Can you buy a home with bad credit?

Are you tired of renting and feel you are ready to invest in a property that you will own? Renting can feel like you are throwing away your money. But buying may not seem like a viable option if you have a lower credit score. That is why we wanted to address a common question we receive here at Lisa Cogdill Realty, “Can you buy a home with bad credit?”

The Challenge of Buying a Home with Bad Credit

In the mortgage lending industry, a bad credit score is one that is lower than 650, and anyone with a credit score above 750 is considered to be great.

Mortgage lenders look at several factors when determining if they feel a client is a reasonable risk or not. Unfortunately, lenders immediately make their perceptions based on the number of your credit score but don’t lose hope yet because there may be other options available to you.

Options for Home Buying with Poor Credit

While there may be options available to those with less than perfect credit, we will tell you it may not be easy but below are options worth checking into.

FHA Loans

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is a government-backed program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These loans are created for those of lower credit scores or first-time buyers in mind.

FHA loans are the most lenient when it comes to qualification requirements. If you have a credit score of at least 580 or higher, you can obtain a loan with as little as 3.5% down.

The FHA also allows for shorter wait times after negative events such as foreclosure, bankruptcy, or divorce.

VA Loans

The U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) offers loans to those who have served in the military and are also backed by the government.

They do require a credit score of 620 or higher, but one of the advantages they have is that no down payment is required. VA Loans also offer very competitive interest rates as opposed to traditional loans. In addition to the benefits above, these loans do not require Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).

USDA Loans

In more rural areas, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers home loans to those whose income falls into the category of low to average for their given region.

Like the VA Loans, they do require a credit score of 620 or higher. They also share some of the benefits of VA Loans such as no down payment required, being backed by the government, do not require PMI, and offer competitive interest rates.

They also allow for a debt-to-income ratio of 50% or lower.

Additional Options

These types of loans are not the only options available to you if you have a lower credit score. One of the best ways to improve your chances of securing a mortgage loan is to save for a larger down payment.

By taking the time to save up for a larger down payment, you are not only indicating your level of dedication to purchasing a home, but you are also reducing the amount you need to borrow. If you can put down 20% or more of a down payment on a loan, you will be saving yourself a ton of money in interest alone.

With a higher down payment, you may also be able to negate the need for PMI insurance. PMI insurance can cost you upwards of $1,000 a year or more that you could use to pay off other debts instead.

Know Your Credit Score

However, before you do anything or consider buying a new home, you first need to understand your credit score. Carefully review your credit score and look for errors or negative terms that could be affecting you.

Next, take actionable steps to increase your overall score to improve your chances of getting a loan. Don’t despair if your score is low because knowledge leads to action if you choose for it too. The worst-case scenario is that you rent a little while longer while improving your credit.

Nevertheless, if you have questions or need help, don’t hesitate to consult with your local realtor for advice on the home buying process. Here at Lisa Cogdill Realty, we are here to help you achieve your home buying dreams! Contact Lisa today for any questions you may have!

How do I prepare my home for sale?

You have decided it is time for a change and that you are ready to sell your home, congratulations! Here at Lisa Cogdill Realty, we are delighted to help you through the process of the sale and purchase of a new home! Being in Western North Carolina, and having grown up here, Lisa is an expert in this unique market. Recently we were asked a question that we felt would be beneficial to everyone if we answered it in our news tips. That question was, “How do I prepare my home for sale?”

Disassociate Yourself from Your Home

Every seller wants their home to sell quickly and get the most money they can from their property. To do this, you must plan carefully and spruce up your property in advance. Letting go of your home can be difficult, but you must look at your home without emotion and become unbiased.

Mostly, look at your home like you would a major project or product that you have to sell. Close your eyes and imagine handing over the keys to a new owner. Walk through each room of your home and envision it as if you were someone looking to purchase the home. This will help you accept that shortly this will no longer be your home and it will help you begin to see the things that will need to be done.

