Strategies For Buying And Selling A Home At The Same Time

buying-a-fixer-upper-homeIf you’re already a homeowner and you’re getting ready to buy a new home, you know it’s tricky to buy and sell a home at the same time. There are lots of questions about how to handle this scenario. What if your old home doesn’t sell quickly?

Will you have to make two mortgage payments? What if you sell and the new owners want to move in before you close on your new home?

Depending on your situation, here are some strategies available to you.

Get A Bridge Loan

If you find yourself facing more than one mortgage payment – one on your old house and one on your new house – consider taking out a bridge loan to pay the monthly mortgage on the old house. Bridge loans are a solution to a temporary problem. When your old house sells, you pay off your bridge loan and you’re left with just the one mortgage payment.

Move Into A Short-Term Rental

If your old house has sold and the owners want to close before you can close on your new house, you could move into a short-term rental. This could be an apartment with a short-term lease. Or it could be a long-term hotel accommodation. You’d likely have to move your furnishings into storage; again, only for the short-term until your new house is available.

Ask If You Can Lease Back Your Home

You could ask the buyers of your current home to allow you to rent your home until you’re able to move into your new house. This is called a lease-back. It’s not ideal to pay rent on your own house, but it saves you from having to move twice.

This strategy usually only works if you already have a new house deal, so the owners of your old house have a known estimated time-frame when you’ll be moving out.

It’s definitely tricky trying to figure out the arrangements when you’re buying and selling a house at the same time. But one of the strategies mentioned above will likely work out for you.

Your trusted home mortgage professional is a valuable resource and can help you secure the best financing options while you are transitioning into your new home.

4 House Flaws You Can Safely Disregard

buying-a-new-construction-homeWhen you walk through a house with your real estate agent, you’re seeing if you and your family would be happy living there. But you’re also probably looking for signs of trouble that might spell big expenses later on. Be careful, though. It’s important to see the “bones” of the house rather than focusing on minor issues.

Here are four flaws you can safely disregard.

1. Stained Carpet

Stained carpet is more an indication of the owner’s poor cleaning habits than of any real problems with the house. It’s so easy to replace carpeting that it’s not worth even paying attention to when you’re viewing a house for sale. In fact, once you pull up that carpeting, you could discover beautiful hardwood flooring!

2. Funky Paint Colors

They say that there’s no accounting for bad taste. If you’ve seen enough houses with your real estate agent, you’re bound to encounter some less than traditional paint colors. However, paint can easily be painted over. You can safely ignore the flamingo pink bathroom walls or the putrid brown bedroom color.

3. Lack Of Curb Appeal

Every homebuyer wants to pull up to a house for sale and think, “How charming!” Unfortunately, a lack of curb appeal gives a sour first impression. However, don’t let that deter you from see the house for its true value. The inside might be magnificent. You can always add your own curb appeal later with pretty landscaping, shutters or window boxes.

4. Outdated Kitchen

If the kitchen is a little dated but the rest of the house meets your expectations, it’s okay to overlook this “flaw.” It’s fairly easy to update a kitchen with new or refinished cabinets, new appliances and a fresh coat of paint. Yes, it will cost a bit, but the outdated kitchen might be reflected in a lower selling price. Ask your real estate agent for their recommendation in this regard.

Sometimes it’s challenging to find the right house in the right location. When you do find one that checks all the boxes, don’t let any of these minor “flaws” deter you from making an offer. The little things won’t keep you from enjoying your new home, and you’ll be glad you focused on the things that really matter!

Your trusted home mortgage professional is available to help you secure your financing for your new home. Be sure to make an appointment to get your pre-approval so you can be ready to make an offer as soon as you find the home of your dreams.

Ready to Buy Your First Home? Don’t Forget to Check Your Credit Score

great home buying tools mobile appsWhether you’re just out of college, recently married or simply haven’t jumped into the market yet, buying your first home is an exciting prospect. It can also be an expensive one, which is why most people will take out a mortgage to help finance the cost.

If you are planning on engaging with a mortgage lender, you’ll need to have your finances in order. In today’s post, we’ll share a few key reasons why you’ll want to check your credit score well in advance of buying your first home.

Your Credit Score Is A Signal For Lenders

As you know, mortgage lenders have a responsibility to lend to those individuals and families who are at a low risk of default. So when a mortgage lender starts to dig into your financial background, they are looking at your credit history and credit score to help them assess that risk.

Note that having a low score doesn’t necessarily mean you have bad credit. If you’re still in your 20s and have only had a credit card, your score might be low even though you are fully capable of managing a mortgage.

