Posts Tagged ‘Home Buyer Tips’

When Is the Right Time to Buy Your First Home? Use This Easy 4 Point Checklist

February 13, 2018

When Is the Right Time to Buy Your First Home? Use This Easy 4 Point ChecklistAre you growing tired of renting? Or perhaps you’ve recently graduated from college and are looking to set down some roots? Whatever the case, buying your first home is an exciting prospect. Let’s take a look at a quick and easy four-point checklist that you can use to determine if you are ready to buy your first home.

#1: Is Your Credit In Good Shape?

How is your overall financial health? Once you have your down payment saved up, you should turn your attention to your credit rating. If you are going to borrow a mortgage to help cover the cost of your home, your lender will be doing some digging into your credit history. It is best to ensure that you aren’t late with any payments and have cleared off any black marks from past credit problems.

#2: Can You See Yourself Living In This Community?

Do you love the area you live in? Or are you thinking about moving to a community that you like a bit more than your current one? Perhaps it’s the local shops, the amenities, the walking trails or just being closer to work. It is always best to ‘love where you live,’ so ensure that you are buying your first home in a community that you can call home.

#3: Is Your Job Situation Stable?

Another factor to consider is your job or career situation. Are you likely to switch companies or be transferred to another division within the next few years? Be sure to give some thought to this as it will be inconvenient to have to move shortly after buying and furnishing a home.

#4: Are You Planning To Have Children?

Finally, have you considered what your family might look like in the future? Are you planning to get married, or if you are already married are you planning to have a family? If you have children now, do you expect to have any more of them? Keep in mind that as your children grow older, they will need a bit more space. If you have a couple of young kids sharing bunk beds, each will need their own bedroom soon enough.

When you’re ready to buy your first home, our friendly mortgage team is here to help you find the perfect financing. Give our offices a call and we will be happy to meet with you to discuss your needs.

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Down Payments 101: Is It Worth It to Put More Than 20 Percent Down?

February 9, 2018

Down Payments 101: Is It Worth It to Put More Than 20 Percent Down?Are you thinking of buying a new home this spring or summer? If so, you’re not alone. Many thousands of individuals and families alike will become homeowners this year. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned veteran of the housing market, you probably know there are significant choices to make. One of the big decisions you will have to ponder is how much you want to invest in your down payment.

With that in mind, let’s try to answer the question of whether or not it is worth it to put more than 20 percent of the home’s price in your down payment.

Ask Yourself: How Liquid Are You?

Before you can decide how much to put down, you first need to determine how liquid your finances are. That is, how much cash do you have access to? For example, if you are considering a $300,000 home, a 20 percent down payment is $60,000. If you have more than $60,000, fantastic. However, if you have less than that, you might have to do a bit of work to save up the remainder.

Even if you do have enough available cash now, you won’t have access to it once you take possession of the home. It is important to leave yourself with some cash in case of emergencies or for other uses.

Higher Down Payment, Lower Interest Rate

If you do choose to invest more than 20 percent in your down payment, it’s possible that you will gain access to a lower interest rate for your mortgage. Many lenders look favorably on homebuyers that are investing more of their own money and borrowing less. Be sure to check with your mortgage advisor to find out if you qualify for lower rates.

Lower Monthly Payments Await

Finally, choosing a down payment higher than 20 percent means that you will have lower monthly mortgage payments in the future. You are borrowing less so you will owe less. This can provide a nice boost to your monthly budget moving forward as you will have more free cash flow each month.

Try to keep in mind that there is no perfect answer to the question of how big your down payment should be. Choosing the best course of action means taking a good, long look at your current financial situation and deciding what your goals are. When you’re ready to discuss buying a new home contact us. Our professional mortgage team is happy to share our experience!

The Mortgage Helper: How to Find the Perfect Tenant for Your Basement Suite

February 1, 2018

The Mortgage Helper: How to Find the Perfect Tenant for Your Basement SuiteDo you have an empty basement or separated suite in your home? If you have a suite sitting empty, you are missing out on collecting some extra monthly income in the form of rent. Let’s take a look at a quick four-step process that will help you find the perfect tenant to rent out your basement suite.

Step 1: Play By The Rules

Is this your first time renting out a home or suite to a tenant? If so, you will want to do a bit of research first. Read up on Fair Housing Rules and other regulations as these will inform you of your responsibilities as a landlord. Keep in mind that you cannot discriminate in any way when it comes to race, religion, gender, family status or disability. Anyone who applies must be given a fair chance.

