Why Employment History Matters When Buying A Home

There are so many factors that go into buying a home. How much money do you have saved up? What is your debt amount? Hw much money do you make each month? Can you afford the neighborhood that you’d like to live in? All of these questions are swirling around the minds of all first-time homebuyers. Did you know that how long you have been at a job is just as important as your income as a factor in getting approved for a mortgage? 

Your ability to repay is why the lender is looking at so many different numbers and factors about your financial situation. Employment overall plays a large stake in the mortgage application. Lenders will look at your past employment history along with the job that your currently have. They are also concerned with your future employment status. Your lender will get an idea of your overall plan for your career and employment through looking at your history. 

As a first-time homebuyer, you most likely don’t have the employment history of more seasoned homebuyers. Generally, most people who are buying a home for the first time are pretty young in their careers. As a rule of thumb, lenders will look at your employment history over the past two years. The lender wants to see your industry focus. Maybe you have stuck with one career direction, or maybe you have hopped around a bunch. As a hint, jumping around from job to job and field to field doesn’t look very good to mortgage lenders. Job floaters tend to appear as if they have no plans for the future. 

Good Career Moves

Staying a software engineer, but moving from the medical industry to the financial industry is an acceptable and smart move in the eyes of lenders. Yet, leaving your stable job in accounting to pursue a career in acting would not be looked upon favorably in the eyes of a mortgage lender.

It doesn’t matter how much money you have saved up, often, without employment history, a lender may not consider you as a dependable buyer. Your lender wants to see that your income is stable for a period of at least three year’s time.

Income Matters 

You won’t have the same work history as a first time homebuyer as you would if you were a bit more seasoned. When lenders look at your income history, not having a lot of work history can be a detriment to many factors. If your income is an annual salary, for example, your lender will divide that salary by 12 in order to get a monthly income. If you haven’t been at the job for a full year or took a pay cut during times of training, those numbers will be affected.

For hourly employees, overtime may be a problem as it may not be factored in with the equation if there isn’t a history of at least two years on the job. 

While it isn’t impossible to buy a home with a short employment history, it’s advisable to wait until you have some significant time under your belt before you dive into the home buying process.

Homebuying Tips: Look Beyond the Price of a Home

Buying a home represents a life-changing decision. As such, you’ll want to look beyond the price of a residence as you search for your dream house.

Ultimately, there are many factors beyond price that you should consider as you pursue your ideal residence, including:

1. A Home’s Location

For most homebuyers, a house’s location is the number one factor when they explore the real estate market, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

Finding a home in a location that is convenient for you is priceless. And if you know how to conduct a comprehensive home search, you can quickly discover a high-quality home in a wonderful location.

As you prepare to kick off your home search, consider whether you’d like to live in a city or town. This will enable you to narrow your home search.

You also may want to consider homes that are located near work or school. By doing so, you can ensure that you won’t have to travel too far to get to destinations that you frequently visit.

2. A Home’s Condition

A home may look like a great investment at first, but its condition may have deteriorated over time. Thus, you’ll want to take a close look at a house’s condition before you finalize a home purchase.

Typically, a homebuyer will complete a property inspection after a home seller accepts an offer on a residence. This inspection will enable a homebuyer to perform an in-depth assessment of a residence and learn about its strengths and weaknesses. Then, a homebuyer can determine whether to move forward with a home acquisition.

If a property inspector discovers myriad issues that impact a home’s condition, a homebuyer may want to reconsider his or her offer. At this point, a homebuyer can still walk away from a home purchase. Or, a homebuyer can ask the home seller to complete various home improvements as well.

On the other hand, a homebuyer who falls in love with a house may choose to proceed with a home purchase, regardless of the residence’s condition. If you choose this option, however, it is important to consider the potential long-term ramifications of your decision.

3. Your Future

It is paramount for a homebuyer to find a house that he or she can enjoy for years to come. Therefore, a homebuyer should consider his or her future before finalizing a home purchase.

For example, if you plan to settle down and start a family, you may want to evaluate houses that are close to schools. Conversely, if you eventually want to work in the big city, you may want to consider homes that will make it easy to commute into the city day after day.

Don’t forget to hire a real estate agent to help you during the homebuying journey too. With a real estate agent at your side, you should have no trouble examining a broad range of top-notch houses that won’t force you to break your budget.

Should You Use Your 401k For A Downpayment On A House?

Your 401K is a great resource of investing for retirement. Many people use their 401k’s as a part of their overall investment strategies, pulling money out of it when it’s needed. When you’re ready to buy a house, you may think that pulling money out of your 401k for a down payment is a good idea. But think again. 

Although you should always speak with a financial professional about your money matters, the bottom line is that is probably not the best idea to use your 401k to supply money for a downpayment on a home. 

First, your 401k funds are pre-tax dollars. That means that you haven’t paid any taxes on these funds. Your employer will often match the amount of money that you put into your 401k, as an incentive to help you save money for your future. You need to keep your 401k for a certain amount of time before any funds in the 401k become available to you without having to pay any kind of penalty. If you decide to take on the penalty, you can often face a cut to your employer’s match programs as well. This is why you must make this decision wisely. 

The Penalties

Anyone under the age of 59.5 pays a penalty of 10 percent to take the money out of the fund. In addition, you’ll now need to pay taxes on this money, because it becomes a part of your adjusted gross income. 

Alternative Actions

If you are looking to invest in a property, there may be other options for you rather than pulling money out of your 401k. While some plans allow you to borrow money from it. However, if your only option to get money to invest in a property is to pull money from your retirement account, it may not be the best time to invest in property for you. 

Keep It Separate

If you’re younger (say in your 30’s or 40’s) your best option is to have a completely separate account that is used to save for a downpayment and other expenses that you’ll incur when you buy a home. In this sense you aren’t spreading yourself too thin as far as investments go. You should compartmentalize your money. Buying a home is a large investment in itself. Home equity can also be a good source of a nest egg in later years when you need it. However, even if a property will be an income property, it’s never smart to take from one investment account to provide for another unless you’re shifting your focus. You don’t want to reach retirement, only to see that your funds have been depleted and you can’t retire as expected.

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.