5 Things First-time Home Buyers Should Know Before Signing on the Dotted Line

5 Things That First-time Home Buyers Wish They Knew Before They SignedWithout a doubt, it can be both overwhelming and exciting to find your dream home and be able to put the money down for it. However, there are a lot of things to know before signing on the dotted line so you can avoid buyer’s remorse. Instead of going it alone, here are a few tips to keep in mind before you decide to commit to your new home.

A Good Agent Is Important

Many homeowners want to find the right place on their own, but having an agent along to assist you in the process can go a long way towards finding your ideal home at the right price. Instead of risking it, choose an agent that comes highly recommended and has an abundance of experience in the business.

Is The Price Right?

It’s easy to be taken in by a beautiful home, but before putting money down you’ll want to calculate your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio to make sure it’s within reach. You may feel like you can make it work, but paying a high mortgage will become a drain over time and may ruin the happiness of your home investment.

What’s The Potential?

When it comes to first-time buying, many homeowners go into it with unrealistic expectations. However, demanding too much of your investment can mean you miss out on the gems that have a lot of hidden potential. Instead of saying ‘no’ right away, consider what you can improve for little cost.

Researching The Neighborhood

The focus for many homeowners is definitely the house, but ‘location, location, location’ is a cliche for a reason. Instead of focusing only on your home, ensure you’ll be living in a neighborhood where you can feel safe and will have access to all the amenities you need.

Investing In An Inspector

A home inspection may feel like a formality, but it’s important to have the right inspector so they will notice maintenance items that can hugely impact your finances. While little items that need to be fixed-up are not a big deal, issues with the foundation or the roof can cause major grievances if they’re not detected.

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when it comes to buying a home. But by doing your research and being aware of your financial outlook, you’ll be well on your way to a good investment. If you’re currently in the market for a home, please contact us for more information.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – July 10, 2017

Last week’s economic reports suggested that demand for homes is rising despite a jump in mortgage rates and rising home prices fueled by low inventories of homes for sale. Demand for homes rose by 1.40 percent as interest rates jumped after the 10-year Treasury rate rose by 10 basis points.

Construction spending was unchanged in May as compared to a -0.70 percent reading in April. Although builders express high confidence in housing market conditions, construction spending continued to lag behind spending levels based on builder confidence readings.

Home buyers received good news as major credit bureaus removed two key components from consumer credit reports. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac raised the debt/to income ratio for home loans from 45 percent to 50 percent of gross income. This move was made to help would-be home buyers swamped with education debt. Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist, said that raising the debt to income ratio would not increase lender risk significantly.

Mortgage Rates, New Jobless Claims Rise

Mortgage rates rose last week. Freddie Mac reported that the average rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage rose eight basis points to 3.96 percent; the average rate for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage rose five basis points to 3.22 percent. The average rate for a 5/1 adjustable rate mortgage rose four basis points to 3.21 percent. Discount points averaged 0.60 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage and held steady at 0.50 percent for 15-year fixed rate mortgages and 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages.

Jobless claims rose last week to 248,000 new claims from the prior week’s reading of 244,000 new claims, but this increase does not appear to be related to layoffs. Non-Farm Payrolls for June increased to 222,000 jobs added as compared to 180,000 jobs expected and May’s reading of 152,000 jobs added. Non-Farm Payrolls include public and private-sector jobs.

ADP Payrolls, which reports private-sector job growth, dipped in June to 158,000 jobs added as compared to 230,000 private-sector jobs added in June. Employers have repeatedly cited difficulty in finding skilled candidates for job openings, which makes it less likely that they’ll lay off employees who have needed skills. The national unemployment rate edged up in June with a reading of 4.40 percent against expectations of 4.30 percent and May’s reading of 4.30 percent.

Whats Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic reports include testimony by Fed Chair Janet Yellen, readings on inflation and core inflation and retail sales. Mortgage rates and new jobless claims will be released along with a reading on consumer sentiment.