Step 2: Be Specific In Your Advertising

When you place a rental listing, be as specific as possible in what you are looking for in a tenant. If you are a single, quiet person, you may want someone similar as you will be compatible. Conversely, if you are a young couple, you may clash with a retired senior or someone older. Be as specific as possible but remember that you cannot be discriminatory.

Step 3: Meet Potential Tenants In Person

Be sure to take the time to meet with every short-listed applicant in person. If you are not comfortable with having so many strangers over to your home, consider meeting at a local coffee shop. An in-person meeting will allow you to visually assess the person and determine if your personalities are a fit for living in the same home.

Step 4: Don’t Skip The Checks

Finally, don’t take any shortcuts when performing background, credit and other checks. Ask your tenant for at least one or two references that you can call to verify their rental history. Investing in a credit check will help to assess their risk of missing monthly rent payments. And if necessary, a criminal records check can let you know if they have been in trouble with the law.

As long as you are well-prepared and diligent, finding a suitable tenant for your basement suite can be a painless process. To learn more about mortgage products are perfect for rentals, contact us today. Our mortgage team will be happy to help you!

Curious About Homeowners’ Association (HOA) Fees? Here’s What You Need to Know

January 30, 2018

Curious About Homeowners' Association (HOA) Fees? Here's What You Need to KnowIf you are thinking of buying a condominium or a home that is part of a planned community, you have likely come across the term “homeowners’ association” or HOA. In short, the HOA is a coalition of local homeowners who have banded together to manage the needs of the local community. Let’s explore the concept of the homeowners’ association, why they charge fees and what you can expect from your HOA if you buy a home that is part of one.

HOA Fees Are Meant To Make Things Easier

HOA fees are meant to make your life easier. Common sense dictates that all homeowners won’t be able to commit to investing some of their time in community upkeep. So the HOA charges a monthly fee to everyone to cover the costs of keeping everything in order. Of course, some HOAs can make mistakes or foolish investments that don’t benefit all equally. But most are well-intended and do positive work.

What Do HOA Fees Cover?

Your HOA fees will be used to pay for needs that benefit all homeowners’ in the community. If you live in a building, this will be everything from elevator maintenance to keeping the doors in good order. If you live in a townhouse complex or planned community, this includes landscaping, gardening, road maintenance and more. As long as your HOA leaders are doing their job, they will use fees to maintain and improve the community for everyone.

Some Pros And Cons Of HOA Fees

The main benefit of paying HOA fees is that you are offloading your share of the responsibility for building or community upkeep. In essence, you are trading a monthly payment so that you don’t have to vacuum the common areas, change the light bulbs or worry about repairing the gate when it breaks. The main downside to paying HOA fees is that you only have a single vote as to how they are spent and you may disagree with other homeowners about the HOA’s priorities.

All things considered, whether or not you have a favorable view of your HOA generally comes down to you. If you are the type that likes to share their opinion and is willing to commit the time to improve your local community, you may want to join your HOA. However, if you are less interested in having someone spend your money, you might disagree with their approach. Whatever the case, when you are ready to buy your next home, contact our professional mortgage team. We’re happy to help you find the right financing for your new home – HOA or not.

3 Ways That Buying a New Construction Home Beats Buying an Existing One, Every Time

January 19, 2018

3 Ways That Buying a New Construction Home Beats Buying an Existing One, Every TimeAre you in the market for a new house? Whether you are a first-time home buyer or are upgrading to get more space, you will need to choose between buying an existing home or building a brand new one. As you might imagine, there are pros and cons to each kind of home. But if it is in your budget, you may want to lean towards a newer home over an older one. Let’s explore three reasons why new construction homes are better than existing homes.

Customize Every Aspect To Your Tastes

Ask anyone living in a custom-built home and they are likely to tell you that the ability to customize everything was a major deciding factor. When you build a brand-new home, your input isn’t limited to the floor plan or room layout. Your family can choose everything from the paint colors to the door hinges. Imagine having your pick of appliances, cabinets, flooring, and trim in every room – that’s what new construction is all about.

Modern, Efficient And Convenient

A brand-new home means a home that is energy-efficient and built for convenience. Your home can be designed with as much advanced technology as you have in mind. Seamless Wi-Fi and other wireless connectivity for all your devices. A cutting-edge video security system to keep your family safe. Efficient heating and cooling that offers superior indoor air quality. And, of course, lower energy costs and a smaller carbon footprint.

If you are a fan of technology and the conveniences it can provide, a new construction home is a perfect choice.

Many Years of Trouble-Free Living

Another benefit of living in a new home is that everything around you far less likely to fail over the next few years. Moving into an older home means worrying about the roof, the electrical wiring, the appliances and a whole host of other potential problems. In a new construction home, you will be surrounded by brand-new machinery that is built with the future in mind. Also, even if you do run into any issues with your home or appliances, it should all be under warranty.