Depersonalize the Space

Go ahead and pack up personal items such as photographs, family heirlooms, etc. When the home sells you are going to have to pack up anyway and packing up your personal details can be the first step. Potential buyers need to be able to visualize their own photos and artwork hanging on the walls. If a buyer walks through your home and sees all your personal effects, it can make it difficult for them not to be distracted.

The same is true for the furniture in your home as well. Although we like to imagine everyone shares our tastes in décor, it isn’t true that they do. If you have a piece of furniture that is very bold and eye-catching, it can distract your buyer from seeing the benefits of specific living spaces. For example, if your living room has a bright red sofa with zebra print accent pillows, you may want to remove it and place a more understated sofa in its place.

Declutter in Advance

The longer we live in a home, the more we collect. It is amazing how much junk we accumulate over time. Take our advice if you have items in your home that you have not used in over a year you don’t need them. If you don’t need them then why don’t you donate them?

As you begin the process of decluttering your home take a moment to consider if you want to pack up some items and if you don’t think you do, then they need to go.

Remove books from bookcases, pack up items on countertops, and go ahead and pack up those knickknacks. Little things can prove to be a significant distraction to home buyers so get a head start on your packing and remove them.

Organize & Rearrange Your Closets and Cabinets

Buyers will snoop and open every closet door and cabinet that they can. Why? Because they want to see how much room is available to them for their own belongings.

If someone opens a door or closet and things fall on them, what kind of impression does this leave on them? Every space of your home needs to be viewed as an “ad” that sells your home to a buyer, and you do not want to leave any space messy.

Take time to stack your dishes neatly and that the clothing in your closets is organized. With this extra effort, it will leave the impression on your buyers that you took excellent care of your home, thus giving them reassurance in their purchase.

Make Minor Repairs

As you begin to pack up your belongings and notice imperfections go ahead and make those repairs. These can be as simple as holes in the walls where pictures used to hang, fixing a drawer that does not close right, leaky faucets, etc. The smallest thing can turn a buyer off without you knowing it so do everything in your power to prevent this.

You may also want to repaint your walls a neutral color if you chose bold hues in your home. Think of your home as a canvas waiting to be painted by your buyers.

Moreover, go ahead and replace those burned-out light bulbs if they cannot see an area they may look elsewhere.

Deep Clean

Finally, give the interior and exterior of your home a thorough deep clean. You may want to hire someone to professionally clean for you to make your home sparkle!

When you are finished with everything take the time to go back and revisit each room with fresh eyes. Imagine yourself as the buyer and make any changes necessary. If a piece of furniture doesn’t look right move it then.

After all, is done you will have a head start on packing and will be on track mentally to sell your home. Keep in mind there are several steps in the sale of a house, but we will be here for you every step of the way. Lisa Cogdill Realty is a professional real estate firm that specializes in helping you buy and sell your property. Contact Lisa today with any questions you may have here!

5 Questions to Ask Your Realtor

Buying a home or property is a major investment for you and your family. After all, you will be spending most of your time in your new home. Doesn’t it make sense to research your protentional real estate agent to make sure they can meet your needs? Here at Lisa Cogdill Realty, we want you to feel comfortable with us and the process. So, to get you started we are going to share 5 questions to ask your real estate agent to ensure you have found a good one.

Who has been your most challenging client, and how did you handle it?

This question may sound like one that you might receive in a job interview. And you would be correct!

When choosing a real estate agent, you must consider that you have stepped into the role of a hiring manager. Why? Because you are hiring someone to either assist you in selling your property or acquiring a new one. Always keep in mind that your agent needs to keep your needs at the forefront, and they are working for you.

By asking your agent what your most challenging client was, you get a glimpse into how they handle conflicts and tensions.

It is inevitable that at times there will be conflict arise. Buying or selling a home can be stressful and time-consuming.

If the agent is willing to bash a former client, it may lead you to wonder what they may say about your when you are not around.

Lisa Cogdill Realty handles all of our clients with the utmost respect and professionalism. We are more than happy to discuss with you how we resolve issues while educating you on the buying process.

If you were looking to buy a place, where would you move and why?

