One of the biggest changes in becoming a homeowner has to do with your monthly mortgage payment. Whereas before when you were renting, you could write one check and be done with it, there are a lot of things that go into your monthly expenses when you’ve bought your own property.
You know that halfway excited feeling you get when things are almost perfect, but not quite? Like, say you found a house in the perfect neighborhood, but the house itself is not so perfect. But the neighborhood is close to the playground your kids love. It’s just around the corner from your favorite gym so you can definitely get fit.
If only shopping for mortgage lenders were as easy as picking out a new couch for your home. You could visit the furniture store, agree on a fabric and color, try it out for comfort, measure if the thing will actually fit through the doorway (a minor detail), and then commit. Signed, sealed, and delivered.
We get it – there are a lot of steps on the road to home ownership, and you’re probably wondering if you need every single one. For example, do you really need to get pre-approved for a home loan? Short answer: yes. There are many advantages of pre-approval.
Before you apply for a home loan, you may want to look at how to fix credit issues you may be facing. One of the key things a lender looks at when considering you as a viable mortgage candidate is your credit history – and they like to see stability. Fixing credit for a home loan is smart. Start by pulling your credit ahead of buying so you know what you’re dealing with – and have the opportunity to address any issues that may derail your loan application.
You’ve probably heard a lot of terms as you’ve been preparing to buy a new home – lenders and realtors, pre-qualifications and loans, inspections and escrow… oh my! But one of the most important terms you should know, and action you should take, is getting pre-approved for your home loan.
Refinancing your home can be a great option to free up some financial resources to have at your disposal. But before taking any next steps, make sure that you’ve educated yourself on what it means to refinance and learn what is expected from you to complete the process.
There are many different mortgage products available and you’ll want to work closely with your lender to find the right mortgage for you.
The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), commonly known as Fannie Mae, provides financial products and services that increase the availability and affordability of housing for low, moderate, and middle-income Americans. The Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), commonly known as Freddie Mac, works with mortgage lenders to help people get lower housing costs and better access to home financing. This is the purpose of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Mortgage down payments are important for first-time and experienced homebuyers alike. When starting the home buying journey, everyone pauses to ask themselves, “How much do I need for a down payment to afford the home I want?” While the question can sound daunting and the answer may vary, ranging from a low down payment to a bit less than 20% down. it’s important to understand what a down payment means for you before moving forward with buying a home.
Any potential borrower that may have had minor credit problems in the past, has a FICO credit score below 680, might struggle to come up with the down payment required to purchase a home, but otherwise are well-qualified. These are the people who are considered underserved buyers.
You might think that once you’ve scheduled your closing, that the end is finally in sight… and it is! But that doesn’t mean you should fly off the handle and start doing crazy things in the name of celebration. Why? Because you’re not officially out of the woods – there are things that could still affect your closing, and things that may make the deal fall through. So any move you make before you sign the last of your paperwork and get your keys is being scrutinized by your lender, your real estate team, and everyone associated with your home purchase. Because of this, it’s helpful to know what not to do during closing.
Without a doubt, buying a home is an expensive endeavor, and it’s important to save money wherever you can. But should you consider going with a type of zero down home loan?
You’re now the proud owner of a mortgage – congratulations! But do you know what your mortgage payments include, and everything that goes into making up that monthly payment you’ll be making for the life of your loan (or until you decide to sell)?
What does FHA stand for? FHA stands for Federal Housing Administration. It’s part of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that provides various loan programs that make getting a home loan easier for those with limited credit experience, a small down payment, limited funds to make monthly payments and/or for those who may not qualify for other types of loans.
Your home down payment is a big financial commitment. So how do you come up with that big chunk of money if you don’t have a lot in savings? Here are some suggestions.
With the right infor¬mation and support from your team, you can be better equipped to understand all the paperwork you’ll be signing during the home-buying process.
You’re going to hear a lot of different terms when you start dealing with mortgages – fixed rate, ARM, and then there’s the assumable mortgage. How does an assumable mortgage work? An assumable mortgage is where a buyer can take over or assume a seller’s loan with the same terms, as long as the buyer agrees to make all future payments, meets the creditworthiness standards and the lender is on board with the agreement.
When looking at a mortgage, there’s actually a number of factors that can affect whether you qualify. Some are more obvious, such as your income and your down payment, as you mentioned; however, others you might not have considered, such as your credit history and the “front-end ratio.”
Every mortgage comes with costs beyond just the principal and interest amounts—the closing costs. Closing costs are fees associated with purchasing a home, such as transferring the title from the previous owner’s name to yours.
When you find a property that you absolutely love that’s also absolutely loved by many others, or when you’re working on finding a place in a hot market where everything seems to get snapped up before you can even get your offer together, it can be tempting to pull out all the stops to land your ideal home. But you should know what not to do when buying a home.
