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Mortgage News Matters

How to Prepare for your Homebuying Journey

So, you’ve decided you’re ready to buy a new home? Congratulations! Now you’re probably asking yourself, what’s the next step? There are plenty of things you can do to prepare yourself for the next step on your homebuying journey, and we listed a few below to help you on your way!

  1. Know your credit score. A good credit score is essential to any new or prospective homebuyer. It gives your lender insight into how reliable you are as a borrower, and ultimately, whether they will lend to you or not. To obtain a free credit report, go to annualcreditreport.com and enter your information. Once you have accessed your reports, you can review and dispute any errors you find.
  2. Consider taking a home buying class. Homebuying classes can prepare you for things you may have not even thought about as a new homebuyer. These classes can give you information on saving for a down payment, searching for the right mortgage loan program for you, working with a real estate agent and so much more. They are a great way to get answers to questions you didn’t even know you had.
  3. Implement financial planning techniques. Saving towards any large monetary goal doesn’t happen overnight. Consider implementing money-saving techniques 3-6 months before purchasing your new home. This can be by setting up automatic transfers to a savings account, savings bonuses, raises, or tax refunds, applying for a credit card with cash rewards, and by not taking on any new unnecessary expenses, such as a new car payment or lease. These simple actions can make all the difference when you’re finally ready to make your big purchase.
  4. Get pre-approved. It is helpful to get pre-approved for your mortgage loan early on in your homebuying journey. Getting pre-approved will allow you to set your budget, which in turn helps you narrow your search.
  5. Communicate regularly with your lender & realtor. One of the most important ways to prep for buying your new home is by consistently communicating with your lender and realtor, so they can help with any questions you may have. The home buying process can feel overwhelming for anyone, regardless of it being their first home or their fifth. Clear and open communication with your real estate professionals is the best way to create a seamless homebuying experience.
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Mortgage News Matters

How to Navigate a Seller’s Market

Since the start of last year, homes for sale have been on the decline, while housing prices have continued to rise.

The combination of stay-in-place orders brought on by the pandemic and the rise of low mortgage rates in efforts to encourage homebuyers has only widened the gap between supply and demand.

Because of this, we find ourselves in a constant state of a seller’s market.

What is a Seller’s Market?

A seller’s market is when the number of buyers exceeds the number of homes available to purchase.

What Does This Mean for Buyers?

With homeowners choosing to stay in their homes for longer and mortgage rates becoming more affordable for a larger number of borrowers, appreciation of homes has only continued to increase.

This means that buyers must stand out while remaining diligent in their search, and buyers who are just entering the market should be prepared to bid over asking and waive certain contingencies if they hope to purchase a home soon.

What Does This Mean for Sellers?

Sellers, on the other hand, have the luxury of being picky. With the value of their home most likely continuing to increase, they can take their time when deciding on who they want to sell to and can expect a bid over asking.

For more on this, check out our post of Tips for Buyers in a Seller’s Market.

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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 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!