Asking this question allows your agent to clue you in on what neighborhoods are being “buzzed” about.

It will also give you a glimpse into what your agent’s lifestyle is like. Having an agent who has a similar background can provide additional benefits. For example, Lisa Cogdill has an insider’s viewpoint of Western North Carolina having been born and grown up here.

Because of this, she is uniquely able to help both local families find appropriate housing as well as those looking to relocate.  

What are some ways you can make my offer more attractive besides just increasing the price?

This gives your agent an opportunity to explain to you how they negotiate and their market knowledge.

A good real estate agent should be able to quickly inform their buyers on insider information such as the sellers are looking for a quick closing because they are relocating. Another example could be that they do not want to move until the end of the school year due to children in the household.

All of this is vital information that your agent should be able to use and share in the buying process to ensure everyone’s needs are met and not just their own.

How can you help me narrow down my choices and fit house hunting into my busy schedule?

This question gives your agent the platform to show how much legwork they are going to do for you.

Visiting homes and properties can be a very exhausting process especially in Western North Carolina due to the distance’s homes can be placed. Not to mention the winding mountain roads!

Lisa will spend ample time getting to know you and your unique needs to ensure that your time is not wasted. She will work tirelessly to pull listings that will suit what you are looking for and schedule viewings on your schedule.

How do you help buyers come to a final decision?

And finally, perhaps the most important question of all! It is easy to get distracted as you are looking at different homes and locations by fixtures, views, a great backyard, etc. It is imperative to have someone who is unbiased on your side to help you make your decision.

A truly professional real estate agent will have sufficient knowledge of the market and area in which you are buying to discuss the pros and cons of properties. However, even this can only take you so far. Your agent should be able to be your sounding board and help you see what you really need. After all, it will be you living in your new home!

Here at Lisa Cogdill Realty, we take the time to get to know you so we can better meet your needs. Lisa is always continuing her education in the market and has in-depth knowledge of the area. She will be happy to assist you in any way she can and answer these questions and more! Contact her today here to begin the process of finding your dream home!

10 Things to Look for in a Home Inspection

10 Things to Look for in a Home Inspection

Buying a home is most likely the most substantial investment of your life, as well as, being one of the most exciting times. You could be a first-time buyer or have reached a stage in your life where you are finally able to purchase that dream home you have always wanted. However, it is important to educate yourself about the process of investing in your home because there are many things to consider before signing. A key thing to have done is a home inspection by someone who is qualified. The state of North Carolina does require home inspectors to complete classroom training, as well as other statues, but no one is perfect and can miss things. That is why we highly recommend you are present when your home inspector occurs. Therefore, today we are going to look at the 10 things you should look for in a home inspection.


If your inspector can get into the attic without harming the insulation it can tell you a lot about the health of the home. Have them check for air leaks and sagging insulation. While up there they can also do a once over for any pests. A red flag in this area would be, do the bathroom vents go all the way thru the roof? If not, then they are creating mold and mildew and are not up to code.


If any appliances are coming with the home the first thing you should do is find out the age of them. Don’t hesitate to try them out while you are there and look for rust. Turn the range on and place a thermometer in the oven, set it to 350 degrees, then check back in 10 minutes. Also, place a cup of water in the microwave and check it after 45 seconds to see if it is heating up properly. Upon arrival to the property start a cycle with the dishwasher and by the time the inspection is done it should have completed.


The basement is another key area for inspection much like the attic. Look for mold, mildew, and areas of water or water stains. Also, check the basement windows and look for cracks in the walls or foundation. Cracks may not be a deal breaker, but it is important to find out what caused them, your inspector should be able to answer this for you.


On touring the home have your inspector check each outlet to see if it is working. They should have the proper tools with them to check voltage and can tell if the outlets are grounded properly and up to code. It is also important to have your inspector look over the electrical system within the home as well.

HVAC System

Have your inspector check all aspects of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioner system. While they can simply tell you if it is functioning or not at the time of inspection go a step further. Ask them to check the serial number and tell you how much longer they think the condenser (outdoor) unit will last. On average most units last 12-15 years before needing replacement. Don’t forget to find out when the last time the system was maintained.