If you’ve never been through the home buying process before, it can be hard to imagine the experience. From attending your first open house to collecting the keys and moving in, it’s helpful to have a heads-up on some things you’ll encounter along the way.
As you’re shelling out your hard-earned cash for a new home, it can seem like the costs just build up like a mountain of never-ending debt. But did you know the one cost you don’t have to worry about is real estate commissions? It’s true – who pays the commissions can sometimes seem confusing. But even though your agent works on your behalf to help you find the right home for the right price, the cost of their services is covered by the seller.
Often times, the image of your dream home is fully formed – a property that’s perfectly ready for you to move in, with updated fixtures, and new appliances, and other bells and whistles that make you swoon. But what if your perfect abode is a diamond in the rough, waiting for the kind of loving care that only you can give to restore it to its former glory, but with an updated eye?
What is a first-time homebuyer? Surprisingly, the definition isn’t as simple as it seems. According to the Federal Housing Authority (FHA), a division of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a first-time homebuyer is defined as any individual who meets any of the following criteria:
Imagine finally finding the home you’ve always wished for: perhaps it’s the one with friendly neighbors, the perfect green yard for your beloved pet to roam around in, and the garage that can fit your car and multiple boxes of holiday decorations. Then imagine that the one thing keeping you from turning the key is another competitive buyer willing to outbid you. What should you do?
So you’ve decided to buy a home. Congratulations – you’ve completed the first step to buying! But… now what?
One of the key components to the closing process comes when your intended property goes through a home inspection. Why should you request a home inspection? Often times, the completion of your sale is contingent on an inspector’s findings – if they find some major damage, structural or functional issues that could be incredibly costly down the road, it could change your mind on moving forward with the sale. Alternately, home inspection reports could accurately detail exactly how much it’s going to cost you if you decide you want to move forward and take care of the issues the inspector found.
When you’re ready to purchase a home, the lender will require that the property gets evaluated by a licensed third party appraiser who will conduct an appraisal. This professional will visit the home – often with the seller and their agent present – to inspect the size, condition, function and quality to assess its worth. The appraiser will then compare it with other homes in the area to give a final report that determines, based on their professional opinion, the home’s overall value.
As you’re nearing the end of your home buying journey, escrow, also known as Settlement, is the last step before you take the keys and move into your new space. While it’s an exhilarating time, it can also be a bit intimidating due to the number of steps involved in the process – it can be helpful to get escrow explained. Don’t worry – you’ll manage all of the steps of closing just as you’ve managed every other step associated with home ownership. And we’re here to help you with our escrow “how to”, designed to help you prepare for the closing process.
The old adage “location, location, location” is true; where a home is located has a tremendous influence on what it’s worth. Even an average property in a desirable neighborhood will drive up the price tag, especially in competitive markets. So much of your search will be focused finding the right house and location.
Moving to a new community can be thrilling and overwhelming at the same time. It’s exciting to see all the possibilities that a new place has to offer, but you’re also forced to confront your different options and whittle down to the criteria most important to you. There are a lot of things to consider about the community. When shopping for a property, the actual home you choose to live in is important, but almost equally essential is the community that surrounds it. You want to find the best community for you.
Before you ever start looking for a home, it’s wise to get together your wish list, outlining all the things you would love to have in your new home (but, of course, might be willing to do without should the right place come along at the right time, sans some of your favorites.) But one thing you might want to keep on your list no matter what is eco-friendly homes.
The market may be rebounding in your area, which is great news for the economy – but it’s leading to more competition for homes. As if the process of buying a home wasn’t already enough of a potential rollercoaster, now you could be faced with fierce competition in multiple offer scenarios.
Unlike a First Time Homebuyer (link to FTHB definition), an Experienced Buyer has been through the home buying or selling process before and has owned more than one home at some point in their life, whether by owning multiple properties at once or by moving from one property to another. While First Time Homebuyers are new to the process, an Experienced Buyer has been through the real estate transaction, is considered a repeat buyer, and understands what it means to acquire and maintain a home for personal or investment purposes.
Putting your potential new home through an inspection is an important part of the closing process, as this is when the inspector sifts through your home from top to bottom looking for anything that might be an issue either presently or in the future. But as much as your inspector is a professional and is likely to keep an eye out for the big things, there may be some little things the home inspector might miss – and those little ones can add up to big dollars later on.
How long will it take to buy a home and what is the process?
The market may be rebounding in your area, which is great news for home buyers – but it’s leading to more competition for homes. As if the process of buying a home wasn’t already enough of a roller coaster, now you could be faced with fierce competition in multiple offer scenarios.
As you’re on the search for your new home, you’re going to encounter a lot of different types of homes, each with their own unique seller and representing agent… though that last point might not be relevant if you want to buy a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) home.
