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3 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Mortgage

If you’re looking to purchase a new home, you’re probably going to need to get a mortgage. Mortgages are home loans that provide you with the upfront capital to purchase your home. In return, you’ll pay off the balance of the loan, along with interest, taxes, and insurance (known as the mortgage premium), over the course of time. 

Just like a credit card, a mortgage’s interest rate varies from borrower to borrower and lender to lender. Lenders assign interest rates based on their lending standards, your credit score, the current market, and a number of other factors. Terms can range from extremely favorable to jaw-droppingly expensive. 

Whether you’re looking to get the most favorable mortgage terms possible, or want to optimize an existing mortgage, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn 3 ways to get the most out of your mortgage.

Pay Attention to APR 

Looking to buy a home? There are a lot of different elements that go into home loans. It’s not just a matter of loan amount and interest rate; a mortgage includes taxes, premiums, closing costs, and more. This total amount sits under the umbrella of a single term: annual percentage rate, or APR. 

APR is the yearly rate of interest and other additional costs associated with your loan payment. For instance, a mortgage with an APR of 10% means you’ll be paying an additional 10% of your loan amount in fees each year. 

Here’s another thing to know about APR: it comes in two different forms. 

Fixed APR 

A fixed APR has a single rate for its lifetime. Your APR will remain the same throughout the entirety of your loan, regardless of changes in the market . 

Variable APR 

A variable APR, also known as an adjustable rate APR, is tied to an index, like the prime rate. If the associated index goes up, as does your APR. If it goes down, your APR does, too. 

Mortgage lenders know that many borrowers aren’t aware of the difference between APR and interest rate. They take advantage of this mistake by advertising mortgage rates with extremely low interest rates. What they don’t advertise is that the other factors that determine APR, like premiums, are extremely high, making the loan unfavorable. 

Don’t get fooled by a low interest rate; always look at APR for the full picture. 

Explore Refinancing Options 

If you’d like better terms on an existing mortgage, it may be time to look into refinancing. Through refinancing, a borrower can take out a new mortgage that both pays off the existing mortgage and offers them different  financial benefits, whether that may be lower interest rates, better payment terms, or even cash-out options. 

There are a few different ways to refinance your home. 

Rate and Term Refinance 

Rate and term refinancing is the most common type of refinancing. A borrower takes out a new loan that has different rates or terms than their original loan. They may be left with a new mortgage payment that has a lower interest rate, better monthly payment, or offers them other financial savings. 

Borrowers may opt for a rate and term refinance for a number of different reasons. The most common is a change in the market. When interest rates go down, those with fixed interest rates may refinance in an attempt to benefit from the more borrower-friendly market. Others may choose to refinance because they’ve made significant changes to their finances or credit score and believe that could earn them more favorable terms. Lastly, some may refinance to free up capital that allows them to meet other financial demands. 

Cash-Out Refinancing 

Has your home increased in value? If so, you may be able to take advantage of cash-out financing. Cash-out refinancing allows borrowers to utilize the new equity in their home to free up cash, in return for a higher loan amount. For instance, a borrower whose home has increased in value by $100k may opt to take the $100k in equity out of their home, and in turn they will owe $100k more on their refinanced loan. 

Cash-In Refinancing 

This type of refinancing allows a borrower to pay a significant portion of their loan down in a lump payment and, in turn, receive more favorable terms. 

Consider a Reverse Mortgage

Are you concerned about having enough funds to make it through retirement? It’s a common problem for many seniors. Come retirement age, they find themselves pinching pennies and worrying about how they might support themselves through the next few decades of their lives. Fortunately, there’s a type of mortgage designed exactly for this concern, known as a reverse mortgage. 

A reverse mortgage, also known as a home equity conversion mortgage, is a type of mortgage that allows you to leverage the equity in your home to free up cash to pay for virtually any expense.  

