What To Watch Out For When Buying A Home

What To Watch Out For When Buying A HomeBuying a new home is an exciting experience.  At the same time, it is also important for everyone to think about a few important topics that have to be discussed before they place an offer on a home. That way, everyone can rest easy, knowing they have done their due diligence when it comes to purchasing a new home.

Do Not Neglect The Noise Level Of The Neighborhood

One of the most commonly overlooked topics when it comes to buying a house is the noise level of the neighborhood. Some noise from the outside world is to be expected, particularly for those who move into a busy neighborhood. During a tour of the potential home, it is a good idea to ask realtors to lower the level of background noise. That way, people can get a good feel for what the potential neighborhood noise level might be like. 

Always Ask About The Age Of The Roof

One of the easiest facets of a house to overlook is the roof. At the same time, the roof is also one of the biggest parts of the home. Therefore, it is a good idea for everyone to make sure they do a thorough inspection of the roof. They should look for damages both from the outside as well as inside. Ask about the age of the roof as well. Be sure to check for damaged shingles.

Ask About The Age Of The HVAC System

Another topic that has to be discussed is the HVAC system. In general, people should expect to get between 15 and 20 years of life out of their HVAC system. If the HVAC system in the home is getting close to the point of replacement, then it might be a good idea to ask for a price reduction because the new homeowner is going to have to replace the HVAC system in the near future.

Perform Due Diligence Before Buying A Home

These are a few of the most important points that people have to follow when they are buying a new home. Asking about these issues ahead of time can prevent homeowners from being surprised down the road.

 

Be Prepared for Your Mortgage Pre-approval Interview by Having Answers to These 4 Questions

Be Prepared for Your Mortgage Pre-approval Interview by Having Answers to These 4 QuestionsSo – you’ve completed an initial mortgage pre-qualification and now you’re ready to take the next step and meet with your lender or mortgage advisor for the pre-approval interview. Are you ready?

At this stage of the application process your lender will dig into your financial background to ensure that you’re fully capable of making your mortgage payments and that you don’t present too high a risk. Let’s take a quick look at a few questions you should know the answers to before you go in for a mortgage pre-approval.

Do You Have a Specific Home in Mind?

If you’ve already picked out the perfect new home, be sure to bring along some of the details when you meet with your lender. At minimum you’ll want to know the price range that you’re expecting to buy in so that your mortgage advisor can try to find a mortgage that allows you to purchase the home and still meet your other financial goals.

What is Your Current Income from All Sources?

Your income (and that of your spouse, if you have one) will be a major factor in the size of your mortgage, your payment terms and the interest rate that you qualify for. If you have a significant income and it’s clear that you will have little trouble making the mortgage payments you’ll likely qualify for a shortened amortization period that includes a lower interest rate. Conversely, if you can only afford to make a bare minimum monthly payment you’ll be facing a longer mortgage term.

Do You Have Any “Black Marks” on Your Credit?

If you have any negative spots in your credit history you’ll want to ensure that you’re able to answer for them, because your lender will certainly ask about them. Be honest and confident, and remember that the lender wants your business as much as you want to receive a pre-approval for mortgage financing.

What Are Your Plans in the Next Five to Ten Years?

Finally don’t forget that interest rates will continue to fluctuate and that may have an impact on your mortgage in the near future. Be sure to share any major financial plans that you have with your mortgage advisor as they can keep you appraised of any refinancing opportunities that come about.

Buying a home is an exciting time – one that will be far less stressful if you are fully prepared for the many steps along the way. Contact your local mortgage professional today to learn more about how you can get pre-approved for mortgage financing.

Buying A Home Virtually

Buying A Home VirtuallyDuring the past few months, everyone has been going through unprecedented times. Every industry has been impacted and this includes the real estate sector. There are lots of people who are still trying to buy and sell a home during an era of social distancing. This can make it hard to look at a prospective property in person. The good news is that there are still ways for people to buy a house virtually. There are a few tips that everyone should keep in mind. 

Go On A Virtual Tour

Of course, everyone wants to take a close look at a home before they decide to buy it. Even though it is challenging to schedule live tours, virtual tours can still be helpful. With virtual real estate software, it is possible to take a virtual, walking tour the home. Furthermore, if tours have been recorded using drones, then a virtual tour might provide everyone with a new perspective on a potential home. 

Ask The Right Questions

It is important for everyone to make sure they ask the right questions. Even if someone is not going on a  tour of a home in person, it is still important to ask the same questions. For example, ask about the age of the roof, the age of the HVAC system, and other pertinent questions to the property. This will help everyone make sure they understand exactly what they are buying. 

