Critical Questions You Should Ask Yourself When Buying a House

Buying a home is a big decision that should be given a lot of thought. A lot of people are thinking about buying a house, but even those people who can afford it and have a good credit score are still hesitant to take the leap.

If you wish to buy a home but aren’t quite sure if it’s the right move right now, these questions will help you reach the right decision.

Can you afford it?

Aside from your ability to cover mortgage payments on a monthly basis, there are still a lot of expenses you have to consider when contemplating whether or not you can afford to buy a home. Mortgage payments and other fees will most likely take 20-30% of your monthly income. Are you comfortable spending that much of your income to buy a home?

Is your income dependable?

Buying a property involves a long-term commitment. You may be able to afford a home on your current income, but are you confident that you’ll still be able to afford it in a few years time?

You might want to put off buying a home unless you have a strong sense of certainty about your financial future or are established in your line of work.

Do you plan to stay put?

Most first-time homebuyers do not consider whether or not they’ll be staying permanently when they buy the house. But buying a home wouldn’t make sense unless you are planning to stay there for at least 7 years. Most of the time, it takes this long to recover from all the costs of buying a home.

If you’re not planning on spending the rest of your life in the same house, then you should consider the resale value of the house.

Will you be able to maintain the house?

When you buy a house, the responsibility of maintaining the house comes with it. The hardwood floors you fell in love with are going to need basic maintenance. That floor to ceiling windows need to be washed on a regular basis. The backyard needs to be mowed and the list goes on.

If you are a busy person, it might be extremely difficult to look after those things. So, before you decide if it’s the right house for you, you also have to consider the maintenance.

 

Home Buying Myths You Need to Stop Believing

Most first-time home buyers tend to seek advice from their family and friends about the process. As a result, a number of home buying myths may have found refuge at the back of their minds.

Here are 4 home buying myths you need to stop believing.

Buying is always better than renting

This actually depends on a number of factors including the price of the home and how long you intend to stay in it.

Generally, it takes 5 to 7 years to break even with the cost of buying, owning and selling a house. So, if you are planning to buy a house, make sure that you intend to stay for at least that long.

A 30-year fixed rate mortgage is always the best choice

Fixed rate mortgages come with a low foreclosure rate, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always the best choice. Mind you, the longer you stay in debt, the more interest you pay.

Paying interest over a span of 30 years, this can easily translate to hundreds of thousands of dollars. That said, there is a great chance that you may not be able to prepare for your retirement.

You need perfect credit to buy a home

It is a well-known fact that your credit score can have a great impact on the mortgage loan approval process. But, you don’t need to have a perfect credit in order to secure an approval. Keep in mind, though, that the higher your credit score, the more likely you are to get the best deal.

Choose the lender with the lowest interest rate

For most people, cost is always a factor to consider but in this case, your lender’s reliability is what matters most. In a competitive buying market, this could make a big difference.

Also, you’ll want a lender who can work well with your real estate agent. So, don’t hesitate to ask your agent for referrals.

 

4 Tips for Painless Closing Day

Between the number crunching, mortgage paperwork, home inspection and negotiation, we can safely say that the home buying process is an enormous time-suck. The entire process may take several months. You don’t want to make it any longer by facing some problems during closing.

Preparation is the key to a successful closing. There are certain steps that must be completed to ensure that closing goes off without a hitch.

Here are 4 things you should do for a painless closing day.

Contact all parties involved

Talk to your real estate agent, your loan officer and your attorney a week before closing. Feel free to ask any questions you may have about the process. Make sure that all your concerns are addressed well before the closing date. Knowing what to expect and communicating with all parties involved are the key to a successful closing.

Hire a real estate attorney

Since closing is a legal transaction, you need the services of a lawyer. A few days before closing, you’ll need to meet with your lawyer to review the sales contract before you sign it.

Acquire certified funds

Your real estate agent or closing agent can provide you a copy of the closing statement. Here, you’ll find the amount you owe at the closing table.

Since personal checks will not be accepted at closing, you’ll need to go to the bank to get a cashier’s or certified check a day before closing. Alternatively, you can arrange a wire transfer from your bank account to the closing agent’s account.

Go on the final walk-through inspection

The day before the closing, buyers typically do a final walk through of the property. This is done in order to ensure that the property is in the same condition as when you ratified the contract to purchase it.

House Hunting Tips to Help You Make the Right Choice

House hunting is one of the most exciting parts of buying a house. After all, you are on your way to finding your dream home. But house hunting can be stressful and overwhelming if you don’t stay focused and organized.