Unlike cash out refinancing, a reverse mortgage doesn’t require your home to have gone up in value in order to access capital. Istead, it’s a federally insured program that allows you to withdraw equity from your home—typically, in tax-free income. Reverse mortgages are also different from cash-out refinancing in that they don’t require monthly repayment. While payments are allowed, they aren’t required until you sell your home, vacate the property, or pass away. 

In order to qualify for a reverse mortgage, you must meet the following requirements: 

+Age 62 or older

+Own at least 50% equity in your home

+Occupy the home as your primary residence

+Live in a single-family home, two to four-unit property, townhouse, or FHA-approved condo

+Have sufficient income or assets to cover property-related expenses like property taxes and mortgage insurance

Mortgages are a decades-long commitment. It’s important to make sure that the mortgage you choose suits your needs and enables you to live the life that you want to live. Fortunately, there are many options to find the right home loan or modify the terms of your current mortgage for a more favorable arrangement. Follow these tips to get the most out of your mortgage. 

Matt Casadona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. He is currently a contributing editor for 365 Business Tips. Matt is passionate about marketing and business strategy and enjoys the San Diego life, traveling and music.

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Real Estate Myths Debunked

Just because you read something on the internet does not mean it is true.  Real estate myths are all too common, however, they can be “debunked” with a proper explanation. Most people only deal in buying or selling real estate only once or twice in their lives. Because of this, myths about the real estate industry abound, causing confusion among new buyers and misconceptions about real estate

Set your home price higher than what you expect to get: As a seller, giving your property a price tag that is higher than the prevailing market price may reduce your chances of getting a good deal for your property. Homebuyers and agents usually do not consider homes that are priced beyond market value. Also, you might consider pulling down the price if you are not able to attract offers in the first few weeks of listing your property for sale. Also, buyers and Realtors often get suspicious about properties that have been on the market for too long.

Experienced agents are always the best ones: It is true that longevity and experience in the real estate business can be some of the indicators of an agent’s competence, but these can certainly not be the sole indicators. Among the essential and imperative traits of a credible real estate advisor are honesty, initiative, listening skills, availability and, most importantly, negotiation skills. Both buyers and sellers look for these qualities in their advisors, rather than the duration of their career.

If buyers don’t like the exterior, they will never consider going inside: It may be true in some cases, especially if the buyer is in a hurry to spot just the right property. But in most cases, buyers are out to get properties that work best for them on multiple counts. If the rest of the features of the house are exceptionally good, they might like to ignore the flaws in exteriors. For instance, even if the exterior is not very appealing, the property might have its desired amenities and features like a great layout, a specific number of bedrooms and bathrooms, a portico, or a backyard. In such cases, the buyer could consider making the purchase and revamping the exteriors later.

Going ‘for sale by the owner’ is the best option: You as a home buyer can choose the route you want to take for finding the right property for yourself. The choice is between hiring an advisor who understands your requirements and takes you on a tour of several selected homes that are relevant. Alternatively, you could access online real estate portals, go through newspaper listings, or speak to people you know are selling their properties, and then go out on your own. 

Agents say and do anything to close a deal: It is a common belief that real estate advisors say and do anything to complete a sale, only to pocket their commission. Though there might be a few aberrations, real estate advisors with a professional approach are ethical people who dutifully toil to get you the best deal. Every agent has different skills, different experience levels, and different traits.

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5 Tips to Becoming A More InformedProperty Owner

The ownership of private property is one of our most cherished freedoms.
Property divides power between the government and the individual and allows
citizens to be rewarded for their own industry. But to fully enjoy the benefits of
property ownership, knowledge and vigilance is required. Knowledge regarding
the scope and extent of one’s property rights and vigilance in defending and
protecting those rights when they are being threatened.

In instances where either private or public actors are seeking to challenge your
property rights, be prepared to defend yourself by knowing, in advance, what
your rights are or by consulting with an experienced real estate or eminent domain
lawyer.
Following these tips will also help you better protect your interests as a
property owner.

