Robert Ross' Blog
An open house can be a life-changing event for a homebuyer. If you plan ahead for an open house, you should have no trouble determining whether a residence matches or exceeds your expectations. And if the answer is "Yes," you can proceed quickly to submit a competitive offer to acquire a house.
What does it take to prep for an open house? Here are three open house preparation tips that every homebuyer needs to know.
1. Understand Your Budget
Before you attend an open house, you should find out how much money is at your disposal. Thus, you may want to meet with banks and credit unions to see if you can get pre-approved for a mortgage. That way, you can kick off your home search with a budget in hand.
Although you know that you have only a certain amount of money to spend on a residence, it may be worthwhile to consider attending open houses for residences with initial asking prices that are above your price range. Because in some instances, a home seller may be willing to accept an offer that falls below his or her initial asking price.
2. Create a List of Questions
A home is one of the biggest purchases that a person can make, and as such, it pays to be diligent. If you craft a list of questions before an open house, you can get immediate responses from the showing agent. Then, you can determine the best course of action.
When it comes to an open house, there is no such thing as a "bad" question. As a homebuyer, it is paramount to get as much information as possible about a residence to determine whether a house is right for you. Therefore, if you create a list of questions in advance, you can improve your chances of getting the most out of an open house.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
If you're uncertain about how to approach an open house, you're not alone. Fortunately, real estate agents are available nationwide who are happy to teach you the ins and outs of the real estate market. By doing so, these housing market professionals will make it easy to take an informed approach to any open house, at any time.
A real estate agent will always keep you up to date about new residences as they become available. Also, if you are interested in homes in a particular city or town, a real estate agent will notify you about open houses in this area. And if you need extra help prepping for an open house, a real estate agent is happy to assist you in any way possible.
Let's not forget about the support that a real estate agent provides throughout the homebuying journey, either. A real estate agent will help you submit an offer on a house, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and much more.
Be diligent as you get ready for an open house – use the aforementioned tips, and you can fully prepare for an open 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 a homebuyer, it is important to set high expectations. At the same time, a homebuyer must act reasonably, or he or she risks missing out on a golden opportunity to acquire the perfect residence.
Ultimately, becoming a reasonable homebuyer can be quick and easy – here are three tips to help you do just that.
1. Establish Realistic Expectations for the Homebuying Journey
The homebuying journey sometimes can take weeks or months to complete, and a homebuyer should plan accordingly. By doing so, a homebuyer can prepare for any potential homebuying pitfalls.
For example, a homebuyer may submit an offer on a home and receive a "Yes" from a home seller. But if a home inspector discovers myriad problems with a residence, a homebuyer may need to walk away from the house and restart the homebuying journey.
In the aforementioned scenario, a homebuyer may become frustrated and annoyed, and for good reason. Conversely, if a homebuyer understands the challenges associated with buying a house, he or she can plan for the best- and worst-case scenarios.
2. Search for Homes That Fall Within Your Price Range
Have you established a budget for your home search? If not, you may wind up focusing on houses that you won't be able to afford.
Get pre-approved for a home loan – you'll be glad you did. With a home loan in hand, you can enter the real estate market with a homebuying budget. Then, you'll be able to narrow your home search to houses that fall within your price range, thereby speeding up your search for the ideal residence.
It won't take long to get pre-approved for a home loan, either. In fact, if you meet with local banks and credit unions, you can instantly learn about a variety of home loan options.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
Although you know that you want to buy a house, you have no idea what to expect during the homebuying journey. Fortunately, if you hire a real estate agent, you can learn what it takes to stay calm, cool and collected as you search for a house.
A real estate agent is a housing market expert who takes pride in his or her work. As such, a real estate agent will be available to respond to your homebuying concerns and questions, ensuring that you can make an informed home purchase.
Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will go above and beyond the call of duty to eliminate homebuying hurdles.
For instance, a real estate agent is happy to negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf, guaranteeing that you can avoid the stress of negotiating a home price. Or, if you need help finding a qualified home inspector, real estate attorney or other local professionals, your real estate agent can provide honest, unbiased recommendations.
Be reasonable as you kick off your search for your dream residence. That way, you can seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey and improve your chances of acquiring a house that matches or exceeds your expectations.
