Tag Archives: home buyer

Home-Buying Fears

It’s natural to feel a little apprehensive when making a major purchase, but home buying shouldn’t scare you out of your wits.

Buyers’ biggest real estate fears sometimes hold them back from buying — not just around Halloween, but throughout the year. The scary thing is, these fears are sometimes well-founded.

Here are some of the issues that commonly keep home buyers awake at night, and what you can do about them.

“The house has a cracked foundation, dry rot, or a leaky roof”

Renovating, fixing and repairing are on few buyers’ wish lists. When faced with the home of their dreams, they fear the inspection. What if there is dry rot, or a roof or foundation issue?

Most homes will need routine maintenance, and a good inspector will point this out. But it’s important not to let your fears get the best of you. Much of what the inspector comes up with during the inspection is for informational purposes only. Every problem does not need to be repaired right away.

The inspector’s job is to point out every issue he sees in the house. Ask him to explain how bad the issue is, and how long it can go before needing replacement or repair.

If an issue arises that needs immediate attention, go back to the seller and see if they will repair or credit you back to repair after you close.

“I’ll lose my deposit”

Buyers typically put in an earnest money deposit with a signed contract. Typically, this is 3 percent of the purchase price. The seller does not cash the check. Instead, the money sits in an escrow account and can’t be released without both parties’ signatures.

It’s nearly impossible for a buyer to lose their deposit. If you have an inspection, disclosure review or loan contingencies, work closely with your real estate agent to mark those timeframes.

If you need to remove these contingencies in writing, plan to firm things up a day in advance. If you are in negotiations around a contingency date, be sure to extend the contingency date to keep yourself under contract.

“I’ll lose the house”

If you find the home of your dreams, you may have to move fast. Particularly in competitive markets, many homes sell before the first open house to quick acting and super-motivated buyers.

If you see a new listing hit the market, be sure to let your agent know right away. Try to make an appointment to see the home as soon as possible.

Also, find out immediately how the seller’s agent plans to handle any offers received. Sometimes they will take the first offer, especially if it’s a good one. More often than not, the seller and the agent will have an offer date to review offers or ask for best and final offers by a certain day.

If you are travelling or busy with work, be sure not to miss out on your dream home. Be in constant contact with your agent, and flag potential homes that look like a great fit.

“My agent doesn’t have my best interest in mind”

Great agents are always on the prowl for new properties, checking out the market and protecting your best interest at all times.

Some buyers fear that their agent might have different motivations, or that they aren’t on the same page. If you have doubts, change agents. Never settle or take any random agent that comes along as your buyer’s agent.

You and your agent should be committed to each other. Sit down before you begin the process and speak to your agent, much like a job interview. And if you have any doubts about your agent’s abilities or motivations, find another agent.

“We’ll never find a house in time for…”

A real estate purchase should never be rushed. If you have a firm deadline creeping up, make a plan B.

For example, many buyers face an expiring lease or a school application deadline. If you are three months out from a deadline and you haven’t found a house, take the pressure off by putting an alternate plan in place.

Home buying is an expensive and complicated transaction. You don’t want to rush into a purchase and make a mistake. It’s much easier and safer to get another rental or find a temporary address or try some out-of-the-box idea. It may be a little inconvenient, but you can handle it.

If something scares you about a home, the buying process, or a third-party involved in the sale, voice your concerns. Listen to your voice of reason, and stick with your gut.

Many home buyers’ initial fears will fall by the wayside as the buyer gets into the market. Take it slow, and don’t be afraid to take a step back to allow time and space to think things through. It’s better to take your time than to let buying your dream home become a nightmare.

BY BRENDON DESIMONE

Tracy Tkac

Evers & Co. Real Estate

cell    301-437-8722

office 202-364-1700

tracy@eversco.com

www.WashingtonHG.com

Licensed in Maryland, Virginia and the District of ColumbiaYour referrals are warmly welcomed and appreciated!

Buying Basics

 

Buying Basics

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Buying a home can feel overwhelming, and a lot of that uneasiness can come from not understanding how to get a mortgage. This guide — which includes 20 questions to ask lenders — should help clarify the mortgage process and get you on the road to homeownership.

Determine your affordability

Before you start working with a real estate agent, it’s important to understand how much home you can afford. This will help you and your agent target your search, and you’ll avoid the heartache of falling in love with a property that’s out of your reach.

You can determine affordability in seconds using two different mortgage calculators. First use an affordability calculator to determine a purchase price appropriate for your income and down payment; then use a payment calculator to determine your exact monthly obligations.

