How Does A Home Appraisal Work?

How Does A Home Appraisal WorkWhether you’re a buyer or a seller, a home appraisal is a critical component of the home selling process. An appraisal is also required in situations where a home is gifted to a family member, so it’s important to have a clear understanding of what it entails. 

What Is A Home Appraisal?

A home appraisal is an unbiased estimate of a home’s fair market value conducted by a professional appraiser. All 50 states require that appraisers be licensed and/or certified and demonstrate knowledge of the specified area. The purpose of a home appraisal is to determine whether the home’s asking price is appropriate based on its location, condition, size, and amenities.

Appraisals are done in almost all purchase, sale and refinance transactions, with the exception being when a buyer uses cash and doesn’t have a mortgage. They are typically coordinated by the mortgage lender to ensure the loan isn’t too large in relation to the home’s value.

How Are Appraisal Values Determined?

Licensed appraisers calculate a home’s value based on comparable recent sales in the area and current market trends. Factors such as the home’s floor plan, size, number of rooms, and any upgrades or amenities are also considered. Upgrades and amenities could include things such as a pool, an expanded garage, or a remodeled kitchen.

The appraiser conducts a visual inspection to appraise a home, noting the home’s condition and whether any major repairs are needed. It’s important to note that this differs from a home inspection in that the appraisal assesses a home’s value, while an inspection assesses its condition. In an inspection, the home inspector actually makes repair recommendations. During an appraisal,the appraiser notes any necessary repairs but does not make recommendations.

When Is An Appraisal Done?

After an offer is made, an appraisal is one of the first steps in the closing process. Everything will proceed as planned as long as the appraisal value comes in at or above the price in the contract. If it appraises for below that amount, closing can be delayed or canceled altogether.

What Does A Home Appraisal Cost?

Costs vary based on the mortgage type, but a home appraisal generally costs $300-500. It is almost always paid for by the borrower as part of closing costs.

First-Time Buyers’ Guide: How To Get A Mortgage And Buy A House

When you are in the process of buying a home, there are a lot of moving parts that need to work together. It can be hard for you to keep track of everything that has to happen, particularly if you are going through this process for the first time. With this in mind, there are a few basics that you should remember when you are looking for a home loan.

Work With A Professional 

It is critical for you to work with a real estate agent who can act as a guide during this process. A real estate agent has taken plenty of individuals and families through the process of finding a home loan and purchasing a house. Therefore, he or she will be able to work with you from start to finish as the home loan process unfolds. 

Find A Loan Officer

Once you have found a real estate agent, the next step is to find a loan officer. Your real estate agent might have connections throughout the industry and can recommend a loan officer. Many real estate agents will recommend that you use a mortgage broker. A mortgage broker often works with multiple loan companies. This means that you may have multiple home loan options at your disposal. Ideally, you will be able to leverage these options against each other and find the best deal for you.

Understand The Basics Of A Home Loan

When you are evaluating your home loan options, there are a few factors that you need to consider. The most important part of a home loan is the interest rate. You want to make sure that you get the lowest interest rate possible as this is going to impact the amount of money you pay over the life of the loan. Then, you want to make sure that you can afford the down payment required. If you can’t put enough money down, you might have to purchase mortgage insurance. You want to avoid this cost if possible. 

Work With An Experienced Real Estate Agent.

During this process, it is important for you to follow the advice of your real estate agent. Once you have found the right home loan, you will be able to complete your home purchase.

Why Most People Use A Real Estate Agent Or Broker To Buy A Property

Why Most People Use A Real Estate Agent Or Broker To Buy A PropertyOne might wonder if the continued improvement in the access to online information about properties for sale has removed the need for working with a qualified real estate agent or broker. It has not.

The trends reported by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) are interesting. Buyers are finding a home to purchase by searching online in larger numbers than before. In the NAR survey of homebuyers, the home was found online by the buyer for more than half of the homes purchased, with only 28% of the homes purchased suggested to the buyer by a real estate agent.

Even so, NAR also reports that 87% of buyers made their home purchase with the help of a real estate agent or broker. This trend is increasing. In 2001, only 69% of home buyers bought a home with the involvement of a real estate agent or broker. Why the upward trend of working with a real estate professional when buying a home?

