Shopping for a home is an exciting time for any hopeful homeowner. After weeks of scouring listings looking for the perfect home in the ideal location for you and your family, it can seem like you’ve found the needle in the haystack.
When it’s time to go visit that home, it’s easy to put on rose-colored lenses and overlook issues that should, at the very least, be taken into consideration when it comes to deciding whether or not you should make a bid on the home and how much you should offer.
Today’s post is all about preparing you for that first viewing. We’ll give you tips on what to look out for and how to factor these things into your equation when it comes to making an offer.
Check the listing for omissions
Even if a home looks perfect on paper (or on its website listing), it’s still quite likely that there are things you’ll want to know about before considering an offer. A home listing should attempt to address several questions you might have. But ultimately, it’s main goal is to attract interest in the home.
So, what type of things should be in the listing that the seller might leave out?
Poor street conditions, heavy traffic, and blind driveways are all things that will factor into your decision but most likely won’t be mentioned in a listing
Odors of any kind can be off-putting and difficult to remove. Some homeowners may not even know that their home has an offensive odor if they’ve become used to it.
Room omissions. If the home is listed as having two bathrooms but there are only photos of one, this could be a sign that there are problems with the second bathroom that the seller doesn’t want you to see quite yet.
Top dollar home repairs
A professional home inspection will be able to give you an idea of the kind of money you’ll need to spend on renovations in the coming years. But why wait? When touring a home, ask questions about the last time important renovations and repairs were made.
Roofs, septic systems, and electrical work are just a few of the things that are expensive to repair or replace. If the previous homeowner has a small family or lives alone and you plan on moving in with a houseful of kids, you might find that your impact on the septic and electrical systems of the home are too much for the house to handle. You’ll want to take this into account before considering a bid on the home.
The cost of heating a home in the winter and keeping it cool in the summer can be hefty if the home isn’t properly sealed and weatherproofed. Ask the current homeowner what they spend per month on utilities to get an idea of what you might be spending.
Then, take a look at the windows and doors. Cracks, malfunctioning locks, and worn weatherstripping are all signs that the home will need some work to be energy-efficient.
Don’t ignore the little things
Small fixes may not seem like a big deal when viewing a home. They can even deceive you into thinking that you’re getting a good deal by buying a fixer-upper for a price that’s lower than the market average.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that small fixes around the house are a sign that bigger problems are also being neglected. Don’t be too quick to assume the house will be a good deal before getting it professionally inspected.
Filling out a mortgage application may prove to be a long, exhausting process. Fortunately, we're here to help you streamline the mortgage application process so you can move one step closer to acquiring your dream house.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you approach the mortgage application process with confidence.
1. Be Thorough
A mortgage application likely requests a lot of information about you, your finances and your employment history. However, it is important to answer each mortgage application question to the best of your ability. Because if you fail to do so, you risk delays in getting approved for a mortgage. Or, perhaps even worse, a lender may decline your mortgage application.
In addition, be honest in all of your mortgage application responses. This will ensure that if your mortgage application is approved, you will receive a mortgage that corresponds to your finances.
2. Ask Questions
There is no need to leave anything to chance as you complete a mortgage application. Thus, if you're uncertain about how to respond to various mortgage application questions, reach out to a lender for assistance.
Remember, there is no such thing as a "bad" question, especially when it comes to filling out a mortgage application. Lenders employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to assist you in any way possible. Work with these mortgage specialists, and you can get the help you need to finalize your mortgage application.
3. Get Multiple Quotes
It may seem like a good idea to complete a single mortgage application to request home financing from a single lender. Yet doing so may be problematic, particularly for those who prioritize affordability.
Ultimately, meeting with multiple lenders and getting several mortgage quotes is ideal. If you shop around for a mortgage, you may be eligible for a low interest rate that helps you save money when you complete a home purchase.
Once you finish a mortgage application, it may be only a matter of time before you find out if you have received approval. Then, if you receive a "Yes" from a lender, you can accelerate the homebuying journey.
Of course, for those who plan to buy a home soon, it may be beneficial to employ a real estate agent. This housing market professional can put you in touch with the top lenders in your area, as well as help you complete a home search in no time at all.
A real estate agent typically learns about a homebuyer's goals and crafts a strategy to help this buyer accomplish his or her aspirations. Furthermore, a real estate agent provides recommendations and tips to help a homebuyer make informed decisions throughout the property buying journey. And if a homebuyer ever has concerns or questions, a real estate agent is available to respond to them.
Ready to complete a mortgage application? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can finalize a mortgage application, obtain home financing and make your homeownership dream come true.
A homebuying budget can make a world of difference, particularly for those who want to streamline a house search. If you have a budget at your disposal, you will know approximately how much you can spend on a residence. Then, you can narrow your house search accordingly.
Establishing a homebuying budget can be simple. Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you do just that.
1. Evaluate Your Finances
Your income and savings can have far-flung effects on your ability to acquire your dream house. If you perform an in-depth review of your finances, you can find out exactly how much money you have available before you launch a house search.
It often is a good idea to consider your long-term finances as you prepare to kick off a house search, too. A house usually is a long-term investment. And if you account for your long-term finances in your homebuying budget, you may be better equipped than ever before to conduct a successful home search.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Banks and credit unions are happy to teach you about different types of mortgages. Plus, they can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage without delay.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with several banks and credit unions. Of course, if you have mortgage questions, you should address them before you submit a mortgage application. Once you have a mortgage in hand, you can establish a price range for your house search.