If you’re ready to discuss financing options for a new construction home, contact us today. Our professional mortgage team is happy to help.

Looking to Buy a Home in 2018 and Don’t Know Where to Start? Here’s a Few Tips

January 18, 2018

Looking to Buy a Home in 2018 and Don't Know Where to Start? Here's a Few TipsAre you a renter that has become tired of paying someone else’s mortgage and not building any equity? Or a homeowner who has a growing family and is in need of more space? Whatever the case, if you are in the market for a new home there is no time like the present. Let’s explore a few tips that will help you to prepare for the home buying experience.

Tip #1: Prepare For A Busy Spring Season

First, it should be pretty obvious that you aren’t the only house hunter on the market. Other local individuals and families alike will be searching for a new house to call their own. As you may know, the spring is generally when the local real estate market starts to heat up. So, if you are looking to buy, you may want to address your needs earlier in the spring rather than later. The sooner you can get the paperwork signed, the less of a chance you end up in a bidding war.

Tip #2: Mortgage Rates May Be Trending Up

While this is in no way a prediction, there have been some indications that mortgage interest rates may be trending higher in 2018. If this does end up being the case, the cost of buying a home is going to be a little bit more. So if you can move quickly and get your mortgage pre-approved now, you may find that you end up with a better deal than those families who wait until the summer to make a move.

Tip #3: Prepare Your Finances And Credit In Advance

Finally, it’s a great best practice to ensure that your personal finances are prepared in advance. Your real estate agent will be able to assist you with which documentation you will need to have ready. You should also check in with one of the major credit reporting agencies. They will be able to advise you as to whether you have any issues with your credit rating or FICO score.

Buying a home is always an exciting experience – one which can be relatively stress-free if you are prepared. When you are ready to discuss financing your dream home, give our offices a call.

Buying a Rental Property? These 4 Key Tips Will Ensure You Buy One That Turns a Profit

January 3, 2018

Buying a Rental Property? These 4 Key Tips Will Ensure You Buy One That Turns a ProfitAre you starting to grow bored of watching your money go nowhere sitting in a bank account? With today’s interest rates doing little to encourage saving, many individuals are looking elsewhere for new investment opportunities. In today’s blog post we’ll share four essential tips for buying a profitable rental property. Let’s get started.

Buy A Property With Year-Round Potential

Many real estate investors agree that the best rental properties are those that generate income every day of the year. The most straightforward situation to manage is one where you have stable, long-term tenants in place that aren’t going to move or change often. Browse local property listings around schools, colleges, and large employers to see if there are any suitable homes for sale.

Once you gain experience and invest in other properties, consider branching out into vacation or short-term stay homes. But to get started, aim for stability.

Predict Your Income And Expenses

Next, you will want to craft a budget. Have a look through rental listings in your target communities to see what renters are currently paying. This will give you some idea of your potential rental income for a similar-sized home. You can then compare this to your estimated monthly mortgage payment, taxes, utility costs, and repairs. It is impossible to predict precisely how much you will need, but this exercise can quickly prove whether this area is likely to be profitable.

Treat Your Rental Properties Like A Business

Since you have already taken the first steps with a budget, you might as well continue down the path to a full business structure. Most real estate investors set their portfolio up in an incorporated or limited-liability company, which reduces personal exposure. It can also be an efficient way to manage any legal issues that arise as your investments grow. Also, there will be significant tax advantages, including being able to write-off expenses such as repairs, contractor work, and renovations.

Work With Experienced Professionals

Speaking of contractors, it’s worth reminding to only work with experienced professionals who are licensed, certified and have references. Paying for quality work up-front ensures that you won’t have to deal with hefty repair bills due to shoddy workmanship.

When you are ready to invest in rental properties, give us a call. Our professional mortgage team is happy to financing options that are perfect for investment and rental properties.

Landlord Squeezing You for yet Another Rent Increase? It’s Time to Buy a Starter Home

December 27, 2017

Landlord Squeezing You for yet Another Rent Increase? It's Time to Buy a Starter HomeDid you recently receive your annual notice that the rent is going up? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of renters are seeing more and more of their income drained away due to higher rents. To make matters worse, every dollar in rent is one that you are not saving, investing or using to build your net worth. If you’re feeling the pinch of higher rents, it might be time to buy your first starter home.

Comparing Rent With A Mortgage

Have you ever done the math to understand how close your monthly rent might be to a mortgage payment? Here’s a quick and easy exercise. Multiply your monthly rent by twelve, and then multiply that number by 25. For example, if your rent is $1000 per month, that is $12,000 per year and $300,000 over 25 years. So if nothing changed from today, you could afford a $300,000 mortgage.

