Tag Archives: pre-approval

9 Steps to Take Now to Buy a Home Next Year

9 steps to buying a home in 2018You and your family are thinking of buying a new home – or your next one – in 2018. There are things you can do now to prepare yourself. Here are seven steps to get you ready for this exciting move!

  1. Check your credit score. Target a credit score of 740 or higher to get the best mortgage rate. See mistakes on your credit report? Because this process can sometimes take months, you’ll want to start doing that now.
  2. Follow the real estate market and interest rates. What is the market doing in your area? Is inventory low? What about interest rates – are they inching up? You’ll want to lock in the lowest interest rate you can to lower your monthly mortgage payments and long-term financial outlay.
  3. Save, save, save. We can’t stress this enough. Make sure you have enough to cover a down payment, closing costs, moving expenses, etc. Read our article on closing costs to get a better idea of what those might run.
  4. Don’t use your credit cards or rack up more debt. Obviously, you don’t want to open any new credit cards before you apply for a mortgage, but it is just as important not to use the existing credit you already have. Banks will look at your debt to income ratio, so you want that debt figure to be as low as possible.
  5. Don’t overspend during the holidays. It can be tempting to spoil your loved ones during the holidays, but this could make it harder to get a mortgage – particularly if you use your credit cards for holiday shopping. Instead, get creative. Offer services (e.g., dog walking, babysitting, home organizing, handyman skills) or experiences (gourmet meals, outings, etc.)  instead of giving gifts.
  6. Meet with two to three potential Realtors. We say “Realtor” instead of “real estate agent” because “Realtors” have different and a code of ethics to abide by. Real estate agents are held to a lesser standard. Talk to friends, family and co-workers to get recommendations, and do your research before scheduling no obligation appointments to interview. In addition, check their online reviews on Facebook, Zillow, LinkedIn and other sites to see what they’re clients are saying about them.
  7. Shop for a lender. Just like you would shop for a Realtor, explore your mortgage lending options. Check with your bank, local credit unions and mortgage brokers to see where you can find the best deal and the best long-term relationship.
  8. Gather your documents. When you meet with a mortgage lender, you’ll need to provide tax returns and W-2s for the last two years, pay stubs for the last few months, proof of your current living expenses, a list of debts and other expenses, etc.
  9. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. Once you’ve selected a mortgage lender and have pulled together all of your documentation, it’s time to get pre-approved! This will help you determine what your interest rate will be and how much home you can afford. Read more about getting pre-approved here.

Not sure what’s next? Have questions? Call Team Marti  at 253-859-8500. We’d be happy to help you prepare to buy your next home in the New Year!

 

Real Estate Lingo for Homebuyers: Part 2

Continued from May 15, 2017

Freddie Mac Real Estate GlossaryBuying a home can be a daunting and complex process, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right Realtor, you can feel confident that you are being well represented and that she has your back. It can also help to understand real estate lingo. Here is part two of a Freddie Mac real estate glossary you can use to educate yourself on the home buying process.

Margin: A percentage added to the index for an ARM to establish the interest rate on each adjustment date.

Market Value: The current value of your home based on what purchaser would pay. An appraisal is sometimes used to determine market value.

Mortgage: A loan using your home as collateral. In some states the term mortgage is also used to describe the document you sign [to grant the lender a lien on your home]. It may also be used to indicate the amount of money you borrow, with interest, to purchase your house. The amount of your mortgage is usually the purchase price of the home minus your down payment.

Mortgage Broker: An independent finance professional who specializes in bringing together borrowers and lenders to complete real estate mortgages.

Mortgage Insurance (MI or PMI): Insurance needed for mortgages with low down payments (usually less than 20% of the price of the home).

Mortgage Rate: The cost or the interest rate you pay to borrow the money to buy your house.

Net Monthly Income: Your take-home pay after taxes. It is the amount of money that you actually receive in your paycheck.

Offer: A formal bid from the homebuyer to the home seller to purchase a home.

Points: 1% of the amount of the mortgage loan. For example, if a loan is made for $50,000, one point equals $500.

Pre-Approval Letter: A letter from a mortgage lender indicating that you qualify for a mortgage of a specific amount. It also shows a home seller that you’re a serious buyer.

Pre-Qualification Letter: A letter from a mortgage lender that states that you’re pre-qualified to buy a home, but does not commit the lender to a particular mortgage amount.

Principal: The amount of money borrowed to buy your house or the amount of the loan that has not yet been repaid to the lender. This does not include the interest you will pay to borrow that money. The principal balance (sometimes called the outstanding or unpaid principal balance) is the amount owed on the loan minus the amount you’ve repaid.

