Turn your home into a ‘red ribbon’ deal
Question: What does it mean when a home is advertised as a “red ribbon” deal?
Answer: In most areas, a home that’s called a “red ribbon” is in such near-perfect condition and so pretty that you could figuratively tie a ribbon around it, put a big bow on top and leave it under a Christmas tree or Hanukkah bush.
With the real estate market starting to slow in many communities, sellers who spend the relatively small amount of time and money it takes to put their property in top condition can be rewarded with a faster sale and a top-dollar price.
This means giving the home a fresh coat of paint both inside and out, and shampooing the carpet — if not replacing it altogether. The landscaping should be well-manicured, and the house must be sparkling clean.
Turning a house into a redribbon property also means fixing all those little problems that sellers have simply learned to live with but that can be big turn-offs for prospective buyers. These include a leaky faucet, a cracked window pane, or doors that squeak or don’t close properly.
Sellers who are using an agent to market their property should ask the agent for a list of suggested improvements, and then make them.
Question: If we want to refinance our current mortgage, would we be required to use the bank that gave us our original loan, or could we use a totally different lender?
Answer: You can select any lender you want to handle the refinance. You aren’t required to use the same bank that gave you the loan to buy the home.
Nonetheless, you should at least call your current lender and see what kind of deal it will offer. Most lenders today are anxious to retain their existing customers, and they’re willing to make special money-saving offers to keep a borrower from choosing a different bank to handle a refinance.
My sister recently took advantage of an unadvertised refinancing offer from her current lender that allowed her to cut her mortgage rate by more than one full percentage point without paying a single penny for closing costs.
The deal trimmed nearly $150 off of her monthly payments, but she wouldn’t have known about the plan if she had not contacted her original lender first.
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