Essential Questions to Ask When Choosing a Realtor

When it comes to buying or selling property it is extremely important that you enlist the assistance of a real estate professional in the area you are looking to buy or sell the property. Regardless of whether you have some amount of real estate experience you cannot equal the knowledge that an agent that is from the area that you are looking at has of the local market.

 

When you find a local realtor that you think you might be interested in working with you should sit down and discuss things in order to select the best one for your needs. We put together a list of essential questions that should help you to glean all of the information from that you will be able to use to make your final selection.

 

10 Essential Question to Ask When Choosing a Realtor

 

How many years have you been in the area?

This is extremely important to get to know whether or not they have enough knowledge of the local community. If they don’t have many years of experience, this should give you a reason not to go with them.

How many clients are you currently working with?

Finding out how many people they are working with will give you an idea of how much time they could devote to your needs.

Do you work with most buyers as compared to sellers or vice versa?

If an agent works mostly buyers or mostly sellers, they may not have as much experience with the other and that could be an issue.

Is there a specific area that you cover?

Finding out up front if your agent is tied to a specific area can end up limiting you in your opportunities.

Does your agency use teams and are you part of one?

Knowing if your agent is part of a larger team is a good thing to know so that you know that you could be working with another agent at some point.

Are you able to handle a few of these unique situations?

Put together a list of unique situations and see how they respond to each specific situation.

How do you prefer to handle communication with your clients?

It is a really good idea to find out right off the bat how you will be communicating with your agent.

 Do you have a rapport with some of the local professional groups?

It is really important for an agent to have a really good working relationship with the key vendors that work in the areas related to real estate.

Can I get 3 references with contact information?

It is always important to get references so that you can find out what other people who already worked with think about them.

Do you have any questions for me?

Last but certainly the least, ask if they have any questions.

Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com.  To contact one of our real estate agents call 734-426-6060 today.

 

 

Real Estate Tips for Buying Homes on the Water

Living near the water is a dream for most people. It is peaceful and tranquil.  Most often home on the water are away from the city’s utter over population. There is a level of calm that always exists along with a view that is spectacular every time of the day. Living on the water also means more privacy as your house is not blocked by houses stacked one on top of each other.  Water front homes are directly in front of the open water. Which allows you to take part in water-related activities such as swimming, water skiing, fishing, boating, ice skating and more.  Waterfront homes also retain their value better than most other types of real estate.

Often lake homes are more difficult to buy and harder to negotiate than a land-locked property. Here are some tips from professional real estate agents to keep in mind when looking into buying waterfront property.

  1. Finding a Real Estate Agent That Specializes in Waterfront Homes

Many real estate agents do not have the expertise and knowledge it takes to purchase waterfront properties. As a home buyer you should always look for a real estate agent who specializes in lake front property as they would have a better understanding on the pros and cons of different waterfront properties.

  1. Focus on The Property

Don’t just buy a home on the lake to say you have lakefront property.  Many buyers are disappointed on their home once they have moved in when they realize the homes pitfalls.  The basement may leak, the view may not be what you wanted, it can be muddier than you are wanting to deal with or many other issues may exist that you took for granted being focused only on getting a home on the water.

  1. Taking Out a Home Loan/Mortgage

Lake homes are often more pricey than other types of property.  Buyers looking to purchase a home on the water are advised to investigate mortgage preapproval sooner than later.  Lenders often consider the most eligible and credit worthy buyers.  With pricey water front property, it may take longer to work out a loan agreement between the lender and the buyer.  It will be important for the lender to be sure that the buyer has considered the cost of insuring a lake front house as well.

  1. Focus on The Structure of the Home

Properties in front of the water receive more abuse from added elements.  It is suggested that extra measures should be taken to protect the property. For example, using stainless steel locks or storm shutters.  The homes structure should be thoroughly inspected to make sure that there are not signs of any structural damage which could destroy the integrity of the home.

Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com.  To contact one of our real estate agents call 734-426-6060 today.

Franklin Realtor shares 8 tips for purchasing land

When shopping for a home to buy, it’s fairly easy to see warning signs as you walk through the house. Typically, good things such as a new roof or HVAC system and bad things such as water damage from leaks or the smell of mildew can be apparent.

