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The Hilton Head Homes Blog

Financing Your Tiny Home Loan

Tiny homes dont cost much, but they can require a tiny mortgage.

Unless you have $30,000 in cash to buy the average tiny home of 200 square feet, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to get a mortgage on a tiny home. A mortgage requires that a home be placed on a permanent foundation, not a trailer with wheels, as many small homes are.

Most mortgage lenders have minimum loan amounts that are much higher than a tiny home budget. The typical size of a small home seldom exceeds 500 square feet. The average cost is $30,000, though it can range from $10,000 for a build-it-yourself tiny home to $100,000 or more for one from a professional builder. Such small loans may not be worth the risk to lenders.

The good news is that there are other ways to finance a tiny home:

RV Loan
If a tiny home meets the manufacturing and safety requirements to be certified roadworthy by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, it may qualify for an RV loan from a bank. The main requirement is that the home be on wheels.

Personal Loan
If a tiny home isnt certified as an RV, or its not on wheels and is on a foundation, then an unsecured personal loan may work best.

This way, the borrower, not the home, is being underwritten through the loan. The tiny home isnt used as collateral, as with a mortgage. A customers credit history and ability to repay will be the basis for loan approval, and they wont have to justify how the money will be used.

However, personal loan rates can be twice as high as 30-year mortgages, though at much shorter terms of up to seven years. That can be good for a tiny-homebuyer, giving them a small loan that they can pay off within several years to then save money for other things down the road.

Traditional Mortgage
If your tiny home is going to be on a permanent foundation, that may be enough to get you in the door at a bank offering a traditional mortgage, despite the small loan amount. Even for a small loan, a bank may consider you if you have good credit and your tiny home meets the local zoning codes and licensing rules. Like an RV loan, the mortgage will be secured by the home, which is key to being able to deduct interest.

With tiny homes becoming more popular, look for more lenders to enter the market. When a need for loans is created in the marketplace, banks often find ways adapt.

How Commission Distribution Works

Once your home is listed in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), the listing broker discloses the terms of the commissions to other competing brokers so they will bring their buyers to the listing. When the buyer’s broker presents a contract to the seller, it will include a provision to collect their share of the sales commission, as offered by the listing agent in the MLS.

Convert a Spare Bedroom Into a Luxury Closet

If youre like many people with an expansive wardrobe, you will agree with recently surveyed homebuyers that a walk-in closet"with perhaps a dressing area"is the second most important feature wanted in an upscale home.

Respondents to a National Association of REALTORS Buyers Home Feature Preference study ranked the extravagance just under air conditioning in terms of superior comfortable living"and 60 percent of them said they would spend the money to install the feature if the home they bought did not have one.

Installing the ultimate walk-in is easy to do without major upset, designers say, if your home has a spare bedroom adjacent to the master suite.

First, suggested one designer, be strategic. Take a good look at your clothing and accessories to determine the kind of space you need. Do you require a lengthy hanging space for full-length dresses, for example"or more than average space for shoes and purses? How much shelving will it take to hold your sweaters and folded shirts? How much drawer space for socks and underwear, and/or jewelry and accessories? And speaking of jewelry, do you want a wall safe built into your new walk-in closet?

Lighting is important. Whether you choose track lighting, recessed fixtures, or crystal chandeliers, you will want to be sure they provide enough ambient light to illuminate all the rooms contents.

Do you want a seating area? Having a room-sized closet means you also have space to add seating, so you can sit down if you wish. Plan for a comfortable armchair or chaise lounge you can sit on while you put on shoes, and/or a lighted vanity where you can sit to put on makeup or accessories.

Every good walk-in closet needs a full-length mirror"and depending upon the size of the room, a qualified custom closet designer will provide more ideas for turning your spare room into the walk-in closet you envision"beautifully finished and perfectly organized to maximize space and light.

From double-hanging rods and floor-to-ceiling shoe shelves to hanging or expanding wall pegs for belts, scarves or ties, there are other options a creative designer will suggest based on your needs and specifications. Whether you find your designer online or through a personal recommendation, be sure to review photos of his/her past designs and chat with two or three past clients about their room conversion experience.