Your Score Impacts Your Mortgage Interest Rate

As mentioned above, your credit score helps to signify your risk. If your credit score is in a lower range, perhaps a 640 or 660, you’re presenting a greater risk than someone with a score of 760 or 800. Because of this, the interest rate that you pay on your mortgage will in part be determined by your credit score. Those individuals who present a higher risk pay a higher rate to compensate. And vice versa, if your credit is spotless you can expect to pay a lower interest rate.

You’ll Need Time To Challenge Any Issues

Finally, you’ll need to give yourself some lead time to challenge any irregularities with your credit report. The credit reporting agencies aren’t perfect and they do make mistakes. There may be some old, retired credit card or other debt sitting on your report which is holding the score down. Even worse, there may be some incorrect delinquency or other error which ends up as a big red flag for potential mortgage lenders.

As you can see, it’s worth spending the time to check your credit score. You get to check it for free once per year, so take advantage of the opportunity. And when you’re ready to discuss buying your first home, contact your trusted mortgage professional. We’ll share how to navigate the credit score and mortgage process so you can land the home of your dreams.

4 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal

making-home-affordable-refinanceYou have about five minutes to impress (or not) prospective buyers at a showing. For curb appeal, you get about five seconds for buyers to decide whether they want to go inside.

Here are four tips to help you get the wow factor from your home’s street-facing views.

Update Entryway Hardware

A wall-mounted mailbox, chic house numbers and a pretty porch light add interest to your entryway. However, dated and dinged hardware impress no one. In a perfect world, all your hardware matches in style, color and finish. Of course, it should also tie-in to the style of your house. Brushed nickel house numbers look fabulous on a modern home but might clash with your Victorian-style house.

Splash On The Color

A gallon of high-quality paint costs about $25 and should cover the front door, trim and shutters. This simple upgrade gives the whole property a fresh look. Of course, if the street-facing side of your home has peeling or faded paint, you’ll have to paint that too. If you end up painting the facade, it’s best to do the entire house at the same time to maintain color conformity.

Plant Power

A walkway trimmed in plants and flowers creates an inviting look. You can buy pre-planted greenery at your local home and garden center for an easy makeover of your walkway. For a less labor-intensive effect, install window boxes to add color and perk up your home’s exterior. Be careful to maintain them, since dying plants don’t increase curb appeal.

Create An Outdoor Living Space

If you have plenty of space on your patio or porch, use it to create a comfortable seating area. An outdoor rug, loveseat, chair and small table give buyers the idea that they could relax and entertain in this space. Colorful cushions in outdoor fabrics provide durable color and long-lasting wear the new owners can also enjoy. Make sure existing furniture is clean and maintained since moldy cushions and broken lawn chairs are not the upscale look you’re going for.

The main point of curb appeal is to attract prospective buyers who can’t resist the charm of your home. This makes it far more likely they’ll like what the see on the inside.

Whether you are interested in buying a new home or refinancing your current property, your trusted home mortgage professional is available to help.

3 Tips To Save For A Down Payment

getting-a-cosigner-for-your-mortgageSaving up for a down payment can feel overwhelming. Most people have never saved up the kind of money it takes for a down payment. It can be done, though. The goal is to put 20% down on a house. This is what it takes if you don’t want to have to pay private mortgage insurance every month.

However, you don’t have to absolutely put 20% down. Some mortgage programs, such as VA and FHA loans, let borrowers put down as little as zero down or about 3.5% down. There are extra requirements with any kind of mortgage you get, so be sure to discuss those with your lender.

Whichever kind of mortgage you decide to try for, here are some tips for saving for a down payment.

Get A Head Start

The sooner you start saving for a down payment, the easier it will be. Even if you currently can’t see having any extra money for savings, tuck as much as you can into a savings account. Every single dollar will help later on.

Invest Safely To Earn Interest On Your Down Payment

If your home purchase goal is two or more years away, consider investing your savings so it earns interest. Since you’re counting on that money to use for a life goal, invest in things with low or no risk. Also, invest in things that allow you to cash out with no penalties when you think you’ll be ready to buy.

Ideas include a bank CD, money market, tax lien certificate, or municipal bonds. You won’t earn massive amounts of interest with any of these vehicles, but in return you’ll have flexibility and security.

Request An Inheritance Advance

If you know that your parents have you in their will, you can request to get part of your inheritance early. Your parents may be able to give you up to a certain amount for your mortgage down payment with no penalty.

Be sure to check with your potential lender. Some mortgage programs have caps on how much of the down payment can be sourced from a third party.