Know What Is Not Seen Virtually

When it comes to asking questions, it is also important to think about items that cannot be seen virtually. For example, it might be difficult to judge noise levels outside of the home from a virtual tour. It might also be challenging to figure out where puddles tend to form during thunderstorms. These are important topics that have to be discussed as well. 

Prepare Early To Buy A Home Virtually

Even if people cannot see a property in person, the real estate market can still be relatively active. Therefore, anyone who is looking to buy a house in this market has to make sure they stay on top of their information. This will help them remain competitive when they are trying to buy the perfect house for their needs.

 

The Top Ways To Winter Proof A Home

The Top Ways To Winter Proof A Home

As the temperature continues to drop outside, many people are worried about what is going to happen to their heating bills. Given the challenging economic year, nobody wants to pay more than they have to. On the other hand, there are ways that people can keep their heating bills as low as possible as long as they take steps to winter-proof their homes now. 

Prevent Drafts Under The Doors And Windows

One of the most common reasons why people end up using more heat than they should is that they are losing heat to the external environment. Often, this heat flows through gaps between windows and doors. Therefore, everyone has to make sure their windows and doors are closed when they are not using them. Then, consider adding stopgaps between doors and windows to prevent heat from exiting the home. If the windows are unlikely to be opened during the winter, then it might be a smart idea to seal them. 

Add Insulation To Hot Water Pipes And Tanks

Many people do not realize just how much heat they use keeping their water hot in their homes. It is a great idea for homeowners to add insulation to hot water tanks and pipes. By adding some simple insulation, the hot water heater is not going to have to work as hard to get hot water up to the right temperature. This can save homeowners a significant amount of money on their heating bills. 

Use A Smart Thermostat

Many homeowners run their heater when they do not have to. For example, they might run their heater when they are at work or asleep. This is unnecessary. By using a smart thermostat, everyone can set up a schedule for their heater. That way, their heater will shut off when the home does not have to be warmed to a specific temperature. At the same time, remember to warm the house to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit at all times to prevent water from freezing in the pipes. 

Save Money On Heating Bills This Winter

These are a few of the top ways that homeowners can save money on their heating bills this winter without having to sacrifice their comfort.

 

Face The Numbers, A Mortgage That Works For You

Face The Numbers, A Mortgage That Works For YouBefore taking out a mortgage to buy a home, it’s time to take a realistic survey of your finances so that you can determine your price range and what size of home you can comfortably afford.

Buying a home that suits your finances will mean that your mortgage payments will be easily within your budget and won’t cause you financial stress.

Stay In Your Price Range

Many people, when offered a large mortgage by the bank, are tempted to buy homes that are outside of their price range.

It’s easy to see why a larger property or a more luxurious home might be appealing, but by stretching too far beyond your means you are courting with disaster.

If your monthly mortgage rate just barely fits within your budget, without room for savings, retirement contributions, or to build up an emergency fund – it will only be a matter of time before things start to get tight.

What happens if you lose your job, or if your income decreases? If you are unable to meet your mortgage payments, it is easy to slip very quickly into debt or even bankruptcy. This is why it is so crucial to buy a home that fits your budget.

Here Are Some Questions To Ask Yourself For Figuring Out How Much Mortgage You Can Comfortably Afford:

  • Make a detailed budget that chronicles your monthly incomings and outgoings. How much money do you really have each month to work with?
  • What type of safety net do you have if something goes wrong, in terms of savings and family support?
  • How large of a down payment are you able to save up? At least 20% of the property cost is recommended, but more is always better.
  • How much outstanding debt do you have from your other lenders, such as your credit card debts, your bank loans, student loans, etc?
  • How stable is your income? Do you have a steady paycheck or are you self-employed with variable income?
  • Are you willing to change your lifestyle and lead a more frugal life to get the house you want? Is there anywhere you can cut expenses and spend more on your mortgage payment?
  • What will be the total of all of the costs associated with purchasing the home, including closing costs, inspections and other fees?
  • What are the costs associated with moving? Don’t forget to include the moving van, new appliances, hotel expenses, gas and meals out during the transition period.

Once you have asked yourself these questions and taken a close look at your budget, you will be able to determine realistically what you can afford when buying a home – so that you can find that dream home that meets your budget. For more helpful advice, contact your trusted mortgage professional.

