Robert Ross' Blog
Purchasing a home is a life-changing decision, and as such, should not be taken lightly. Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to prepare for the homebuying journey, such as:
1. Determine Where You Want to Live
There is no shortage of high-quality houses available across the United States. Now, you just need to determine where you want to reside, and you can hone your house search accordingly.
Think about your long-term plans as you consider where you want to live. For instance, if you enjoy life in the big city, you may want to search for houses in or near the city of your choice. On the other hand, if you want to start a family in the near future, you may want to explore residences near parks and other family-friendly attractions.
Ultimately, it helps to narrow your home search to a few cities and towns. Because if you know where you want to live, you can quickly navigate the homebuying journey.
2. Establish a Budget
A budget is a must-have for any homebuyer, at any time. If you know how much you can spend on a house, you can search for residences that fall within your price range.
Oftentimes, it helps to meet with banks and credit unions before you launch a home search. These financial institutions can teach you about different types of mortgages. Then, you can select a mortgage that suits you perfectly.
Don't forget about home inspection, closing and other property buying fees, either. If you account for these property buying costs, you can ensure you have the necessary funds available to cover them.
3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a difference-maker for a homebuyer. He or she is happy to teach a homebuyer about the ins and outs of the real estate market. As a result, a real estate agent will help you become a homebuying expert.
Typically, a real estate agent offers recommendations and insights throughout the homebuying journey. He or she first will learn about you and help you establish homebuying expectations. Next, a real estate agent will help you kick off a search for homes in your preferred cities and towns. When you find your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you craft a competitive offer to purchase this home. And if your offer to purchase is approved, a real estate agent will help you navigate the final stages of the homebuying journey.
Furthermore, a real estate agent can provide assistance any time a homebuyer has concerns or questions. A real estate agent strives to help you make informed homebuying decisions. Thus, he or she will do whatever it takes to educate you about the homebuying cycle and ensure you are ready to find and buy your ideal residence.
Simplify the process of finding your dream home – use the aforementioned tips, and you can prep for the homebuying journey.
Whether you’re buying a house or selling a home, the smartest move you can make is to hire a real estate agent to represent your interests. But before you do, take these important steps so you can be best prepared for the next stages.
Have An Idea Of What Kind Of House You Want To Buy
If planning to purchase a new house, prepare for your real estate agent interview by figuring out what kind of house you’re interested in. For this, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the various house style terms, like ranch, colonial, craftsman, Tudor, etc. Knowing these terms and knowing what you want will enable you and your agent to communicate easier, and your agent will be able to more quickly find the kind of homes you’d be interested in.
Get Your Financing In Order
Nothing’s worse than finding the house of your dreams, only to find out you can’t get approved for a mortgage. Before you do anything else, get your financing in order. Speak to a lender about getting pre-approved for a mortgage. This will let you know how much you’re approved for and how much house you can afford. Your pre-approval status is also a powerful bargaining chip if for some reason you need to compete with other bidders.
Be Ready to Move
If you hire a good real estate agent to sell your house, you could be looking at a closing date just 30 days away. A good agent can have potential buyers ready to close fast. Are you ready for that? Before hiring your real estate agent, make sure you’re ready to move. Have a contingency plan in place if you need to move out quickly, including:
Know Where You Stand With Your Existing Mortgage
You should have a very clear understanding of where you currently stand with your existing mortgage if you’re thinking of selling. You need to know the minimum of what you need to sell your house for so you can make the profit that you hope to gain. Also, go through your mortgage paperwork to ensure there will be no surprises regarding special clauses or contingencies when it comes to selling the house. Depending on the restrictions of your mortgage, there may be caveats as far as transferring title or changing terms.
Ask About the Real Estate Agent’s Track Record
During your interview with a prospective real estate agent, it’s fair to ask them what their track record is. Real estate agents keep tabs on how many houses they’ve bought and sold in any year, so the agent will be able to rattle off their “statistics” for you. Be sure to ask how long their houses stayed on the market, too, since that will reflect on the agent’s salesmanship skills.
These steps will ensure that your real estate experience will be a positive one. Once you’ve gone through these steps, you’ll be ready to hire a real estate agent to buy or sell your home!
If you're looking for loans with excellent interest rates, you may have heard the term USDA bandied about. This special type of loan is attractive on paper, but the reality is a little more complicated than what meets the eye. Learn more about what a USDA loan is meant to do, how to get one, and why the terms are so buyer-friendly.
The Goal of the USDA
The primary goal of a USDA loan is to infuse new life into rural communities. When people flock to cities, it causes rents to rise and small towns to crumble. A USDA loan is a way to entice Americans to renovate old homes and keep abandoned neighborhoods alive. These loans are backed by the government and issued by the lender. Because of the purpose behind the USDA, the applicant is judged more so on their general merits rather than their financial status. As long as the buyer is willing to commit to the property and the surrounding community, they're likely to be approved.
Requirements of the USDA Loan
Here are the key eligibility requirements for a USDA loan:
- Location: The majority of USDA properties will be in rural areas. You'll need to research the homes available under the USDA umbrella before applying for a loan.