5 Essential Facts About USDA Home Loans

usda home loans

Buying a home or getting a mortgage loan may feel like it’s becoming increasingly harder as the years pass. Because of this, if you’re branching out, you may want to consider USDA home loans.

USDA loans come with their own sets of qualifications and are usually geared for rural or low-income buyers. However, there are a number of benefits to taking out this type of loan. Let’s take a deeper dive and explore 5 of those benefits!

Purpose

The purpose of USDA home loans is literally to assist low-to-moderate income buyers in rural areas in purchasing a home.

When you don’t have a lot of money, sometimes it can seem like actually owning a home is a pipe dream. USDA home loans help give people who aren’t wealthy a chance at affording a home.

This can help promote prosperity, according to the US Department of Agriculture. USDA loans exist to promote happiness, harmony, and improve the quality of life.

Types

There are two types of USDA loans: direct and guaranteed. Direct loans have more requirements to use. Your property has to qualify as “modest in size” for your area, and it cannot have a market value that exceeds your loan limit. There are also limitations put on your home itself.

Direct loans are aimed at low-income families, so the requirements can be strict.

Guaranteed loans are similar, but they open a few more doors and aren’t quite as strict.

Qualifications

Direct and guaranteed loans have different sets of qualifications. To qualify for a direct loan, you must not own a home. You also must not be able to obtain a loan elsewhere, and you have to legally be able to handle a loan.

If you’ve been suspended from participating in federal programs, you will not be able to apply.

Guaranteed home loans have income-eligibility requirements. To get a guaranteed loan, you must also be a US citizen or otherwise qualified, and you need to be able to pay your credit obligations in a decent amount of time.

Down-payments

The great thing about USDA home loans is that they don’t require a down payment.

If you’re a qualified borrower and have been approved for the loan, there’s no down-payment required. This can wind up saving you thousands in home-buying costs and upfront expenses.

Insurance

USDA loans do not have private mortgage insurance, also known as PMI. Instead, your USDA loan will have a premium for your mortgage insurance wrapped up in the cost.

Typically, this is about 2% of your entire loan cost. However, it’s also not a separate payment, and it’s included in the cost of your loan.

USDA home loans: the right choice

USDA loans are a great choice for people looking to purchase in rural areas. Additionally, if you’re a low-to-moderate income homebuyer, it’s very likely that you qualify for one of these loans.

A USDA loan can help you save thousands of dollars in homebuying expenses because they don’t require down payments. However, you do need to make sure that you qualify.

If you have questions regarding home loans and the home buying process, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

5 Key Items for a Quick Mortgage Approval

Want a Quick Mortgage Approval? Come Prepared With These 5 Key ItemsAre you finally getting into the real estate market? There are a few key items you’ll need to prove your reliability to a mortgage lender.

Previous Tax Returns

To ensure the earnings information you’ve provided to the lender, you’ll need tax returns for the two years prior to your mortgage application. In addition, you may also be required to provide your W-2s as backup documentation.

Bank Statements

For your down payment, you’ll need to present bank statements to show you have a cushion in case interest rates increase. If you do get money gifted to you for your down payment, you’ll need a letter to prove you’re not indebted to the provider.

Recent Pay-stubs

It can be much more difficult to get approved for a mortgage if you have a patchy work history or happen to be self-employed. You’ll need 2 months of recent pay stubs to prove consistent employment. The pay-stubs provided should also be an accurate reflection of the salary you’ve provided on your application to ensure no discrepancies.

Investment Statements

It’s certainly a good sign to the lender if you have a healthy balance in your checking and savings accounts. But you’ll also need to provide any statements for mutual funds and other investments. While they may not be necessary to prove financial soundness, they will help with approval if you have a lot of money squirreled away.

A Listing Of Debts

A lender will also want to know about any outstanding debts like auto loans, credit card payments or student loans. This will give the lender a good sense of your honesty and your ability to manage your mortgage.

Mortgage approval may seem like a time-consuming process with no certain end. By having the appropriate documentation and being upfront about your debts, you may be able to speed up the timeframe. If you’re currently perusing your mortgage options, contact us for the inside scoop.

