Benefits of Buying a Home

Purchasing a home represents a life-changing decision, and as such, should not be taken lightly. Instead, a homebuyer will want to consider the pros and cons of buying a particular residence, along with the benefits of purchasing a house in the first place.

Ultimately, there are many benefits of buying a house, including:

1. Predictable Housing Costs

For many renters, it can be difficult to determine how much housing costs may vary year to year. Plus, renters may be forced to move from one location to the next as soon as a lease expires – something that could prove to be both time-consuming and costly.

Homebuyers can reap the benefits of predictability, and for good reason. Typically, a homebuyer will be able to pay predictable mortgage costs for the life of a home loan. This individual also won’t have to worry about committing substantial time and resources to move regularly. On the other hand, a homebuyer will be able to relocate to a house that he or she owns and enjoy this property for years to come.

2. Home Appreciation

A home offers a terrific asset, one that may increase in value over an extended period of time.

Typically, a well-maintained home will become more valuable over the years, particularly for homeowners who keep their residences looking great. This means if you ever decide to sell your home down the line, you may be able to receive offers that exceed what you initially paid for it.

3. Exceptional Privacy

Finding a place to call your own can be tough. However, homeowners can enjoy unprecedented privacy, as their residences enable them to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the outside world any time they choose.

A home offers a wonderful place where you can relax with family members and friends or on your own. And remember, you can always modify your home to further increase your privacy as well.

4. Unparalleled Security

If you rent a property and break your lease, your landlord can kick you out of your home. Comparatively, if you purchase a house, you own the property. This means you will always have a roof over your head and can rest comfortably in your very own place.

Buying a home can instill a sense of pride in an individual. Furthermore, a homeowner can take solace in the fact that his or her residence is a safe place and enjoy it day after day.

Ready to purchase a house? Not so fast. You’ll first want to contact a real estate agent who can guide you through each stage of the homebuying process. That way, you can receive support from a friendly, expert real estate agent and ensure that you can secure your dream home quickly and effortlessly.

Reach out to a real estate agent today – you’ll be happy you did. With a real estate agent at your side, you can navigate the homebuying process and find your ideal house.

3 Signs That Now Is a Good Time to Apply for a Mortgage

For many individuals, the homebuying journey often begins with getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Because if a buyer has a mortgage, he or she can enter the real estate market with a budget in hand.

Ultimately, there are many signs that now may be the perfect time to apply for a mortgage, and these include:

1. You’re ready to upgrade from an apartment to a home.

If you’re tired of paying monthly rent for an apartment, purchasing a house offers a viable alternative. And if you get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can move one step closer to moving from an apartment to a house.

In most instances, a home offers a significant upgrade over an apartment. Many residences are available in cities and towns nationwide that offer more space than apartments. Plus, as a homeowner, you won’t have to worry about dealing with a landlord.

2. You feel good about your credit score.

If you have a strong credit score, you likely are a great candidate for a mortgage. In fact, you may be better equipped than others to get a favorable interest rate on the mortgage of your choice.

Understanding your credit score is a key part of the homebuying journey. You can request a free copy of your credit report annually from each of the three credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). Then, once you find out your credit score, you can determine whether you are in good shape to pursue a mortgage.

3. A buyer’s market is in place.

In a buyer’s market, there usually is an abundance of top-notch houses and a shortage of buyers. This means a homebuyer may be able to get a wonderful deal on a house, especially if he or she performs a comprehensive house search.

To find out whether a buyer’s market is in place, you should check out the prices of recently sold houses in your area. Also, you may want to find out how long recently sold houses were listed before they sold. By reviewing this housing market data, you can differentiate a buyer’s market from a seller’s market and decide whether now is the right time to apply for a mortgage.

If you’re interested in getting a mortgage and starting a house search, you may want to hire a real estate agent too. Because if you have a real estate agent at your side, you can receive extensive support at each stage of the property buying journey.

A real estate agent will teach you everything you need to know about pursuing a house. He or she will offer insights into the local housing market and ensure that you can conduct a successful house search. And if you ever have concerns or questions along the way, a real estate agent is ready to respond to them.

Want to launch a home search? Get pre-approved for a mortgage, and you can take the first step to acquire your ideal residence.

