Posted by Steven Sawyer on 7/7/2019

Buying a home is a big financial endeavor that takes planning and saving. Aside from a down payment, hopeful homeowners will also need to save for closing costs and moving expenses.

When it comes to the down payment amount you’ll need to save, many of us have often heard 20%, the magic number. However, there are a number of different types of mortgages that have different down payment requirements.

To complicate matters, mortgages vary somewhat between lenders and can change over time, with the ebb and flow of the housing market.

So, the best way to approach the process of saving for a down payment is to think about your needs in a home, and reach out to lenders to start comparing rates.

However, there are a few constants when it comes to down payments that are worth considering when shopping for a mortgage.

In today’s post, we’re going to talk about some characteristics of down payments, discuss where the 20% number comes from, and give you some tips on finding the best mortgage for you.

Do I need 20% saved for a down payment?

With the median home prices in America sitting around $200,000 and many areas averaging much higher, it may seem like 20% is an unattainable savings goal.

The good news is that many Americans hoping to buy their first home have several options that don’t involve savings $40,000 or more.

So, where does that number come from?

Most mortgage lenders will want to be sure that lending to would be a smart investment. In other words, they want to know that they’ll earn back the amount they lend you plus interest. They determine how risky it is to lend to you by considering a number of factors.

First and foremost is your credit score. Lenders want to see that you’re paying your bills on time and aren’t overwhelmed by debt. Second, they will ask you for verification of your income to determine how much you can realistically hope to pay each month. And, finally, they’ll consider the amount you’re putting down.

If you have less than 20% of the mortgage amount saved for your down payment, you’ll have to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). This is an extra fee must be paid in addition to your interest each month.

First-time buyers rarely put 20% or more down

Thanks to FHA loans guaranteed by the federal government, as well as other loan assistance programs like USDA loans and mortgages insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs, buying a home is usually within reach even if you don’t have several thousands saved.

On average, first-time buyers put closer to 6% down on their mortgage. However, they will have to pay PMI until they’ve paid off 20% of their home.


So, if you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future, saving should be a priority. But, don’t worry too much if you don’t think you can save the full 20% in advance.




Categories: Buying a Home   down payment   saving  


Posted by Steven Sawyer on 4/28/2019

Believe it or not, the process of buying a home can become long and complicated. And if you're not careful, you may encounter many hurdles that prevent you from acquiring your dream residence.

Lucky for you, we're here to teach you about the ins and outs of buying a house and help you simplify the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.

Now, let's take a look at three common misconceptions associated with buying a home.

1. You will be able to acquire a house in a matter of days.

The process of locating your dream home is unlikely to happen overnight. Instead, a homebuyer usually will need to perform extensive housing market research to discover a residence that meets or exceeds his or her expectations.

Typically, a homebuyer will look at several houses before he or she can find the right residence. This homebuyer then will need to submit an offer on a house. And if a home seller accepts the homebuyer's proposal, a home inspection will need to be completed before a home purchase is finalized.

It is important to set realistic expectations for your home search. In most instances, it may take a few weeks or months to find your perfect residence. But with a diligent approach to your home search, you'll be able to discover a house that can serve you well for years to come.

2. You will be able to buy a home for less than a property's initial asking price.

Understanding the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's market is essential for a homebuyer.

In a buyer's market, many high-quality residences are available. This market usually favors homebuyers, and in many instances, enables property buyers to secure great houses at budget-friendly prices.

On the other hand, a seller's market features a shortage of first-rate properties. As a result, this market favors home sellers, and many homebuyers may compete with one another to secure the best houses.

Regardless of whether you're operating in a buyer's or seller's market, it is paramount to avoid the temptation to submit a "lowball" offer on a residence. By doing so, a homebuyer can minimize the risk of missing out on an opportunity to acquire his or her perfect residence.

3. You can find your dream home without help from a real estate agent.

When it comes to buying a house, the early bird catches the worm. Therefore, an informed, persistent homebuyer is more likely than others to locate a terrific home at an affordable price.

Ultimately, working with a real estate agent is ideal. With a real estate agent at your side, you can receive expert assistance throughout the homebuying journey.

A real estate agent will set up home showings, keep you up to date about new houses as they become available and much more. He or she also will respond to your homebuying questions and ensure you can acquire a stellar home in no time at all.

Take the guesswork out of buying a house – collaborate with a real estate agent, and you can make your homeownership dreams come true.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips  


Posted by Steven Sawyer on 4/14/2019

A home showing is a valuable opportunity for a buyer, as it enables him or her to walk through a residence and find out what a house is all about. At the same time, a single home showing may be insufficient.

Ultimately, there are many reasons why you may want to schedule a follow-up house showing, and these include:

1. You can get responses to any unanswered home questions.

A second home showing gives you the chance to gain additional insights into a residence. Thus, if you failed to get answers to certain home questions during an initial showing, you may want to schedule a follow-up showing.

Of course, it often helps to craft a list of questions prior to a showing. This list will help you learn about all aspects of a residence.

2. You can analyze any potential problem areas in-detail.

If you want to get a close look at various home issues, you may want to schedule a second showing. That way, you can assess these problems in-detail and determine your next step in the homebuying journey.

Sometimes, it helps to bring a home improvement professional with you during a house showing. If you have a friend or family member who is a home improvement expert, for example, you may want to bring him or her along for a follow-up property showing. This home improvement expert then can provide comprehensive insights into the condition of the house.