Know Your Rights

When you own real property, you have a bundle of legal rights that go along with that ownership, including:

The right of possession
The right of control
The right of exclusion
The right to derive income
The right of disposition

Property rights can also extend to surface rights (the right to use the surface of
the land), riparian rights (the right to any water on your property), subsurface
rights (the right to use what is below the surface, such as oil, gas, and minerals),
and air rights (the right to the area immediately above your property).
Of course, these rights have exceptions and limitations, and also may come with
legal obligations (e.g., taxes). They may also be lost, voluntarily transferred or

even regained after a period of time, such as when you rent a portion of your
property and the lease terminates.
Property rights may also vary from state to state and from community to
community. They may be subject to local, state and federal laws. Knowing your
rights as a property owner makes you more aware of what you can or cannot do
with your property, and how to protect it from intrusions or encroachments.

Familiarize Yourself with the Core Title Documents

There are many documents that contain vital information about a landowner’s
property and the extent of their ownership rights. Among these documents, some
of the most important and typical ones are the following:

The Deed and other documents of title and exceptions to title, such as an
easement

The Deed of Trust or other documents showing that the property has been
mortgaged or collateralized for payment of a debt

Survey and boundary documents

Zoning maps and master plans

Some of the terminology in these documents may be difficult to understand for a
non-lawyer. But it is still in an owner’s interest to review them in order to develop
a basic understanding of property rights and obligations.
If you don’t have a copy of some of these documents, you may be able to get
them from your title insurance company, county clerk and recorder’s office, or the
local land use and planning department.

Go Through the Deed to the Property

Property deeds are signed legal documents that transfer the ownership of the
real property from one person to another. For the deed to be legally operative, it
must identify both the grantor/seller and the grantee/buyer and contain an
adequate description of the property, among other elements.

There are different types of deeds, each type providing different levels of
protection to the grantee, as well as the obligation of the grantor. Deeds also
typically include deed restrictions, which are important in understanding the
extent of the owner’s use and enjoyment of the property.

Understand the Title Documents

Title documents prove the ownership or control and possession of a person over
specific property or a parcel of land.

Aside from establishing ownership, however, title documents also disclose liens,
defects, deed restrictions, and exceptions to title that affect the property. Reading
and understanding these documents will give you an insight into the limitations
and exceptions that apply to your ownership of the property.

Consult with A Real Property or Eminent Domain Attorney

Anytime you encounter issues concerning your property rights, whether it’s a
defect in the title or a potential taking due to an act of eminent domain, seek the
professional advice of a real estate or eminent domain attorney before taking any
further steps.

Regardless or the type of property you own or property-related issues you’re
faced with, these professionals can help shed light on the situation and steer you
towards a more favorable outcome.

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School District Matters

When it comes to resale value, whether you have children or not, researching school districts is a crucial step when buying a new home. it’s best to invest in a home in a top school district. Living in a good school district doesn’t just bring better teachers, better books, and better test scores — it also can help preserve home values and ensure faster resale rates. These homes often sell faster than homes in lesser school districts. In a case of bad economic times, a home in the lower quality school district declines in home value, while the homes in the top school districts will hold their value.

Do the research. Any information you need for absolutely anything is available online. Do a search to determine the school district or even the specific school, that is the best in the town you will be searching for a new home. There are websites that offer test scores, rankings and demographic information, including student diversity by race and gender, the percentage of students on free lunch programs and the student-teacher ratio, to learn about the schools and school districts you are considering. One of the best ways to dig into specifics on districts you’re considering is by talking to other parents. If you’re moving to an unfamiliar area, Facebook groups and other social media sites can be a way to connect. There’s no better way to get a feel for a certain district than engaging with people who are actually in it. 

A survey on Realtor.com asked random people about their overall buying strategy and how they viewed school performance. The results found that a surprising number of people are willing to give up things to get within the boundaries of a good school district. That, for every five buyers, one buyer would be prepared to give up a garage or bedroom for a good school.

They also found that for every three buyers surveyed, one buyer would even settle for a smaller home to get access to a good school. And over half of those surveyed said they would sacrifice nearby shopping options for a better school.