Real Estate Professional: An individual who provides services in buying and selling homes. The real estate professional is paid a percentage of the home sale price by the seller. Unless you’ve specifically contracted with a buyer’s agent, the real estate professional represents the interest of the seller. Real estate professionals may be able to refer you to local lenders or mortgage brokers, but are generally not involved in the lending process. [Note: A real estate agent and a Realtor are not the same thing. Click here to learn the difference.]

Refinance: Getting a new mortgage with all or some portion of the proceeds used to pay off the original mortgage.

Title: The right to, and the ownership of, property. A title or deed is sometimes used as proof of ownership of land.

Title Insurance: Insurance that protects lenders and homeowners against legal problems with the title.

Truth-In-Lending Act (TILA): Federal law that requires disclosure of a truth-in-lending statement for consumer loans. The statement includes a summary of the total cost of credit, such as the APR and other specifics of the loan.

Underwriting: The process a lender uses to determine loan approval. It involves evaluating the property and the borrower’s credit and ability to pay the mortgage.

Click here to read Real Estate Lingo for Homebuyers, Part 1.

[Source: Freddie Mac]

 

Honest Advice for First-Time Homebuyers in a Sellers’ Market

Honest Advice for First-Time Homebuyers in a Sellers' Market

 

With home inventory so low, homes are selling quickly and above the asking price, in many cases. Here is some sound advice to help first-time homebuyers purchase a home in this sellers’ market:

  1. Get pre-approved from a mortgage lender. Whether you go through a traditional bank or a mortgage broker, first-time homebuyers should get pre-approved before shopping for a home. This will show sellers that their lenders have run a credit check, verified income and have tentatively agreed to lend the buyers money to buy a home. Pre-approval also typically means that the homebuyers know how much home they can afford. Learn more about pre-qualification and pre-approval here.
  2. Buy a home with a conventional mortgage. This will make homebuyers more attractive to sellers than someone who is getting financed through a VA or FHA loan, for example, because those home loan programs sometimes have greater restrictions.
  3. Put down a large down payment. While low down payment programs like VA and FHA home loans exist so buyers can buy a home with less money down, you will be more attractive to a mortgage lender and home seller with a larger down payment. This will also save you in mortgage interest over the life of your mortgage loan.
  4. Come to the table prepared to cover closing costs. When sellers have multiple buyers to choose from, they are more likely to select a homebuyer that is not going to ask the seller to share in closing costs.
  5. Require fewer contingencies when making an offer. When a seller has to wait for you to sell your home, or when other contingencies exist, a homebuyer becomes less attractive. Sellers want to sell their homes for as much money as possible, and as quickly as is possible. When contingencies exist, they could potentially hold up the selling process.
  6. Make an offer above asking price. Homes on the market now are selling within days. To buy one of those homes, homebuyers often have to offer more than the asking price to get their offer seriously considered. Of course, how much a buyer can offer is going to be based on their budget and down payment, but in this market, they should be prepared to go above the asking price.

This market is particularly challenging for first-time homebuyers. If you are in the market to buy a home now, consult with an experienced Realtor – like me – who can help you improve your chances of finding a home and getting your offer accepted. We can help you understand your options and improve your chances of having your offer accepted.

 

 

5 Tips for Getting a Mortgage in 2017

Special Home Financing Programs: FHA, VA and USDA LoansUnless you’ve got a trust fund or buckets of cash lying around, if you want to buy a home this year, you’ll need a mortgage. Here are 5 tips to help you find a mortgage that meets your needs:

  1. Find out how much of a down payment you need to save. Down payments vary from 0 percent to 20 percent down, and everywhere in between. Talk to your mortgage lender – or an experienced Realtor – to find out how much you need to save.
  2. Check your credit score. To determine your credit worthiness, you’ll want to review your credit score with a mortgage lender. If you are going for an FHA loan, the average qualifying credit score in 2016 was about 686. The average credit score for a conventional homebuyer was about 753, according to Bankrate.com.
  3. Get pre-approved. While pre-qualification does not guarantee you will get a mortgage, getting pre-approved does. When you get pre-approved by a mortgage lender, it means that lender has checked your credit, verified your income and assets and agreed to lend you money to buy a home, assuming everything else lines up (value of the home, etc.). Learn more about pre-approval here.
  4. The 4 Cs. When seeking pre-approval, a mortgage lender will look at the 4 Cs – Capacity (your current and future ability to make mortgage payments), Capital or Cash Reserves – how much money, savings and investments you have, Collateral – the home you want to purchase, and Credit – your credit history. Learn more about the 4 Cs here.
  5. Decide what type of mortgage is right for you. Before you apply for a mortgage loan, you’ll want to know the different types available to you. For example, if you are a veteran, you might be able to get a VA loan. If you are a first-time homebuyer, an FHA loan might be right for you. Talk to your Realtor and your mortgage lender to see what type of mortgage best fits your situation.