But what about when you are in the market for land and there’s no house on it? Do you know what to look for? Is it worth even looking at an entire piece of land, or can you just go by the photos online?

Franklin Realtor Tim Thompson, who is often referred to as “the land man,” has some great tips on how to buy land and who to buy land from.

Purchasing land is similar to buying a home, but different,” Thompson said. “One thing people need to do when looking at land is walk through it just like you would a house.”

He said the biggest mistake people make is not walking the land. He advises people to ride the with your Realtor, but then ask if you can go back and walk it.

“You need to find all the corners,” Thompson said. “See who your neighbors are. Look over the fence line. The last thing you want to do is buy a piece of land that has a big sinkhole in the middle of it.”

Below are Thompson’s tips on how to get the most out of a land purchase. Everything varies by county and state, but many of these tips cover any piece of land, no matter where it’s located.

1. Look at land in the fall.

Thompson says in the fall and winter when the leaves are down, it’s often much easier to see what’s around you than when the trees are in full bloom.

2. Ask about easements and restrictions.

Too often, Thompson says, people buy land assuming they can do whatever they want to on it. That’s not the case. “Sometimes there are deed restrictions on land that restricts the size of house you could build or ways you can use the land, so you should always check that by going to the county in addition to asking your Realtor.”

Thompson added that there can also be unrecorded easements, so it’s important to ask about that as well. “There have been times where one farmer will give another farmer the right to cross his land,” he said. “Maybe this has been going on for 15 years. Sometimes agreements like that can come back to bite you.”

3. Get a survey.

Anything larger than a 5-acre tract of land needs a new land survey, Thompson said. “You never know if someone crossed over the property line and built a barn or something. Another person’s property can be on your land and nobody knows it until a survey is done. Be sure to make sure the property isn’t in a flood zone as well. A survey will indicate that.

4. Have a larger down payment.

Banks typically won’t do loans on land for the same down payment as a house. “Banks typically want more like 25 percent down, so it’s important to be prepared for that.”

5. Build in due diligence time.

Thompson advises writing a minimum of 14 days of due diligence time into any contract, so that you have time to do your research before you sign. “It could be that it’s a tract already approved by the county, but I recommend up to 30 days due diligence period to check on water, septic and sewer. Fourteen days would be the bare minimum.”

6. Use a Realtor familiar with land sales.

Thompson said because land purchases are different than home purchases, it is important to buy land from a Realtor experienced in selling land. “I get a lot of contracts from agents that don’t know how to sell land, which is fine, but I have seen contracts where the Realtor didn’t ask for a survey or a due diligence period. I see it all the time. Realtors don’t always know how to sell land.”

He advises leaning on referrals from friends who have purchased land or looking online to seek out Realtors with a lot of land listings.

7. Be prepared to wait.

If you buy land in Williamson County with the intent to build a home on it, Thompson advises that it can be a lengthier process than many might expect. “If you buy property that isn’t already approved, there is a very long wait period to get approval to build on it. It can be a good year before you can put one brick in the ground.”

8. Check perk-ability.

If a piece of land doesn’t have sewer service, the soil underneath the ground can dictate what you are able to build. “Just because you have 50 acres doesn’t mean you can build whatever you want,” Thompson said. “If the soil on your land is clay, it won’t soil test out well and you may not be able to build a five-bedroom house, but be limited to a three-bedroom house just because of the soil.”

Thompson advises always doing a preliminary perk test with a licensed soil scientist in the area before buying land.

Original Source: https://www.tennessean.com/story/money/homes/2018/06/11/franklin-realtor-shares-8-tips-purchasing-land/686272002/

Original Date: June 11 2018

Original Author: Melonee Hurt

 

For Sale by Owner Vs. Listing by Agent

Let’s say, for example, you’ve done a great job building your nest egg, then you see a lakefront property for sale by owner sign, would you be confident enough to consider buying the property or would you rather buy a home for sale listed by an agent? Many buyers do not consider for sale by owner homes because they prefer working with a real estate agent who can cut through a few red tapes on their behalf.

When you are new to the home buying or selling game, it helps to have professional by your side who will do more than guide you through the process. Having a house for sale listed by an agent has proven beneficial to many homeowners because for starters, a listing agent has connections and they will know where on the countless websites to list your house, how to up-sell it and how to find cheaper ways to advertise the property.