Beyond sacrificing things in their home purchase, buyers were willing to pay more money for a home in a good school district. One out of five of those surveyed said they would pay between six and ten percent more for a home – and one out of ten people surveyed stated that they’d go even higher, paying up to 20 percent more for a home with access to the right schools.

The Bottom Line: Consult with the best Realtor in the area in which you are looking. The next best resource for neighborhood and nearby school knowledge is your local real estate agent. Even if you don’t have kids, between the Realtor and the research you do, buying a home in a good school district affects the value of the home.

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7 Costly Home Selling Mistakes

There are quite a few mistakes that Real Estate Agents see time and again that can really botch the sale of a home. We rounded up seven here:

1. For Sale By Owner

Trying to sell your home by yourself is sheer madness. Hire a good seasoned Realtor. Homes without representation remain on the market longer and end up selling at a lower price than those with a Realtor leading the way.

2. Pricing

Overpricing or underpricing is a huge and costly error. You may think your home is worth more, but remember to set a realistic price based on comparable homes in the area. This is where a Realtor comes in to help you understand the market you are in. She/he will bring the comps – will know what is currently on the market, know the homes that have sold recently and those currently for sale.

3. Not Making Repairs That Are Necessary

You’ll lose money if you don’t remedy repairs before you list your house. It’s less costly to fix things ahead of time, rather than have buyers see all of your home’s faults at a showing. If you don’t, you’re almost guaranteed that prospective buyers will offer less or ask for a credit back for the work that needs to be done before the deal closes. Think you can get away with hiding major problems with your property? Not a chance. Any big problems will be uncovered during the inspections.

4. Not Cleaning Before a Showing

Don’t worry if you can’t afford to hire a professional to come to clean your home before a showing. There are many things you can do on your own. Create a sense of spaciousness by decluttering. From the kitchen countertops to the overstuffed closets to the trophies, awards, family photos lining the shelves in the family room, it’ll cost nothing to box it all up and store it away. A great idea is to have your Realtor or a good friend come by with a fresh set of eyes. Have them point out areas of your home that need work. Because of your familiarity with the home, you may be immune to its trouble spots.

5. Letting your ego get in the way

Many sellers take negotiating personally and lose out on creating a win-win deal (if not the entire deal). Remember, this is a business transaction — perhaps the biggest one of your life. Nothing kills a real estate deal faster than an over-priced home. Don’t let your ego factor into the listing price. Choose the strongest real estate agent and trust them to guide you to the appropriate square footage cost. 

6. Bad Photographs

Studies reveal that professional real estate photos can help a listing sell faster than comparable homes without professional photography.  Blurry or poor-quality photos can be detrimental when selling your home. Real estate listing photos are particularly important when it comes to using the internet to home shop. According to the National Association of Realtors, 92% of buyers use the internet to shop for a home. Without photos, many homebuyers won’t even bother clicking on an online home listing.

7. Neglecting the Outside of Your Home

After all the work done to improve, clean, and make the inside of your home shine, and then neglect the outside, you run the risk of potential buyers leaving without ever entering your home. The very first impression of your home is the curb appeal or lack thereof. Preparing the exterior of your home is just as important as staging the interior. A fresh coat of paint for the home, shutters, and door goes a long way. There should be no visible weeds, and mowed lawn, pruned trees, and other landscaping. Wash the windows and power-wash your siding and walkways. This should bring buyers through your door, increasing the likelihood of a quick sale.

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Kitchen Renovation Before You Sell Your Home

Thinking about selling your home? Consider investing in upgrading your kitchen. There can be big payoffs. A newly renovated kitchen can help you sell your home for more money and sell your home faster. If it doesn’t help accomplish these two goals, it may not be the best use of your time and money.  In general, you shouldn’t spend more than 5 to 10 percent of the value of your home on the renovations. Spend too much and you won’t get a return on the money you’ve invested.

There are a number of relatively low-cost but high-impact updates you can do to get your kitchen to look its best.