What Happens At The Closing Table

When you close on a home, you’re sealing the deal with all of the agreements that you have made with the seller and your lender over the course of the home buying process. Since most people don’t pay cash for a home, your loan will also close at the same time as the ownership changes. If you are paying cash, the process may be slightly different. Closings can also be called “settlements” since everything is being signed and sealed at this time, essentially, “settling” the deal.

Have Your Checkbook Ready

The closing is where documents are exchanged, the keys are passed on, and all of the funds required to complete the transaction are paid. Closing costs include the down payment that you’re putting on the home, lawyer’s fees, taxes, commissions, assessments, and more. The seller may be writing a check too, paying off the old loan to their former home. You’ll need to verify the amount that needs to be paid at closing clearly before you reach the closing table. The money must be presented at the time of closing in order for the deed to be handed over. 

Get A File Folder And Stretch Your Writing Hand

The settlement on a home requires quite a bit of paperwork. You’ll be handed a stack of papers to sign. Take the time to listen to your lawyer or realtor to understand exactly what you’re signing. There’s more papers to sign than you really can imagine! Finally, you’ll be handed copies of all the papers that you put your signature on. It’s important to keep everything for your records. These documents will include everything from proof of insurance to the deed on the property to your loan terms and documentation. 

Where Will The Closing Be?

Depending on where you live, your closing will take place in either the lender’s office or the office of a lawyer who is representing the closing. Typically, it will be the loan company’s attorney who holds the event in this case. In some cases, closings can be what is known as “witness only.” This means that a notary or attorney will be present at the chosen closing location to provide documents. The drawback to this type of transaction is that nothing that you’re signing will be explained to you.

What Happens Following Closing?


When all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed, congratulations! You’re the proud owner of a new property. Unless there has been a prior agreement made with the seller, you’ll be able to take possession of the property right away. Occasionally, there will be some post-closing agreements that involve transactions due to a repair that couldn’t be made or reimbursements for real estate property taxes that were paid on the part of the seller. Ideally, this will all be taken care of at the closing table, but at times other arrangements must be made.

3 Tips for a First-Time Condo Buyer

Buying a condo may seem like an uphill climb, particularly for those who are browsing the real estate market for the first time. Lucky for you, we’re here to help you take the guesswork out of finding the right condo.

What does it take to locate a high-quality condo at an affordable price? Here are three tips that every first-time condo buyer needs to know.

1. Explore a Wide Range of Condos

The real estate market is filled with many first-rate condos, and the sheer volume of properties that are available may feel overwhelming at times. Therefore, you should allocate the necessary time and resources to find a condo that suits you perfectly.

Don’t be afraid to check out several condos over the course of a few days or weeks. By doing so, you can better understand what you’d like to find in the ideal condo.

Of course, if you fall in love with a condo, you should be ready to submit an offer. That way, you can avoid the risk of missing out on a great condo that matches or exceeds your expectations.

2. Determine How You’ll Pay for a Condo

Many property buyers get pre-approved for a mortgage, and for good reason. With a mortgage in hand, you’ll know exactly what you can afford as you review the real estate market.

Meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These lenders will be able to provide you with multiple mortgage options and respond to your financing concerns and queries.

Also, keep in mind that the price of a condo may extend beyond your monthly mortgage payments.

In many instances, condo communities have homeowners’ associations (HOAs) in place that will charge monthly fees. Learn about any HOA fees in advance, and you’ll know exactly what you’ll need to pay each month to live in a particular condo community.

3. Work with a Real Estate Agent

No one should be forced to evaluate condos on their own. Fortunately, you can hire a real estate agent to streamline the process of finding a terrific condo.

A real estate agent with condo experience understands the hurdles that may arise during a condo search. As such, he or she will do whatever it takes to ensure you can get the best results possible as you look for the perfect condo.

For instance, a real estate agent will set up condo showings and keep you up to date about open houses. This real estate professional will even negotiate with a condo seller on your behalf, which means you won’t have to worry about breaking your budget to purchase a stellar condo.

Employing a real estate agent enables you to get expert advice at each stage of the condo buying process too. Thus, you can receive instant responses to your condo buying questions at any time.

Simplify the process of buying your first condo – use the aforementioned tips, and you can boost your chances of acquiring a superb condo at a budget-friendly price.

