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The gig economy has exploded over the past decade. Today, around 36% of the US workforce is freelancing and many more or self-employed small business owners.
While being your own boss does afford you great freedom to set your hours and often work where you want, you may face extra scrutiny when trying to get financing to buy a home.
Because your income comes from many sources and you may do your own bookkeeping, it's more challenging to prove your income. But fear not. Freelancers can get financing. You just need to be prepared.
Note that every lending institution may be a little different. But here's your quick guide for home financing for freelancers and other self-employed professionals.
1. You may need to work at freelance a little longer
If you just left a nine to five and started freelancing six months ago, you do not yet have the track record of consistent income that a loan officer will be able to see. The loan officer needs to know that you have the money coming in to pay this loan.
In most cases, loan officers like to see applicants who've been successfully freelancing for at least two years.
2. Clean up your bookkeeping
Are you the kind of person who pulls out a box of receipts on April 14th and then scrambles for the next 18 hours trying to account for last year? You may struggle with a loan officer. They need to see well-organized records of incoming and outgoing, just like any business.
You don't have to take an accounting course. But anyone should be able to follow behind your numbers on a spreadsheet to see exactly how you reached the figures that went on your tax return.
3. Get a CPA signature
You may need to get the signature of a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) on your books for at least the last six months. But please don't do this before they ask for it because it will cost money. The more disorganized your financial records, the more it may cost.
If you'd be embarrassed to show your bookkeeping to a CPA, please see the tip immediately above. You can do this.
4. Make your case
If your income fluctuates wildly or has dropped in the most recent year, that may be a red flag for a loan officer. Even if they don't ask about it, make sure they know why that dip occurred.
Perhaps you were taking care of an aging parent or a sick child. Some of your income may have been delayed for some reason. Be prepare to explain the ebb and flow of your income.
Don't appear to be a victim of circumstance. But do communicate irregularities that don't reflect the success you're experiencing as a freelancer.
5. Have a strong savings
Freelancers' income varies from month to month, but your mortgage payment does not. Show that you're stable and have a backup plan. These savings should be in addition to a down payment.
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As a home seller, it is important to do everything possible to ensure your residence makes a positive impression on buyers. Because if your residence fails to impress buyers during a showing or open house, your home may linger on the real estate market for an extended period of time.
Ultimately, there are lots of things you can do to ensure buyers feel good after they view your residence, such as:
1. Bolster Your Home's Curb Appeal
When buyers view your home for the first time, you likely want them to fall in love with your residence. If you allocate time and resources to enhance your house's curb appeal, you may make it simple for buyers to see your residence's full potential and envision what life could be like if they purchase your home.
To upgrade your home's curb appeal, you should perform lawn care tasks like mowing the lawn and trimming the hedges. You also should repair any cracked or chipped home siding, as well as correct any other property exterior issues that could negatively affect a buyer's perception of your house.
2. Remove Clutter
Clutter is a problem that may make it tough for buyers to picture a future in your home. If you have excess items scattered around your home, there may be no time like the present to get rid of these items.
To eliminate clutter, you may want to host a yard sale or list excess items online. In addition, you can always donate any items you no longer need to a local charity or give them to family members or friends.
3. Clean Each Room of Your Home
For homebuyers, nothing beats a pristine, tidy home interior. If you clean each room of your house from top to bottom, you can help your home's interior make an unforgettable impression on buyers.
Taking a room-by-room approach to home cleaning may be ideal. Furthermore, if you need extra assistance, you can hire a professional home cleaning company.
Of course, if you are searching for ways to streamline the home selling journey, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. A real estate agent is happy to teach you the ins and outs of selling a house and ensure you can maximize your home sale earnings.
A real estate agent can guide you along each stage of the home selling journey. First, he or she will learn about you and your home selling goals. A real estate agent next will help you list your residence and promote your home to dozens of prospective buyers. Finally, if you receive an offer to purchase your home, a real estate agent will help you determine whether to accept, reject or counter this proposal.
Clearly, there is no shortage of options to upgrade your residence and ensure it garners buyers' attention. If you take advantage of the aforementioned tips, you could simultaneously help your house stand out to buyers and speed up the home selling cycle.
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