Also, since you can easily underestimate the value of your property, a listing agent can provide an accurate home value based on a complete market analysis for the right listing price. Realtors are pit bulls when it comes to networking, negotiating better sale contract terms, and preparing intricate and often lengthy paperwork on a client’s behalf. They don’t quit until they make a sale and a homeowner is satisfied.

Realtors know how to present your home to buyers to sell it at top dollar.  Most of us don’t have the eye for detail that real estate agents have especially when it comes to staging our homes.  Real estate agents know what should head into storage and what can stay on display.  The way that your home is presented can matter a great deal to the overall asking price you will receive.

Another benefit of having a real estate agent working on your behalf is that they will help negotiate up until the homes closing date.  You may think once the deal is signed and agreed upon it is over however this is not the case.  After the homes inspection has been completed often buyers will come back to the table with issues that they want the seller to take care of before they close on the home.

This aspect of negotiations is best sorted out between realtors.  Buyers often over estimate the cost of repairs that are needed to the home that they are about to purchase.  This often occurs because of the anxiety that is felt when making decisions of this magnitude.  Real estate agents on both sides have experience that will allow them to make a decision that is best for both parties, wrap up negotiations, and close on the home.

Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com.  To contact one of our real estate agents call 734-426-6060 today.

Ask the Realtor: Why the highest offer isn’t always the best one

Home-For-Sale-Sign-Real-Estate
Sellers should ask their realtor to create a spreadsheet to compare offers more easily. Adobe Stock

You are ecstatic because you have received seven offers on your home, many of them over the asking price. Your initial reaction is to choose the highest, but wait. The highest offer isn’t always the best one. You should scrutinize every bid before you make this important decision.

For example, if you receive an offer well above the asking price but the buyer has only a 5 percent down payment, this could become a problem if the bank does not appraise your home at the proposed purchase price. If the buyer can’t put more money down to bridge the difference between the offer and the appraised value, the deal could fall apart or have to be renegotiated — at a lower price. A slightly lower offer with a bigger down payment could be more appealing.

Have your agent show the components of each offer on a spreadsheet. Here are some conditions, other than price, that you will want to consider and possibly renegotiate:

■ Closing date

If closing at a particular time is important to you, make sure the date on the offer aligns with your desired one.

■ Inspection

You may find that one buyer wants one, but the other has offered to waive it. What do you do? This is something to discuss with your agent, but it’s often in your best interest to take the lower offer without the home inspection contingency. If the inspection is waived, there will be no further negotiation prior to signing the purchase and sale agreement. If it is not waived, but you see the phrase “inspection for informational purposes only,’’ the buyers still will be having an inspection, but are using language to suggest that they will not try to renegotiate afterward. This however, is not always the case, and creates uncertainty for the seller. Also, by the time this happens, your property could be off the market for up to 10 days.

■ Cash or no financing contingency

Most sellers believe a cash offer is much better than a financed one, and many times it is. A cash offer may come in lower, however, because some buyers rationalize that if they are paying cash they can offer less. With a cash offer, your agent must make sure that the buyers submit a proof of funds, such as a recent letter or statement from a financial institution.

In my opinion, waiving the financing contingency can be just as attractive as a cash. This has become quite common. Most buyers cannot afford to pay cash, but they know their financing will be approved, and they want to do everything they can to make their offer as attractive as possible. This also means that they would forfeit their second deposit (typically 5 percent) if the financing does not come together.

Waiving this contingency also includes forgoing the bank appraisal (unless they have stated otherwise). If you decide to accept one of these offers, your agent should call the buyer’s lender to make sure the buyer has secured financing if the appraised price comes in lower.

■ Escalation clause

Such a clause states that a buyer will pay a certain amount over the highest bona fide offer that does not contain a home sale contingency. Not all agents use these, but I think they are a great way for buyers to ensure their bid stands out in a competitive situation. It’s also a way for a seller to make more money. Let’s use $5,000 as an example. Once all offers are reviewed, the seller’s agent contacts the agent who submitted an escalation clause, forwarding him or her the highest offer (and redacting all personal information). The buyer has a certain amount of time, normally half an hour, to accept or reject the highest bid, plus the $5,000 escalation. So if the highest offer is $525,000, the buyer must agree to $530,000. An escalation clause also permits the buyer to say no if the highest offer is too high.

