A cost-effective way to enhance your home’s curb appeal and protecting the exterior is to paint the outside of your home. Few home maintenance projects are a major undertaking as exterior painting. Between choosing the right colors, what brush to use, and where to begin, it’s important to do the job correctly. Follow the tips below to help pave the way to a successful paint job for your home.
1) CLEAN UP THE EXTERIOR
Chances are if you’re thinking of painting the exterior of your home, there are imperfections in the surface such as cracking, blistering, and peeling. By using putty and caulk you can fill any imperfection so the exterior is smooth and free of cracks. Also be sure to use a paint scraper or power washer to remote mold, oil, or rust. A power washer can also take care of the exterior’s dirt and grime, but a stiff bristle brush does as good of a job.
2) PICKING THE PAINT
First, do you want water-based latex or oil-based alkyd for exterior paint? Professional painters prefer alkyd paint because it’s durable, stain-resistant, flows very smoothly, and dries with fewer brush marks, however alkyds have a strong solvent smell and dry slowly. For latex paint, it’s less likely to crack, will dry faster, has less of an odor, but you will need to prime the surface before you begin.
Choosing the right paint color will be your next consideration. Take into account the color of the roof, house materials including the deck, stone, and brick to identify your paint palette. Take a look at your neighbors’ exterior color, the feel of the neighborhood, and the architectural style of your home. When buying the paint, stick to your budget, but keep in mind more expensive paints are typically higher quality and contain more pigments, producing a thicker, longer lasting and protective coating.
Lastly, read the directions on the paint can before applying the paint to get a good understanding of the best end-product for your job. The weather should have lower humidity, little rain, and the temperature shouldn’t be below 50 degrees.
3) PAINT TOOLS
The most efficient and effective result to getting your exterior painted correctly is with both a paintbrush and a roller. For getting hard to reach places, use a paintbrush to paint onto narrow surfaces, edges, and smaller areas. Just like painting your home’s interior, use a short, small-diameter roller to paint large and long surfaces such as siding and trim.
4) APPLYING THE PAINT
Start in the shaded areas of your home first, as painting on a direct sunlit surface will make fresh paint dry too quickly. As a result, it won’t adhere well and will flake prematurely. Wait for the sun to move and the other sides of the house to become shaded.
Paint near the top of the house and work your way down to the bottom. Apply paint to the bottom edge of the siding first, then paint the broad surfaces. To avoid lap marks, always try to brush from one wet surface onto another wet surface. When that’s not possible and you must paint onto a previously painted and dried surface, overlap onto the dried-paint surface by several inches.
5) ANNUAL MAINTENANCE
The last tip for exterior painting is to make the end project last. To extend the life between repaints, wash or power wash the house once a year to brighten up the appearance, as well as remove dust and cobwebs.
CREDIT SCORE NEEDED TO BUY A HOME
If you are thinking about buying a house, you probably know your credit score or home buying credit affects this process. But how exactly does this affect your ability to buy a home?
Generally, the qualifying credit score for obtaining a mortgage is 660. Before 2008, you could take a mortgage loan out with as little of a credit score at 580, but ever since the housing crisis, banks are stricter to whom they choose to lend money.
HOW YOUR CREDIT SCORE AFFECTS YOUR INTEREST RATE
The higher your credit score, the lower the interest rate on the mortgage. So if you have a bad credit score, you will end up paying more on a house than someone who has a good credit score. Just because you have a bad credit score, does not mean you won’t be able to obtain a loan, but you will have a greater limit for home buying qualification.
Most lenders have carved-in-stone rules about handing out the best terms, and those rules almost always place a major emphasis on your credit score. If their best rates are offered to borrowers with a score of 700 or higher and yours is a 698, those two points could cost you thousands of dollars.
On a $150,000 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, that difference could cost you more than $13,000 in interest charges, assuming a 4.5 percent interest rate with a 700 credit score and a 4.875 percent rate on a 698 score. Fall below a 660 and the rate goes up even more, if you can even get approved for a mortgage at all.
