Real Estate Tip of the Week: Credit Pulls

Credit – don’t let it be a scary term for you while you’re trying to buy a home! Credit is important; it helps you (or hurts you) when it comes time to fill out applications for loans. So before you jump on the homeownership train, it’s critical that you understand your credit.

When you fill out applications for a home loan, the bank will do a credit pull. What’s a credit pull, you ask?

There are two kinds of credit pulls: a hard and a soft pull.

A hard pull (also known as a hard inquiry) takes place when a lender or a financial institution checks your credit score once you apply for a loan, mortgage, or any other additional line of credit.

They use the credit report as information on deciding whether to accept the borrower’s request. This pull will stay on your credit report for two years (but it will only affect your credit score for one year) and can only happen if you authorize the lender to pull your credit.

One thing to keep in mind: applying for multiple applications at once might not look so good for your credit score. Lenders see multiple hard inquires as red flags when it’s done in a short amount of time. They view it as more opportunity for you to miss or make late payments – if you have too many credit lines.

What about if you’re shipping for the best mortgage rate?

If you’re comparing rates (something you should definitely do when shopping for a mortgage – and hey! We have an article about mortgage shopping), most credit scoring models do take this into consideration. If similar lenders look at your credit report to offer you rates within a 45-day window, it’ll more than likely count as a single inquiry, rather than multiple. This way, your score won’t drop each time you get a quote.

Don’t fret – hard pulls won’t usually make a big change to your credit score. This all depends on how long your credit history is, and how disciplined you are when you make payments (among other things).

Hard pulls happen when you apply for a:

  • Mortgage
  • Car loan
  • New credit card
  • Student loan
  • Personal loan
  • Apartment for rent

A soft pull doesn’t affect your credit and usually happens without you even knowing it. While that sounds concerning, it isn’t something for you to necessarily worry over.

These pulls are cursory reviews of your credit report. Soft pulls happen when:

  • Your new employer checks your credit
  • You check your own credit
  • Lenders send you mail saying you’ve been “pre-approved”

While your credit score is an important part of applying for loans, your payment history is of the upmost importance.

Be sure to check out Alliance’s Blog for more tips and news on all things real estate.

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Cottagecore: The New Housing Trend?

COVID seems to be changing a lot of things – and how we style our homes has become one of them!

If you haven’t heard of “Cottagecore,” then you’re in for a treat. Cottagecore closely resembles “Hygge” and is meant to “embrace comfort and coziness to create a relaxing environment”.

Taylor Swift is a major representation for Cottagecore, especially when highlighting her newest album, “Folklore.” Her music videos and short clips “exemplifies the essence of the look: rustic cottage, wildflowers, [and] knitted blankets.”

So what are some ideas and décor you can use for your home to give it a “Cottagecore” feel? Check out some of these tips below:

  • A muted-color palette
  • Flowered Wallpaper
  • Botanical Bedding
  • Earthenware Mugs
  • Farmhouse Pitcher
  • Mason Jar Lights
  • Wood tones & textured pieces
  • Indoor Herb Garden
  • Reading Nook

Think: idyllic, peaceful, rustic, and vintage.

So, what do you think? Is the “Cottagecore” lifestyle the one for you? Comment below!

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2020 Buyer & Seller Stats

2020 isn’t exactly what we were all planning on – COVID has altered buyer and seller statistics, and has also changed client motivation. As an agent, you’re used to curveballs; but it’s still important to understand what your buyers and sellers might be looking for as they maneuver through the journey of buying or selling a home.

86% of younger milennials were first-time home buyers.*

Buyers Spend 3 less days looking for a home than in 2019.**


74% of clients preferred their agent to call them with new information.*

*NAR Realtor

**Spendmenot

Reach out to your local Business Development Rep for more information!

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Stop – Construction Time! Real Estate Inventory Heats Up

2020, although not what real estate experts were expecting, is heating up with new real estate construction.

According to the National Association of Realtors, single-family and multifamily construction jumped 23% last month, which is the highest production rate since February.

Construction has reached its pre-pandemic peak, which marks a hopeful pivotal moment for inventory.