Whatever you end up doing, remember that every term is negotiable — and as a seller you are in the driver’s seat in this market. A sharp seller’s agent will compare and leverage all offers to achieve your desired pricing and terms. This is the fun part, so enjoy.

Original Source: http://realestate.boston.com/ask-the-expert/2018/05/10/why-the-highest-offer-isnt-always-the-best-one/

Original Date: May  10 2018

Original Author: Marjorie Youngren

Spring is Here: It’s Time to Put Your Home Up for Sale

If you’re thinking of putting your home up for sale, now is the time to do it. Spring has always been known as the best time to sell a home because buyers are eagerly looking to make a purchase that allows them to be settled before summer is here. The weather is warm but not hot, people are out and about and are much happier than any other time of year.  This makes it an ideal time for buyers to look for new homes during this time of year. The real estate market is a year-round thing, but spring really sees a lot of movement in terms of interested buyers. Here are a few more reasons why you’ll want to put your home up for sale this spring:

The Newness of Spring Makes Your Home Look Better

A huge reason why you should put your home up for sale in spring is the fact that the warm weather, the green grass and all the flowers are blooming so potential buyers really see the beauty in your home. Spring’s many factors really set up a pretty view of your home that ups the curb appeal and attracts buyers.

The Days are Longer and There Is More Sunlight

Because there’s more sunlight during spring, which means potential buyers have more time to view your home than in winter. You can have home eyeballs look at your home throughout the day and this only increases your chances of selling your home fast!

Closing Corresponds with The End Of The School Year

If you have kids, chances are you want them to close out the school year at their current school. If you sell in the spring, you’ll most likely close right around the time school finishes, which mean no interruption in their school studies. And they’ll be able to start the new school year at a new school.

Tax Returns Lend to Higher Down Payments for First Time Buyers

Spring is usually a time when first-home buyers start looking for home since they’ve just done their taxes and have more money to use for their down payment.

More Buyers Equals Possible Bidding War and Higher Prices

Selling in spring will increase your chances of getting the most bids for you home with the highest prices. There are been plenty of research that shows the first two weeks in May have higher returns on houses than any other time of year.

Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com.  To contact one of our real estate agents call 734-426-6060 today.

 

 

When Should You Make an Offer Below Asking Price? 5 Clues It’s Time to Take a Gamble

Homes are expensive, and getting even more so every day. (Also, water is wet and the sky is blue!) Making an offer over asking price—sometimes by absurd amounts—has become a harrowing norm for today’s buyers.

But even as the market rockets upward, there are always those buyers. You know the type: You visit their new home for a dinner party, and halfway through the meal, they lean over to whisper in your ear.

“We got a killer deal,” they say. “Under list price.

Then you proceed to silently hate them forever. Because. Homes. Are. Expensive.

But getting an awesome deal on a house isn’t impossible, even in a hot market. If you learn to read the signals, you just might find sellers who are amenable to an offer below asking price.

To be clear: Real estate pros warn against extremely lowball offers (typically more than 15% below listing price) because you might offend the sellers—even if the home’s been on the market for months. Strategize with your agent to determine both how far under listing price you’re comfortable going, and what you think the sellers might respond to.

Not sure where to start? These five signs will help you determine when the time is right for a low offer.

1. When the seller wants out

Not every seller wants to wait for an over-the-top, so-much-money-it-takes-your-breath-away offer. Some homeowners want to sell quickly, and they’re willing to accept lower offers to do so.

“Submitting a lowball offer has more to do with circumstances than the actual property itself,” says Than Merrill, a real estate investor in San Diego. Lowballs “grow increasingly attractive to homeowners the more desperate they become to sell their property.”

A little bit of sleuthing by you and your real estate agent can go a long way in figuring out the sellers’ motivation: Have they recently gone into default on their loan? Are they trying to move to a new state for a job, or to take care of elderly relatives? Did they inherit the house but don’t have any interest in the real estate game?

“If you can identify what the seller really wants or needs, you may be able to negotiate a better deal,” Merrill says. “You never know until you ask.”