- Credit score: The credit score minimum is ambiguous since the USDA loan is based on more than just straight financials. However, those with a credit score of at least 640 typically receive a fast-tracked application. This means fewer questions and underwriting from the lender and a nearly guaranteed approval.
- Down payment: USDA loans don't require a traditional down payment. However, you will need to pay 1% of the loan to the lender if putting down less than 20% of the total loan.
- Fees: There's a .35% fee every year for the entire course of the loan. The .35% is applied to the mortgage balance, meaning it decreases every year.
- Interest rates: The lender sets the interest rates for USDA loans, but they can go as low as 1% in some cases.
- Closing costs: Closing costs are typically between 1 and 3% of the total price of the home.
It's worth noting that some USDA homes are in more populated areas, so you shouldn't assume a property is ineligible until you confirm. If you're unable to secure a USDA loan, you may want to consider an FHA loan. While the terms are not quite as attractive, FHA loans are also backed by the government. This gives people with lower credit scores a way to secure a property at a reasonable interest rate.
Before you launch a home search, it helps to prepare for the property buying journey as much as possible. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to get ready to find your dream house.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prep for a home search.
1. Establish Homebuying Criteria
If you know you want to buy a home, it generally is a good idea to define your ideal residence as well. That way, you can streamline your house search.
Consider where you want to reside. For example, if you work in the city, you may want to focus on houses in or near the city itself. On the other hand, if you plan to return to school, you may want to search for a home near top colleges and universities.
Think about what features you want in your ideal home, too. If you have always wanted to own a home that boasts a luxurious outdoor swimming pool, for instance, you can map out your home search accordingly. Or, if you want to purchase a residence that features a state-of-the-art kitchen, you can search for a home that offers this amenity.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
A mortgage typically is a must-have, regardless of where and when you search for a home. And if you enter the housing market with a mortgage at your disposal, you will know precisely how much you can spend on a residence.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage can be simple. If you meet with banks and credit unions in your area, you can review your options and select a mortgage that complements your finances.
If you have concerns about home financing, don't hesitate to ask questions. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, diligent mortgage specialists who can respond to your home financing queries. As such, you can work with these specialists to gain the home financing insights you need to make the best-possible mortgage decision.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
As you get set to conduct a home search, there is no need to work alone. If you hire a real estate agent, you can collaborate with a homebuying expert who can take the guesswork out of finding and purchasing a house.
A real estate agent is happy to provide guidance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she can offer tips and recommendations to ensure you can find a terrific home at a price that matches your budget. Plus, a real estate agent will simplify the process of setting up home showings. Perhaps best of all, if you are uncertain about whether to submit an offer to purchase a home, a real estate agent is ready to provide insights to help you analyze all of your options.
Dedicate time and resources to prepare for the homebuying journey. By doing so, you can enter the housing market with the insights you need to succeed.
Establishing a homebuying budget can be tough. But for those who want to secure a terrific home at an affordable price, entering the housing market with a budget in hand can make it easy to accelerate the homebuying cycle.
Now, let's take a look at three questions to consider about a homebuying budget.
1. How much money have I saved for a home?
Examine your finances and see how much money is readily available for a home purchase.
Remember, the more money that is at your disposal, the more likely it becomes that you'll be able to secure your dream residence in no time at all.
Although savings are important, it is essential to note that those who have little to no money saved still have plenty of time to get ready for the homebuying journey. And if you start saving a little bit each day, you can move closer to accomplishing your homeownership dreams.
2. Do I need to get a home loan?
In most instances, a homebuyer will need to obtain a home loan so he or she can purchase a residence. Luckily, many lenders are available to help you discover a home loan that matches or surpasses your expectations.
Meet with a variety of lenders in your area – you'll be glad you did. Each lender can provide insights into assorted home loan options, explain how each home loan works and respond to your home loan concerns and questions.
Also, it often helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you have a mortgage available when you enter the real estate market, you'll know exactly how much you can spend on a residence, thereby reducing or eliminating the temptation to overspend on a house.
3. How will my monthly expenses change after I buy a house?
Owning a home is different from renting an apartment. As such, you'll want to account for all potential expenses as you create a homebuying budget.
For example, a homeowner will be responsible for any home cable, internet and phone bills. This property owner also will need to consider any home maintenance costs like those associated with mowing the lawn in summer or removing snow from the driveway in winter.
Crafting a homebuying budget that accounts for your personal finances can be tricky. If you need additional support along the way, lenders may be able to provide expert tips to ensure you can acquire a wonderful house without exceeding your financial limitations.
Lastly, don't forget to reach out to a real estate agent for help along the homebuying journey. A real estate agent is a housing market professional who will go above and beyond the call of duty to assist you in any way possible. From setting up home showings to negotiating with home sellers on your behalf, a real estate agent will make it easy for you to secure a superior home at a budget-friendly price.
Consider the aforementioned homebuying budget questions, and you can speed up the homebuying process.