Debra Parker's Blog
When it comes to buying a house, it usually pays to be flexible. Because if you take a flexible approach to the real estate market, you'll be open to checking out dozens of residences and can improve your chances of finding a house that matches or exceeds your expectations.
Although flexibility can play an important role in a successful homebuying journey, buyers sometimes struggle with stubbornness. Fortunately, we're here to help you become a flexible homebuyer who can achieve the best-possible results throughout the homebuying journey.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you become a flexible homebuyer.
1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
The real estate market constantly fluctuates, and a sector that favors buyers one day may favor sellers the next. However, if you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can pounce at the opportunity to acquire your dream residence, regardless of when that opportunity presents itself.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage may prove to be a quick, seamless process. Typically, you'll want to meet with local banks and credit unions and learn about a wide range of mortgage options. Once you have mortgage information, you can select a mortgage that corresponds to your finances.
Remember, pre-approval for a mortgage opens the door for a successful homebuying experience. It can help you establish a budget for your dream home by providing you with a set amount that you can spend on a residence. As a result, after you find an ideal house that falls within your price range, you'll have the flexibility to move quickly to acquire this residence.
2. Consider Houses in a Variety of Cities and Towns
Evaluate your homebuying goals – you'll be glad you did. If you understand where you want to live, you can explore houses in a variety of cities and towns that fit your criteria.
For example, if you want to live near family members or friends in a particular area, you can narrow your home search accordingly. Keep in mind that you don't necessarily have to live in the same city or town as these loved ones. Instead, you can search for houses in assorted cities and towns near your loved ones and ensure you're never too far away from them.
On the other hand, if you want to buy a home that is close to your office in the city, it may be worthwhile to consider houses both inside and outside the city itself. City living generally is more expensive than living in the suburbs, so you'll want to assess your finances closely before you buy a city house. Or, if you prefer small town living, you can always purchase a more affordable residence outside the city and take public transportation to work.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is happy to help you become a flexible homebuyer. In fact, this housing market professional will offer expert guidance during the homebuying journey. By doing so, a real estate agent will help you evaluate many houses and ensure that you can find one that suits you perfectly.
Ready to pursue your dream house? Consider the aforementioned tips, and you can enter the real estate market as a flexible homebuyer.
Buying a home is a big financial endeavor that takes planning and saving. Aside from a down payment, hopeful homeowners will also need to save for closing costs and moving expenses.
When it comes to the down payment amount you’ll need to save, many of us have often heard 20%, the magic number. However, there are a number of different types of mortgages that have different down payment requirements.
To complicate matters, mortgages vary somewhat between lenders and can change over time, with the ebb and flow of the housing market.
So, the best way to approach the process of saving for a down payment is to think about your needs in a home, and reach out to lenders to start comparing rates.
However, there are a few constants when it comes to down payments that are worth considering when shopping for a mortgage.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about some characteristics of down payments, discuss where the 20% number comes from, and give you some tips on finding the best mortgage for you.
Do I need 20% saved for a down payment?
With the median home prices in America sitting around $200,000 and many areas averaging much higher, it may seem like 20% is an unattainable savings goal.
The good news is that many Americans hoping to buy their first home have several options that don’t involve savings $40,000 or more.
So, where does that number come from?
Most mortgage lenders will want to be sure that lending to would be a smart investment. In other words, they want to know that they’ll earn back the amount they lend you plus interest. They determine how risky it is to lend to you by considering a number of factors.
First and foremost is your credit score. Lenders want to see that you’re paying your bills on time and aren’t overwhelmed by debt. Second, they will ask you for verification of your income to determine how much you can realistically hope to pay each month. And, finally, they’ll consider the amount you’re putting down.
If you have less than 20% of the mortgage amount saved for your down payment, you’ll have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). This is an extra fee must be paid in addition to your interest each month.
First-time buyers rarely put 20% or more down
Thanks to FHA loans guaranteed by the federal government, as well as other loan assistance programs like USDA loans and mortgages insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs, buying a home is usually within reach even if you don’t have several thousands saved.
On average, first-time buyers put closer to 6% down on their mortgage. However, they will have to pay PMI until they’ve paid off 20% of their home.
So, if you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future, saving should be a priority. But, don’t worry too much if you don’t think you can save the full 20% in advance.
If you intend to purchase a great house at a budget-friendly price, you should craft a homebuying timeline. That way, you can decide the best ways to achieve your homebuying goals.
Ultimately, creating a homebuying timeline can be simple – here are three tips to ensure you can develop a successful homebuying timeline.
1. Know When You Want to Move
For those who want to buy a house, it helps to consider your current living situation. By doing so, you can determine the necessary steps to relocate from your current address and acquire your dream residence.
If you presently own a house, you may need to sell it before you purchase a new home. Or, if you currently rent, you may need to give your landlord sufficient notice prior to your relocation. But if you consider the aforementioned factors closely, you can set a deadline for your move.
With a deadline in place, you can start your dream home pursuit. And once you find this residence, you can submit an offer and proceed with a home purchase.