2. When the home is blatantly, obnoxiously overpriced

Just because a home is expensive doesn’t mean it’s overpriced—it might be worth every penny. But sellers do often get an inflated sense of their home’s value. And those homes can languish on the market.

Enter: You and your below-asking offer.

Work with your agent to look at the comps for your area, and find out what other homes are selling for. If there’s one that makes you say they’re out of their damn minds, it might be ripe for a low offer.

“You may in fact be the only offer this frustrated and anxious seller has seen yet,” says RJ Winberg, an agent in Orange County, CA.

3. When you’re not picky

Maybe you have a flexible wish list. Two bedrooms, three bedrooms—more space is great but you really need only one, right? Perhaps you care only about how your house looks on the inside. Or maybe you’re planning a full renovation no matter what you buy.

If all you care about is price, don’t feel bad throwing below-asking offers left and right.

“Most buyers are going all-in and looking for their dream home, but some buyers are more concerned about whether or not they’re getting a good deal than how ideal the actual house is,” Winberg says. “If you go around making lowball offers on every home you could conceivably see yourself living in, chances are you will eventually find a seller who will entertain your offer.”

4. When the home has hopped on and off the market

Keep your eyes peeled for a home that’s been on the market, then off, then on again. This home might be a prime candidate for your low offer. After all, imagine the seller’s irritation: Listing a home can be an arduous process, filled with open houses, surprise showings, and negotiations—only to have the buyer back out at the last minute.

“This often means that the seller is getting frustrated with the process of being on the market and may be more open to accepting a lower offer, just to get through the process,” says Klaus Gonche, a Realtor® in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

But before you make an offer, see if your agent can get some intel: It’s possible there’s another reason the sellers are listing and relisting their house—such as they don’t actually want to sell.

5. When the home is outdated

Elizabeth Gigler, an agent in Naperville, IL, has three requirements for going in low: First, the home must have been on the market for more than 60 days. Second, the home must have old mechanicals. (Updating a vintage HVAC system could cost thousands of dollars—meaning that a low offer is entirely justified.) Third, the home “is completely outdated,” she says.

That ’70s-era burnt orange shag carpeting isn’t anyone’s style these days. The sellers might presume they’ll get full asking price without swapping in something more neutral; however, they might change their tune after a few months on the market without any offers.

That’s when you swoop in with a low offer—and get yourself a killer deal to brag about at your next dinner party.

Original Source: https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/when-to-make-offer-below-asking-price/

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Published Date: May 17, 2018

Spring is in The Air: What to Look for When Buying a Home

Spring season is house-hunting season. It is time we leave our wintery slumber and decide to get going.  The sun is shining, the ice is melting, and everything appears shiny. If you are considering buying a home during the spring season, know very well what problems tend to show up after a long winter before making that offer.  It is crucial that buyers looking for a new home seek out the assistance of a real estate agent.  A professional realtor assists throughout the buying process in a number of ways including a pre-check for damage prior to the offer and inspection process.  Real estate agents are helpful in spotting common issues that can appear in homes after the spring thaw including:

Water Damage:

When snow melts the running water often can enter into basements, crawlspaces, or cement foundations.  If this occurs, it usually shows up in the form of yellow patches on inside walls or bulging paint patches.  These are not often spotted by excited homebuyers however real estate agents are well trained in finding these smaller issues that can easily be covered during the viewing process.

External:

It is crucial to thoroughly examine the exterior of the home when viewing homes.  Peeling paint, cracks in the siding, and an abundance of mold can be indicators of structural issues throughout the home.

Out of Sight:

Real estate agents will always have homeowners check out the crawlspace, attic, basement, and utility rooms.  These are the areas within a home that often conceal water and mold issues because these areas are often given less care when sellers are getting a home ready to sell.  However, the bones of the home need to be examined.  It is important to take a deep breathe in each of these areas to make sure that you are not catching notes of musty smells that can indicate moisture is getting into the foundation framing and insulation.

Roof Inspection:

Snow, sleet, and rainwater can cause havoc on roofs, especially when shingled with asphalt shingling. Although it may seem just a little silly, a set of binoculars should be used by a real estate agent or home buyer when going for a home viewing.  These can help you get an obvious look at the situation above the gutters. Cracks and curling could indicate the shingles need to be replaced.

