Debra Parker's Blog
If you plan to buy a house in the near future, you should try to map out the property buying journey. By doing so, you can identify any potential homebuying hurdles and resolve such issues.
To better understand what to expect when you pursue your dream home, let's take a look at three key questions that every homebuyer needs to consider.
1. Where do I want to live?
There is no shortage of high-quality houses available in cities and towns nationwide. As such, it sometimes can be tough to determine exactly where you want to live due to the sheer volume of available homes.
As a homebuyer, it helps to consider your future plans before you kick off a house search. For example, if you intend to enroll in continuing education courses at a university in a particular city, you may want to focus on homes near the city itself. Or, if you prefer to raise your family in a small town, you should plan your house search accordingly.
Don't forget to craft a list of homebuying criteria too. This list will help you further narrow your home search and focus on properties that have features that match your needs.
2. What can I afford to spend on a house?
Buying a home may prove to be virtually impossible if you fail to obtain a mortgage. Lucky for you, many banks and credit unions offer mortgages to homebuyers and can teach you everything you need to know about home financing.
Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. That way, you can analyze a broad range of mortgage options and select a mortgage that corresponds to your finances.
In addition, it may be beneficial to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Once you are pre-approved for a mortgage, you can enter the real estate market with a budget in hand.
3. How can I achieve my desired goals?
The homebuying journey can be tough to navigate, regardless of whether you're a first-time or experienced property buyer. But if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can achieve your desired results in no time at all.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to discover the right house, at the right price, regardless of the housing market's conditions. He or she will allocate time and resources to learn about your homebuying goals and ensure you can purchase a great residence at a budget-friendly price.
Also, a real estate agent will help you streamline your house search. This housing market professional will set up home showings and keep you up to date about open house events. And when you find your ideal home, a real estate agent will make it easy to submit a competitive offer to purchase this residence.
Take the guesswork out of the homebuying journey – work with a real estate agent, and you can receive comprehensive guidance as you pursue your dream home.
If you’re hoping to buy your first home in the near future, you’re likely wondering about the different types of mortgages that you may qualify for. Since the 1930s, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has been insuring home loans for first-time homeowners across America.
This program helps people achieve homeownership who typically wouldn’t be able to afford the down payment or pass the credit score requirements to secure a traditional mortgage.
In today’s post, we’re going to answer some frequently asked questions about FHA loans to help you decide if this is the best option for your first home.
Does the FHA issue loans?
Although they’re called “FHA loans,” mortgages are not actually issued by the FHA. Rather, they’re issued by mortgage lenders across the country and insured by the FHA.
Will I have to make a down payment?
With an FHA loan, your down payment can be as low as 3.5%, significantly lower than traditional loans at 20% down payment. However, you will be required to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) in addition to your monthly mortgage payments until you have paid off 20% of the home. So, the best case scenario would be to save as much as possible for a down payment to reduce the amount of mortgage insurance you have to pay.
What are the benefits of an FHA loan?
The three main reasons to secure an FHA loan are:
You can qualify with a low credit score
You can make a smaller down payment than traditional mortgages
Your closer costs will be less expensive
Where do I apply for an FHA loan?
You can apply for an FHA loan through a mortgage lender. You can also work with a mortgage broker to help choose a lender.
Is an FHA loan the only loan option for low down payments?
There are multiple loan programs offered at the state and federal level to help individuals secure a mortgage with a lower down payment. They can be provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the USDA, or state-sponsored programs. Lenders also often sponsor their own programs to attract potential borrowers. However, always make sure you compare these programs to make sure you’re making the best long-term financial decision.
Do all FHA loans offer the same interest rates and costs?
No. Since the loans are only insured by the FHA, it’s up to the lender to determine your interest rate and fees. So, it’s a good idea to shop around for the best lender.
How high does my credit score have to be to qualify for an FHA loan?
You can secure a mortgage with a down payment as low as 3.5% with a credit score of 580 or higher. However, if you can afford to make a larger down payment, you can secure an FHA loan with a credit score as low as 500.
If your score is in the 500-600 range, it’s typically a better idea to spend a few months building credit before applying for a home loan.
What information will I need to apply?
You’ll need to gather all of the same information that you would for a typical mortgage. This includes W2s from your employer(s), two years of submitted tax forms, your current and former addresses from the past two years, and your gross monthly salary.
I’ve owned a house before, can I still qualify for FHA loans?
Even if you’re not a first-time homebuyer you can still qualify for an FHA loan. However, you cannot qualify if you’ve had a foreclosure within the last three years or have filed for bankruptcy within the last two years.
Setting up and completing a home inspection may seem like a long, arduous process. However, an inspection is a must-have for any homebuyer, at any time.
With a comprehensive home inspection, you can identify any potential problems with a house. And if you don't like what you find in an inspection report, you can always ask a home seller to complete improvements or reduce his or her asking price. Or, if you prefer, you can walk away from a home sale altogether.
Ultimately, there are several steps that you'll want to follow to conduct a home inspection, and these are:
1. Find an Expert Home Inspector
When it comes to a home purchase, there is no need to leave anything to chance. Fortunately, if you hire an expert home inspector, you can avoid the risk of missing possible issues during a home inspection.
Not all home inspectors are created equal, so you'll want to evaluate all of the options at your disposal.
To kick off your search for a home inspector, browse the web. This will enable you to find dozens of home inspectors in your area and assess online client reviews.