That unused bedroom can provide much more than a little extra closet space. Done right, it can become a spacious wardrobe oasis.

How to Be an Eco-Friendly Gardener

Gardening is a great way to beautify your home and connect with nature.

But is your garden environmentally friendly? Heres how to become an eco-friendly gardener

Choose native plants that grow naturally in your region so they dont require extra water or chemicals to keep them alive.

Native plants also support the local ecosystem by feeding insects, birds and other members of your yards habitat.

Do away with chemicals. Instead of pesticides, use household items like vinegar, salt and dish detergent to get rid of weeds and pests.

Mow your lawn the right way. Plant the right type of grass for your region, then be sure not to cut it too short. Longer blades of grass help conserve water.

Decluttering Before You Move

Getting rid of things you no longer need is a vital step in the moving process because it serves two purposes. First, it’s a key component of home staging because too much stuff can make a room look unorganized and cramped. Second, it makes moving easier"who wants to move a bunch of things they actually don’t need?

But throwing out items that could be put to good use by someone is a waste, and the best solution is often to donate unwanted things to charities and organizations. Goodwill, the Salvation Army and your local church are certain to welcome much of your stuff, but here are some other ideas for places to donate your belongings.

Furniture: You may have sofas, chairs or tables that don’t fit the decor of your new home, or maybe you’re downsizing. Your local senior center may be looking for furniture, either for the center or to give to older people in your community. Women’s shelters are another terrific option, as are organizations that help the homeless find places to live independently.

Clothes: Dress for Success is a terrific non-profit that provides clothing for low-income women to wear during job interviews, allowing them to make a good first impression during the job search. It has branches throughout the country and if there isn’t one by you, there may be something similar. Also, look for schools and organizations that host clothing drives.

Kitchen Appliances: There’s an excellent chance that your kitchen is home to a few gadgets you haven’t used in years, or maybe you have multiple toasters, mixers or blenders. In addition to the usual outlets, your local school or community college may be looking for appliances to use in their classrooms. Many organizations also operate thrift stores where they sell donated items in support of their cause.

Books, CDs and DVDs: These are things that aren’t going to make you much money if you sell them, especially CDs and DVDs, which are declining in popularity in the age of streaming. (However, vinyl is growing in popularity, so your old record collection may fetch a few dollars.) Your local library is sure to appreciate the donation. Senior centers also can make good of these and kids’ books and DVDs can go to a local shelter.

Now you’ve decluttered and provided things to people who need them. What could be better than that?

4 Ways to Make More Closet Space

Even if you love your house or apartment, not having enough closet space can be frustrating. If youre pining for more room to stock your clothes, kids toys or other items, there are simple solutions that dont require knocking down walls or moving.

Reduce.This is the first step to making more room in your closet. Were all guilty of hanging onto things we dont use. Make a habit of reducing your closet clutter seasonally. Ask yourself if you wore or used an item in the past six months"or even the past year. If the answer is no, donate it to a charity, bring it to a consignment shop or have yourself a yard sale. The two latter options could also help put some extra cash in your pocket.

Get creative with storage.Dont settle for simple shelves. Cubbies, bins and wire racks are great storage solutions to streamline your space. Adding rods or racks to the back of your closet door or the sides of your closet can provide additional stash space. Check online and browse the aisles of your local home improvement store to find even more creative storage products. If youre a renter, though, make sure to review your lease and consult your landlord before doing any major installations that might be against the rules.

Stagger.Theres no need to have only one or two hanging rods for clothes. Stagger your rods at different heights and lengths, and arrange garments accordingly. This will not only give you more storage space, but also make it easier to put together matching outfits"which can save you both time and frustration in the morning.

Look to the ceiling.Does your shelving reach all the way to the ceiling? If not, you could be missing out on several feet of storage space. Add another shelf (or three) to the top of your closet, and use that space to store out-of-season clothes or things you dont reach for on a daily basis.

With these simple solutions, you can make more storage space and stay organized, helping ensure you no longer cringe every time you open your closet to put something in or take something out.

Challenges of Owning a Historic Home

Owning a historic home provides old-world charm, but it can also pose challenges.