3. You can determine if a house matches your expectations.

If you are still on the fence about a home following an initial showing, it never hurts to take a second look at this house in-person. Because if you attend a second home showing and find a house matches your expectations, you then can submit an offer to purchase this residence. On the other hand, if you discover a home is not a great fit for you during a second property showing, you can continue your search for your dream residence.

As you navigate the homebuying journey, it generally is a good idea to hire a real estate agent, too. This housing market professional will go above and beyond the call of duty to help you find a terrific residence that you can enjoy for years to come.

Typically, a real estate agent will teach you about the homebuying journey and offer tips to help you prepare for property showings. He or she also will attend a home showing with you and respond to your concerns and questions. Plus, if you want to schedule a follow-up home showing or submit an offer to purchase a residence, a real estate agent is happy to help.

When it comes to navigating the homebuying journey, it usually is beneficial to err on the side of caution. Therefore, if you strive to learn as much as possible about a home after an initial showing, you should schedule a follow-up showing. By doing so, you can perform a full home analysis and determine if a house is right for you.




Categories: Buying a Home   buying tips   showing  


Posted by Steven Sawyer on 3/31/2019

Buying your first home is a big endeavor, both financially and personally. Homeownership means taking on new responsibilities and bills, but it also means true financial independence.

If you’re hoping to buy a home in the near future, you might be wondering what you should be doing now to put yourself in the best position when it comes time to buy a home. Well, you’re in luck. Today’s post is a simplified list of all of the things you can be doing today to start making your way toward your ultimate goal of homeownership.

1. Pay off small debts

The first thing you’ll want to do to start saving for a down payment is to make sure you’re not pouring money down the drain to credit card companies for interest rates. If you owe small amounts of money (or less than $1,000), now is the time to aggressively pay down those debts.

The goal here is to get your credit cards to a place where you pay off your balance in full each month, avoiding interest while still earning rewards and building credit.

2. Speaking of credit…

One of the most important aspects of buying a home is your credit score. Take the time to learn about the 5 main things that contribute to your credit score and then work on ways to improve your score in those areas.

3. Don’t open any new accounts if you can help it

Once you start getting closer to applying for a mortgage, you won’t want any new inquiries on your account that are temporarily lowering your score. If you need to open a new account to lift your score, then do so well in advance of applying for a mortgage.

4. Get serious about saving for a down payment

There are a few ways to proactively save for your down payment; none of them include setting money aside when you feel like it. Start by opening a dedicated account and direct-depositing a portion of your pay into that account each week.

If you have an emergency fund in place, you might be in a position to use a CD or certificate of deposit. These give the highest earnings from interest out of any form of savings. The catch? You can’t withdraw from the account until you reach your savings goal without a penalty. If you know you won’t need to dip into these funds before they’ve matured, a CD is an excellent way to save.

5. Find out how much house you can afford

Homes are expensive. but, if it’s your first home, you might need to borrow the maximum amount form the bank to find a house that you’ll love. To find out what is a reasonable amount to spend on a home, you’ll need to consider your monthly mortgage, bills, taxes, insurance, and any other expenses. Leave yourself room for savings, emergencies, and to live a little. You won’t be able to enjoy your home much if you have to spend your days struggling to afford it.

6. Career planning is vital

A good career is a balance between stability and upward mobility. Don’t be afraid to be on the lookout for new positions with higher pay and better opportunities, even if you’re happy with your current job.

If you’ve been in your position for a while, consider asking for a raise. Research salaries for other people in your position and go to your boss equipped with data to show that show you deserve a raise.





Posted by Steven Sawyer on 3/17/2019

A home inspection may make or break the property buying journey. If you attend a home inspection and find no major issues with a residence, you may choose to move forward with your house purchase. However, if a home inspection reveals significant problems, you may decide to rework a home purchase agreement or walk away from this agreement altogether.

If you plan to purchase a home, it generally is a good idea to include a home inspection in your property buying strategy. And if you know how to plan for a house inspection, you can use this evaluation to gain the insights you need to make a data-driven decision about a home purchase.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you prepare for a home inspection.

1. Hire an Expert Home Inspector

With an expert home inspector at your side, you can gain comprehensive insights into a house's overall condition. Then, you can obtain an in-depth inspection report to help you weigh the pros and cons of purchasing a residence.

It is important to conduct an extensive search for the best home inspectors in your area. Search for home inspectors who boast many years of industry experience and come highly recommended from past clients. By doing so, you can find a home inspector who will meet your expectations.

2. Craft a Home Inspection Checklist

It often helps to enter a home inspection with a checklist. If you have a checklist in hand, you should have no trouble conducting a full home evaluation.

You should include all areas of a residence's interior and exterior in your home inspection checklist. Furthermore, you should include a home's heating and cooling system, roof and other key parts of a house in your checklist.

3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

Preparing for a home inspection may prove to be stressful. Thankfully, a real estate agent can help you get ready for a home inspection and ensure you can make the best-possible decision regarding a house purchase.

A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who is happy to help you at all stages of the property buying journey. In the days leading up to a home inspection, a real estate agent can respond to any of your concerns or questions so you can prepare for the evaluation. Next, on the day of the inspection, a real estate agent will attend the evaluation with you. And after the inspection is complete, you and your real estate agent can discuss the assessment results and determine how to proceed.

Ultimately, a real estate agent can help you streamline the home inspection process. He or she may even be able to put you in touch with the top house inspectors in your area, thereby increasing the likelihood that you can identify any major property issues before you finalize a home purchase.

Ready to conduct a home inspection? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can enter a home inspection as an informed property buyer.







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