Important Advice For Locating The Right Neighborhood

Important Advice For Locating The Right NeighborhoodWhen people are thinking about moving, they want to make sure they find the right neighborhood. At the same time, it is not always easy for many homeowners to decide where they are going to live. Particularly if they are not familiar with the local community, there are a few important points that everyone should keep in mind. By thinking about these factors ahead of time, potential homeowners are going to place themselves in a position to be successful when they purchase their next home. 

Consider The Importance Of The Schools

Many people who are moving are looking for a bigger house because their family is getting larger. Therefore, one of the most important factors that families need to think about involve the quality of the schools. Schools are going to play a major role in the pricing of the neighborhood. Think about whether the kids are going to go to public school or private school. For families that are going to send their kids to public school, they need to think about the quality of the public schools and what school system the neighborhood is zoned for. 

Think About The Commute To Work

Another important factor that the family should consider is the commute to work. There are many people who are moving in an effort to shorten their commute or because they are getting a new job. Therefore, it is a smart idea to think about the traffic, the time it will take to work, and how challenging the driving route is going to be. This is going to play a major role and where the family is going to end up settling. 

The Access To Amenities

Finally, it is also important to think about access to amenities. This could include parks, shopping, hiking trails, and even access to the airport. Families need to think about what is important to them and prioritize this during the housing search. It is also a great idea to think about any development that might be taking place in the local area that could influence housing prices in the future. All of these factors should be considered when families are considering which neighborhood they would like to move to.

 

Understanding the Difference Between a Mortgage Pre-qualification and a Pre-approval

Understanding the Difference Between a Mortgage Pre-qualification and a Pre-approvalIf you’re in the market for a new home and you’ve been researching mortgages, you’ve likely come across the terms “pre-qualification” and “pre-approval”. While these terms are self-explanatory in some circumstances, they are quite different in regards to mortgage financing.

In today’s blog post we’ll explain the difference between a mortgage pre-qualification and a pre-approval.

Pre-qualification: an Initial Look at Your Mortgage Options

The first – and easiest – step on the way to receiving mortgage financing to buy a home is known as pre-qualification. During this process you’ll meet with a mortgage advisor or lender who will assess your financial history including your current income and any debts that you might have. Using these numbers they’ll perform a quick calculation that suggests how much mortgage financing you might qualify for when you’re ready to buy a home.

Your mortgage professional will also answer any questions that you might have about the process, including what interest rates you may qualify for, how much you’ll need to invest in your down payment and more.

Pre-approval: A Conditional Mortgage Commitment

After you’ve been pre-qualified for your mortgage and you’re ready to start looking for a new home you’ll go through the pre-approval process. At this time your mortgage advisor or lender will take a much deeper look into your current financial situation, including pulling a credit report to assess how much risk they will have in lending you money. You’ll also complete a full mortgage application as this will allow your lender to get a conditional approval for a certain amount or range. Finally you’ll be informed about the interest rate and the terms of the mortgage once you find your new home and complete the purchase.

The Final Step: Finding the Perfect Home

Now that you’ve been pre-approved and have received a conditional commitment from your lender, you’re ready to find that perfect new home. On top of having a better idea of your price range and what you can afford, you’ll find that sellers are far more receptive to your offers as having a pre-approval signals that you’re a serious buyer who is ready to make your move.

When you’re ready to buy your new house or condo, your local mortgage professional is ready to help. Contact them to learn more about pre-qualification, pre-approval and your financing options. Enjoy your new home!

The Top Questions Everyone Should Ask Before Renovating A Home

The Top Questions Everyone Should Ask Before Renovating A HomeThere are a lot of people who are looking to improve the home in which they live. One of the top ways to do this is to renovate the building; however, it is also important for everyone to make sure they know exactly what they are doing before they get started. There are several questions that everyone should ask before they start a home renovation project.

Is The Home Worth Renovating?

One of the top reasons why people renovate a home is that they think this is going to increase the value of the home. While this is certainly possible, everyone has to run the numbers and make sure they are either going to recoup their investment when they sell the home or that they are going to be in the home for a long time before they sell it. If the home is worth renovating, then it is fine to proceed.

What Is The Budget On The Renovation Project?

Next, it is also important for everyone to know what the budget is one the renovation project. Remember that there are always going to be expenses that are not foreseen, so be sure to include some room at the top in case the contractors come asking for a budget increase. They almost always do.

What Are The Offers On The Home Renovation Project?

Finally, it is also important to collect multiple offers. Talk to designers, contractors, and architects. Collect a few referrals. Then, talk to all of these individuals and see how much money it is going to cost to complete the project. This is one of the top ways that everyone is able to save money on their home renovation projects and make sure they get exactly what they asked for when the project started.