Homes Are More Affordable Than You Think

Many first-time home buyers are convinced that they can’t afford to enter the market, but that is not the case. There are homes available that fit almost every budget or price range. In fact, it is less important to worry about the total cost and more important to worry about location, size and local amenities like schools and parks.

Remember, when you buy a house you aren’t just locking yourself into a rental contract. You are investing in a home and property have the potential to gain in value over time.

A Few Other Considerations

Of course, there are some considerations that you will need to make as you start down the path to homeownership. The first is that your mortgage is unlikely to be your only monthly expense. You will also encounter property and other taxes, utility fees and if you buy a condominium or apartment, homeowners’ association fees. You will also be responsible for maintenance and upkeep since you own the home. But that also means that you are free to customize and renovate as you see fit.

Keep in mind that it is never too late to escape the rental trap. When you’re ready to start building your future by investing in your first home, contact us. Our experienced mortgage team is happy to share financing options that will suit your budget.

The Quick and Easy Guide to Finding the Right Builder to Construct Your Dream Home

December 15, 2017

The Quick and Easy Guide to Finding the Right Builder to Construct Your Dream HomeAre you in the market for a new house? If so, you may be considering having a custom-home designed and built to your specifications. There is no better way to get exactly what you want in a house than to have it built from scratch.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at our quick and easy guide to finding the right builder to construct your dream home.

Have Ideas In Mind Before You Start

Try to have some ideas in mind before you contact a builder. For example, how many bedrooms do you want? Are you interested in a two-car garage? Do you want a suite in the basement or elsewhere on the property for rental purposes? What about an office, workshop, media room, home gym or other amenities? Invest a bit of time in crafting a list, and your builder can help design a home that fits.

Find A Builder Before You Buy Land

At first, meeting with and securing a home builder before having a plot of land might seem premature. After all, you still don’t even know where you want them to build your house! But, in fact, this is the best way to go. A good home builder can help you understand permit rules, city or county regulations, which utilities are available in the area and more. Once they understand precisely what you are looking for in your dream home, they will be able to make an honest assessment of any particular lot. This alone can save you a significant amount of both time and money.

Verify Licensing, References And Past Work

Once you have settled on a potential builder, it is time to start the due diligence process. Ask the builder and any sub-contractors for their license details to ensure they are certified to do the work. Try to chat with at least 1-2 past references as well so you can get an idea of what it’s like to work with them.

Get All The Details In Writing

Finally, there are few financial transactions in life that should be done on a handshake and this is no exception. Your builder is going to have a contract that they will ask you to sign. Have your attorney look this document over and have them add in any specifics that are important to you.

A new construction home can be the ultimate in comfort, convenience, and luxury. When you’re ready to learn more about financing your new home, contact us today.

Did You Know: Why New Construction Homes Are A Top Choice For Today’s Home Buyer

December 7, 2017

Did You Know: Why New Construction Homes Are A Top Choice For Today's Home BuyerAre you in the market for a new house? If so, you may have been comparing your options when it comes to open listings on the local market. One decision you will need to consider: do you want to purchase an existing home or build a new one? Let’s explore a few reasons why new construction homes are a popular choice for today’s home buyer.

A Home Designed (By You) With The Future In Mind

Ask anyone who has recently invested in a brand-new home, and many will share that all of the built-in technology was an essential factor. Today’s homes are designed with the future in mind. High-speed networking, better wireless connectivity, high-tech security and other features are all benefits that typically can’t be found in older homes.

Of course, don’t forget that you play a role in the design choices in a new construction home. It is your chance to design all of the features you would want in a dream house.

Energy And Cost Efficient

As you might imagine, homes constructed with modern designs and materials are vastly more energy than older homes. Tighter seals, better insulation and more efficient heating and cooling all translate to lower utility costs. Moreover, while the savings per day might seem small, over time, they add up. Leaving more money in your pocket for investment, saving or other purposes.

If you want to take it a step further, you may even decide to expand your new construction home with solar panels or other high-efficiency upgrades.

Less Maintenance Means More Free Time

Finally, you can sleep soundly knowing that a new construction home needs far less maintenance work than an older home. Of course, there will still be the occasional job that needs taking care of. So you will want to be diligent in fixing up any damage or issues that do occur so that the problem does not spread. But overall, you can expect to spend less of your free time repairing things and more of it relaxing and enjoying life.

These are just a few of the many great reasons to invest in a brand-new home. To learn more about financing a new construction home, contact us today. Our professional team is happy to discuss your needs.