Buying a Home
How to Shop for a Mortgage Without Hurting Your Credit
Whether you’re buying a new home or refinancing an existing mortgage, shopping around for a good interest rate might save you money. At the very least, rate shopping can help you confirm you’re getting a good deal.
But there’s an art to shopping for a mortgage if you want to protect your credit scores at the same time. You should limit your rate shopping to a short window of time — ideally two weeks or less. Otherwise, your credit scores might suffer because of too many credit inquiries.
Credit Inquiries and Your Credit Scores
Anytime a credit bureau lets someone access your credit information,...
Financing Outside of Single-Family Homes
Most of the time, if you think about taking out a loan to purchase real estate, you’re likely picturing a single-family home. Depending on your needs and the properties available in the area you’re searching, though, you may find that other property types are actually a closer fit for you. Multi-family properties such as duplexes and similar units might end up being a better choice, or you could wind up shopping for a condo. You might even be in the market for a property that contains both commercial and residential aspects. Regardless of what you’re looking for, though, you should have options for financing your purchase.
None of these property types are exactly rare, but they are outnumbered in the market by single-family dwellings. As such, the loans that you’re likely most familiar with are geared more toward those properties than properties for multiple families or dual-zoned use. Because of this, you need to be prepared for...
5 Negotiating Tactics That Can Kill a Sale
Negotiation is a subtle art in real estate, but skilled negotiators can usually find some common ground that satisfies all parties. On the other hand, using the wrong negotiation tactics can sink a deal pretty quickly. Here are some negotiation tactics buyers (and real estate professionals) should avoid:
- Lowball offers: Going far below market value when you make an offer damages your credibility as a buyer and can be insulting to the seller. The seller has a range in mind that they’ll accept, and if you’re not even approaching the low end of that range, they won’t even consider the offer.
- Incremental negotiations: Don’t continue to go back to the seller with small increases in your offer ($2,000 or less). The constant back-and-forth can grow tiresome and lead the seller to consider other opportunities.
- “Take it or leave it”: Try not to draw a line in the sand with your initial offer. The seller can get defensive and consider other...
Can't Afford to Buy a Home? Have You Considered Down Payment Assistance?
What's the number one hurdle for renters making the leap to homeownership? That pesky down payment. Even with an FHA loan that only requires a minimum of 3.5% down, the thought of setting aside several thousand dollars is daunting (and for some, darn near impossible).
A survey from Apartment List highlights the struggle for millennial renters, with 62% citing a lack of down payment savings as their reason for delaying homeownership. 48% have zero down payment savings, and just 11% have saved $10,000 or more.
Why Is There So Much Paperwork Required To Get A Mortgage?
Why is there so much paperwork mandated by the lenders for a mortgage loan application when buying a home today? It seems that they need to know everything about you and requires three separate sources to validate each and every entry on the application form.
Many buyers are being told by friends and family that the process was a hundred times easier when they bought their home ten to twenty years ago.
There are two very good reasons that the loan process is much more onerous on today’s buyer than perhaps any time in history.
1. The government has set new guidelines that now demand that the bank proves beyond any doubt that you are indeed capable of paying the mortgage.
During the run-up to the housing crisis, many people ‘qualified’ for mortgages that they could never pay back. This led to millions of families losing their home. The government wants to make sure this can’t...
3 Reasons Why You Should Move Before School Starts
It’s almost time for school to start up again. Are you in a great school district?
Find out your schools’ scores here: https://bit.ly/2sxHyDX
If you have school-age children, it’s important to be sure that you are in a highly rated school district before school starts. Here’s why:
- If you move before school starts, your child will not have to deal with the stress of moving schools, making new friends, meeting new teachers, etc.
- Moving to a higher-ranking school district opens the door for a better education for your child. You are not only investing in a home, you’re investing in their future.
- Once your child is no longer in school and it is time to sell, you will have an excellent selling point for your home, because everyone wants the best for their kids.
If you are looking to move for access to better schools, here are a couple...
Thinking about buying soon? Make sure your credit is in order
There’s no more important time to work on your credit score than when you’re about to apply for a mortgage. Improving your credit can save you a ton of money—we’re talking about thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Here are the actions you can take that will have a notable impact on your score.
Pay down your credit card balances Credit utilization is one of the biggest factors in determining your credit score. Your credit utilization should at least be less than 30 percent of your limit, and it’s even better if you can get it below 15 percent. This rule applies to both individual cards and your overall credit limit.
It may even be worthwhile to use some of the cash funds you were planning to use for a down payment to pay off credit card balances.
Do no harm While you certainly want to improve your score if possible, at the very least you’ll want to keep it steady. Avoid opening new lines of credit...
Dealing with Financing
As the events of the last few years in the real estate industry show, people forget about the tremendous financial responsibility of purchasing a home at their peril. Here are a few tips for dealing with the dollar signs so that you can take down that “for sale” sign on your new home.
Get pre-approved. Sub-primes may be history, but you’ll probably still be shown homes you can’t actually afford. By getting pre-approved as a buyer, you can save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can't afford. You can also put yourself in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Unlike pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and...
One-Story Versus Two-Story home: Which is Better?
When house hunting, this question is worth considering—and the answer isn't as simple as you might think. The number of floors in a home affects not just the way it looks, but also how easy it is to navigate and maintain, how much you'll pay for heating and cooling, and much more.