The explanation is surprising. One is the cost of buying a home that is for sale by owner (FSBO) may be very close to the price of the same type of home bought with the help of a real estate agent. An FSBO home sale may put a little more money in the pockets of the seller but little of that savings on the real estate commission goes to the buyer. Moreover, the FSBO process creates a disadvantage when trying to market a home without a real estate professional’s help. These trends are making FSBO properties decrease.

Additionally, using a real estate professional may help the transaction go more smoothly. A real estate agent handles the buying and selling of properties all the time. A homebuyer does this less often and therefore may not have the skills to manage a real estate transaction effectively.

Summary

When buying a home, it is the preference of the vast majority of buyers to work with a real estate professional. The process is likely to be easier with less chance of costly mistakes. The price paid for the home will likely be around the same as trying to close a deal without the benefit of using a real estate agent.

For sellers of a home, working with a professional real estate agent comes along with advice about market pricing, how to stage a home for better resale value, and the benefits of using effective marketing strategies that get the home seen by more prospective buyers.

For buyers and sellers, it becomes clear that working with a real estate agent is vastly preferable. This is why so many are using the services of a licensed professional to buy or sell a home.

How To Save Big Money On Your Next Home Renovation Project

Every year, homeowners spend billions of dollars renovating their homes. It almost seems expected that homeowners are going to end up going over budget on any project. On the other hand, this doesn’t have to be the case. In reality, there are a few tips and tricks that homeowners can follow to help them save big money on that next home renovation project.

Serve As The General Contractor

Many homeowners hire a general contractor to control the staffing of each individual project. While this might reduce stress levels, it also costs more money. Hiring a general contractor adds an additional middle man to the project who might charge a premium for each individual project.

Homeowners that need to renovate the kitchen, replace the roof, and find a new water heater should hire professionals to handle these individual projects; however, they don’t necessarily need to hire a general contractor. Skipping this step can save money.

Seek Out Multiple Bids On Each Project

Some homeowners don’t like making phone calls and filling out paperwork to collect bids for various projects; however, collecting multiple bids can help homeowners save money. On any given home renovation project, try to collect at least three bids. For larger projects, it is better to collect even more. 

Then, once all the bids are collected, they can be leveraged against each other for a lower price. Homeowners are often surprised by the wide range of bids on a project. Some proposals might even be thousands of dollars apart.

Take Advantage Of Sales

Just as food goes on sale at the grocery store, the materials needed to complete a home renovation project might go on sale from time to time as well. Taking advantage of sales at department stores can be a great way to reduce overhead costs. There might even be cheaper options online. 

Reduce Home Renovation Costs

These are a few of the most important tips for reducing the cost of that next big home renovation project. Home renovation projects don’t have to break the bank! Be sure to collect multiple bids and leverage inventory sales. 

4 Things Not To Do When Buying A Home

4 Things Not To Do When Buying A HomeThere is a long list of things that people need to do when they are looking to buy a home; however, it is also important for people to know what to avoid as this process unfolds. There is a lot for people to remember and it is easy for people to get carried away when they start looking at their dream homes. Even though it is great to look at a bunch of houses and imagine living there, it is critical for people to stay grounded and know what to avoid.

Do Not Make Any Large Purchases During The Home Buying Process

One of the biggest mistakes people make when they are looking at buying a home is they open their wallets too big. If people end up taking on other big purchases, they end up accruing more debt. This is going to mess up their debt to income ratio and will make it harder for people to qualify for a home loan. Therefore, try to avoid making any other large purchases during the home buying process.

Do Not Take Out Multiple Credit Inquiries

While this might not sound real, the truth sometimes hurts. The more times people pull their credit report, the worse it looks. Therefore, by making multiple credit inquiries, people could actually hurt their credit score. It is important for people to pull their credit score at least once to fix any inaccuracies that might be present; however, people should not get carried away.

Do Not Skip The Pre-Qualification Process

Many people want to avoid filling out excess paperwork; however, the pre-qualification process is a good idea. When someone pre-qualifies for a mortgage, they get a budget ahead of time and immediately look like a serious buyer. This means that their offer looks more competitive to a potential seller. Finally, the pre-qualification process could also help someone qualify for a lower interest rate.

Do Not Be Anxious

The process of buying a home can be stressful even for those who have been through it before. Just remember to ask questions along the way and individuals will be set up for success. There are trained professionals who are willing to lend a helping hand to those in need.  

