Posted by Mary Lou Buckley on 11/25/2018

If you intend to buy a house, you probably will check out a lot of home listings over the next few days and weeks. However, it is important to note that not all home listings are created equal, and how you analyze home listings may dictate your homebuying success.

Ultimately, there are several factors that homebuyers need to consider as they assess home listings, and these factors include:

1. Price

The price of a home is one of the key factors Ė if not the most important factor Ė that a homebuyer needs to consider in a home listing. Because if you ignore a home's price, you risk wasting precious time and resources as you pursue a home that falls outside your price range.

When it comes to buying a home, it pays to develop a budget ahead of time. That way, you'll know how much you can spend on a residence and can tailor your home search to fit your budget.

You may want to get pre-approved for a mortgage prior to looking at home listings as well. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with a budget in hand and explore available residences that won't force you to spend beyond your means.

2. Condition

Are you looking for a fixer-upper or a brand-new residence? Take a look at a home's condition, and you can determine whether a particular residence is right for you.

Oftentimes, a decades-old residence may require myriad upgrades. This means you may need to allocate significant time and resources to enhance the condition of an old house after you finalize your home purchase.

On the other hand, it is essential to remember that a new house may prove to be more expensive than an old residence. And if you're on the lookout for a bargain, you may want to shy away from listings for brand-new houses.

3. Features

Creating a list of must-have home features is ideal, as this will enable you to narrow your search for your dream residence.

For instance, if you want a home that has a big swimming pool, you can browse home listings accordingly. Or, if you would like to buy a house that is located near some of the nation's best schools, you can focus on home listings in cities and towns that feature top-rated schools.

If you want to streamline your home search, it usually helps to look beyond home listings. Fortunately, real estate agents are available to help you accelerate your search for the perfect residence.

A real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market. He or she will learn about your homebuying goals and provide you with the latest home listings. Then, a real estate agent will work with you to simplify your home search and ensure that you can discover a terrific residence at an unbeatable price.

Take the guesswork out of reviewing home listings Ė use the aforementioned tips, and you can quickly evaluate a wide range of home listings and find your dream house.




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Posted by Mary Lou Buckley on 11/18/2018

Understanding how much your home is worth is important for a number of reasons. For one, when you go to sell your home, youíll have an idea of how much equity that youíre working with. You may need to either refinance your home, take out a loan, or line of credit. Knowing the current market value of your home can give you a good idea of your finances and what to expect. Many people believe that their home is worth more than it actually is. In reality, your home is only worth what people will actually pay for the property in a certain time frame. 


Some websites offer basic ideas of how much your home is worth. You can also use the Internet to search for comparable properties and see what has been sold, how much it has been sold for, and how much other homes that are similar to yours in the neighborhood are worth. Youíll need to be sure that the comparing properties include the same types of features as your own home in order to get a good estimate. 


Consult A Realtor


Experienced realtors in your area are great resources for helping you to determine your propertyís value. Many agencies offer free market value analyses, which can help you to see where your home would fall in the current real estate market. Realtors donít get paid unless your home sells. They can use their many resources to work with you on the sale of your home and help you to price it appropriately.


Hire An Appraiser


If you want to dig a bit deeper in the pricing of your home, youíll need to shell out a bit of cash. You could hire a certified appraiser who will dig deep into your property to determine the value. Once you find a buyer, another appraisal will happen on the property. The buyer pays for this. If you really want a good idea of how much your home is worth, hiring an appraiser beforehand is key. Keep in mind that appraisers may come up with slightly different estimates for the same home.      


Know The Key Things That Affect Home Value


There are a few big factors that influence just how much your property is worth. While you may love your big kitchen, it goes a lot further than that. Factors that contribute to how much your property is worth include:


  • The amount of land that you have
  • The neighborhood your home is in
  • The schools your home is near
  • How many square feet your property is
  • The condition of your home
  • Any updates that have been made to the home
  • The types of appliances you have
  • Has the home ever been foreclosed on? 
  • Is your home energy efficient?


Based on all of this information, youíll be able to get a good idea of what your home is worth. Beware of things that can cause a major financial setback on your homeís value like an urgent need for roof replacement, dated windows, or an unknown crack in the foundation. Getting an idea of what your home is worth is a great way to keep on top of your own assets whether youíre prepared to sell or just curious about numbers.




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Posted by Mary Lou Buckley on 10/28/2018

Ready to acquire your dream house? Before you embark on a home search, it often helps to establish a homebuying wish list. That way, you can narrow your house search and discover your dream home without delay.

Now, let's take a look at three factors to consider as you craft your homebuying wish list.

1. Home Size

Home sizes vary. As such, you'll want to consider your living situation closely to ensure you can find a house in a size that suits you perfectly.

Remember, a three-bedroom house may be too big for a single person. Much in the same vein, a one-bedroom home is unlikely to meet the needs of a family of five. But if you consider your living situation ahead of time, you can determine what size home to buy.

2. Home Location

Do you want to own a house that is located just minutes from your office in the city? Or, would you prefer a home in a small town? Think about where you want to live, and you can tailor your home search accordingly.

Keep in mind that home prices will vary based on location. Oftentimes, houses in or near major cities are more expensive than similar homes in small towns. At the same time, homes close to top schools or attractions may prove to be more expensive than others.

