Our Real Estate Blog
Finding and purchasing a home sometimes can be difficult, particularly for an individual who encounters assorted challenges throughout the property buying journey. Lucky for you, there are several shortcuts that a homebuyer can use to streamline the property buying process. These shortcuts include:
1. Narrow Your Home Search
If you know you want to buy a home, you should consider where you want to reside and what features you want in your ideal residence. That way, you can avoid the danger of committing time and resources to analyze houses that fail to meet your expectations.
Oftentimes, it helps to craft a list of preferred cities and towns. This list will help you hone your home search to specific areas and ensure you can accelerate the homebuying journey.
Think about what you want to find in your dream house and create a list of home must-haves and wants too. With this list in hand, you can further accelerate your search for your ideal home.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Some homebuyers apply for a mortgage after they find their dream residence, but doing so may prove to be problematic. Because if a buyer submits an offer to purchase a home without a mortgage at his or her disposal, this individual likely will need to move quickly to get home financing. Or, if a buyer provides a homebuying proposal but cannot secure a mortgage, this individual risks missing out on the opportunity to acquire his or her dream house.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you can meet with banks and credit unions and explore a wide range of mortgage options. Then, once you select a mortgage, you can kick off your home search and know exactly how much you can spend to purchase your ideal residence.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a homebuying expert who will guide you along the property buying journey. He or she can help you identify potential homebuying hurdles and overcome these issues before they escalate. Best of all, a real estate agent will do everything possible to ensure you can acquire a great home at a budget-friendly price.
In addition, a real estate agent will work with you throughout the property buying journey. He or she first will learn about your homebuying goals and help you craft an effective property buying strategy. Next, a real estate agent will help you put your homebuying plan into action and ensure you can discover a house that matches your expectations. And once you discover your ideal home, a real estate agent will help you put together a competitive offer to purchase this residence.
As you prepare to kick off the homebuying journey, you should try to plan ahead as much as possible. By taking advantage of the aforementioned shortcuts, you can prepare for the homebuying journey and speed up the process of finding and purchasing your dream residence.
When you purchase real estate, you must put down a good faith deposit. Several factors determine how much you will need to put down, but it could be as little as $100. In order to have a valid contract, the contract must have “consideration,” or something of value exchanged for the contract. The good faith money also shows a seller that you are serious about purchasing the property.
Who Holds the Good Faith Money?
You usually give the good faith money to your real estate agent. The agent puts the money into an escrow account. If you are buying a newly built home, you might give the good faith money to the builder. However, if you are working with a real estate agent to buy a newly built home, in most cases, it’s better to give the deposit to the real estate agent.
Is Good Faith Money Refundable?
In most cases, your good faith money is not refundable. This ensures that you are serious about buying the property and not just “tire kicking.” However, a real estate purchase contract has several exceptions. In addition to the exceptions that might be in the contract, you can add your own as long as the seller agrees. The most common exceptions are your ability to get financing and that the seller did not misrepresent the condition of the home. As long as you can meet an exception, your money is refundable.
How Much Is a Good Faith Deposit?
Most sellers like to see at least $1,000 down. However, a seller might require a percentage of the selling price. Whichever amount the seller wants, it must be stated in the purchase agreement. If you want to change the amount of the good faith money, the seller has to agree to it or you won’t have a contract.
What Happens to My Good Faith Deposit?
Once you close, the real estate agent forwards the money to the seller as part of your down payment. The amount is shown on your closing documents and is subtracted from the final agreed-upon selling price of the home. For example, you buy a house that is $250,000 and you put down $5,000 as good faith money. Your lender requires 20 percent down, so you give the lender $50,000 at closing. Your documents will show that you paid a total of $55,000, so your loan will be $195,000 plus closing costs.
The closing costs could be subtracted from your down payment, the good faith deposit or added back into the loan, depending on what you and your lender agree to. Regardless, the amount of your down payment is $55,000, even if some of it is used for closing costs.
If you have any questions about how your real estate agent handles your good faith deposit, be sure to ask. You should always ask about exceptions to ensure you can get your money back if the loan does not go through or if the house was misrepresented by the seller and/or their agent.
Credit plays an important role in your ability to secure a home loan and to qualify for a low-interest mortgage. However, many first-time homebuyers aren’t aren’t sure about the exact relationship between credit scores and mortgages.
This doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering the many factors that go into your credit score and into your lender’s decision to approve you for a mortgage. So, in this article, we’re going to cover three commonly asked questions that homebuyers have about credit scores and how they’re used by mortgage lenders to determine your eligibility for a home loan.
Will my credit score go down if I check my credit report?
If you’re thinking of buying a home in the near future, one of the first things you’ll want to do is check your credit. However, if you’ve heard that some credit inquiries briefly lower your credit score you might be hesitant to find out.
This common misconception stems from the fact that taking out new lines of credit results in a temporary decrease in your credit score. The difference between checking your credit and a credit inquiry is simple: a credit check you can access for free online through a service like Credit Karma, whereas a credit inquiry is performed by a lender or creditor with whom you’ve applied for credit.
