Category Archives: Buyer Resources

Improving Your Credit Score

There are as many ways to finance your new home purchase as there are homes to choose from; but no matter what option you choose, your credit will play an important part. So what do you need to know about having the best credit possible or improving your credit score?

Assess The Damage
The first step is to know what your credit score is and what is actually on your credit report. There are a variety of online sources that can help you start the process. Credit Karma is a great place to start, it’s free to sign up and pulls your credit information from two of the three credit reporting agencies.

These services may not reflect 100% accuracy when it comes to what score will be used when you apply for financing, but it will show all derogatory and delinquent items that are affecting your score. Understanding what items are holding your score down allows you to being paying off debts on your report and using some other score boosting tools.

It Takes Credit to Get Credit
For some their credit inquiry will find them with no debts to pay off or delinquencies to catch up on – but instead a lack of any credit activity at all.  For someone that has no credit history and wants to improve their credit score, there are tools that can help start this process. Anyone with a bank account can walk into their bank and ask to speak to a personal banker about a secured credit card.  This type of credit card is secured by cash in your checking account and the limit of the credit card is equal to the amount of cash you use to collateralize the credit being extended. A credit card collateralized by even $500 allows the individual to use the card and pay off the balance at the end of each month and start their credit building journey.  After you make the payments on your secured credit card for a few months, and have seen an increase in your score, you can then apply for an unsecured credit card.

Credit Use & Credit Inquiries
The next most important factor determining your score is the amount of your total credit that you use.  It’s important to pay down as much of your credit card debt as possible and maintain balances that equal no more than 25% of your total available credit.  It’s also important to not close old credit cards that you are no longer using, as this can impact your credit history. What matters is the percentage of credit you use – not how many cards you have open.  Lastly, inquiries can negatively affect your score if they are happening frequently throughout the year. If you are credit or loan shopping, keep the inquiries to a short period of time to have the least impact on your score.

Follow these three steps and not only will you improve your score but you may also have greater financing options and lower interest rates for your new home purchase.

Have more questions about financing? We’ve got agents who can provide expert advice and informative videos that can help too.

Financing Your New Home

You’ve made the decision to purchase a new home, but how will you finance it? We’ve got lending options for all types of buyers. Let Bill tell you how we can help.

With our extensive network of lenders in East Liverpool, East Palestine, and greater Columbiana County we can help you find the right option for you.

Do you really need a Realtor?


With the increased ability to search for homes online or place your home for sale on a popular website you may be wondering if you still need a realtor. The short answer: “Yes”, the long answer: “Yes, absolutely!”. Here’s why:

Access to the MLS 

You can take a spin through any number of real estate sites and come up with a list of homes you’d like to tour. You can rely on word of mouth in many of the tight knit communities we serve, to let you know who is selling a home in East Palestine or get the word out about the beautiful piece of land you’re selling in the Beaver Local School District. What you can’t do is find homes listed for sale but not advertised or marketed. A buyers agent has access to the local MLS where they are able to see every home listed for sale with an agent in the area, regardless of how it is advertised. If you’re thinking of selling your home without an agent, keep in mind that only an agent can list your home on the MLS, and that’s where every buyers agent is gathering homes to show their client.

Real Estate Agents are Trained Negotiators

Realtors are trained negotiators, which means they can help work out sticky contract issues and help a sale continue forward, as long as it’s in your best interest. They also know how to spot trouble before it’s too late – from title issue that can pop up to anticipating delays with financing, an agent can see the warning signs that could postpone the closing or derail the sale all together, and more importantly, help you correct them. 

Their Network

Buying or selling a home requires a lot of moving parts. A real estate agent knows the right people to help make it happen. Need a home inspector in Calcutta, a mortgage brokers in Wellsville, or a home stager in Cranberry Township? They know the people to help your purchase or sale go smoothly. Selecting the best people in the business isn’t just luck of the draw, it is their business.  

They’re Nearly Always Available

Realtors know that things can come up anytime of the day so they’re available when you need them. If you’re feeling anxious about that offer you just put in, your agent is there to talk you through it. Confused about which offer to accept on your home, you’re agent will be there. Do you have a burst pipe in a home you just purchased and don’t know what to do – you’re agent will have you covered with a great plumber and a little piece of mind.

Objective Opinions 

Buying and selling a home can be an emotional experience. A realtor has an objective eye to make suggestions about what could be improved in your current home to increase the chances of a sale, or where to bend on negotiations for a new home, all while keeping your best interest at the forefront.

If you think working with a realtor on your next home sale or purchase might be the right choice for you, we’ve got a few to recommend.