How to Determine Your Home Loan Eligibility

home loan eligibility

Are you looking to take that next step in your life? Have you finished browsing the net looking for that perfect place to call home?

Are you ready to become a homeowner?

Before you can actively start looking to purchase a property, the first sensible thing to do would be to check out your home loan eligibility.

Why?

Because knowing how much you can borrow not only helps you understand your own financial situation but also it stops you from getting your heart set on a place, only to find it out of your budget.

Let’s take a look at the best ways to check on your maximum home loan potential.

Calculate your Home Loan Eligibility Early To Set Your Search In the Right Area

When it comes to a home loan, the math is actually quite simple. You look at what you have coming in – your income – and you deduct your outgoings each month – your expenditure. The rest is just a matter of seeing how much you can realistically afford to pay back each month.

There are plenty of home loan calculators out there that can help you get a ballpark figure.

The main criteria that get looked at when applying for a home loan are:

Age – As harsh as it sounds, age plays a role in your home loan calculations.

Employment Status – if you are in a stable full-time job, then that is a big check in the plus column because a regular income shows the bank that you are in good standing to make your payments every month. The amount you are earning will also directly influence the amount you can borrow.

Credit Rating / Credit Card History –  If you have been living a debt free life, or at least maintaining your credit card by paying off your purchases in a simple large lump sum each month, then you score maximum points. The better managed your credit card history, the better image you produce for the banks looking to lend you money.

Choosing the Right Home Loan for You

There is more to finding a home loan than just understanding your home loan eligibility. Loan types and duration are also deciding factors.

The core loan types you should be looking at:

Fixed Interest –  The simplest loan. All you need to do is set your interest rate for 15-30 years and simply let your payments run. A great loan for those that are buying with the intention of staying put, and want to know exactly how much they will be paying for the foreseeable future.

Adjustable Rate Mortgages – If your credit rating is working against you, then you can counter balance this to some degree by taking a flexible interest rate loan. Here, the rate is set for a shorter period of time and will then be adjusted.

Federal Housing Administration Loan – For many people, being able to save the average 20% needed for a downpayment on a home, can be tough. With FHA home loans, you can put down as little as 3.5% on a down payment and move on with a fixed interest rate.

The only caveat with this is that you need to take out mortgage insurance, which you can spread over the life of the loan. This totals to approximately 1% of the full loan value.

Buying a Home is the Biggest Decision You Will Make

Making the decision to buy a home is one of the biggest things you will do in your life. To do so without due care and attention can be problematic.

By first understanding your home loan eligibility you can get yourself started on the next phase of your life with a clean conscience, knowing that you are not getting yourself into financial trouble.

If you need help with arranging your home loan or are looking for a quote, get in touch with us today. We are here to help.

3 Helpful Benefits For First Time Home Buyers

benefits for first time home buyersDid you know a number of benefits for first time home buyers exist today?

Buying your first home is an exciting, important, and sometimes stressful process. For first time home buyers, special benefits sweeten the deal and encourage sales.

The term first-time buyer refers to individuals who’ve not purchased a home in 3 years. Most first-time buyers range from 18-34 years old, however bounce-back come in all ages.

Whichever category you fit into, you might not know about the benefits available to you. In this article, we’ll go over some of the benefits for first time home buyers.

Mortgage Interest Deductions

Tax rates favor homeowners. In fact, home ownership is often thought of as a shelter from taxes.

For many, the mortgage tax deduction benefit overshadows the intangible benefits, like pride in owning a home.

How can you qualify? Your mortgage balance must not exceed the cost of your new home. Mortgage interest proves deductible on your tax returns. This is a great benefit because interest is the largest part of a mortgage payment.

Property Tax Deductions

Property taxes for your first home are deductible for income tax purposes as dictated by the Internal Revenue Service. Vacation homes can also benefit from this tax deduction.

Capital Assets

Most people consider their first home a starter home. When you decide to move, you’ll benefit from gaining capital assets.

How does this work?