The 5 Best Power Tools For Home Improvement On The Market Today

The 5 Best Power Tools For Home Improvement On The Market TodayFor most people, their home is the most valuable investment they are ever going to make. Therefore, it should make sense that people will want to improve its value over time. In this case, people are going to need to invest in power tools. Those who are interested in home improvement projects need to know about the five most important power tools available in today’s market.

A Power Drill

While this might seem obvious, many people do not own a power drill. This is almost always at the top of the list of the best power tools on the market. It is a versatile tool that can handle everything from hanging pictures to putting in a fence. People need to make sure they know about the various options for drills on the market and find the one that is right for their needs.

A Jigsaw

A jigsaw is a unique but versatile saw that can help people with a variety of home improvement projects. This type of saw is great for helping people cut shapes and curves as well as straight lines. Try to find a jigsaw that has a variety of orbital settings. This will provide the user with added accuracy and speed.

A Circular Saw

This is another saw that is important for homeowners to have. This is great for heavier cutting jobs. They have the ability to cut through thick materials easily. There are both cordless and corded options and they pack a punch. Cordless varieties are a bit heavier but they provide the user with access to tight spaces

A Cordless Screwdriver

Traditional screwdrivers can pose a bit of a challenge and get uncomfortable over time. This is where a cordless screwdriver is helpful. This removes a significant amount of effort and makes projects go by more quickly. These screws can be used to both tighten and loosen screws.

A Rotary Tool

Finally, a great power rotary tool is a must. This is used to help people with cutting, grinding, sanding, and more. This is great for performing a variety of tasks around the home and can help people with numerous accessories. Do not overlook the value of a powerful rotary tool.

Home Maintenance Projects That Could Save You Thousands On Repairs

Home Maintenance Projects That Could Save You Thousands On RepairsOwning a house comes with major responsibilities and one of the most important is routine maintenance. While many people like to skip routine maintenance in an effort to save money, the reality is that these routine maintenance is going to save people down the road. The reality is that maintenance is a homeowner’s first line of defense when it comes to protecting their most valuable investment, which is their home.

There are a few projects that may save homeowners thousands of dollars down the road.

Inspect The Plumbing Connections

It is easy to forget about the plumbing system because many people don’t even see their pipes until problems arise. The idea behind expecting the plumbing system is that problems can be spotted before they cause a house to flood. Some of the appliances that people need to think about include refrigerators, faucets, dishwashers, and washing machines. All of these devices have hoses that connect to the water supply.

If these hoses tart to crack, leaks can develop slowly. Eventually, this water is going to get behind the walls, causing mold to grow, and it may also get underneath the floors, causing them to warp. It is important for people to take a look at these pipes from time to time. If leaks are identified, they can be repaired.

Clean The Dryer Ducts And Vents

Many homeowners overlook their ductwork; however, people need to take the time open up their dryers and change their filters between every load. The vents that people use to remove lint from their clothes will clog up quickly. If the dryer is unable to suck air through this vent, it is going to have to work harder to dry the clothes. This is going to cause the dryer to overheat. It might even lead to a housefire. In order to prevent this from happening, homeowners should change their dryer lint filters after every load.

Routine Maintenance Is Critical

These are a few of the most important points that homeowners need to remember when it comes to routine maintenance. Homeowners need to have a regular schedule that they follow to ensure that none of these tasks are overlooked. It can prevent disaster from happening.

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Early: 4 Methods That Work

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Early 4 Methods That WorkWhile a mortgage is a necessity for many people who have the dream of owning a home, it is also a form of debt. Most people do not like owing money to someone else. Therefore, homeowners might be looking for ways to pay off their mortgage early. The reality is that people are charged interest for having a mortgage. If a mortgage is paid off early, this is less money than the bank will take and more money in the pockets of homeowners.

There are a few methods people can use to pay off their mortgage early.

Make Extra Payments

At the beginning of a mortgage, the vast majority of the money that people send the bank goes toward interest. In the end, most of the payment covers the principle of the loan. If someone is willing to make extra payments, these added payments are going to directly attack the principle. When the principle shrinks, there is less interest that accrues. Making extra payments is the most direct way to attack a home loan and pay it off more quickly.

