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Keith & Kinsey Schulz's Advice

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  • 87 Contributions
  • 5 Best Answers
  • 16 Helpful

Keith & Kinsey Schulz wrote:

How do I find out what my residence is worth?

Answer
In a lot of cases the value on Zillow is close. Although, to get a more accurate value on your home, I'd suggest talking to a local real estate agent and asking them for a market analysis (most agents do this for free).
February 21 2012
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Are builder upgrades worth it?

Answer
If you can afford the upgrades now, and you plan to do them no mater what, it will save you money to do the upgrades from the beginning. For example: If you want a granite counter top, there's no point in spending $1000 on a laminate counter top only to throw it away and spend $2500 on a granite counter top a few months later.If you can't afford everything you want now, do the major upgrades now and save the finishes for later.We are in the process of building a long term home right now, but we are on a budget. So, we have chosen to make major upgrades now, but delete finish upgrades. We are making the foundation walls taller, to get a taller ceiling height in our basement. We are adding a fireplace now. Although, we are doing inexpensive counter tops and flooring (that we plan to keep for 5-7 years). We are also leaving out mud room cabinetry and closet shelving. We'll do that stuff ourselves later, the way we want it, for less than the builder would charge.I've been blogging about our process if you're interested in following it:[hotlink removed by Zillow moderator]...and FYI, we are building at a lower cost per square foot than most existing homes in the neighborhood, because of these decisions.
February 19 2012
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home buying

Response
Most municipalities will show an estimated fair market value, and an assessed value on their tax statements. The estimated fair market value is the assessors opinion of value. Although, I have seen homes sell for 30% more or 30% less than what the assessor thinks it's worth. Currently the condo I live in is assessed at $149,000, but there has not been a unit that has sold for more than $139,000 within the past 2 years. So, do not trust the assessment when considering value. Always look at current market comps.
February 17 2012
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I have never used my credit can I get someone to co-sign with me?

Answer
It is possible to get a loan with no credit. No credit is better than bad credit. Although, as others have mentioned, this is going to be tough, since you don't have any steady payment history on anything. Although, since your only looking at $30,000 homes, It may be doable. check with a small local bank or credit union. The thing that concerns me is that you're working for cash. Your going to need to show a documented income. Hopefully you have been claiming this cash on your tax returns.[content removed by Zillow due to spam, please refer to the Good Neighbor Policy for details] I would recommend having a 3-6 month emergency fund, plus your down payment, prior to owning a home. Also, be careful about the rent to own you talked about. Rent-to-Owns work out for the best for both parties. Although, many never close. Make sure it's a home you really want, not just the only home you feel you can get. Lastly, make sure that you'll actually be able to get yourself into a position to purchase it, or you will just be throwing away money.
February 16 2012
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Where is the real estate market headed?

Answer
In my opinion, we should be looking at local market data rather than the entire national market as a whole. Some markets are heading up, some still going down. Some are fairly flat and starting to turn the corner. I do believe pricing in my local market bottomed in November 2009, based on [hotlink removed by Zillow moderator] We saw a bit of a double dip, but it's looking like a strong start to 2012. The past three months here in the Madison area show 14% more sales than the same time frame last year.
February 15 2012
(1)

Rent on our own vs property management company?

Answer
We manage several of our own rentals, and we have a property manager for an out of state rental. I can tell you, we pay much more attention to managing our own properties than our property manager does. I'll admit, at times managing rentals can be a headache, but if your capable, your rental will probably perform better if self managed. Why? because you care about it, it's not just numbers to you.Also, it was mentioned that a property manager will take care of your handyman work...  Yes they will, but it's not typically part of their management fee. It's usually an additional fee. Larger property managers have handyman type people on staff that they bill out at an hourly rate for repairs. However, smaller management companies, will just hire out the work like you would if you weren't doing repairs yourself. If you need a lease contract, a local real estate agent should have access to a standard state approved lease form.Good luck.
February 14 2012
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Refinance rental property with 80-85% LTV?

Answer
We just closed on the refi of two of our rentals. One of them had fallen out of the 75%LTV range. In fact, the appraisal we got put it at 87% LTV because all the comps were foreclosures. In any case, we are able to refi the property with the poor LTV under the HARP program. Call a local lender and give it a shot.
February 14 2012
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I have asked my agent on several occasions to remove my listing from Zillow...How can I make it happ

Answer
Are you saying your property is currently listed on the MLS, and on Zillow, but you would like it removed from Zillow? If so, I'm not sure your agent has control over this. Zillow automatically pulls MLS data to list on their site. All of our listings show up here, and we didn't put them on here. 
February 13 2012
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Reverse Mortgage

Answer
I'm not a fan of reverse mortgages. Does she have an income? Could she just use a $10,000 home equity line of credit? Or could she sell the home and buy a more affordable place? The problem with a reverse mortgage is; if she goes downhill quickly, the bank will get a million dollar house for minimal cost. 
February 11 2012
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What is HARP?

Answer
HARP is the Home Affordable Refinance Program. This is a government refinance program that allows for the refinance of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans done before May 31, 2009. It allows for higher loan to value ratios than conventional financing, and is intended to help people that may be slightly underwater with their mortgages.
February 11 2012
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