Contingencies To Ask For When Making A Purchase Offer

Contingencies are a great resource when it comes to both buying and selling a home. Both buyers and sellers tend to ask for certain contingencies to be included in the purchase contracts for a home. These contracts have a time limit on them to give both buyers and sellers time to get the things that the contracts state done. This time frame is usually somewhere in the neighborhood of several weeks’ time between the signing of the sales contract and the closing of the deal on the home.

Meeting And Removing Contingencies

During the time that you have between the sales agreement and the closing of the home, you’ll be working to either meet the contingencies or trying to have them removed. This can be done through renegotiating or having work orders completed. In some cases at this point the entire purchase may be called off.  

Standard Or Not?

Some contingencies are very common and it would be a bad choice to reject them. Buyer’s inspection contingencies, for example, are quite common. In this case, closing is subject to the approval of an inspection report. If a buyer really loves a property and is in the “desperate” category, they’ll often end up waiving this and take the home as is. Your realtor and attorney will be able to inform you of what types of contingencies are the norm. 

Some of the things that buyers and sellers see on these contracts are a little out of the ordinary or are less convenient. They become a matter of negotiation. Some sellers may ask that the deal is contingent upon them closing on another home. If you need a home in a hurry, you may want to reject this and request a time limit. As a buyer, you always risk failing to reach a contract with your seller when you ask for these changes. Anything that you’re able to handle in a contract is worth it if you really love the house, but there’s a balance. As a buyer, you can do the same, requesting a contingency that you sell your house before the new home is purchased. 

Financing 

Most standard home purchase contracts include a contingency that the buyer is able to secure financing to buy the home. There’s also a time frame for the intended financing to be secured. The only way to skip these contingencies is to have an all cash offer, which is pretty rare! 

Other contingencies that are almost a must include the inspection contingency and the title contingency. These protect the buyer in order to be sure that the home has a clean title and no major damage. These allow buyers to back out of a buying a home if there is more work to it than they thought. The title contingency also protects renters or squatters from selling a home that they do not own.

What to Do the Day Before You Complete Your Home Purchase

With 24 hours before you finalize your home purchase, you might feel a mix of anxiety and excitement.

What will it be like to finally own a home? How will the home closing process go? And what will I need to do to ensure everything goes seamlessly as you wrap up your home purchase? These are just some of the common questions that homebuyers consider in the hours leading up to a home closing.

It is important to prepare as much as possible before you complete a home purchase. Lucky for you, we’re here to help you do just that.

Let’s take a look at three tips that you can use to get ready to finish a home purchase.

1. Get Your Paperwork in Order

You may need multiple forms of identification and other essential documents when you close on a home. Thus, you should put together a folder of any must-have documents at least a day in advance.

If you find that documents are missing, retrieve them as quickly as possible. Also, try to get multiple copies of important documents if you can.

When it comes to getting ready for a home closing, it usually is better to over-prepare. Therefore, if you plan ahead as much as you can, you’ll have all of the documents you need to complete the home closing process without delay.

2. Finish Any Last-Minute Packing

After you finalize a home purchase, you’ll be ready to move in to your new home. As such, you should ensure that all of your belongings are packed up and ready to go.

If you’re vacating an apartment, ensure that you’ve notified your landlord and provided sufficient notice about your upcoming move. That way, you’ll be able to finish your rental agreement on good terms with your landlord.

Also, if you need extra help for your move, be sure to reach out to a moving company or family members and friends. And if you require a moving truck, don’t forget to rent one in the days leading up to your move.

3. Consult with Your Real Estate Agent

The day before a home closing can be stressful, particularly for first-time homebuyers. If you have any concerns about the home closing process, be sure to consult with your real estate agent.

Your real estate agent likely has been a life-saver throughout the homebuying process thus far and will continue to assist you in any way possible. If you have questions about the home closing cycle, your real estate agent will respond to your queries immediately.

In addition, your real estate agent can teach you the ins and outs about what will happen before, during and after a home closing. He or she will explain what to look for during a final home walk-through, what home closing forms that you’ll need to sign and what to expect after a home purchase.

Streamline the home closing process – use these tips, and you can get take the guesswork out of finalizing a home purchase.

Pros and Cons of Buying a House

To buy or not to buy that is the question. There are reasons for or against homeownership on both sides of the fence. So here are the pros and cons of buying a home. You decide…

Pros:

1. It Costs Less- With record low interest rates, and low home prices a mortgage payment on a house can be less than a rental payments.