Answer These Questions Before Starting A Home Renovation Project

By planning ahead of time, everyone is able to plan accordingly, making sure they know what they are doing before the project gets started. When homeowners take the time to plan a home renovation project, they increase the chances of the project being a success. This includes not only an aesthetically pleasing project but a wise financial investment as well.

Speeding Up the Close: Five Tips on How to Close Your Mortgage Loan Faster So You Can Start Moving In

Speeding Up the Close: Five Tips on How to Close Your Mortgage Loan Faster So You Can Start Moving InWhen a seller accepts an offer from a buyer, the process of obtaining the property has just begun. The buyer now has to conduct an inspection, get approval from an attorney and obtain a mortgage – all of which can be time consuming. Here are a few ways that you can speed up the mortgage process and close the deal sooner.

Make Sure That You Have Money For Closing Costs

Do you have the money needed for a down payment and to pay other closing and prepaid costs? If not, you won’t be able to close until you find the funds to pay those costs – and this could delay the closing on your home indefinitely. Before you arrange the mortgage, make sure you have enough cash on hand to pay closing costs.

Get Conditional Approval Before Making The Offer

If you have not been conditionally approved for a loan before making an offer, you can’t be sure that a lender will give you a loan for the amount of the purchase price. In addition, starting the process from scratch could push back the closing timeline. Having your mortgage conditionally approved means the mortgage process is already underway when you make your offer, which saves you time.

Have Your Documents Together

Get your bank statements, pay stubs and other documents together before the seller accepts your offer. Having everything that the lender needs right away decreases the time needed for a lender to assess your application before extending the loan.

Work With An Experienced Mortgage Lender

Your mortgage lender may be able to move everything along by staying on top of the loan approval process. By ensuring that documents are being processed in a timely manner, an experienced lender can reduce the closing time from months to weeks.

Create A Timeline For Repairs The Seller Is Obligated To Make

It is not uncommon for a seller to be obligated to fix certain issues with the house before the new owner takes possession. However, it is important to put these repairs the contract along with a mandatory completion date. Otherwise, the seller could drag his feet with no contractual obligation to finish any repairs before he sees fit to do so.

Closing on a home loan can take anywhere from 30 to 120 days depending on work that needs to be done on the home and how well prepared a buyer is. Contacting and working closely with your mortgage lender or broker can result in a speedy and painless close. Contact an experienced mortgage professional today for more information about closing a mortgage.

3 Handy Tips That Will Prevent Serious Stress when Buying and Selling a Home at the Same Time

3 Handy Tips That Will Prevent Serious Stress when Buying and Selling a Home at the Same TimeIf you’re in the process of simultaneously buying and selling a home, you may be in for the most stressful experience of your life. One UK-based real estate survey of over two thousand people found that buying and selling a house is more stressful than divorce, bankruptcy, a death in the family, becoming a parent for the first time, and even planning a wedding!

It’s not easy, but staying calm will help you to plan for your upcoming home purchase and sale and make the process easier. So how can you avoid the stress? Here are three strategies that will keep you calm, no matter what may happen.

Have A Thorough Plan In Place…

Much of the stress that you’ll experience will probably be the result of poor planning. You may feel stressed if you don’t have enough time to move or if you have to pay mortgages on two homes because your old home isn’t selling fast enough.

Before you get too far into the buying and selling process, talk with a real estate agent and ensure you have a solid plan in place for how you’ll manage buying and selling at the same time. Leave a time and expense buffer for unexpected complications – even if nothing goes wrong, it’s still nice to know you have some room to work with.

…But Be Ready To Improvise If Things Go Sideways

There are a number of ways that buying and selling at the same time might result in complications. Poor timing might mean you need to move out before you have a home to move into, or it might mean you don’t have the money for your new home if your old home hasn’t sold. Be prepared to rent a hotel room, take out a short-term loan, or move your belongings into storage if the sale doesn’t go according to plan.

Talk Out Your Problems With Loved Ones

In times of stress, it’s helpful to turn to friends and family for a helping hand. Studies have shown that having a strong social support network can mitigate the effects of stress, and even the Mayo Clinic suggests reaching out to loved ones when you feel overwhelmed. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends for emotional support, and whenever you have an opportunity to socialize, take it – you’ll find it easier to handle stress after a fun night out with friends.

Buying and selling a home at the same time is bound to be stressful, but an experienced real estate agent can minimize the agony. Call a real estate agent near you to learn how you can successfully buy and sell a home at the same time.