In short, checking your credit score online won’t affect your score. In fact, the major credit bureaus are required to allow you to check your credit for free once per year.
Can I get a loan with low credit?
Increasing your credit score is a lengthy process that requires careful financial management. Many people who have had difficulties paying off bills, loans, and credit cards will have to rebuild their credit. Or, if you’re young and don’t have a diverse history of credit payments, you’ll be starting from scratch to build your score.
If you’re hoping to get an FHA (first-time homeowner loan), the lowest your score can be is 580. However, that doesn’t mean you should always take a loan with a low credit score. When you don’t have a good credit history, lenders will seek other ways to guarantees their investment. This comes in the form of higher interest rates or PMI (private mortgage insurance) which you’ll have to pay on top of your monthly home insurance and mortgage payments.
Will applying for a home loan affect my credit?
Simply stated, yes. However, applying for a loan or get preapproved is considered a credit inquiry and won’t leave any lasting negative on your credit score. Making several inquiries within a short period of time, however, can significantly lower your score, so choose your inquiries wisely. And, be sure to monitor your credit score on a monthly basis so you have an idea of where you stand along the road to applying for a home loan.
Home appraisals are an important part of the buying and selling process. Lenders use appraisals to make sure that the home is worth what the borrower is paying. A home’s appraisal value is based on a number of factors, all of which we’ll discuss in this post.
Whether you’re a buyer, seller, or are just learning about the process of buying a home so you’ll be better equipped in the future, this article is for you.
How is a home appraisal different from an inspection?
While home appraisals and inspections are performed by licensed or certified professionals, they have to different functions. An inspection ensures the safety of a home, as well as whether or not it will need repairs in the immediate or near future.
Appraisals, on the other hand, aim to value a home based on its property value, the size of the property, and the location of the property. The condition of the home is a factor in valuing a home, which is why some people confused appraisals with inspections.
Who pays for appraisals?
Like most closing costs, a home appraisal is a burden that falls on the buyer. Typically, the lender you choose will work with will actually order the appraisal. The cost, which usually amounts to a few hundred dollars, can be added to your closing fees. You can find the cost for an appraisal listed on the Closing Disclosure document provided by your chosen lender.
Which factors determine the home’s value?
To appraise the house itself, appraisers will look at the condition of the home. They’ll also weigh the features of the home in their valuation--things like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, for example.
However, the two key characteristics of a home that contribute to its value are its age and size.
Which external factors contribute to the home’s value?
As you might suspect, the location of your home matters greatly when it comes to appraisals. Homes are appraised based off of average prices for their neighborhood and region.
Other location factors include how accessible the home is, if it’s located on a waterfront, and whether it has desirable views.
When does a home get appraised?
While your experience may vary based on your specific circumstances, most appraisals occur after a buyer has signed a purchase contract. One this is done, the lender will take the steps necessary to order and process the appraisal.
How long is the home appraisal process?
Once the buyer has signed a purchase contract, the appraisal is usually completed and processed within 7 days. The appraisal report will be sent to the lender. This report contains the appraised value of the home. Buyers are entitled to a copy of this report, and should keep one for their own records.
Believe it or not, you don't need to be a homebuying expert to score a great deal on your dream residence. In fact, there are many things you can do to find and acquire a house that won't force you to break your budget, and these include:
1. Shop Around
When it comes to conducting a home search, it generally is a good idea to be thorough. If you search for residences in a variety of cities and towns, you can boost the likelihood of finding a home that you can afford.
Also, it is important to remember that scoring a great deal on a residence usually requires hard work and patience. If you perform lots of housing market research, you can gain deep insights into the real estate sector. You then may be able to use housing market insights to find ways to speed up the process of locating and purchasing your ideal home.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
If you have a mortgage in hand when you start your home search, you will be better equipped than other buyers to pounce at the opportunity to acquire a budget-friendly home.
Typically, it won't take long to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you meet with myriad banks and credit unions, you can explore all of your home financing options. Then, you can select a mortgage and perform a home search with a budget at your disposal.
If you have questions about a mortgage, there is no need to worry, either. Banks and credit unions employ courteous, knowledgeable mortgage specialists who are happy to respond to your home financing queries. Therefore, these specialists can help you make an informed mortgage selection.
3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a homebuying professional who will help you find a terrific house at an affordable price – without exception. He or she knows what it takes to perform an in-depth home search, and as such, will take the guesswork out of acquiring your dream residence.
In addition, a real estate agent offers comprehensive homebuying insights you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. If you are unsure about where to search for a home, for example, a real estate agent can help you hone your homebuying criteria. Or, if you are uncertain about how much to offer to acquire your dream residence, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive homebuying proposal.
A real estate agent is available to assist you in any way possible as you navigate the homebuying journey, too. That way, you can get the help you need to seamlessly go from homebuyer to homeowner.
For those who want to purchase a first-rate house at an economical price, it helps to prepare for the homebuying journey. By using the aforementioned tips, you can move quickly to find a home that falls in line with your finances. As a result, you could accelerate your home search and acquire your ideal residence in no time at all.