Single-family construction rose by 8.2% in July, and multifamily rose by 58.4%. This construction includes apartment buildings, condos, townhouses, duplexes, bungalows, etc.

Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist of the National Association of Realtors, predicts “inventory shortages will remain problematic for the reminder of the year, but will create a more balanced market for the housing supply in 2021.

Housing permits rose 18.8% in July – which is a great indicator for future construction.

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Employee Spotlight – Aimee Kinsey

We have a new employee spotlight – Aimee Kinsey!

Aimee is Alliance’s Title Assistant for our Coeur d’Alene, Idaho branch. Aimee reviews documents, dates recording, issues policies, and amends commitments. Aimee loves the interactions she has with her team and customers – and she loves to help clients achieve their real estate goals!

Of the Alliance Core Values, Accountability is Aimee’s favorite. She explains, “Accountability is important to me – to hold myself accountable for the work I do. It might, at times, seem very routine: taking a phone call, answering another email, issuing a commitment or policy. However, to the person on the receiving end, it’s a big deal and it needs to be correct.”

Outside of the office, Aimee enjoys camping with her husband and their daughter, Rachel. Aimee’s hobbies also include acting and singing!

When asked whom she admires, Aimee thinks of her daughter. She explains, “My daughter is 5 years old and is the most kind, loving, and generous person I know. She inspires me to be and do better.”

Aimee’s favorite show, “Friends,” includes one of her favorites quotes: “They don’t know that we know they know we know.” Aimee continues, “It’s my all-time favorite show and is also one of the reasons we named our daughter Rachel.”

Aimee Kinsey – Title Assistant for Alliance’s Coeur d’Alene Branch
2157 N Main St., 83814
208.667.3402, 800.355.8752

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Meet our Mountain Home, ID Branch

47-minutes away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Boise, Idaho, you’ll find yourself within the lively rural town of Mountain Home.

Home to the Mountain Home Air Force Base, the city of Mountain Home holds air shows, Air Force Appreciation Day, and the Mountain Home Country Music Festival, among many other events. With both summer and winter outdoor recreation, Mountain Home, Idaho is sure to appease the adventurer.

Only a 10-minute drive from Rattlesnake Creek, you’ll find our Alliance Title Mountain Home branch! With a combined experience of 64 and a half years in the title and escrow industry, Our Mountain Home team is ready to close your transaction!

The Mountain Home branch has a strong bond with the community and the military – both are supported through various committees and events. The team supports the Chamber of Commerce, Military Affairs Committee (where our Escrow Officer, Jamie Springer, is a member), and the El Ada Foodbank.

Outside of the office, our team members enjoy a variety of activities! Title Assistant, Tiffany Lerch, and Escrow Assistant, Lori Brauer, both enjoy kayaking; title officer, Sally Loosli, and Escrow Officer, Becky Hughes, are both gardeners; and Jamie loves to adventure into the great outdoors with her daughters.

Our Mountain Home Team!

The Mountain Home team loves their community and loves helping current and future homeowners reach their real estate dreams! The team explains, “It is an honor to serve our Military families. The agents in the area are down to earth & hard working. We really enjoy working with them, and they all feel like our family.”

Whether you’re buying or selling commercial or residential property in Elmore County, the professionals at Alliance Title’s Mountain Home location would be delighted to help make your next transaction a success!

Alliance Title Mountain Home Branch
1715 American Legion Blvd., 83647
208.587.8428

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Real Estate Tip of the Week: Final Walk-Through Checklist

Congratulations! You’ve done the hurdles of purchasing a home – and now the only thing left is the final walk-through! But what do you need to know before you complete one of your last steps?

What is a Final Walk-Through?

Just as it sounds – you and your real estate agent will walk through the house one last time before you purchase. This is the time for you to spend a few hours looking over every part of the house to check that everything works as it should. You’ll make sure that all requested repairs have been completed and no new repair or maintenance issues have come up since the inspection, among other things.

The final walk-through should take place as close to the closing on the home as possible, and the house should be empty (seller has completely moved out at this point).