OBTAINING A COPY OF YOUR CREDIT REPORT
When was the last time you got a copy of your credit score? You are entitled for a free copy of your credit report through the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) at annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228. The big three national credit reporting companies, Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union, must also provide you with a copy of your credit report at least once a year.
Your credit report will include personal information such as your address, debts, and credit lines. Examine your credit report closely to check for any possible discrepancies. If you do notice any discrepancies in financial amounts on your credit report, highlight them so that you can dispute them. There have been multiple cases against credit companies for having false information on credit reports, so look carefully.
RESTORING POOR CREDIT
If you get your credit report back and everything looks right, but it’s less than you were hoping for, start doing the following to restore your bad credit.
PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME
This might seem simple and straightforward, but this is crucial in repairing your credit score. Paying your bills on time month after month will reflect positively on your score. On-time credit card payments are big factors in helping your credit score.
PAY COLLECTION PAYMENTS
If you have any bills sent to collections, try to pay them off. Even if paying off the collections doesn’t get them removed from your credit report, it still may improve your credit score since a late payment is considered better than unpaid debt.
WATCH YOUR DEBT-TO-CREDIT RATIO
The lower your debt-to-credit ratio, the better it reflects on your credit report. Your credit score is driven by how much revolving credit you have versus how much you are using. To help improve your credit score, try to pay on the balance of your debt. If your debt-to-credit ratio is 30% or lower, you are usually in good shape.
GET RID OF ARBITRARY BALANCES
Although miniscule, arbitrary balances are tiny balances that you have spread over several different credit cards. Your credit score considers how many balances you have distributed amongst your various credit cards. Therefore, try to consolidate your spending onto one credit card in order to start making a difference in your credit score.
KEEP GOOD DEBT ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT
So what is good debt you ask? Could debt ever be good? The answer is, of course. Good debt that shows you as a responsible payer on your credit cards. The longer the history of your good paying record, the better it reflects on your credit score.
CHECK THE AGE OF NEGATIVE INFORMATION ON YOUR CREDIT REPORTS
It’s federal law for any negative information on your credit report to be removed after seven years. If you notice that your credit report has negative information on it, follow the steps above in the dispute process.
OVERVIEW OF HOME BUYING QUALIFICATIONS
When you start the home purchasing process, your mortgage lender will use different qualifications to determine if you are approved for a loan.
YOUR JOB HISTORY
When you are trying to qualify for a mortgage loan, your job history will be an important factor. Lenders like to see you have been at a job for two years, which reflects steady employment. If you have received promotions or a pay upgrade, this is seen as a big positive by the mortgage lender. If you have not worked continuously for the past two years, you can still qualify for a loan if you explain the reason to the mortgage lender.
BILL PAYMENT HISTORY
The mortgage lender will take an in-depth look at your bill payment history to give the lender an idea of how you will be paying your mortgage payments. You should be able to list all your debts and liabilities, each monthly payment amount, and how many years you have left to pay your debts. To verify the information you have personally provided, the lender may order a credit report.
DOWN PAYMENTS AND CLOSING COSTS
Another factor in determining your loan approval is calculating your down payments and closing costs. A good rule of thumb is that your down payment should equal 5% of your prospective home’s purchase price. Depending on your location, your closing costs could start to get expensive. To make sure you have enough money saved for these costs, the lender will check your bank account for funds stored in the bank, as well as verify how long these funds have been in your bank account.
MORTGAGE PAYMENT TERMS
The amount you can pay for your monthly mortgage will vary depending on how much money you put down, the expected borrowed amount, the repayment period, and your interest rate. If you select a shorter term to pay your mortgage off, your monthly payment will be higher. Most buyers choose a 30-year fixed mortgage to keep their payment at a minimum.
YOUR ABILITY TO MAKE MORTGAGE PAYMENTS
Besides calculating the term of your mortgage payments, the mortgage lender will use two formulas to determine if you have the ability to make your mortgage payment.
- Your monthly housing costs should be no more than 20% of your monthly gross income. The mortgage lender will consider other income streams such as payment for overtime work, a second job, retirement, Social Security benefits, disability, and VA payments.