The ultimate goal of a home search is to find a residence that matches or exceeds your expectations. To enjoy a rewarding homebuying experience, you need to prepare accordingly.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you reap the benefits of a successful homebuying experience.
1. Narrow Your House Search
Think about where you want to live. By doing so, you can refine your home search and look for houses in your preferred cities and towns.
Also, creating a list of homebuying criteria usually is a good idea. This list can include home must-haves and wants, and ultimately, will help you further narrow your house search.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Purchasing a house can be simple, particularly for those who get pre-approved for a mortgage. With a mortgage in hand, you can enter the real estate market with a budget. Then, you can pursue houses that fall within your price range and speed up your search for your dream home.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, it is important to review all of the mortgage options at your disposal. Meet with banks and credit unions and discuss various mortgage options. This will allow you to learn about the differences between adjustable- and fixed-rate mortgages and find a mortgage that corresponds to your finances.
In addition, don't hesitate to ask mortgage questions when you meet with banks and credit unions. Lenders employ friendly, knowledgeable mortgage specialists, and these professionals will do everything possible to help you make an informed mortgage decision.
3. Work with a Real Estate Agent
A rewarding homebuying experience may be tough to achieve if you decide to pursue a house on your own. Thankfully, real estate agents are available who can provide plenty of guidance along the homebuying journey and ensure you can accomplish your desired results.
If you work with a real estate agent, you can take the guesswork out of purchasing a house. First, a real estate agent will meet with you and learn about you and your homebuying goals. This housing market professional then will craft a homebuying strategy to help you achieve the best-possible results as quickly as possible.
In addition, a real estate agent will keep you up to date about open house events, set up home showings and help you analyze the housing market. If you discover your dream house, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase this home. Plus, if you have concerns or questions at any point during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent can respond to them.
When it comes to simplifying the homebuying experience, hiring a real estate agent is essential. Because if you have a top-notch real estate agent at your side, you can get the help you need to seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.
Ready to find your dream house? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can enjoy a rewarding homebuying experience.
Let's face it – selling your home has been a long, complex and stressful journey. Now, you're only 24 hours from finalizing the sale of your house and moving on to the next chapter of your life.
Although most of the home selling process is complete, a homebuyer still needs to finalize the home purchase agreement. As such, there are several things that you may want to do before a homebuyer completes his or her final walk-through of your residence, including:
1. Clean Your Home's Interior
A messy interior is unlikely to ruin your home sale. At the same time, it is always better to err on the side of caution and provide a homebuyer with a fresh, clean residence that he or she will be able to enjoy instantly.
Spend some time mopping the floors, wiping down the walls and ceilings and ensuring your house's interior looks pristine. By doing so, you can minimize the risk that a homebuyer will find last-minute problems that could delay his or her home purchase.
2. Remove Your Belongings
If you have any belongings still at your residence, you'll need to remove them quickly.
When it comes to last-minute moving, you may need to rent a moving truck. With a moving truck at your disposal, you can remove items from your property and put them in storage or move them to your new address.
Also, don't hesitate to ask family members and friends for assistance. These loved ones may be able to provide a helping hand as you prepare to relocate from your current residence. Plus, they may be able to help you alleviate stress as you wrap up the home selling cycle.
3. Cancel Any Home Services
Contact your home cable, internet and telephone service providers to inform them about your upcoming move. You may be able to move various services to your new address, or you may need to cancel some of these services entirely.
Don't forget to contact any utilities providers as well. That way, you can avoid the risk of utility bills after you leave your current address.
4. Consult with Your Real Estate Agent
Your real estate agent has been a game-changer throughout the home selling cycle. As the home selling process draws to a conclusion, your real estate will continue to do what he or she can to ensure you can get the best results possible.
If you're uncertain about what to do to get ready for a home closing, be sure to give your real estate agent a call. This housing market professional will provide details about how the home closing process will work so that you can plan accordingly.
Moreover, your real estate agent is happy to respond to any home selling concerns, at any time. He or she will go the extra mile to provide you with the home selling support you need.
Get ready to finalize a home sale – use the aforementioned tips, and you'll be able to prepare for a home closing.