Knowing potential trouble spots when buying a home before making an offer, paying for an inspection or worse yet moving in will help to make sure that home buyers make the best buying decision possible.  This is one of the reasons it is so important to use a real estate agent when buying or selling a home.

Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com.  To contact one of our real estate agents, call 734-426-6060 today.

Fact or Fiction? 6 Down Payment Myths You Should Stop Believing Immediately

If you’re thinking about buying your first home, that pesky down payment has probably kept you awake more than a few nights. We get it—while a pre-approval is crucial for determining your buying power, it’s the down payment that shows you mean business.

But saving up is hard. In a study conducted by NerdWallet, 44% of respondents said a lack of a down payment was the roadblock keeping them from buying a home.

Making things even worse? Your well-meaning friends and family have probably given you at least one piece of well-meaning, but ill-informed advice, leaving you in more of a blind panic than you need to be.

We’re not saying that saving for a down payment will be a cake walk, but separating fact from fiction can go a long way. Here’s the truth you need to know.

Myth No. 1: You need 20% down

In the NerdWallet study, 44% of respondents also believed you need 20% (or more) down to buy a home. For decades, this was standard, but it isn’t always the case anymore.

“It really depends on the type of buyer you are,” says Robert Garay, a broker associate and team leader of the Garay Group at Lifestyle International Realty in Miami.

For instance, a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan only requires 3.5% down. If either you or your spouse served in the military, you’re likely to be eligible for a Veterans Affairs (VA) loan, which can be approved for 0% down. The same goes for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans.

And if you’re a qualified buyer, you can get approved for a conventional loan with less than 20% down, but there’s a catch: You’ll be on the hook for private mortgage insurance, or PMI. PMI is paid directly to your lender, not toward your principal. Think of it essentially as insurance you pay to prove to the lender you won’t default on your loan.

Myth No. 2: Paying mortgage insurance is smarter than paying a bigger down payment

Perhaps that mortgage insurance seems like a small price to pay in order not to deplete your bank account and win the house. So what if you make some additional payments for a while?

It might not be a big deal, but you’ll want to calculate what you’ll pay in the long run. Take, for example, conventional loans. If you put less than 20% down, you’ll get stuck with PMI, but only until the principal balance reaches 78% or less of the original purchase price.

FHA loans, on the other hand, require mortgage insurance for the life of the loan. That means you’ll be paying an extra monthly fee for as long as you live in the home (or until you pay off the mortgage).

Before you brush off mortgage insurance, compare your options—and know that paying less upfront could mean paying much more over the life of your loan.

Myth No. 3: Cash is king

If you’re shopping in a competitive market, you’ve likely heard horror stories about first-time buyers getting snubbed over investors or all-cash buyers. If you’re working with a loan and a small amount down, it might seem like your chances of getting picked over the other guys are slim to none.

There is some truth to this belief. Cash offers offer one big benefit to a seller: They’re guaranteed to close on time with no loan approval hiccups.

But on the flip side,“That myth assumes that sellers care most about a fast and certain close, and that’s not always true,” says Casey Fleming, mortgage adviser and author of “The Loan Guide: How to Get the Best Possible Mortgage.”

Often, if you make the bigger offer, or you write a killer personal letter that resonates with the seller, you stand a better chance of getting approved over an all-cash offer.

Fleming’s seen it happen: “I’ve actually beat out all cash offers with 10% down because our offer price was a little higher,” he says. “I’ve also had deals where we were competing against a higher cash offer and the seller took ours because the buyers were a young family wanting to raise their kids in the home—and that meant something to the seller.”

Myth No. 4: Down payment assistance is easy!

We hate to burst your bubble—or discourage you from trying to get down payment assistance if you qualify—but finding, applying, and getting approved for help isn’t always easy.

First, there are no national, or even many state-run, assistance programs.

“Pretty much every program is locally run, sometimes by county or even by city,” Fleming says. You can check the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s website for a smattering of state-run “homeowner assistance” options, but you’ll have to do some digging.

And then there’s the other rub. “You have to be under a certain income to qualify, usually the median income in the county,” Fleming says.