- The mortgage lender will also consider your monthly housing costs with other extended debts such as student loans, car loans, or debt payments. These amounts should not equal more than 36% of your monthly gross income. Depending on your income, you may qualify for a financial assistance program. These financial assistance programs may help you get a bigger mortgage loan than you would normally qualify for under the mortgage lenders assessment.
HOW YOUR CREDIT QUALIFICATIONS WILL COME INTO PLAY WHEN YOU ARE PURCHASING A HOME
If you’re trying to buy a new home and already meet the 660 credit score benchmark, you will still need to stay on your toes. You need to ensure that you maintain this credit score throughout the entire home buying process. If you have less than stellar credit, do not feel intimidated by this credit card benchmark or by the home buying processes’ emphasis on your credit report. Just so that you are prepared, here ways that your credit score will have an impact during the home buying process:
Your credit score will determine your mortgage interest rate. If you have good credit, you may find a lower interest rate. The converse is also true. With a challenge credit score, you will find higher interest rates if any mortgage loan is offered to you.
A LARGE DOWN PAYMENT
With a challenged credit score, you may need to put down a larger down payment when you are trying to buy a home. A large down payment will reduce the amount of your mortgage each month.
There are several different types of loan programs available. Your credit score and credit history will affect the types of loans offered during the home buying process.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan program is part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). There are several different mortgage loan facts that feature lower down payments and easier qualifications for this program.
LOCAL AND STATE MORTGAGE LOAN PROGRAMS
Some states and localities have mortgage loan programs that feature low to moderate financing. These loans typically feature down payment assistance and programs that are geared towards the first time homebuyer. The qualifications for this type of loan are not as stringent as that or conventional loan programs.
These loans contain conditions that are set by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. Note that conventional loans could be nonconforming and conforming. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae establish the maximum loan amounts, income requirements, home buying credits, and down payment amount.
A VA loan is guaranteed by the United States Department of Veteran Affairs, allowing military veterans to obtain loans with favorable terms. The Department of Veterans Affairs checks qualifications to determine your eligibility for the loan. Sometimes these loans will not require a down payment.
These loans are guaranteed by the Rural Housing Service (RHS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). They are primarily for residents in rural areas and feature low closing costs and no down payments.
When you make an appointment with the mortgage lender, you will need to present them personal documents including:
You will need to verify the stated income on your application. Plan on bringing paystubs for the past six months.
YOUR HOME ADDRESS
Bring in a listing of all of your home addresses for the past two years.
SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS
You will need to bring the Social Security cards for all of the borrowers on the mortgage loan.
CHECKING AND SAVINGS BANK ACCOUNT STATEMENTS
You will need to bring in checking and savings account statements for the past three months.
THE ADDRESS OF YOUR BANK BRANCH
Furnish the address of your local bank branch. This is the one that you visit to make deposits and withdrawals and not the address of the bank’s headquarters.
INCOME TAX RETURNS
You will need to bring your federal income tax returns for the previous two years. If you are self-employed, you will need to bring in 1099 tax returns and balance sheets.
PROOF OF RENTAL AND UTILITY PAYMENTS
You need to show a good track record and payment history for your rent and utility payments. Plan to bring canceled checks. If you use a credit card, bring your credit card statement with the listings of the rent and utility bill payments on it.
PROOF OF ADDITIONAL INCOME
If you are receiving payments from a rental property, child support, or Social Security, you will need to provide these records to the mortgage lender.
DIVORCE SETTLEMENT PAPERS
If this applies to you, and your divorce is finalized, bring in your divorce settlement papers to your meeting with the mortgage lender.
While you don’t have to provide all of the required documents to the mortgage lender before receiving an estimate, it is in your best interest to present as many documents as needed so that the mortgage lender can make an educated decision on your behalf. During this stage, the mortgage lender will not charge any fees, except the one needed to obtain your credit report.
With all this information of credit scores, mortgage loan process, and types of loans, you should be able to make informed decisions about how to proceed in the home buying journey.
The good news is that if you have bad credit, this does not have to spell the end of your home buying dreams. You could work to repair your credit using the preceding tips in this document. Once you obtain your credit report, it will list your credit score, which will truthfully reflect your home buying credit.