If the profit you make on your home is more than what is allotted for any tax exclusion, the profit is considered a capital asset. These profits receive special tax treatment.

Even if you profit from the sale of your home, the taxable portion of that profit remains small.

Use Your Mortgage To Build Equity

Each month that you pay your mortgage, you not only pay interest, you also pay the principal balance of the loan. The more of this you pay off, the more equity in your home you secure. This means more ownership for you.

Your Home Appreciates

The real estate market is volatile. It occurs in cycles.

Across the board, homeowners see their investment as a safeguard against inflation of the market.

First Time Homebuyer Loans

First time homebuyer loans come with low down payments, reduced interest, and limited fees. They’re offered to first time home buyers through the Federal Housing Administration.

This type of loan acts as a benefit for first time home buyers because of its minimal restrictions. Consider a first time home buyer loan a large down payment is out of reach, you cannot meet high-interest payments and fees, or your credit score is low.

All of these factors make these loans too good to miss out on for many buyers.

Benefits For First Time Home Buyers in 2017

As you can see, many tangible benefits for first time home buyers exist today. From tax deductions to an easier loan process, buying a home offers more than pride in ownership.

Starting your first home search? Contact us today to learn more about mortgage loans that work for you!

What You Need To Know About Getting Your Next Mortgage

Yes, It's Getting Easier to Get a Mortgage. Here's How You Can Take AdvantageIt can be hard to stay on top of the changing real estate market from day-to-day. As a matter of fact, there are more available mortgage products out there than ever before for many kinds of homebuyers. If you’re wondering how you can take advantage of easier lending opportunities and strike while the iron is hot, here are some things to consider.

Take Care Of Your Credit

While many regulations on mortgage applications may have been loosened in recent years, having a better credit score will still enable you to qualify for a mortgage much easier. Instead of risking it, ensure that you’ve obtained a copy of your credit score and are aware of where you stand as a financial risk. By working on your credit and correcting any errors on the report, it will be that much more likely to have your mortgage application approved.

Saving For A Down Payment

It’s often said that 20% is the ideal amount to put down in order to avoid private mortgage insurance, but it’s not the required amount in order to invest in a home. While it may save money in the long run to put more money down, there are many opportunities for putting a lot less down and still being able to purchase. You may want to hold off until you can save up for your down payment, but possibilities do exist for mortgages with as little as 3.5% down.

Dealing With Closing Costs

Saving up for a down payment and deciding to invest in a monthly mortgage payment is a significant commitment. Adding mortgage closing costs to that can be a bridge too far for many potential homebuyers. Fortunately, many lenders are offering the opportunity for closing costs like origination and attorney fees to be included in the total cost of the loan. While this will bump up the amount of your monthly payment, it can make a mortgage more feasible from the start.

For many people, there’s a lot of stress that goes along with applying for a mortgage, but with lower down payments required and closing costs included in the total price, getting approved has become a lot easier. If you’re currently in the market for a new home, contact us for more information.

Negotiating a Counter-Offer That Won’t Scare Away Home Buyers

5 Tips for Crafting a Counter-offer That Doesn't Scare Away a Potential Home BuyerIf you’ve recently put your home up for sale, one of the most exciting parts of the selling process is getting an offer. However, all is not said and done once you’ve received an offer, as you’ll probably want to negotiate a better price. If you’re wondering how you can counter without losing a potential buyer, here are some tips when the time comes to negotiate.

Lower Your Price (A Little)

As a seller, it’s important to believe in the price you’ve put your home on the market for, but lowering your asking price after getting an offer will tell the potential buyer that you’re flexible. While you may not want to compromise too much, you’ll have to move a bit to keep them interested.

Pay For Closing Costs

There are so many costs involved in home ownership that many people are tired of all the associated fees of buying a home by the time it comes to closing. Instead of budging on your price, offering to pay for the closing costs can serve as a significant financial benefit for many buyers.