3. Examine Your Potential Closing Costs
Attorney fees, house inspection expenses and other closing costs may surprise some homebuyers. Yet if you understand your potential closing costs, you can plan ahead for these expenses.
Closing costs generally range between 2 percent and 5 percent of a house's purchase price. They also may be incorporated into the overall cost of a house. However, if you evaluate potential closing costs early in the homebuying journey, you can account for these expenses in your property buying budget.
As you get ready to launch a house search, you may want to hire a real estate agent, too. This housing market professional understands what it takes to find and acquire a terrific home at a budget-friendly price. Therefore, he or she will do everything possible to help you accomplish your homebuying goals as quickly as possible.
If you want to purchase a house close to your office in the city, for instance, a real estate agent will offer tips and recommendations to help you find a first-rate house in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you aspire to own a home that boasts multiple bedrooms, a real estate agent will help you hone your house search to residences that fall in line with your expectations.
Ready to launch a successful home search? Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can prepare an effective homebuying budget. As a result, you could speed up your quest to discover and purchase your dream house.
The US government has been helping Americans achieve their goal of homeownership for decades. Through programs offered by the Federal Housing Authority, the USDA, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, millions of Americans have been able to afford a home who would have otherwise struggled.
The focus of today’s post is one such service: loans offered through the USDA Rural Development program.
If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future but are worried about being able to save up enough for a down payment or build your credit score in time, USDA loans could be a viable option.
Let’s take a look at some of the common questions people have about USDA loans:
Do I have to live in the middle of nowhere to get a USDA loan?
The short answer is “no.” rural development loan eligibility for your area is laid out on a map provided by the USDA. Most of the suburbs outside of major cities, as well as nearly all rural areas, are covered by the rural development program.
Can I qualify for a USDA loan if I’ve previously owned a home?
Yes. You may be eligible for a loan as long as you’re not the current owner of a home that was purchased through the rural development program. So, for example, if you own a home financed through the USDA and wanted to buy a second home and rent out the first one, you wouldn’t be able to finance your second home through the USDA.
How does the USDA loan guarantee work?
When you buy a home, a lender asks you to make a down payment. If you don’t have a down payment, the government (USDA, VA, or FHA) insures the down payment on your home rather than you paying it up front.
Will I have to pay mortgage insurance?
Unlike other subsidized loans, rural development loans require a “guarantee fee” rather than PMI (private mortgage insurance). The guarantee fee is 1% the total mortgage amount and this can typically be financed into the loan (so you don’t have to pay up front). In addition to the guarantee fee, USDA loans also charge an annual premium for the lifetime of a loan.
What are the qualifications for a USDA loan?
To find full eligibility information, complete the survey on the USDA’s eligibility website to find out if you qualify. However, the general qualifications are:
Buying a home in a qualifying area
24 months of income history
A credit score of 640 or higher for streamlined processing
Income high enough so that your monthly payments do not exceed 29% of your monthly earnings
What is the direct loan program?
The USDA really offers multiple urban development loans. The guarantee program, for which most single families utilize, and the direct loan program. Direct loans are designed for families who have the greatest need. You can also find out if you’re eligible for a direct loan by filling out the questionnaire on their website.
As you prepare to embark on the homebuying process, you may encounter a variety of homebuying myths. And if you believe these myths, the risk increases that you may be forced to deal with many problems along the homebuying journey.
Now, let's take a look at three common homebuying myths, along with the problems associated with these myths.
1. Buying a house is a quick, stress-free process.
The homebuying process may prove to be long and arduous, particularly for a first-time homebuyer. Fortunately, real estate agents are available to help you simplify the process of acquiring a top-notch residence at a budget-friendly price.
A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with buying a house. As such, he or she can help you identify and address these problems before they escalate.
Typically, a real estate agent will learn about what you want to find in your dream house and help you plan accordingly. With this approach, a real estate agent will ensure that you can enjoy a fast, worry-free homebuying experience.
2. Getting a mortgage won't take long at all.
There are many factors that will dictate your ability to acquire a mortgage that matches or exceeds your expectations. For instance, your credit score, income and outstanding debt will impact a lender's decision to provide you with a mortgage. And if you have experienced financial problems in the past, they may impact your ability to acquire a mortgage today.
It generally helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage before you enter the housing market. Because if you have a mortgage in hand, you can narrow your house search.
Also, it may be beneficial to shop around for a mortgage from several banks and credit unions. If you explore all of the mortgage options at your disposal, you can select a mortgage that suits your finances perfectly.
3. The first home that you see in-person likely will be the house that you'll end up purchasing.
The homebuying process offers no guarantees. And if you expect to buy the first home that you view in-person, you ultimately may be disappointed with the final results of your home search.
Oftentimes, it is a great idea to check out a wide range of houses. By conducting an in-depth home search, you can select a house that fulfills all of your homebuying demands.
As you search for a home, you may want to work with a real estate agent too. This housing market professional can set up home showings and keep you up to date about open house events.
Furthermore, a real estate agent is happy to provide homebuying recommendations and suggestions. He or she will do whatever it takes to help you find a terrific residence, as well as negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf to ensure you won't have to pay too much to acquire your ideal house.
The aforementioned myths can be harmful to any homebuyer, at any time. If you hire a real estate agent, however, you can learn the ins and outs of the housing market and avoid potential hurdles throughout the homebuying journey.