Some programs may make special exceptions—say, for single parents—but in general, income is going to be a big factor.

For example, to be eligible for down payment assistance in Grand County, CO, applicants must work a minimum of 32 hours per week in the area and meet income limits. Nevada’s “Home Is Possible Down Payment Assistance Program” has a cap on income, credit score requirements, and the cost of the home bought. In Tamarac, FL, applicants must meet income requirements, wait until an open enrollment period and then get picked from a lottery system.

Still, if you think you might qualify, call your local housing authority office—it can usually point you in the right direction.

Myth No. 5: You shouldn’t put more than 20% down

Let’s say you’re lucky enough to have saved more than 20% down. Odds are good some well-meaning friend is going to tell you to put only 20% down—no more, no less. After all, now that you’ve successfully avoided PMI, why fork over more cash than you have to?

A couple of reasons, Fleming says: First, a higher down payment could signal to your lender that you’re a trustworthy borrower and get you a lower interest rate on your mortgage. Plus, the more you pay upfront, the less you’re borrowing—which means lower mortgage payments.

But you’ll have to put down at least 5% more to see that difference, according to Fleming.

“Your interest rate drops a little more with 25% down, and even more with 35% down,” he says.

Compare your options to see if it makes more sense to pay the extra down or to keep that money in investments that can work for you.

Myth No. 6: You can take out a loan for a down payment

Truth: There’s nothing wrong with getting help with your down payment, but it has to be a gift. If a lender suspects the money might be a loan, repaying said loan will be factored into your mortgage approval amount and you’ll qualify for less than you might have wanted.

In order to prove it’s a gift, you’ll have to get a letter from the gifters, swearing that they don’t plan on asking for the money back. And don’t try to game the system—lying on a mortgage application is a felony.

Original Source: https://www.realtor.com/advice/finance/down-payment-myths/

Original Author: Angela Colley

Original Date: April 26 2018

 

7 Ways To Prepare For Buying A Home

If you’re looking into buying a home soon we recommend that you prepare a few things before you make the big purchase. Buying a home is a huge decision and the process can be quite complex especially for first-time homeowners.  It’s best if you can be as prepared as possible with these few things first:

  1. Saving for a Down Payment and Closing Costs

Buying a home isn’t cheap and will take a huge chunk of savings for the down payment. Although many would love to own their own home, not many do because they can’t afford such a large down payment. Ideally, you should have been saving for your home for a couple of years. The good news is that there are a number of different loan options you might qualify for without even having to come up with the usual 20% it takes for a conventional loan. It is important to look at your budget and speak to a professional mortgage broker and real estate agent before starting to look for a home.

 

  1. Obtain Your Credit Report

In order to get the best loan out there it helps to have a pretty high credit score. This will get you a lower interest rate on your mortgage. You should have between a 670 FICO and a 730 FICO, which is ideal for getting the best interest rates.

 

  1. Hire a Realtor

The key to finding your home is having a good real estate agent which should be a priority for you when you are first embarking on the journey to owning your first home. Ask family and friends for recommendations or look for local agents in the area you would like to buy a home in.

 

  1. Consult with a Mortgage Broker

Usually, your real estate agent will recommend you a mortgage broker that they work in conjunction with. But if not, you’ll have to find one that will help you with your loan to buy the home. They’ll get you prequalified for a home and then help you through the entire process.

 

  1. Research Local Neighborhoods

Doing a bit of research will help you find your dream home which is why you need to narrow down the different neighborhoods you are interested in and see the price range that the houses are going for.

 

  1. Wants vs Needs

Going out and seeing the actual homes is the fun part but before you go out and do that you’ll need to decide on a list of things you’d like your perfect house to have. This way you’ll be able to search homes that have everything on your list instead of wasting your time looking at every home on the market.

 

  1. Strategize

Sit down with your realtor and figure out a home buying strategy so that the entire process runs seamlessly. Are you looking for a fixer upper or maybe you’ll want to write contingent offers? Your real estate agent can help you figure this all out so that there will not be any surprises.

 

Learn more about C21 Lady of the Lakes Realtors and the numerous services they offer including: buying a new home, selling a home, or renting a home at www.ladyofthelakes.com.  To contact one of our real estate agents call 734-426-6060 today.