Replace old, outdated kitchen appliances. Go for modern energy-saving appliances, as buyers will appreciate the prospect of having a lower electricity bill. Also, maintain a consistent look among all of the new appliances you purchase, as this will give your kitchen a sense of style and cohesiveness.

Reface kitchen cabinets. This is a much cheaper option than replacing cabinetry, but it does the trick and gives your kitchen a fresh new look.

Replace old cabinet hardware. You would be surprised how far this small measure can go in improving the overall look of your kitchen

Replace an old sink and faucet. Buyers love the sparkling look of a brand new sink.

There are mistakes that shouldn’t be made when renovating your kitchen to sell.

Putting new floors right on top of the old floors. Remove the original floors and replace them.

Most of us know what older cabinets look like. If your kitchen has them, you don’t have to replace them but don’t spend money on beautiful countertops and not update the cabinets. Buyers think they are being “fooled” and can see through it.

Don’t try to save money by choosing lower quality appliances. This may mean that to stay within your budget you can’t get a really cool light fixture that you love, but having good appliances that are energy efficient and durable is more important than having an art piece on the ceiling.

If you are going to spend money redoing your kitchen, make sure you’re choosing projects that will give you the most bang for your buck – without taking shortcuts. A renovated kitchen can totally change the look and feel of your home and may result in a faster and more lucrative sale. Call a knowledgeable Realtor and discuss your goals, and they can help you make the right decision.

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Buying A Home “As-Is”

Many people fall in love with a home that is being sold “as-is” What exactly does “Sold As-Is” mean? Sellers will list their home for sale as-is when they don’t want to do any repairs before closing. It means there are no guarantees from the seller that everything’s in working condition. When you buy an“as-is” home and later find major problems, you’re responsible for the repairs.

“As-is” does not always mean there are issues broken beyond repair. Often there are simply minor and even no issues. It means you are buying the home in whatever condition it is currently in. You can have an inspection done but won’t be able to negotiate to get the repairs done. Having a professional inspect the home before the purchase is important. While you would have to pay for the inspection yourself, it is a small investment to make that can help you avoid thousands of dollars in repairs down the road.

A home that is being sold “as is” is most likely priced lower than its neighbors does not mean you would be getting the home for a bargain. If there are repairs to be made, there will be a cost. Many buyers like these types of homes because there is a good chance there are just relatively minor repairs to be made – such as a new roof – and the home is worth more than they paid for it. Of course if the inspection comes back and there is something huge, like a foundation issue, the deal might be better to avoid.

Getting a loan for a home sold “as-is” is much more difficult and complicated than getting a loan for a home that has gone through the traditional processes. Banks use homes as collateral and any home in poor condition can be grounds for a loan being rejected. Buyers would have to come up with the money on their own. If you are a first time home buyer, purchasing a home “as-is” might not be the best direction.

Hiring the best Realtor to help you navigate the process of buying this type of home will be your best decision. It helps to have someone on your side that can provide good advice and help to know when to back out of a deal if they are sure you will lose a lot of money in the long run. Another bonus of having a Realtor is that they can help with the process of securing a loan as well as figuring out an estimate of the budget you will need for any repairs.

The Bottom Line: There are plenty of homes on the market listed “as-is” that discourage many buyers. Of course, you should be cautious, but “as-is” does not always mean that the house is a money pit. Sometimes the seller can’t vouch for any repair work that has been done – thus an inspection can help and a decision can be made accordingly. Or, the home could have been inherited and the seller is not aware of issues and does not want the responsibility of fixing any problems. Whatever the reason, it’s in the buyer’s best interest to get all the information about the house before an offer is made.

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Land Title Services For Builders

Title First works with national and regional home builders. From land take-downs, subdivision infrastructure and development, lot purchases and all the way through the final home sale. Title First’s builder division handles all the details.

A land title is a formal document that will outline the rights the owner has to the piece of property. While it confirms ownership, it also helps prospective buyers know about any existing liens, usage rights, easements, natural resource rights, and any other rights.