Get started on your mortgage process

Next, you’ll actually connect with a lender to apply for a loan, and the lender will review all of your qualifying documentation. A loan officer will ask you to provide the items below — verbally or in an online form first, then with full documentation:

  • Personal information. Date of birth, marital status, number of children and ages.
  • Residence history. Rent payment or all mortgage, insurance and tax figures — for at least the past two years.
  • Employment and income. Documentation showing wages and employment history for at least two years. If you receive commissions or bonuses, you’ll need two years of figures. Lenders average variable and self-employed income over two years. Full tax returns for two years are usually required.
  • Asset balances. All checking, savings, investment and retirement accounts. You must provide all information for accounts, even if you’re only using one account for the down payment (you lender will need to see a paper trail for large deposits and withdrawals). If you’re using gift funds for your down payment, specific rules apply.
  • Debt payments and balances. Credit cards, mortgages, student loans, car loans, alimony and child support.
  • Social Security number. For a credit report to confirm your debts and credit scores.

Select down payment and loan type

Once your lender has your full profile, he or she can recommend loan structures based on your situation.

Perhaps your income is strong, but you’re early in your career and haven’t saved up that much money. In this case, your lender might recommend a 10-percent down payment because the slightly higher payments fit your budget and enable you to conserve cash.

Or you might start the process thinking you want to buy a 1-bedroom condo using a 5-year adjustable-rate mortgage because you think you’re going to sell the home and upgrade within five years. But your lender may look at your income and consider that you want to start a family within three years, then determine that you can afford the monthly budget and cash to close on a 3-bedroom single family home using a 30-year fixed loan.

It’s important to match your loan terms and home buying choices with your objectives. Because lenders require your full financial profile, they are in a good position to help you explore and fine-tune your objectives to make sure you select the loan type that fits you best.

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Find an agent and start home shopping

After you’ve begun the mortgage process,

call Tracy Tkac- 301-437-8722  and begin your home search.

Introduce your lender to your agent, and ask your lender to brief your agent on your mortgage process. This will verify your target home price and down payment for your agent and show that you’re ready to close as soon as you find a home.

Write offers, lock your rate and finalize your loan

Once you find a home you love, you’ll write an offer. Your agent will present your offer to the seller, and if the seller accepts your offer, your loan process will move to the final approval phase.

Your lender will inform you that it’s time to lock your rate. A rate lock runs with a borrower and a property, so you can’t lock your rate until a seller has accepted your offer.

Then your lender will request any updated documentation needed from you, order an appraisal on the property and review the property title report.

Once all of these items check out, your lender will draw final loan documents with your desired rate and terms for you to sign. Your lender will fund the loan, and the home will be yours!

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More Banks Lower FICO Score Requirements

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More Banks Lower FICO Score Requirements

DAILY REAL ESTATE NEWS | TUESDAY, MARCH 25, 2014

More banks are lowering minimum FICO score requirements in an attempt to shore up lending for underserved borrowers.

Carrington Mortgage Services is the latest company to announce that it has lowered its minimum FICO score to 550. It also has expanded guidelines on several FHA, VA, and USDA loan programs to aid those with FICO scores below 640.

Wells Fargo, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, said in February that it was lowering its minimum FICO score requirements on FHA-backed mortgages from 640 to 600. The move, bank officials said, was aimed at “opening up our credit box more.”

One in three consumers have a FICO score below 650, according to Carrington. The lender is refocusing its business on targeting the underserved segment and eliminating conventional and jumbo loans. It is limiting its acceptance of wholesale submissions with FICO scores above 680 starting April 1, except for VA loans, HousingWire reports.

“Effectively meeting the needs of clients in the underserved market requires the ability to both originate quality loans and appropriately service them after the fact,” says Ray Brousseau, executive vice president of Carrington’s mortgage lending division. “Both Carrington’s lending platform and specialty servicing business were created to serve this particular market segment. That uniquely positions us as the lender of choice for this population of borrowers and the mortgage brokers and real estate agents who work with them. Our message is clear: You can count on Carrington to serve the underserved and get the tough loans done right.”

The Home Buying Process

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The Home Buying Process

Basic guidelines for the first time home buyer and the home buying process, simplified.

by Tracy Tkac

Even when you love the house, making an offer to purchase it can be intimidating and scary, it’s a big commitment that will require a chunk of your financial resources. It’s also exciting and wonderful! You will be building equity and getting tax breaks for mortgage payments, but importantly , you will have a place of your own to do with what you wish. When you make  improvements to your home, you will likely make a return on your investment while you enjoy living in your home. Most of all, your home will be the place where you will build memories and entertain friends and family. You will make your house into your lovely home. Below are the basic guidelines and the home buying process simplified.

 Making an offer

Even though it’s early in the buying process, you still must sign a legally binding contract. With your signature, you’re committing to moving ahead with the seller. Keep in mind you can add contingencies to many real estate contracts. For example, most real estate buying offers will be contingent on a property inspection, radon inspection, loan approval, appraisal and sometimes other matters. Such contingencies enable buyers to opt out of the contract if unexpected problems or concerns pop up.