Hold Off On Offers

It can be a risky strategy, but choosing a specific day to consider offers can create a healthy competition for your home. It may stimulate interest without losing potential buyers. While you’ll want to be careful how you navigate this, it can work out well when it comes to bumping up the offers.

Provide An Expiration Date

Most counter-offers come with a timeframe that will allow those interested to accept the deal. However, consider adjusting this period to a timeframe that will work better for you. While you shouldn’t wait too long, a period of more than one day will tell the potential buyer that you want your home to be the right choice for them.

Be Reliable And Responsive

For an interested homebuyer, there’s nothing worse than having a home-seller that is not responsive to their offer. Instead of sitting on an offer too long, ensure you’re letting interested parties know that you’re considering their offer and will get back to them as soon as you’ve made a decision.

The art of negotiating can be complicated when it comes to selling your home, but by being responsive and showing flexibility, you may be able to get the offer you’re looking for.

Til’ Debt Do Us Part: How to Get a Mortgage If One Spouse Has Poor Credit

Til' Debt Do Us Part: How to Get a Mortgage If One Spouse Has A Terrible Credit ScoreA poor credit history is a reality for many people, but it can be particularly daunting when it comes to investing in a house. Simply because you or yours have experienced bad credit doesn’t mean that you should be penalized in the future. If your spouse has struggled with bad credit in the past but you’re both preparing to move forward and invest in a home, here are some tips for getting it together financially.

Face The Music

Many people who have bad credit are too scared to look at their credit report and broach it honestly. But it’s important to come to terms with the problem so that it can be fixed. Instead of ignoring it, get a copy of the credit report and review it for any errors so that you can update these if needed. It’s a good thing to be aware of the issues impacting your credit score. While there may not be any inaccuracies on the report, knowing what you’re dealing with will give you a place to start.

Make Your Payments

At some point, most people have missed a credit card payment, but the first step involved in improving your finances and your credit is ensuring you pay your bills on time. While this won’t require paying the complete balance each month, it’s important to pay the minimum balance before the due date, and stick with it! It may seem like a small step, but in time it will improve credit and say a lot to mortgage lenders!

Save Up For Down Payment

20% is the amount that’s often suggested when it comes to a down payment, but if your spouse has terrible credit, it may be worth your while to save up more. Having good credit for both you and your spouse is important in getting approved for a mortgage, but by having extra for your down payment and paying your bills on time, you may be successful at convincing lenders you’re a solid bet.

It can be a lot more difficult to get your mortgage approved if your spouse has bad credit, but there are steps you can take to improve your financial outlook and give lenders a better impression. If you’re planning on investing in a home soon, contact us for more information.

Your Debt-To-Income Ratio and How It Affects Your Mortgage

Your Debt-To-Income Ratio and How It Affects Your MortgageWhen you’re delving into the market in the hopes of finding your dream home, it’s likely you’ll come across the term debt-to-income ratio. While it might not seem important at first, but your DTI is the key to determining the amount of money you can put into your home and how much you should spend on a monthly basis. If you’re curious about what this means for you, here’s how to calculate DTI and how it can impact your mortgage.

What’s Your DTI Ratio?

One of the best ways to determine whether or not a home is affordable for you is to first calculate your DTI ratio. To get this amount, add up all of your monthly payments including any credit card, loan and mortgage payments Then divide this amount by your gross monthly income. The amount you get is your DTI percentage. This will help to determine how much your monthly payment should be.

What Does Your DTI Mean?

Your DTI percentage helps to determine the amount of house you can afford on a monthly basis. While a DTI of 25% or less is ideal, a DTI above 43% may make it harder to get financing since there will be little room for error. When it comes to a higher debt load, approval may come down to what your credit history says about your financial health.

The Amount Of Home You Can Afford

It’s easy to be convinced that your dream home is for you and worth the splurge. But investing in too much home can lead to future financial difficulties. If you’re set on a home that has a high monthly payment, you may want to hold off until you’ve saved a larger down payment. You can also revamp your budget so that you can make the investment work for you. It may also be worth continuing the housing search so that you have more flexibility to invest in education, travel or other things down the road.

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