3. Home Exterior and Interior Features

Consider the home exterior and interior features that you want Ė you'll be glad you did. If you evaluate home exterior and interior must-haves, you can create priorities as you search for your dream house.

For instance, buying a house that features a central air unit may be a top priority if you plan to relocate to a warm-weather region. On the other hand, you might want to purchase a house that features an in-ground swimming pool, but you can live without this outdoor amenity if necessary.

A homebuying wish list is essential, regardless of where you choose to pursue houses. In addition, if you require extra help as you get ready to enter the housing market, you may want to employ a real estate agent.

With a real estate agent at your side, you can boost your chances of acquiring a top-notch house at a budget-friendly price. A real estate agent will allocate the necessary time and resources to learn about your homebuying goals. Then, this housing market professional can help you streamline your home search.

Furthermore, a real estate agent will provide expert assistance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she will set up home showings, help you submit offers on homes and handle homebuying negotiations. And if you ever have homebuying questions, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them at any time.

Make your dream of purchasing a home come true Ė consider the aforementioned factors, and you can create a wish list to help you accomplish your homebuying goals.




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Posted by Mary Lou Buckley on 7/29/2018

You can ask any homeowner-buying and owning a home is expensive. Mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and other bills quickly add up.

If you want to buy a home but donít have a large down payment saved, odds are youíve discovered something called private mortgage insurance (PMI).

PMI is an extra monthly payment that you make (on top of your mortgage payment) when you donít have enough to make a large (20%) down payment on your home.

However, if you want to buy a home and donít want to tack on an extra monthly payment for PMI, you have options. In todayís post, Iím going to talk about some ways to avoid paying PMI on your mortgage so you can save more money in the long run.

PMI Basics

Before we talk about getting rid of PMI, letís spend a minute on what to expect when you do have to pay it.

PMI typically costs 0.30% to %1.15% of your total loan balance annually. That means that your PMI payments will decrease a moderate amount as you pay off your loan.

Furthermore, once you have paid off 22% of your loan, your PMI will be cancelled and youíll only be responsible for your regular monthly mortgage payments.

Getting PMI waived early

With conventional loans, you can request to have your PMI cancelled once youíve paid off 20% of the mortgage. However, many buyers with PMI are using some form of first-time buyer loan, such as an FHA loan.

With an FHA loan, youíll be stuck with PMI for the lifetime of the loan if you donít make a down payment of 10% or more. Thatís a lot of PMI payments, especially if you take out a 30 year loan, and it can quickly add up.

If you have an FHA loan with FHA insurance, the only way to cancel the insurance is to refinance into a non-FHA insured loan. And remember--refinancing has its own costs and complications.

Making it to the 20% repayment mark

On conventional loans, the best way to get rid of PMI is to reach your 20% repayment mark as soon as possible. That could mean aggressively paying off your mortgage until you reach that point.

This can be achieved by making extra payments, or just paying more each month. However, you donít want to neglect other debt that could be accruing costly interest in favor of paying off your loans. Make sure you do the math and find out which debt will be more expensive before neglecting other debt.

Once you do reach the 20% repayment mark, youíll have to remember to apply to have your PMI canceled with your lender. Otherwise, it will be canceled automatically at 22%.





Posted by Mary Lou Buckley on 6/24/2018

If youíre ready to buy a home, you probably have done a lot of research. One thing is sure: You know you need to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Itís perhaps the most critical step in the process of buying a home for a variety of reasons. Thereís down payments and debt-to-income ratios, and other financial issues to worry about. You need to know what type of mortgage you should get. To help you understand what kind of mortgage you need, you should get pre-approved.


Understand The Pre-Approval Process


There are many misconceptions about pre-approvals. First, buyers need to understand that there is a difference between a pre-qualification and a pre-approval. A pre-qualification merely scrapes the surface of your financial state, while a pre-approval goes through everything a mortgage company will need to grant you a loan. You may be pre-qualified for a much higher amount than you can actually afford, for example.


Pre-Approval Defined


A pre-approval is a lenderís written commitment to a borrower. The approval states that the lender is willing to lend a certain amount of money for a home. The lender obtains the following from the buyer:


  • Employment history
  • Credit report
  • Tax returns
  • Bank statements


The time and effort that it takes to get a pre-approval is worth it because everything will be ready for the lender to grant the mortgage once an offer is made on a home. It also gives the buyer an upper hand in finding the home of their dreams. Many sellers require a pre-approval with an offer.


When To Get A Pre Approval


As soon as you know youíre serious about buying a home and are ready to start the house hunt, you should get pre-approved. Pre-approvals do expire after a certain amount of time, but lenders can renew them with proper notice. 


The Importance Of The Pre-Approval


Many buyers feel that they can skip the pre-approval process altogether. It has many benefits. Besides giving you a better look at your finances and how much house you can afford, pre-approvals can:


  • Give you the insight to correct your credit score and help you correct credit problems
  • Help to avoid disappointment when you find a home you love
  • Allow first-time buyers to see all of the costs involved in buying a home


A pre-approval is a handy thing to have, and itís not just because the experts say itís essential. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can help you to be more on top of your finances going into one of the most significant purchases you'll ever make in your life. 

 




Tags: Buying a home   Mortgage  
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