Title insurance shouldn’t be avoided when there will be a brand new home built on an open lot. People often think that because it’s only land, and no home on the property, there isn’t a need for title insurance. This is false. Most land is not completely claim-free, even empty, has a history. Before the first truck rolls in to begin construction, the land may have changed hands many times, thus ownership issues could be pending.

One concern is the possibility of a contractor’s lien (also called mechanic’s lien, or construction lien) which is a claim made by contractors or subcontractors who have performed work on the property, or if materials have been delivered, but haven’t not been paid for yet. In some states, architects, engineers, and surveyors may have filed a lien for services rendered.

Another potential risk is an unknown servitude, or a “burden” on the property. This is known as an “easement” in other states. A common servitude is a utility servitude, where a utility company may access your property to service utility lines. Other such servitudes are right of way or right of passage, pipelines, and mineral servitudes. Most servitudes are permanently attached to the property, so a property owner is subject to them whether they know about it or not.

Solutions

Title First offers a complete range of title solutions and settlement services for builders, including – Title and Closing for initial land purchase, Title and Closing for the construction loan, Customized construction draw disbursement, Construction draw updates, Timely recordings, Customized closing process for the finished home, including warranty presentation

Service

Title First’s Builder Division offers high-touch service designed to meet each builder’s needs, including – Single point-of-contact for all scheduling and processing, Underwriter approved builder rates, Personalized draw services, Pre-signed closing documents

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A Realtor and A Title Agency

Title First Agency works hard to ensure a seamless experience for Realtors and their clients. From contract to closing, Title First handles all the details to help your transactions run smoothly and close on time.

Access to property information:

Title First Agency can help Realtors by getting the names, addresses and phone numbers for properties that their client are interested in buying. Maybe the buyer wants to find a home of a certain age or in a particular area – whatever it may be, a Title First Agent has the ability to access a lot of data and can find the information needed. Buyers often drive around neighborhoods that they want to live in and see the perfect home for their family. A Title First Agent can look up the information of who owns the home and how long they have been there at the exact address. This will enable the Realtor and the buyer to put together a homebuyers letter to owner.

Advertising and marketing:

Title First can assist Realtors in promoting their business with our full line of marketing solutions. For your next listing, make a good first impression on potential clients and prospective buyers with a bound presentation of property information. We have the ability to help you design, print and mail your full-color glossy, postcards. Use our Net-to-Seller tool that will help estimate a client’s profit and present it in a professional format to be shared. Or, give our Title First Agent App a try to provide a higher level of service to your clients. This app will enable you to give quick and easy estimates to any real estate financial question. The app features net sheets, quick estimates, closing,costs, prorated taxes and much more. Finally, email us your MLS link, logo and personal photo and let us create a professional full-color info sheet for your listing.

Legal expertise:

Title First Agency has experienced real estate lawyers who have worked many years through settlements and closings. It’s an invaluable asset to always have legal experts on hand with a good title company. The buyer, seller and you, the Realtor, can have peace of mind that purchases and end-to-end processes of closing on a property are performed seamlessly and on time.

The Bottom Line: At Title First Agency, we measure our success by your success. That’s why we offer a variety of services to help you growyour real estate business. Beyond the above listed services, the issuing of insurance, and performing title searches, we can manage the escrow account for the home sale. We safeguard all money and documents related to the transaction for the parties involved, such as the deed to the home, closing costs, earnest money deposit and the down payment.

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Buying a House? Here’s What You Need to Know

Becoming a homeowner is one of the most thrilling next steps in anyone’s life. You’ve gained the financial independence you need to feel comfortable venturing into big commitments, and there’s truly no better feeling than entering the real estate market to find a home to call your own. 

We won’t be the first to tell you that buying a home isn’t a simple or easy process— it’s one that takes plenty of time, planning, and painstaking research. As one of the most expensive purchases you’ll make in your lifetime, it’s well worth arduous labor. Using this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about buying a house.