This will not be another home inspection – this is only a “check-in” to ensure the house is in the condition you made the offer in.

What to Bring?

Prepare to bring:

  • The original offer that shows what both parties have agreed to in the sale terms.
  • The inspection report that includes any repairs requested.
  • Paper and pen to take any notes.
  • A phone to document any damage or concerns.
  • A power cord (or any item that has a plug-in) to double check the outlets.

Questions to ask and actions to take:

  • Are the requested repairs complete?
  • Has anything been left behind by the seller?
  • Are any appliances missing that should have stayed in the home?
  • Double check water, electricity, gas, and heating/cooling systems.
  • Run hot and cold water from all the faucets.
  • Flush all the toilets and check for leaks.
  • Test all ceiling fans and light switches.
  • Open and close all doors and windows & double check that they lock correctly.

Discuss with your Real Estate Agent

Most times, a final walk-through doesn’t end with an array of problems – but if one or two things pop up on your checklist that concern you, be sure to discuss these with your real estate agent. Your agent is there to represent you and will communicate with the seller’s agent if anything does arise.

After the walk-through, you’ll complete your closing and move into your new home! Congratulations!

Want more real estate tips and tricks? Stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

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What’s the Deal? Here’s the Path of Your Title & Escrow Transaction

Title and escrow jargon isn’t the easiest thing in the world to understand – we get it! But let us help.

When you’re in the final stages of purchasing your home, you’ll get down to the nitty gritty aspects of your title and escrow process. Not only is your real estate agent there to help guide you, but our Alliance Title Buyer-Seller Guide (and your local branch) is here to assist you too!

Our guide breaks down all of the people and steps that will take place during your closing – but as a quick reference, the path that your title and escrow transaction will take is shown for you below!

These steps are incredibly important – they help guarantee the ownership of your new home!

For more real estate guides and tips, stop by Alliance Title’s Blog.

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Summer 2020: A Seller’s Market

COVID impacted real estate’s usual Spring purchasing season, but it looks like Summer has been the new replacement!

Real estate agents have been busier than ever with buyers and sellers entering the market these past summer months. According to the National Association of Realtors, contract signings have started off with a bang in August, with the most contract signings in the Midwest at 21%.

What do all these contract signings mean for buyers and sellers?

Fannie Mae’s most recent reports show that the percentage of people who believe it is a good time to sell increased 4% last month to 45%, which reflects a seller’s market.

Doug Duncan, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, explains, “Supply constraints appear to be applying upward pressure to consumers’ home price expectations, which in turn has contributed to both a sharp reversal in optimism about whether it is a good time to buy a home and further improvement in home-selling sentiment.”

What will Fall look like for the real estate market? Experts will be keeping a sharp eye on how it all looks!

For more real estate news, check out Alliance’s Blog!

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Employee Spotlight – Amber Cooper

Let’s give a cheer for our newest employee spotlight, Amber Cooper!

Amber is Alliance’s Escrow Officer for our Kalispell, Montana branch. Amber closes files and helps buyers and sellers reach their goals. Alliance is very lucky to have had Amber for the past five years!

Of the Alliance Core Values, Amber’s favorite is “Trust & Respect.” She explains, “Without trust and respect, we wouldn’t be able to build relationships with our clients.”

When she’s not in the office, Amber enjoys hunting, fishing, and spending time with her husband, TJ, and their three-year old son, Sawyer.

Amber’s husband was injured two and a half years ago – his strength and drive are some of the many reasons why TJ is someone Amber looks up to and works harder for.

The home purchasing and/or selling journey can be an exciting one, and Amber truly enjoys assisting clients in making their dreams come true. Amber explains, “Each day is different, which allows for continued learning and continued success.”

Now that you’ve gotten to know Amber a little more, give a shout out to Alliance Title’s Kalispell branch on Facebook and write them in on your next transaction! Amber looks forward to helping make your home closing a simple and smooth experience.

Amber Cooper – Escrow Officer for Alliance Title’s Kalispell Branch
501 S Main St., 59901
406.752.7606

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