Historic homes often need more maintenance, and outdated technology, such as heating units, could mean higher bills.

If decorative fixtures need repair or replacement, the materials may be costly or no longer available.

Painting the exterior and other renovations could require approval from officials.

If the home is on the National Register of Historic Places, the insurance premium will likely be high.

Nonetheless, these extra costs and potential hassles might be a small price to pay for owning a piece of history.

Rapid Rescoring for a Faster Home Loan

Home shoppers who haven’t checked their credit report months before applying for a home loan may be in for a shock when they visit a loan officer. A host of problems could pop up: Their credit score could be a little too low to qualify for the best rate on a mortgage, they’re using a high percentage of their credit, or a credit card payment they sent on time is shown by the creditor as arriving late.

A rapid rescore can help if you’re in the middle of the process of buying a house. And it can help with a quick mortgage approval, having a days-long turnaround instead of a month if the issues can be resolved quickly.

How Rapid Rescoring Works
A rapid rescore is a process done by a lender or mortgage broker to quickly fix credit report errors that can hurt a credit score. It’s a process that can only be done by a lender or a company that specializes in rapid rescoring and has access to credit reporting company data that is pulled from credit bureaus.

Rapid rescoring takes 3-5 business days, while consumers who try to improve their credit score by contacting a credit company can spend 30-45 days fixing their credit score. Sometimes it takes that long because a credit service legally has 30 days to respond to a request, which is what they normally take with requests from individuals.

A rapid rescore can raise a credit score by 100 points or more within a few days, but that’s only if the negative information can be cleared from your credit profile quickly.

For example, paying a credit card down so that a credit utilization ratio"your outstanding balances compared to your credit limits"is less than 30 percent, can boost a credit score by 10 points or more. That could be enough to increase a 715 credit score to 725, where a 720 score is the cutoff to get a lower interest rate on a loan.

Fixing credit report inaccuracies is another reason to use a rapid rescore. Having proof that a payment was made on time, for example, when a bank says it wasn’t could be an error worth fixing.

Costs of Rapid Rescoring
The Fair Credit Reporting Act doesn’t allow borrowers to be charged for disputing inaccurate information on their credit report. Rapid rescoring fees are paid by the lender and can cost $20 to $40 per credit account that’s being checked by each credit bureau.

Updating the three major credit bureaus for three or four credit accounts can get expensive. Some lenders may average all three credit scores, while others may just use one credit bureau’s score.

Or, if you want to do it yourself, you can obtain a free copy of your credit report once per year from each of the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Transunion and Experian. If done a month or more before applying for a home loan, it will give you enough time to review the reports and fix any errors.

8 Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Home's Value

Maintaining your homes curb appeal shows more than pride of ownership; it shows respect for your neighbors. Plus, when or if you decide to sell, a well-maintained home means it will sell faster and likely for top dollar. Similarly, maintaining your homes interior is likely to pay off in the end.

Real estate experts shared these eight missteps that could cost you in the long run with House Beautiful Magazine:

Landscaping Without Thinking Ahead. Trees planted too close to the house or driveway without much thought about how big theyll get can cause major problems later, such as roots causing breaks in the pavement or interfering with sewer or water lines.

Letting the Entryway Languish. Unkempt shrubbery around the front entry, or a door that needs updating, makes people wonder what else has been let go inside.

Choosing Funky Paint Colors. Dont choose an exterior paint color that is too far afield of neighboring homes. And stay away from contrasting trim colors that distract, instead of attract, the eye.

Neglecting the Small Stuff. Watch out for dirty windows, torn screens or broken light fixtures that show a distinct lack of care.

Hanging on to Old Appliances. Pay attention to the age and quality of your kitchen appliances. A stovetop too old and scratched to be cleaned properly is a turnoff. Also, appliances that arent energy-savers are costing too much money to run.

Skipping a Deep Clean. Details matter when it comes to home care. Look out for dirt in the window tracks, dirty grout in the tile or badly stained carpets.

Thinking Too Small. A small bathroom will seem smaller when tiled with small tiles rather than with larger ones. Peruse decor magazines for ideas that help to open your space.

Neglecting Wood Floors. If you cant afford to refinish them, have them buffed every few years.