2. Equity -If you own a home rather than rent you are building equity. If you pay rent you have nothing to show for it. If you own a home you are building equity. Even if housing prices stay flat part of your mortgage payment goes towards the principal balance and eventually you will own the home.

Cons:

1. You Could Get a Better Money Return-A home may not be the best return on your money. You may find a better return on capital in the stock market. If you are just looking at it in a strictly financial way there are better investment strategies. Historically, the S&P 500 has returned an average of 13.4% — 4.8% higher than the 8.6% average return on housing.

2. It is a Big Commitment-You can’t just sell your house and move quickly. It is a long term decision. If you job requires frequent moves this can be a significant consideration.

Now that you have seen some of the pros and cons the decision is ultimately up to you and what is best in your circumstance. The pros cannot be disputed. Low rates and prices almost make buying a no-brainer if it fits within your financial situation.

Hidden Costs of Owning a Home

You saved all your money for a down payment on a house and calculated the costs of the mortgage but wait just a minute…owning a home also comes with several hidden costs. Those costs can add up. So before you buy your home, here are additional home-related expenses you’ll want to include in your budgeting:

Real Estate Taxes

Often your real estate taxes are included in your monthly mortgage payment but in some instances you may pay them directly. The amount of taxes you pay varies depending on the value of your home’s and the tax rate in your community.

Private Mortgage Insurance

Your monthly mortgage payment may also include PMI (private mortgage insurance). Lenders typically charge a PMI if your loan exceeds 80 percent of the sales price.

Homeowners Insurance

Most banks require that you hold homeowners insurance. Homeowner’s insurance protects from damage to the home from things like fire, theft or weather. Just because you have insurance doesn’t mean there are no costs to you remember to set aside your deductible.

While owning a home does have hidden costs the gain of homeownership is always more than the cost.

 

What You Need to Know: Asbestos

If you live in or are buying an older home you may be concerned about asbestos. Asbestos was banned in 1978 because of the health risks associated with it.

Asbestos fibers are dangerous when inhaled.  The microscopic fibers can become lodged in the respiratory system and lead to asbestosis or scarring of the respiratory tissues.

Asbestos was commonly used as a binder and fire retardant in many building products. It can typically be found in acoustical ceiling tiles; thermal insulation of boilers and pipes; steel fireproofing, cement asbestos siding and roofing; tile and sheet floor coverings.

Inspectors are most concerned with what is known as friable asbestos (easily crumbled or pulverized to powder) and often recommend it be removed. It should always be removed and disposed of by a qualified contractor. Contact the Environmental Protection Agency for an updated list of qualified testing and or mitigation contractors.

 

 

 

What You Need to Know When Looking at an Open House

The housing market has been heating up and lately there seems to be more buyers than homes. So where do you start when house hunting? Many buyers like to start at Open Houses to get a feel for the market. It is always best to try to find a real estate agent to help guide you through the buying process , however, if you want to try to get your feet wet first an Open House might be your best bet.

There are some things you will want to know about how to tackle an Open House:

1. How do you find Open Houses?

Your best bet is to find a real estate professional that represents buyers and have them help you find Open Houses that are right for you. Agents are familiar with the inventory and could save you an unnecessary trip to a house that isn’t right for you. Most open houses take place on Saturday or Sunday, so Thursday is a good day to start your search.

2. Be prepared

Plan your route, make sure you have the right directions and have plenty of gas to get where you are going. Take along a pen and paper to make notes on properties.

3. Get to know the area

The house may be great; but how is the area? Take the time to drive around the surrounding neighborhoods of homes you like and get to know the area. A real estate professional is a great resource for community information.

4. Check for agency

Most agents at an Open House represent the seller. You will want to work with an agent that is able to represent you as the buyer. If you like the agent at the Open House, and have not yet contracted with an agent, make sure to discuss agency and representation.

5. Take notes

Take notes and write down a list of quick pros and cons after you have viewed a home. This will help you remember the houses you have viewed.

Viewing Open Houses can help you get a sense for what’s out there in the marketplace. It will help you determine if the house you want and your finances match up with the houses that are on the market. It is always best to find a real estate professional to help you find the home of your dreams. Buying a home is no small matter.