before and during the mortgage application process. Whenever you apply for new credit, you’re seen as a greater credit risk. If you happen to apply for a credit card or auto loan around the same time you apply for a mortgage, your credit score already is going to be knocked down by 10 points (5 points per inquiry).

Not looking at the total cost involved. A mortgage payment consists of principal, interest, taxes, and insurance. Remember to factor in property taxes and insurance premium into the overall mortgage budget. The debt-to-income ratios used to determine if a borrower will qualify for a certain mortgage payment, is calculated by dividing the proposed cost of insurance subtracted by your overall income

The bank or lender will want to see that you can actually pay your mortgage each month. But without seasoned assets, those that have been in your own account for at least a couple months, you could be out of luck entirely.

Job Hopping. Another key to mortgage approval is steady employment and income. An lender will want to know that the income you bring in every month is consistent. This is the wrong time to job-hunt.

Before shopping for a home, make sure you can actually qualify for financing by getting a pre-approval. A mortgage pre-approval is more accurate than a simple pre-qualification because the bank pulls your credit and looks at your income, assets, and employment. With this pre-approval, you will also get a written commitment from the lender that will show home sellers you’re serious about the purchase.

Only applying to one lender. But just because you’re pre-approved with one bank doesn’t mean you need to obtain financing from them. Be sure to shop around with multiple banks and lenders and even consider a mortgage broker. A broker can shop your rate with a number of banks concurrently and find you the lowest rate with the best terms. Don’t be one of the many consumers who obtains a single mortgage rate prior to applying.

Shop around for the lowest rate and closing costs, but not at the expense of your mortgage. Anything that sounds too good to be true most likely is. If the payment seems too low, you might be paying interest-only or even negatively amortizing, meaning your mortgage balance is growing each month. Read this useful article, Mortgage Refinance: What If Rate Drops After You Lock?