Go over all the plumbing in the home and check for leaks and the age of the plumbing. If the plumbing is old, it may not be up to code. Another thing to check for is to have your inspector check that the bathtub and shower pans are draining properly. Turn on all the water faucets of the home and check for water pressure and drainage and flush all the toilets. If there is a sink that is not draining well it could be indicative of a larger issue. It may be worth it to also consider having a separate sewer inspection. These can be conducted for a reasonable fee and done via video.


Your inspector should climb on the roof, if possible, and look for any issues and take pictures to document it. Thirty-nine percent of all insurance claims in the US are pertaining to the roof. Look for curling or missing shingles, water damage, and also ask when was the last time the roof was replaced. Look at the gutter system as well to see if it is clogged or damaged. Poor gutters could be a sign of underlying issues on the roof not being well-kept.

Water Heater/Furnace

To get an idea of how well either the water heater or furnace was taken care of check the filter systems. A poor filter is a sure sign of neglect and could end up costing you a lot out of pocket, and just like the HVAC system ask when the last time maintenance was performed on them. If either is getting close to being replaced, consider that in your offer on the property.


Open every window in the home to see if any get stuck or have trouble closing.


Above are the major things that you should consider when inspecting a property but there are many more as well. For example, move rugs to look at the floor, move pictures to check for damage on the walls, search for water stains, paint peeling, cracked tiles, and other cosmetic fixes. Freshly painted walls or partial floor fixes could mean that the current homeowner cares about the home or it could be a cover-up for something else. Likewise, inspect the porches for wear and tear or decay.  Always ask questions!

Buying a home is exciting but go into it educating yourself so that you know exactly what kind of property you are investing in. Understand what types of things to look for in a home inspection so you can be confident in the purchase you make for yourself and family.


Why You Need a Home Inspection

Home Inspection Before Buying

A home inspection is an all-around inspection or examination of the state of a home. A home inspection is a cheap way discovering the general condition of a home.  Conducting a home inspection is essential in order to prevent a costly mistake of going on to purchase a property requiring major repairs.

Even if you are of the opinion that you have finally gotten your dream home, it is the responsibility of the home inspector to inform you whether the home is right for you or not.

A qualified home inspector is an expert who is in charge of conducting various inspections as a way to determine the general condition of the home.  Inspecting a home will help the home buyer to understand precisely what he or she is about to purchase.

Why is a home inspection highly recommended?  There are numerous reasons why a home inspection is highly recommended in the purchase and sale contracts in real estate. Some of these include:

To Guarantee Peace of Mind

A home is one of the largest investments you can think of doing in your lifetime. The costs associated with purchasing a home is quite expensive. The major reason for performing a home inspection is to guarantee that the home is a very solid and safe one.  Performing a home inspection before buying your home will provide peace of mind.

Reveal Safety Issues

The home inspection serves as an opportunity to carefully investigate the home you have the intention of purchasing.  Some issues which are discovered during the process of home inspection such as leaking roof blocked drainage, inappropriate electrical wiring, plumbing deficiencies and so on can be quickly noticed.

The purpose of performing a home inspection is to make sure everything in the home is in good working condition and safe for use. A home inspection helps to determine that the home you are planning on purchasing has no obvious safety issues.

Relatively Cheap

The cost of performing a home inspection is relatively cheap. Purchasing a home is quite a large investment. The little amount of money spent on a home inspection should be enough to make the choice easy to perform an inspection.

Uncover Likely Insect and Pest Problems

A home can be destroyed by the infestation of insects and pest. Based on your location, the probability of having an insect or pest problem usually differs.  Wood-boring insects and pests, like termites, can cause a big in case they are not discovered on time. Same thing goes to termites.

Try as much as possible to ask your real estate agent if they have any pest-home inspection companies. This will make sure the home you plan on buying is free from insect or pest problems.

Discover Structural Issues

Another reason to have a home inspection before purchasing your dream home is to be able to determine if any form of structural issues exist with the home.  A home’s structure is one of the major essential components of the home.

