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

Getting your credit score into the “excellent” range

,  Posted in - ( The Mortgage Process )

When seeking a mortgage, you might need to fall under certain credit score requirements.
One of the most significant factors lenders look into when considering people for loans is their credit scores. For those whose credit card falls below the average range, it can be tricky to get a mortgage.Typically, credit scores range from 300 to 850. Lenders have different ideas of what they consider to be a "good" or "bad" credit score. However, ValuePenguin reported an approximation of the categories of credit scores as follows:Excellent: 800-850Very good: 750-799Good: 700-749Average: 650-699Poor: 600-649Very poor: 550-599Bad: Below 550Over 53 percent of the population has a credit score that is above the "good&q...

What’s the right size for a down payment?

,  Posted in - ( Purchasing a Home )

First-time buyers oftentimes have trouble figuring out how much they should contribute to their down payment.
  First-time homebuyers often do not know how much they should contribute in upfront costs on their new house. They don't want to overpay, as they want a cushion in savings, but they also want to put down enough money to qualify for their lender's approval. If homeowners can afford to pay the ideal amount on their down payment, they should do so. However, if they do not have enough savings to do so, they can look into alternative options. The optimal down payment Typically, lenders prefer buyers to put at least 20 percent down on the house. If this is the minimum they will accept, the buyers might need to secure the mortgage by...

How to know if you’re financially ready to buy a home

,  Posted in - ( Purchasing a Home )

Deciding if you're financially prepared to buy a home means looking at your current debts, earnings and savings.
Current renters might be wondering if it's time to buy their first homes. Going from monthly rent payments to paying off a home is a big step, but it can be an excellent investment for people looking to settle down. Down-payments and mortgage costs might scare prospective buyers from taking the leap, especially if they still have debt from car or student loans.Some of the most significant benefits of buying a home include:Tax-deductible interest payments.Flexible mortgage options.Freedom to make the house into a home without needing the landlord's permission.However, some costs homeowners make that renters do not worry about incl...

What is a fixed-rate mortgage?

,  Posted in - ( The Mortgage Process )

A fixed rate mortgage can help buyers afford their next home.
When purchasing a home, buyers have plenty of options in the house hunting process. Once they make their decision, they face an important course of action: financing the home. Homebuyers have plenty of choices on what type of loan to buy. A common type of home loan, a fixed-rate mortgage, can help homebuyers afford their new space.A fixed-rate mortgage has a static interest percentage throughout the whole term of the loan. Even if buyers face difficult times, like divorce, losing their jobs or a rocky economy, these loans stay the same. Because homebuyers like this stability, fixed-rate mortgages are the most popular type ...

What to expect when closing on a home

,  Posted in - ( Purchasing a Home )

Closing on a home is a crucial step in the home-buying process.
Moving into a new home can be exciting. It might be a first home, a fresh start, an upgrade or a downsize. Regardless, changing addresses is the beginning of a new chapter. Despite the excitement of buying a home, closing on one isn't quite as enjoyable of a process, though it is imperative that this process goes smoothly. The National Association of Realtors reported that 31 percent of home sales in August of 2018 were from first-time buyers who have probably never experienced a closing before.Between price negotiation, home inspections and contract-signing, both parties can get burnt out by the end of the homebuying process. Althou...

How to buy an off-market house

,  Posted in - ( Purchasing a Home )

Buying a home before it hits the market can put buyers ahead of the competition.
Homebuyers with their eyes on specific homes, or ones who want to be at the front of the line when homeowners make the decision to sell, might try to find their ideal properties before they hit the market. Interested parties might hear about an off-market opportunity through the grapevine, or perhaps they leave a letter in their dream home's mailbox, informing the homeowners of their interest should they decide to sell the property. Just as sellers have different motivations for moving, buyers often have various tactics for pursuing desirable properties. In 2016, only 8 percent of home sales in the U.S. were off market, accordin...

Reasons to buy an old home

,  Posted in - ( Purchasing a Home )

Buying an old home means investing in charm in history. However, antique houses aren't right for everyone.
When shopping around for a place to live, homebuyers might take the neighborhood, aesthetic and features of a home into consideration. One factor that might seal the deal or scare away prospective buyers is the age of a home. Many people view older homes as a challenge and a steal, while others see these properties as a red flag. Deciding if you should purchase an old home depends on a variety of factors, including a look at the benefits and drawbacks of aged properties.The median cost of a new home in Jan. 2018 was $329,600, according to the United States Census Bureau. This contrasts the median price of an existing home during this sam...

Mistakes to avoid as a first-time homebuyer

,  Posted in - ( kb1 )

Mistakes to avoid as a first-time homebuyer
The home buying process can be extremely complicated and occasionally drawn out, even for shoppers who have been through it before. As a result, it's understandable that first-timers would have more difficulty in dealing with these issues, and can occasionally make mistakes. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be that way.There are plenty of common mistakes among first-time buyers but most of those are extremely avoidable. Here are just a few:Aiming too highOne of the biggest issues for first-timers is believing they can afford to buy a more expensive house than is reasonable based on their finances, according to NerdWallet. Before g...

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...