In this blog post, we listed down some tips to make the house hunting process easier and more effective. Use these tips to help you find your dream home.

Research before viewing

Most sellers would list their properties online. This would be the best place to start the home buying process. Browse through the online listings and list down some of the properties you’re interested in.

Use online resources to research before viewing. Look for houses that have features you want, fits your budget, and looks nice. Also, plan your route so you can visit a few houses within one drive around.

Identify your housing needs

Before you go out there and start looking at houses, you need to decide what features you want and need in a house. Make a list of these features, and make sure that you bring this list with you.

It can be easy to get swept away with features such as hardwood floors, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances. This is actually fine if it’s within your budget. But if not, then you need to let go. There is no point in buying a gorgeous house with top-of-the-line appliances if you can’t afford it. No house, no matter how perfect it is, is worth being house poor over.

Make sure you’re free the entire afternoon

Some people fail to realize this, but house hunting can be time consuming. So if you are planning to look at a few houses, make sure that you free up at least a few hours of your day. Otherwise, you may find yourself rushing.

A house is one of the biggest purchases you will ever make. If you find a house that you like, it is best to linger for a while and look closely at every aspect of the house. You want to take notes and take photos of each house you look at. This way, it will be easier for you to compare the properties later on and make a more informed decision.

3 Things You Need to Know About Buying a House in Summer

Summer is one of the busiest times of the year for the real estate market. It provides the perfect opportunity for aspiring homeowners to find their dream home. The weather is warm, the kids are on vacation, and they can settle in on their new home before the school year starts.

If you are considering buying a house this summer, then this blog post is for you. Here are 3 things you need to know about buying a house in summer.

The inventory might go down

Most sellers wait until spring to list their homes, so there are lots of inventories in spring and summer. Most buyers don’t want to wait until the end of the summer to buy a house. Many of them are looking to speed up the buying process as they want to move in and settle in their new home before the school year starts.

Some sellers, on the other hand, would take their homes off the market temporarily by the end of the summer. Considering how exhausting and stressful selling a house is, they use this time to go on a vacation with their family. Expect a reduction in inventory at the end of the house. Majority of the house may have already been sold, while others were taken off the market temporarily.

Consider fixer-uppers

Finding a big house in a good location and affordable price is a dream most aspiring homeowners share. In a tight housing market, there is often a shortage of modestly-priced, move-in ready homes. As an alternative, you may want to look at fixer-uppers. With a little elbow grease and some creativity, you can it into your dream home.

But before buying a fixer upper, we highly recommend that you hire a home inspector. A home inspection will give you a good idea about the overall condition of the property. If the house has some minor issues that can easily be fixed, then go ahead with the purchase. If

Cash is king

The competition is high during the summer. This isn’t the time for low ball offers. If you are serious about buying the house, make sure that you make the strongest offer. The best offer doesn’t always equate to the highest offer.

Cash is still king when it comes to home buying. In a hot market where there are multiple offers, sellers often choose an all cash offer over those with FHA or conventional loan financing. With the money on hand, it eliminates the risk of closing delays. Since the buyer doesn’t need to obtain a home loan, they no longer need to wait for 30 to 45 days. Closing can take place in as little as 7 days.

4 Ways to Save on Closing Cost When Buying a Home

Buying a house isn’t cheap. It usually costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition to your down payment, you also need to set aside money for other fees. Closing cost, home inspection, appraisal fee, home insurance, and property tax are just some of them.

Closing cost is equivalent to 3% to 6% of the purchase price. Considering the amount of money that is associated with buying a house, some of you are probably looking for ways save money elsewhere. The good news is that there are some things you can do to reduce closing cost.

Here are 4 ways to save on closing cost when buying a home.

Ask the seller to sweeten the deal

A desperate seller and a struggling market provide the perfect opportunity to negotiate a deal with the seller. Besides negotiating the price, ask the seller if he/she is willing to pay for the closing cost or at least a portion of it. $1,000 to $2,000 may not see much, especially if you’re buying a house that costs a few thousand dollars, but you can use the money on other things.

Negotiate fees with the lender

A lot of money is on the line with closing cost. The good news is that they aren’t set on stone. In fact, fees charged by the lender can be negotiated.

Loan officers or mortgage brokers are usually paid a loan origination fee for bringing business to the company. If you are working with a lender, try to ask him/her if there are any aspects of the fee that can be waived.

