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How to's and money-saving tips from resident homeowner and mortgage professional, Cathy West

What’s the difference between a listing agent and selling agent?

,  Posted in - ( Purchasing a Home )

Listing and selling agents offer helpful expertise to homebuyers and sellers.
Home sellers and homebuyers might work directly with listing and selling agents. Although people often use these terms interchangeably, these two types of real estate agents serve different purposes.Listing agentsSometimes in television shows and movies, a real estate agent will bake cookies in a home immediately before an open house to leave the space with comforting, mouth-watering scents. This individual is known in the real estate world as the listing agent. This agent is in charge of helping home sellers market their properties. According to the National Association of Realtors, 89 percent of home sellers used real estate agents in 2016....

How much home is ‘too much?’

,  Posted in - ( kb1 )

How much home is 'too much?'
Cost is perhaps the most important consideration when it comes to buying a home because of just how much people have to invest - both up front and over the course of decades - in making a purchase. Typically, this is going to be the single most expensive purchase of a person's life, and it looms large over personal finances for years. As such, it's important for buyers to make sure they're buying a home they can actually afford, and are careful to avoid talking themselves into buying "too much house."There are a few basic rules of thumb that will help people avoid buying a home they can't really afford, and the simpl...

What to watch for in investment properties

,  Posted in - ( Purchasing a Home )

Prospective landlords should research their investment property before making a down payment.
Individuals looking to profit from land ownership might consider buying a residential rental property. For first-time landlords, navigating the rental market can be overwhelming. Investing in the right real estate can be lucrative, but buying the wrong building can turn into a financial burden. Before purchasing a rental complex, investors should investigate several factors.LocationThe town or neighborhood of a rental property might impact the types of tenants choosing to reside there. An apartment complex near a college might attract an abundance of students, and a building in the downtown area of a city may attract professionals workin...

What is a closing disclosure?

,  Posted in - ( kb1 )

What is a closing disclosure?
When first-time shoppers are working toward completing the home sales process, there may still be many questions they have about what's required of them or what they'll need to know. The fact is that there's a lot of jargon that goes into every step of obtaining a mortgage, bidding on a home and closing a sale, so if people have questions or are unsure of certain things, it's important to get the answers sooner rather than later.One of the big questions people may have as they move toward wrapping up a sale is what is meant by "closing disclosure." In short, it's a five-page document that provides all the details...

What is a good faith estimate?

,  Posted in - ( The Mortgage Process )

Documents like good faith estimates and Loan Estimates encourage borrowers to seek multiple loan rates.
A good faith estimate is a three-page document that breaks down the costs owed when closing on a mortgage loan. This paperwork allows homebuyers to understand the full costs involved with taking out a mortgage loan. Zillow lists the terms included in a GFE:Loan amount.Interest rate.Term.Prepayment penalty (if applicable).Origination charge.GFEs don't include the costs of homeowners insurance or property taxes.Good faith estimate vs. loan estimateAccording to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, buyers applying for a mortgage after October 3, 2015 receive a loan estimate instead of a GFE. If they applied for a mortgage before thi...

What can buying as is mean?

,  Posted in - ( Purchasing a Home )

For homebuyers looking for a fixer-upper, an as-is property can be worth the risk.
For homebuyers, "as is" properties can be one of two things: a deal breaker or an opportunity. When sellers list their properties on the market as is, they may not handle repairs or home improvements before the sale. Instead, the buyers typically cover these costs.Buyers looking for a move-in ready home may be put off by the work involved in these fixer-uppers. Others delight in restoring disheveled properties, as they offer a blank slate for buyers to build their dream homes. Some homebuyers even make a side business of buying and flipping these kinds of properties.Why are homes sold as is?Many sellers prefer to poli...

What do renters look for in a home?

,  Posted in - ( kb3 )

What do renters look for in a home?
When people buy homes for the purpose of renting them out on an ongoing basis - whether for permanent living situations or more Airbnb-style short-term rentals - one of their biggest challenges is determining the features these housing units should have.Landlords will find it generally important to weigh the cost of installing certain amenities against the long-term return on investment they provide, but the more items they have that are attractive to renters, the better off they are likely to be when it comes to ensuring occupancy with few to no gaps.Perhaps one of the most important things for homes today to have is a variety of t...

Reasons not to do a 20 percent down payment

,  Posted in - ( kb2 )

Reasons not to do a 20 percent down payment
When people are buying a house, one of the biggest issues they're likely to face is the time and difficulty involved in building a sizable down payment. After all, many lenders require down payments that can easily stretch into the tens of thousands of dollars, and in today's economy that can be difficult for anyone - let alone first-time buyers - to put together.However, there is a common misconception that people have to have the ability to make down payments of 20 percent to qualify for a mortgage, and that's not at all the case, according to The Mortgage Reports. In fact, many mortgage types allow for significantly lower down ...

What is Freddie Mac?

,  Posted in - ( )

Freddie Mac was created to increase the success of the secondary mortgage market.
Freddie Mac currently operates as a shareholder-owned organization. Freddie Mac and another government-sponsored enterprise, Fannie Mae, fund 80 percent of residential mortgages in the U.S. In 2017, Freddie Mac bestowed $422 billion on mortgage lenders and helped 343,000 first-time buyers secure a home. It also produces cost-effective rents for low- and middle-income households by working with rental property owners to encourage them to cap the rent.Congress originally authorized Freddie Mac, also known as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp, to certify a stockpile of economical mortgage funds in the U.S. Congress passed t...

Home inspection vs. home appraisal

,  Posted in - ( Purchasing a Home )

Home inspections and home appraisals are both important steps in the selling and buying processes.
During the purchase process, homebuyers will typically encounter home inspections and appraisals. First-time buyers may conflate these two processes, but they serve different purposes and provide insight to distinct parties.Home inspectionHome inspections involve in-depth evaluations of properties as part of the home sale process. According to a poll from the American Society of Home Inspectors, 72 percent of homeowners in the U.S. believe the home inspection process helped them steer clear of potential complications with their current homes. Inspections provide details about the conditions of the property, specifically regarding an...