Do Your Research 

As you venture into the homebuying process, it’s important to evaluate your own financial situation, examine the current status of the housing market and, of course, take stock of your desires, priorities, and objectives. Doing all of this upfront research will help lay the foundation for which you begin your house hunt and budget planning.

Naturally, part of this process involves checking your credit score, analyzing your spending habits, and studying online to find out the average going price of homes sold in the location you want to buy in. Finding answers to the following questions would also be incredibly insightful for you:

  1. What is compelling you to buy rather than rent?
  2. Do you have any financial roadblocks that could affect your ability to secure a mortgage with favorable terms?
  3. Do you have any large, outstanding debts that could make budgeting more difficult?
  4. What are your must-have amenities in a home? 
  5. What factors do you consider to be deal-breakers in a home?
  6. What factors are you flexible on? What factors are must-haves?
  7. Do you plan on hiring a real estate agent? 

Craft a property wishlist

Crafting a property wishlist is the most enjoyable portion of the home-buying process.  If you have been dreaming of a futuristic minimalist home in the middle of a massive metropolis or a spacious coastal hideaway with floor-to -ceiling windows, now’s the time to make good on those dreams and turn them into a reality. Working out those specifics early on will help you  narrow down your search and optimize your time spent looking.   

The better an idea you have, the simpler it will be for you to pare down your selection and speed up the touring process. Consider splitting your wishlist into two: the must-haves and the nice-to-haves.

Check your credit score

In order to purchase a home, most people will need to secure some degree of financing— so unless you’re paying in cash, you’ll need to do your fair share of research into your available mortgage options. But before you even think about weighing your options, you’ll need to first ensure that you have a good enough credit score to get approved for a favorable loan, especially for one with an attractive interest rate. 

You will need to build  a positive rapport with lenders and that begins with providing a clear history of paying your bills on time and maintaining a budget that exemplifies your ability to live within your means. We highly recommend checking your credit score before you start applying for any mortgage or home loan. Most traditional mortgage lenders require a 620-640 FICO score.

If your score doesn’t fit inside of that range, consider dedicating time to improve your credit score. The following steps can help boost your score:

  1. Setting up automatic payments to ensure you never miss a payment deadline
  2. Minimizing your credit utilization rate by paying off any outstanding debt
  3. Diversifying your credit profile by applying for a variety of credit types, including
    1. Personal loans
    2. Auto loans
    3. Credit cards

Get help from a realtor

If you’re a first-time homebuyer, it won’t be soon before long that you realize the real estate market can be a bit relentless and confusing without the right guidance.. Receiving assistance from a reputable real estate agent can help you get to know the many intricate details of home buying and can even help you narrow down the options that work in your best interest. 

At first, you may think it’s far out of your budget to enlist the assistance of a realtor to help on your behalf, however it is worth noting that the seller, not the buyer, pays for the fee imposed by realtors. One stipulation to note is that this is usually factored into the overall price of the property, which usually amounts to anywhere between 5-6%,

Ultimately, realtors are experts in their field, and if you’re new to the home buying scene, having a person in your corner who understands everything about buying a home is a responsible investment.

Compare your financing options

You will be better prepared to look at your borrowing prospects when your credit score is in tip-top shape. There are several distinct types of specialized home loans that could be better tailored to your particular circumstances. For example, if you’re classified as a low-income borrower, choosing an FHA loan might be the perfect funding option for you. Or if you’re an active duty military  personnel,  a VA loan may offer the best bang for your buck. There are even specialized options for those who work in the agricultural industry.

 Make sure to explore all of the alternative methods that are open to you before you settle on a traditional mortgage.

Key takeaways

Buying a house is nothing short of a big deal, so as you venture into this next chapter, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and unsure. To avoid the brunt of your inevitable stressors, be sure to take the proper precautions to ensure you make the right decision before signing your name away on a mortgage and taking your photo in front of the “SOLD” sign. You’ll gain the peace of mind that you deserve and a house you love with these genius home buying tips.

Did we miss anything? What are your best home buying tips for first-timers?

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