Once you decide what kind of home you might like, and which mortgage programs you might qualify for, you can decide how much you’ll need to save for a down payment. Use these three tips to save up. Before long, you’ll be ready to start shopping for the home of your dreams.

An essential partner is your trusted home mortgage professional. You can count on them to guide you every step of the way through your home loan process.

What Happens After Your Offer Is Accepted?

documents-needed-to-apply-for-a-mortgageWhen you make an offer on a home, you wait anxiously to see if it will be accepted. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to hear back within hours. Other times you could wait days or even weeks.

But once you get that good news that your offer has been accepted, what happens next? It’s a common question, and one that your real estate agent can help you with. In general though, here’s what you can expect.

There’s A Home Inspection

A home inspection needs to be conducted in order to assess the condition of the home for financing needs. This is a stage where some issues might come up that require negotiation. If serious problems are reported on the home inspection report, you could try to negotiate a lower price with the seller, but they don’t have to agree to that.

There’s A Lender Home Appraisal

A lender appraisal will also have to be done. This is when the lender asks a third party to come out and assess the financial value of the home. If the appraisal comes out well, you could get approved for the selling price. But if the appraisal comes out lower than the selling price, you could have a hard time getting a mortgage unless the seller is willing to come down in price.

You’ll Go To The Closing

Now’s the time to get your financing finished up. If you’ve been pre-approved, that’s great. But your pre-approval may only be conditional. That is, it may be contingent on your financial situation to be completely in order. The full approval process may unveil something that needs to be corrected before you actually get final documents for the home purchase.

Once the documents are issued, you will go to the loan closing to sign the documents. This usually happens with a third party closing agent or escrow company that ensure everything is in order.

The final word is that a lot can happen between having your offer accepted and actually getting the keys to your new home. That’s why it’s absolutely essential to work with a trusted home mortgage professional and a licensed real estate agent when buying a new home. They’ll be able to navigate you through any of the rough spots that happen along the way. And while there are things that can go wrong, chances are great that eventually you’ll be able to happily call yourself a homeowner!

Top 5 Ways To Pick A High Quality Real Estate Agent

mortgage-preapproval2Your real estate agent can be the difference between a successful home buy and a bad purchase. Take a look at the characteristics of a good real estate agent and how you should vet your next partner in real estate.

Patience

Does the real estate agent immediately tell you to give up your rights to audit a home for a quicker sale? You may want to move on. The best real estate agents realize how big of a commitment a home is, and they are willing to walk you through the process at whatever pace you are comfortable with.

Localized Knowledge

There are major differences in the buying process between cities. You need a real estate agent with a knowledge of local ordinances, building and zoning laws and culture. This will save you a great deal of money, believe it or not.

Negotiation Skills

You will go through a number of negotiations with opposing parties during the course of buying or selling a house. You can take them on yourself, but they can be difficult considering that you will likely be facing a real estate agent on the other end. It is usually advisable to have a professional with similar experience on your side. Pick a real estate agent who is not afraid to fight for you at the closing table.

Connections

The best deals in any real estate market may not be public knowledge. You may not even be able to get into certain neighborhoods or business districts unless you know somebody. Your agent should be able to help you in this regard. Pick an agent who is established in your marketplace and well connected.

Other Clients’ Experiences

No real estate agent worth his or her salt will have a problem showing you testimonials and reviews of clients that they have served in the past. You may ask to speak to other clients of that real estate agent if you would like to know their experience buying or selling their home.

Sometimes the best indicator of success is the stories of other people who have been in your shoes. Also, look at the ratings, reviews and testimonials of your agent on their website or other review sites. These are great resources to learn about other clients’ experience.

Another key partner in your home buying experience is your trusted home mortgage professional. Be sure to make contact if you are ready to get pre-approved for a new home loan or find our about options to refinance your current property.

What’s Ahead For Mortgage Rates This Week – January 14th, 2019

board-of-the-federal-reserveLast week’s economic reports included remarks by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, readings on inflation and core inflation. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and first-tome jobless claims were also released. If the government shutdown continues, it is expected to impact release dates for readings from federal government agencies.

Federal Reserve Watches and Waits on Interest Rates as Inflation Slows

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that the Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve will “wait and see” about raising the target federal funds rate this year. Chairman Powell spoke at a discussion hosed by the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. Mr. Powell clarified the Fed’s estimate of two rate hikes during 2019 and said that the predicted two rate hikes would occur based on “a very strong economic outlook for 2019.”

Faltering financial markets and slower rates of home price growth caused the Fed to dial back it’s bullish outlook and instead emphasize that Fed monetary policy is flexible and could be adjusted quickly adjusted as changing economic conditions merit.