Home Sales at Highest Pace in 10 Years

Home buyers: If you want to buy a home now, the demand is strong, so you’ll have to differentiate yourself from other buyers to make your offer stand out. Ideally, you’ll get pre-approved so you know how much you can afford to spend – and how much you can offer on your dream home.

Home sellers: If you’re a seller, demand for available homes for sale is strong, and you’re in the driver’s seat. You’ll likely get your asking price, or perhaps more, and your home may sell faster than it would in a “normal” real estate market.

Have questions? Team Marti can help! Contact Team Marti today.

The Mortgage Process: What You Need to Know

As we said in our Oct. 17 blog post, this is a seller’s market, so it is important that you get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage. Here’s what you’ll need to qualify in the current real estate market:

  • A down payment. This can range from 5% to 20% of the purchase price. According to Freddie Mac, 40% of buyers are putting down less than 10% with some as low as 3%.
  • Income verification, credit history and asset documentation
  • Third-party appraisal
  • Stable income
  • Good credit history

Freddie Mac recommends these 5 next steps.

The Mortgage Process: What You Need to Know

 

Have questions? Not sure what’s next? Team Marti can help. Contact us today to set up a no-obligation appointment!

 

What’s the Difference Between Being Pre-qualified and Pre-approved for a Mortgage?

What’s the Difference Between Being Pre-qualified and Pre-approved for a Mortgage?There are all kinds of terms thrown around when it comes to buying a home. Two of these terms are “pre-qualified” and “pre-approved.” While these terms are similar, they are, in fact, very different. Let’s talk about the differences.

Pre-qualification

Being pre-qualified for a mortgage does not guarantee that you will get a mortgage. A lender will talk to you while you’re still a prospective buyer and ask you questions about your credit, assets and income. During this meeting, you will not be required to show proof of income, and a credit check will not be run. There’s no harm in being pre-qualified, but focusing on pre-approval should be your priority.

Pre-approval

Pre-approval from a lender means your credit check has been approved, and that your income and assets have been verified by the lender. The mortgage lender has made a decision to lend you money to buy a home.

There is a time frame to use your pre-approval for the purchase of a home, generally 120 days, according to Realtor.com. For pre-approval, you will need at least two years of tax documents, several weeks of paystubs, your two most recent tax returns, and any other proof of your income. A credit score of 740 or higher will help you get the lowest interest rates and a minimum credit score of 620 to be approved for an FHA loan.

In short, pre-qualification means a lender will have an overview of your financial history, without pulling a credit report or verifying your income. Pre-qualification will not help much when it comes to buying a home, but it will help you learn where you stand and if there are areas you need to work on. Pre-approval, on the other hand, is vital to getting a mortgage.

For more information, please contact your mortgage lender or an experienced Realtor®. Good luck!

 

4 Ways to Improve Your Chance of Getting a Mortgage

Mortgage talk is HOT on everyone’s minds right now –  especially in the midst of the spring and summer buying season. Homes rarely stay on the market for long if they’re a hot buy — so here’s how to jump start your likelihood of getting a mortgage, so you can get the home of your dreams faster!

  1. Financial Literacy: Shopping for a MortgageCheck your credit report. Make sure everything on your credit report is accurate, and dispute anything that’s incorrect. Make sure you pay down any debt you have, and don’t rush to close old accounts. According to Realtor.com, 15% of your credit score is due to overall account length. The longer you’ve had a certain credit account open, and as long as that account is intact, it’s wise to keep it open.
  2. Get pre-approved for a mortgage loan. Getting pre-approved may not guarantee you a home loan, but it will help you get an “in” with your lender to show that you are capable of being fiscally responsible and are serious about buying a home.
  3. Don’t apply for new credit shortly after applying for a mortgage. This could affect your score, and down the road, lead to rejection of getting a mortgage. Lenders will see every time that you have applied for credit, and your even searching for it can register a ding on your credit file.
  4. Decide on the right type of mortgage. According to Realtor.com, the type of home you want, as well as assistance you’ll need, will help decide what type of loan you’re eligible for. If you’re a veteran, you could consider a Department of Veterans Affairs loan.  If you’re a first-time homebuyer, the FHA could help you out, and provide you with a 3.5% down payment. Daily Finance recommends to get your paperwork together. Your lender will want to see proof of income, assets, credit documents, and any other important documents showing you make what you say you make, and that you are who you say you are.