Review the loan estimate

Once your mortgage application gets approved, you’ll be provided with a detailed loan estimate. This includes a breakdown of all the fees you’ll be paying. It is important to review the document carefully and keep an eye out for fees with similar names. To prevent unnecessary fees, take time to go through each item with the lender and ask what each fee covers.

Shop around

Most buyers shop around for mortgage rates when buying a house. If you are looking to save money, you may also want to speak with some local lenders about closing cost.

Get quotes from multiple lenders to see if you can find a cheaper option. Compare offers from different lenders to see who offers the lowest rate. If one lender offers a lower rate, ask the other if they can match it. Go ahead. Pit those companies against each other.

Should You Buy a House Before You’re Married?

Before, serious couples would mark their commitment with one another through marriage. Today, however, more and more couples are electing to live in together before marriage. Many of them purchase their home together before walking down the aisle.

Rising rental costs, low mortgage rates, and the ability of deducting mortgage interest from income taxes make the idea of buying a house appealing to most people. According to a survey that was conducted by MONEY, 40% of millennials think it is a good idea to buy a house together before getting married.

Thinking of buying a house with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Here are a few reasons why you shouldn’t.

You could break up

No matter how much you love your partner right now, purchasing a property together is a big risk. People change over time. One of you may fall out of love.

What do you plan to do if things don’t work out? Would you sell the house and split the proceeds of the sale? If you have a solid relationship, then we recommend that you get married first.

It’s a big financial obligation

Buying a house is a huge financial obligation. You’ll need to pay off your loan 15 to 30 years. When you co-sign a home loan together, you’ll both be responsible for paying up the entire amount. You want to make sure that your partner is capable of holding his/her end of the bargain. Otherwise, you’ll be held responsible.

Laywer fees aren’t cheap

Buying a house with your partner is a big financial risk. As such, you need to take steps to protect yourself.

Things could get ugly, so make sure that you put everything in writing. We’re not being pessimistic, but you need to prepare for the worst-case scenario. You both should hire a lawyer and draft a good and airtight co-habitation agreement. This document will protect you from unnecessary cost and litigation in case you co-habitation breaks down.

Lawyer’s fees aren’t cheap. Considering how much money you’ll be putting towards down payment, along with the added fees associated with homeownership, you may find yourself deep in debt.

There could titling issues

Our laws are suited for married couples acquiring assets. Titling will be handled for you if you’re married. For unmarried couples, however, titling can be complicated.

How you title the property dictates what happens to your share later on. If you take title as Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship, each party gets 50% of the property. If you sign as Tenants in Common, you can stipulate that one of you owns a larger share of the property. If the title ends up in one person’s name only, it means only one person is buying the house. The other person has no rights to the property.

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Home

Most buyers would look at dozens of properties during the house hunting process. But with so many properties available on the market, it can be difficult to choose the perfect home for you and your family. You may have prepared a list of features you want in a home, but a lot of buyers end up getting swept away by a stylish property.

In the hopes of making the selection process easier, we listed down some tips that will help you find the house of your dreams. Here are some tips for choosing the perfect home.

Location, location, location

Once you’ve settled on the idea that you want to buy a home, the first thing you need to do is to determine where you want to live. It is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a house.

You may fall in love with the house, but you may end up unhappy and unsatisfied later on if the neighborhood doesn’t fit your lifestyle. Be sure to consider your current needs and lifestyle when scouting out different neighborhoods. You want to make sure that the neighborhood has everything you need to live a comfortable life. That said, we suggest that you do some research about the neighborhood. If you have kids, research the school district and the crime level in the area.

Buy what you can afford

Now that you have decided where you want to live, it’s time to determine your budget. Buying a house is a big financial obligation. It is best to determine how much you can afford before you start looking at houses. The last thing you want is to fall in love with a house, only to find out later on that you can’t afford it.

Once you have figured out your budget, make sure that you stick to it. Never settle for a house that is out of your budget. If you do, you may find yourself in a deep financial crisis. Worse, you may end up losing your home.

Go for the long haul

In order to recoup your investment, you need to stay put for about 5 to 7 years. That said, you need to look for a house where you can see yourself living in for several years. Also, you need to consider the value of your home in the future. You should put some thought into how easy it would be for you to sell the house when it comes the time that you need to move.

Be patient

Buying a house is a big decision. You can’t rush into it. You want to make sure that you’re prepared both financially and emotionally on being a homeowner.

Finding the house of your dreams takes time. Since you’ll be staying in that house for a long period of time, you want to make sure that it suits your needs, lifestyle, and taste. There are a lot of houses out there. Go ahead and look at a few houses before making a decision. Never settle for the first house you see.