Mortgage Rates and New Jobless Claims Fall

Freddie Mac reported lower average mortgage rates for 30-year fixed rate mortgages fell six basis points to 4.45 percent; rates for 15-year fixed rate mortgages fell 10 basis points to 3.89 percent.

The average rate for 5/1 adjustable rate e mortgages was 15 basis points lower at 3.85 percent Discount rates averaged 0.50 percent for 30-year fixed rate mortgages, points for 15-year fixed rate mortgages averaged 0.40 percent and discount points for 5/1 adjustable rate mortgages averaged 0.30 percent.

First-time jobless claims fell by 15,000 claims to 216,000 new claims filed. Analysts expected 227,000 new claims based on the prior week’s reading of 231,000 new claims filed.

December’s Consumer Price Index was – 0.10 percent lower than for November, which matched expectations based on November’s positive inflation rate reading of + 0.10 percent. Slowing inflation could indicate slower economic growth; a consistent pattern of sluggish inflation may cause the Fed to hold steady on raising its key interest rate.

What‘s Ahead

This week’s scheduled economic news includes readings on the National Association of Homebuilders Housing Market Index, Commerce Department readings on housing starts and building permits issued. The Consumer Sentiment Index is also scheduled for release. Weekly readings on mortgage rates and initial jobless claims will be released on schedule.

How Tech Can Change the Real Estate Process

home security of the future is hereVirtual reality, artificial intelligence and drone video are just a few of the ways that technology is changing the real estate industry. If you are in the market for a property, understanding these new processes can help you in many ways.

Using Artificial Intelligence

Doing business with an AI-infused process helps you more quickly identify properties that meet your standards. AI also reduces human error in the closing process. Agents using AI can get you more information about properties more quickly, and they can also cut the fat out of the close, possibly saving you money.

Using Virtual Reality

Taking a virtual reality tour of a property can save you a lot of gas, time and effort. You no longer have to physically be at a location to understand its potential – you can see everything that you need to see online. Of course you can follow up in person, but you save huge amounts of time by visiting only the properties that have impressed you online.

Organizing Big Data

Buyers and sellers have access to more information than ever – information that was once only available to full time professionals in the industry. Dealing with it can be quite overwhelming, but you must in order to be a sophisticated investor. In many cases, your agent serves as your information filter, keeping you from becoming distracted by false or misleading information.

Remote Transactions

A growing number of real estate transactions are being done without ever meeting the other party involved. The entire process can be conducted online from search to close, if need be. Buyers and sellers can save a great deal of money through reduced overhead with remote transactions. Biometrics help to maintain the security of the transaction.

The technologies above are just a few of the new things that are changing the real estate process for the better. Keep your ear to the street, because the landscape is always changing.

As soon as you are interested in looking for a new home, be sure to contact your trusted mortgage professional to secure your financing and get your pre-approval ready.

4 Reasons Why Home Ownership Is Better Than Renting

buying-a-fixer-upper-homeAre you trying to decide if you should rent or buy? There are many reasons why home ownership is better than renting. Here are just a few to consider when you’re making your decision.

1. Stability For Your Family

When you own your home, the life of your family will be more stable. If you have children, this is a an even more valuable benefit. Your kids will be able to settle down into the routine of school and extracurricular activities. They’ll be able to make lifelong friends in the neighborhood. You and your spouse will be able to feel a strong sense of community and belonging.

2. Personalization

Owning a home is better than renting because you can personalize and customize your living environment. In many rentals, you can’t even paint the walls if you want to.

When you own, you not only can paint walls whatever color you want; you can knock them down if you like! You spend so much time at home, being able to make stamp your personality on it is a huge benefit!

3. Peace And Quiet

When compared to renting an apartment, there is a lot more peace and quiet in your own home. In an apartment, walls are shared. Often, there isn’t a lot of insulation inside the walls, either. It’s likely you’ll be able to hear your neighbors, their kids or their barking dogs. When you own your home, you’ll be able to enjoy the peace and quiet you deserve.

4. Outdoor Property

When you own your home, you may have access to outdoor space in addition to your house. That property is yours to do as you wish. You could make an outdoor living area, plant a garden, install a pool or erect a badminton set. The outdoor property around your house certainly adds to the satisfaction of owning your home.

It’s likely that these four benefits will give you some reasons to pursue home ownership. Chances are you’ll never want to go back to renting again!

When you’re ready to begin the search for your next home, contact a trusted mortgage professional in your area to get your financing pre-approved!