Have questions? Reach out to a local mortgage lender or ask an experienced Realtor for referrals. Happy Hunting!

 

8 Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

8 tips for first-time homebuyersTired of apartment living? Have a growing family? Want a space you can call your own? Buying your first home can be complicated, but these tips will make buying your first home easy-breezy.

  1. Know how much home you can afford. Look at your average monthly budget and see what you can spend on your mortgage comfortably. Find a home that fits in your budget, but that also has the features most important to you. Skip the upgrades if they don’t fit in your budget, and ask your Realtor® to tell you what closing costs to expect.
  2. Know what you need and want in a home. If you need lots of space, make that a priority. If you love cooking, make sure a well-equipped, modern kitchen is a must have. Make sure you also include neighborhood, schooling, and commute in your list of priorities as well.
  3. Get pre-approved for a loan. This will also help you figure out how much you can afford and make things less scary when trying to figure out which houses are not only in your budget, but also in your priorities list.
  4. Explore your mortgage options. Are you a person who never plans to buy another home, and are only interested in a fixed-rate mortgage? Do you want to use this as a starter home and have an adjustable rate mortgage? Compare different banks and home loan options, and don’t be afraid to do your homework. Need a referral? Your Realtor® will be able to help.
  5. Find the right Realtor®. You need someone you not only trust, but like to work with. You want quality advice when you need it. Ask friends and family who they have worked with, and if they had a good experience. This won’t work if you’re moving to a new city, however. Ask potential agents how many homes they’ve sold in your target area or what certifications they have. You can also look for testimonials for Realtors® in the area where you’re moving.
  6. Understand the offer process. So you’ve found a house. Know how long the house has been on the market, how the asking price compares to different homes in the area, and how comparable other properties are. Negotiation is normally inevitable, so make sure to leave a little leeway. Make sure your offer also includes other factors like financing and property inspections, and be aware of any deal breakers (e.g., cracked foundation, a roof that needs to be replaced, etc.) before you make an offer.
  7. Get a home inspection. This will tell you if there are any problems with the home that you weren’t aware of when you made the offer. Know what’s inside the walls, underneath the floors, if the roof leaks or there is flood damage. You’ll be happy you did. Check with local associations to find a reputable inspector or ask your Realtor® for a recommendation.
  8. Know what you’re signing before you sign. Ask for draft copies of anything you are supposed to sign before the closing date. This will help you figure out what you’re signing. If you don’t understand something, don’t be afraid to ask someone in your network of contacts to explain.

Still have questions? Ask an experienced local Realtor® what you need to know before buying your first home.

 

 

 

Homebuyers, get a jump start on spring home shopping

Hand Shake PhotoSpring and summer are typically the busiest times of the year to shop for a home. Not only is the weather nicer, but it is often easier to move when children are on spring or summer break. With spring just a month away, here are some steps you can take to prepare yourself for the home shopping season:

  • Start interviewing REALTORS® to find one who is a good fit for you. We recommend choosing an experienced REALTOR® who is familiar with the community where you want to live and who has expertise in all areas of the home buying transaction.
  • Clean up your credit. Even if you have stellar credit, your credit report may contain errors or inaccuracies. Before starting the loan approval process, order your free credit report (every consumer is entitled to one free report each year) and check it closely. Report any mistakes to the appropriate credit bureau right away. This process can take months, so start now if you are planning on a spring or summer home purchase.
  • Get pre-approved. By accomplishing this step early on, you’ll know how much home you can afford and how much of a down payment you’ll need. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the average down payment for homes is 6%, but you can find loans with down payments as low as 3%.
  • Budget accordingly. Once you’re pre-approved, consider all of the additional costs you’ll have to cover including moving expenses, closing costs, homeowner’s insurance, home warranty, etc.
  • Be prepared to make an offer. Once you begin shopping, your REALTOR® will show you new listings as soon as they come on the market. Be prepared to make time for a tour, know what criteria are most important to you (e.g., schools, neighborhood, # of bedrooms, acreage, etc.) and don’t delay in making an offer when you find the right home. In a competitive real estate market, some buyers come prepared for cash sales and others are willing to bump up their offer to secure their dream home.

By following these steps, you can put yourself in a good position to begin your home shopping. Have questions? Want to discuss a spring or summer home purchase? Contact your local REALTOR® for help.

Source: Realtor.com