Structural issues, if not determined on time, can end up costing thousands of dollars to repair. Avoid spending such an unnecessarily large amount of money on structural repairs and renovations by performing a home inspection,

In conclusion, doing a home inspection is extremely recommended before purchasing a home. Even though a home inspector may not be perfect, they are still going to inspect your home thoroughly, even more than the way you and your real estate agent did during your first visit.

What’s Trending in Real Estate?

Current Real Estate Market

The real estate market is an ever bustling one, to say the least. For realtors, potential investors or those looking to purchase a home, it is important to be aware of the current trends as they give a peek into the future, giving you a platform to make informed decisions.


Younger generations coming to the fore

Understandably, the real estate market is traditionally dominated by the older generation but the narrative is gradually changing. More millennials are purchasing homes and this increase has been attributed to the friendlier financial climate. Interest rates have gone down and the time feels right to cash in on a real estate.


The climate looks even more favorable for Generation Z because unlike their predecessors, they are coming of age in a rapidly recovering economy implying less burden of student-loan and better job prospects. Any prospective or existing real estate entrepreneur that wishes to stay relevant in the coming years would pay more attention to the tastes of the coming generations.


Suburban is the new sexy

Blending the amenities in urban centers with the serenity and affordability of suburban region is what many desire, and this desire is being fulfilled with the development of suburban settlements into Suburban.

This trend is also attributable to the first as Millennials love the urban lifestyle, but can only afford houses in suburban centers. This has led to the addition of urban facilities to existing suburban centers. About 80% of residential growth is forecast to occur in suburban centers compared to the 15% forecast in urban centers.


Viewing from above

The turn of the new year was hugely anticipated in the real estate industry and the clearance of commercial use of drones by the Federal Aviation Administration contributed in no small part to the excitement.

Drones are no longer exclusively seller’s tools but home buyers now use drones to inspect the roofs and surroundings of houses especially when they can’t carry out proper home inspection. The drop in prices of drones also facilitates drone-viewing as more people now have access to these devices.


Mobile search

The real estate industry is not left out of the internet revolution. Many consumers now prefer to search for real estate online and online real estate ad clicks are rapidly increasing. Realtors are taking advantage of this by placing more focus on online advertisements. This trend is expected to continue for a very long time as the newest generation will lean toward mobile searches.


Given the relative stability of the real estate market, it is safe to predict these trends will dominate the near future, except something profound disrupts the present tilts.

Why You Should Hire a Real Estate Agent

Why You Should Hire a Real Estate Agent When Selling Your Home vs. Selling On Your Own

Due to the several processes involved, selling your home may be quite a stressful task. You will need the expertise of a professional real estate agent to help you throughout the entire process of the home sale. This will save you a lot of time and stress. The following are some of the reasons why you should hire a real estate agent compared to selling the home on your own:

Expert Guide

Selling a home usually need many forms, reports, disclosures, as well as series of other technical documents. An expert real estate agent is already aware of every document involved. Why then should you stress yourself concerning what you have little knowledge of when a real estate agent can get you the best deal?

A real estate agent has adequate knowledge of the real estate sector and has a clear understanding of the language. Not only will you be getting the best deals, delays and costly errors will also be avoided.

Negotiation Skills

Many factors are often discussed before closing a deal. A real estate agent can take a glance at each angle from your viewpoint. The real worth of your home will also be determined. By taking advantage of the negotiating skills of the real estate agent, you are likely to sell your home at the real value, if not more compared to selling the home yourself where you may be in a haste to close the deal.

Property Marketing Power

Selling your property requires more than listing your home on the market. Marketing your home is important. The majority of real estate sales are from previous purchasers, family, or friends of the agent. Real estate agents have the resources, and therefore the ability to promote or market your home. This offers you the chance to sell your home fast.

All these are a couple of reasons why you should hire a real estate agent to sell your home. No one does it better than an expert. Selling your home through the expertise of a real estate agent will save you time and stress. You can be rest assured of getting the best deal.