2. Get Your Finances in Order
If you want to develop a successful homebuying timeline, it generally is a good idea to consider your financial situation as well. Because if you lack the necessary home financing, you are unlikely to be able to acquire a wonderful house any time soon.
As you develop your homebuying timeline, you may want to meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can teach you about a wide range of mortgage options and help you get the financing that you need to buy your dream house.
Furthermore, you should check your credit score when you craft your homebuying timeline. If your credit score is low, you may need to improve it prior to buying a house. Thankfully, you can account for this factor as you map out your homebuying strategy and plan accordingly.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
Developing a homebuying timeline may prove to be challenging. Luckily, real estate agents are available who can help you take the guesswork out of purchasing a house.
A real estate agent can teach you the ins and outs of buying a home. As a result, this housing market professional will enable you to enjoy a quick, seamless homebuying experience.
Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent can make it easy to acquire a terrific house on your timeline. This means if you want to purchase a top-notch house as quickly as possible, a real estate agent will do everything possible to make your homeownership dream come true. Comparatively, if you want to take a slow, gradual approach to buying a house, a real estate agent is ready to respond to your homebuying needs.
When it comes to buying a house, it helps to have a timeline in place prior to starting a house search. Fortunately, if you use the aforementioned tips, you can streamline the process of establishing a successful homebuying timeline.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage may prove to be a long, arduous process if you are not careful. Fortunately, homebuyers who plan ahead should have no trouble obtaining a mortgage so they can enter the housing market with a budget in hand.
Ultimately, there are many questions to consider as you assess your mortgage options, and these questions include:
1. What type of mortgage should I get?
The two most common types of mortgages are adjustable- and fixed-rate varieties. If you understand the differences between these mortgage options, you can make an informed mortgage decision.
An adjustable-rate mortgage generally features a lower initial interest rate than a fixed-rate option. However, after a set amount of time, an adjustable-rate mortgage's interest rate will increase.
Comparatively, a fixed-rate mortgage has an interest rate that will remain intact for the life of your mortgage. This means you will pay the same amount each month until your mortgage is paid in full.
When it comes to deciding between an adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgage, it pays to look at the pros and cons of both options. Remember, no two homebuyers are exactly alike, and a mortgage that works well for one buyer may not work well for another. But if you evaluate adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages closely, you can make the best-possible decision.
2. What differentiates an ordinary lender from an outstanding one?
There is no need to settle for an "ordinary" lender as you pursue mortgage options. Instead, you should seek out an exceptional lender that goes above and beyond the call of duty to assist you.
Typically, an outstanding lender employs mortgage specialists who are ready to respond to any concerns or questions. These specialists can help you evaluate a broad array of mortgage options and decide which mortgage best suits your individual needs.
Don't be afraid to meet with several banks and credit unions, either. This will allow you to assess many lenders and select one that matches or exceeds your expectations.
3. Which mortgage should I select?
There is no one-size-fits-all mortgage that works well for all homebuyers, at all times. As such, you should conduct plenty of research as you explore your mortgage options. This research will enable you to analyze assorted mortgages and lenders and make the optimal choices.
Once you have a mortgage, you can move one step closer to acquiring your dream house. And if you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can receive expert support at each stage of the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent is a must-have for any homebuyer, regardless of the current housing market's conditions. This housing market professional can teach you everything you need to know about buying a house. Also, he or she can help you examine a vast collection of available houses.
Ready to kick off a house search? Get pre-approved for a mortgage, and you can enter the housing market with a homebuying budget at your disposal.
As you go on the house hunt, you’re likely to attend many different open houses. After awhile you can get confused as to what you have seen and where you saw it. Each open house or home showing is only a short window of time. As a buyer, you’re trying to get the feel for a house. Being an observant home shopper can help you to avoid a lot of problems down the road. Check out some of the biggest red flags that you need to look out for when you attend an open house.
The Candles Are Burning Bright
You walk into an open house and see a lovely candle lit on the kitchen table. While it may make you feel all warm and fuzzy, it’s not always a good sign. Candles are a great way to mask odors. There could possibly be a musty odor coming from the sink, the basement, or another part of the house. This spells hidden damage and possible danger for you as a homebuyer. While the home inspection should pick up on things like this, you don’t necessarily want to get that far in the process. The art of masking odors could be a sign that the sellers are trying to hide something.
Be Your Own Inspector
As you walk through the home do you notice squeaky floor boards, cracks in the walls, cracks in the ceilings, or a drippy faucet? Maybe you see some patches on the walls or mirrors and paintings that seem out of place? These are all issues that could be signs of a greater problem. Keep in mind that no house is perfect, but you should do a little investigating on your own while walking through the house at showings.
The Home Doesn’t Appear Cared For
Curb appeal is one thing, but a home that looks unkept is a sign of a larger problem for you. Has the lawn been mowed? Is the fence in disrepair? How does the home appear from the outside at first glance? There are plenty of ways that you can fix up a home to make it your own once you buy it, but the question is just how much of a challenge are you up for? There is always a chance that you’ll have large maintenance costs when a home hasn’t been properly maintained by the previous owners.
Searching for homes and going to open houses can be fun. It can also be an educational experience to help you narrow down what you’re looking for and what you can handle as a homeowner.