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Mortgage News Matters

7 Reasons to Get a Home Inspection

Buying a new home is one of the biggest financial decisions one can make throughout one’s lifetime. Though it may be tempting to move in as soon as you sign on the dotted line – it can be extremely beneficial to get advice from a professional before doing so. From saving money to providing peace of mind, the advantages of getting a home inspection far outweigh the decision to go without.

To better help you make your decision, we’ve put together a list of the top 7 reasons why getting a home inspection is important to any home buyer’s journey.

  1. Identify unseen or unpredicted structural problems that homebuyers may have missed otherwise. When performing a home inspection, a professional will assess areas that are mostly unseen like the roof, attic, foundation, plumbing, heating, and ventilation – just to name a few. They can discover undetected structural problems or leaks that could be costly to fix if they are left ignored for too long.
  2. Ability to renegotiate with the seller. By identifying these major, but common problems before closing and officially moving in, homebuyers can renegotiate terms with the seller by using their home inspection as leverage. What’s more, is it can be used as a contingency in the home buying process which allows a buyer to back out of a home sale without penalty if there are defects.
  3. Save money. Like identifying unseen structural problems and acting as leverage in negotiations, a home inspection saves homebuyers money. Ranging between $300-500, a home inspection is often more affordable than the money spent on major repairs after the deal is already done.
  4. Safety. One of the biggest benefits of performing a home inspection is the safety aspect. By having a professional determine any structural, plumbing, or electrical issues – to name a few – buyers can be sure that they are taking all the proper precautions beforehand, and rest assured their new home is safe.
  5. Estimate maintenance costs. In addition to discovering any issues that can be worked out in negotiations, a home inspection will also provide homebuyers with an estimate of general, or future, home maintenance costs. Allowing them to be best prepared for any issues they may incur.
  6. Insurance. It is true that some insurance companies will not cover homes with certain conditions, which is why it is essential that home buyers perform a home inspection. This way, homebuyers can better understand if their home has any issues that may not be covered by insurance policies, sooner rather than later.
  7. Peace of mind. Lastly, getting a home inspection provides peace of mind for any new home buyer. It gives buyers insight into any conditions that their home may have and many manageable solutions to repairing them, or at least negotiating how to handle them so they are not left paying much more than they planned for.
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Mortgage News Matters

How to Choose the Best Mortgage for You

Any homebuyer will tell you that choosing the perfect mortgage is just as important as choosing the perfect home. For many, buying a home with cash is not possible, which is why finding the right mortgage loan program is essential. When choosing the right mortgage for you, it is important to find one that works with your unique budget, as it is an expense that you will be paying off over the course of many years.

To better help you on your home buying journey, we’ve compiled a list of 5 guidelines to follow when choosing the right mortgage for you.

  1. Determine how much you can afford. Your mortgage is made up of two main costs. These are (1) the loan principal and (2) the interest. The principal is the loan amount you are applying for. The interest is the additional amount tacked onto your monthly payments, as a fee for borrowing money from your lender. Your monthly payments are paid through an amortization schedule set by your lender. For more information on determining how much of a mortgage you can afford, take advantage of our free Mortgage Calculator offered on our website.
  2. Set a goal and start a savings plan. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions one can make in one’s lifetime. There are many costs to consider outside of the initial sale price listed on the For Sale sign. Costs like down payment, closing costs, and insurance to name a few. It is important to acknowledge each of these commonly overlooked costs before purchasing a home and setting a goal to achieve them. For a comprehensive list of these costs, refer to our post on Costs to Consider.

    In addition, you’ll want to start a savings plan that can act as a step-by-step guide to reaching your savings goals. For helpful tips on saving towards your home buying goal, refer to our blog on How to Start Saving for a Down Payment.
  3. Consider different types of mortgage loan programs. Since each homebuyer has needs and wants that are unique to them, there are a variety of mortgage loan programs to choose from. At VanDyk Mortgage, we specialize in 15- and 30-year Conventional loans, FHA loans, USDA, VA, and Adjustable Rate Mortgage loans.

    Each loan program has different requirements and qualifications that must be met by borrowers. For an extensive list of each loan program and its specific qualifications, refer to our Mortgage Loan Options on our website.
  4. Understand how much insurance you will be required to pay. The cost of mortgage insurance varies depending on which type of mortgage loan you end up choosing. For some loans, insurance is required, while for others, it comes in the form of an upfront funding fee.

    Your insurance premium is based on different factors, such as the amount of money you can put towards your down payment or your own unique credit score. For more information on mortgage insurance and how much it could cost you, refer to our post What is Mortgage Insurance?
  5. What type of loan do you qualify for? One of the most important questions you can ask yourself when choosing the right mortgage loan for you, is ‘What type of loan do I qualify for?’ You can be as determined as you’d like to save towards your goal for the perfect home, but if you don’t qualify, your efforts may be in vain.

    The best way to determine this is to talk with an experienced Loan Originator as soon as you are ready to start looking for your new home. They can go over all of your loan options, what types you qualify for and how to start saving towards your goal. To reach out to one of our experienced Loan Originators, contact us today!
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Mortgage News Matters

What is Mortgage Insurance?