Also, don't hesitate to ask a home inspector for client referrals. If you obtain client referrals, you can better understand whether a home inspector can match or exceed your expectations.
2. Attend Your Home Inspection
Although homebuyers are not required to attend a home inspection, it generally is a good idea to walk with a home inspector as he or she examines your residence. By doing so, you may be able to gain home insights that might not be included in a home inspection report.
A home inspector may notice home problems that range from minor to severe. The inspector's job is to identify a problem and include it in a home inspection report.
If you attend a home inspection, an inspector may be able to provide you information about potential home problems, along with an estimate about how much assorted home repairs may cost. That way, you are better equipped than ever before to determine whether potential home problems could deter you from buying a house.
3. Evaluate the Home Inspection Report
A home inspection report can play a key role in the homebuying process. If you evaluate this report closely, you can learn about a home's strengths and weaknesses and decide whether to proceed with a home purchase.
If you have questions regarding a home inspection report, you can always follow-up with the inspector that provided the assessment. This will allow you to obtain the insights that you need to make an informed homebuying decision.
Lastly, it certainly helps to collaborate with a real estate agent before, during and after a home inspection. A real estate agent will guide you along the homebuying process and ensure that you can get the best possible results.
Follow the aforementioned steps, and you should have no trouble conducting a home inspection.
Shopping for a home is a long, arduous process. When you finally find one that you love, think you can afford, and spend the time to formulate an offer, it can be crushing when your offer is rejected.
However, getting rejected is simply part of the process. If you’ve ever applied to college, you might be familiar with this process. You send out applications that you poured your heart and soul into. Sometimes to get accepted, other times you don’t.
Making an offer on a home comes with one big advantage over those college applications, however--the opportunity to negotiate. As long as the house is still on the market after your offer is rejected, you’re still in the game.
In this article, we’re going to talk you through what to do when your offer is rejected so you can reformulate your plan and make the best decision as to moving forward.
1. Don’t sweat it
One of the most common fallacies we fall into as humans is to think the outcome is worse than it really is. First, remember that there are most likely other houses out there that are as good if not better than the one you are bidding on, even if they’re not for sale at this moment.
Next, consider the rejection as simply part of the negotiation process. Most people are turned off by rejection. However, you can learn a lot when a seller says no. In many cases, you can take what you learned and return to the drawing board to come up with a better offer.
Don’t spend too much time scrutinizing the seller’s decision. Ninety-nine percent of the time their decision isn’t personal. You simply haven’t met the pricing or contractual requirements that they and their agent have decided on.
2. Reconsider your offer
Now it’s time to start thinking about a second offer. If the seller didn’t respond with a counteroffer it can mean one of two things. First, they might be considering other buyers who have gotten closer to their requirements. Alternatively, your offer may have been too low or have had too many contingencies for them to consider.
Regardless, a flat-out rejection usually means changes need to be made before following up.
3. Making a new offer
This is your chance to take what you learned and apply it to your new offer. Make sure you meet the following prerequisites before sending out your next offer:
Double check your financing. Understand your spending limits, both on paper and in terms of what you’re comfortable spending.
Check comparable houses. If houses in the neighborhood are selling for more than they were when the house was previously listed, the seller might be compensating for that change.
Make sure you’re pre-approved. Your offer will be taken more seriously if you have the bank’s approval.
Remove unnecessary contingencies. It’s a seller’s market. Having a complicated contract will make sellers less likely to consider your offer.
4. Move on with confidence
Sometimes you just can’t make it up to the seller’s price point. Other times the seller just can’t come to terms with a reasonable price for their home. Regardless, don’t waste too much time negotiating and renegotiating. Take what you learned from this experience and use it toward the next house negotiation--it will be here sooner than you think!
If you’re in the market to buy a home, you have a lot of options. Do you want to buy a fixer-upper? Should you get a home close to the city or nestled in the suburbs? How much can you spend on a home to get the amount of space you’ll need for you and your family. There are so many variables that exist in the decision to buy a house.
One thing that many buyers want but aren’t sure of is the concept of a “move-in-ready” home. Sometimes, move-in-ready means that a home is brand spanking new. There should be no work in the house that needs to be done because everything is installed new during construction. As soon as construction is completed, you should be able to move right into the home.
Other homes that are deemed ready to move right in are those that are relatively new and have very little work to do. If a home has a roof that’s caving in, it’s not move-in-ready. If a home needs paint, it’s a sure bet that you can move right in. You may just need a bit of elbow grease in some of these situations. It’s your job to let your real estate agent know what you are looking for and what your budget is. Read on to discover the benefits of buying a move-in-ready home.
You Can Enjoy It ASAP
It takes a lot of work and a lot of cash up front to buy a home. You want to enjoy the fruits of your labor sooner rather than later. If you buy a home that needs little to no work, you’ll be able to enjoy it sooner. There’s no waiting period to move in when you buy a house that’s in excellent condition. You can just start living.
If you buy a home that you can move right into, you will often get things that are trending at the moment. The best of appliances, technology, and security are just some of the benefits that you’ll be able to enjoy when you buy a home that doesn’t need a lot of work.
Many times, you’ll find move-in-ready homes in great locations. These homes will also give you a great resale value once you head to sell the house in the future.
Whether you buy a brand new home or a home that has been upgraded, these sellers are often very motivated. Builders want to get paid for the work they have done. Sellers of upgraded homes wish to get their homes off of their hands and get a return on their investment.
Finding a move-in-ready home may take some time, but the benefits are definitely worth it.