 Disclosures

In most states, sellers are legally required to provide buyers with disclosure documents including any know defects, lead based paint information, real tax bills from the current year and the estimated property tax bill for the next year. In addition, sellers must disclose any known issues that might affect the property’s value or habitability. Usually, in a transfer disclosure statement, sellers must answer a series of “yes” or “no” questions about the property, and provide the neighborhood homeowners association/ or condo information. If there have been leaky windows,  work done without permits or plans for a major nearby development, the seller must disclose them. You will have the opportunity to view the areas master plan and the will be provided with a list of nearby airports. The disclosures will need to be signed by the purchaser and will become part of the offer to purchase and then after all terms are agreed to, they will be part of the contract.

The appraisal

Most buyers put a certain amount of money down toward the purchase price. The balance will come in the form of a bank loan (usually). But a bank isn’t going to hand over that money without due diligence. An appraisal is the financial institution’s way of making sure the contract price is the right price. So the lender sends out a third-party appraiser, which the buyer pays for, to confirm that the contract price is in line with the neighborhood’s comparable sales. If it’s not, the bank can deny the loan or change the terms.If a property does not appraise, the contract price can be renegotiated or contract voided.

Inspections

As part of the real estate contract, you have the right to a property inspection The most common is a “general” property inspection, in which the inspector checks the home from the foundation to the roof and investigates all major systems and components. As the buyer, you should follow along with the inspector to learn more about the property. For example, you’ll want to know about the components (such as the water heater) and have a plan in place for maintenance.

After the general property inspection, the inspector may suggest having a specialist come out. This could be a roofer, electrician, HVAC specialist or even an engineer. Listen to the inspector and have any recommended follow-up inspections. Remember: This is your one chance to approve the property from top to bottom. If issues arise, you may be able to negotiate repair or a buyer credit.  If something major arises and it’s not what you signed up for, you can void the contract via your inspection contingency.

Loan approval or commitment

In addition to making certain the property appraises at no less than the contract price, the bank will want to fully approve your credit, debt and income history. The bank will also want to approve the property’s preliminary title report to make sure there are no liens recorded against the property that might affect its value. The bank can take up to 30 days to complete its review, which should result in a loan commitment or full loan approval. Once that’s completed to the bank’s satisfaction, you’re guaranteed a loan, and you’re one step closer to closing.

Final walk-through

Just before closing, you will do a final walk through in the property to make sure it’s in the condition it was when you last saw it. Make sure the seller didn’t remove any fixtures, make modifications or leave behind garbage or debris. You also want to be sure any fixes you negotiated with the seller have been completed.

The closing

Depending on the market, the closing may happen at an attorney’s office or at a title company. In some situations, the buyer and seller don’t ever meet. Each goes in to sign their closing papers separately. In others, the buyers and sellers sign the closing documents together. Regardless of how a closing happens, if you’re a buyer and getting a loan, plan on signing dozens of documents at closing. You’ll need to show photo ID, as your signature will be notarized. Prior to the closing, your real estate agent or attorney should send over a closing statement to review. The statement details your final closing costs and the money you need to bring to the closing. The funds can be wired in or paid with a cashier’s check on closing day. Be sure to ask for the statement early, so there aren’t any last-minute surprises.

 

Time to Buy- “Mortgage rates fall for second week in a row”!

Mortgage rates fall for second week in a row

  • BY KATHY ORTON

(Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg)

(Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg)

Mortgage rates fell for the second week in a row, according to the latest data released Thursday by Freddie Mac.

The 30-year fixed-rate average sank to 4.39 percent with an average 0.7 point, its lowest level since late November. It was 4.41 percent a week ago and 3.53 percent a year ago.

The 15-year fixed-rate average edged down to 3.45 percent with an average 0.7 point. It was 3.45 percent a week ago and 2.81 percent a week ago. The 15-year fixed rate was below 3.5 percent for only the second time in the past six weeks.

Hybrid adjustable rate mortgages were mixed. The five-year ARM average rose to 3.15 percent with an average 0.5 point. It was 3.1 percent a week ago and 2.7 percent a year ago.

The one-year ARM average moved for the first time in four weeks, dropping to 2.54 percent with an average 0.5 point.

“Mortgage rates were flat to down a little this week amid reports that inflation remains subdued,” Frank E. Nothaft, Freddie Mac vice president and chief economist, said in a statement. “The Consumer Price Index was up to 0.3 percent in December after being unchanged in November. For the year as a whole, consumer prices rose just 1.5 percent in 2013.”

Meanwhile, spurred by falling interest rates, mortgage applications showed an uptick last week, according to the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Market Composite Index, a measure of total loan application volume, rose 4.7 percent. The Refinance index grew 10 percent, while the Purchase Index increased 2 percent.

The refinance share of mortgage activity rose to its highest level in two months, accounting for 64 percent of all applications.