Refinance The Mortgage

Another option people should consider is refinancing the mortgage. Essentially, a homeowner takes out a second home loan that pays off the first home loan; however, the new home loan has a lower interest rate. This may allow people to pay off the loan more quickly. Furthermore, people can refinance to a shorter-term, allowing them to pay off the loan more quickly.

Recast The Mortgage

Recasting the mortgage is a little bit different than refinancing. In recasting the loan, people throw a lump sum at the principle in exchange for a new amortization schedule based on that lump sum. This means that people will have a new schedule that reflects the principle that is left, often resulting in a shorter payment schedule.

Split The Monthly Payment In Two

Finally, many people are paid biweekly. Therefore, it might be easier for people to pay their mortgage biweekly. If someone pays their mortgage biweekly, they are making 26 half-payments per year or 13 monthly payments per year. The effect is that someone makes one extra monthly payment per year. This payment attacks the principal directly, helping people pay off their mortgage faster.

3 Signs It Is Time For You To Refinance Your Mortgage

3 Signs It Is Time For You To Refinance Your MortgageIf you are looking for ways to save money on your mortgage, refinancing might be a good option. For those who might not know, refinancing can help a homeowner reduce monthly mortgage payments by switching to a lower interest rate. 

Basically, the homeowner takes out one loan at a lower interest rate to pay off the old loan, which is at a higher interest rate. While the homeowner may have to pay closing costs a second time, this could save someone hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Furthermore, those who want to pay off their loan more quickly may be able to do this as well. There are a few signs that someone should refinance their home loan immediately.

1. Current Mortgage Rates Are Significantly Lower

One of the biggest signs that someone should refinance is that current home loan interest rates are way lower than what they have. While everyone’s financial situations are different, if the current average interest rate is more than a point lower than your current interest rate, you should consider refinancing

While not everyone is going to qualify for the current average interest rate, some people might. This means that this is a possibility worth examining. If you can qualify for a much lower interest rate, it is time to refinance.

2. Your Credit Is Good

In order for you to qualify for home loans with lower interest rates, your credit has to be in good shape. There are ways for you to improve your credit score. Paying off credit card debt, paying your bills on time, and fixing errors on your credit report are all great ways to raise your credit score. If your credit score is good, it might be time to refinance.

3. You Are Not Moving Any Time Soon

As mentioned above, you may have to pay closing costs when you refinance. Therefore, if you plan on staying in that house for a while, this could be a good time to refinance. On the other hand, you don’t want to pay closing costs just to move again next year.

These are a few of the biggest signs that indicate it is time for you to refinance. Don’t pass up this chance to save money! 

Qualify For A Larger Mortgage With A Co-Signer

http://bringtheblog.com/i/3_Great_Reasons_to_Use_an_Experienced_Mortgage_Professional_for_Your_Next_Mortgage.jpgThere are numerous steps involved in the process of buying a new home. It is important to go through the mortgage qualifying process before looking at dream houses. This gives people an idea of how big a house they can afford. Sometimes, individuals looking for a house might not get a loan that is big enough to cover their dream house. There are ways to qualify for a larger loan; however, one of the fastest methods is to use a co-signer.

What Is A Co-Signer?

A co-signer is someone who signs onto a potential home loan with the homebuyer. Essentially, the co-signer is saying that he or she is willing to be on the hook for the loan in the event that the primary homeowner is unable to make his or her mortgage payments.

This is a big commitment from the co-signer because he or she is exposing himself or herself on behalf of the primary borrower. On the other hand, the co-signer is also providing a vote of confidence on behalf of the primary borrower. Parents often act as co-signers for their children when they purchase their first home.

Vetting The Co-Signer

When someone is going through the home loan process, they are asked to produce tax returns, proof of income, credit reports, bank statements, and more. The co-signer is going to go through the same process. The bank wants to make sure the co-signer is actually adding something of value to the buying process.

The income and debt of the co-signer will be added to the primary borrower. Then, the two will be combined to be approved for a larger home loan. This can help someone purchase the home of his or her dreams.

An Important Note On The Co-Signer

If the co-signer goes to apply for a home loan or car loan in the future, the loan for which they co-signed will show up. This could limit the ability of the co-signer to qualify for a loan down the road. Even though having a co-signer can increase the size of the loan for the primary borrower, this is not without risk to the co-signer. Consider this carefully!