Mortgage Insurance, sometimes referred to as Private Mortgage Insurance, is an essential element of the home buying process. By making it possible for a homebuyer who does not meet the qualifications to receive a mortgage loan, mortgage insurance, provides assurance to the lender in the event that the borrower is unable to continue making their mortgage payments.

Mortgage Insurance, therefore, lowers the risk to the lender of loaning to an unqualified borrower and benefits the borrower by making it possible for them to receive a mortgage loan and purchase a home, they would otherwise be unable to purchase.

There are many types of loan programs that require mortgage insurance, and some that allow borrowers to roll insurance premiums into their monthly mortgage payments. To help you decipher which programs require which types of insurance plans, we’ve compiled a list for you below!

  1. Conventional Loans. Conventional loans require private mortgage insurance and vary depending on the amount you put down and your credit score. Insurance payments are made monthly and have little or no cost due at closing. One of the perks of conventional loans regarding mortgage insurance is that homebuyers – who put less than 20% down – can cancel their insurance once they own 20% equity in their home.
  2. FHA Loans. Though mortgage insurance is required for FHA loans, it differs from conventional loans as it does not depend on a borrower’s credit score. For this type of loan, insurance premiums change if a borrower puts less than 5% for their down payment. For FHA loans, insurance is included in the upfront cost, closing costs, and monthly payments.
  3. USDA Loans. Like an FHA loan, a USDA loan with an insurance premium includes costs at closing as well as in monthly payments. However, USDA loans typically have a lower insurance rate than FHA loans.

    It is important to note that for both FHA and USDA loans, the borrower has the option to roll the upfront portion of their insurance premiums into their monthly mortgage payments, rather than paying out of pocket. However, this option will increase both the borrower’s loan amount and overall costs.
  4. VA Loans. A much different type of loan program from the rest, VA loans are not required to have monthly insurance premiums, however, they do require an upfront funding fee that is based on a few factors.

    These are, type of military service of the borrowers, the amount the borrower can put towards their down payment, disability status, whether they are buying or refinancing their home, and whether or not it is their first VA loan.

    Like in the case of FHA and USDA loans, borrowers can roll this upfront funding fee into their monthly mortgage payments, but it will increase their loan amount and overall costs.

For more information on the different types of loan programs and mortgage insurance plans that we offer at VanDyk Mortgage, contact one of our Loan Originators today!

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Mortgage News Matters

How to Choose a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to home buying – choosing the right real estate agent for the job is no easy feat. It is a decision that should be done with much thought and care.  And for that reason, we’ve provided a ‘How To’ guide to choosing the best real estate agent for you!

  1. Focus on an agent’s personality and your compatibility. The first thing you should consider when choosing the right real estate agent for you is your chemistry. Finding an agent who is compatible with you and who has your best interests at heart, is essential to any home buying or selling process. It is important to find someone whose values align with your own, by asking yourself, ‘What are some important qualities you want in an agent?’

    When working with an agent, it is important to have someone who is trustworthy, someone who listens to you, someone has a strong work ethic, is honest, and has conviction. The best way to decipher if an agent has these traits is by interviewing them beforehand. Experts recommend interviewing at least three agents before choosing which one to work with.

    Some important questions to ask in an agent interview are as follows,
  • How long have you been working in the real estate industry?
  • What is your specialty?
  • How will you market my home?
  • Can you put me in touch with some of your references?

2. Do your research and review their reputation. A real estate agent’s reputation speaks volumes. Through a web-based search, you should be able to discover pertinent information on any agent in the field and get a feel for them, before even conducting an interview. An agent’s online presence is just as valuable as any referral you can get from a friend or fellow homeowner. By researching each agent online, you can also identify any relevant certifications and specialties that are important to you in an agent.

3. Get referrals. Like online presence, a referral will tell you a lot about working with a specific real estate agent. Getting a referral from a trusted family member or friend is ideal, as you know they have your best interests at heart. However, a referral from any homeowner or seller that has worked with an agent in the past can be just as beneficial. This can help you weed out agents early, that may not be a good fit for you.

4. Gauge connections. Like referrals, it is important to look at an agent’s network and professional connections. Determining how well are they connected to other professionals in their industry speaks to their reputation and can prove their reliability and trustworthiness.

5. Offer adequate support and mitigate risk. One important characteristic to be sure your potential agent possesses is their ability to offer adequate support and mitigate risk. Buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions one can make in one’s lifetime, it is important to find someone who can offer adequate support. The process will surely have obstacles and finding an agent who is able to deal with the inevitable stress that comes with the home buying process is vital in ensuring a smooth and successful homebuying experience.

6. Look to their experience. Lastly, it is important to look at an agent’s experience. Like referrals, reputation, and online research, you want to pay special attention to your potential agent’s track record and inventory. In addition to doing your own online research, you can browse potential neighborhoods and look for signs with agents that have sold properties, similar to ones that you are interested in purchasing. This is the most tangible proof that the agent and get the job one.

Once you’ve chosen your real estate agent, be sure to discuss a selling strategy and make sure to gauge your expectations. This is the best way to ensure a smooth home buying process and to set both you and your agent up for success!