No doubt about it – home buying is one of those major life milestones, and it can be easy to get caught up in it all and lose yourself a little in the process. There are so many steps and moving parts that, at times, you’ll feel like your world is spinning and you can’t stay on top of it all…. But that’s not the time to throw caution to the wind, or throw your hands in the air. Instead, avoid home buying mistakes and make sure your process stays grounded. Don’t create more drama for yourself than necessary by doing one – or all – of the following don’ts.
It can be hard to realize, but you might be ready for a new living space. It can be difficult to part with a home where you’ve made lasting memories. However, sometimes the only way up is out. There may come a time when you need to be honest with yourself and realize that your home isn’t working for you anymore, which can be a positive thing. Change is an exciting part of life, and your home should reflect your life changes. You’ll always have your memories, but it might be time to make new ones in a new home.
Refinancing your home is the act of replacing your existing loan with a new one on the same property. So what are the benefits of doing this? As a homeowner, how do you know if refinancing is right for you?
Have you ever started a project on your own, only to realize later that you would’ve been much better off if you’d simply hired a professional? We all have a natural tendency to want to handle things on our own, but many times a “do-it-yourself” attitude can end up costing far more time and money than expected.
Everyone wants to have the yard that makes their neighbors green with envy. Not only does a healthy and vibrant landscape increase your home’s curb appeal, but a well-executed yard will also help you save time and money, and offer an oasis of outdoor tranquility you can enjoy at any time of year.
Along with lighter clothing, blooming daffodils and pastel color palettes, another sign that spring is approaching is a fresh breeze of activity in the housing market. For a variety of reasons, the months between April and June are sunny spots in the buying and selling calendar year.
If you’re a homeowner and in the market for something that requires a large amount of cash, you might be looking for ways to tap into your home equity. And while sipping a cup of coffee and doing a little research, you might have stumbled upon the term “Cash-Out Refinancing.” Then, while adding a splash of cream, you ask yourself, “So how does that work?” Sip. And when adding a sprinkle of sugar, you wonder, “Is Cash-Out Refinancing something I should explore?” Sip. Refill. Repeat.
When it comes to buying a home, there are most likely lots of questions running through your mind. How do I know which location is right for me? What kind of home style will I be happy with? What if the home doesn’t fit my everyday life? You may be struggling to determine how a particular homestead aligns with your personality and current lifestyle. But how do you figure out the right choice for you?
Whether you choose to dwell in a sleek city loft, embrace the quaint comfort of a single family home, or adopt the rising tiny home trend, maximizing space in any home is a must. Even if square footage is in short supply, you can still live large with a few unconventional tricks and personalized touches to maximize your living space and capitalize on the potential functionality hiding in your home. Here are ten ways to make the most of your square footage:
Should we put in a pool? Wire the home with speakers? Build a shed for more storage? Plant trees in the garden?
Spring flowers are approaching full bloom and May showers will be sprinkling soon enough. As we wave goodbye to winter, it’s time to emerge from the cold blistery air with some new home decorating ideas that inspire a fresh look for your home this spring.
Is your moving day approaching? No need to hide behind stacks of cardboard boxes and stress over the daunting challenge ahead! It can be hard to get an understanding of how to pack, but with these moving day tips, you’ll know the best way to pack and ready for anything. Take on moving day with confidence using these tips to make the transition to your new home a cinch and pack it up like a pro.
The sun shining and fresh flowers in a vase often mean one thing: spring has arrived. And with that, Spring Cleaning. Depending on how much you love to de-clutter, the phrase “spring cleaning” can leave you jumping for joy, or send you sprinting back under the covers. But either way, this yearly scrubbing and purging task doesn’t have to be a daunting event that will leave you wilted like last year’s tulips. It’s time for some spring cleaning help!
Because immediate renovations can be costly, complicated, and time consuming, most people love homes with move-in ready bathrooms. Even if you’re not looking to sell your home at the moment, a bathroom remodeling can be an effective way to increase the resale value of your property, making your home desirable to buyers and putting your home in the “wanted” category. In fact, according to REALTOR.com, a bathroom remodel can result in over 84.9% of recouped costs and consistently ranks as one of the best investments you can make in keeping or selling your home. To put it simply, a bathroom remodel is one of those things that help your home sell.
As Beyoncé once said, “Partner let me upgrade you.” Nearly 65% of homes in the US are 25 years or older. That being said, there are undoubtedly quite a few that could use an upgrade. Keeping your home updated can increase property value and boost your home equity. Here are six tips for doing just that.
If you bought a new home this year, your list of reasons to give thanks just got a whole lot bigger. It’s exciting and what better way to show off your new space than by hosting one of the biggest holidays of the year, Thanksgiving.
Buying a home in your twenties. Not usually words that are used in the same sentence… until now. Sure, your twenties are all about enjoying your new freedom and finding out who you are, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the right time to start building a stable financial future.
Whether it’s your first Halloween in your new house or your hundredth (because you’re a ghost), there are countless ways to celebrate the spooky season. Below we outline five places to spruce up your home for October 31st creatively. Beware, scary stuff to follow.